A spiritual school is not a spa retreat

A spiritual school is not a spa retreat where ego is comforted and pampered and made to feel everything is safe and “ok”. In this realm of confusions everything is most definitely not ‘ok’. A spiritual school is where one discovers, confronts and transforms confusion into wisdom and deluded actions into incarnate love. It’s hard work, often not fun, but is also the birthplace of meaning, joy and deathless wisdom bliss.

We live in a consumerist society which believes it can satisfy itself, pleasure itself, politic itself, social welfare itself, consume itself beyond the touch of life’s great existential problem. It can’t and modern culture becomes ever increasingly jaded, cynical and aggressive in the ongoing failure of its attempt. The Soma drug of Brave New World designed to produce a complacent citizen workforce is omnipresent. Seldom has there been more effective means of oppression than the passive fulfillment of manufactured desires. This is why authentic, radical spiritual and religious life is ridiculed – it is the single most effective form of dissent there is. To become free of desire in a consumerist culture is the great taboo. To realize, in life, in flesh, in action, the freedom that is simultaneously worldly and divine, non-dual, is liberation from the tyranny of manufactured desires.

Stuff, things, thingness itself, comfort, security, wealth, power, romance, approval are all the bars of the prison wall. Both the need To Be or a fear of Being are the foundation of the prison structure. Gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and insignificance, happiness and suffering, success and failure, pleasure and pain, birth and death, wealth and poverty these all are the balance buttressing the prison walls. If the distractions of society, stuff and relationships can make you forget that you are in prison then sleep on.

Spiritual schools exist for those who know they are in prison. They exist for those who have not fallen for the con of society’s decorations on the prison wall – college, job, family, Christmas dinner. Before one knows they are in prison they can not be helped. Before that point all so called spiritual life is merely another trinket, another ornament in conventional life with its tedious rounds unto death. At some point the HeartMind understands the lesson of life and becomes an intense concentration on becoming free. It is only at that point that a spiritual school can help you. – small piece from a public talk by t.k. in 2007, recently posted on The Heart of Awareness Facebook Page

What is central to spiritual realization?

On a short break from winterizing greenhouses t.k. was asked. Q: “What is central to spiritual realization?. Spontaneously he answered: “Foremost know this: if realization, by whatever name, non-dual wisdom, Buddha Nature, Truth, Reality, Tao, the kingdom of heaven ……. does not set the heart alight with tender hearted great compassion, if it does not cause the body to swoon in great exaltation perception of all appearance as divinity, if it ever changes in waking or sleeping …. then it is not realization.

What is central to realization? Well its depth and vastness cannot ultimately be described in words but there can be pointers as to its mystery. I will speak from this body mind’s own experience and understanding for what it is worth.

The mind untouched by any stain of birth or death – this is central.

A heart imbued with tender hearted compassion for every being seemingly friend or enemy, relative or stranger – this is central.

That body, speech and mind experience, without contrived concepts, all appearance as a pervasion of divinity, mysterious, utterly beautiful – the wondrous magical illusion of Buddha Nature – this is central.

To be free of any concern with worldly possessions whether impoverished or wealthy – this is central.

That the cells of the body be constantly inspired by the longing and radiance of prayer, even in the midst of stable realization of emptiness – this is central.

That the very notions status, high or low, is laughable – this is central.

That one is steadfastly occupied with the benefit of beings – this is central.

That one is free from all interest in Dharma politics – this is central.

That no trace of phenomena can any longer be found – this is central.

Realization is not an experience. In realization both poles of experience – perceiver and perceived – have dissolved, resolved, disappeared in the luminous ground whose essence is unutterable mystery and whose nature is clear light divinity. Anything that can in any way be described as experience, as involving a subject or an object – falls short of profound realization.

Realization does not come and go – once entered with authentic totality it never changes, ceases, comes or goes in the so-called waking or sleeping states.

Realization does not give one status – realization is not status but rather it is the death of even the possibility of thinking or feeling that appearances participate in the anxious ugliness of higher and lower.

Take refuge in the most profound wisdom compassion. Take up the way and follow with earnest care and sincerity. Don’t fret to much about what realization is or isn’t because any idea about it is based in confusion and falls far far short of the reality. Instead purify obstacles and hindrances to seeing things exactly as actually are, cultivate tender hearted and active compassion with a profound concern for cause and effect while practicing the view and meditation which transcend cause and effect.

