Saturday, April 13, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for March-April 2019: "Thatness! Is-ness! Be-ness! It's something that you have to experience. You have to function from there and BE THAT!"

Meditation Room Altar, SFTS Lodge
[NOTE: Here is a brief excerpt from "Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation" with commentary by the legendary American sage Joe Miller. The full text of Miller's Great Liberation commentary can be found in "Great Song: Life and Teaching of Joe Miller."  In "Great Song" you will also find the story of his remarkable friendship with W.Y. Evans-Wentz, the great scholar and mystic who first brought the Great Liberation to the West, and of the text's profound importance in Miller's own journey of spiritual realization.  In the 8th Century, the Vajra-yogini Yeshe Tsogyal wrote down the Great Liberation teachings of her consort, the Vajra-guru Padma Samhava. She hid it away "amidst a cache of precious things" and praying "may it be read by those blessed devotees of the future." For many decades now, at the Theosophical Society of San Francisco, the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra (Guin Miller's favorite text) have been read aloud from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Initiated by the Millers in the 1970s, this annual rededication and immersion IN the deepest, most powerful teachings has continued uninterruptedly since their death in 1992. For many years, we kept up the Millers' original model of reading the Great Liberation at 6:30 a.m. and the Diamond Sutra 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during Lent; but recently, adapting to the ever-accelerating pace of life and the ever-increasing demands on all, we have shifted to public reading of the two texts on Friday evenings, alternating between them.]

GREAT LIBERATION: The error of doing otherwise than this arises not from Ignorance in the mind itself, but from not having sought to know the Thatness. Seek within thine own self-illuminated, self-originated mind whence, firstly, all such concepts arise, secondly, where they exist, and lastly, whither they vanish. This realization is likened to that of a crow which, although already in possession of a pond, flies off elsewhere to quench its thirst, and finding no other drinking-place returns to the one pond.

JOE MILLER: I would figure it's an awfully hip crow or else it got awful thirsty. We've got to do the same thing, get back inside ourselves and draw from that eternal fountain that never stops.
Similarly, the radiance which emanates from the One Mind, by emanating from one's own mind, emancipates the mind.  LET GO! LET GO! LET GO and LET GOD!

GREAT LIBERATION: The One Mind, omniscient, vacuous, immaculate, eternally, the unobscured voidness, void of quality as the sky, self-originated wisdom, shining, clearly, imperishable, is Itself the Thatness. 

JOE MILLER: That is the mind you're using, the ordinary mind is itself the One Mind. But you've got it caged in the little coop it's in because of what you've lived in former incarnations. Your subconscious part is telling you this is this and that is that. But right now, you're using that very thing that is the Oneness, that is the universality itself. Same as your breathing, you don't breathe yourself, you're in-breathed by the reality. You do it automatically. If you had to remember 21,600 times day to take a breath, what else would you have any time to do? But you can't put your finger on it. You can't put it into a concept. Thatness! Is-ness! Be-ness! It's something that you have to experience. You have to function from there and BE THAT! You are That anyway, why not have the experience of doing it consciously? Thatness. Clear Light. Voidness. This is something that you have to experience by being it and you can only be it by going to that center inside yourself and being IT!

GREAT LIBERATION: The whole visible universe also symbolizes the One Mind. By knowing the all-consciousness in one's mind, one knows it to be as void of quality as the sky. Although the sky may be taken, provisionally as an illustration of the unpredictable Thatness, it is only symbolically so. Inasmuch as the vacuity of all visible things is to be recognized as merely analogous to the apparent vacuity of the sky, devoid of mind, content, and form, the knowing of the mind does not depend on the sky-symbol. Therefore, not straying from the path, remain in that very state of the voidness.

JOE MILLER: Voidness or Thatness or Clear Light or Awareness. These are all synonymous terms.

Monday, April 1, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for April 2019

Harriet Tubman and Tara, Goddess of Mercy, An Altar at SFTS Lodge

NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.]

Friday, April 5th

Extended Library Hours 6-8 P.M. No Formal Meeting. 
Join Us. Browse the Collection. Sip Tea.

Friday, April 12th
Kumbh Mela, A Photographer/Filmmaker's Journey -- Philip Safarik

Friday, April 19th
Conversations in Theosophy

Friday, April 26th
Yoga Nidra -- John Paul Gaur


Lenten Sutra Readings: From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, we will read aloud the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra on alternating Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m., starting with the Great Liberation on 3/8/19 and ending with the Diamond Sutra on 4/19/19. This powerful practice was passed down to us from by the legendary American sages Joe and Guin Miller. We have adapted it and carried it on for decades now. Join us as all we set deep mystical intentions for the rest of the calendar year.

Friday, February 22, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for March 2019

Meditation Room Alter, SFTS Lodge, January 2019
NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.] 

Friday, March 1st
Conversations in Theosophy


Friday, March 8th

The Law of Ambivalation, What the Real Golden Rule Would Say and Other Ramblings -- Jennie DunKley

Friday, March 15th
Dead Paradigms Walking -- Dr. Jeff Curtis

Friday, March 22th
Esoteric Spirituality and the Science of PsychoEnergetic -- Amin Abdi


Friday, March 29th
Yoga Nidra -- John Paul Gaur

Special Event: In memory of our friend and distinguished SFTS member Barry R. DunKley, we will join Jennie DunKley and her traveling companions for a Thursday Walk through the Arboretum to the Duck Pond. Meet us at 11 a.m. on 3/7/19, in front of the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park near Lincoln and 9th Avenue.

