Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sense of Self

"What Dennett (among others) calls the 'benign user illusion' and the 'center of narrative gravity.'

There is no 'I' who 'holds' opinions. There is a body that says "I believe in being nice to people," and a body that is (or is not) nice to people. There is a brain that can store knowledge of astrology and the tendency to talk about it, but there is not in addition a self [ego] who 'has' the belief. There is a biological creature who eats yoghurt every day but there is not in addition a self [ego] inside who loves yoghurt...

...The self [the ego] is a vast memeplex - perhaps the most insidious and pervasive memeplex of all. I shall call it the 'selfplex'. The selfplex permeates all our experience and all our thinking so that we are unable to see it clearly for what it is - a bunch of memes. It comes about because our brains provide the ideal machinery on which to construct it, and our society provides the selective environment in which it thrives."
- Susan Blackmore: The Meme Machine

Sunday, July 29, 2007


"The idol of your self (ego) is the mother of all idols."
- Rumi

The Sky Mind

“As I contemplate the blue of the sky,
I abandon myself to it,
it ‘thinks itself within me’.”
–Maurice Merleau-Ponty


"The Universe is real if perceived as the Self,
and unreal if perceived apart from the Self."
- The Sage of Arunchala

Shrine interior entirely tiled (hey, that's a poetic phrase)
with mirrors.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Being is indivisible

Like Time and Space,
Being is indivisible.
The mind divides up these universals
into artificial increments
but there is only one Self, not many.
We speak of 'times' and 'places'
but we know that there are no real partitions
in Time and Space. Even if one builds walls,
space continues through the walls; there
are no wall-shaped alternate universes magically
brought into existence within them.
However, with Selfhood
it is harder to see this; we speak of 'I' and 'you'
as if they were discrete objects.
The continuum of Self or Being, however,
encompasses infinite variety.
Just as each moment in infinite time
and each cubic inch of infinite space
has a unique quality,
every being (every aspect of the single Self) is unique
but part of a continuum.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guru Purnima

The full moon of this month is known in India as Guru Purnima - a festival in honour of the preceptor, master or guru. Fake gurus abound but the mark of a Sat guru or true master is that he or she gives the quality of Self-mastery to students.
In the West it is often said that one doesn't need a teacher to attain Self-mastery. This is because the ego has no conception of a Self beyond its limited scope. However, Western musicians and sportsmen, if they are serious and honest, readily acknowledge, that a teacher or coach is vital to achieving mastery of their respective fields.

"I have not said that a Guru is not necessary. But a Guru need not always be in human form. First a person thinks that he is an inferior and that there is a superior, all-knowing, all powerful God who controls his own and the world's destiny, and worships him or does Bhakti. When he reaches a certain stage and becomes fit for enlightenment, the same God whom he was worshipping comes as Guru and leads him on. That Guru comes only to tell him that ‘God is within yourself. Dive within and realize.’ God, Guru and the Self are the same."
- Sri Ramana Maharshi

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Art of Islam

Recently saw the Art of Islam exhibition
at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Many of the vast range of artifacts were
exquisitely decorated and bear witness to
the refinement of Islamic culture.
Here's a link to the website:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Concepts are mental traps -

The theory of Oneness
may make a person one-sided,
the doctrine of the Middle Way
may sidetrack him,
the concept of Enlightenment
throw him into darkness,
and even the idea of Non-existence
may make a fiction
of the one who ponders upon it.

But should he release
his conceptual grip on these truths
they may liberate him.

After Ryokan (1758 1831)

Monday, July 16, 2007


"The jejune disjunction of the world into matter and spirit derives from an abstraction of the intellect and should not be projected back on reality; for it is the nature of the mind to establish differences, to make definitions and discriminate. To declare, 'There are distinctions,' is only to state that there is an apprehending intellect at work. Perceived pairs-of-opposites reflect the nature not of things but of the perceiving mind. Hence thought, the intellect itself, must be transcended if true reality is to be attained."
Heinrich Zimmer
Philosophies of India.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Toaster Oven

"Great. She's a toaster oven.
Can we leave now?"

