The Upanishads are like flashes of lightning

The first two verses of the Kena Upanishad are: By whose will and direction does the mind move? Under whose orders· does the vital force (prana:) move? Whose will is it that causes men to speak?. Whose light directs the eye and the ear? The answer to this great enquiry is given in the following verse.  It is the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind, the tongue of the tongue, the life of the life and the eye of the eye. The wise, relieved of the erroneous notion, become immortal when they have left this body I should just say these are things which I’ve heard from my teacher, my own teacher. They’ve helped me and I’ll pass them on. The Kena Upanishad begins with a question: by whom or by what? The Upanishads are like revelations, ecstatic, mystic utterances. Some of them declare.  Some of them …

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The Spur is addressed to a samurai who has faith

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheSpurisaddressedtoasamuraiwhohasfaith.mp3 “The Spur” is the title of an essay by Torei who was a disciple of Hakuin in Japan in the eighteenth century. He wrote the essay “The Spur” in about 1755 and it is addressed to a samurai who has faith. Torei got it approved by Hakuin and then it was published. The samurai by this time had become the administrators of the country. They weren’t just warriors although they still carried the two swords. The word, the Chinese character for ‘samurai’ which is used by him, also means a scholar and the character, for instance, is used today as the last character of an academic distinction, like a doctorate, a hakusei, and ‘sei’ is this word for what originally meant a samurai, a warrior and came to mean a man of culture and learning. It’s called “The Spur for the good horse”, and this is the fundamental point …

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The doctrine that everything is transient

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thedoctrinethateverythingistransient.mp3   One of the Buddhist doctrines to enable this to be done is the doctrine that everything is transient, everything is passing, and he says we suffer from things because they simply pass away. If you hang on to the things you find while the karma is favourable they look solid enough and then when it turns they’ve gone and there’s nothing there. You can learn something from the people of the world of this. For instance, one man that I knew was an athlete and clever and took great trouble over his personal appearance. He was very  attractive to women. He was always falling in love but he used to say, “And, it’ll only last three months and then I’ll get bored and fed up with her but,” he said, “even in those three months, I always have another one or another two.” I said “What?” “Well, you …

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The facing inward of the Buddhas

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/ThefacinginwardoftheBuddhas.mp3   (Torei:) “However clingingly attached we are to this temporary abode, we cannot expect it to last forever. To realise the four noble truths, that all is passing, painful, empty and without a self and to seek the way of Bodhi intelligence is what is called the Dharma. Then the third point is purely its effort. That you have to make strong efforts. How to search? You have to search. You must make clear and then enlighten the root in you. How is it to be made clear? You must search after your true nature. How to search? In seeing, in hearing sounds, in the distinctions of heat and cold, in the consciousness of right and wrong. This seeing, hearing and knowing are the root of the practice. The ordinary man sees colours and is deluded by colours, hears voices and is deluded by voices, feels heat and cold …

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Keep up the right line of the meditation

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Keepuptherightlineofthemeditation.mp3   It’s been said, Western music tends to be a prelude to the presto at the end and everything else is leading up to the last variation of the set of variations where there’s going to be an athletic performance by the pianist and I’m afraid it’s true that in a lot of our compositions, there is an athletic performance at the very end, but this is a wrong view. The piece is a whole. At the end of the Beethoven’s 7th are these waves of bliss. It’s a wonderful experience to hear them, but if we sit throughout the symphony waiting, thinking ‘well, soon now we will be coming to these great waves of bliss’, then we miss the second movement which is one of Beethoven’s greatest works of genius. This is the one where at the first rehearsal, the players stood up and cheered when they first …

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You practise with courage and sincerity

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Youpractisewithcourageandsincerity.mp3   He (Torei) says that you must practise, not avoiding confrontations and not deliberately creating them either, but taking them on when they come. “You practise with courage and sincerity. It is when things are disturbed, you must realise that now is the time to go to the field of battle and then you will be able to decide things”, and he says if you defeat your greed and your fear and your power love and your pride at these times, then you have actually conquered them. You have actually won, but while you remain in a state of safety from them, you don’t know whether you have conquered them or not. Now, this text was for Samurai scholars. He doesn’t talk so much about the training for Zen monks, but he says little enlightenment, in fact, obstructs great enlightenment. If you give up the little enlightenments and don’t …

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Judo Experience – Zen & More Stories

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/JudoExperience-Zen%26MoreStories.mp3   The judo teacher. He says, “You may get technical excellence, but it will be of no use to you as a training for life” . When we move from judo to life we have to be able to extend this. In a judo club it’s very important for all the members to take part. Not to have the accounts done by a chartered accountant who is a member, so that he takes over and does them marvellously and the ordinary members don’t do anything. No. The ordinary members too must take part in that, under his supervision, but they must take part in that. And you’ll get somebody who’s more or less fearless. For when it comes to accounts he says, “Oh I’ve never done that. Oh no I don’t think I could do that ! ” You say, “Come on, where’s that fighting spirit you’re always talking …

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Finding inspiration in everyday things

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Findinginspirationineverydaythings.mp3   I’m a typist, what beauty and art is there in the white of the paper as it comes up? The miracle that when you press the key, the black on the paper. When you first see this , oh it’s wonderful. But after a few weeks you think, “Oh this blasted typewriter. I don’t like the touch” . What’s happened? We miss , something’s gone , we miss something. We think ‘well yes all right perhaps we’ve missed a bit of beauty, but what art is there in typing?’ There is an art. Typists can be artists. Before the days of Xerox’s, in a lawyer’s office sometimes it was necessary to make a copy of a carbon copy. An extra copy of a letter. And it had to be absolutely accurate in a lawyer’s office so every letter when it’s copied is then checked over verbally by two …

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Go into the peace of your practises

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Gointothepeaceofyourpractises.mp3   Supposing I want to learn French. Right. I find a teacher, but I don’t like him. “Oh. Well, or, we’ll find you another teacher. Yes, we’ve found a very good one. Now, he could give you an hour on Tuesday, and another one on Thursday. But we always go round to the Grimsdalls on Tuesday and they come round to us on Thursday.” “Well, we’ll find you another teacher.” “Oh yes, I like him and we’ve got a free day. But he’s much too expensive’.” And in that way it all cancels itself out. But when the personality is brought together, those different elements will fit in. “Yes, a teacher I don’t like. Great mistake to think I can’t learn from a teacher I don’t like. Why not? And I’ll change my appointment on Tuesday and I’ll saw up a bit of my money that I waste on …

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The doctrine of the void

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thedoctrineofthevoid.mp3   In a Chinese family, the small boys, when they meet Grandpa, stand like this,  in front of him for his inspection. And one of the traditional things about a Chinese Grandfather is he, well some, a small boy comes up and stands like that, and the Grandfather gives him a piercing look, then he clouts him! A Westerner who saw this, he says that he said, “What’s he done?” So the Grandfather said, “I don’t know” . So the Westerner said, “What? You hit him and you don’t know what he’s done?” The Grandfather said, “No. I don’t know. But he knows.” Well, in the same way, some things happen to us in the world, absolutely unjustified. Our friends turn against us. Things that we’ve built up with great unselfishness and devotion are viciously kicked to pieces out of sheer jealousy and spite. Why has this happened? “I …

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From emptiness inspiration will come

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Fromemptinessinspirationwillcome.mp3   The teacher told his pupils, “From emptiness, inspiration will come “. And they forgot it, except one who said, “What on earth does he mean?” He kept on asking the teacher. He said, “Well. All right. As you’re so persistent, prepare yourself.” He gave him a difficult ritual preparation to do for three weeks, then fast for two days, then come at dawn to the main hall which he did. The teacher was in full robes with a staff, and he came in  as a priest. The teacher drew himself up to what seemed more than possible height, and he crashed his staff down . He said, “I’ve something very important to tell you. Such an opportunity is very rare.” Well the disciple waited, then he realised, he thought, “Why doesn’t he tell me? What’s going on? Must mean something I suppose” . Then he realised all his …

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Karma – Kill Not the Self

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Karma-KillNottheSelf.mp3   A verse in the 13th chapter of the Gita, there’s a description of what is within man, the overseer, the approver, the experiencer, the supporter, the great Lord and also called the supreme self in the body. This is the great Purusha the great Lord. He says here, there’s an overseer of one who witnesses, who sees. There is also bhoktr, one who experiences. There’s one who supports and this is the great Lord, yet within the body. Shankara explains these as a riddle, in a sense. How could the great Lord be confined within the body? Now, one of the short answers is by karma, by the operation of a chain of causes and effects which are imagined, but, nevertheless, completely binding and they extend through many lives, as in this life, there’s childhood, maturity and old age, even so there is in the life to come. …

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Cohesion of the universe

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Cohesionoftheuniverse.mp3   Recently, now, it has been discovered that classical physics does not account for the cohesion of the universe, the benzene ring, classical physics can’t account for its stability. So, the gaps, although God has been driven into the gaps there, but gaps now are appearing in the middle of the explanation. If the new physics is right, these explanations are only tentative and transparent, in a way, because they are based on indeterminism. Now, the doctrine, of course, is a cause and effect applied to karma, is a little bit similar to the doctrine of cause and effect as applied in the world, in physics, for instance. We have an absolute flood of effects, causes and effects coming down here. There’s a flood coming down here. Now, most of these causal effects, these karmic effects don’t affect the present life. The present life has been put in these …

