the Wanderling


"Late one night a female Zen adept was carrying water in an old wooden bucket when she happened to glance across the surface of the water and saw the reflection of the moon. As she walked the bucket began to come apart and the bottom of the pail broke through, with the water suddenly disappearing into the soil beneath her feet and the moon's reflection disappearing along with it. In that instant the young woman realized that the moon she had been looking at was just a reflection of the real thing...just as her whole life had been. She turned to look at the moon in all it's silent glory, her mind was ripe, and that was it...Enlightenment."

CHIYONO: No Moon, No Water

Over and over throughout the centuries, in one form or the other, the question has been asked, "How does one go about triggering the the fruition of the Enlightenment-experience as suggested by the ancients in the Sutras and so forth, so that the resultant outcome of that fruition IS that which IS Enlightenment?" How does the "mind get ripe," "how does the bottom of the pail break through?" In other words:


Answers and attempted answers to that question have been forthcoming for just as many centuries. 0ne would suspect, considering all the formidable personages that have approached the question, that by now an end-all, conclusive response would have been formulated. Such it seems, has not been the case. Tying Your Shoes, which you should read even if you go no further, probably gives as potentially succulent inkling to a possible answer as anything. Otherwise, for myself, I have unfolded a variety of "responses" on occasion depending on the circumstances and the nature and background of of the person posing the question. For the most part it usually boils down to a fairly simple Nutshell of a procedure not unlike what is presented below.

Before moving on, however, you might be asking yourself another question: Why even consider what is offered here? The following quote may clarify your reasoning --- as well as mine:


  • First, until you have developed some expertise and knowledge of the Way, it is suggested you shy away from any formal or established group, Zendo, Sangha, or person with or without a following claiming to be a Guru of one sort or another...and especially so if they want you to put in any free labor, time, money, or buy something from them.

  • Second, take some time and seriously consider the possibility of enrolling in a secular yoga class in a community college, recreation department, or adult education setting to learn proper breathing and sitting without all the bells, candles, and rituals, find a convenient power spot (discussed later), and practice meditation on your own.

  • As the early stages of my study-practice in meditation, Zen, and Enlightenment began slipping into years from weeks and months it was becoming apparent I wasn't making nearly the progress or headway along the path I should have, not in actual results or what my spiritual mentor thought I should or could accomplish. It was only after I met then took the advice of the teacher of one of America's most advanced spiritual personages did I suddenly advance. She felt even though my mentor's heart was in the right place, he took the depth or level of my understanding as being higher than it was and/or misjudged my distance along the path as being futher than it was. To see her simple corrective advice, click HERE.

  • When it comes to meditation, for those of you without an inkling, working background, or knowledge of where or how to start, or simply wish to upgrade or finesse latent abilities from the past, one of the best places to start, neophyte or experienced practitioner alike, is Charlotte Joko Beck's book Everyday Zen. The complete, unabridged book is available online in PDF, free, with no sign-ins by clicking HERE.

  • Third, search out read, ingest, and absorb anything written by Nagarjuna or Dogen because all of their works were written post-Enlightenment. According to tradition Nagarjuna is the fourteenth in succession in linage from the Buddha and Dogen is the Twenty-fourth Zen Patriarch in succession from Bodhidharma, which is neither here nor there. Both Nagarjuna and Dogen are cited extensively throughout the offerings presented in Awakening 101 (the above two links you can click through).

  • Fourth, read all one-hundred koans and their commentaries in the Blue Cliff Record and all forty-eight koans and their commentaries in the Mumonkan over and over until you are blue in the face...but ALWAYS read them by never taking your mind's eye off what you find by going to and reading Mu.

  • Finally, read the following three books on Sri Maharshi Ramana titled:

    • Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

    • Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge

    • The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi

    because for the most part, in easy question and answer format they get around all the Typical Zen Bull. All three books can be accessed online free in PDF format by clicking HERE.

