The student of Zen is confronted by a master who has himself experienced awakening, and is in the best sense of the expression a completely natural man. For the adept in Zen is one who manages to be human with the same artless grace and absence of inner conflict with which a tree is a tree. Such a man is likened to a ball in mountain stream, which is to say that he cannot be blocked, stopped, or embarassed in any situation. He never wobbles or dithers in his mind, for though he may pause in overt action to think a problem out, the stream of his consciousness always moves straight ahead without being caught in the vicious circles of anxiety or indecisive doubt, wherein thought whirls wildly around without issue. He is not precipitate or hurried in action, but simply continuous. This is what Zen means by being detached – not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling is not sticky or blocked, and through whom the experiences of the world pass like the reflections of birds flying over water. Although possessed of complete inner freedom, he is not, like the libertine, in revolt against social standards, nor, like the self-rigtheous, trying to justify himself. He is all of a piece with himself and with the natural world, and in his presence you feel that without strain or artifice he is completely “all here” — sure of himself without the slightest trace of aggression. He is thus the grand seigneur, the spiritual aristrocrat comparable to the type of worldly aristocrat who is so sure of the position given to him by birth that he has no need to condescend or put on airs. – Alan Watts, This is It
From Michael Staley’s essay The Fool:
“Initiation is not a matter of swallowing wholesale what this, that or the other illustrious person has said at some time or another, but of making it real, of arriving at your own understanding. We take influences from diverse sources, whether it be Grant, Crowley, Spare, Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Ramana Maharshi – to name but a few – and synthesise their work via the catalyst of our own experience, creating thereby an understanding and a body of work that is intrinsic to us. People who come after us will do likewise, again from a diversity of sources. In this way, knowledge and experience is passed down, and this is one meaning of parampara or spiritual lineage. ”
Could not have expressed it better. This sums up my approach to the Mysteries, and explains the diverse range of influences that have gone into my own work.
The Magickal Union of East & West, The Spiritual Path to New Aeon Tantra explores the fruit of some of this work.
However puzzling this may be, and however many philosophical problems it may raise, one clear look is enough to show its unavoidable truth. There is only this now. It does not come from anywhere; it is not going anywhere. It is not permanent, but it is not impermanent. Though moving, it is always still. When we try to catch it, it seems to run away, and yet it is always here and there is no escape from it. And when we turn round to find the self which knows this moment, we find that it has vanished like the past.
– The Way of Zen, Alan Watts
Today marks the anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, responsible for bringing the teachings of Vajrayana to Tibet.
hung orgyen yul gyi nubjang tsam
Hūṃ! In the north-west of the land of Oḍḍiyāṇa,
pema gesar dongpo la
In the heart of a lotus flower,
yatsen chok gi ngödrub nyé
Endowed with the most marvellous attainments,
pema jungné shyé su drak
You are renowned as the ‘Lotus Born’,
khor du khandro mangpö kor
Surrounded by many hosts of ḍākinīs.
khyé kyi jesu dak drub kyi
Following in your footsteps,
jingyi lab chir shek su sol
I pray to you: Come, inspire me with your blessing!
guru pema siddhi hung
These are images from a few of the monasteries in Nepal, where the Buddhist dharma has taken deep root in the Himalayan villages.
More on the invocation of Guru Padmasambhava may be read here.
The dance of tantra is the dance of maya; a dynamic microcosm of life with the panchatattva elements each symbolizing not only parts of our daily life and body, but the primordial elements, the building blocks of the universe. This dance of life will not fit into expectations or preconceived notions; while there may be general guidelines, the nature of this path is that it is unpredictable.
Tantra, whether Kaula or Vajrayana or beyond, is a dance and interplay of energy. At the heart of this energy is the void, Nuit. This is the same Heart of Thelema, a complex philosophy that embodies a western Tantra with the Great Void at the very core of the idea of True Will.
Dzogchen or Atiyoga is considered beyond even the tantras, informing them with their radiant sunyata. In the tantra of Thelema this void or primordial creatrix is called Nuit, the Goddess of Infinite Space and Infinite Stars. This is the reality of the present moment, and the identification that cyclic existence and nirvana – or the radiant pristine awareness of consciousness – are indeed identical, that in fact there is and has never been a separation of these “states” but only a veil (compare “the khabs is in the khu”,Liber Legis I:8) to this preeminent Awareness.
All paths, all gurus, all means, all obligations resolve into One at the level of awakening to the presence of primordial state, free from all limitations and conditioning . The “differences” are skillful means, in order to present as many opportunities as possible to different types of personalities and methods of learning. It is from this resting in the primordial state that natural compassion arises.
The means “pass and are done,” but there will always be “that which remains,” that inexhaustible, incorruptible, primordial Awareness (Liber Legis, II:9)