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Within man there is the great Lord

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/WithinmanthereisthegreatLord.mp3   Our teacher repeatedly says in the opening verse, “Within man, there’s not only the experience of suffering, and joy and change, but there is the great Lord.” He says, “Oh, this is impossible. Oh, this could never be done. There is the great Lord.” You are saying the great Lord cannot do this, you are saying the great Lord cannot do that. He says, “It’s to awaken the great Lord within the man. So, the causes, then, although the karmic tendencies are general, they’re not absolute and determined as sometimes is thought, but they can be changed and they’re not compulsory in that sense. Well, one can argue that this is rational and missionaries always used to complain, “We’re tired of hearing that reincarnation is much more fair than Christianity, we’re weary of this.” Yes, but they had no answer. There’s a life of pure suffering, it may …

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Kill Not the Self – Karma

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/KillNottheSelf-Karma.mp3 This talk is Karma – Kill Not the Self Disc2 The verse from the Gita is: ‘He who sees the Lord, standing equally everywhere, kills not the self by the self. Thus, he attains the highest goal.’ This phrase, ‘Self by the self,’ comes often in the Gita: ‘Let him raise himself by himself. Let him not degrade himself by himself. Let him find himself in himself, by himself. Let him not harm himself by himself.’ There are two selves: a full self, which is a reflection of the true self, associated with what are called ‘upadhi’, or ‘accidental conjunctions’, ‘accidental associations’, and there is the true self, which is not connected with any of these things by nature. An example of upadhi, of the accidental connection – a quite dramatic one – is that there’s a tomb in Westminster Abbey of Edward I. He was a famous conqueror …

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The true self is unseen

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thetrueselfisunseen.mp3   At a particular university, a very famous lawyer, he said to his students, “You’re only a lawyer if, when you’re walking on the street, there’s an accident.” It’s being looked after, you can’t help, but you’re only a lawyer if you immediately think, “Has there been contributory negligence?” and you’re only a doctor if you immediately think, “What’s the nature of the injuries?” You’re only a politician if you think, “What’s going to be the effect of these constant traffic accidents? Shall we have to…? Can our political party make something out of this, of government stupidity?” Those remarks by him succeeded in putting off some of his students from studying the law afterwards. It meant to be totally swallowed up by your subject and to become nothing more than simply a carrier for that. It can happen in all sorts of ways. In Singapore, if there’s a …

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Having a theory and confirming it

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Havingatheoryandconfirmingit.mp3   The process in Yoga is of having a theory and confirming it. It is not having a theory and then performing experiments which may then upset the theory completely, but the steps are known. Our teacher often mentioned that the upadhis – so to speak, the associations – affect what we think we are, and affect the results of our life and our efforts. He often said that, for instance, if one becomes obsessed with something, it will affect the world and it will affect oneself. The Japanese researchers say, “The blind spot in medicine is what we call now the ‘placebo effect’” – namely that, if you give some remedy with sufficiently impressive background, even if it’s simply a sugar pill, it will have, very often, a marked beneficial effect. How can it possibly work? It’s rather difficult to perform research on it, but there can be …

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The wise man should act, but unattached

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thewisemanshouldact%2Cbutunattached.mp3    Two verses from Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita Reader: ‘Fools, attached to action, as they act, son of Bharat, so the wise man should act, but unattached, seeking to effect a control of the world. Let him not cause confusion of mind in ignorant folk who are attached to action. He should let them enjoy all actions, a wise man himself acting-‘. We notice here that it says, ‘He acts with the same intensity as the man who is strongly attracted to action, but he, himself, is independent of the results, but he acts with that same intensity.’ Shankara, in commenting on this, he says… The word ‘disciplined’ is used. Edgerton translates ‘yuktha’. It means ‘yoked in Yoga’, with the mind calm and even, steady, but he says it’s… Shankara says, ‘He is efficient in the actions,’ so that he’s like one who is very eager to …

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Realisation of the Supreme Self talk

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/RealisationoftheSupremeSelftalk.mp3   This isn’t meant to be an academic presentation of the texts, but it’s more to do with the practice. And the instruction and practice is more like a series of thrusts which we receive from a teacher or somebody who’s experienced, and one or two of them may register on us and then we’re expected to react constructively to it. So it’s making a few points with vivid examples, what’s called in Sanskrit, drishtanta, the visible example. When you present in the Indian logic, which is very old, when you present something you present the principle and you present the conclusion, and then you present an instance of it from daily life. For instance, where there is smoke there is fire. To demonstrate that you’d say well, fiery things, smoke. Then the drishtanta is as in a kitchen, that’s to say you’re given something definite from daily life, …

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Life needs a conductor

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Lifeneedsaconductor.mp3   Now what the yoga teaches is that life needs a conductor and the laws of nature need a conductor, they won’t work, click, click, click, click, click like a machine. As Einstein pointed out, the mechanical view of the universe as a huge piece of clockwork went out, well he sent it out, in the early part of the last century. But it still persists in the minds of the public that on the contrary, there has to be a controller. The basis of physics now is uncertainty, there is an unknown physics by which the uncertainty, the base becomes the relative certainty of our ordinary world. That physics is unknown but it is a form of control and the yoga says, this is the control, exercise by the Lord. And we can become aware of this, first of all in our own selves. There is something in …

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We must study some theory

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Wemuststudysometheory.mp3   We have to do some theory, not so much that we get obsessed with theory and give up practice and take to theory instead, but we must do enough theory that we are convinced of what we’re doing. If we don’t do that amount of theory to get an inner conviction, well then we’ll always be deciding every morning, shall I go on with this or won’t I? Shall I go on with this or won’t I? Shall I go on with this or won’t I, and constantly taking decisions. It’s very exhausting and it’s futile. So we have to study, if necessary quite intensely, and it’s best to choose one or two texts and master them well, rather than read a great number, half, because if we read a great number half we never really grasp the force of any of them. So to learn one or …

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Half-Gods and Gods

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Half-GodsandGods.mp3   This is from the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IX, verse 23. Those who are devoted, bhakta, to other gods, who worship them, full of faith, they too are worshipping me alone. But not directly. They are in ignorance. It is I who receive and am the Lord of all sacrifices, but they do not recognise me as I am. Therefore they fall. The votaries of the gods go to the gods. The votaries of the ancestors go to them. Worshippers of elemental spirits go to them. My worshippers go to me. Our teacher referred to this verse by saying ‘The other gods referred to are ‘gods of power and pleasure’, and he called them ‘half-gods’, and he quoted Emerson’s line ‘When the half-gods go, the gods arrive.’ In verse 11 they are confused. They despise me who have taken on human form, not knowing my higher being, the great …

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Worshipping lesser gods

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Worshippinglessergods.mp3   Chesterton remarked that when they don’t worship the traditional gods and religion, it’s not that they worship nothing, they worship anything, and as an example, Djilas, who was Vice-President of Yugoslavia and knew Stalin well, he said, Stalin knows everything, Stalin can do anything. No problem he cannot solve. And when the interviewer said ‘But these are attributes of God, knows everything and can do anything’, he said, he was a militant atheist, he said, ‘Yes, I think then I did worship Stalin’. They are worshipping lesser gods with faith and devotion. Lesser gods – another example given by Shankara of the lesser gods worship – the god of property. The temple in Jerusalem was a mass of gold when the Romans finally captured it and despoiled it. The price of gold in the Middle East went down by half. There was so much gold suddenly on the …

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Remove illusions by study

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Removeillusionsbystudy.mp3   If we go into a Zen school – and then we find that we have to sit in meditation, and when there’s an earthquake, and there’s one every day in Japan, you mustn’t move. Well, it may get worse, you know, and the building will come down – go out in the garden – no. You mustn’t. So we think, Oh well, I won’t stay this school. This is fanatical, fanatical. Go on to something else. And then we can invent our own system, and think poor old Mammon, he’s had such a bad press, but really, one should allow a certain place, give him his due, and gradually Mammon begins to take over. We can begin to revere learning. And an account which our teacher quoted also of a great temple in China, about 600 AD, where what corresponds to an archbishop was preaching. The place was …

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Yoga is described

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Yogaisdescribed.mp3   Yoga is described in a number of verses in chapter II.43. Set in yoga, do your actions, unattached, the same in success or failure. That sameness is called yoga. So yoga is to be able to be the same in success and failure. Not simply to say, Oh, well, of course I’m indifferent to the results, and then be disappointed or elated or defiant about those results. The next definition of yoga is in II.50. The Buddhi of yoga leaves behind good and bad deeds, so practise yoga. Then he says, yoga is skill in action. Nothing about devotion. Skill in action. Then in II. 53, the third definition is ‘When your buddhi, your higher mind, stands unmoving, motionless, in samadhi, you will have yoga. So there have been three definitions of yoga there. One is sameness in success and failure; and in regard to the opposites, which …

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The yogi casts off good and bad deeds