An old saying goes: We are the results of what we were; we will be the results of what we are. If the above endeavors are coupled with an escort of the right intent the outcome WILL be favorable. A Pali text called The Anguttara says it best:

"It cannot come to pass that the fruit of a deed well-done by the body, speech, and thought should have for a result that which is unpleasant, hateful or distasteful. But that it should be otherwise is quite possible." (source)

What is important to take into mind of course, considering the above, is having set into motion the correct set of principals in the past, so the fruit beared from those endeavors would be impacting one's present. To have that present be a positive experience my own mentor's suggestion, extracted from the sutras, went something like:

1.) From the first generate only thoughts with the right escort.

2.) Support right thoughts already risen.

3.) From where thoughts arise, generate no thoughts that carry negative escort.

4.) Dispel any negative thoughts already risen. (source)

It is often said that when a teacher is truly needed, one will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her similar to the events ascribed to the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience wherein in both cases Ramana's Guru was possibly somewhat more ethereal in concept than physical.

It could be a mere spark that ignites a spiritual fire within or a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker. It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. The coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, some with a teacher, some without, but, more often than not, for whatever the reason, the saying is found to apply.

Merely looking at the guru and receiving the guru's glance has been shown over and over to manifest an ability to transfer an immense spiritual energy, which CAN profoundly transform one's consciousness. On the Indian side of things the blessings communicated through being in the presence of a holy person is called Darshan. Generally speaking Darshan is similar in respect to the role that Dokusan plays in Zen and Buddhism, albeit while Dokusan is typically a more formal meeting in a more formal setting, it still basically came up through the system from Indian tradition.

However, it cannot be stressed enough, the whole secret --- if there is a secret or if it can be called a secret --- to Enlightenment is for the MIND TO BE RIPE. To ensure such one should endeavor to consider incorporating the above four precepts into their repertoire until they all become a unified natural, fully ingrained second nature of one's being. It could take a long time or no time at all.

For those who just won't take the suggestion of one's "mind being ripe" I direct them toward the Enlightenment ordeal of a once-removed Sri Ramama follower


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As for myself, in what I feel is a close analogy, the following by British author and playwright W. Somerset Maugham as found in his novel The Razor's Edge writing about the American spiritual traveler Larry Darrell as he sought and reached Enlightenment during the post war period:

"He has no desire for fame. To become anything of a public figure would be deeply distasteful to him; and so it may be that he is satisfied to lead his chosen life and be no more than just himself. He is too modest to set himself up as an example to others; but it may be he thinks that a few uncertain souls, drawn to him like moths to a candle, will be brought in time to share his own glowing belief that ultimate satisfaction can only be found in the life of the spirit, and that by himself following with selflessness and renunciation the path of perfection he will serve as well as if he wrote books or addressed multitudes."

Remember, even though "The Razor's Edge" is a book and a movie the story is based on real life. I met and knew the actual real life person the Larry Darrell character is based on. He was a pilot in World War I, he was wounded twice, and he did see his best friend die in front of his eyes after a raging dog fight over the western front. Just like in the book and movie he went to India in search of the truth and while there met the venerated Indian holy man so alluded to below Maugham wrote down what he learned and turned it into a book which was made into a movie.

The black and white graphic below, from the 1946 movie version of The Razor's Edge, shows Larry Darrell, the central character in the story, meeting with the holy man for the very first time. To see an approximately five minute long YouTube video excerpt showing that meeting and what the holy man has to say to Darrell please click the graphic. The second graphic below allows access to the complete Razor's Edge movie itself, free, with no sign ups and expandable to full screen size. Both are well worth watching:


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Want to find out if the Spiritual Guide, Teacher, or Guru you like, want, or have selected is right for you --- or if the one you already have can cut it or meet spiritual leader guidelines? See:




Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.






"I would take the information so provided by the Wanderling with a grain of salt."


