The Contemplative Mood 

By Thich nu Minh Tam

In “The Contemplative Mood,” chapter 1 of “Invisible Harmony” written by Panikkar, I am really satisfied and agreed with the author’s opinions on two important points: The Heavens Above” (The Here versus the Elsewhere) and “The History Ahead” (The Now versus the Later).

Only these two points can reveal the exact and profound expression of Emptiness and Nirvana in Buddhism.Let’s read this meaningful short dialogue between a Hindu guru and his disciple in page 5 of this chapter:

-“Master, three years have I followed you: what have I found?”

-“Have you lost something?”

Is is very, very close to Zen Buddhism and the Christian Gospel: “Philip, he who sees me sees the Father God.”

We, ordinary people, always act for a sake of a reward in a heaven, in a salvation, or union with God or Brahma . . .Anything we do, anytime we pray, etc . . . we always wish and desire for something.We never do or pray, talk, love . . . without reason, without wish, without reward.With the hope of getting back something, we have transformed ourselves into materialistic slaves in order to satisfy our greedy sensual pleasures.The hidden craving is the most powerful energy that pushes us run and run restlessly.We forget to live and enjoy at the present time, we create an illusion of magnificient future and we build a castle of sand on the seashore.We cannot live Here and Now, we are not present at this wonderful moment of happiness. We lack the capacity to realize the truth.

The ego is always goal-oriented.It is always greedy, it is always grabbing.It is always searching for more and more and moreand more; it lives in the more. If you have money it wants to have more money ; if you have a house it wants to have a bigger house; if you have a woman it wants to have another beautiful woman, but it always wants more.The ego is constantly hungry.It lives in the future and in the past.In the past it lives as a hoarder – “I have this and this and this.”It gets a great satisfaction: “I have got something” – power, prestige, money.It gives a kind of reality to it.It gives the notion that, “When I have these things, I must be there.” And it lives in the future with the idea of more.It lives as memory and as desire.

What is a goal? A desire: “I have to reach there, I have to be that, I have to attain.”The ego does not, cannot live in the present, because the present is real and the ego is false – they never meet.The past is false, it is no more.Once it was, but when it was present, ego was not there.Once it has disappeared, is no longer existential, ego starts grabbing it, accumulating it.It grabs and accumulates dead things.The ego is a graveyard: it collects corpses, dead bones (Osho, Heart Sutra)

Or, it lives in the future.Again, the future is not yet – it is imagination, fantasy, dream.Ego can live with that, too, very easily; falsities go together perfectly well, smoothly well.Hence the insistence of being in the present, being Here and NowJust this moment . . . Ifwe are intelligent, we can simply see into it this very moment!Where is the ego?There is silence, and there is no past, and there is no future, only this moment . . .This moment and we are not.And there is immense silence, there is profound silence, within and without.And then there is no need to surrender because we know we are not.Knowing that we are not is Surrender, we are in One with God.