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Interview with non duality magazine. April 2011


Rodney Stevens


After decades of exploring numerous spiritual paths, Rodney read John Wheeler's classic, AWAKENING TO THE NATURAL STATE in the spring of 2007. After some brief email exchanges with John, Rodney recognized his own radiant and ever-present clarity. He works as a security officer in Columbia, South Carolina, and enjoys conversing with those who are vitally interested in self-knowledge and the abiding reality within all things

NDM:  In your book A Vastness All Around: Awakening to Your Natural State you say "Attending talks by someone who is established in his or her true nature can be problematic. He may not be an engaging speaker, he may possess an unusual accent, he may harbor a distracting personality, or he may have near-zero interest in speaking with others about his new-found clarity. Yet, more often than not, conversing with such persons is incredibly fruitful."
What is it about conversing with someone in their true nature that can be problematic?  Can you please give me examples of this?
Rodney: No immediate examples come to mind. And I'm not being critical of that avenue at all. In fact, it's probably the optimum way to go about all of this. What often happens though is that seekers will come with the expectation that the atmosphere will be overtly spiritual and that every other word that the teacher utters will be some sort of advaitic gemstone. And since that is not normally how things are at such talks and meetings, seekers are often a wee-bit disappointed. So they end up not giving their full attention to what the teacher is saying. And that's unfortunate, because when you're in the presence of someone for whom this is a living reality, every smile, emphasis, gesture, and pause is bursting with significance. There is no artifice with such persons, no attempts to impress, or to be spiritual. For presence naturally and quietly abounds in the vicinity of such a person--and yes, more so in some than others. Nonetheless, there is a definite stillness there.
NDM: You also say in your book, " Yet, awareness isn't a puzzle; there is nothing to figure out-- only to recognize. Then you will discover a spaciousness that has always been in attendance. You don't need a mantra (free or exorbitantly priced), a spiritual name, a month-long retreat, or an expensive flight to India. Further, Truth isn't hiding somewhere for you to discover it. It is right here, right now-- lustrous and in plain view."
 What are your thoughts on traditional Vedanta teachers that say that you need to have qualifications to pursue liberation. For example, Sri Sankaracharya says that the student must be equipped with the four means of salvation. Viveka, (discrimination),  Vairagya, (dispassion),  Mumukshutva, (intense longing for liberation), as well Shad-sampat,, Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtues of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana?
   Sri Sankaracharya  
Rodney: Discrimination, dispassion, earnestness, and the numerous virtues are all automatically there at the moment this understanding occurs. You see, when you are paused by a statement, a piece of music, a natural setting, a sound, or a pointer, all of the "four means of salvation" automatically occur. You don't have to first excel at each of those things, so that you can then qualify to seek self-knowledge. 

Also, Shankara--one of the greatest exponents and philosophers of advaita (nonduality)--had a penchant for giving full critical renderings of his numerous advaitic works. He could have been more selective in what he chose to include ( and to comment on); but for whatever reason, he wasn't. That being the case, you can't tell me--with what I know now--that Shankara actually believed that every single word of those ancient and often brilliant texts were valid. Maybe he simply wanted to pay homage to the works by including everything that was in them. Who knows?

NDM: When you say with "what I know now", Do you mean this regarding your knowledge of ancient scripture, or your personal knowledge, or modern day advaita or something else?

Do you not agree with the teachings in his Atma bodhiViveka Chudamani and so on? 

Rodney:I mean my personal knowledge, which, ultimately, isn't personal at all. And no, I haven't read Shankara's Atma Bodhi or Viveka ChudamAni. I was going to treat myself to purchasing them a couple of years ago when I wasn't able to view them on the Web because of the dated software in my iMac. I still haven't taken the time to check them out, though I now have a MacBook Pro which, of course, allows me to open practically any site.

NDM: What about the Upanishads and the Vedas, have you read these? 

Rodney: Sure, but my reading of them has been pretty scattered. There has never been any sustained effort at perusing them. But I have numerous related titles on my book shelf. They include Eliot Deutsch's The Essential Vedanta: A New Source Book of Advaita Vedanta, Arvind Sharma's The Experiential Dimension of Advaita Vedanta, and Anantanand Rambachan's commendable The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity. Alas, the books are all crammed with yellow stickers and highlighting.   