-------------A READER OF MY WORKS

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"Real Masters never charge for their services, nor do they accept payment in any form
nor in any sort of material benefits for their instructions. This is a universal law among
Masters, and yet amazingly, it is a fact that thousands of eager seekers in America and
elsewhere, go on paying large amounts of money for "spiritual instruction." Masters are
always self-sustaining and are never supported by their students or by public charity."

---Julian P. Johnson, The Path of the Masters (1939)

As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.



If you are an old hand at searching into "How do I get Enlightened" or brand new, the whole Enlightenment thing can get complicated the more you read and the deeper you get into it's history and how to go about the variety of methods dissipating the veil shrouding the light of Enlightenment. In that search, it usually boils down to two major divisions, the Buddhist version and the Indian version. For Enlightenment the main Buddhist thrust is of course, Zen. The Indian version is typically related to what is called Advaita. Both main catagories break down into several branches, each with their own set of rules to follow if you expect to reach your final goal. In the quote below there is a mention of Nagarjuna and in the main text above I mention Nagarjuna as well. When you clicked that link and you came to this footnote you were most likely expecting to go to a Nagarjuna page. The link that will do that is at the bottom, but first I would hope you would indulge me a on the below quote --- which is a little too much to shoehorn into the Nutshell version, but highly relevant in the long run. Thank you.

The following quote by Tiruvannamalai-based Kevinandaji, whose stuff I absolutely love but whose blog is a major bane and thorn in the side of a good portion of the hawk Enlightenment crowd, will put into perspective what I present for those who may be so interested because, as Kevinandaji presents it, so closely parallels my perfume on the subject that if I were to write it myself there might be copyright infringements:

"Traditional and Gaudapadian Advaita have failed to address the arguments of Madhyamaka Buddhism. This too is the legacy of Gaudapada's political formulation of Advaita. We know that Gaudapada borrowed from the Madhymakans and reinterpreted their thesis of non-origination without crediting them. Unlike the Sarvastivadin and Yogacarin positions, the Madhyamaka teaching of non-origination was not nihilist. Its main teachers Nagarjuna and Candrakirti - now classified as Prasangika Madhyamaka - rejected outright both nihilism and eternalism. They advocated instead a new interpretation of the Buddha's Middle Way which says (as modern theoretical physics confirms) that absolutes are impossible. There cannot truly be any enlightenment, Self or Brahman to attain - nor can there truly be any jiva, 'I' or method to attain it. This position does not say 'no I' or 'no method'. It says all things including the person exist as empty, co-dependent arisings which are neither totally existent nor totally non-existent. Methods may happen, methods may not - what happens simply happens - and whether someone practises a method or not is completely irrelevant ..."(see)

Historicly Gaudapada is considered the teacher-guru of Govinda. Govinda inturn, is said to have been the teacher-guru of Shankara --- Shankara being the main bigtime heavyweight dude behind Advaita Vedanta as it has come down to us today. As Kevinandaji points out in the above quote, Gaudapada borrowed from the Madhymakans and reinterpreted their thesis of non-origination without crediting them. While the non-crediting is valid, researchers and scholars on Gaudapada seem to think how and what he has presented his works indicates a strong familiarity with Buddhism both in language and doctrine. Many of those same researchers and scholars seem to think he was originally a Buddhist and simply brought his philosophy with him.

So, what is being said, whichever of the two you seek to use to contribute toward your "mind being ripe," if you seek either, they are in the end, based in common roots. All the bells and whistles are just exterrnal trappings like the plumage of the peacock --- to attract you --- that is, if you are a peacock.

Painting legs on a snake won't make it traverse the ground any better or reach it's goal any faster.

The following is interpreted from the works of Nagarjuna as found at the source so cited. Again, a little heavy to put in a nutshell:

All views of the survival of the self are based on the belief that the self existed in the past and/or that the self will exist in the future. However, it would not be appropriate to say that the self existed in the past, for this would require that the self who existed in the past is identical with the self who exists now, in the present. This has already been refuted in section eleven. However, the Buddha also said that it is incorrect to say that the self is not eternal. If the Buddha had denied continuity of existence, then, as discussed above, morality would be undercut, for "the fruit of action performed by one will be experienced by another."