Cybernetic organism, Wynona Ryder in 'Alien Resurrection'

"Human-like consciousness is an illusion; that is, it exists but is not what it appears to be. The illusion that we are a conscious self having a stream of experiences is constructed when memes compete for replication by human hosts. Some memes survive by being promoted as personal beliefs, desires, opinions and possessions, leading to the formation of a memeplex (or selfplex). Any machine capable of imitation would acquire this type of illusion and think it was conscious. Robots that imitated humans would acquire an illusion of self and consciousness just as we do. Robots that imitated each other would develop their own separate languages, cultures and illusions of self. Distributed selfplexes in large networks of machines are also possible. Unanswered questions include what remains of consciousness without memes, and whether artificial meme machines can ever transcend the illusion of self consciousness."
-Susan Blackmore

Meme - a unit of cultural information, cultural evolution or diffusion — propagates from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution. Multiple memes may propagate as cooperative groups called memeplexes (meme complexes).
Biologist and evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in 1976.
He gave as examples tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing fashions, ways of making pots, and the technology of building arches.
Meme theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection similarly to Charles Darwin's theory of biological evolution through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an organism's reproductive success. So with memes, some ideas will propagate less successfully and become extinct, while others will survive, spread, and, for better or for worse, mutate. Memeticists argue that the memes most beneficial to their hosts will not necessarily survive; rather, those memes that replicate the most effectively spread best, which allows for the possibility that successful memes may prove detrimental to their hosts.
The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, gaining a degree of penetration into popular culture rare for an abstract scientific theory.
The ego self is a memeplex,
not an owner of a body/mind.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Maitreya is the Incarnation of the Buddha anticipated centuries ago as a future manifestation.
Maitreya is similar to the name 'Ma-treya', which means the Triple Mother Goddess, who embodies Shri Mahasaraswati, Shri Mahalakshmi, and Shri Mahakali - the creative, sustaining and destructive powers.


"Ahankara, the ego-function, causes us to believe that we feel like acting, that we are suffering, etc.; whereas actually our real being, the purusa, is devoid of such modifications. Ahankara is the centre and prime motivating force of delusion (abhimana). Ahankara is the misconception, conceit, supposition, or belief that refers all objects and acts of consciousness to an 'I' (aham)....
...One is continually appropriating to oneself, as a result of ahankara, everything that comes to pass in the realms of the physique and psyche, superimposing perpetually the false notion (and apparent experience) of a subject (an 'I') of all the deeds and sorrows. Ahankara is characterised by a predominance of rajas guna, since it is concerned, primarily, with doing."
Heinrich Zimmer
Philosophies of India

Tuesday, July 10, 2007



an empty mind allows
all possibilities to be available
as the mind is not concentrating
on only one thought train.

The Chan doctrine of 'no-thought'

"The Chan notion of 'no-thought' seems to suggest a sort of mindless, purely instinctual response or perhaps even unconsciousness. Certainly, “no-thought” is not rational in the sense of bare objectivity. However, thoughtless awareness, gained through meditation on the Self, is not inattention; it is an attitude of careful attentiveness to the present situation. "If 'no-thought' is lacking in anything it would be the self-consciousness that typically arises out of the dualism inherent in subject-object thinking. Most assuredly 'no-thought' should not be equated with becoming insentient, that is, an 'object' among others."

Monday, July 09, 2007

"To meditate means to realize inwardly the imperturbability of the essence of mind."
-Hui Neng

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Shri Hanumana

Lord Hanuman is the Indian equivalent of the Judeo Christian Archangel Gabriel, or Gibril in Islam. He is the ruler of the right Channel of the Subtle System (Pingala Nadi) and is invoked to control the ego.
Shri Hanumana incarnated as Shri Samarth Ramdas (1608-1681), the guru of King Shivaji, who liberated Maharashtra from the persecution of the fundamentalist emperor Aurangzeb.
Shri Hanuman is the embodiment of energetic action and strength (qualities of Pingla Nadi), and Shri Samarth Ramdas promoted the idea of keeping physically fit through exercise.
His literary work, the Manache Shlok, consists of lines of poetry addressed to the mind, and may be read as a means of curbing it.

haiku blog

I've just created a new blog,
called Haikumbha
for Haiku Poetry.

See links.