Breath Of The Greater Life –


Amogasiddhi mandala (female aspect) Upper storey, Sumtsek, Alchi
“Just as a white summer cloud, in harmony with heaven and earth freely floats in the blue sky from horizon to horizon following the breath of the atmosphere – in the same way the pilgrim abandons himself to the breath of the greater life that… leads him beyond the farthest horizons to an aim which is already present within him, though yet hidden from his sight.”  -Lama Govinda

What does compassion mean? it means to be compassionate to all including self.For those of us striving to be more conscious in our actions, and perhaps, more spiritual, the task requires compassion as well. But compassion does not mean becoming a “door mat” for someone to walk all over you. Yet this is often the case.  Rather, compassion means creating a mental and emotional space in yourself to allow other people to be themselves, even if you don’t understand or agree with them. It’s not an easy task when faced with an ordeal in a relationship, or faced with fair-weather friends. Compassion does not, however, mean that we let others intrude into our emotional space. Nor does compassion mean that the others count  more than you. As we grow in spiritual strength, we may find that we are no longer comfortable with certain persons or lifestyles. They do not seem to fit in with our new lives . What seemed, at one time,  to be nourishing or at least neutral, is now perceived as toxic. We are no longer comfortable with our old ideals. We have moved on.

This sometimes happens with family members, spouses and friends. I am noticing that, for many of us, this phenomenon looks like it is increasing. One reason might be that people are less stable than before. They do not hold to old values as in years gone by. Perhaps it is because things are speeding up and more seems to be happening in less time. Perhaps it is simply the price of self-evolution. As we pass over a line in ourselves from unconscious to conscious (I should probably say semi-conscious, to be more exact), we may find ourselves having to set boundaries with past relationships. This can be very challenging to say the least. For those of us caught in this dilemma, I suggest,  the book  ‘The Way of the White Cloud.’  (see below) where we see all things and all situations as essentially devoid of substance. What appears to be very real at the moment becomes only a memory. The apparent solidity of things and the gravity of a situation is actually a mirage, an illusion. Buddhists call this samsara. And we are caught up in it by virtue of having an embodiment. The art of living, from this viewpoint, is to live and take action without getting caught up in the snares of the illusion.

-The Way of The White Cloud by Lama Anagarika Govinda





Fresco painting of Tara (upper floors Tumtsek, Alchi)




mandalanSumtsek 2nd storey. Centre of mandala.
Vairocana “The omniscient Lord’ (female aspect) (Alchi, 12th cent)

Nisargadatta Maharaj Speaks On Wisdom – Faith



Nisargadatta  Maharaj once said:

“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between these two, my life flows.” ‘I am nothing’ does not mean there  is a void or a wasteland within. What it means is that with constant awareness we open to a clear, unimpeded space, without centre or boundaries, there is nothing separate.  Being nothing in this way, we are also, inevitably, everything there is. “Everything” does not mean self- importance or the egotistical idea that self-aggrandisement is everything,  but a decisive recognition of interconnection; we are not separate. Both the clear open space of ‘nothing’ and the interconnectedness of ‘everything;’ awakens us to our true nature.”





Here is a story about a powerful emperor who found that owning nothing gave him more happiness that owning everything.

Ashoka was an emperor in northern India who lived around two hundred years after the time of the Buddha. In the early years of his reign, he was a bloody tyrant. He wanted everything for himself. Land, riches, gems, jewels, he was greedy for them all. Ashoka might have been emperor but inside he was a very unhappy man. A man who could not find happiness even though he had conquered all the lands.

One day, after a particularly terrible battle that he had launched in order to acquire more land and wealth, he walked on to the battlefield amid the appalling spectacle of corpses of men and animals strewn everywhere, already rotting in the warmth of the sun. He watched as the carrion-eating birds devoured the bodies. Ashoka was aghast at the carnage he had reaped. He sat down and cried.

