Monsters to Madness. All Sorts of Foul Play

Monsters by Fly 2019

 

Let’s begin with a chant – albeit a silent chant but one worth reading and yes, one worth memorizing. Before I share it, I want to give a speed ball pitch to memorization.

Everyone has a particular level of aptitude and ability to memorize – but even those of us who struggle with memorization can find a few lines or even a phrase from ancient texts of wisdom to remember. I encourage all of us to take up the practice of memorization no matter how small or big it is. If it is difficult to memorize, post up parts of wisdom texts where the teachings are easily seen. Put them up in every room, if need be.

 

Now the chant. As mentioned, if you are unable to memorize the whole chant, select a phrase or sentence that speaks to you – jumps out at you. Write it down. Memorize it. Post it up. It’s a guardian for your practice.

 

 

Little thoughts, subtle thoughts when followed, stir up the heart.

Not comprehending the thoughts of the heart, one runs here & there,

The mind out of control.

But…

Comprehending the thoughts of the heart,

One who is ardent, mindful, restrains them.

When followed, they stir up the heart.

 

One who is awakened, lets them go…without trace.

 

 

Our minds are full of thoughts already. Many of us have had 12 years of compensatory education, have families where ‘family’ propaganda is passed down and of course, there are all the various inputs from books, online networks and contact with others.

It is an endless array of information that is in the library of the mind. Spiritual adepts need to be able to sort through the mess and organize it in such a way that it supports our spiritual journey.

When we don’t sort out our thoughts, we are easily out of control over every little thing that comes into our life.

But…when we focus and sort the thoughts out in such a way that we don’t go along with the story, we strengthen our ability to restrain the thoughts that become monsters. This ability requires a keen interest in what shows up in the light of our brain pan. We have to watch for the monsters to pop up.

We have two habits that we need to be alert to…

  1.  Our habit to go along with the monsters that show up in our mind over and over again and
  2.  Our habit of not watching for the monsters in the first place.

Many of us just go along with what thoughts, images, ideas, imaginings that come up the moment we wake up from a night’s sleep. Whatever monster comes, we go along with it. This happens because we have relied on the monsters to rule the mind. This reliance has made us limp and flaccid making us easy prey for the monsters.

The very first step is to begin to see the content of the mind as monsters. To look at each thought, idea, imagining, image as a trap popping up to distract, upset, jumble, and stir up something that either happened in the past, a wish for something to happen in the future or a loss or fear of something that has not yet happened.

It is worth a clarification. The stuff of the mind is an array of monsters.  When we acknowledge this truth, we restrain the monsters. Restraint prepares us to renounce what we once were loyal to and are at last able to

 

 

turn without grasping for and against, without stopping to glue your view into a peg hole, without marvels of wordiness[1] – all of which is for our awakening.

 

 

We recognize the monster of for & against, the leaking of fixed positions and marvels of wordiness as the mind taken captive to foul play of those very monsters. Our views of for & against, our fixed positions and our wordiness (repetitions of  pontification) may be directed to the inner world of ourselves and directed toward the outer world of things (people, places and things). In either case, we do well to bring our attention to the monsters that arrive like popcorn in the head in such a way we are eager to comprehend the foul play they bring upon us and others.  We must turn away without grasping them, pegging them or pontificating them. We let them go without regret or worry or any entanglement.

We need to build strengths that protect the mind from the monsters that lead us into misery and suffering. We need to be able to discern which thoughts will stir up the mind and which thoughts strengthen our efforts on this spiritual path. A strengthening aide to seeing the monsters is memorizing wisdom texts. We replace the old habitual texts in our mental library with wisdom texts – and we do this without being for and against, without thinking we are right or wrong and without posturing a dogmatic speech to ourselves or others. We settle in “don’t know” mind as a strength of Truth and we continue our spiritual practice.

Dongshan’s teaching leads to the path of silence. When we recognize the stuff of the mind, for the most part, is the palace of the monsters, we let go of our thoughts and views and ideas as we would the fleeting wind. We note the breeze but don’t get blown by it.

Humming Bird

Author: FaShi Lao Yue

 

Image credits: Fly, 2019

ZATMA is not a blog.

 If for some reason you need elucidation on the teaching,

please contact editor at: yao.xiang.editor@gmail.com

 

[1] Dongshan, Caodong. Go to link: Leakage

NEW! NEW! NEW! Watch a Short, Short….Read a Short, Short

Every time we act, we practice and we cannot help but act which means we are always practicing. This realization is priceless for the spiritual adept. Everything becomes worship and we become devotees adoring the Divine morning, noon, and night. Let me offer an example.

In our household we wash the dishes by hand in the kitchen sinks, one side for washing, the other for rinsing and stacking. Recently we switched to a new eco-friendly dish detergent which lacks both the aromatic scents of fruits and flowers and does not suds up. There are no foamy bubbles. After many days of noticing my inner longing for the missing scents and the foamy bubbles I decided to read the instructions on the back of the dish soap. Here they are.

TO USE: A little goes along way. Squirt a quarter-size drop of formula on sponge and wash dishes. Increase amount for heavy grease. Works beautifully as a hand soap, too.

The instructions are delightfully clear and precise. An instruction of how to use beginning with an axiom for life, a little goes along way. Much of the time, much wants more. Remember I came to read the instructions from a place of wanting the missing scents and foamy bubbles.

The direction on the dish soap went on to offer me a common image of how much is really needed to wash the dishes, a squirt the size of a quarter. And under certain conditions, i.e., heavy grease, I was directed to increase the amount. These instructions indicated that the squirt the size of a quarter was to be put on a sponge and was not to go into a sink full of water. How about that? Don’t dump the dish soap in the water put a squirt on a sponge. Remarkable! It makes sense. I need less soap on a sponge than in a sink full of water especially if I want those soapy bubbles. I’ll need to dump in a lot more soap than a squirt to get what I want in my mind’s eye. But when I am not attached to what shows up in my mind I am able to let it go and learn to follow instruction.

Reading and following the instructions on the soap bottle gave life to the axiom; a little goes a long way. This example is an act of humility and devotion at the altar in the kitchen called the sink. Learning and an open willingness to learn and change is a mark of humility. It requires a capacity to attend to what is at hand which includes attending to the instructions.

Everything, the simple daily acts of life and the more difficult, extraordinary arduous acts are the stuff of our worship. There is no special work that is better than or less than another. The hierarchy of the material world does not apply to the heavenly realms. Everything we do is our spiritual work. There is never a time when we veer off the path of spiritual awakening and take a rest from it. There are no hideouts because even in a vain attempt to hideout the requirements are the same: attention and the need for instruction; an open willingness to learn; humility.

To learn watch this 3 minute video on Everything Comes to Awaken Us by Lao di Zhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact the editor: yao.xiang.shakya@gmail.com

Humming Bird