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Theyogicastsoffgoodandbaddeeds.mp3   In chapter II verse 50 ( of the Bhagavad Gita) ‘The yogi casts off good and bad deeds, so apply yourself to yoga. Yoga is skill in action’. And Shankara says on this, ‘This even-mindedness attains purity, then knowledge. He does his duty with his mind offered to God’. And again it’s Shankara who puts in this phrase from the later part of the Gita, offering it to God. Then in III, IV, there are many such examples where the text says Perform action for yajna , for sacrifice, and you will nourish the gods, and the gods will nourish you. This is a fair trading, as Swami Rama Tirtha called it. But Shankara says these are selfish cravings, sacrifice not to the gods, but to Ishwara, to the Lord. Then in chapter III.19, where the Gita says ‘Perform without attachment what is to be done, acting without …

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Tradition and Inspiration

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TraditionandInspiration.mp3   Our teacher sometimes used to begin a talk by asking us to touch the point between the eyebrows with the finger nail and use the after-sensation to sit in silence and bring the mind to this point. These are verses from the Gita about how to regulate our actions in ordinary life. “He who neglects the scriptural injunctions and lives by his pleasure desires does not attain perfection, nor happiness, nor the highest goal.” The word for scriptural is Shastra. “Therefore let scripture be your guide. And you should not do what is not prescribed by scripture and you should do what is prescribed by scripture. When such required action is done simply because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and fruit – that abandonment is of sattva, is of light. He does not hate a disagreeable action when righteousness demands it, nor does he cling to …

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Bhagavad Gita morality is self-training

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/BhagavadGitamoralityisself-training.mp3   Now the surprise is that nearly all of these relate to self-training. There’s hardly anything about doing things for society and for other people. And the Gita morality is criticised for this purpose – but the purpose is self-training, and it’s not about doing good to other people. This is a very important point in the Gita. The fundamental basis of its morality is a sentence in the modern times in the Shri Dada Sanghita (the Heart of the Indian Mystical Teaching): “You cannot do good action, you will not be able to do good action, until you begin to rise above the body consciousness.” We can say, “Well that remains to be seen, surely that’s not so.” But one modern example – well from the last century – was given. Before Pasteur the doctors didn’t understand the need to disinfect their hands. They used to come to …

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Seeking for something to worship

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Seekingforsomethingtoworship.mp3   J B S Haldane and many others in the 1920s and 30s were furious communists and they knew quite well what was going on in Russia under Stalin. They were not objective at all, but they hung on to it. They were seeking for something to worship. There was no objectivity; their objectivity – as Einstein said – was confined to the units with which they were familiar, of their work. We can say, “Oh well, that’s gone now.” But if we take today, about ten years ago, in the conclusion of the Reith lectures, Colin Blakemore, a brilliant young physiologist, was saying how reason and knowledge could solve all our problems. He concluded his Reith lectures, “I began my talk about revolution – revolution and science. I end on the same note, revolution – social as well as scientific. It will grow. When the choice for action …

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Arguments for good and bad are endless

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Argumentsforgoodandbadareendless.mp3   You can say, “Well, we don’t want peasants; we don’t want the door open to peasants into the church. It’s better to have people like St Anselm, Saint Thomas Aquinas, who were small property owners and so they could have lived on their property. They weren’t desperate. You don’t want great landowners in the church because they’ll simply look after their interests, but you want people just from the middle who if they go into the church will go in with conviction. Not the peasants.” But one of the greatest Christians who ever lived – and our teacher was a great admirer of him – was Pope Sylvester the Second. He was of peasant stock. So as the Chinese say, the arguments for and against what is good and what is bad are endless, like the river turning and twisting. And by one’s reason you can find the …

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What is good and what is bad

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Whatisgoodandwhatisbad.mp3   So what is good and what is bad? How are we to decide? Even the scriptures can contradict each other. There is a scriptural injunction to loyalty which Bhishma, the general, followed. But supposing the king has become a villain. There’s another scriptural injunction not to take part in adharma, unrighteousness. Now should he fulfil his loyal part, his pledge of loyalty to the king or should he walk out? It can only be solved, Shri Dada says, by inspiration, when there’s a rise above the limitations of the body consciousness. He says, “Every man must be able to go into voluntary nervous and mental relaxation and in that silence concentrate on a symbol of God. It is this prolonged silence of the soul which will bring before him the architypes of what he is to create both within and externally.” So that finally these virtues given by …

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Yajnavalkya Outside the Upanishad

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/YajnavalkyaOutsidetheUpanishad.mp3   The title of the talk this evening is ‘Yajnavalkya Outside the Upanishad’. He was the first great teacher of Yoga in the Upanishads, the first to teach the doctrine of karma. One of the two oldest Upanishads is thought to be about 600 B.C., so Yajnavalkya would have been at least that far back. There’s an extensive record of his teachings in the Upanishad. But there is also a reference to him in the literature outside the Upanishad and this is in the Jaina literature which is thought to be very early, about at least 300 B.C. There’s a passing reference to some of the great sages of the time who were not of the Jaina school, but they were extremely prolific in what they wrote and they did record with respect and reverence the teachings of some of the great sages of the other schools of the …

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Know what is the central teaching

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Knowwhatisthecentralteaching.mp3   Various examples are given from that time, but an example from our time is that recently, at the beginning of this year, there is a television serial, which I admit I don’t know, called Coronation Street which has run for about thirty years. At the beginning of this year a popular actress who has been in it twenty-three years was shown in the programme as intending to leave Coronation Street and go and retire in the country. She’s very popular it seems. The television company made a mistake in that they named an actual village, Hartingdon. And in Coronation Street she said farewell to her friends, “Now I’m getting on, I’m going to retire to Hartingdon”. And that weekend, there were not one or two, but a large number of fans of the programme in the village of Hartingdon, asking for her address, for the address of this …

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Shri Dada was called the Saint Universal

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/ShriDadawascalledtheSaintUniversal.mp3   Shri Dada was called the Saint Universal, but it doesn’t mean that he subscribed to all the fundamental background of those schools or necessarily to their practice. For instance, in the Shri Dada Sanghita – the Heart of the Indian Mystical Teachings – a Sufi teacher is given a speech in which he declares the tenets of his school and Shri Dada hears him, and reveres him as a great devotee. But Shri Dada did not agree with what he calls the ‘shallow concept’ of the Sufis by which the romantic attachment, if it’s unselfishly held for twelve years, will turn into love of God. Shri Dada says, “This is raga, passion, and how can raga change into vairagya”. He calls it the ‘shallow doctrine’. The Sufi is not criticised there, but Shri Dada is silent – he doesn’t repeat it. In the same way with the Christian …

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Karma is waiting for you

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Karmaiswaitingforyou.mp3   In Samuel in the Old Testament, it says, “At that time, the voice of the Lord was rarely heard, and the vision of the Lord was never had.” When there’s a sort of check in the spiritual experience, then it’s liable to happen that the secondary things, the spiritual home, the spiritual wealth and then the wealth belonging to a spiritual community begin to assume more and more importance. In the temple of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus there were eighty two maidens working on two huge curtains every year, 40 foot wide, 80 foot long. There were six colours, twenty threads and seventy-two strands. And we know the name of the man who was responsible for it, the senior official named Eleazar. This would be a tremendous undertaking, a tremendous feat of organisation – and it was done. But it did mean that the body of …

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Free from the desire for things

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Freefromthedesireforthings.mp3   The teacher says, Shankara, points out that it’s a question of being free from the desire for these things, the hankering desire for these things; not necessarily from the things themselves but he must be able to walk away from them, when it’s necessary to do so. In the Upanishadic passage we read, one of Yajnavalkya’s main teachings said that the knower of the Self, he knows about learning, he masters the texts, then he enters the childlike state. This is explained by Shankara as, the same as what the Gita gives as, what’s translated as ‘straightforwardness’. It means literally, straight and it’s contrasted with twisted. This virtue comes four times in the Gita, hardly in the Upanishads at all, but it comes four times in the Gita in very important places. In 13:7 there’s a list of the qualities: humility, modesty, harmlessness, patience, straightforwardness, service, purity, steadiness, …

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Attempts to do good are counter-productive

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Attemptstodogoodarecounter-productive.mp3   In the Shri Dada Sanghita, this comes several times that, without an inner spiritual training, the attempts to do good in the world are very often counter-productive. He’s withdrawn, but as Swami Rama Tirtha used to say, “You go into the roots in meditation, then you come back and the flower’s blossomed. But without the growth in the roots, the flowers won’t show their beauty. He must become calm, he must become tamed”. This word is used in the Jaina text too. It’s one of the shanta danta and it literally means tamed, as though the body were tamed, as though an animal were tamed. This word must have been a major teaching of Yajnavalkya, because it comes in this very ancient Jaina text, which just gives this short description of his teaching. “He becomes calm, tamed, withdrawn, patient and then practicing meditation”. Some of the schools say, …

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Christianity and Yoga

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/ChristianityandYoga.mp3   The New Testament is not a systematic exposition. The earliest documents we have are letters of St. Paul that happened to survive. So in this talk some of the parallels and yogic readings will be brought out … but not as systematic exposition of the whole of New Testament thought and the whole of Yogic thought as compared and parallel with it. The first one is the narrow gate. This is a passage which has never been explained. In Matthew … ‘Enter by the narrow gate. The gate is wide but leads to perdition, there is plenty of room on the road and many go that way , but the gate that leads to life is small and the road is narrow , and those who find it are few’. Why does he say this? Why does he say the gate is narrow? He says ‘I will draw …

