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Insights

Paul Brunton with Ramana Maharshi

Tablets of Forgotten Truth

Paul Brunton (1898-1981) was a British author of spiritual books and an awakened mystic in his own right. Although he authored 11 books, he may be best known as for his bestselling work, A Search in Secret India (1934), which has been translated into over 20 languages. My pen would wander on into some account of the scenic life around me, and into further record of many talks with the …

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Insights On The Short Path

Intuition knows earthly truth without the intervention of reasoning, while insight knows divine truth in the same direct way. (20-4-151) When the mystery of it all is solved, not merely intellectually but in experience, not only in the person himself but in transcending it, not only in the depth of meditation but in the world of activity; when this answer is richly felt as Presence and God, clearly known as …

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Bewildered Ignorance

At first, for bewildered beings Awareness did not arise on the ground. That obscurity of unconsciousness Is the cause of bewildered ignorance. The Dzogchen view is that deluded beings arise because of the failure to see the awareness of the original ground. The awareness, which did not arise on the ground, is the awareness of spontaneous insight, vipashyana, superior insight. This does not mean that rigpa is absent in the …

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Self-Observation

The only way someone can be of help to you is in challenging your ideas. If you’re ready to listen and if you’re ready to be challenged, there’s one thing that you can do, but no one can help you. What is this most important thing of all? It’s called self-observation. No one can help you there. No one can give you a method. No one can show you a …

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Get In, Get In

Narrated by N. V. Gunaji When there is a sincere desire on the part of a devotee to see Bhagavan and a determination to do so, Bhagavan helps him miraculously and meets him halfway. From the moment I decided to see Bhagavan, everything helped me. I wanted to know more about Bhagavan and his Ashram. So, I went in search of Mr. Sakhdev, who had lent me some Ashram books, …

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Lieh-Tzu

Taoist Stories for Practical Living Lieh-tzu lived during the Eastern Ch’ou dynasty (770-476 BCE). It is said that he studied under Wen-tzu, who was a student of Lao-tzu. The book the Lieh-tzu contains materials that were written over a period of six hundred years. There were twenty sections which were condensed into the eight sections we have today. Because it contained more stories than formal philosophical discussion, the book was …

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I Am Not Going Away. Where Could I Go?

Sri Ramana Maharshi, just before his death when the devotees were grieving over his imminent departure, reassured them with the above statement. What is the meaning of these immortal words? We have the idea that upon death, we are going somewhere; we are departing from this earth, from this world. It is necessary and, I think, very fruitful to thoroughly investigate this situation for oneself. In the first place, what …

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Zen Stories

Concentration A young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!” Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather …

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Wisdom of the Sufi’s

Desire An emperor was coming out of his palace for his morning walk when he met a beggar. He asked the beggar, “What do you want?” The beggar laughed and said, “You are asking me as though you can fulfill my desire!” The king was offended. He said, “Of course I can fulfill your desire. What is it? Just tell me.” And the beggar said, “Think twice before you promise …

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Wisdom from Around the World

True Wealth One day a very wealthy family took their son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing him how very poor people live. They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family. When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “Very good, Dad! “Did you see how poor people can …

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True Solitude

In early 1972, the French Benedictine monk Abhishiktananda (Father La Saux) lived in India as a mendicant, spending time in solitude at the sacred hill Arunachala, in South India, and alone in the Himalayas. This is a letter to Marc (his student), who wanted to experience the heart of solitude for himself. Abhishiktananda sent him to Arunachala to learn that true solitude is everywhere. Your pilgrimage must not be interrupted, …

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True Blessings

A Taoist Tale A man who lived in the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?” Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, “What …

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Timeless Tales

Empty Your Cup A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can …

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Three Stories

Conquering a Kingdom In the early 1900s, when the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi lived in the Virupaksha Cave on the Arunachala Hill, his companions were monkeys, dogs, snakes and other animals. Often the restless monkeys would sit still, as if in a trance, under the large tree in front of the cave. Once, one of the monkeys started moving and was looking restless. Ramana asked him, “What kingdom do you …

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The Sounds of Walden

I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sac­rifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes, in a sum­mer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till …

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Surviving the Awakening

Gilles Farcet: There you are, awakened and good for nothing according to the usual criteria of our society. Didn’t you want to retreat from the world? After all, if the only thing that interested you was maintaining that private flame . . . Stephen Jourdain: No, I never felt the desire to retreat . . . Ah, explaining oneself isn’t easy! I insisted on the profoundly, supremely human character of …

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Stories from India

Shantanand Saraswati is the elder Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, in Northern India. One of the ways in which His Holiness has taught the ancient tradition of knowledge and meditation is through stories, myths, and incidents from his own experience in contemporary life. The following selections are from a new publication that presents some of the best of these stories, The Man Who Wanted to Meet God. The Indian and the …

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Cosmic Relief

In June, 2002, after the British musical group the Planets introduced a 60-second piece of complete silence on its latest album, representatives of the estate of composer John Cage, who once wrote 4′ 33″ (273 seconds of silence), threatened to sue the group for ripping Cage off, but failed, he was unable to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds it thought had been pilfered. Said Mike Bart of the …

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Seeing

At dawn, I get out of bed, walk carefully across creaking floor boards so as not to wake my family, and sit on a cushion in the living room. I close my eyes and focus on my breath, counting each exhalation until I reach four and then starting over again at one. It is a simple meditation but difficult, for my attention quickly drifts into memories and images and fears …

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Right Now

Stop reading for a moment, and imagine that you are going to die in one minute. The last things you are going to experience are reading these pages, sitting in this room, wearing the clothes you are wearing, thinking and feeling what you are thinking and feeling right now. This is it. This is the end of your life. You have no time to do anything about it. You have …

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Robert Rabbin

Reflections on Self Inquiry

The following selections are from correspondence between Rob Rabbin and Kriben Pillay, editor of the Noumenon newsletter. I am a transparency, thousands of dragonfly wings stacked five feet high, that’s all! And so it continues, until one day, the traveler, the path, the journey, and all the sights disappear, and somewhere a fruit never seen by human eyes falls ripely into its own mouth. Let me first speak to this …

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Just Sayings

“All my life I’ve wanted to be somebody. But I see now I should have been more specific.” —Jane Wagner “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” —Unknown “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of …

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Pointers on the Heart

Selected from the teachings of Ramana Maharshi Call it by any name: God, Self, the Heart, or the seat of consciousness; it is all the same. The point to be grasped is this: The heart means the very core of one’s being, the center, without which these is nothing whatsoever. The Self is the Heart, which is self-luminous. Light arises from the Heart and reaches the brain, which is the …

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Our Real Home

The Venerable Ajahn Chah (from Thailand) was one of the great Vipassana meditation masters of our time. These selections are from a conversation between Ajahn Chah and an aging lay-disciple who was approaching her death. Today I have brought nothing material of any substance to offer you, only dhamma, the teachings of the Lord Buddha. Listen well. You should understand that even the Buddha himself, with his great store of …

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