Although we had class on Monday, October 1, the recording quality was sub par, so no dharma talk or chanting posts for that week. Since turnout was small, we kind of had a re-do on 10/8. So this post covers both classes…
When I last left off on this blog, we were taking Monday Night inspiration from the Jewish High Holidays. Now that the “Days of Awe” have passed, leaving sweetness in their wake, we’re shifting focus to paths of love, devotion, the heart. Down the road we’ll probably spend time with classic yogic heart texts like the Bhakti Sutras and Pratyabhijna Hridayam. For now though, I’m not much interested in technique or philosophy. So these classes on the Heart will be mostly chanting, meditation, devotion-soaked poetry, and those handfuls of words that insist on coming through me as dharma talks…
These two classes opened with chanting of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. For those unfamiliar with this great mantra, here’s the text:
May we be freed from all the attachments that keep us bound….
The traditional claim is that this mantra bestows immortality. From my perspective, this is a bit of a stretch. It does however, facilitate a letting go. The kind of letting go we feel in that moment of Love before attachment enters the room. So it seems a perfect mantra to work with over this next cycle of classes.
Here’s a clip of the chanting:
This week’s dharma talk is a freewheeling riff on Love and the Heart… There’s an interesting anecdote about the Heart Cakra, along with references to Carlos Castaneda’s alter ego, Don Juan. Definitely worth a listen…
Finally, here’s a clip of Om Namah Shivaya with poems read at the end as dharanas before silent meditation…
Here’s a beautiful quote I did not bring to class but will add it for those brave souls on the path:
The Path of Love
is like a bridge of hair
across a chasm of fire.
And the last word goes to the poems:
The madness of love
is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.
-HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP
Anyone who has waded
Through Love’s turbulent waters,
Now feeling hunger and now satiety,
is untouched by the season
Of withering or blooing,
For in the deepest
and most dangerous waters,
On the highest peaks,
Love is always the same.
-HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP
So long as this breath fills your nostrils,
Why seek out fragrant flowers?
Peaceful, compassionate, patient, already your own master,
Why do you need to cross your legs to Know?
Once the entire world is yourself,
What could a life of solitude add?
O white Jasmine Lord-
I do not call it his sign,
I do not call it becoming one with his sign.
I do not call it union,
I do not call it harmony with union.
I do not say something has happened,
I do not say nothing has happened.
I will not name it You.
I will not name it I.
Now that the White Jasmine Lord is myself,
What use for words at all?
On the Spirit of the Heart as Moon-Disk
Merely to know
The Flawless Moon dwells pure
In the human heart
Is to find the Darkness of the night
Vanished under clearing skies.
Birth, old age,
Sickness, and death:
From the beginning,
This is the way
Things have always been.
Of release from this life
Will wrap you only more tightly
In its snares.
The sleeping person
Looks for a Buddha,
The troubled person
Turns towards meditation.
But the one who knows
That there’s nothing to seek
Knows too that there’s nothing to say.
She keeps her mouth closed.
-LY NGOC KIEU