Dont’ tell me you can live without an ego; or good and bad don’t exist - a (perhaps embarassing) letter of sorts

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2 years ago · 5 notes

The Magic of Consciousness
-
Dan Dennett

Using magic as a metaphor for consciousness shines so close to my heart, listening to this I’m encouraged, it makes me feel so damn good and reminds me of a few different things…

First and foremost what is fast becoming one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite historical individuals; if your interested in Buddhism I highly recommend “Unraveling Zen’s Red Thread: Ikkyu’s Controversial Way" by Jon Etta Hastings Carter Covell.

This quote contains a diamond of wisdom I’ve not come across anywhere else, which I will not attempt to point out, though if you have found this in other places I would beg you, please share.

One quote from Mr. Dennett in particular stands out to me:

a certain scary even disgusting feature; it’s as if you’ve entered a factory and there’s all this humming machinery and there’s nobody home, there’s no watchman, no supervisor, no boss… it’s all just machinery

it’s not the emperor who has no clothes, it’s the clothes who have no emperor

Which validates the central teaching of Buddhism: there is “no inherently existing self” or “the self is an illusion.” (I believe it’s always important to add a quote similar to this one by Ajahn Chah, “Really, in the end there is neither atta[self] nor anatta[no-self].” Precisely because we are not dealing with something which can be said to concretely “exist or not exist,” as Mr Dennett illustrates, it’s similar to a magic trick, real magic, an illusions… an hallucination?

To again quote Dennett is the trick itself is to give:

"a name to a problem that doesn’t even exist… nothing further!"

and from a talk by Denis McKenna I posted a little bit ago:

"Consciousness is a hallucination"

"When you think about it, we are drugs"

Similar to:

Our consciousness itself and our subjective experience of our consciousness, and of life itself for that matter, is dependent upon neurochemicals along with many other aspects of our biology and environment.

Bringing to mind Mr. Dennetts, perhaps unintentional, support of another central concept of Buddhism -which is in fact simply another aspect of the “no-self” teachings, that of interdependent origination. Which is, that everything which exists is further composed of and dependent upon interrelated parts.

"Each individual is a cosmos of organs, each organ is a cosmos of cells, each cell is a cosmos of infinitely small ones; and in this complex world, the well-being of the whole depends entirely on the sum of well-being enjoyed by each of the least microscopic particles of organized matter. A whole revolution is thus produced in the philosophy of life."

- Peter Kropotkin

Which Mr. Dennett illustrates through an illustration of man composed for numerous tiny dots, saying:

about one hundred trillion cells, not a single one of those are conscious… how can a collection of mindless, unconscious, little robotic cells work together to create human consciousness?

"None of your neurons know who you are…nor do they care"

-Eduard Punset

An ant colony and the stock market works in a similar way to our brain/ consciousness, as does so much of life… perhaps all life:

Constructal Law: A Theory Of Everything - Studio 360

An excellent BBC documentary I saw illustrates this beautifully:

The Secret Life Of Chaos

"In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science - how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder?

It’s a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern.

And the best thing is that one doesn’t need to be a scientist to understand it. The natural world is full of awe-inspiring examples of the way nature transforms simplicity into complexity. From trees to clouds to humans - after watching this film you’ll never be able to look at the world in the same way again.”

The use of “counter intuitive” is very important and Mr Dennett uses it as a central reason as to why this is so hard for (some of) us to accept, if it were not counter-intuitive it would be easy, obvious! Which leads back to the Ikkyu quote and to one from the Shangpa Mahamudra tradition of Vajrayana Buddhsim:

So close you can’t see it
So deep you can’t fathom it
So simple you can’t believe it
So good you can’t accept it

- The “Four Faults of Natural Awareness”
Translated into English by Ken McLeod in Arrow to the Heart.

and Dennet says, speaking of a fantastic card trick:

"the boys have all looked for something too hard" - Mr. Ralph Hull

… like many great magic tricks, the trick is over before you think it’s even begun. In this case the trick exists entirety in the name of the trick “The Tuned Deck.” Moreover in one of the words in the name of the trick … “the”

He’s giving a name to a problem which doesn’t even exist… nothing further!

one way in which, I feel, this is so important is:

“What we know is… the internally created model… the actual real world is unknowable.”