Do not rely on others for no one can do your work for you and no one will enjoy or suffer the karmic consequences of your actions other than you. At the same time as this do not be shy about binding yourself to the sublime sources of wisdom that ceaselessly manifest in myriad ways. Realization cannot be bought or sold with money or other bartered goods. Day by day, step by step and the result is assured.” – t.k. (Traktung Khepa), Facebook post October 17 2018

Coming to know who you truly are

The vast wisdom bliss of Buddha manifests in forms of sensual beauty, light and sound. These images and mantras cause a sympathetic resonance in the mind drawing you toward wisdom-bliss.  This is the compassionate action of the Buddhas.

Devotion is the natural love response to what is most beautiful.  If a tuning fork pitched to middle C is tapped it will resonate with the single note. If it is brought close to another tuning fork not tapped, not resonating, the untapped one will begin to resonate as well. This is called sympathetic resonance. Devotion is the resonance in feeling to what is divine.

Silence is like a deep ocean undisturbed by any event.  Silence lives in and as the silent mind. Love is like the vast open sky embracing all appearances impartially. Love lives as the awakened heart. Love and Silence are the stronghold of the realized one and the inheritance of every being.

The mind is universal but if it is limited to the small size of the body then how can it function properly? Sense of body is also universal – all life a single body, this is the natural feeling of reality. But if limited to a single “body-self” how can compassion blossom? It is a question of coming to know who you truly are.

t.k. (Traktung Khepa, Traktung Yeshe Dorje) Eye to From is Only Love (Day 65)

Do Not Relax

There is nothing relaxing at all about Buddha’s teaching.  Buddha did not want you to relax.  Anything but.

These days there is a lot of talk of meditation for relaxation.  Well, that is nice, and it is lovely for people to relax – they need to due to the inherent stress of samsara.  But, if you meditate to relax it has nothing whatsoever to do with Buddha’s teachings or the deep of the spiritual path.  Frankly, you are better off going to the spa, or a baseball game, or having sex, or playing backgammon, seeing a movie.  You will get more bang for your buck in almost any of these.  If you understand the first noble truth then you will feel deep dissatisfaction and this dissatisfaction will not allow you to relax.  Frankly, you don’t need to.  It is not stress that makes you unhealthy, it is meaningless stress.  Many people how feel connected to a great cause will work tirelessly to accomplish it; day and night, lose sleep, eat poorly under stress, and yet they are radiant and, in a relative sense, happier than most.  Why?  Because it is not stress but meaninglessness that crushes the human being in spirit.

Buddha said he was like a man who is walking down the street and sees a house on fire.  Inside the house he knows there is a family fast asleep.  They are about to die in their sleep.  Buddha begins to shout and bang on the door to wake them up.  He does not want them to wake up to their condition and then chill out, relax, try to sooth themselves. He wants them to wake up and experience the dread, what Gurdjieff called “the terror of the situation.”  They wake up, they smell smoke, they feel the heat, they realize their house is on fire and their children are in immediate danger of dying a horrible death as they are. This is not a relaxing situation.  They work to do whatever they can to escape.

The night Buddha left home and family to engage the spiritual quest he stood in the doorway of his wife’s room looking at her and his new born baby asleep. He loved them deeply, profoundly. He was not able to abandon them because he did not care for them, but because he loved them so much, and he realized they would experience sickness, old age, death, alienation, and all the sufferings that all human beings experience. He felt deep in the intuition of his human maturity that there was another option. He could not be satisfied with any shallow consolation sold by society or experience – even those of a prince.  Imagine how he must have felt knowing his wife and child would feel abandoned. Yes, he expected to return with the teachings that bring an end to suffering – if he was right, but in the meantime they would feel hurt, abandoned, angry, betrayed. Standing there he must have been anything but relaxed. True spiritual aspirants are able to take into themselves the great turmoils of the human existential condition, they become an alchemical cauldron which can cook the stresses, tensions, facts of human experience. The All Good Mother whispers in our ear and her whisper causes the great dissatisfaction that can not be quenched by anything in samsara.  – t.k. (Traktung Yeshe Dorje), Original Innocence