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The Gospel to the Hebrews

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheGospeltotheHebrews.mp3   The Gospel to the Hebrews was written in Hebrew not in Greek. The gospel has been lost but a few fragments are quoted by the early church fathers such as Jerome. We know also that gospel went to India. The church historian, the early church historian Eusebius reports that when a Christian missionary went to India he found this gospel was already there. The phrase is from Christ … ‘He who is near me is near the fire’. Now this has occasioned some puzzlement among Christian commentators. Perhaps it means those who come to Christ are in special danger of being tempted by the Devil and falling into Hell. But this is a rather desperate interpretation. Shankara quoting on the Gita almost seems to be quoting this phrase from the gospel … ‘I, The Lord, am like fire, Just as fire does not protect from cold those who …

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You see me in yourselves as in a clear mirror

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Youseemeinyourselvesasinaclearmirror.mp3   There is a saying of Jesus in a newly found gospel, the Gospel of St. Thomas, which is just a short collection of saying, there’s no narrative. ‘You see me in yourselves as in a clear mirror’. St. Paul in his Letter to the Corinthians expands on this saying. It’s found in the Mahabharata … about 300 BC … about 300 years Before Christ. ‘Knowledge springs up in man on the destruction of their sins. When the divine self is seen in the self as in a clear mirror.’ Christ says ‘You see me in yourselves as in a clear mirror’ … a mirror without a veil . And the man’s face is without a veil … as in a clear … clearly … as in a mirror. Paul … there are number of passages in Paul on this. ‘To this very day, every time the Law of …

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The parable contains a riddle

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Theparablecontainsariddle.mp3   The parable was a well-known method of teaching in the Jewish tradition, which Christ continued. The rabbis … there were thousands of parables known. And the essence of the parable was that it contained a sort of riddle. And the riddle was solved by thinking deeply about the meaning and then applying it to ones own self. For instance, a classical riddle in the Old Testament refers to King David, in the days when kings had to be literally the fathers of their people … most children died and the king had several queens. And in spite of his several queens, King David fell in love with a young wife and sent her husband … who was a brave … known to be a brave soldier, to a very dangerous battle where as he expected the husband was killed and David then married the widow. The prophet Nathan …

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The Woman caught committing adultery

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheWomancaughtcommittingadultery.mp3   The Bhagavad Gita comments: ‘The firmness by which a dull man does not give up sleep, fear, grief, depression and lust … that firmness is of darkness’. They are referring to something which is consciously held to and protected … not simply an ability to understand … but there’s a firmness … with which he won’t give up … even fear and grief and depression and ignorance … people hold to them. This is the doctrine of neurosis in these days … but it was well known to the Gita. There’s a firmness and that firmness is of darkness. Now, finally, one of the exercises in the parables. This is one which again has never been explained … and we could try it now . The yogic method of meditating on such a thing.. It’s to listen to the story carefully, then to think about the meaning, and …

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Yoga in Troubled Times

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/YogainTroubledTimes.mp3   Chapter XVIII, verse 61 of the Gita (and this is our teacher’s translation) says: “The Lord rules the hearts of all beings dwelling therein, causing them to revolve like a machine by Maya, His magic power.” Then the next verse is: “The yogi must take refuge in Him with all his heart, instead of trusting his lower self which expresses itself in ambition, material desires, attraction and aversion, and other limitations which end in despair. By His grace the yogi will attain supreme peace, the highest state. The result of contact of the lower self with the Supreme Being is the transformation of the conditioned self into the Infinite.” In these verses two things are given. One is that the Lord whirls the beings through His magic power, as if they were puppets on a machine. And secondly that through devotion to the Lord – the yoga of …

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We are whirled by Maya

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/WearewhirledbyMaya.mp3   In India they had a habit, as a ‘thank you’ present of telling the other party to ask for a boon – and that meant anything. Well that would not be common here for people to be prepared to risk allowing somebody to demand anything, even the life of the one who’s granting the boon. Great emphasis was laid on keeping the exact words of the boon, and that’s why King Dasharatha who had offered Queen Kaikeyi a boon, when she reserved that boon and later on claimed it, which was to disinherit the heir to the throne, that word had to be kept and Prince Rama, though he could have easily avoided it, insisted on following up the words of his father. So the Gita tells us we are whirled by Maya like marionettes, jerking through a series of reflexes. Shankara in an analysis of this, in …

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We are controlled by our illusions

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Wearecontrolledbyourillusions.mp3   Shankara says that we’re controlled by our illusions and that even with the man of knowledge who knows that it’s an illusion, for a time the memories can still go on and affect him. He makes this point in a number of places in his Gita commentary. But you think, “Well how can that be so?” I saw a dog once who had been tethered in a country where they don’t know how to treat the animals very well. They tethered the dog to a post in the garden for three or four months – and he nearly goes mad, barking with excitement, trying to get loose, but finally he becomes apathetic. Then he doesn’t go outside that circle even when the rope is taken away. He comes to the edge of it, then he stops. I made friends with him and although his legs were weak I …

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Indulgence in the objects of the senses is the enemy

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Indulgenceintheobjectsofthesensesistheenemy.mp3   Shankara makes the point about the world, he says, “The achievements and the gains of the world and the successes of the world are like food mixed with poison. You eat the food and it’s sweet (the word is for an Indian sweet, it’s mostly honey) – it’s a sweet, but there is poison in it. So you enjoy the sweetness but then later on the poison hits you. Now he says, quoting the verse from the Gita, that desire for an indulgence in the objects of the senses is the enemy, the constant enemy of the wise man; but it’s only the final enemy of the ignorant man. The ignorant man first thinks, “This is a friend” and he gulps down the sweet food. Later on, he knows it was an enemy. But the wise man – the man who knows rather – although eating the food, …

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Shankara says we are puppets

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Shankarasayswearepuppets.mp3   We’re marionettes, Shankara says, but we can free ourselves from being marionettes, from being whirled by the Maya of the Lord by a method that the Lord himself gives us. And what happens then? The actions of the marionette that are fixed and determined and repetitive so that our lives become simply a repetition – again and again and again, the same thing – they can become free and creative and reflect the will of God, instead of reflecting our personal will. Nobody likes to be told they’re marionettes. When after a meeting someone says, “Oh well, once he said that, you were bound to do that. Every time he puts something up, you always oppose it, don’t you? We all know that, we had bets on it!” And he said, “What? No!” “Yes. There was this and this and this, wasn’t there?” And that’s always vigorously opposed …

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The highest service

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thehighestservice.mp3   From the worldly point of view, apart from the spiritual point of view, a man like that probably has never actually done anything in his life. Because, as a matter of fact, when you take up something, for instance, like learning to drive a car or learning Chinese or embroidery or French cuisine, you don’t think, “I am a car driver.” You know that you’re absolutely hopeless and you need all your attention to become even passable. You don’t think, “I am an orientalist” after the first week of Chinese, when you realise there are two languages, not one, that you have to learn. Our teacher used to say that our ignorance increases as our knowledge increases. Well, that’s an example – the ordinary man thinks, “I don’t know Chinese”. The man who’s studied a little bit knows, “I don’t know the spoken Chinese, and I don’t know …

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Stone Sermon

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/StoneSermon.mp3   In the Lotus Sutra, one of the old ones, there is a sort of Buddhist prodigal son. He is not prodigal. He wanders away from the king’s palace when he’s small and forgets, and wanders back again when he’s much older – as a beggar. 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, and the king then has to gradually take him on in the humblest capacity in the farthest corner of the kingdom and gradually promote him up and then finally he declares, ’You’re my son, you’re the heir and everything here is yours!” The son is really the heir to this vast power and wealth, but because he’s a beggar, and has forgotten his inheritance, and who he is, he’s afraid. Although invited to come …

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Jizo, the stone child

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Jizothestonechild.mp3   The stone, what is the stone telling us? Our western gardens are like our western minds. I say western minds – of course, it doesn’t include anyone here! We tend to see things in terms of triumph or defeat or disaster and our gardens are like this. They are a riot of splendour and colour in the spring and summer, then they become depressing in autumn when everything falls, and in the winter they’re just sad. If you read an account of a garden like Sissinghurst, you will see that. It says in the winter, Sissinghurst, alas, is sad. But the purpose of the Japanese garden is quite different. It’s not to create exaltation with a mass of flowers and brilliant colours and splendid design patterns, Italian garden, symmetrical lake. A Japanese garden is not symmetrical. A Japanese once said to me, ‘Your Italian gardens are completely symmetrical, …

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We sweep up the leaves

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Wesweepuptheleaves.mp3   One of the phrases is when you do a right action don’t cough. When I put a gold piece, don’t cough, when we do a good deed, to call attention to it. And the other phrase related to this – success not triumph. Now a concrete example. In the temples, some of the temples, the ground is covered with moss. Moss is taken as a symbol of spiritual progress, because its growth can’t be forced but if the weeds are removed then it grows surprisingly quickly. But it needs shade and so there are always trees and those trees are chosen. They’re not big ones, they are small trees, but they are chosen so that they have leaves most of the year round. The moss needs a certain amount of shade and that means the leaves are falling different times from different trees. In the temples one of …

