|Dr. Robert Puff|
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Sunday, August 11, 2002
Editor: Gloria Lee
from Ramana Maharshi list
by RAMNATH NARAYANSWAMY
Children have a special place in all the wisdom traditions of
the world. The gospel according to Saint Luke says that
people brought their babies to Jesus, asking him to place his
hands on them in blessing. When his disciples tried to
prevent the people from approaching their teacher, Jesus
said, "Let the children come to me. Do not stop them because
the Kingdom of God belongs to them. Remember this!
Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child
will never enter it".
In a child, the thought of the ego, the first primal I-thought is
present only at an infinitesimal level.
Identification with the body, the mind or the intellect is absent.
As we grow older, these identifications result in misery,
unhappiness and suffering. That is why we often rue the passing of
childhood. The primal I-thought is responsible for reinforcing the
notion of I-am-the-doer, I-am-the-body, I-am-the-ego or I-am-the-
All these identifications result in suffering as they bring with
them desire and attachment. The phenomenal world is mistaken for
reality. The child is the father of man because the child does not
suffer from ego, identity or fear the characteristic concomitants
of adulthood. That is why there is something divine in the innocence
of a child.
Sri Ramana Maharishi, looking at a child in the prayer hall,
reportedly remarked: "One can attain the bliss of Brahman only when
the mind becomes pure and humble, like the mind of this child".
The image of the child in world scripture is therefore a powerful
symbol of purity, innocence, simplicity and humility.
As St Augustine said, "Let your old-age be childlike and your
childhood like old age; so that neither may your wisdom be with
pride, nor your humility without wisdom".
The Brihadaranyaka Upa- nishad exhorts the Brahman or the one who is
steeped in Brahman, to "reject erudition and live as a child".
Sri Ramakrishna affirmed the same counsel when he said, "So long as
one does not become simple like a child, one does not get divine
illumination. Forget all the worldly knowledge that thou has
acquired and become as `ignorant' as a child and then you will get
Swami Ramdas recollects that, "When we were children we were
innocent. But there was in us a seed of ignorance which grew as we
grew, and finally overpowering us, cast away our innocent nature and
led us astray. We were thereafter caught in the toils of desire and
action and we move in a vicious circle of transitory pleasure and
pain. It is necessary to hand ourselves over to the Divine and
through His grace burn up the seed which is the cause of our misery
and bondage and regain our lost childhood. Once we get it back, it
cannot be taken away from us. The burnt seed does not germinate. We
will remain pure children for all our lives".
We find similar evocations in the Buddhist tradition as
well. "Abandon thought and thinking", said the Sage Saraha. "Be just
like a child. Be devoted to your master's teaching and the Innate
will become manifest".
Indeed, the essence of Zen according to Takuan, founder of the
Tokaiji Zen temple in Tokyo, is having "the heart and soul of a
Finally, a Tibetan master declares that the pupil "must regain the
child state he hath lost before the sound can fall upon his ears".
In a way, the Divine Musician sings to us through the purity of the
hearts of children we can hear Him if we only listen.
So, the way to enlightenment lies in rediscovering the child in
(This article is from The Times of India newspaper)
from Nisargadatta list
how many times have you heard stories, "i did <this>
spiritual practice and i was successful."
what about failure? how come no one talks about failure?
our failures shape us.
Adventures at Rasa Ranch #35
8/11/02 "New Old Friends"
Today Ananda and I accompanied Jim on a small electrical job in town. He had said that we
would really like the folks he was working for and he was right. Shirley was eighty and she
looked like if you hugged her you would totally disappear into her big softness like a dive
into a fluffy cloud. Henry was all of ninety-nine (!) and he was very tall with half a head of
snowy white hair and the largest, most tender hands I had ever seen. Both of them had bright
blue eyes that somehow stopped time when you looked at them.
Ananda offered our new friends some really plump raspberries that we couldn't pass up on
our way over and the four of us sat on their shaded porch and munched while Jim went to
work. Henry described some of his adventures while mining for gold in Alaska in the 1930's.
He said, "You know, there was a depression going on in our country about then." He paused
to chuckle, "You might've read about it in school." Then he continued, "And when I got the
opportunity to go ANYWHERE, I said 'Yes!'" His words took the history right out of the
books and directly into my own experience. It was great.
When Jim had finished and we stood to go, Shirley commented that I looked like I was going
to give birth very soon. She wanted to know how far we lived from the hospital. I told her
that we were planning to have our baby at home and she furrowed her brow. I looked over at
Henry, touched him on the knee and said (in high volume), "I'll betcha you were born at
home." He laughed out loud and said, "Sure was! Ten pounds and breech!" Boy, did he get a
smile out of me with that one!