- Dennis McKenna, PhD.
Neuroscience and Spirituality - 2004 Altered States and the Spiritual Awakening

Because we can verify with other people much of what we perceive and be reasonably confident that our perceptions are indeed and accurate representation of the subjects of our perception, however, what about when the objects we perceive are in the less verifiable aspects of our subjective experience? What about when the truth of what we are perceiving is perhaps as counter intuitive as possible, our very own “non-existence” just as “we think therefore we are”? When to perceive this gives rise to “the great fear”?

A little loose, but to tie in:

"Your body is a phantom"

- Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
Phantoms in the Brain - Reith Lecture 2003

Meaning, the very “image” we have even of our own body, all the feelings, ideas, sensations we have regarding it are representations in our brain, and why phantom limbs may develop after amputation.

To push this even a little further, this is where a lot of the practices of spirituality, such as visualization, ritual, somatic practices, panic/qi manipulation have salience, and act in a very similar way to, or hack the systems that are responsible for this:
(if you are working with the Heart Chakra for example)

Can you feel your heart breaking?

The relationship between emotional and physical pain goes both ways: just as physical pain-relieving drugs can kill emotional pain, so too can emotional support — for example, holding a loved one’s hand — reduce physical pain.

Research even shows that emotional pain can sometimes activate brain regions that normally process only physical hurt. One recent study of people who had just been dumped by a romantic partner found that intense rejection activated somatosensory brain regions once thought to be involved only with physical sensation.

Though these things stretch our far beyond this, just wanted to give it a little note.

I believe this fear is related to the fear of death and desire for immortality as per Ernest Becker. This has been a long held with Buddhism, particularly the Tantric practices which are often conducted in burial/crematory grounds and to quote the Dali Lama:

Awareness of death is the very bedrock of the path. Until you have developed this awareness, all other practices are obstructed.

And of course the famous Ramana Maharshi was bought to his realizations though an intense confrontation with death, his own mortality, of the illusory nature of the self or ego and the discovery of his, so called True Nature, his Heart.

Pointed to by Adyashanti:

When you rest in quietness and your image of yourself fades, and your image of the world fades, and your ideas of others fade, what’s left? A brightness, a radiant emptiness that is simply what you are.

This radiance is of course Buddhanature to Buddhists. It is held by many people of diverse backgrounds to be the opus of numerous mystical paths, though like blind men each groping a different part of an elephant, many describe it somewhatr differently. I’m not totally comfortable with this, that “all paths lead to the same mountain peak,” though I do think there is some truth here to be found clearly nuanced.

What I think is the people who have come to these perceptions have somehow managed to sit constantly within this threshold of being able to subjectively behold their consciousness itself, at the same time perceiving it’s illusory, hallucinatory nature while living though it in a synchronous manner.

Shinzen Young enters this state in real-time.

I wonder, where are the points at which we may be able to get an idea of what this specific aspect of our consciousness could be, very unsure on this but I move towards core-consciousness and the passive aspect of the active/passive attention dichotomy which has been illustrated to play a cognitive role in non-dual perception. I recently wrote few short posts (1, 2 & 3) about the two main forms of Buddhist Meditation, Samatha(passive/restful) & Vipassana(active/investigative) where originally practiced in union, and still are at higher levels of meditation. Which become unified in Shizen Young terms “do nothing mediation.”

Very interestingly he quotes/translates Maezumi Roshi as saying:

I guess you could say enlightenment is the passing away of the distinction between enlightenment and non enlightenment.

Quite interesting, because it would appear at a neurological level there is indeed no difference! I personally think this is always the case, we just don’t know it!

