Excerpt from "The Heart of Understanding" by Thich Nhat Hanh
In "The Heart of Understanding", world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh takes listeners throug the Prajñāpāramitā -- or Heart -- Sutra. The following transcribed excerpt from this program shows how readily accessible these teachings are when presented by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to ask you to participate in this meditation. Here is a piece of paper. Usually we don’t pay very much attention to this piece of paper because when we take out one piece of paper, we think of other things than the piece of paper itself. If we look at this sheet of paper carefully enough, we can see that there is a cloud floating in it even if we are not a poet.
And this is very real because if the cloud is not there, the paper is not there. If there is no cloud there is no rain, and the forest cannot grow, and there is no paper because we need the trees in order to make paper. Every time you pick up the New York Times or the San Francisco Chronicle, you have to see the cloud in the newspaper. We have to see the forest in order to bring the Sunday edition of the New York Times. We need something like a forest because the New York Times is very heavy, two kilograms I think the Sunday edition. And we don’t look at the newspaper in that way so we should learn to look at the newspaper like that.
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Excerpt 3 from the "Be Here Now" Talks with Ram Dass
Available for the first time in digital download, we are so pleased to be able to offer rare lectures recorded live in New York City in 1969 by Ram Dass. These talks went on to become the basis of his international best-selling book Be Here Now. Here is another transcribed excerpt from one of these ground-breaking teachings.
When you go from physical to astral to causal, you are still with the subtlest desires, the desires for pure idea. Thought creates matter. Mind creates matter. The causal plane is the world of ideas that creates the universe.
Right at the top of the causal plane is what we call the God head. It’s the first place into the universe of form. It’s the first world of form. It’s the place where God created the universe. His mind, his thought, manifested into the universe. His thought manifested into all of the lower levels of the causal plane, all of the astral plane, and all of the physical plane. His thought manifested into all of them. And when you go back and back and back and back, you go to that place where you become one with the God head. You are God at that point. You are the idea that lies behind the universe. You literally are it. You’re not making believe you are it, you are it.
And the funny thing is you are still not finished. And as far as a Buddhist is concerned, you haven’t even begun the trip. You are still hung up in form. Because he says, “Baby, it’s all illusion, no matter how groovy it gets.” Me in this physical plane is obviously an illusion, all a dream. Then you go to bed at night and then you sleep and then you dream. Now you notice about your dreams, they are very real and yet they don’t have any physical form -- that’s the astral plane. You’re dreaming in the astral plane. And then when you get to the point of just pure ideas, sometimes when you are a very high physicist or in a very… poets you’ve seen -- they touch just pure idea. Sometimes art or a vase or something gets so essency. You feel you are touching God by being in connection with that piece of art because it’s pure idea. It’s the idea of vase-ness, if you will. That place, it’s causal plane. A mind of the causal plane created the vase. But then you go finally through the final door and you go from the form into the formless, into the void, into the beyond the beyond.
The Tibetan mantra is gate gate pāragate pārasagate bodhi svāhā, or wisdom which has gone beyond the beyond to the homage. When you have crossed the ocean of Sanskara, the ocean of illusion, the ocean of desire, the ocean of attachment, you can call it whatever you will, it’s all the same ocean. When you have crossed through all of the form, you enter into the state of formlessness. It is eternally quiet.
An Evening With Ram Dass 25th Anniversary Release for the first time on DVD
We are extremely honored and pleased to have the inspirational artwork of Peter Max gracing the cover of our new dvd.
Available for the first time on DVD, this classic talk given by Ram Dass – one of America’s most beloved spiritual figures and the author of the groundbreaking classic Be Here Now and Be Love Now – beautifully captures the essence of his profound teachings.
Originally videotaped in 1985 at Julia Richmond High School in New York City, this program features Ram Dass in his prime and offers a rare opportunity to experience one of the most inspirational and clear-thinking metaphysical authors of our time.
“If there’s one addiction that outlasts all the others, it’s the addiction to be free. It’s the addiction to come up for air, to live in the light, to live with love, to be spacious, to be present, to be Ah. Do what you do as impeccably as you can... you’ve got to enjoy the joy of the good fortune you have in life.”