Nagarjuna     25 posts


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A beautiful story is told about a great mystic, Nagarjuna:

He was a fakir, but he was loved by all real seekers. A queen asked him one day to come to the palace, to be a guest in the palace. Nagarjuna went. The queen asked him a favour.

Nagarjuna said, "What do you want?"

The queen said, "I want your begging bowl."

Nagarjuna gave it -- that was the only thing he had -- his begging bowl. And the queen brought a golden begging bowl, studded with diamonds and gave it to Nagarjuna. She said, "Now you keep this. I will worship the begging bowl that you have carried for years -- it has some of your vibe. It will become my temple. And a man like you should not carry an ordinary wooden begging bowl -- keep this golden one. I have had it made specially for you."

It was really precious. If Nagarjuna had been an ordinary mystic he would have said, "I cannot touch it. I have renounced the world." But for him it was all the same, so he took the bowl.

When he left the palace, a thief saw him. He could not believe his eyes: "A naked man with such a precious thing! How long can he protect it?" So the thief followed....

Nagarjuna was staying outside the town in a ruined ancient temple -- no doors, no windows. It was just a ruin. The thief was very happy: "Soon Nagarjuna will have to go to sleep and there will be no difficulty -- I will get the bowl."

The thief was hiding behind a wall just outside the door -- Nagarjuna threw the bowl outside the door. The thief could not believe what had happened. Nagarjuna threw it because he had watched the thief coming behind him, and he knew perfectly well that he was not coming for him -- he was coming for the bowl, "So why unnecessarily let him wait? Be finished with it so he can go, and I can also rest."

"Such a precious thing! And Nagarjuna has thrown it so easily." The thief could not go without thanking him. He knew perfectly well that it had been thrown for him. He peeked in and he said, "Sir, accept my thanks. But you are a rare being -- I cannot believe my eyes. And a great desire has arisen in me. I am wasting my life by being a thief -- and there are people like you too? Can I come in and touch your feet?"

Nagarjuna laughed and he said, "Yes, that's why I threw the bowl outside -- so that you could come inside."

The thief was trapped. The thief came in, touched the feet... and at that moment the thief was very open because he had seen that this man was no ordinary man. He was very vulnerable, open, receptive, grateful, mystified, stunned. When he touched the feet, for the first time in his life he felt the presence of the divine.

He asked Nagarjuna, "How many lives will it take for me to become like you?"

Nagarjuna said, "How many lives? -- it can happen today, it can happen now!"

The thief said, "You must be kidding. How can it happen now? I am a thief, a well-known thief The whole town knows me, although they have not yet been able to catch hold of me. Even the king is afraid of me, because thrice I have entered and stolen from the treasury. They know it, but they have no proof. I am a master thief -- you may not know about me because you are a stranger in these parts. How can I be transformed right now?"

And Nagarjuna said, "If in an old house for centuries there has been darkness and you bring a candle, can the darkness say, 'For centuries and centuries I have been here -- I cannot go out just because you have brought a candle in. I have lived so long'? Can the darkness give resistance? Will it make any difference whether the darkness is one day old or millions of years old.

The thief could see the point: darkness cannot resist light; when light comes, darkness disappears. Nagarjuna said, You may have been in darkness for millions of lives -- that doesn't matter -- but I can give you a secret, you can light a candle in your being."

And the thief said, "What about my profession? Have I to leave it?"

Nagarjuna said, "That is for you to decide. I am not concerned with you and your profession I can only give you the secret of how to kindle a light within your being, and then it is up to you."

The thief said, "But whenever I have gone to any saints, they always say, 'First stop stealing -- then only can you be initiated.'"

It is said that Nagarjuna laughed and said, "You must have gone to thieves, not to saints. They know nothing. You just watch your breath -- the ancient method of Buddha -- just watch your breath coming in, going out. Whenever you remember, watch your breath. Even when you go to steal, when you enter into somebody's house in the night, go on watching your breath. When you have opened the treasure and the diamonds are there, go on watching your breath, and do whatsoever you want to do -- but don't forget watching the breath."