We said goodbye and wished each other all the best. On our way home in the car Ananda
announced, "This is the nicest day." "Why is that?" we asked. "Because I 'yove' everybody
today, that's why."
6/5/02 "Bad Thoughts"
I was cleaning up the remains of the old goatshed that Jim tore down by collecting debris for
the burn pile. Ananda, four and a half, was excited to help me out but when she saw how
messy it was going to be and how she was going to have to jump in the shower with me
afterwards she decided to do something else. Meanwhile, Jim was out and around with the big
I got a load into the cart and made my way across the property to the burn pile. While
emptying it I heard the mower shut off. When I was through I headed back toward the house
where I saw Ananda crying on Jim's knee. As I approached he said, "Someone's been missing
you, Mommy." Ananda came over to me. I had already noted on my walk toward them that
while she did have tears, her cry was not the kind that makes me want to leap off of a cliff to
In a sad voice she told me that she had gone to where I was working in order to find me and
then discovered I was no longer there. Then, she said, she cried really, really hard! I asked her
if the crying made her feel better. She said no. Then I asked her if the crying helped her to
find me. To that she also said no. I remarked, "It just didn't work, did it?" and she agreed that
no, bursting out into tears didn't help her at all.
After a moment she started to REALLY cry, the kind that makes my heart move, big time. She
said, "Nobody wanted to be with me. That's why I was crying." I immediately scooped her
into my arms said, "Honey, that's not true! That's just a 'bad thought'! You don't have to
believe a bad thought. They're just not true. What is true?" She paused and then replied as if
she'd heard it before, "Our love."
We looked into each other's eyes for a spell and then she said, "I'm hungry." I told her if she
hurried she could catch up to her daddy who was making a snack for himself and I bet her that
he would share. She started to run off and then turned around and said, "I am having another
thought now. Plants growing." I said, "Ahh, that's a nice thought. Do you know what else is
growing?" She said, "What?" I grinned and pointed repeatedly right at her. She giggled,
saying, "Me" and then disappeared into the house.
I was still squatting there at her eye level and couldn't bring myself to move quite yet. Then
the door opened a crack and she stuck her head and arm out and waved to me. I waved back.
I have a lump in my throat right now.
Sometimes life is so sweet.
[When I came inside to type this I overheard Ananda and her dad in the kitchen. She was
telling him in a cheerful voice, "I only had a bad thought. That's why I was crying!"]
Form is empty.
Emptiness is form.
The activity of form is not
other than emptiness,
nor is the action of emptiness
other than form.
It's the same with feeling,
Dear One, in this way
all dharmas are empty,
without any qualification,
without bondage or
liberation from bondage,
Dear One, in this way,
there is no form,
There is no
center of vision,
no center of mind,
no center to reference
interpretation of perception.
no end of ignorance,
no aging and death,
no end of aging and death.
It's the same for
Dear One, in this way
all buddhas --
anchored in the Heart --
They are not
the one confused,
they are not
the one suffering.
They are Free.
There's a saying:
"Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha."
This is how
the Compassionate One --
whispers from the Heart.
Selections from Encounters with Cold Mountain, Poems by Han Shan
Climbing up the Cold Mountain
I climb the road to Cold Mountain,
The road that never ends.
The valleys are long and strewn with stones;
Streams are broad and banked with thick grass;
Moss is slippery, though no rain has fallen;
Pines sigh, but it isn't the wind.
Who can break from the snares of the world
And sit with me among the white clouds?
I FOLLOW MY FINGER'S END HEAVENWARD
Once, my back wedded to the solid cliff,
I sat silently, bathed in the full moon's light.
I counted there ten thousand shapes,
None with substance save the moon's own glow.
The pristine mind is empty as the moon,
I thought, and like the moon, freely shines.
By what I knew of moon I knew the mind,
Each mirror to each, profound as stone.
THE LOST SCHOLAR
What a mind he had! Master of footnotes,
Retailer of all details. Sword tip, brush tip,
Tip of the tongue -- all penetrating. Music,
Horsemanship, archery, each one subdued.
When he exhaled, we breathed deeply.
Once he found the meaning not just there,
He fled in all directions, split hairs everywhere.
I SKETCH A MAP IN A CUP OF TEA
Travelers wonder how to reach Cold Mountain.
No road stretches so far; the streams end far below.
Summer ice darkens the greens.
Sunrise labours to burn off the mist.
How did a gray squat thing like me arrive?
I make my journey sitting still.
*more poems may be read at:
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|Dr. Robert Puff|