A Zen Story

Why does Christ provoke the authorities to make away with him, and utter on the cross the first line of Psalm 22, “Lord, Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me”? (This becomes a song of triumph only at the end.) Why does Krishna, an earlier incarnation, born as a warrior and a matchlessly skilled fighter, take …

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Last Words

A teacher of the Gita Yoga had as a disciple an Englishman brought up to restrain expression of feeling. The teacher approved of this as a basis, but got him to take part in amateur theatricals and public speaking so that there should be some creative expression. The Englishman’s mother was sceptical, (though she had …

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The story of Raikva

ONE of the attractions of a certain type of story is its demonstration that the reader is not merely, being treated to an ingenious exhibition of gossamer word-spinning and thought-weaving ; what he is being told actually works in practice. The story of Raikva, according to the great commentator Shri Shankaracharya, is introduced in order …

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By Whom

The word `Kena’, meaning `By whom?’ indicates the direction taken by the teaching of the Kena Upanishad. There is, in the third part, an arresting allegory illustrating the omnipotence of Brahman-that God alone is the supreme power behind all creation. It is also an eulogy bringing out the superiority of Brahman over all the minor …

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The King

We had gone far into the desert. Every night we pitched our tents and made a fire, as directed by the guide. He was reputed to have been in the country to which we were going; some even said he was a native. But he spoke rarely of its ways and customs, preferring to talk …

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The Mystical Death

There is no teacher like Death.-Katha Upanishad. Since it is the same death, die now.-Zen Saying. The great Upanishad called Katha contains the instructions given by the God of Death to an inquirer, Nachiketas. Nachiketas went voluntarily to the abode of Death, and after staying there a short time, was granted three boons by Death, …

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Viryam or Virility

Literally viryam means virility, `that which characterizes a true man` and the sense includes heroism and effective power. “The Self cannot be attained by one who is without strength” by one who excited, by one whose meditation-austerity is without renunciation. But of the knower who strives with these aids (strength, absence of excitment, and meditation …

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Dimensions of Mind

A teaching of self associated with three dimensions of mind is. given in the little Mandukya Upanishad` which is dated about A.D. 200 and is the last of the eleven classical Upanishads , commented on by Shankara. The three dimensions of mind are typified in Waking` Dream and’ Dreamless Sleep, experienced by three corresponding aspects …

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The Stone Sermon

In the Lotus Sutra, one of the old ones, there is a sort of Buddhist prodigal son. The king recognises him, when he sees him from the palace, sends out a guard to bring him in, but the beggar, when he sees the guard, runs away.

Shankara’s text-frames and summarizing comments.

The Path in Brief Shankara on the Teacher/Pupil, Bhagavad Gita verses IV. 34-39 Shankara’s text-frames and summarizing comments. The Gita, like many other divinely-inspired texts, gives its teachings in groups of verses, which have to be read together as a unity. Then another subject may be taken up abruptly, not closely related to the first …

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The Five Sheaths are the limitations (upadhis) which are taken on itself by the jiva.

The five sheaths are the limitations (upadhis) which are taken on itself by the jiva. Shri Shankara makes this analysis of the limitations of the jivatman for the purpose of liberation, and he gives the methods of meditation on the sheaths by which liberation is to be obtained. There is no other purpose ; the …

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This Very Body the Buddha – What remains to be sought ?

This Very Body the Buddha – What remains to be sought ? For Nirvana is revealed before him ; This very spot is the Lotus Paradise, this very body the Buddha.  Hakuin’s Song of Meditation. THESE lines expressing the peak of realization conclude ‘ the Song of Meditation. After attaining the great freedom of limitless …

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Focusing the Mind

“The Self abiding in all beings, and all beings in the Self, sees he whose Self has been made steadfast by Yoga, who everywhere sees the same.” (Bhagavad Gita VI 29) COMMENTING on this verse, Shankara explains the phrase “whose self has been made steadfast by Yoga” (yoga yuktatma) as “whose inner organ (mind) is …

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The Swimmer

An anxious man, always trying to foresee every possible eventuality so that he could prepare counter – measures, came to a yoga group. There he took up to reading historical and legendary incidents in the scriptures, so that he would get to know how spiritual people behave. ‘You’ve no need to do that,’ an experienced …

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Emptying

A teacher used to point out to his pupils that what is already full cannot take in any more. This well – known Zen principle is often illustrated by pouring tea into a filled cup so that it overflows on to the table and floor. This teacher went on to say that when there is …

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Practice

We can have ideas and then practise, but prac­tice has to be done till it goes past practice, until it is no longer practice. Here is an example I heard from a master I knew. It was around the turn of the century, and the master happened to be in the place where the maids …

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