NDM: Have you read anything by Dennis Waite? He has a book on neo advaita versus Vedanta, entitled Enlightenment: The Path Through The Jungle.

James Swartz also has a book that touches on this, How to attain enlightenment.

Rodney: I haven't read Dennis's book. Nor have I gotten around to James Swartz's title. But I've had the pleasure of exchanging some very nice emails with both writers. Also, I did an essay (a few years ago) for Dennis that he published on his extensive and informative Web site.

NDM: The Sanskrit scripture, un-authored Upanishads are traditionally believed to be a direct revelation of the “cosmic sound of truth” heard by ancient Rishis who then translated what was heard into something understandable by humans.
Do you believe this is true and what are your thoughts on this? 
Rodney:  Well, all I can say about that is that it is far more likely to have happened than of someone becoming "enlightened" by meditation, chanting, or memorizing Sanskrit scriptures! And maybe that some of those magnificent Upanishadic authors--during some pause in their thinking or pondering--simply recognized their natural and immediate state. Truly, it can be that simple. This understanding doesn't require cosmic occurrences and fantastical beings. You are what you are at this very moment. To say that some event or intervention has to happen in order to imbue you with Presence or Liberation is complete nonsense.

NDM: So what about the question of Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtues of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana? Did you ever practice any of these sixfold virtues?

Rodney: If I did, I did so without my even thinking about it!

NDM: What do you see is the difference with so called "neo advaita" teachers and traditional Vedanta teachers

Rodney: You know, I hear that there are these various distinctions and all of that. But it really doesn't interest me. I have no idea who is in one camp, and who is in the other. And the categorizations have absolutely no bearing on what I say, do, or write. I simply speak from presence with as much clarity and directness as I possibly can. If I happen to belong to one group and not another--well, so be it. Besides, nonduality--by its very definition ("not two") is--beyond all spiritual groupings

NDM: What about the teaching and communication of this. Traditional Vedanta says that you have to belong to a SampradAya, a lineage of qualified teachers in order to teach this? That you need to be authorized to teach and have studied with a qualified teacher to fully understand the many subtle aspects of this. Learning original Sanskrit for one, knowing how to unfold the text in the right order, step by step and learning the scriptures by heart.  Knowing how to relay this knowledge.  How to do the practice, sadhana and so on.

They also say that the teaching tradition of Vedanta is as important as even its vision of oneness because the vision is solely dependent on the method of handling the words unfolding the vision. Being that Vedanta, according to shankara, is a word which means to bring one to this knowledge. And these words are in Sanskrit.

Rodney:  Which is more important, following a lineage of teachers or actual self-knowledge? The question is a no-brainer. Self-knowledge is infinitely preferable to indulging--for a life-time, no less!--in some practice and sadhana that lead to nothing, except a multitude of more experiences. And as I tell people in my talks, "You can't get Here (awareness) from there (practices and meditation)." It doesn't work that way. You have been thoroughly misinformed by banal books and fallacious teachers. But the good news is that your days of seeking can be over. It's merely a matter of recognizing the fact that you are already That which you are endeavoring to find. And that is good news, indeed.

NDM: You ask which is more important, practice or self-knowledge?  If you are going to dye a piece of cloth, do you not remove the stains first, so that when you dip it into the vat, the color shines clear and brilliantly. Or do you take the soiled rag and dip it anyway?

Isn't this is the purpose of the practice or do you believe that this can be circumvented? That this self knowledge will clean up the person's act after the fact. 

Ken Wilber has a pithy Zen like saying "a schmuck before enlightenment, a schmuck after enlightenment"?   

What are your thoughts on this?

Rodney: Yes, but you see, the stains are nothing permanent. The sky remains the sky, no matter what clouds, storms, or tornadoes arise. The essence of the sky is spaciousness, and that essence remains untouched. You, as a meditator, can't make the sky clearer; nor can you, as a meditator, polish yourself to such a degree that, at some point or the other, you become presence itself. There is no separation between you and awareness. You and the sky are one. Before anything is, you ARE! (Laughing) And yeah, Ken Wilber's "a schmuck before enlightenment, a schmuck after enlightenment" is so true. There are people who have clearly come to this understanding, but you still have no inclination to be around them!

NDM: What are your thoughts on this and his 4 instructions at the end?  
Question: In meditation, who meditates, the person or the witness?

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj: Meditation is a deliberate attempt to pierce into the higher states of consciousness and finally go beyond it. The art of meditation is the art of shifting the focus of attention to ever subtler levels, without losing one's grip on the levels left behind. In a way it is like having death under control. One begins with the lowest levels: social circumstances, customs and habits; physical surroundings, the posture and the breathing of the body, the senses, their sensations and perceptions; the mind, its thoughts and feelings; until the entire mechanism of personality is grasped and firmly held.
The final stage of meditation is reached when the sense of identity goes beyond the 'I-am-so-and-so', beyond 'so-I-am', beyond 'I-am-the-witness-only', beyond 'there-is', beyond all ideas into the impersonally personal pure being.
But you must be energetic when you take to meditation. It is definitely not a part-time occupation.  Limit your interests and activities to what is needed for you and your dependents' barest needs.  Save all your energies and time for breaking the wall your mind had built around you. Believe me, you will not regret.

Rodney: A lot of times, seekers came to Nisargadatta pleading for methods and mantras. They wanted to "do" something in order "attain"  enlightenment. Nisargadatta, as I understand it, would occasionally accommodate them. Then these seekers would go off, happy and pleased. But I'll wager quite a few returned to get a better feel for Nisargadatta's direct pointing, which he centered on and tirelessly spoke about.

NDM: How much did you meditate before this realization?  Was it 30 minutes, 1 hour, or more a day and for how long exactly?  Was this a consistent practice or was it sporadic?  


Rodney: I was definitely not a good meditator. The only time that I regularly did it was when I was doing TM, and I was then meditating for the requisite 20 minutes. That went on for several months. But I quickly saw that TM would be of no help to me at all. It was such an enormous waste of time and money. But it was my own doing. I wrote the check, and I made the choice. But some good came out of it too: I met many people who had at least a passing interest in self-knowing and deep spirituality.

NDM:  Have you read "Collision with the Infinite. The Life Beyond a Personal Self" by Susan Segal. She also practiced TM, then a year later, after she had stopped practicing, out of the blue had a massive awakening when stepping off a bus? 

Rodney: Yes, I read Susan Seagal's Collision with the Infinite many years ago. I still have the copy, as a matter of fact. She was into TM far greater than I was. But the book is absorbing, and it has some fine pointers, as well.

NDM:   In your book you write. "As the food is cooked, I wash the bowls and utensils to keep them from piling up. During breaks, I peruse her slew of magazines--Time, Vogue, Newsweek, The Economist, Women’s Health and my favorite, Entertainment Weekly (give me that over some stuffy Vedanta quarterly anytime)!"
What is it about Vedanta journals that do not appeal to your sensibilities? 
Why do you prefer to read Vogue, women's health or entertainment weekly, than reading Sanskrit, or 5,000 year old ancient texts about Brahman?  
Rodney: Well, I certainly enjoy Nonduality Highlights and Nonduality Magazine. I wouldn't have consented to this second interview if I didn't find NM to be informative and engaging. The Vedantic publications that I've come upon (and they have only been a handful) were convoluted and philosophically driven. None of the contributors or reviewers had a smidgen of understanding of who and what they were. And it couldn't have mattered less to these writers. But scholastic publications certainly have their place. I'm just not a fan. But then, one could also argue that such journals are far weightier thanVanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly. I would then want to clarify the term "weightier!" 

NDM: In your book you write" I was certainly enthralled by U.G's book. I didn't exactly know why at the time; for I couldn't make head-or-tails of what he was saying. Also, he often seemed fatalistic, telling questioners that there is absolutely "no hope for you!" 

What are your thoughts on U.G's teaching methods. Calling other teachers of enlightenment "holy hookers" and so on.  Using all sorts of profanity?  Do you think the use of profanity has a role in teaching or the the unfolding of this non dual message?


