One of the most beautiful and unknown gems in Eastern non-duality, whom I recently discovered thanks to my mentor GD, is Wu Hsin. Born a hundred years after Confucius, his name literally means ‘no-mind’. And true to his name, there is no trace of him available – no profile, no wikipedia entry, one single image. This is just how he would have liked it I suppose – after all, what is the value in deliberating over the life story of someone who says our life story is a dream?
‘Behind The Mind’ is a collection of his short daily discourses, some of them literally just a few sentences long, at the end of which he tells students to ponder over the words till the next day. Like the recent and better-known Nisargadatta Maharaj, Wu Hsin’s words are stark, unsentimental and powerful. “Listen to Wu Hsin,” he says, “but do not expect to benefit in any way. Who is there to be benefitted? Any seeming benefit is only another stitch in the tapestry of the personal narrative.”
A few timeless pointers from this must-read collection:
An imagined entity desires to become an enlightened imagined entity. What’s the point? It is like trying to measure space. Yet, this will continue until such time as the distinction is made between this that I am and that that I appear to be.
Dismount the pendulum of fear and desire. That ground beneath you is the Source and Support.
See that you create the space in which the world moves, the time in which it lasts. Come to realize that the world is only sand. You may play with it, you may walk on it, but don’t build your house there. There is no journey, as such. It may not seem so, but we are always back where we started. What we were in essence, and what we will be in essence, is what we are in essence.
All thinking is imaginary because the person talking to you is imaginary. There is no self talking to yourself; in fact, there also is no “yourself”. Stay a time in silence. Do not accept these words; look for yourself for “yourself”.
The two great delusions are that life is controllable and that there is an entity, me, who can exercise said control. But if we cannot even control the thoughts that appear to us, how can we possibly believe we can control what occurs to us?
Wherever you go, you carry with you the sense of here and now. This is what distinguishes any present experience from memory. It reveals that space and time are in you and not the other way around. Most people are not acquainted with the sense of their being but only with the knowledge of their doing.
Enlightenment is one more concept to add to your collection, yet another idea regarding improving yourself, discovering yourself, or obtaining peace and happiness.
Don’t take life personally. The sun has no care for what passes through the sky.
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Image used under creative commons via Avard Woolaver
Last month, by chance, I found out that movie stars are not the only ones blatantly misquoted. Here’s how it happened: for a few weeks last year, as my signature on email, I had used this Buddha quote – ‘when you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky’. Reading it every day, it struck me as odd because Siddhartha Gautama wasn’t exactly known as a laughing into the sky kinda dude. On a hunch, I tried my luck on Google.
Thus, I stumbled upon an amazing website called www.fakebuddhaquotes.com run by a light-hearted Western Buddhist Bodhipaksa. Turned out this quote is a total fake. As are the following common ones that I betcha didn’t know were fakes too.
1) “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” A quick 0.27 sec Google Search tells me this quote has been circulated at least 102,000 times online. But it’s a fake – unless the Buddha suddenly spoke these words privately in the late 1990s.
2) “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” This common one, according to Bodhipaksa, is from page 112 of Jack Kornfield’s “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book,” where Jack “distilled and adapted an ancient teaching for the needs of contemporary life.” Some readers mistook Jack’s yarn as ol’ Siddhartha’s homespun wisdom.
3) “What you think, you become” This is actually similar to something the Buddha did say: ‘whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.’ But there is no record of the Buddha saying this current crisp version. Maybe because if you think about Lady Gaga, you will not become Lady Gaga, no matter who says it.
What was more shocking to me was that Bodhipaksa’s site lists over 50 such fake Buddha quotes which are doing the rounds of the net. So when I see one now, I put Buddha’s teaching of discernment into practice before passing it on!
Banner image from Bodhipaksa’s Website
“We were trained to watch the TV screen, listen to the teacher, read the book and take all of it as gospel. And the truth is none of it is gospel. It’s the gospel of yourself that you’re looking for; and it’s trusting that the gospel of you in yourself is going to be not just enough for this world, but exactly what this world needs.”
– Lee Harris
*Do take a few minutes to watch the video or read the full transcript of Lee Harris’ December 2012 Energy Forecast here. It’s a beautiful description of the subtle energies operating at a magical point in our lifetime and some guidance on what may lie ahead. Image used under creative commons via Lel4nd