The work of Ernest Becker also gives us insight into why we might lie to ourselves about the true nature of our self/ego, at the same time pointing to why some of us who unavoidably see through our mortality and immortality symbols become artists:

… repression is normal self-protection and creative self-restriction- in a real sense man’s natural substitute for instinct. Rank has a perfect, key term for this natural human talent: he calls it “partialization” and very rightly sees that life is impossible without it. What we call the well-adjusted man has just this capacity to partialize the world for comfortable action…We can say that the essence of normality is the refusal of reality. What we call neurosis enters precisely at this point: some people have more trouble with their lies than others. The world is too much with them and the techniques that they have developed for holding it at bay and cutting it down to size finally begin to choke the person himself. This is neurosis in a nutshell: the miscarriage of clumsy lies about reality…The artist also takes in the world but instead of being oppressed by it he reworks it in his own personality and recreates it in the work of art. The neurotic is precisely the one who cannot create- the “artiste manque,” as Rank so aptly called him. We might say that both the neurotic and the artist bite off more than they can chew, but the artist spews it back out again and chews it over in an objectified way, as an external, active, work project…

- “The Denial of Death”

(Dennett believes one reason people cannot accept their own phantom like existance is because of the way they perceive it effecting (Dennett on Consciousness and) Free Will, which I think is a very good point, also that self agency and the belief in oneself is an important part of death denial.)

I believe the mystic takes this one step further and perhaps “swims in the waters the psychotic drowns in,” confronting on a personal, subjective level the very unreality of the identity asking the question as well as much of their own experience. Many methods from gentle to harsh which are employed to facilitate this very difficult journey to see through this magic trick which is just a name.

One this is accomplished the sense of self restriction, energy spent in maintenance and the related suffering which come from the unconscious awareness/suppression of the true nature of our identities. With the more elaborate training involved in the tantric paths a lot more psychological work is done, especially surrounding sex and death, giving one a furthered ability to live in this ‘awakened’ state, face to face with the vicissitudes and uncertainties of life, rather than re-repressing these aspects of our experience or regurgitating them as art or neurosis.

I wonder if what is occurring is that we have both active and passive forms of attention, of which we are aware (less so the passive) however the two are not fully integrated. The specific meditative training allows us to rewire our brains in specific way which, (among a great many other things) allows us to integrate these two aspects of our consciousness, which is the fruition of Yoga. One reason I like this idea is because it answers the question of “are all already enlightened and we just have to realize it” or “is enlightenment something we attain” (build almost) in saying yes to both, at the same time positing an answer as to why “enlightened mind” would ever become ensnared in “delusion” in the first place.

However, Buddhism doesn’t stop at personal enlightenment.

A monk asked, “What is the essential meaning of Buddhism?”
Mazu said, “What is the meaning of this moment?”

As it is not merely our own selves who are an emergent phenomena, but it would seem, all of life is, each object, each experience becomes a symbol of interdependence, impermanence and selflessness.

Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form

-Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya

Form and emptiness are one and the same thing… a difficult concept to grasp, there is no “thing” called emptiness other than your very self or any other form for that matter, it’s the fact that those forms are themselves empty, like milk and it’s whiteness.

From here one develops compassion for all beings and becomes a Bodhisattva.

Following the flow model of Constructal Law, it stands to reason if ones mind can develop a more economical system of action it will tend towards it, and those of us who can fairly well see through the fallacies within our own minds and the world around us, whether through birth, drugs or accident, would necessarily follow this path to it’s conclusion because there is more suffering in not doing so, we are forced to enlightenment.

The great modern Christian mystic Bernadette Roberts, who has stated her realizations as a Christian (though maintaining Christianity is a superior path, at least for some) are essentially the same as those of a Buddhist. In fact it was a Buddhist quote, found by chance, which catapulted her into her ‘final’ mystical state of awareness. He also states many people in the natural course of their lives, as the age, go through these same mystical stages, though may not even realize it’s anything unusual. This is because it isn’t, it’s the most normal thing in the world, it’s just our Ordinary Mind. People always look for ENLIGHTENMENT, with lots of bells and whistles.

What this does allow however is a far smoother “flow” to your being, much of the obstacles are removed and one often finds oneself in the “cosmic orgasm” of Unio Mystica. Though as Shinzen Young says here, the further one goes the less preference one has for either state.

Ordinary:

Do you see the stars up there in the sky?”
“Yes.”
“Do you hear the dogs barking in Dzogchen Monastery?”
“Yes.”
“Do you hear what I’m saying to you?”
“Yes.”
“Well, the nature of Dzogchen is this:
simply this.

- Dzogchen Pointing-Out Instruction

Finishing up…

This I know. That the only way to live is like the rose which lives without a why. 

You might ask yourself over a period of a thousand years the following question: ‘Why are you alive?’ And still the only response you would recieve would be: ‘I live so that I may live.’ 

