Dharma Message for 4Q12

Pema Chodron (Omega Institute, 2007)

Pema Chodron (Omega Institute, 2007)

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers …”

[NOTE: This is a retelling of a classic Zen teaching tale, but it is a delightful one, and Pema Chodron powerfully articulates the story’s subtlest nuance and deepest meaning. She “owns” the story now. — R. Power, SFTS Lodge]

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

Heaven, An MPOWERDANCE Company Salon Performance (2007)

The life of the SFTS Lodge has been blessed with the talents of numerous and gifted musicians, poets, dancers and artists.

This video documents an extraordinary MPOWERDANCE salon performance done at SFTS Lodge on a Friday evening in 2007, during the visit of our dear and long-time friend Saul Barodofsky, head of the Dervish Healing Order.

Enjoy the exquisite beauty of this piece. And stay tuned … There’s more to come.

Dharma Message for 3Q12

meerabai  I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries

Why Mira Can’t Come Back to Her Old House

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira’s
      body; all the other colors washed out.
Making love with the Dark One and eating little,
      those are my pearls and my carnelians.
Meditation beads and the forehead streak,
      these are my scarves and my rings.
That’s enough feminine wiles for me.
      My teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me: I praise
      the Mountain Energy night and day.
I take the path that ecstatic human beings
      have taken for centuries.
I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone.
      What will you charge me with?
I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders;
      and now you want me to climb
      on a jackass? Try to be serious.

— Mirabai, Translated by Robert Bly in Kabir: Ecstatic Poems

Dharma Message for 2Q12

sfts_gallery_0304 “Ignorance, the shadow, is the only obstacle …”

“Ignorance, the shadow, is the only obstacle that stands in the way of everyone in this room being fully realized right at this moment. Now, the first awareness might come to you in a moment when you are terribly frightened … Did you ever notice how clear everything becomes? You see all the details, just like that, because you have stopped this peripheral thinking and you have referred to the higher mind and consciousness, to that super-subtle state known as Buddhi. Now, that is right next door to Atma. If you have touched the Buddhi, or universal aspect, you are right next to touching Atma.”

— Joe Miller, Great Song, p. 111

Never the Spirit is Born, the Spirit Shall Cease to Be Never…

Solomon Kahn “Never the Spirit is Born, the Spirit Shall Cease to Be Never.
Never is Time, It is Not. End and Beginning are Dream.
Birthless, Deathless and Changeless Remaineth the Spirit Forever;
Nothing has Touched It At All, Dead Though the House of It Seems.”

These sacred words of power from Song Celestial, the Edwin Arnold rendition of the Bhagavad Gita, were set to music by Guin Miller and sang with great passion by Joe Miller. They performed “Never the Spirit” whenever someone who had touched their lives passed on from this plane of physical existence.

We have kept the practice alive in the ongoing circle of the SFTS Lodge, and we will be singing it at our Friday Night program on 2/3/12, as we have for some days now, and will for many nights more; because we have heard the news that Solomon Kahn has died a sudden death, and at the tragically young age of thirty-four. Solomon was one of those precious children who led the Thursday Morning Walk with Joe, for so many years, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

We remember you, Solomon, and we hold you and your father and mother, and your brother, and all your relations, in the brilliant light of love, as we have from before the beginning and will do far beyond the end. World without end, grace without end.

Here is an excerpt from a beautiful tribute to Solomon by Derek Opperman of the S.F. Weekly, R.I.P. Solomon Kahn, DJ for the Golden State Warriors, 1977-2012, followed by a link to the full text:

Solomon Kahn, a beloved local DJ who performed at such diverse venues as Oracle Arena, AT&T Park, and every major club in San Francisco, was tragically killed Tuesday, Jan. 31, in Bangkok, Thailand, in a car accident. He was 34.

Kahn, known to clubgoers as DJ Solomon, was in Thailand as a part of a four-date tour, his first performances in the country. According to a family friend, he was with his fiancée, Nicole Cronin, in a taxi when the vehicle stalled on a highway and was rear-ended. Kahn was fatally wounded. Cronin sustained several fractures, but is not in critical condition.

Kahn was born July 11, 1977, and raised in the Marin suburb of San Rafael. He attended the Marin Academy for high school and exhibited a remarkable proficiency in music from a young age, with a talent for bass, according to his former music teacher, Bob Schleeter. Inspired by the then-new sound of golden-era hip-hop, Kahn made the transition to turntables with a gig in 1989, according to his online biography. This set him on a path to become one of the Bay Area’s most respected DJs.