The thief said, "This seems to be simple. No morality? No character needed? No other requirement?"

Nagarjuna said, "Absolutely none -- just watch your breath."

And after fifteen days the thief was back, but he was a totally different man. He fell at the feet of Nagarjuna and he said, "You trapped me, and you trapped me so beautifully that I was not even able to suspect. I tried for these fifteen days -- it is impossible. If I watch my breath, I cannot steal. If I steal, I cannot watch my breath. Watching the breath, I become so silent, so alert, so aware, so conscious, that even diamonds look like pebbles. You have created a difficulty for me, a dilemma. Now what am I supposed to do?"

Nagarjuna said, "Get lost! -- whatsoever you want to do. If you want that silence, that peace, that bliss, that arises in you when you watch your breath, then choose that. If you think all those diamonds and gold and silver is more valuable, then choose that. That is for you to choose! Who am I to interfere in your life?"

The man said, "I cannot choose to be unconscious again. I have never known such moments. Accept me as one of your disciples, initiate me."

Nagarjuna said, "I have initiated you already."

Source: Osho

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Someone who has acted carelessly, but later becomes careful and attentive, is as beautiful as the bright moon emerging from the clouds.

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' Mulamadhyamaka-karika '

What is called "existence" is but clinging to things'
permanence;
And "nonexistence" is the view of nothingness.
And thus the wise and learned do not rest
In either "This thing is" or "It is not."

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NAGARJUNA'S ASPIRATION

by Arya Nagarjuna

Prostration to the Triple Gem!
Through each of my lives in samsaric states
Until I achieve the state of patience toward phenomena,
May I never be born in the three lower realms;
May I be born in higher realms in a human birth.
Having taken human birth in a higher realm,
May I not take birth as a sinful king or his minister.
May I not take birth as the leader of an army or an execitioner.
May I not take birth as a profiteer, liquor seller, sesame seed grinder,
thief, or male or female slave.
May I not take birth as one who dominates bikkshus,
A working monk, enforcer of evil rules,
Disciplinarian, sweeper monk, or challenger.
May I not take birth in any of these jobs.
May I not take birth in the land of savages or barbarians.
As one dumb, blind, deaf, imbecilic, or jealous,
In the castes of heretics, or those with wrong view,
In the lower castes, or as a butcher.
Until enlightenment is reached,
May I always take birth as a practitioner of the holy Dharma.
Having been born as a Dharma practitioner,
May I not be under the power of non-virtue.
With a life unhindered by illness,
May I meet the Dharma soon after birth.
Having met the Dharma soon after birth,
May I train my mind in the wisdom of study, contemplation,
and meditation.
May my mind be able to remain in single-pointed concentration,
Six consciousnesses undistracted by objects,
Developing physical power without defective limbs,
Sense organs perfect, as the object of veneration in a higher birth.
Able to accomplish all the Buddha's Dharma,
May I renounce the world as a youth and maintain morality,
Always relying on holy spiritual masters,
And gradually traverse the ten paths.
May I reach the unsurpassable essence of enlightenment.
Having attained the unsurpassable essence of enlightenment,
For all six realms beings in samsara,
Through various actions of skillful means,
May I perform the benefit of beings through the four social gatherings.


Written by Guru Nagarjuna. Translated by Venerable Lama Kalsang Gyaltsen,
Ane Kunga Chodron with the aspiration that all beings may attain enlightenment.

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More foolish than a man who takes foul vomit
With a jeweled and golden scoop
Are those who, gaining human birth,
Defile themselves with evil deeds.

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in "Suhrillekha":

Regard as equal, you who know the world,
All gain and loss, all joy and pain,
All good and ill repute, all praise and blame:
These eight mundane concerns are not the worthy objects of your mind.

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" SPACE "



No trace of space
Is there before
The absence of obstruction
Which describes it.

With no obstruction,
How can there be
Absence of obstruction?
Who distinguishes between them?

Space is not obstruction
Or an absence of it,
Nor is it a description
Or something to describe.

Fluidity and heat,
Energy and gravity
Are just like space.

In seeing things
To be or not to be
Fools fail to see
A world at ease.

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" Dedicatory Verse "



I prostrate to the Perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
Whatever is depedently arisen is
Unceasing, unborn,
Unannihilated, not permanent,
Not coming, not going,
Without distinction, without identity,
And free from conceptual construction.

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" CHANGE "


If something has an essence--
How can it ever change
Into anything else?

A thing doesn't change into something else--
Youth does not age,
Age does not age.

If something changed into something else--
Milk would be butter
Or butter would not be milk.

Were there a trace of something,
There would be a trace of emptiness.
Were there no trace of anything,
There would be no trace of emptiness.

Buddhas say emptiness
Is relinquishing opinions.
Believers in emptiness
Are incurable.

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" BODY "


I have no body apart
From parts which form it.
I know no parts
Apart from a "body."

A body with no parts
Would be unformed,
A part of my body apart from my body
Would be absurd.

Were the body here or not,
It would need no parts.
Partless bodies are pointless.
Do not get stuck in the "body."

I cannot say,
"My body is like its parts."
I cannot say,
"It's something else."

Feelings, perceptions,
Drives, minds, things
Are like this body
In every way.

Conflict with emptiness
Is no conflict;
Objections to emptiness,
No objections.

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There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
But to be without sores is more pleasurable still.
Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires,
But to be without desires is more pleasurable still

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The great Buddhist saint Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loincloth and, incongruously, a golden begging bowl gifted to him by the King, who was his disciple.

One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. "Here, take this," said Nagarjuna, holding the begging bowl. "That way you won't disturb me once I have fallen asleep."

The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off only to return the next morning with the bowl and a request:

"When you gave away this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of lighthearted detachment possible."

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Even more stupid than one who cleans up vomit Using a golden vase bedecked with jewels,Is the one who, having been born a human,Devotes his life to committing harmful deeds.

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Not with feelings of attachment or aversion,
Or out of conceit and pride in your appearance,
Or a wish to gain weight; eat only to sustain the body.

Letter to a Friend, verse 38

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Even more stupid than one who cleans up vomit
Using a golden vase bedecked with jewels,
Is the one who, having been born a human,
Devotes his life to comitting harmful deeds.

Letter to a Friend, verse 60

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To whomever emptiness is possible,
All things are possible.
To whomever emptiness is not possible,
Nothing is possible.


Refutation of Objections, verse 71

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To the one who taught this excellent teaching,
In which emptiness and dependent origination,
Are united in a Middle Way—
To the Buddha, I pay homage.

Refutation of Objections, verse 72

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Everything that arises interdependently
Is unceasing and unborn,
Neither non-existent nor everlasting,
Neither coming nor going,
Neither multiple nor single,
To this teaching that pacifies all complexity,
The most sacred speech of the perfect Buddha,
I pay homage!


Root Verses of the Middle Way

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There is not a single thing
That does not arise interdependently.
Therefore there is not a single thing
That is not emptiness.

Root Verses of the Middle Way, XXIV, 19

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The wise do not make many promises,But once they have committed themselves,Then, as if the pledge were carved in stone,Even in the face of death, they will not fail.

Staff of Wisdom, verse 11

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Because there are no phenomena which are not dependent arisings, there are no phenomena which are not void

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Even offering three hundred bowls of food three times a day does not match the spiritual merit gained in one moment of love.

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The Buddha taught some people the teachings of duality that help them avoid sin and acquire spiritual merit.
To others he taught non-duality, that some find profoundly frightening.

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All philosophies are mental fabrications.
There has never been a single doctrine by which one could enter the true essence of things.

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