Why does this happen? 

Because life rises from it’s own foundation and rises out of itself. Therefore, life lives without a reason—life lives for itself.

-Meister Eckhart

I stand completely amazing at Ikkyu’s words, such an original thinker with such a wild and powerful personalty:

Innate delusion is mankind’s original mind

Still, this IS our very lives; neither delusion nor clarity, it is wonderfully absurd.

"Absurdity is what I like most in life, and there’s humor in struggling in ignorance. If you saw a man repeatedly running into a wall until he was a bloody pulp, after a while it would make you laugh because it’s absurd."

-David Lynch

and I do laugh when it doesn’t hurt.

Finally

2 years ago · 10 notes

Suffering & Liberation In Buddhism

(My misunderstanding)

I’ve been struck by the perception of people’s willingness to fetishize Buddhist Liberation from Suffering into some thing you get. You get nothing, akin to seeing through a magician’s trick only your illusions are taken away and quiet frankly, you might not like what you see.

Two streams flow through Mahayana Buddhism, which I will classify as focusing on Emptiness/Impermanence and Buddha Nature respectively. Ch’an/Zen largely flow from the Buddha Nature streams, Tibetan Buddhism has developed the Shentong/Rangtong division illustrative of the tension between what is termed the 2nd and 3rd Turnings Of The Wheel Of Dharma, which are chronological progressions in Buddhist teachings. The 2nd Turning focuses on Emptiness/Impermanence, the 3rd on Buddha Nature.

Emptiness/Impermanence is inseparable from Anatta, the concept of “no-self” which simply means there is no eternally existent, constant, unchanging essence or self within a human being (or any other thing) which could be similar to the concept of a “soul” found in many religions. It gets tricky as the devil is in the details; Buddhist generally believe in reincarnation, at least classically so -there is “something” which travels from life to life, but the point is this “something” is composed of other elements, similar to the way your body is dependent on a whole host of causes and conditions for it’s existence and once those necessary causes and condition are no longer present the body will change form and be dispersed into what is eventually no longer a body at all, ie. there is no “body” apart from the things which make up the body, (but then there still kind of is :P)

The self or ego (not Freud’s ego) is viewed in a similar way: a constantly changing, momentarily existing (Impermanence) entity, which when the causes and conditions (Interdependence) of it’s existence are no longer present, it will also no longer exist. Therefore it can be said there is no “essence” of a self apart from those things which compose this Self, therefore our belief in a concrete “self” or “essence” of any one thing, including ourselves, is illusory (Emptiness.) This is often stated as simply as “Empty of an inherently existing self.”

This view, when cleaved to too tightly, is criticized for straying from the “middle way" and into the "extreme" of nihilism by those who tend more towards the 3rd Turning/Buddha Nature stream’s perspective. Though this is getting into the ditty-gritty of Buddhist philosophy and is not necessarily important outside of these debates. In fact there arn’t really even Shentong/Rangtong schools, but never mind that! For balance; Those who prefer more so the teachings of the 2nd Turning criticize the adherents of the 3rd as straying from the “middle way” into the “extreme” of “eternalism.”)

This comes about because the 3rd Turning and it’s philosophical elaborations postulate Buddha Nature ie. there is some “Original Nature” which exists beyond the components of the illusory self, which is illuminated once one fully see’s through the illusory nature of the ephemeral self or ego. It is often claimed by adherents of this perspective that they are “practitioners” ie. have direct experience of Buddha Nature and those who find greater satisfaction in the teachings of the 2nd Turning are only basing their postulations on intellectual theory, practiced and refined by structured, ritual debate.

It’s even harder to pin down Buddha Nature than Anatta as it is said to “neither exist nor not exist” and is a defiant paradox in relation too the, I think it’s, six different classifications of Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka as to what can be officially “of the middle way.” (Madhyamaka is a very important historical elaboration of the Buddha’s original teachings, answering the criticisms against said teachings and their development over the passage of centuries.) In this way it is claimed the criticisms of “eternalism" are refuted as Buddha Nature neither exists nor doesn’t exist and therefore necessarily falls outside of the bounds of such arguments.