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Brahma Viharas

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/BrahmaViharas.mp3   We tend to get carried away by irrelevancies. I’ll tell you one personal story here. I knew a very learned Sanskrit and Pali scholar who had studied the languages from the philological point of view and gradually he became interested in what was in these languages, as distinct from the grammar and the borrowings of the vocabulary from the Dravidian and other sources. And he asked me whether I could suggest any teacher, or place to go, to study the Indian Buddhism or the Vedanta. He didn’t much care which it was, so long as he did some of this training that he’d been reading about. Looking at him, I advised him, I said, ‘On no account, study Indian Buddhism or Indian Vedanta’. And he was very surprised at this, ‘What, what, what then?’ I said, ‘Study the Japanese or the Chinese Buddhism’. He said, ‘I already know …

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Ananda asked the Buddha

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/AnandaaskedtheBuddha.mp3   Ananda asked the Buddha once, ‘How is it that after all these countless worlds and all these countless people in this world, the Buddha is giving teaching just to us here? It seems sort of arbitrary, how is that so?’ And the Buddha said, ‘I want to write something. Get me a reed.’ So Ananda went down to the bank of the Ganges and they pluck off one of those reeds and cut it diagonally and then they write with it. And the Buddha held up the reed. He said, ‘How many of these reeds do you suppose there are on the stretch of the Ganges?’ So Ananda said, ‘Oh…’ ‘And how many do you suppose on all the rivers of the world?’ ‘Inconceivable, unimaginable.’ ‘How many do you suppose in all the countless worlds?’ ‘Oh, it can’t be thought of.’ ‘And yet here and now, this reed, …

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Meditation in Action

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/MeditationinAction.mp3   A talk on the line of light practice (given in 1989). The practice is given here Meditation in action means spreading out the meditation from the experience and insight of the meditation period into, first of all, simple repetitive tasks like cleaning and sweeping and so on and later on into ordinary life. Now, we can say, ‘Oh, we can’t do this’. It was recommended that we should practise the line of light. For instance, if we are waiting in a queue at a bus stop we may have to wait about ten minutes on a little step with other people so we think, ‘Oh alright, I’ll do the line of light. I’ll try it while I’m waiting’. Then from the back some kid’s ball has hit the top of the metal stop. ‘Oh, what was that? Line of light…’ Then a fire engine goes by, bells clanging. …

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The Lord is a companion

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/TheLordisacompanion.mp3   Supposing we want an undertaking in the world and to do those actions which will take us straight across the path from here to there (diagram on the board). If I am a missionary then it is the Lord’s work but some missionaries have been known to be rather aggressive. One missionary is rather quarrelsome with missionaries of another sect. A missionary says to him: ‘Why should we quarrel? We’re both doing the Lord’s work,’ and he says, ‘Yes, we are both doing the Lord’s work. You in your way and I in His’. This means that the action now has a subsidiary purpose to score off someone else. It is not a straight action and the direction has already been distorted. The immediate effect of the action is not very successful. Instead of correcting the direction he begins to blame others. Wilde was a genius but he …

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Three sentences which Shri Dada gave

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/ThreesentenceswhichShriDadagave.mp3   Our teacher wrote the book which is now called ‘The Heart of the Eastern Mystical Teachings’ and it was a biography of his teacher, Shri Dada, who, unlike our own teacher, was not a great scholar, was not a very famous man in India, China and Japan, who did not know so many of these oriental languages and translations but he gave incidences of the application of the yoga of meditation to daily life, what actually happens. Now, for instance, a case of blackmail. In India it is a very old custom that if you have been wronged by some powerful man, and it goes back 2000 years at least, there is a custom called ‘sitting down’ and the wronged man sits in front of the gate of the rich man who has wronged him and starves. He is seen. People know and the rich man is shamed. …

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The beginning of a new spring

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Thebeginningofanewspring.mp3   Quite often in the East a small temple or shrine is looked after by some local business man who voluntarily himself cleans the place, puts it tidy and looks after it. It is a well-known fact that after some ten years or so or twenty years these temple cleaners nearly always have a very bad temper. The exaltation of serving the god, of tidying up the temple, of cleaning it, perhaps early in the morning before he goes to his shop; that gives a sense of service of God, of holiness – but it wears off. After about ten years all he is thinking of is, ‘These worshippers who come. Of course, there are slippers but some of them don’t bother with that, no, they just walk into the temple with their dirty feet. I’ve got to clean up afterwards, they leave everything all over the place, I’ve …

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Line of Light practice and meditation on a text

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/LineofLightpracticeandmeditationonatext.mp3   The subjects of concentration in yoga are realities. They are not beautiful dreams. They are actual realities and it is a question of bringing them to clear awareness in us by persistent practise and this exercise, you remember, consisted in visualising and feeling the centre line as a line of light, to touch the finger on the forehead and then to bring it down the centre line and use the after- sensation down to the navel, feel this centre as a line of light here, throwing away the sensations from the exterior, throwing away the memories and associations from the interior, coming to the centre line. This is one example that is given. Examples are only meant as illustrations, they can’t be taken too far or too exactly, but these red lines (diagram) are associated with these dark lines which do not actually touch them but, nevertheless, to …

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Karma Yoga – Shankara’s Bhagavad Gita Commentary

The first time that Karma Yoga is mentioned in the Gita is not till II.39, which says: ‘You have heard the wisdom concerning Sankhya: now hear about the method of Karma or action yoga. The wisdom concerning Sankhya here in the Gita meant the wisdom of the Supreme Self, attributeless and unchanging action of the Supreme Self, this which is being taught to thee is wisdom is wisdom concerning Sankhya. Now listen to wisdom concerning Yoga which possessing thou wilt cast off the bond of action. This is the first time Karma Yoga is mentioned in the Gita and Shankara as a commentator, the first time a term is mentioned, he gives a definition of it and the reader is expected to remember the definition afterwards. His definition is that it consists of three elements: the endurance of the opposites – and the examples given are heat and cold, pleasure …

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The Main Teachings of Shri Dada

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheMainTeachingsofShriDada.mp3   This talk is called ‘The Main Teachings of Shri Dada’. It has a special meaning, this phrase, ‘the main teachings’ in the spiritual traditions. For instance in the Gita, in chapter XI, the last verse runs like this, the Lord is speaking: “He who does works for me, who holds Me as his Supreme, devoted to Me, free from attachment, without hatred for any beings, he comes to Me, O Pandava”. Shankara commenting on that verse says, “This verse contains the main teaching of the Gita, which applies to everyone, which everyone should practice”: “He who does works for me, who holds Me as his Supreme, devoted to Me, free from attachment, without hatred, he comes to Me”. In the book on our teacher’s teacher, which was written by our teacher, ‘The Heart of the Eastern Mystical Teaching’ there are certain places where it is said, either by …

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End ignorance or be engulfed by it

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Endignoranceortobeengulfedbyit.mp3   These are his main teachings. In other places he will say, “Service of the sangha is essential”, but this is not one of the main teachings. ‘Essential’ yes – in just the same way in an athlete’s training, to eat properly is essential. But if an athlete begins to say, “Well let me do the essential thing” and just eats without ever training, then he won’t get into the Guinness Book of Records. He concludes this passage on his main teachings: “… the binding rule of life is metaphorically either to kill or to be killed, that is, either to end ignorance or to be engulfed by it… When they laugh at you and say, ‘You are visionaries, impractical idealists, deluded enthusiasts,’ answer them only: ‘May the world give satisfaction to you, if it ever has been, or will ever be, able to satisfy anyone!’” This is one …

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Verily all this is Brahman

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/VerilyallthisisBrahman.mp3   There’s another passage by the same Swami Mangalnath on how to come to this state – not just promoting oneself and this is something that generally gets lost under the conjuring trick. “A few hints” he says, “out of my personal experience may perhaps be useful to you. The hollow in the centre of your body where the ribs join just below the breast bone is the best region on which to fix your mind in meditation. You may have heard the expression ‘the lotus of the heart’; it refers to this point. You can apply a little sandal-paste to the spot and then concentrate your mind on it. Two hours a day is not too long a time for this practice.” Two hours a day! Then he says, “When you can fix your mind there at will, then visualise a lotus of bluish colour, and when this …

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Life is too short to risk half measures

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Lifeistooshorttoriskhalfmeasures.mp3   Certain other teachings come again and again and I’ve taken out examples of them. For instance, he will say this: “Life is too short to risk half measures, my beloved sons, and such an opportunity as you have been given is very rare. Take your life as one complete sacrifice, remember that since you have joined the Holy Yoga you have connected not only with your friends and relatives, but also with those immortal lords who grace Shri Kund (the spiritual centre) and indeed that your relationship with them is the chief factor to be borne in mind.” “I repeat, that a true yogi must be single-minded,” this is another passage, “If certain dogs can be so single-minded that they would prefer slow death by starvation to being separated from their masters, is it not also possible for man. If I may say so, be mad in this …