U.G Krishnamurti


Rodney: I get such a kick out of U.G. I read his books and have viewed most of his online videos, and I see exactly what he's saying and why he's saying it. Despite his often outlandish statements, he is so on the mark so much of the time. This is especially the case in the quote that I use from him at the beginning of my book: "It is so simple." I love those words, and they are utter gospel when it comes to nonduality. And I emphasize that simplicity in my own writing and speaking because it is going to be one of the first things that seekers realize when they discern their own natural state. A word more about U.G.: The only thing that feels odd to my ears is his profanity. But that's because I rarely use any. That's just my personality and up-bringing. My parents never used offensive language--at home or out. So swearing always sounds a bit strange to me.

NDM: John Wheeler seems to be hitting quite a few home runs with his books. I have had at least 4 or 5 others  who have told me that his books gave them clear understanding about aspects of this.  What is it about John Wheeler that seems to be having this sort of effect on others?

Rodney: John's talks and writings are so clear and detailed that seekers are very easily taken to the heart of things--which is their own remarkable selfs. Also, John's calm and easy manner foster a receptive and comfortable ambience. But the bottom line, of course, is that John speaks directly from presence. And anyone who does that is going to stand out, in terms of his or her clarity, pointing, and resonance. In a word, John Wheeler is one of the most significant sages of our time.

NDM: When you say "In a word, John Wheeler is one of the most significant sages of our time."

Do you make this assessment based on a personal opinion, experience, a relative comparison to some other modern advaita teachers who you feel are not significant sages? 


Rodney: I guess it comes under the category of "personal opinion." But I know it to be fact. And it would serve little purpose to list those who are not significant. But as I've said any number of times on my blog, you can't talk or write about nonduality without revealing the depth of your understanding. Either it's there, or it isn't. Either you've got it, or you don't. And the moment some of these writers and speakers who have appropriated the Nondual Banner open their mouths or pen a sentence, it's utter seriousness and spirituality to them, but pure comedy to me.
NDM: What do you mean by sage? Do you mean as in guru? 
Rodney: I don't use the word "guru" at all, because of its negative connotations, such as servitude, all-knowingness, and the "I'm Too Precious For This World" kind of nonsense. But "sage" is a perfectly fine term, and--in my mind--it is self-realized person who has had considerable experience in writing about nonduality and/or discussing it with others. They excel in at least one of the above, though a few sages are skilled at both.
NDM: Do you think that this common American/English language is clear enough to give someone more of an in-depth and precise understanding of Vedanta and nonduality?
Rodney: Absolutely. But a "precise understanding" only comes with the direct recognition of your natural state.

NDM: What does this Sanskrit word mithYa mean to you?

Rodney: I didn't know the word, so I had to look it up. It seems to refer to "illusion" and "the unreality of the world." Thoughts, objects, kisses, and supernovae all exist. But they exist in awareness and as awareness. In a word, "All is Brahman." Or "All is That." It really doesn't matter what label awareness is given.




NDM:  In your book you write" "Considerably. It is utter peace and spaciousness. At bottom, any form of practice
or meditation is divisive, given that it is based on the premise that you are somehow separate
from Truth. Why struggle to be “mindful” of your body and breath when your own ever-present radiance is directly before you? And who, exactly, is attempting to be mindful?"
Are you saying that you have attained a state of equanimity, at all times.  Just by 'knowing' that you are awareness?
Rodney: Yes, I'm saying that precisely. I still have feelings and emotions, thank God. It's just that they no longer define me.
NDM: What are your thoughts on the Zen tradition of meditation? That meditation is also considered a direct path, a short cut to knowledge, self realization?  Also the added benefits. Since it cultivates one pointed concentration,  insight, intuition, discernment,  equanimity, forbearance, mind and sense control.
For example many neo advaita teachers who invalidate and ridicule meditation tend to get their feathers easily ruffled, Get hot under the collar, angry like U.G for example?

Rodney: Meditation is the very opposite of a "direct path" or "a short cut to knowledge." Methods and meditation distract you from what cognitizing what is immediately within you. However, certain aspects of Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism can clearly and unerringly point you to your natural state. Hui Neng, Dogen, and Lao Tzu were master teachers and authors from each respective group. 

NDM: In an answer to a questioner, you mention a quote by Buddha.

You say "there is no "you" involved in any way. As Buddha said, events happen and deeds are done, "but there is no doer thereof."

You then say as to why not to practice mindfulness meditation and so on. 

However Buddha says there are seven factors of enlightenment.

  1. Mindfulness (sati)
  2. Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
  3. Energy (viriya)
  4. Rapture or happiness (piti)
  5. Calm (passaddhi)
  6. Concentration (samadhi)
  7. Equanimity (upekkha)
What are your thoughts on this?

Rodney: I have the greatest respect for Buddha. Some of words and discourses point directly to presence, while others do not. As for the "seven factors" above, they are all there-- simultaneously--at the moment of one's understanding. You do not have to separate them out and work at getting good at each one before self-knowing can occur. But if that is what you choose to believe or is the process in which you want to follow, go right ahead. You see, I have absolutely nothing invested in a seeker doing this or that. It does not matter to me in the least what a person does. If someone is bent on doing something that I know won't work, the most you will get from me is a sympathetic, "Well, good luck with that".

NDM: Ok. How about this. In the Nivarana Sutta of the Pali Canon, the Buddha said there are five hindrances to realizing enlightenment. These are (words in parentheses are in Pali):
  1. Sensual desire (kamacchanda)
  2. Ill will (vyapada)
  3. Sloth, torpor, or drowsiness (thina-middha)
  4. Restlessness and worry (uddhacca-kukkucca)
  5. Uncertainty or skepticism (vicikiccha)
He also says that the five hindrances can be overcome through mindfulness, and in particular mindfulness of the four frames of reference below
Mindfulness of body (kayasati).
  1. Mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanasati).
  2. Mindfulness of mind or mental processes (cittasati).
  3. Mindfulness of mental objects or qualities (dhammasati).
Do you believe that these 5 hindrances can be overcome by someone simply telling you that you are oneness in a satsang or over the internet in an email, or a book?
Rodney: Sure. If a seeker reads (in an email or book) that there are, in fact, no hindrances to what he or she already is, that person is apt to feel a great and immediate relief! And in the very respite, there is a peace that passes all understanding. This existing and undeniable spaciousness is what is being overlooked. There is nothing blocking or hindering you from seeing it. 

NDM: In traditional Vedanta, not neo advaita, they say that what is blocking one from also seeing this non dual truth besides the obvious lack of knowledge (Avidyā ) are also the three gunas and other factors.   The mind either being too rajasic, (too energetic) or too tamas (dull, negative, sluggish).  Not being sattvic. Meaning clear, lucid, bright.

For example, the Triguna are also mentioned in the discourse of Krishna to Arjuna upon the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the Bhagavad Gita. All three gunas are said to delude the World:
tribhirguamayairbhāvairebhi sarvamida jagat |
mohita nābhijānāti māmebhya paramavyayam || 7.13||
The World deluded by these Three Gunas does not know Me:
Who is beyond these Gunas and imperishable. (7.13)
Nisargadatta, (Sailor Bobs teacher) also speaks about this very clearly, but notice that some of his American disciples or teachers on non duality do not mention this.
Visitor: What remains then?
Nisargadatta Maharaj: What remains is the Original, which is unconditioned, without attributes, and without identity: that on which this temporary state of the consciousness and the three states and the three gunas have come and gone. It is called Parabrahman, the Absolute.
This is my basic teaching.

Then traditional Vedanta also says there are issues of habits, conditioning, deep psychic imprints and so on (Vasanas, samskaras).  In other words there are karmic aspects to this that do not meet the eye.

So in essence you could tell someone they are "non dual presence awareness" until they are blue in the face and they will never come to know this, unless they are "ripe", so to speak.  Or if they do realize this, it can be a lopsided realization, meaning half the picture.
What are your thoughts on this?

Rodney: Right, just so you point the seeker to the truth doesn't mean that he or she will see it. It may occur some while later, when the person is pondering what was said while having a cup of tea or going to the bathroom or gardening or walking along the beach. There is really no predicting it. It's more a matter of a pause occurring in one's thinking and activities, and of one's seeing the presence of awareness within that pause.

NDM: What about likes and dislikes? tendencies, proclivities, preferences?


Rodney: You still have the same tendencies, preferences, and proclivities after this understanding occurs. For whatever reason, one's personality isn't affected by this. In fact, one of the sure signs that a person is having an experience rather than true apperception is if he or she is blissful, ecstatic, or stuporous. Ditto with any kinds of visions or streams of energy running up and down one's body. They are all just experiences. Take a clear and easy look at the spaciousness in which all of that arises, and you will have your answer: Awareness itself.


NDM: This description in your book is so beautiful. Is this how it is all the time for you, moment to moment? Or does it come and go?

"My secret place is in one of the five gardens located in the rear
of the various buildings. Within the garden's firebrick walls,
there are, among other stately features, a snug greenhouse with
its opalescent exterior; dormant rose bushes and vines; cropped
crape myrtles flaunting their smooth, cinnamon trunks; and,
slightly to the rear of the space, a circular, softly-pruned
rosemary bush. I dip my hands into the rosemary’s leaves and
gently rub their evergreen fragility between my fingers. Several
seconds is all that is needed before my hands are pungent with
the herb's delicious aroma."

Rodney: Oh no, awareness is fully present all the time. If something comes and goes, it's an experience. Also, awareness is always the same: Bare, spacious, radiant (in its clarity), and brimming with peace. And thanks for your kind words about "Promenade." I've gotten lots of emails on how that essay resonates with readers.
NDM: There is a phrase that is often used in Buddhism, "Half way up the mountain", meaning that sometimes people on this path mistake their realization for enlightenment, when in reality it's not.
They get half way up and reach a plateau , look down at the others in the world and believe that's it.  In essence it's a partial, imbalanced realization. 
Mariana Caplan wrote a book all about this, Halfway-Up-Mountain-Premature-Enlightenment.
How would you know if someone were fully enlightened or not? What are the signs, symptoms of complete enlightenment/Self realization?
Rodney: It's pretty simple. Is the deep contentment and spaciousness always present? And is it ever the same? There are a few other things too. But those are the main points. 

NDM: So can you please elaborate on what these "few other things" are for readers who may be new to non duality?

 Rodney: There is also a lovely depth and stillness within the eyes.



Halfway Up The Mountain Premature Claims to Enlightenment

NDM: Can you please tell me about your book, Vastness All Around. How you got to write it?

Rodney: Vastness, it came about when I decided to gather the essays, pointers, and reviews from my blog to see if some publisher would be interested in it. I approached Nonduality Press, but they only wanted to do it as an e-book. Well, I said forget that. Then another nondual teacher that I know suggested I give Lulu Press a try. And that's how that came about. And let me say that it was indeed a challenge, because I had no experience with self-publishing, and neither am I all that computer saavy. Eventually, I got enormous help from Greg Banks, who, on his Web site (, notes that he is "The Self Published Author's Best Friend." And he is indeed just that. And then the brilliant Fiona Robertson, from Nottingham (UK), came aboard as my editor and proofreader. And it's because of them, really, that I was able to get the book completed. Note: Much to Fiona's horror, I ended up rewriting numerous selections for added clarification. Fiona was on to another project and didn't have time to do another edit.  So any omissions and grammatical "oddities" are entirely my own.

NDM: Why didn't you want to do it a an e-book?  Also can you tell me about the feedback so far on your book?  Any impact it has had?

Rodney: Good question. I happen to love books and grew up surrounded by them (my mother was a high school librarian). So for as long as I can remember, I knew that I would end up writing a book some day. I didn't know what it would be about, but I knew that it would be either poetry or nonfiction. And though I'm delighted that Vastness is available for both e-books and the Kindle, I also wanted the trade paperback available to readers so that they could easily afford it and flip-through it at their leisure. As for the feedback on Vastness, it has been very positive--even surprisingly so. I just wanted to do a "Fundamentals of" kind of book, because those are the ones I gravitated toward when I was growing up. I really didn't expect it to sale more than a few dozen copies. Then I started getting these emails on how Vastness was changing some people's lives and how inspirational the book was to various seekers. Then there was the subsequent rise in the number of copies sold. So I'm greatly moved by all outcomes.

NDM: Would you sum up your message as essentially saying that the good news is to call off the search, You are already the Self, no need to seek for it That this is all you need to do?

Rodney: Precisely. There is a subtle but sweeping equanimity within your everyday existence that is woefully being overlooked. Come back to presence, to the vastness whose splendor is unremitting. It's like the coolness of a white terrace by the sea. Even the shimmering horizon cannot encumber you. For as Dogen Zenji writes, "The Dharma vehicle is free and unhindered. What need can there be for the concentrated efforts of men?"

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