Indeed, the only way to “know” Buddha Nature is to know it for oneself through direct experience. In Tibetan Buddhism the first initial glimpse of this aspect of one’s experience is often garnered through “skillful means" employed by an experientially advanced Buddhist teacher, termed Pointing Out Instruction. After this initial experience of Buddha Nature one knowledgeably engages in specific practices to assist in deepening this experience and eventually attain Liberation.

I have experienced Pointing Out Instruction from a few of teachers in a few different ways and I do experience Buddha Nature ever more deeply as time passes, though I am at a loss to say, from an objective or even subjective perspective, exactly what it is. It does indeed seem to “exist and not exist.” I am currently exploring the idea that this may not be because Buddha Nature lays outside of the teachings of Emptiness/Impermanence but squarely within them, appearing as it does because of the very limitations of perception itself, similar to a problem of an eye trying to see itself. This aspect of consciousness which is classically identified by Buddhists as being Buddha Nature could be thought of as the emergent phenomena of being/conscious(ness) itself, which fits nicely within traditional Buddhist philosophy and with current neurological theory. (One modern theory postulates an neurological system which may act as a “conductor” of diffuse brain function and also be responsible for us feeling that we do have a Self. Further info.) But this isn’t supposed to be the point of this post!

Suffering… or Dukkha, which can be translated with many slightly different variations, but I will say “stress” or “dissatisfaction.” Attributes life does inherently does contain. It’s a fixed game; we go through a lot of shit, perhaps hopefully experience a lot of pleasure, die and at best leave behind a positive legacy (if you care about such things). This is the First Noble Truth. Simply facing this, honestly and fully, is a feat unto itself for many.

The Second Noble Truth is that of Tanha, Thirst. Basically, we thirst for life. Our cells desire oxygen, we desire food, sex, shelter, company, love even violence, death and so on. An amoral judgement. The Third Noble Truth is that there is a path out of this Suffering. The Fourth Noble Truth is that this way out is, in the Buddha’s estimation, The The Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. We can read “right” as “healthy” in the first 5-6 aspects of this path, and in the last 2-3, “right” is in terms of specific Buddhist practices which help one see through the “illusory nature of the self.”

Seeing through this illusion of an “inherently existing self” and “realizing” Impermanence/Emptiness is where the “cessation of suffering” is attained.

"Suffering" is in this respect a technical term, it does not mean the cessation of what I will call "pain." If you stub your toe or your child dies it will still hurt even after one becomes "Enlightened." This can be seen in the pain the Buddha himself suffered after the poisoning which lead to his death.

What one is Liberated from is a particular type of suffering  coming from the unquestioned belief in and experience of a concretely existening Self, and the rest of the world for that matter, as well as the interaction of the two. (The continuous movement of time/space and the ever-changing emergent nature of our existence?)

Dukkha is extinguished when the stress which surrounds the belief in and the maintenance of these illusions is seen through, this Clear Seeing is (classical) Enlightenment in Buddhist terms. Nothing is gained, the world itself remains exactly the same, only your illusions are removed. In fact, this realization can bring it’s own pain when the truth of the world being without essence is faced and we are left with “less” than we had before. This is an aspect of the Wrathful Deities of Tantric practice and actually, this can indeed sprout the nihilism which adherents of the 3rd Turning point to as a weakness of the 2nd Turning teachings, for which they claim the antidote is the Buddha Nature teachings.

Theoretically, according to the 3rd Turning folks: Buddha Nature, if not known previously, should be clearly apparent once Anatta is experienced by an individual, as when one intimately and irrevocable sees that there is indeed “no-self” still, there is something, there is an awareness, a consciousness beyond any “form” which composes the self/ego. This is our very awareness itself and because of this, for us, it is present everywhere and within all situations. This has lead some to call it the True Self, (a defiantly unbuddhisty to do… and pisses off other Buddhists to no end.) If one practices Dream Yoga you can identify this aspect of your experience even in sleep, and in deep sleep this is all that remains, the objects of consciousness, dreams and sensations have all vanished, but still there remains our most basic awareness (= core consciousness?) Upon waking one can maintain this vision and see all perceptions as occurring from within oneself, though perhaps without the opinion that one perceptions are “all there is” and nothing objectively exists, as can be read into the teachings of the Mind Only School.