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Flowers showered upon you

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Flowersshowereduponyou.mp3   We can say, “Oh we can’t meditate, as this book repeatedly says, recite the name of God for several hours a day. You can’t do that, it would be impossible to live a successful life – especially in modern times – the terrible rush, the strain of life. It takes three hours a day to keep up with the television and if you don’t keep up with the television, you can’t understand a conversation, because a modern conversation today consists in two television sets talking to each other. ‘Did you see my programme at six o’clock?’ ‘No, did you see mine at half past eight on Friday?’ We have so little time, such pressure.” They could take holidays, but they didn’t get paid. We have four, five weeks, paid holiday, yet they say they have no time. You can say, “Even so, it wouldn’t be possible”. But how …

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The Torch of Eternal Truth

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/ThetorchofEternalTruth.mp3   Now he gave to his disciples – and this is a main theme in the book – a mission. There are twenty-three references to this mission, which is to spread the light of the Gita and the holy teachings centred on the Gita to the West. I’ll read a few of them. “A new light of the torch of Eternal Truth is to be ushered into the world. A tributary of the Holy Ganges of the Gita is winding its way to Angala Desha (Britain – the place of the Angles.) Thus it has been decreed. This holy and venerable sage (Swami Krishnanadaji, Shri Dada’s teacher), is undertaking the great task.” Then again, “He has entrusted us with the mission of carrying the light far and wide to the East and the West. Find newer and newer fields for sowing the seeds of the holy Gita.” A great …

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Hearts of Religion

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/HeartsofReligion.mp3   I thought I would take the examples from a belief which is neither Christianity with its associations for us, nor Indian. This is from the Sufi classic, the Mathawi of Jalal’uddin Rumi, but it speaks of the heart of religion. The man crying ‘Allah’; no reply; and then you heard the rest. There is a heart but the heart is not visible. We know about the heart from the pulse. And if religion doesn’t have a pulse, doesn’t have a throb, in our lives, the form may be perfect but it will be like a marble statue – without a living heart. Now we can say, ‘What is the basis of religion? We don’t see any God. Not a single reply is coming from the throne, hence we fear we are turned away from the door. Perhaps there is no God, as the Devil says’.  The teachers and the different …

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There is a problem in religion

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thereisaprobleminreligion.mp3   There is a problem in religion and it can be summed up perhaps quite well in one of these humorous children’s stories which sometimes have a good point to them. A man with a very bad temper died and his little nephew was told that “Uncle Tom has gone to heaven”. So he said, “Is he shouting at the angels?”  His parents said, “No, dear. No. Uncle Tom’s … smiling now. He’s going round and he’s in heaven. Think of him like that”.  A little time later the mother said, “You think of Uncle Tom now, don’t you, like that?”  And he said, “Well I try – always smiling – but it’s not Uncle Tom”. Now this is the problem. What is it that worships? What is it that’s going to heaven or hell?  “Am I going to heaven with all my faults?” “Oh well, no. Some of …

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Bayazid, the Sufi mystic

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/BayazidtheSufimystic.mp3   The great Bayazid, the Sufi mystic. When he was in his ecstasy of devotion, suddenly he shouted.  This tremendous shout came from within him, “Why do you seek God outside? Within this shirt there is nothing but God.” The disciples were horrified. This is blasphemy. When he came out of the ecstasy, they said to him, “Master, you said this”. He said, “Oh, I must not say that. If I say that again kill me. It’s blasphemy. No man can be God”.  So they said, “Yes.” Then the evening comes again, he passes into his ecstasy and the classic says, “The candle of his reason burning clearly…”  But when the sun rises you can’t see a candle. When the king, when the mighty emperor, comes, the town mayor creeps away into a corner. Again the ecstasy came and he shouts, “There’s none other but God here. Why seek …

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The Self is what is confronts God

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheSelfiswhatisconfrontsGod.mp3   The Self is what is confronts God in the religions. But the problem always is, what is that Self? Is it going to be as we stand? Is the resurrection of the body when we’re old, when we’re young? What’s the form going to be, or in some different form?”  Now one teacher explains this point. We look at the sea and we see waves. [Writes on the blackboard]. These are the waves we see – one there with a little crest on it.  When we’re small children we think this is a thing, that this is an actual body of water that’s travelling across the surface of the sea. And it makes sense to talk about this wave.  That’s a wave with a crest, these two are the same size. It makes sense to talk about the wave. But when we get older we know, we come …

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Keep on keeping on

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Keeponkeepingon.mp3   In the bull pictures (which you will know of from Reverend Murakami’s book) there’s a number of different series of them – ten pictures and ten pictures, and there’s one of twelve pictures, and there’s one of six pictures and there’s even one of four pictures. But one series has a picture between the time when the bull is raging to get loose from the end of a tight rope and when the bull is pacified and will follow the man. Now the picture that comes between is called, ‘Turning the Head’ and in this picture the rope is now slack. The man is still holding the rope and the bull is still tethered but the bull is looking round at the man. And one of the comments on this is that normally when discipline comes on us, something wants to get away.  Whatever it may be – …

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Sword and Mind

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/SwordandMind.mp3   The subject is Tokusai on Sword and Mind, drawn mainly from his writings. Tokusai was a great fencing master who was also a noted Buddhist figure.  He was born a little after the middle of the last century, and he died in 1930.  He had a big influence in reviving the spiritual elements in the traditional training of the former samurai in Japan.  Zen Buddhism had played a great part in that spiritualization, much as chivalry did in the West. The latter succeeded partially in refining and ennobling people who were more or less gangsters.  In Japan similarly, the cult of the sword, was partially spiritualised by the efforts of a chain of masters of the so-called Knightly Arts, including what became Judo, and by Zen teachers at Kamakura and elsewhere who influenced them. The so-called feudal Japan was not so very long ago.  Fairly recently there was …

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Give up all idea of winning

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Giveupallideaofwinning.mp3   The are phrases which seem absurd. ‘Give up all idea of winning’. I will just make one or two general remarks. For instance, there is a technical word here – Ri. Philosophically it means a principle.  But, with us the word ‘principle’ has got also very strong intellectual associations. You get the principle of double-entry in book-keeping, you get the principle of keeping a store – Fifo -first-in-first-out. The principle of Fifo is, that the goods which the store takes in first, should be the first to go out. If Fifo is not followed, the goods taken in first go to the back of the store, and remain there and finally become useless.  These principles are abstract ideas; they have a practical use, but they are no more than ideas.   They are not experiences.   Ri, in the Kendo texts and in Zen, is not simply an idea:  I have here translated …

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Get people to practise

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Getpeopletopractise.mp3   Now a new subject: how to practise movement.  I want to make a comparison. Suppose for instance, in the West we are being taught in our physical exercises to stretch out the arms to the sides.  We stretch them. ‘No, stretch more fully!’ yells the instructor.  We stretch more fully. He accepts that.  But in the Far East, a teacher will say: ‘Now, feel you are putting your fingers through the walls.’  We try it, but somehow find it unpleasant. We are afraid our finger-tips will get bruised.  We hold back a little.  He sees this at once, and calls out: ‘No, through the walls, right through! ‘After a few attempts we begin to get the feeling, and then as our fingers GO through the walls in our visualization, we feel the shoulders and arms s – t – r – e – t – c – h. They stretch much more …

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Freedom from reactions and endless planning

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Freedomfromreactionsandendlessplanning.mp3 Note that this is a very old theme in the Far East.  In the ancient Chinese classic Chuang Tzu, there is a section where the Yellow Emperor goes on a pleasure trip.  He climbs the great mountain and surveys the Red Plain.  He comes back, and finds that he has lost his black pearl.  Well, this is a symbol. So he sets Knowledge-by-Reasoning to find it, but Reasoning cannot find it. Then he sets Precise Analysis to find it, but Precise Analysis cannot find it.  Then he sets Big Words to find it, but Big Words cannot find it.  Then he asks No-Idea. And No-Idea finds it. ‘Strange’, said the great Emperor, ‘that No-Idea should have been the one to find it!’ The interpretation of the Chinese characters is quite involved, but ‘No-Idea’ is from the meaning ‘no symbol’, ‘no form’.  The second element of the character is literally an …

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The Lohan figure

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheLohanfigure.mp3   This is an arhat in the chinese form (the Lohan figure) is one of the best of them.  There is something special about this image.  If we look at even a photo of it, or better still go and sit in front of it, for a time, we receive something. Here is a little hint about one point of this remarkable figure. It is something which will rarely be noticed:  if it is noticed, it is not understood and is forgotten.   Look at the curve of the mouth. If you look carefully you will see that at each end, there is a faint line going directly downward.  The maker of the image is giving a concealed hint: the two lines are pointing down towards the navel.  It is also said that the curve of the mouth is a tiny bit of a circle whose centre is the navel.  …