Just then a Buddhist monk came walking across the battlefield. The monk did not say a word, but his being was quite radiant with peace and happiness. Seeing the monk, Ashoka thought, “Why is it that I, having everything in the world, feel so miserable? Whereas the monk has nothing to call his own, other than the robes he wears and the bowl he carries,  looks so serene and happy, even in this terrible place?”

Ashoka made a momentous decision on that day. He pursued the monk and asked him, “Are you happy? If so, how did this come to be? How can you be happy with nothing?” In response, the monk who had nothing, introduced the emperor, who had everything, to the Buddha’s teachings. The consequence of this chance meeting, was Ashoka changed from that day onward. Ashoka devoted himself to the practice and study of Buddhism and changed the entire nature of his reign. He stopped waging wars. He fed the poor and gave them homes.  He transformed himself from a terrible tyrant into one of history’s most respected rulers, acclaimed for thousands of years after as just and benevolent.

A Definition Of Consciousness – Science And Spirituality




A Tibetan Buddhist text tells us:

“Mind and matter are eternally the same. As the essence of matter is wisdom, the essence of matter is without form and the embodiment of wisdom. As the manifested essence of wisdom is matter, it is called the all-pervading embodiment of wisdom. The unmanifested matter is without magnitude; according to the will it it can show itself throughout all the universe as the immeasureable Pusas (ie intelligent devout men, or Bodhisattvas), immeasurable inspired spirits, immeasurable glories, all different without magnitude and without interference with one another. This is what ordinary senses cannot comprehend, as it is the work of Absolute Reality… According to the Absolute Reality there is no distinction between mind and matter.”

and the ancient Hellenic text known as the Hermetica says:

“HERMES: Now what is it that we said of that Space in which the Universe is moved? We said, Asclepius, that it is incorporeal.
ASCLEPIUS: What then is that incorporeal thing?
HERMES: It is Mind/Consciousness, entire and self-encompassing, free from the erratic movement of things corporeal; it is imperturbable, intangible, standing firm-fixed in itself, containing all things, and maintaining in being all things that are; and it is the light whereby Soul is illuminated.”

Meanwhile in the Twentieth Century, Nobel Prize Winning Scientist Max Planck, discoverer of the Quanta and the Planck Scale, says:

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: there is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

How does it come about that a ‘clear headed’ scientist, brought up under the strictest disciplines of Germany of the late 19th and early 20th century and without whom we would have no Quantum Science at all, is found saying exactly the same thing as the Tibetan Book of the Dead and a collection of mystical writings of unknown origin dating, probably from the earliest centuries AD? True, Planck was a life-long Christian, but the notion that ‘mind is the matrix of of all matter’ is not commonly discovered among Christian writers. So what is going on?

It would be easy to dismiss the speculations of Buddhists and Hellenic Mystics were it not for the fact of Planck’s statement. And Planck was not alone, as we shall see. What, then, is this mystery to do with the relationship between Consciousness and Matter? What does Planck mean when he says that “there is no matter as such”. Further, what did the Buddhists and Hermeticists mean? What is the relationship here which we are overlooking?

The conventional attitude of modern science on the subject of Consciousness is very simple: it is the product of physical processes in the brain. PET, EEG and MRI scans have done much to identify which parts of the brain ‘light up’ with electrical energy during different functions of Consciousness. Further, evidence of Consciousness has been found nowhere where complex brains and nervous systems have not developed. Kill the brain and Consciousness evaporates. This is self-evident. It is, quite literally, a no-brainer. Further, chemical imbalances in the brain’s make-up have been found to account for certain emotional states, which the basis for the proliferation of drugs being used for treatment of mental health issues. Francis Crick , co-discover of the DNA double helix puts it thus:

“You, your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

In other words, Consciousness is an illusion. It does not exist. It is a kind of theatre presented by the brain and its mechanisms to convince you that you exist. Why should it need to do so? Because from an evolutionary point of view, the complexity of this illusory Consciousness is integral to the survival of the species. The complex tasks our Consciousness is able to carry out give us a better chance of survival than other animals who might be faster, bigger, stronger, more poisonous etc than us. The ability to reason, build, learn, remember etc are essential parts of our Evolutionary survival kit. Our ‘Consciousness’, our sense of ‘Self’ is a byproduct of this evolutionary process. It has no real existence or importance beyond itself. The ‘I’ is a product of mechanism, like everything else. Not only does God not exist, neither, technically, do you.

Surely, then, the case is closed?

Clearly not.

If it were, then why, for instance, does Max Planck tell us that ‘mind is the matrix of all matter’? And he is not alone. Here is Nobel Prize Winning Quantum Scientist Eugene Wigner on the subject:

“Until not many years ago, the ‘existence’ of a mind or soul would have been passionately denied by most physical scientists. The brilliant successes of mechanistic and, more generally, macroscopic physics and of chemistry overshadowed the obvious fact that thoughts, desires, and emotions are not made of matter, and it was universally accepted among physical scientists that there is nothing besides matter. The epitome of this belief was the conviction that, if we knew the positions and velocities of all atoms at one instant of time, we could compute the fate of the universe for all future. Even today, there are adherents to this view, though fewer among the physicists than – ironically enough – among biochemists.

There are several reasons for the return, on the part of most physical scientists, to the spirit of Descartes’s ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’, which recognises the thought, that is the mind, as primary. First, the brilliant successes of mechanics not only faded into the past; they were also recognised as partial successes, relating to a narrow range of phenomena, all in the macroscopic domain. When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena, through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again: it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness. All that quantum mechanics purports to provide are probability connections between subsequent impressions (also called ‘appeceptions’) of the consciousness, and even though the dividing line between the observer, whose consciousness is being affected, and the observed physical object can be shifted towards the one or the other to a considerable degree, it cannot be eliminated. It may be premature to believe that the present philosophy of quantum mechanics will remain a permanent feature of future physical theories; it will remain remarkable, in whatever way future concepts develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.”

Wolfgang Pauli, another Nobel Prize Winner and pioneer of Quantum Science:

“The limitation of consciousness in space and time is such an overwhelming reality that every occasion when this fundamental truth is broken must rank as an event of the highest theoretical significance, for it would prove that the space-time barrier can be annulled. The annulling factor would then be the psyche, since space-time would attach to it at most as a relative and conditioned quality. Under certain conditions it [the psyche; RFR] could even break through the barriers of space and time precisely because of a quality essential to it, that is, its relatively trans-spatial and trans-temporal nature. This possible transcendence of space-time, for which it seems to me there is a good deal of evidence, is of such incalculable import that it should spur the spirit of research to the greatest effort. Our present development of consciousness is, however, so backward that in general we still lack the scientific and intellectual equipment for adequately evaluating the facts of telepathy so far as they have bearing on the nature of the psyche. I have referred to this group of phenomena merely in order to point out that the psyche’s attachment to the brain, i.e., its space-time limitation, is no longer as self-evident and incontrovertible as we have hitherto been led to believe.”

Erwin Schroedinger, also a Nobel Laureate and Quantum Scientist:

“The reason why our sentient, percipient and thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can easily be indicated in seven words: because it is itself that world picture. It is identical with the whole and therefore cannot be contained in it as a part of it.”

