Monday, July 23, 2018

Heretics and Buddhas

"During the time of the Buddha, there were some who slandered him and became disciples of heretics and demons." -- Mud & Water by Bassui, edited by A. Braverman

While some might wish to think of  "Heretics" in conjunction with an event such as the Christian-fueled Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades of Europe, fewer would bring the name of the Buddha to mind. Yet the great Zen master, Bassui does. It seems that all thinking souls are moved to discernment. He writes:

"Today's students of the Way go to teachers everywhere, but they don't want to penetrate all the way to the bottom of the great matter. They journey to the east, to the west, north and south, and take pride in having met many teachers. They try to surpass others with Zen stories and they collect paradoxical words and clever expressions from old masters. These are the ways of Heretics."

Writing further on the subject, Bassui delves into the value of knowledge. He writes of the karmic affinity for the way. Stating that some people have an affinity for the way while others do not, so if your karma does not discern a natural attraction, one that is immediate and affected, then you  neither trust nor believe what is taught. If, on the other hand, affinity is present, then that person will form a natural and easy bond with you. "Whether you follow the right path, or the path of heretics, depends upon your karmic inclination....A truly good teacher...does not destroy people's sight."

Friday, April 20, 2018


Some people say: 'Alas, sir, I wish I stood as well with my spiritual life and devotions, that I had as much devotion and were as much at peace with the Spirit as others are, I wish I were like them, or that I were so poor'; 'I can never manage it unless I go here or there, or do this or that. I must get away from it all, go and live in a cell or a cloister.'
--advices from Master Eckhart

Eckhart, spiritual guide and mystic, wrote on the subject of finding peace and comfort in the world. From his view it's dependent upon the fact that the reason for unease lies entirely with yourself and with nothing else, though you may not know it or believe it: restlessness  arises in you as the self-as-it-wills; whether you own it or not.
We may think a person must avoid certain things or people; that they seek other places, people or methods, company or activity.  Yet according to Eckhart, none is the reason why you find yourself held back: it's you yourself in the pursuit of those things which prevents one, 'for you have an inaccurate regard towards things."

Therefore he recommends one start first with oneself. Observe yourself.  In truth, unless you let go first of yourself, whatever you try, you will find obstacles. There will be indecision and restlessness, no matter where you are. 
If people seek peace in outward things, places or methods or in people or in deeds, the elimination of other people, poverty, humiliation, however great or small, is all in vain because it garners no peace. Why? Eckhart would say that its lack is due to the pursuit, rather tyhan opening ones' hand in the stillness of the world many seek forcefully to acquire.

 What does often result is that this chase, the pursuit of the desired result itself becomes the focus, a sort of ends though not one which often results in spiritual or other peace.
Observe yourself, and wherever you find yourself, leave yourself: that is the very best way, because we often find ourselves in ways and places we did not first imagine. Yet we are there, and that may not be a poor place to be. The spirit moves as it will. May we move likewise.