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Make the mind empty

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Makethemindempty.mp3   Tokusai says to make the mind empty and he thought Kendo was a good way to do this. But he said if you lose intensity and you just develop clever tricks of winning with a bamboo sword, then it is no help to you in life, and the same applies to Judo. There are people who are very strong in Judo, who make tough opponents and they will take a lot of injuries but they believe they are rotten at mathematics, for example, and when you suggest exactly what they could do each morning to overcome the mathematics weakness and to improve and become expert in adding within two months, they will not accept that they can. Tokusai says how to give a freedom of this instinctive fear and the feeling ‘I’m no good at that but I’m good at this’. One more thing that Tokusai says is …

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Cut off before and after

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Cutoffbeforeandafter.mp3   Omori ( Omori Sogen) told me he knew an old master who had practised against Tesshu who was a great Kendo master and also a Zen man of the last century, very famous. This old man told Omori that he had been terribly disappointed. Omori asked him, ‘Oh, why?’ He replied, ‘Well, I made the attacks and he (Tesshu) was always there and I never got through. His sword doesn’t move very fast but his sword was always there somehow but he didn’t attack me at all. He didn’t score even once. Several times there was an opening, he had created an opening for a thrust and made a slight movement but he didn’t complete the thrust. And I thought this wonderful, this great fencing master, Tesshu, and he doesn’t score on me’. Omori told me that the old man thanked Tesshu and said he was honoured and …

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Approaches to Yoga and Meditation

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/ApproachestoYogaandMeditation.mp3   It’s customary to begin a traditional talk with a classical verse or two verses, so these verses are from the Gita: ‘He sees who sees the Lord standing equally existent in all the beings, the undying in the dying. He who sees the Lord standing the same, kills not the Self by the self. So he attains the highest goal.’ And the third verse is: ‘Not by much learning, not by a brilliant intellect, not by hearing many things is the Lord within realised. He who seeks Him alone, to him the Lord reveals himself as Himself’. That is from an Upanishad called the Mundaka. The first thing to say is that although there is a tradition of learning in the Vedanta schools, they don’t depend on much learning, as you heard in the verse, not by much learning, not by a brilliant intellect, not by hearing many things. Well, why then, …

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Yoga not is meant for trivialities of life

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Yoganotismeantfortrivialitiesoflife.mp3   The yoga is meant, not for trivialities of life. It’s meant for when I suffer a severe accident and lose an arm; it’s meant for when my daughter goes on the hard drugs; when my son joins a criminal gang; when I’m going to be thrown out of my house; when perhaps I’m going to become a refugee. It’s for these occasions that we study yoga. A modern yogi, with a sense of humour, he used to say: ‘It’s no use studying swimming when the ship is going down. You should have studied long ago and learnt to swim before you got on the ship’. In the same way he said: ‘Now, while circumstances are favourable, practice meditation – enough to gain a certain independence of the world and then when the crisis comes, that will come to you’. It must have strength. We can have theories and …

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Truths can be found

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Truthscanbefound.mp3   Supposing someone’s a wild beast, how can you say there’s a divinity there?’ Well, here again, we must examine our own experience very carefully. These things are not meant to be theoretical concepts. They are truths, and if they’re truths they can be found, and will be found, in our daily experience, and so I give you one of my own. In tropical countries, in India for instance, especially in the summer, a good time ago, high fevers were common and people sometimes had delirium. Now, some people, and it depends on the circumstances, they can be like wild beasts, because they think they’re being – as far as we can make out – attacked by enemies or by wild beasts or something like that, and they’re fighting for their lives. Now, if you have some technique, you are told, ‘Well, you know, you’ve got these things – …

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Purify your own mind

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Purifyyourownmind.mp3   There’s a rather, ironical story. St. Therese of Lisieux, she was a rather sentimental saint in France in the last century, and she wrote in her diary that there was a nun in the convent who had got a very bitter tongue and nobody liked her. St. Therese didn’t like her either, but she thought ‘This is wrong’. So she thought ‘Well, I’m going to make a special attempt now to be particularly nice and helpful and kind to her’. So she did that and she reports that after three months or so, that nun said to her, ‘You know, I think you’re the only friend that I’ve got in the whole convent. You’re so nice and you’re so kind to me. You must like me a lot.’ Well now, a pupil of a yoga teacher read this and said to the yoga teacher ‘There’s a woman in …

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He sees, who sees the Lord

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/HeseeswhoseestheLord.mp3   ‘He sees, who sees the Lord’. It has to be an actual vision. You know the system of meditation, to sit still, in a roughly balanced position, and then as the thoughts come up to let them go. One teacher said: ‘Don’t shake hands with the thoughts when they come up. Not wanted.’ ‘Oh she said to me the other…’ Not wanted. ‘I could have got a good one…’ No. ‘There might be a chance…’ Not that. Don’t shake hands with them. ‘There might be a chance to pull off something good if I…’ and then you start shaking hands with them and making a scenario and then the meditation is interrupted. Some Zen people sit – it’s worth doing to have the experience – to get up early before the dawn, find a hill where you can see the sun rise and collect a cloth full of …

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The Flower of the Heart

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheFloweroftheHeart.mp3   Friends, these are a few rags I’ve collected. Once they belonged to beautiful garments and embroidered cloths, but they’ve been ripped away from their context and then they’ve gone through the grubby hands and perhaps the mind of a translator and then the grubby lips of a speaker, but some of them are so beautiful and so strong that perhaps something will remain. The first thing, the first one is a poem, written by one of Japan’s great poetic geniuses, one in the galaxy of women poetesses in Japan. They are not in the star rank by courtesy, they showed themselves there [in Japan]. Her name was Komachi. She was very beautiful, and, according to the traditional “Noh” play about her, she used her beauty cruelly. She wrote this poem, which has been, of course – translators being a catty lot -been criticised in translation, but I think it’s good one: Alas, it is the …

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Pointing directly to the human heart

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Pointingdirectlytothehumanheart.mp3   The second sentence in the Zen summary which Bodhidharma was supposed to have given us, well, it’s translated generally as pointing directly to the human heart but the word can mean a finger, a finger, penetrating to the heart, stabbing to the heart. The first sentence is, ‘Not setting up words and writings’, and very often talks on Zen begin like that. Of course, Zen does not set up words. And books on Zen often begin like that: ‘Zen does not set up writings’. And then you think, yes? Then the speaker or the author writes ‘nevertheless’. and then the whole matter. But the point of what follows is that the finger should go directly into the heart and not be pointing outside. Is there Buddha nature in the dog? Yes or no? The great Saigo, at the end of the century, although he ultimately became a rebel, is always called Great Saigo. He was very fond of …

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The concealment of realisation

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Theconcealmentofrealisation.mp3   The rich man flashes his magnificence but when there’s an actual need to help someone, suddenly he’s got no money like a poor man’. ‘The sage hides his wisdom, as if he hadn’t got any, but in the end there is a light in the people’s hearts’. And another one: ‘The sage’s illumination is like the sun in the clear blue sky, but he conceals it as if it was in a medicine pouch’. And the next verses describe that the ignorant man displays his false coins for everyone to see, and the truly wise man conceals the gold of his wisdom, till it’s used very skilfully and secretly. It is a great theme in Zen – the concealment of this realisation, and there are many examples, like, for instance, an old woman who keeps a teashop but she is able to outface some of the great, very keen spiritual …

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Reaction from the universe

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Reactionfromtheuniverse.mp3 ‘If he comes with the arrogance of wealth, I meet it with goodwill’. ‘If he comes with rank and power, I meet it with righteousness’. ‘The superior one is not to be caged by a semblance of superiority’. ‘If one is fully determined, he can defeat fate’. ‘If the will is one pointed, the cosmic energy moves for him’. ‘Ambitious men think that they use the world. In fact they are used by the world and then thrown away’. ‘The noble one is not clay to be moulded by some potter’. ‘In your heart stand one step above the world, lest your robes trail in the dust and your feet be washed with mud, but in worldly life keep one step behind the others, lest you be a moth on a flame or a ram caught in a thicket’. ‘Those who hold to virtue will at some time find themselves …

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You cannot live on sweets

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Youcannotliveonsweets.mp3   The roshi, when he comes here he says, ‘It’s almost like heaven, your country, with your freedom, and your open spaces, and your facilities for the old, and your marvellous adult education facilities here, and the general kindliness of people. Almost like heaven! He said to me, ‘Don’t the people here feel these green fields in their heart?’ I said, ‘Well, if they could see under the complaints you know, they might be able to find them. We live in a bed of roses but the trouble is some of the leaves are crumpled, aren’t they? And we don’t like pink!’ Well, we are angels, or we ought to be, living in heaven, but a Chinese who knew the British well, said, ‘There is a lot of goodwill among them. They are angels, but they are lazy as hell!’ These things, the kind of pieces that I’ve been presenting, which I myself, …

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Some essential thing is missing

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Someessentialthingismissing.mp3   We know when the fly is caught in the window, its half open, and he’s buzzing against the glass, isn’t he? He wants to get out into the sunshine. Then we’ve often watched them. They go up the top and there’s the edge of the window there; beyond that it’s open. He comes to the edge, he just comes up a little bit, and we think, oh no, it’s all dark. Back in sunshine… and he’s buzzing against the glass again. If he could just leave that… go on… then he’d be free! This is used by a teacher as an example. People are going to go beyond the glass of the mind but then they get frightened, and they come back to it, frustrating though is. A little more, and then they’d be free. Well, I’ll read one translation which I didn’t read yesterday. This is from the Zen master at the …

