the excluded middle way

The monk and the ink spots

It was the sixth week she’d seen the monk in Borders. Each time he had stayed all day, from opening till close, he was often the first to arrive and always the last to leave.

He never bought the books he read while in the store, although he did often buy others when he left. He wasn’t stealing, he’d spent over £120 dollars in the past couple of months, he never bothered anyone and could never be accused of loitering – he would often give up his seat for others, sometimes going out of his way to help someone find the book they needed when the staff were busy with other customers.

But his reading habits were odd. He was reading the same book again and again. Or, more accurately, he was reading different copies of the same book, again and again.

“I promised my Lama that I’d read everything he has written,” he said to the girl.

“But, he’s written 22 books and I know you’ve read them all cover-to-cover, several times over.”

“I don’t think I fully understand them”, he said. “Besides, each one is unique. The words are the same but each invididual splash on ink in each and every sentance of every paragraph on every page is a unique expression.”

“Don’t you get bored?” she asked.

“No, not really. Boredom comes from not appreciating the uniqness of each and every moment.”

“But wouldn’t you rather read something else, on the same topic? Perhaps a different Lama giving the same teachings, but from a different point of view or using different examples?”

“No” replied the monk. “The differences of each book just point to the similarities in the teachings. If I really want to see the uniqueness of each and every moment, the impermenance of all things, I must find it amongst the sameness.”

The girl smiled and went back to arranging the books on the shelf next to his.

The monk continued to read the fouth copy of ‘The King of Reasonings’.


Filed under: Fiction, Guru, Humour, inspiration, Lama, practice, , , , ,

Don’t EMBARRASS the Buddha!!!

“If you’re still depressed you’re not ready for Tantra!!!”

– Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

This is so over the top… it’s so hard to watch… it’s like he’s self-generating as Cartman and ripping us to shreds.

I LOVE it.

Filed under: buddha, dharma, Humour, inspiration, meditation, practice, Skepticism, Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Video, , , , , , ,

Why I am “Integral”

This morning I’ve been asked whether I’m a card carrying ‘Bright’. I’m not. Neither am I ‘a Buddhist’ (despite the constant references to Buddhadharma and, in particular, the writings of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso).

Yesterday one of my housemates (I live in a Buddhist centre) said that she wasn’t a Buddhist either and I was happy to join her in a place outside of those labels and boxes. Another housemate seemed a little dismayed that she hadn’t taken refuge but I wonder how much of that was my projection.

I’ve been thinking about the best definition of me for a long time now. In the past week I’ve changed my Religion tag in Facebook from Zetetic, to Athiest, to Antitheist – and it’s sparked some nice conversations with some of my friends.

But today I’m calling myself “Integral”.

I’ve resisted the Integral tag for so long… prefering to use it as a generic umbrella term rather than anything else, but this morning, after reading a great blog piece by Robert Agustus Masters I  feel that, yes, Integral is where I’m at and what I want to be.

If you want to know what that meanss then check out Robert’s piece as it’s the best answer to the question WHAT IS “INTEGRAL”? that I’ve read to date.

Filed under: AQAL, inspiration, Integral

Huang po speaks of BigMind

Huang po:

“Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained. This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun…”


“The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measure, names, traces and comparisons. It is that which you see before you – begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifest in the Buddhas.”

Filed under: emptiness, form, inspiration, meditation, Mind, non conceptual mind, practice, Understanding the Mind, very subtle mind

“Meditation is an art”

Question: How do we get inspired to practice meditation?

Sogyal Rinpoche:

I have said that meditation is the road to enlightenment and the greatest endeavor of this life. Whenever I talk about meditation to my students, I always stress the necessity to practice it with resolute discipline and one-pointed devotion; at the same time, I always tell them how important it is to do it in as inspired and as richly creative a way as possible. In one sense meditation is an art, and you should bring to it an artist’s delight and fertility of invention.

Tibetan book of living and dying

Taken without 
Sogyal Rinpoche's
Tibetan Book 
of Living and Dying

Filed under: inspiration, Lama, meditation, Mind, practice

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