R.I.P. Solomon Kahn, DJ for the Golden State Warriors, 1977-2012, S.F. Weekly, 2-1-12

Dharma Message for 1Q12

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky H.P. Blavatsky, Founder of the Theosophical Society, Author of the Secret Doctrine and Voice of the Silence

Three Fundamental Propositions of the Secret Doctrine (H.P. Blavatsky)

The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions:

  • An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought — in the words of Mandukya, “unthinkable and unspeakable.” …
  • The Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically “the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing,” called “the manifesting stars,” and the “sparks of Eternity.” “The Eternity of the Pilgrim”† is like a wink of the Eye of Self-Existence (Book of Dzyan.) “The appearance and disappearance of Worlds is like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux.” (See Part II., “Days and Nights of Brahma.”)
  • The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul — a spark of the former — through the Cycle of Incarnation (or “Necessity”) in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term.H.P. Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I

Dharma Message for 4Q11

Statue of Adi Shankara I am the Lord of Lords. I am devoid of even a touch of jealousy or hatred. I am He that fulfills the desired object for those who are bent on realizing the goal …

I alone am the origin of the worlds. I am He that sports in the Upanishads. I am the flame of the submarine fire that will dry up the overflowing ocean of sorrow …

I am the seer. I am the host of seers. I am the act of creation and I myself am the created. I am prosperity, I am progress, I am satisfaction, I am the glow of the lamp of satisfaction …

I am the efficacy of herbs, I am the warp and woof of the world. I am the bee intoxicated with the fragrance of the bliss of Self emanating from the lotus of the sacred syllable Om.
I am Knowledge. I am the Known. I am the Knower. I am all the aids to Knowledge. I am the pure Soul-existence bereft of Knower, Knowledge and Known …

I am the oblation to the Gods and the oblation to the manes. I am devoid of the ideas of rejection or acceptance. I am Vishnu, I am Siva, I am Brahma, and I alone am their cause.– Thus Spake Sri Sankara

Dharma Message for 2Q11 and 3Q11

Laozi Sculpture Be completely empty.
Be perfectly serene.
The ten thousand things arise together;
in their arising is their return.
Now the flower,
and in their flowering
sink homeward,
returning to root.

The return to root
is peace.
Peace to accept what must be,
to know what endures.
In that knowledge is wisdom.
Without it, ruin, disorder.

To know what endures
is to be open-hearted,
following the Tao,
the way that endures forever.
The body comes to its ending,
but there is nothing to fear.

Available from Shambhala

Dharma Message for 1Q11

Zhuangzi Butterfly Dream Alan Watts on  the Wisdom of the Body:

“Because I speak of the wisdom of the body, and of the necessity for recognizing that we are material, this is not to be taken as a philosophy of ‘materialism’ in the accepted sense. I am not asserting that the ultimate reality is matter. Matter is a word, a noise, which refers to the forms and patterns taken by a process. We do not know what this process is, because it is not a “what” — that is, a thing definable by some fixed concept or measure. If we want to keep the old language, still using such terms as “spiritual” and “material,” the spiritual must mean “the indefinable,” that which, because it is living, must ever escape the framework of any fixed form. Matter is spirit named.
After all of this, the brain deserves a word for itself! For the brain, including its reasoning and calculating centers, is a part and product of the body. It is as natural as the heart and stomach, and rightly used, is anything but an enemy of man. But to be used rightly, it must be put in its place, for the brain is made for man, not man for the brain. In other words, the function of the brain is to serve the present and the real, not to send man chasing wildly after the phantom of the future.” — Alan Watts, Excerpted from Wisdom of Insecurity

The Wisdom of Insecurity


Dharma Message for 4Q10

Ramana Marharshi Q: Different teachers have set up different schools and proclaimed different truths and so confused people. Why?

Bhagavan: They have all taught the same truth but from different standpoints. Such differences were necessary to meet the needs of different minds differently constituted, but they all reveal the same truth.

Q: Since they recommended different paths, which is the one to follow?

Bhagavan: You speak of paths as if you were somewhere and the Self somewhere else and you had to go and attain it. But in fact the Self is here and now and you are always it. It is like being here and asking people the way to Ramanasramam and then complaining that each one shows a different path and asking which to follow.

Excerpt from Teachings of Ramana Maharshi In His Own Words, Edited by Arthur Osborne, Rider and Company, 1962