Archive | Teaching

RSS feed for this section

What is “Enlightenment”?

“Strictly speaking there are no enlightened people,
there is only enlightened activity.”
~ Suzuki Roshi
“There is no such thing as
enlightenment,
the realization of that fact is
itself enlightenment.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj



Q: What is enlightenment?

A: “Enlightenment” is a word, – an idea with different meanings for different people;
it is a mental concept resulting from thought.
So, the meaning of “enlightenment” is in the mind of the thinker.

Here we call “enlightenment” an evolutionary process, not an ultimate destination.

In evolving toward an “enlightened” destination,
we approach an ever-distant horizon in the Sacred Heart of Humankind.

Q. What are some signs of progress in the enlightenment process?

A. Less and less ego, more and more humility and authenticity;
less and less thought, more and more mental stillness and peace.


Read full story · Comments { 0 }

The Emotion Of Devotion – Crying For God – Quotations


“There is no liquid like a tear from a lover’s eye.”
~ Rumi

Tears are the solution
for dissolution
of other
into Mother –
Mother of All,
Mother of Mystery.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


Sri Anandamayi Ma

 

Ron’s Introduction.

I can’t recall crying in my entire adult life, until a mid-life spiritual awakening at age forty three. Then, upon a profound Self identity realization, I cried for twenty four hours. And ever since I have often spontaneously shed profuse tears.

Soon after my awakening, I realized that I was crying for God, with intense longing. (See Beholding The Eternal Light Of Consciousness.) Then after meeting my beloved Guru, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, I gradually learned that I had been immensely blessed to follow the spiritual path of Divine devotion – the path of Love. And that my continual longing and crying for God was an extraordinary blessing recognized in all devotional paths and known in Hinduism as Bhakti, and in Christianity as “the gift of tears”.

I intend writing more memoirs about my experiences with “the gift of tears”. Until then, I offer the following teachings and quotations from spiritual masters and texts, which may help acquaint you with that path.

Quotations on Crying For God.


“There comes a holy and transparent time
when every touch of beauty 
opens the heart to tears.
This is the time the Beloved of heaven 
is brought tenderly on earth.
This is the time of the opening of the Rose.”
~ Rumi

“Jesus wept.”
~ John 11:35

“The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.”
~ Native American proverb

What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.
~Jewish Proverb

“There is a palace that opens only to tears.”
~ Zohar (source of Kabbalah)

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
~ Psalms 126:5

“Weeping may endure for the night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
~ Psalms 30:5

“Man is like an onion.
When you peel away the layers,
all that is left is tears.”
~ Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, Hasidic master

“The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears.
When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age.”
~ Saint Isaac of Nineveh

“Do you want deliverance from the bonds of the world?
Then weeping profusely, you will have to cry out from the bottom of your heart:
Deliver me, Great Mother of the World, deliver me!…. When by the flood of your tears the inner and outer have fused into one, you will find her whom you sought with such anguish, nearer than the nearest, the very breath of life, the very core of every heart….”
~ Anandamayi Ma

Q. “Under what conditions does one see God?”
A. “Cry to the Lord with an intensely yearning heart and you will certainly see Him. People shed a whole jug of tears for wife and children. They swim in tears for money. But who weeps for God? Cry to Him with a real cry.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa

“When the child refuses to be comforted by anything except the mother’s presence, she comes. If you want to know God, you must be like the naughty baby who cries till the mother comes.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Crying to God for five minutes is equal to one hour of meditation.”
“The state that we attain by calling and crying to God is equal to the bliss that the yogi experiences in samadhi.”
~ Mata Amritanandamayi  (Ammachi)

“He who loves me is made pure; his heart melts in joy. He rises to
transcendental consciousness by the rousing of his higher emotional
nature. Tears of joy flow from his eyes, his hair stands on end, his heart
melts in love. The bliss in that state is so intense that, forgetful of
himself and his surroundings, he sometimes weeps profusely, or laughs, or
sings, or dances; such a devotee is a purifying influence upon the whole
universe.”
~ Srimad Bhagavatam 11.8 (Lord Krishna to His disciple Uddhave)

“As a [thirsty] hart* longs for flowing streams,
so longs my soul for thee, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
My tears have been my food
day and night.
~ Psalm 42.1-3

*The word ‘hart’ is an old alternative for “stag” (male deer”).

“You know, if you weep before the Lord, your tears wipe out the mind’s impurities of many births, and his grace immediately descends upon you. It is good to weep before the Lord.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna (to Sivananda)

“When, hearing the name of Hari or Rama once,
you shed tears and your hair stands on end,
then you may know for certain that you do not
have to perform such devotions as the sandhya any more.
Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals;
or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

‘Where does the strength of an aspirant lie? It is in his tears. As a mother gives her consent to fulfill the desire of her importunately weeping child, so God vouchsafes to His weeping son whatever he is crying for”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“Devotional practices are necessary only so long as tears of ecstasy do not flow at hearing the name of Hari. He needs no devotional practices whose heart is moved to tears at the mere mention of the name of Hari.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“The waves belong to the Ganges, not the Ganges to the waves. A man cannot realize God unless he gets rid of all such egotistic ideas as ‘I am such an important man’ or ‘I am so and so’. Level the mound of ‘I’ to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna.
How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236

 

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Kalu Rinpoche, the Zen Master and the Orange

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein


Kalu Rinpoche (1905 – May 10, 1989)



Ron’s Introductory Comments.

Is “reality” absolute or relative?

And how should the answer to that question influence our worldly ways?

Our phenomenal Universe is miraculous, marvelous, and meaningful.  But it is ever changing and impermanent – a “relative reality” of space, time and causality which some mystics call illusion, samsara, or maya.

It arises and appears in an unchanging mysterious matrix of Infinite Potentiality, which some call “Absolute Reality”.

When aware or awakening to this distinction between Absolute and relative reality, we may realize that while we are apparent entities in this world, our Source and ultimate identity transcends this world;  that we are ‘in this world but not of this world’.

Thus realizing the impermanence and relativity of our phenomenal reality, we may ponder on its meaning and purpose and, accordingly, on how to best behave herein: viz. what thoughts, words or deeds (if any) are most appropriate and skillful?

SillySutras.com is dedicated to raising perennial questions about how to  best be in this world.   Even spiritual masters and great scholars can disagree on answers to such questions.

So, ultimately, each of us must intuitively answer such questions for ourselves.

In the opening chapter of “Thoughts Without a Thinker”, concerning psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective, author psychotherapist Mark Epstein recounts this apt anecdote about a meeting at the home of a Harvard University psychology professor of two prominent teachers of Buddha-dharma with different ideas about dharma.

“Thoughts Without a Thinker”, by Dr. Mark Epstein – Excerpt From Chapter One.

“In the early days of my interest in Buddhism and psychology, I was given a particularly vivid demonstation of how difficult it was going to be to forge an integration between the two.  Some friends of mine had arranged for an encounter between two prominent visiting Buddhist teachers at the house of a Harvard University psychology professor.  These were teachers from two distinctly different Buddhist traditions who had never met and whose traditions had in fact had very little contact over the past thousand years.  Before the worlds of Buddhism and Western psychology could come together, the various strands of Buddhism would have to encounter one another.  We were to witness the first such dialogue.

The teachers, seventy-year-old Kalu Rinpoche of Tibet, a veteran of years of solitary retreat, and the Zen master Seung Sahn, the first Korean Zen master to teach in the United States, were to test each other’s understanding of the Buddha’s teachings for the benefit of the onlooking Western students.  This was to be a high form of what was being called  ‘dharma’ combat (the clashing of great minds sharpened by years of study and meditation), and we were waiting with all the anticipation that such a historic encounter deserved.  The two monks entered with swirling robes — maroon and yellow for the Tibetan, austere grey and black for  the Korean — and were followed by retinues of younger monks and translators with shaven heads.  They settled onto cushions in the familiar cross-legged positions, and the host made it clear that the younger Zen master was to begin.  The Tibetan lama sat very still, fingering a wooden rosary (mala) with one hand while murmuring, “Om mani padme hum” continuously under his breath.

The Zen master, who was already gaining renown for his method of hurling questions at his students until they were forced to admit their ignorance and then bellowing, “Keep that don’t know mind!” at them, reached deep inside his robes and drew out an orange. “What is this?” he demanded of the lama.  “What is this?”  This was a typical opening question, and we could feel him ready to pounce on whatever response he was given.

The Tibetan sat quietly fingering his mala and made no move to respond.

“What is this?” the Zen master insisted, holding the orange up to the Tibetan’s nose.

Kalu Rinpoche bent very slowly to the Tibetan monk near to him who was serving as the translator, and they whispered back and forth for several minutes.  Finally the translator addressed the room: “Rinpoche says, ‘What is the matter with him?  Don’t they have oranges where he comes from?”

The dialog progressed no further.”


Read full story · Comments { 1 }

Humility ~ Quotations and Sutra Sayings

“Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.”
~ Matthew 5.5
“Humility, like darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom.
It is healthy to be reminded that
the strongest might weaken
and the wisest might err.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I claim to be a simple individual
liable to err like any other fellow mortal.
I own, however, that I have humility enough
to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”
~ Confucius





Humility grows as ego goes.
The smaller the ego, the greater the being.

Humility is next to godliness.
No one enters the highest heaven
believing s/he belongs there.

We have nothing to surrender
but the idea that
we’re someone,
with something
to surrender.

We ever evolve
As our boundaries dissolve.

The essence of nobility
 is not heredity,
but humility;
not pedigree,
but integrity.

To name and define is to constrain and confine.
So, to be free, be a nameless nobody.

The more we know we’re no one,
the more we’re seen as someone.

Be nobody nowhere –

NOW!


Ron’s recitation of Humility

Listen to

Read full story · Comments { 0 }

Your Religion Is Not Important



The following is a brief dialogue between  the Dalai Lama and Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff, one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom, as recounted by Boff:

“In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which 
Dalai Lama and myself were participating, at recess I maliciously, and also with interest, asked him: 
“Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

“I thought he would say:      “The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity”

“Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes ….which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.  “He answered: 

“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. 
It is the one that makes you a better person.”


“To get out of my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked:

 “What is it that makes me better?”

“He responded:

“Whatever makes you
more Compassionate,
more Sensible,
more Detached,
more Loving,
more Humanitarian,
more Responsible,
more Ethical.”

 “The religion that will do that for you is the best religion”


“I was silent for a moment, marveling and even today 
thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion 
or if you are religious or not.

“What really is important to me is your behavior in 
front of your peers, family, work, community, 
and in front of the world.”

“Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our  thoughts.

“The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics.  
 It is also of human relations.
 If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness.
 If I act with evil, I will get evil.

“What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. 
 You will always have what you desire for others. 
 Being happy is not a matter of destiny. 
 It is a matter of options.”


Finally he said:

“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
     … and …
“There is no religion higher than the Truth.”


Here is a link to a You Tube Powerpoint presentation of this dialogue.

Read full story · Comments { 4 }