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Posts Tagged ‘Seng-Ts’an’

Should We Be Seekers?
~ Question, Quotations, and Comments

“He is born in vain,
who having attained the human birth,
so difficult to get,
does not attempt to realize God
in this very life.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,
which is within.”
~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21
“Seek and ye shall find.”
Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13
“What you seek is seeking you.”
~ Rumi
“What we are looking for is what is looking.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.
~ Lao Tzu
“Remember God; forget the rest.
Forget who you think you are,
to remember what you really are.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings





Introduction

This posting asserts and explains, with quotations and comments, that consciously or unconsciously we are all spiritual seekers.

Should We Be Seekers?

Q. Should we be seekers?

A. Knowingly or unknowingly everyone’s a seeker.
Knowingly or unknowingly everyone seeks Self.

But seeking’s then,
while Self is NOW.

So, to find Self,
BE Self –

NOW!



Ron’s audio recitation of “Should We Be Seekers?”

Listen to



Ron’s comments and explanation of “Should We Be Seekers?”

Dear Friends,

Are you a spiritual seeker – a seeker of Eternal Truth?

Nowadays, few humans consciously seek spiritual Truth. Almost everyone wants to be happy. But most people seek happiness in worldly pursuits and pleasures, not within.

For millennia mystics, saints and sages have counseled us to focus on spiritual rather than worldly goals. They tell us that worldly pleasures and attainments can merely bring transient satisfactions, whereas lasting happiness can only be found within.

Thus Jesus advised:

“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.”
“Seek and ye shall find.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11.9-13


Similarly, 19th century Indian holy man Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa said:

“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”
~ Sri Ramakrishna

From my experience, knowingly or unknowingly, everyone is a spiritual “seeker” because everyone longs for a state of being which transcends inevitable Earthly cares and suffering, bringing eternal happiness as LOVE. But rare are those who attain it.

Background

In memoirs titled “Transcending Transcendence” I’ve told how soon after becoming a “born-again Hindu”, I learned that that the object of Sanskrit Hindu practices given by my Guruji was to achieve “mukti” or “moksha”, a state of Divine illumination, where the Self, soul, or “Atman” would experience its Oneness with “Brahman” [Supreme Reality] – the pinnacle of human experience.

Thereafter, I began considering and seeking “self realization”, or “enlightenment” as a spiritual goal, until gradually I abandoned goal oriented spiritual seeking, and – as “An Uncertain Undo” – intuitively began surrendering to the Infinite, with ever expanding heartfelt faith in God.

Explanation

Mystics say that by resolutely looking within we can discover ultimately that we are imprisoned by illusionary mental tendencies and mistaken beliefs about self identity and reality which wrongly reify our limited perceptions of ephemeral forms, in an ever impermanent illusory reality, where mortality and suffering are karmically inevitable.

So, how can we find divine happiness within?

Non-dualist masters tell us that effortlessly – with resolute intention, intense aspiration and focused observation we can discover our eternal Self, as a joyous state of spiritual freedom beyond belief.

“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?
 Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-Tzu

By letting it go it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
 But when you try and try,
the world is beyond the winning.

~ Lao Tzu

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu

“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking
is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from
unhappiness is attainable now, by facing ‘what is’ rather than making up
stories about it.  Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being  and
inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“Do not search for the truth;

only cease to cherish opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state.

Avoid such pursuits carefully.

If there is even a trace of this and that,

of right and wrong,

the mind-essence will be lost in confusion.”
~ Seng-Ts’an, The Third Patriarch of Zen


Dedication and Invocation

May the non-dualist mystic masters inspire us –
each from our unique perspective –
to prioritize spiritual rather than worldly goals,
and so to seek and find relief from belief –
relief from mistaken mental tendencies
from which we inevitably and repeatedly suffer
until we find –
beyond the mind –
our true immortal Self.
And thus discover that:

We are what we seek!

And so it shall be!

Ron Rattner


Hsin Hsin Ming: Verses On The Faith Mind ~ by Seng-Ts’an, The Third Patriarch of Zen*

“The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.”
~  Seng-Ts’an, The Third Patriarch Of Zen
“My teaching is like a finger pointing to the moon.
Do not mistake the finger for the moon”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, quoting the Buddha’s Teachings
“There’s nothing to say,
but words point the way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Zen

HSIN HSIN MING:
VERSES ON THE FAITH MIND

Zen image004
by Seng-Ts’an,
The Third Patriarch of Zen*

The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.

If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood,
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.

The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.

Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such
erroneous views will disappear by themselves.

When you try to stop activity by passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity,
assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things
is to miss their reality;
To assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.

The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.

Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.
do not remain in the dualistic state.
Avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that,
of right and wrong,
the mind-essence will be lost in confusion.

Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend.
And when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.

When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes:
As when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.

Things are objects because of the subject (mind):
the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult.
But those with limited views are fearful and irresolute:
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
And clinging (attachment) cannot be limited:
Even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.
Obey the nature of things (your own nature)
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.

When the thought is in bondage the truth is hidden
for everything is murky and unclear.
And the burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with enlightenment.

The wise man strives to no goals
but the foolish man fetters himself.

There is one Dharma, not many.
Distinctions arise
from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind
is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment
there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams or flowers in air –
foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong,
such thoughts must
finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things are as they are,
of single essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached,
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider movement stationary
and the stationary in motion,
both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage:
Nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.

All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feeling,
knowledge and imagination are of no value.

In this world of suchness
there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality
just say when doubt rises “not two”.
In this “not two” nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.

No matter when or where,
enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension
or diminution in time and space:
In it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, emptiness there,
but the infinite universe
stands always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small;
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries are seen.

So too with Being and non-Being.
Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments
That have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things,
move among and intermingle without distinction.
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,
because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

Words!
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is
no yesterday
no tomorrow
no today.


*Footnote re “
Hsin Hsin Ming”

The Hsin-Hsin Ming is a profound 6th Century non-dualistic perennial wisdom poem, first in the Ch’an (Chinese Zen) Buddhist tradition, attributed to the legendary third Zen patriarch, Seng Ts’an. Long regarded as a masterpiece by Zen practitioners, its essential non-dualistic message (influenced by Taoism) is that “When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached. No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state”. Thus any attachment, mental exertion or conceptual effort to characterize or distinguish impermanent perceptions precludes living an enlightened life – The Great Way, since words and concepts arise from illusion of duality and cannot describe timeless non-dual Truth, but merely point the way.



Skillfully translated from Chinese to English by Roshi Dr. Richard B. Clarke (1933-2013), founder and First Teacher of The Living Dharma Center near Amherst, MA. this version is available elsewhere on-line and in print. (Currently it is featured in “Teachings of the Buddha”, edited by Jack Kornfield, Shambala 2012, at pp. 143-9).


YouTube recitation of “
Hsin Hsin Ming” by Ben Bigelow: