Category Archives: The Hermit’s Den


The word soma stands for the corpse in Homer, and only later acquires the meaning of body. So the following verse is attributed to Euripides by Plato: “Who knows whether living is not being dead, while being dead is living?” Plato’s Socrates continues: “Perhaps we too are dead. I at least heard this from the wise men that now we are dead and that for us the body is a tomb” (soma estin hemin sema: Gorg. 492e-493a).In his Commentary on Plato’s Gorgias, Olympiodorus explains this as follows: read more

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Dark Night of the Unborn

Being a paraphrase of John’s Dark Night

In the Darkness of Night,
Enlightened with whisperings untold
-O’ Luminous Wonder-
Mind fled the charnel house unchecked,
My spirit at last cloaked in stillness. read more

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Tibetan Zen

From, Tibetan Zen, by Sam Van Schaik

A monk who waters the fields of the dharma path and does not grow the seeds of discriminating awareness within it—this is dharma practice. read more

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The Inner Science

Buddhadharma, which concerns our deepest inner nature, is called the inner science. This is the traditional name of what in the West is called Buddhism. The Tibetan expression rendered in Western languages as “Buddhism” is nangpa sangyepai cho. The last two terms taken together, sangyepai cho, refer to Buddhadharma, or the Dharma of awakening. “Dharma” in this context means “teaching,” and the word “Buddha” refers to the origin of these teachings-the historical Buddha-as well as to the spiritual realization he attained, or buddhahood. Nangpa means “inner” and emphasizes the fact that these teachings are concerned not so much with the physical body and the outer world as with the mind abiding there, since the teachings’ main purpose is to provide mental peace, well-being, and liberation. Buddhadharma is therefore the inner science, or the science of the interior, understood as the science of mind. read more

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On the Spirit of Awakening

Those who long to overcome the abundant miseries of mundane
existence, those who wish to dispel the adversities of
sentient beings, and those who yearn to experience a myriad
of joys should never forsake the Spirit of Awakening. read more

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The Essential Point

The Essential Point

The essential point in learning Zen is to make the roots deep and the stem firm. Twenty-four hours a day, be aware of where you are and what you do. read more

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The Destruction of Screens

The Destruction of  Screens:

A man who humbly enters on the path
Holds a begging bowl to help all beings
How can he crave for those sense data
Through which he falls into five passions?
He has rejected five desires
On which he now has turned his back.
Why should he then revive them
Like one who eats his vomit!
Hardship is caused by seeking objects of
Desire which are a source of dread when won;
When lost, they create grief and resentment, ‘
~ None of them ever can bring happiness~;
This is the trouble which desires confer.
The problem is to cast them all away
So that real bliss in dhyana-samadhi can be
Enjoyed whilst deception disappears for evermore… read more

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Songs of Renunciation

From the Songs of Milarepa (Dover Thrift Editions):

The way of the world is illusion:
I strive after true reality.
To be moved by earthly possessions is illusion :
I endeavour to rise above duality.
To be the world’s servant is illusion:
I wander in the mountains alone.
Wealth and possessions are illusion:
I renounce for the sake of the faith any I may have.
External things are illusion:
I contemplate the mind.
Distinctive thought is illusion:
I follow after sapience.
Conditional truth is illusion:
I dispose the absolute truth.
The printed book is illusion:
I meditate upon the counsels of the ear-whispered tradition.
Philosophical argument is illusion:
I study at length that which is unfeigned.
Both birth and death are illusion:
I contemplate the deathless truth.
Ordinary knowledge is illusion:
I exercise myself in wisdom.
The delight of mental thought is illusion:
I dwell in the state of reality.
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Muccalinda Sutta (Trans: Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu)

I have heard that on one occasion, the Blessed One was staying at Uruvelā on the bank of the Nerañjarā River at the root of the Muccalinda tree, newly
awakened. And on that occasion he sat for seven days in one session, sensitive to the bliss of release.
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From Tilopa’s Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa in Twenty Eight Verses; translated by Keith Dowman…

A little daily dose of Tilopa goes a long way… read more

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