Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Taoism

I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any. - Lao Tzu

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. - Lao Tzu

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. - Lao Tzu

Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. - Lao Tzu

Because clarity and enlightenment are within your own nature, they are regained without moving an inch. - