30 May 2011

From Ghost Dog Warrior with Forrest Whitaker

The best explanation of form and emptiness I have ever read;

Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there was nothing is the meaning of the phrase, "Form is emptiness." That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase, "Emptiness is form." One should not think that these are two separate things.

Also shows how to handle animal killers:



  1. Edji,
    You are a Master after my own heart. This post really cuts through illusion and all spiritual people-controlling traps.

    I was lost in those traps until I heard of Zen Bushido and Ghost Dog was one of my deepest Ah-Ha moments.

    I was always split whether to act according to circumstances or turn the other cheek even when it was ludicrous to do so, until I read and absorbed the Gita and when Krishna told Arjuna to fight and kill, because it was right action; and that only the forms would be destroyed; and there was no karma because emptiness knowing itself to be indestructible is indifferent to the destruction of its forms and expressions.

    I got the tingles and a deep realisation that I could act in the midst of this human chaos through empty mind, without fear of karmic retribution.

    I then embarked on the Warrior Monk Path with deep joy because action was no longer inhibited by people-controlling spiritual belief.

    The Samurai took to Zen Bushido like ducks to water because they were facing death and had the real intensity that is needed to know Oneself.

    That intensity for me is where the mind stops and when I did my Zen walking 30 feet up or meditated dangling over a viaduct bridge looking death in the face, all fear left me because under that intense pressure mind stops and a clear view that form is emptiness and emptiness is form and you are deathless emerges immediately as a fact and trust arises like steel in the nervous system.

    So the way to deal with cold blooded animal killers is empty mind, stealth, surprise and excellent technique, then the fruit of action comes into form from emptiness and is clear cut with no karmic retribution.

    Rise, fight and act without fear O son of Kunti for you are indestructible, birthless, deathless, egoless and timeless and when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will fear no evil, for I am with thee and I am the meanest god dammed son of a bitch that ever walked in the valley.

    P.S. I was going to ask God for a bike, but I know that God does not work that way, so I stole the bike and asked for forgiveness. Is this action from emptiness, or Final Realisation?

    No God
    No Buddha
    No I
    No me
    No you
    No thing
    Know what I mean?

  2. My favourite movie!!!
    I wept (and laughed) throughout the whole thing. Sums everything up + cartoons. Directed by Jim Jarmusch.

  3. It “shows how to handle animal killers”? Please tell me you’re joking, or maybe hoping to provoke someone into a discussion of the dharma? I may not know the dharma from shinola, but to me it’s the kind of phrase that is too often an expression of zealotry, extremism, and self-righteous justification of violence. I know nobody asked me, but I don’t think it belongs on a spiritual blog that is supposedly based in love. Or at least have the courage to come right out and say what it is you intend for it to mean, instead of leaving it dangling there in ambiguity.

    How does it differ in substance from what the good Christian Ku Kluxers told themselves after lynching an uppity black man? Or what the Taliban woman tells herself in the crowded marketplace, just before she pulls the pin on the explosives wrapped around her body? I don’t see much of a difference at all.

    Vigilantism is unjustifiable, no matter what the cause. Any god who would support it is not worthy of our attention. Just because they try to “spiritualize” it by calling it Ghost Dog Warrior, and throw around platitudes about form and emptiness, doesn’t make it right, any more than quoting the Bible or Koran does.

    Here are some things to consider: When has this kind of behavior and rhetoric ever brought the results desired? Do you think it’s likely to build support for your cause? Will it persuade those observing the action to think, “Well, here’s a group of thoughtful activists. I think I’ll help them!” Or just the opposite? Are the ones who are attracted by it really the ones you want gathered around you?

    @ Sam: The “Krishna defense” doesn’t tend to hold up in court. What may be acceptable behavior for a god (such as sending an earthquake and tsunami to kill hundreds in Japan, supposedly in retaliation for slaughtering whales) tends to look like sociopathic derangement when practiced by humans. If some blue-skinned god ever asks me to slaughter thousands of people, I hope I have the presence of mind to hand the weapon back to him and say, “Here. You want ‘em killed? You pull the trigger! I don’t have the stomach for it today.”

    Please remember that humans are animals too. True, sometimes humans are less loving than the non-humans. Does that justify the bullet?

  4. You know Jeff, a little rage voiced or directed at those who kill animals is completely justified. Facebook's eternal fascination with statements about love are kind of bull aren't they?

    If you have seen 1/10th the barbarisms that I have seen directed towards animals, you might feel rage too and think of doing more than writing letters to the editor or sending $50 to PETA, or voting for a Congressman who wants larger cages for chickens before they are killed.

    There is so much bull in this love, love, love idealization in Facebook.

  5. Sam,

    "The intensity is where the mind stops" - spot on. Why only love intensely? Feel intensely is my practice these days. Whatever arises - rage, love, frustration, despair. Live intensely and become life itself.


  6. Thank you Janet, a passionate woman who knows all emotions are valid and acceptable, and that they are life affirming!

    The crossing point is action. What do we choose to do?

    So many times I have gone to the brink of true physical violence, but in going to that brink, I have stopped much violence against animals, including the City of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, or a man siccing his dog on 4 peacefully feeding cats.

    There is the example of the Sea Shepherds courageous fight against Japanese whaling, who have temporarily stopped whaling by aggressive actions against the whalers with no one injured.

    Or Greenpeace who constantly battle the Canadian government allowance of killing 40,000 baby seals a year. This is not done with just leaflets and phone calls to the government, but facing the sealers and being beaten bloody.

    Others I know dismantle or steal poison traps left out by cities to kill ground squirrels.

    Then there is Jimmy, for example, who feeds maybe now 60 cats a night on a bicycle who is constantly harassed by
    people who don't want him feeding cats even 50 ft from their houses. They call the police on him, threaten him and the cats with violence, but he persists, but he fears now the intensity is increasing and he may hurt someone.

    Who is it who said, "All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing"?

  7. Ed, you are right. I haven’t seen even a fraction of the mistreatment of animals you have seen. It must be extremely frustrating if you feel your efforts are not effective in bringing about the changes needed at a fast enough rate. And I agree there’s nothing wrong with a little well-directed rage. But is it only effective if you’re packing heat? I guess even Jesus got enraged when he threw the money lenders out of the temple, if you believe that story. Would there have been a more effective, long-term outcome if he’d killed a few of them?

    I don’t visit the kind of Facebook pages you mention, but they do seem pretty ridiculous. From my perspective though, their level of consciousness sounds much less distorted and dangerous than the YouTube link you posted. The video advocates and glorifies something much more than just taking aggressive action.

  8. Thank you Janet..
    Your words always speak so deeply to me...


  9. Love brings the sword as well. Righteous Anger stems from a sense of justice which universally is balance, and it all balances out, that's unavoidable. The sword of love cuts down ignorance. It can only be used by the skilled, the enlightened, the Aware. This does not come from a belief system, fundamentalism, or dogma. All you airy fairy spiritual wannabes playing make believe can go yell at the earth the next time it shakes violently.


  10. This is dualism-after so much cruelty here something delightful :


  11. Janet; you made me smile, tingle and ride the wave in the ocean of emotion.
    Nuff said

  12. Jeff,
    Your emotions rise and fall just like mine, you wacked me as hard as I wacked you in the gut and you reacted in just the same way as me when your button was pressed calling my beloved Krishna a blue-skinned god.
    Looking for a fight are ya? (joke).

    Please read what I wrote in a different light and you will see I said that the way to deal with cold-blooded animal killers is Empty Mind, stealth, surprise and excellent technique.

    When the mind is empty and emotionless it is a pure mirror and responds to circumstances beyond conditioned reactions, it is not violent or non-violent in that state, but it acts rightly according to circumstances.

    You have said to Edji – “Are violent people really what you want gathered around you?” Well they certainly are what I want gathered around me, along with every other conditioned entity, but only if they are into self-knowledge and self-realisation and have the guts and insight to take the hits that open the door to the ocean of emotion we all are immersed in and seek to mirror every aspect of it consciously, because anyone coming into this field has the guts and intelligence to want to change their conditioned emotional reactions, they consciously enter the Path to be centred in the midst of this human chaos.

    So-called loving people are as unbalanced as so-called unloving people, it all depends on the conditioning. Both are seeking the still point at the centre of the cyclone that is neither loving or non-loving and action from emptiness devoid of conditioned reactions.

    Blogging is an excellent method to trigger these conditioned reactions, because it pushes buttons and the primal force rises revealing exactly what is under the surface, then at least we have a base to have a real conversation about what love, self-knowledge, and self-realisation actually are, and if you don’t enter the arena it’s all one-sided superficial Zen bollocks

    In most Paths the only choices are suppression or indulgence.

    In the Warrior Path we cultivate, transform, redirect and use sexual energy, fight or flight energy, emotional energy, mind energy and the mysterious energy from sleep, rest, relaxation and meditation to attain centring.

    People who are violent, sexual, emotional etc need a method to harness those forces and if there is no method or no one to provide an unbiased method, then the same old action and reaction continues. On this Path we don’t discriminate between those who are loving and unloving, because centring is the goal.

    At least that forms a stable base for full realisation.
    Because I have mixed with the Baktis I have actually felt love arising in my heart and true remorse for all my conditioned violent behaviour rising and falling without reacting to any of it and that's down to people like Edji, Robert Adams, Ramana and Nisargadatta de la Maharaj.

    If they had discriminated between the loving and non-loving, a Path through this chaos would never have emerged for me and my kind.

    So for me bring it all on, none of it is the true me, I am the mirror that reflects it all and every time I take a hit in the emotions and really look this becomes more and more apparent.

    All the best Jeff thanks for the response it’s been centring.

    Before I go, here’s some Zen one-liners for you with love, blessings and in the best possible taste because you are such a good friend that if we were on a sinking ship together and there was only one life jacket... I'd miss you heaps and think of you often.

    The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

    Do not argue with a violent idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

    My mother never saw the irony in calling me a god dammed son of a bitch.

    Going to the temple doesn't make you religious any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

    We live in a society where the vigilante gets to your house before the police.

    In the Spirit of the Way

  13. Certainly bullet will not stop evil. I CAN ASSURE YOU.
    Maybe Love works in tender ways and takes much more time but it is better in the long run, because the evil itself melts, there is no one to respond to it. This I saw in my life and I guarantee that. Try it. It is free. This is so simple, child sees that. Unfortunately we don't. And movies... remember, that the ones who make movies wants you to think in certain ways. And it is quite comforting for those few who sees and works on this planet as a chess board.

    And even Krishna, did He really tell Arjuna to go fight? Please read correctly, He only corrected mistaken believes of Arjuna, Arjuna himself stepped into battle.

  14. I wish I'd known all this before. I can think of one particular example of my turning the other cheek, some years ago, when I was going through my Buddhist phase, that I now deeply regret.

    If I'd known then, there would be no karmic retribution in acting with an empty mind I would have given the little b@$t@rd who hit me something to meditate on.

  15. Yes, Krishna told Arjuna to go fight. It was his duty, and in fact, his enemies were already dead. Arjuna was faltering in his resolve to kill his kin, and Krisha told him that was his fate and his duty. Yes, he told Arjuna to kill.

  16. I am just as far away from being an airy fairy spiritual wannabe, as I am from being someone who would take shoot-to-kill orders from any god, no matter what color his skin is. I can’t decide which makes me feel less a part of this group: when the Bhaktis are in full praise mode, or when the other half are getting set to elevate Jim Jarmusch to sainthood. Maybe Consciousness is telling me to take a hike, I don’t know.

    What I do know is that to me it is creepy and deeply horrifying to find this video clip being touted as some sort of deep spiritual lesson. In my view, the thin veneer of spiritbabble tacked on to the end of it does nothing to raise it out of the muck of its genre, a long line of violent vengance films that allow viewers to vicariously indulge their bloodlust, and then step away with clean hands. Where others apparently see the emptiness of form demonstrated, I see second degree murder advocated as being “a spiritual warrior’s path”. As if having a sad face and a heavy heart every time you blow someone away makes it OK to do it over and over.