Lenten Sutra Readings: From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, we will read aloud the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation and the Diamond Sutra on alternating Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m., starting with the Great Liberation on 3/8/19 and ending with the Diamond Sutra on 4/1919. This powerful practice was passed down to us from by the legendary American sages Joe and Guin Miller. We have adapted it and carried it on for decades now. Join us as all we set deep mystical intentions for the rest of the calendar year.

Monday, February 11, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for February 2019: "This is What I Call Nisarga Yoga, the Natural Yoga ..."

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973)
 Photo Credit: Jitendra Arya (http://www.acornpressonline.com/)

 SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for February 2019

Excerpts from "I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj"

"Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginning-less, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. (…)."

"When you see the world you see God. There is no seeing God, apart from the world. Beyond the world to see God is to be God. The light by which you see the world, which is God, is the tiny little spark: ‘I am,’ apparently so small, yet the first and the last in every act of knowing and loving."

"What is religion? A cloud in the sky. I live in the sky, not in the clouds, which are so many words held together. Remove the verbiage and what remains? Truth remains.”

"God is only an idea in your mind. The fact is you. The only thing you know for sure is: ‘here and now I am.’ Remove the ’here and now’ the ‘I am’ remains, unassailable. (…). All I can say truly is: ‘I am,’ all else is inference (…). The sense ‘I am’ is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call self, God, Reality or by any other name. (…)."

"'I am' itself is God. The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that you are neither the body nor the mind, and the love of the self in you is for the self in all. The two are one. The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love."

"A weak mind cannot control its own projections. Be aware, therefore, of your mind and its projections. You cannot control what you do not know. On the other hand, knowledge gives power. In practice it is very simple. To control yourself – know yourself."

"Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you. Live your life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and will take you speedily to your goal. This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural Yoga. It is the art of living in peace and harmony, in friendliness and love. The fruit of it is happiness, uncaused and endless."

"I am all and all is me. Being the world I am not afraid of the world. Being all, what am I to be afraid of? Water is not afraid of water, nor fire of fire. (…) It is attachment to a name and shape that breeds fear. I am not attached. I am nothing, and nothing is not afraid of no thing. On the contrary, everything is afraid of the Nothing, for when a thing touches Nothing, it becomes nothing."




Monday, January 28, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for February 2019


[NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.] 

 

Friday, February 1st

Conversations in Theosophy


Friday, February 8th

"We Are All Indigenous: The Red Road In Our Heart"
-
- Louison Dumont


Friday, February 15th

Yoga Nidra -- John Paul


Friday, February 22th

Conversations in Theosophy

Sunday, January 13, 2019

SFTS Lodge Dharma Message for January 2019: Starhawk on the Goddess, the Witch and the Craft

Starhawk leads meditation at Summer Solstice Gathering, 2009.
Photo credit: Wisteria Community, Ohio
From "The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess" (1979):

In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess — we connect with her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, through trees, animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all.

The test of a true myth is that each time you return to it, new insights and interpretations arise.

Witchcraft offers the model of a religion of poetry, not theology. It presents metaphors, not doctrines, and leaves open the possibility of reconciliation of science and religion, of many ways of knowing.

This is the stillness behind motion, when time itself stops; the center is also the circumference of all. We are awake in the night. We turn the Wheel to bring the light. We call the sun from the womb of night. Blessed Be!

Quoted in "Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion" (1979):

I am a witch, by which I mean that I am somebody who believes that the earth is sacred, and that women and women's bodies are one expression of that sacred being. My spirituality has always been linked to my feminism. Feminism is about challenging unequal power structures. So, it also means challenging inequalities in race, class, sexual preference. What we need to be doing is not just changing who holds power, but changing the way we conceive of power. There is the power we're all familiar with — power over. But there is another kind of power — power from within. For a woman, it is the power to be fertile either in terms of having babies or writing books or dancing or baking bread or being a great organizer. It is the kind of power that doesn't depend on depriving someone else.

From "Bodhi Tree Lecture," Bodhi Tree Bookstore, December 1999:

The Goddess religion asserts that the earth is alive, and that everything on the earth is part of a living being. We believe that you can celebrate life in many different images and forms, that life moves in cycles of birth and growth and death and rebirth, and that the same spirit moves through nature, through the cycles of the seasons, through the birth and growth and death of plants and animals, and through our lives as human beings. There is a multiplicity of images that you can draw upon for understanding and power, but the reason we focus on the goddess is partly to counterbalance the 5,000 years worth of focus on male holy images, and partly to affirm that bringing life into the world is sacred. Our goal is not to get out of the world or to get out of life, but to integrate it, to celebrate it, to embrace it fully, and to embrace all the different cycles within it.

 For more information on the work of Starhawk, visit https://starhawk.org/

Monday, January 7, 2019

SFTS Lodge Calendar of Events for January 2019

  

[NOTE: Remember our new start times, the Lodge Library opens at 6 p.m. and the weekly Lodge meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.] 

 

Friday, January 4th

NO MEETING. LODGE CLOSED. Joyous Christmas and New Year. 


Friday, January 11th 

Enneagram as Tool for Compassion, An Introduction to Attentional Habit -- Noah Gray


Friday, January 18th

Dragon Bone Broth: New Insights, New Writings -- Richard Power 


Friday, January 25th

Yoga Nidra -- John Paul