Further, a self that existed in the present but not in the past would be uncaused, which would be an erroneous conclusion. Since neither of the above alternatives is appropriate, it would certainly not be appropriate to combine them and say that one both existed and did not exist in the past. Further, since there are no other alternatives besides existence or not existence, and since a middle ground between the two would be unintelligible, it is not appropriate to say that one neither existed nor did not exist in the past. Views regarding a future existence are to be treated in the same way. That which leads to the asking of the above unanswerable questions is the tendency to seek for some "thing," some real entity which can be characterized in terms of existence or non- existence. But, "if it is thought that there is nothing eternal, what is it that will be non-eternal, both eternal and non-eternal, and also what is separated from these two [i.e. 'neither'] (source)

Free or not, when people see the three suggested books as being important they want to know why all the emphasis on Sri Ramana stuff? After all is this not a page on Zen Enlightenment, typically thought of as being heavily seeped in Buddhism and Zen, while Ramana was an Indian holy man, albeit deeply revered and known to be Enlightened, however not seeped in Buddhism or Zen, but instead, Hinduism?

In reference to the above question the following three paragraphs are presented from the source so cited:

Ramana Maharshi, famous for his wisdom-inducing silence (i.e., "Silence is Golden") and whose own powerful spiritual opening occurred without any significant intellectual preparation (he had read a book about the great Shaiva saints before his awakening in 1896), in the ensuing years actually spent much time listening to and promoting the reading of sacred texts, especially the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vasishtha, Tripura Rahasya, Bhagavatam Purana, Ashtavakra Gita, Ribhu Gita, Avadhuta Gita, the works of Sankara and stories of saints.

Ramana made great and beautiful use of the mind, utilizing it as an instrument for editing and translating texts, monitoring correspondence, resolving the doubts and clarifying the confusions of his interlocutors, inquiring into their well-being, preparing food and managing the kitchen work, and so forth. There were clearly paranormally gifted ways in which his ego-free mind worked, too. But a really interesting Zen-like koan-riddle is this: Ramana was observed on almost a daily basis to carefully read the newspaper. If there was "no world" and "no need for the mind" for anything, what was this daily newspaper-browsing all about?

Ashrama old-timers insist that Ramana was not just "looking at the pictures," nor using the newspaper as some kind of a "cloak" or "cover" merely to go into interdimensional states or avoid any visitors assembled in the old hall. He was genuinely interested in the well-being of people, animals, and society. The newspaper (along with the radio, to which he often listened) was a conventional way for him to access information about sentient beings at other places, just as the Maharshi obviously seemed to have paranormal ways of accessing information about them, too.

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Since a great deal of what I would like to conjure up regarding "reading," the necessity of reading, and any of my suggested books hoping for you to read, et al, parallels much of what has been stated quite adequately in the above few paragraphs, rather than ending up in a potential copyright infringement rights discussion by saying almost the exact same thing in the exact same words --- or remake the (Dharma) wheel saying the same thing by reshuffling the paragraph's words --- I have, with some very minor editing for our purposes here, extrapolated the above from a rather lengthy stand-alone article that covers much of the same area, and well worth reading just on it's own, by leading up to and out of the subject matter.(see)

Why the emphasis on reading? Because you are doing this on your own, at your own pace in a comfortable power spot of your own choosing, coming and going as you want. Still your mind has to be ripe if you expect a favorable outcome. You aren't sitting in some guru's Sastang at their convience at their time at their place, ridgidly sitting on a hard floor with a bunch of wannabe's wearing sandals, thumb rings, and breathing in inscense while listening over and over to the person upfront lip sinking the samething they all say through rote drivel.

W. Somerset Maugham, in pursuit of information for his book The Razor's Edge, traveled the length and breadth of India interviewing swamis, sadhus, fakirs, and holy men up and down the scale and the things he heard from them he heard over and over, and that was the crux of the matter. In The Writer's Notebook, in sort of a last straw, of one sufi Maugham concludes:

"He said the things I had heard from others twenty times before That is the worst of the Indian thinkers, they say the same things in the same words

"(T)hey repeat it like parrots, there is no denying the fact that it is irksome to listen interminably to the same statements. You wish at least they could think of other metaphors, similes, illustrations than those of the Upanishads. Your heart sinks when you hear again the one about the snake and the rope."

If you have gone to the Nagarjuna footnote(see) most of the above question would have been answered. You would also have read about Gaudapada. For all practical purposes Gaudapada, if not the father of, he is the prime inline ancestor in the formulation of Advaita Vedanta. The footnote also has the following which sort of sets the stage for Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta being tied very close together in more ways than one:

"(R)esearchers and scholars on Gaudapada seem to think how and what he has presented his works indicates a strong familiarity with Buddhism both in language and doctrine. Many of those same researchers and scholars seem to think he was originally a Buddhist and simply brought his philosophy with him."

A Chinese-Indian Dichotomy In Advaita and Zen


Madhyamaka Buddhism is a subsidiary school of thought within the Mahayana Buddhist denomination, systematized by Nagarjuna. Mahayana is one of the three major denominations of Buddhism, the other two being Theravada, and Vajrayana. Madhymakans are thus then the followers of Madhyamaka Buddhism.

The URL that offered the free PDF version is no longer active. For a several chapter overview please click HERE

You can also "borrow" a copy of the book to read free through's online lending library. You do not get a book in the classical sense as if you borrowed in from a traditional library, but an online version you are given a certain time to read via your computer. To find out more click HERE

Be advised, if you search online for a PDF version, that you are not instead finding yourself in a search quagmire and or end up with the wrong book with a similar title. The Ramana book I make reference to, "The spiritual teaching of Ramana Maharshi," has within it's opening and is clearly marked as having a forward written by C.G. Jung. If the book does not have a forward by Jung then it is not the book you are looking for.

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Long before I met the person I speak of she was the teacher of a then unknowing seeker along an unknown path that thanks to her, was eventually Enlightened in the same spiritual manner as attributed to the ancient classical masters. Prior to his Awakening he was investigating any and all routes for a solution to his angst, real or imagined. One day in the process of those investigations he came across a young woman that was somehow different from all other people he had ever met. In an intellectual joust on his part he confronted her with all his knowledge of science, philosophers and the like. Like an expert swordsman or kung-fu master she blocked and parried each blow, leaving herself unscathed and himself defeated. Although she claimed no teacher or any lineage it was apparent her Attainment was deep and to reach the same level of Attainment he decided to dedicate any further seeking to be guided under her auspices, a decision that ended in her becoming his teacher and his Fulfillment.

The teacher and I met following my stint in the military, after which having done months of hard time first in a Himalayan Zen monastery then in the Mahasi Meditation Center, Rangoon, Burma. Returning to the U.S. and with the Army many months behind me, I sought out my mentor once again with the intention of at least a semi-return to practice under his auspices. What he saw he didn't like, saying the military brought out a beast in me, plus all I really wanted to do was use my college time to party and chase girls. He agreed that my unsuccessful foray under the venerated Japanese Zen master Yasutani Hakuun Roshi he sent me to prior to me being drafted should have ended with somewhat better results and was unsure why it didn't.

By spring he had pretty much mellowed and so had I. Thinking I needed something in between Yasutani and his own teaching he arranged for me to go to Connecticut and visit a nearly invisible man of great spiritual prowess by the name of Alfred Pulyan. Just as spring was reaching its final count down I showed up at Pulyan's wooded rural compound and began a most unsual almost non-study study --- the visit growing through to well past the middle of summer because, I'm sure, of my mentor as well as Pulyan's own graciousness. It was during that time period I was introduced to Pulyan's Teacher, a woman of extreme attainment and the person fully responsible for Pulyan's transformation.