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Naming a thing is not knowing it

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Namingathingisnotknowingit.mp3   There is a mediaeval Japanese story about learning which is quite revealing. A man turns up at a mediaeval court, supposed to be about 13th century, and it is noteworthy that the local lords are, in the cheerful, democratic, traditional Japanese way, often presented as rather fools. Anyway, the local lord is there and the man turns up at his court and asks for a job of employment. The local lord says, ‘What can you do?’ The man replies, ‘I know the unusual things that other people don’t know’. ‘Oh, oh, well, that might be useful, mightn’t it?’ so the lord takes him on. Well, the man’s at the court and periodically there are court crises when the accounts are miles behind and they ask him to lend a hand. He says, ‘No, no, the accountants can do the accounts, clerks can do the accounts. I do the …

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Loosening the Knot of the Heart

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/LooseningtheKnotoftheHeart.mp3   When the food of the mind is pure, the essence becomes pure; memory becomes firm; there is a falling away ( prati-moksha ) of all the knots of the heart. At this centre we follow our teacher’s direction to use the commentary by Shri Shankara on the Upanishads, and go deeper and deeper into their meaning. Shankara comments on this phrase ‘the knot of the heart’ where it comes in the Mundaka Upanishad, and in other places he quotes it elsewhere also. The knot of the heart is loosed, all doubts are cut away,  all his karma-s are destroyed, When He is seen who is both high and low. Shankara quotes this (by citing the first phrase, in the customary way) near the end of his Gita commentary, to describe one who has realized the cosmic Self. The knots are of two kinds they are are impulses of …

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Swetaketu was a naughty boy

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Swetaketuwasanaughtyboy.mp3   There is an example of this last in one of the oldest Upanishads, the Chandogya.  (This must be at least 600 BC, and according to tradition, is much older than that. Our teacher quoted this example in one of his early lectures. There is a boy, Swetaketu.  Dr, Shastri said in his talk that this was a naughty boy.  That isn’t in the Upanishad nor in Shankara’s  commentary on it; but our teacher had access to some tradition which evidently said so. His father was a learned Brahmin, and who one day said to him:  ‘Svetaketu, you are now twelve years old and you should go and study under a teacher. No‑one in our family has ever been just a Brahmin by name.’ The duty of a Brahmin is to study spiritual texts. Manu the Law-giver says: ‘An elephant made of leather and a Brahmin who lacks piety …

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Flexibility is life and rigidity is death

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Flexibilityislifeandrigidityisdeath.mp3   Knots can be of different kinds, Shankara says. Status can be a big one. Here again, flexibility is life, and rigidity is death.  As an example, take the case of winning and losing at games.  A very influential book from the sixteenth century onwards in Europe was: “The Courtier” by an Italian nobleman and diplomat, Baldassare Castiglione. This classic tells the man good social position never to play any game or any form of sport against social inferiors in public, ‘unless absolutely certain to win!’ The book creates a knot: The man of higher status must not be seen to lose in public. If he lost, his status would be damaged:  he must be superior to others in everything he did. Contrast this with the attitude of the English land-owners in the seventeenth and eighteenth; centuries. They were called Squires, and many of them were very keen on …

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Vasanas and sanskaras govern human lives

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Vasanasandsanskarasgovernhumanlives.mp3   In the great classic known as the Yoga Sutra-s, Patanjali’s sutra II.5 says: Ignorance  is the conviction of permanence, purity, happiness, and self, in what are really impermanent, impure, painful and not-self. So the fixed impulses – called by him vasana-s and sanskara-s, which normally govern human lives, are based on illusion, and he puts them in four main classes of illusion given in the sutra: (1) the illusory conviction of permanence in what is impermanent We think things are permanent; we realize intellectually, but cannot realize practically, that they are always passing. When the Spanish dictator General Franco, at a very advanced age, lay dying in his palace overlooking a main central square in Madrid, detachments of his supporters marched through the square to make their farewells. ‘Good‑bye Franco, good‑bye!’ they chanted.  The dying Franco beckoned his doctor and asked feebly: ‘Where are all these people going?’ He …

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New discoveries are made by young men

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Newdiscoveriesaremadebyyoungmen.mp3   In Science most really new discoveries are  made by very young men.  Einstein was in his early twenties when he revolutionized two separate branches of physics. But after forty he spent the rest of his career in a losing battle against Bohr’s extension into indeterminacy of one of the very theories he had helped to found. The young visionary had become a pillar of conservatism. The lesson of many biographies of scientists is, that after some fifteen years accepting the basic principles so far discovered, they become dogmas. There is also the economic point: if he has a successful career, it is based on those dogmas. To lose them would be to lose his position as an authority. His books, lectures, and articles will have to be re-written, which may be psychologically unwelcome. There have been a few who were continuously creative in a long life, such as …

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  They become copyrights and lose their inspiration

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Theybecomecopyrightsandlosetheirinspiration.mp3   Rama Tirtha makes a great point of it. He says “many people with great will and devotion make a success of something because they are unselfish and they are devoted to it for its own sake.  Then something happens and they lose their inspiration.  They become copyrights. They think they are proprietors of what they have done. This drags them down into a cage.  The 19th century genius Helmholz. who consistently came up with new ideas in various fields of science, once remarked, ‘Suppose you have a new idea, but no time to develop it at the moment, but you  mention it casually to a colleague. He says nothing to you, but goes away. And then a year later he puts out a brilliant piece of research, based entirely on your idea which he has confirmed. He now publishes it under his own name, giving no credit to …

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The Supreme Self is to be meditated upon

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/TheSupremeSelfistobemeditatedupon.mp3   This isn’t meant to be an academic presentation of the texts, but it’s more to do with the practice. And the instruction and practice is more like a series of thrusts which we receive from a teacher or somebody who’s experienced, and one or two of them may register on us and then we’re expected to react constructively to it. So it’s making a few points with vivid examples, what’s called in Sanskrit, drishtanta, the visible example. When you present in the Indian logic, which is very old, when you present something you present the principle and you present the conclusion, and then you present an instance of it from daily life. For instance, where there is smoke there is fire. To demonstrate that you’d say well, fiery things, smoke. Then the drishtanta is as in a kitchen, that’s to say you’re given something definite from daily life, …

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The laws of nature are controlled from within

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Thelawsofnaturearecontrolledfromwithin.mp3   There’s a very famous case in 1912 when Debussy, who was a rotten conductor, used to come over from France and conduct his set of three pieces, Images, with one of the London orchestras, and Sir Henry Wood had rehearsed these pieces. Now, the first one is Clouds, it’s very quiet and harmless, the second one is called Fêtes and it’s meant to be a festival at night and the torches suddenly break through the trees, the brilliance of the torches and then they’re gone again. So there are very quick changes of tempo and this brilliant thing and then it stops. Now, Henry Wood had rehearsed the orchestra again and again and again, and then Debussy came over. But he was a very poor conductor and he failed to give one of the entries and then failed to give another one, and the result was that half the orchestra ended a …

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Brahman makes the mind creative

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Brahmanmakesthemindcreative.mp3   The world is taught to be a projection by the Lord, and it is like a play, we’re told. We have to think of a play. A play has its causality: Casca stabs Caesar and the blood comes out. And then a few others have a go and finally Brutus, and then Caesar makes his remark and falls dead. Well, all that happens because the conspirators have stabbed Caesar. You see the blood and he falls dead, and that’s a satisfactory chain of causality isn’t it? Because they’ve done this, therefore this has happened, but we in the audience know that although this is a chain of causality there is another chain of causality which is the real one, namely that these are actors, a troop, who are being paid their money and who have rehearsed this scene and Caesar has to practice falling down; it’s quite an …

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Mandukya Upanishad

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/MandukyaUpanishad.mp3   This Upanishad has a historical place of course, about 200 A.D. or something, and there is a famous work which goes with it, called the  Karika which again, is thought to be something like 600 A.D. And on those two, on the Upanishad and the  Karika, Sri Shankara,  whom we follow here, of whom our teacher was a most faithful follower, did a commentary. The Upanishad is very short, only twelve verses. Sri Shankara calls it the essence of the Upanishads, and our teacher’s teacher, Shri  Dada also said this is one of the three Upanishads which if studied will give the whole of the spirit of those Upanishads. The waking state, the dreaming state, and the dreamless sleep state. Now these are regarded as key concepts of the beginning of the Upanishad. The first state is awareness of external things. Shankara doesn’t, use the word ‘waking state’ …

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You have to worship

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Youhavetoworship.mp3   There is a Chinese, and  Japanese, legend of a bird whose feathers are so beautiful and pure that  the heavenly beings beg this bird form to make their feather robes, and the bird will give feathers and then it grows new ones. But this also is a creation of names, words and pictures, and it’s familiar and it’s recognised by the people in this tradition.  Shankara says that, In the same way, if things are created by names and the names are the things, then he says it is a disease to take these things which are names as real and we suffer from it, from this disease. And it is cured by knowing that they are creations of names. And he says that this is done by meditation on the Self. And he quotes the  Maitri Upanishad in his commentary here, ‘As the Self worship  OM, Worship …

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