What do all these quotes have in common? They are all by Quantum Scientists; and not just ordinary Quantum Scientists, but members of the key generation of geniuses without whom there would be no Quantum Science. All identify Consciousness or Mind as integral to the Quantum Process, identifying it as integral to the behaviour and formation of Matter, given that Matter, our macrocosmic Universe of ‘things’, emerges from the Quantum level of reality, the microcosmic Universe of ‘probabilities’. The reason? The old, much disputed (and disliked) canard of Quantum Science, that without a Conscious Observer, what is known as ‘wave collapse’ could not occur and thus no concrete physical processes would be able to come into being. Thus, without a Conscious Observer, the Universe would stay in a state of what is known as a ‘superimposition’ in which no Matter would exist, everything remaining in a state of perpetual possibility, nothing more than one vast conglomerate of wave functions. In other words, the Universe would be “without form and void” until something observed it, or to please the religious amongst us, until ‘the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. Then, and only then, could the Big Bang have happened and we would have had Light, thus ushering in the orders of Time and Space which constitute our physical Universe. That Consciousness was integral to the formation of Matter in this sense was not an idea confined to Max Planck, or even just Wigner, Pauli and Schroedinger mentioned above. The great mathematician John von Neumann, in his work THE MATHEMATICAL FOUNDATIONS OF QUANTUM MECHANICS demonstrated how Consciousness was unavoidable in understanding Quantum Processes. Later eminent figures such as John Wheeler, Sir James Jeans, Martin Rees, Euan Squires, Sir Roger Penrose and many others have posited similar ideas. These are not soft-headed muddled thinkers watching WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW? but important Scientists, Cosmologists and Astrophysicists. Something interesting is going on. Each returns in some sense to Max Planck’s assertion, reiterated here:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

Thus, the question arises, if Consciousness is in some way integral to the existence of any kind of Matter, then how can it be solely the product of the brain? The brain is made up of Matter, but if these Scientists are correct, that Matter cannot come into existence without Consciousness. Henry Stapp goes even further, insisting that rather than Consciousness emerging from the brain, the brain emerges from Consciousness, in the sense that, without Consciousness, the brain would not be held in any kind of constant fixed state. Thus rather than Consciousness being an epiphenomenon of the brain, the brain is an ephiphenomenon of Consciousness, or at least the two must exist simultaneously and symbiotically, perhaps as a continuum, rather like an egg and a chicken permanently laying and hatching each other at once. Either Consciousness is the primary reality and Matter an illusion, or Matter is the primary reality and Consciousness the illusion. Alternatively, some other relationship, hitherto unexplored, is involved.

Clearly there is a mystery here to be unravelled. And what does it mean to say that “mind is the matrix of all matter”? We humans cannot be everywhere at once, so our capacity for Observation is severely limited. Further, we didn’t come onto the scene until relatively recently, and yet we know that the Universe existed billions of years before even the most elementary examples of Conscious life existed on this planet. Not only that, but the Universe seems to exist and remain in place even in areas which we cannot possibly see.

So what is going on? And what can a Buddhist, a Hermeticist and a German Quantum Scientist all be perceiving independently of each other that most of us are missing? More, what can they say to each other that may help to unravel this mystery?

These notes are an attempt to find out, or at least to turn over a few ideas that might help others… – Jake Murray

Why Fear When I Am Here – Metta Teachings

from a very old scanned photo

 One of the most powerful skillful means one can bring to feelings of fear is skillful *attention.* To bring attention, and even curiosity to feelings of fear, can help us break through our aversion to dealing
with what we fear. The key is developing a curious “what is this?” mind, for fear is never what it seems to me on the surface. And if we go all the way to the roots of our fears, we find nothing *intrinsic* about our fears—that is, in Buddhist terms, fear is “not self” and without our self-identification with fear it *can’t* stick to us, or stick around.

So whether we feel our fear is rational, or irrational, the point is to begin to “own” the fear by consciously embracing it in our thought. (Well, if not embracing it; at least taking an *attentive” peek at it.    Maybe even give it a little poke! Take your time. Facing dragons takes courage, for sure!

Just remember that, paradoxically, while fear is, absolutely speaking, “not self,” in terms of the ego and personality, it’s actually *your* fear, *your dragon.* You own *it,* however much it may now seem to own you! And therein is your secret to your power over fear).

So, in the end, it’s our aversion to fear, our avoiding of looking into fear, that gives fear its hypnotic power over us. The more we can
pay mindful attention to fear—which is by the way different than being possessed by fear or obsessed by fear—the more we can begin to
dissolve the tight knot of energy and release what binds us.

Yes, it takes courage, but the if you look deeply, you will find, right in the midst of the fear, the very courage you need to do so. No
one need be a victim of or slave to fear. But as is often the case, the only way out is through. “What is this?” “Is that so?”

piece written by my Buddhist friend, Steven.