Pulyan's teacher was of the opinion, and as I look back now I totally agree with her, that my mentor initally thought I had a greater understanding or was further along the path than I was, apparently feeling my meeting with Franklin Merrell Wolff and my transloction experience on Catalina Island was more fully understood than it was. She thought giving me a book like ZEN BUDDHISM: Selected Writings of D.T Suzuki as early as he had was way to advanced, as was sending me to study under Yasutani. During our discussions she brought out two books, the first being W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, in of which my mentor is the role model for the book's main character Larry Darrell. She flipped through the pages until she came to the following quote where Darrell tells Maugham what he experienced in the mountains:

"I have no descriptive talent, I don't know the words to paint a picture; I can't tell you, so as to make you see it, ow grand the sight was that was displayed before me as the day broke in its splendour. Those mountains with their deep jungle, the mist still entangled in the treetops, and the bottomless lake far below me. The sun caught the lake through a cleft in the heights and it shone like burnished steel. I was ravished with the beauty of the world. I'd never known such exaltation and such a transcendent joy. I had a strange sensation, a tingling that arose in my feet and travelled up to my head, and I felt as though I were suddenly released from my body and as pure spirit partook of a loveliness I had never conceived. I had a sense that a knowledge more than human possessed me, so that everything that had been confused was clear and everything that had perplexed me was explained. I was so happy that it was pain and I straggled to release myself from it, for I felt that if it lasted a moment longer I should die; and yet it was such rapture that I was ready to die rather than forgo it. How can I tell you what I felt? No words can tell the ecstasy of my bliss. When I came to myself I was exhausted and trembling."

After going over the various in-and-out's of what Darrell told Maugham about his experirnce she asked if I had ever had a similar or like experience. I told her the closest to anything like that I was still a young boy and had just met Franklin Merrell Wolff for the first time while wending my way through the mountains of the High Sierras with my uncle. Merrell-Wolff took my hand as the two of us walked slowly along an uneven rock strewn path, stopping only when we came upon a sweeping vista of the full extent of the mountains before us. Waving his hand in the air across the top of the peaks he told me there were trees on the mountains a thousand years old and in the sky above, stars millions of years old. He then said I was not yet twelve, nowhere near the age of the ancient trees or the stars, but we were all made of the samething with the same thought.

"It was as though someone had unexpectedly dumped a 55 gallon drum of ice cold water on me from behind. A feeling rushed over me if only for an instant but seemingly for an eternity, scaring me so much I ran back down the the rough, heavily strewn rocky path as fast as I thought I was able. However, my forward momentum was even faster --- as if I was gliding, my feet seemingly not making any real contact with the ground, almost as though the wind was carrying me and in the process I was part of the wind and the path as well --- blowing me right into the arms of my uncle, all the while still shaking and shivering all over. For hours on end everything seemed as though I was looking through a 3-D viewer. Sounds carried a clarity I never remembered, and smells and odors waifted through my nostrils like never before --- I could even smell my own armpits. When we arrived at camp I was tired and wasted and fell asleep for what seemed like forever. When I awoke the sensations were gone."

Pulyan's teacher asked me if while reading Suzuki's book on Zen Buddhism and came across such words as Dhyana and Samadhi what was their meaning to me? I told her I had to study the words as if learning a new language and even then if I could repeat to others what they meant I didn't understand the understanding behind them. Then she handed me the second book she brought telling me it was nowhere like Suzuki's or the dozens of similar books I've taken upon myself to read. It was first published in 1902, years and years before any Zen or Enlightenment craze, written by William James, a western academic versed head-to-toe in western traditions, not Buddhism, Hinduism, or Zen, all done in english for the english speaking world. The book was titled The Varieties of Religious Experience. She suggested I read the whole book at sometime or the other, but if nothing else do not pass up reading Lectures XVI And XVII: Mysticism. I suggest to you dear reader, to do the same, easily accessed by clicking through the below link.






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