Sunday, March 7, 2010

Honest Beggars

DHS 116

For most people, a new day signifies nothing more than another day at the office. For a rare few, every sun rise signifies an opportunity, another day, another chance to continue the search. These are the seekers of the world. Yet, hidden among this select group there is an even smaller group of people who know that the only true way to Seek is to let go of the seeker; to let go of any thoughts of seeking, places sought, and destinations, completely, like quirky, but vividly real, dreams from the night before.

For these seekers, it's not how much can you do during the day, but how awake can you be throughout the day. It's not how much can you learn, but how much can you let go. It's not what can you get from others, but what can you give to others. It's not the temples, it's the path between the temples. It's not even the path, but each of the millions of steps you take as you walk along the path.

For the truest henro of the world, though, it isn't even the steps on the path that equate to the search. These henro have come to see that searching equates to Being. These henro have come to realize that the henro trail isn't physical at all, it is the time spent awake and aware during the day, the sum total of the moments when you Are, without all the usual adjectives that are typically attached after that "are." All the time that you are no longer in the process of doing or becoming, but simply, totally, and knowingly Being.

For these henro, the henro trail is simply a convenient place to practice Being on the move, like a zafu is a convenient place to practice Being on your butt — it's not the only place you can do it, but the atmosphere has long proven effective in the Search.

"There is a story about a Jnani who was sitting on the edge of the road, with his eyes closed and his head on his knees, immersed in the Divine. A young boy walked up to him and said, 'Master, can I be your disciple? Can you teach me?' And the Jnani said, 'I have no disciples and I give no teaching. But I will allow you to sit next to me for the day.' The young man sat down and observed.

"All day long people from various beliefs, religions, came to the Jnani, asked him questions, wanted boons, wanted healings, wanted different magical tricks to be performed. A lady came to have her daughter married. She wanted the Jnani's blessing so she could find a husband. Another came to be prosperous in his work. And this went on all day. The Jnani never opened his eyes, nor did he answer. He said absolutely nothing. At about four o'clock, a beggar came over with a bundle on his shoulders, he was disheveled, rags. He went over to both of them and asked, 'Can you please show me the way to town?' And the Jnani opened his eyes, smiled, jumped up and said, 'Certainly, follow me.' He took him a quarter of the way, held his baggage for him, and pointed the road to town, and went back and sat down.

"The young fellow was beside himself. He asked the Jnani, 'I do not understand, Master, what you did. All these people came to you, lawyers, judges, various people from different religions, asking you profound questions, and you would not answer them. But the beggar made you smile and open your eyes, and you showed him the way. Can you please explain this?' The Jnani said, 'The beggar is the only honest man we had come today. He knew what he wanted, and he had his way.'

"What this means is, most people are hypocrites. They want teachings for their own benefit. They're not thinking of the Absolute. They're thinking of what the teaching can do for them materially. They want to remove a problem, change their lifestyle, gain material wealth, rid themselves of sickness, and so on.

"Now these were all legitimate desires, but they have absolutely nothing to do with Self-realization. Self-realization is your true nature. It is what you are. It has absolutely nothing to do with your body. It has nothing to do with your mind. It has nothing to do with your affairs. So the one who is Self-realized is not the body. The body can never become Self-realized. The mind can never know enlightenment. People still believe, no matter how many times I say this, that it is the mind that becomes enlightened, the body rises in consciousness and becomes liberated. Nothing can be further from the truth. You are not the body. You have no body. You ave no mind.

"[W]hat we really want is Absolute Freedom. The ultimate reality is Pure Awareness, Absolute Reality.

"This is a goal that is someplace within us... [U]ltimate reality is part of us already. But we go through all kinds of practices, meditations, sadhanas, trying to awaken... They're all a waste of time.

"As long as you refuse to awaken, and you refuse to see yourself as no body, you're going to go through all these rituals and all these experiences. ... Until you awaken to the fact that it is not the teaching that's going to awaken me...

"It is no person, place, or thing that can ever awaken me and free me from bondage to myself, from bondage to maya, to the universe, to the world.

"And this is the beginning of wisdom, when you realize this."

Silence Of The Heart
Robert Adams

Be an honest beggar. Know where you want to go and ask directions from someone who seems to know how to get there. Follow the directions with no expectations of benefit. Follow the directions with no expectations of reward. Follow the directions without adding anything of your own to them. Know who you are. Know who you aren't. This is the beginning of wisdom, and you're then well on your way to walking the true henro trail.


Ben said...

Beautiful post....I plan to walk the trail in oct-nov..i find my thoughts drifting at times to what the journey holds for me though 5 months away. Your website is a brilliant source of information and inspiration. Many thanks.

Lao Bendan said...

Thanks for the kind words.

As you wonder, try not to want anything. Try to simply be open to what unfolds, and "expect" that the trail will take care of what needs taking care of. I believe that the trail "holds" for people no more and no less than they are ready to receive while there. The bigger, and more empty, your basket, the more she will pour in.

Enjoy your henro.