    A few months ago, Ed was wishing he could found a new kind of society, based on respect for life. Well, we don’t get there when inside we are still indulging this kind of stuff, raising it up as our spiritual path. I just don’t see it happening. I am not saying we must deny and suppress the dark stuff, but neither do we find freedom by indulging it to the point of murder.

  17. I can't help feeling we're all being cooked here.

  18. Jeff, get this: It is only a fucking movie! It is not real. The totality of existence is not real and you get stuck on this film clip and my one line statement. No bear was killed. No two men were killed. It was not a documentary, but your mind went spinning out of control.

    What, a blink, a wrong gesture, any little thing someone says can send you spiraling from your center.

    Your real job is finding you. You refused to meet me at this point and resist, resist, resist.

    You need to be fluid and meet others at the fucking movies.

    And, the movie had profound messages, some of the deepest Zen teachings, and you can only say it is a faulty vehicle. But the faultiness of the vehicle is what gives the messages power.

    If the messages came from a Zen master is one thing, but here the message comes from fake death you can't hear them, only complain about others hearing the messages you did not hear because you didn't like the fictional context.

  19. Dear Ed, maybe it is how you see, but please remember carefully never there was a part where Krishna says "Go kill".

    There is good example which some Swami gives:

    "Suppose someone is practising ekadasi fast and his friend arrives and says "But today is not ekadasi". So this person decides to eat and just before he is eating the friend returns and says "I am sorry, I was mistaken, today is ekadasi. So please dont eat". This friend is not commanding him to fast.

    Even so Sri Krishna is not suggesting that Arjuna should fight. He has just negated that his ideas were incorrect and therefore none of them have any stand in the light of wisdom. Therefore he reiterated his original decision."

    Whos decision it was to begin with? Yes. Arjunas. Sri Krishna only explained His nature with no intention to go kill whatsoever..

  20. What!!!??? They didn’t really kill the bear? Or the rednecks? Hey it’s OK Ed, no offense taken. Expressing your rage a little bit never hurt anyone, I know. By spiraling out of my center do you mean continuing to express a contrary viewpoint that nobody else will acknowledge as having even a shred of legitimacy? Maybe I’m guilty of that, although I’m experiencing a remarkable clarity about the issue, even if my point of view is not validated by anyone else. But both opinions of the film are just opinions, aren’t they? One thumb up, one thumb down. Siskel doesn’t have to say he loves it just because Ebert does.

    Regarding your reply to my previous posts, I was responding not only to the film itself, but to your having called it out as something worthy of everyone’s attention, and then making the casual reference to it as something to be done to those who mistreat animals.

    Look at it this way, and be honest with me. If someone put a video on YouTube in which Ghost Dog Warrior was killing cats instead of humans, and they even jokingly suggested it was a way to get rid of the feral cat population, would you think the suggestion was in any way appropriate, even as a joke? I think you would be outraged, and rightfully so. And likewise I responded to your casual remark.

    I know from my 25+ years of work in the commercial film business, that these film stories have enormous power to influence the minds and actions of those who immerse themselves in the worlds they construct. Not only that, but they’re largely made with the very intent of influencing the minds and actions of those who watch them. I didn’t tell anyone not to watch any particular film if they want to, I was just expressing my incredulity that a film like this could be held up as being anything worthy of emulating. As I have said now more times than anyone apparently wants to hear.

    By the way, to shut me up no one needs to pretend to agree with me. And yelling at me in print doesn’t seem to be that effective either. Just say, ”I understand what you mean.” Then I won’t try to find yet another way to explain what I’m trying to say.

  21. Edji I knew you would come in with the final Hit! Brilliant, just when the emotions are hurt and the mind is confused, the right delivery at exactly the right time

    Pure centring

    It’s a movie all of it and we are caught up in it good style, fighting over pictures on a screen, living and dying caught up in strong opposing forces, dreams, imagination and projection of right and wrong, love and hate no wonder the real is never discovered.