So close you can’t see it
So deep you can’t fathom it
So simple you can’t believe it
So good you can’t accept it

- The “Four Faults of Natural Awareness” - Shangpa Mahamudra, translated into English by Ken McLeod in Arrow to the Heart.

It does however beg the question of what exactly does objectively exist?

This experience of Buddha Nature, I believe, is the experience which proponents of Advaita Vedanta have termed The Absolute, though as this tradition comes directly from the theology of the Sanatana Dharma this “Presence” is therefore considered at once our “True Nature” as-well-as “God” (the Union of Atman with Paramatman, the Soul and God, which is like “a drop of water returning to the ocean” and the deepest meaning of the word Yoga) The deepest and complete subsuming experience of which is termed “Nirvikalpa Samadhi" which may be correlated with those deep experiences of Buddha Nature/Emptiness garnered through Buddhist dream yoga and meditation. Even though exactly what "God" means is somewhat up for debate even within the Advaita Vedanta tradition, in "official" terms it does stand in contrast to the atheology and postulation of Anatta/Anatman which is at the heart of Buddhism and the split between Buddha’s religion of birth and the teachings he left behind, (though they too can at the same time be rightly classified as a religion.) (Perhaps bigger reasons for the split was because Buddhism took power away from the ruling class and gave it to individuals (or sadly to the Buddhist hierarchy,) and messed with people’s death-denial.)

In Advaita Vedanta this experience of The Absolute can be acceptably be spoken of in both positive (ie. Illumination) or negative (ie. The Void) terms. This would seem to mirror the positive/negative postulation of Buddha Nature/Emptiness in the Buddhist tradition. Indeed a number of proponents, in modern times, of the Buddha Nature teachings have claimed Buddha Nature to be to same thing as what some traditions have termed “soul” or “atman,” which is in extremely stark contrast to their forebears who killed each other over such distinctions.

Though in a very interesting convergence, both traditions and their sub-sects, while identifying these experiences as being of the fundamental nature of reality also state the essence of this experience as being identical with our “Ordinary Mind,” our everyday awareness/consciousness!

This turns me full circle back to the existing/non-existence of Buddha Nature and briefly towards the South East Asian Buddhist traditions who initially split from those Buddhist traditions which became the Mahayana and retained allegiance only to the “original” teachings of the Buddha found in the Pali Suttas. Particularly to a statement made by Ajahn Chah “Really, in the end there is neither atta nor anatta.”

So where does that leave us? The same place all Buddhist traditions do… now.here

One thing I consider distinct in it’s expression through Buddhism is the materiality of existence. The meditations are often done with eyes open, trance is not considered meditation, the focus is directly on your mind and everyday experience, and in the highest practices the body itself (with sexuality playing a part in some rituals) is considered the ultimate door to Enlightenment, and once Enlightenment is attained, if not before, (in the Mahayana) one dedicates the rest of one’s existence, the existence of their particular “mind-stream” to benefiting all sentient beings, until everything is once again Liberated back into the Void from whence it came.

Buddha was a man, Buddha died, Buddha wasn’t reborn.

There is no salvation in a paradise or heaven, Enlightenment is no escape but a plunging even deeper into the shit of existence, all full facing of reality as it is right here and now. Even further in, with Tantra nothing is put aside, meditation is done on top of copses, you feed your body and mind to hungry demons, you fight and fuck and drink and leave nothing undone, desire is fulfilled and realized as being empty as everything else and compassion grows exponentially as does ones experience of the world, specifically it’s suffering.

In a perfect Buddhist paradox, liberation is

No beginning and no end to my single mind,
No achievement of Buddha-Nature in this original mind;
Innate Buddhahood? Just the Buddha’s wild talk-
Innate delusion is mankind’s original mind.

-Ikkyu

there is no escape into reality

(or at least so says I in my boundless wisdom… to help assuage this problem I really would like to know what your thoughts and feelings are; and please, excuse the mess.)

2 years ago · 5 notes

I try to be a good man but all that comes
Of trying is I feel more guilty

No masters only you the master is you.
Wonderful, no?

—  15th-century poems from the JapaneseZen monk and abbot Ikkyu. I love the second one. Just like in yoga, the only teacher is the teacher within. (via thatbettina)

(via thatbettina)

3 years ago · 16 notes · Source