    There was real intensity over the last mails; mind and emotions swirling all over the place and suddenly boom the thunderbolt of awakening.

    Why am I reacting to words and thoughts, why am I writing Zen bollocks, it’s not real the conflict does not exist outside my own mind.

    Another Master stroke.

    It takes tremendous compassion,insight and precision to deliver hits that hurt and confuse and to take the stick for it, when all are miffed, but it’s well worth the internal struggle when it leads to clarity and emotional calm in the midst of this human chaos.

    Thanks Edji


  22. Jeff, taking a hike at this stage to me is mad, just as the whip is being raised, because the bull is strong and when you seize him it is a terrific struggle. His great will and power are apparently inexhaustible.

    He charges to the highest plateau far above the cloud-mists and into the deepest darkest valley and on an impenetrable ravine he stands defiant.

    The whip and rope are necessary, or he will stray off down some dusty road.

    By being well trained, he becomes naturally tame and gentle, unfettered, he obeys his Master, then whip, rope, person, and bull -- all merge in No-Thing.

    A distraught man approached the Zen Master.

    "Please, Master, I feel lost, desperate, in conflict.

    I don't know who I am.

    Please, show me my True Self!"

    But the Master just looked away without responding.

    The man began to plead and beg, but still the Master gave no reply.

    Finally giving up in frustration, the man turned to leave.

    At that moment the Master called out to him by name.

    Hey Jeff

    "Yes!" said the man spinning back

    "There It is!"

    Exclaimed the Master.

    It’s all a movie Jeff and when all comes to all, you can surely have my life jacket.


  23. Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verse 18: The physical body is perishable. But the embodied sould is indestructible, eternal and immeasurable. Therefore, do fight O bharata.

    Verse 32: Therefore O Partha, take advantage of this situation and fight.

    Verse 33: If you do not fight...you will lose your reputation and incur sin.

    And all the other verses are about killing. You kill the body, but the body is not the essential person.

    You are missing the entire point of the Gita by thinking it pacifistic. You and Jeff are missing the point of this blog, the Gita, and Advaita. All this is illusion and you want to make this illusion conflict free through love. But the illusion is conflict! You get free by getting before it in the I Am.

  24. I am not trying to be contrary just for the sake of stirring up an argument. I am trying to reconcile and resolve ideas you present that seemingly can’t exist together in one mind, but must if they are to be useful. I find I am exhausted by this effort.

    The map you have given me tells my left leg to go one way and my right leg to go the exact opposite way. I do not see how it is possible to walk a path like that.

    I am full of questions, but can’t put a single one into words that will ever bring a satisfying answer. So I guess there is more than one way to shut me up.

    I need to go away for awhile. Not stomping off in anger. I just need to close my eyes and rest.

  25. You are right, they cannot be reconciled in one mind. Such is the nature of paradox. You have to step out of your mind. Go beyond mind, either into the Void or into your heart or body. All three reject concepts. Only the mind lives by concepts.

  26. Jeff, I often feel stuck and confused, too. But, I'm slowly learning to stop using my mind to understand all this and just go within.

    It's not easy is it?

  27. Dear Ed,

    I know that this has nothing to do with Truth. This discussion happens in illusion.
    With Krishna example just wanted to express one thing, that what we see depends on the context.
    Because I don't want to kill therefore I will present any text to you in such a context...

    And please don't rage and don't kill :(.

    Just joking.
    Thank you.

  28. "Do you know what I see? I see that God alone has become everything. Men and animals are only frameworks covered with skin, and it is He who is moving through their heads and limbs. I see that it is God Himself who has become the block, the executioner, and the victim for the sacrifice." ...Ramakrishna

  29. The movie never stops but it is unreal.

  30. Hey hey Jeff J, have you seen the movie Peaceful Warrior? It kicks ass and contains all the lessons to be learned from this post without the use of the violence/action gimmick common to most stories. Stars Nick Nolte and some other ppl, pretty sure you can watch the whole thing in parts on youtube.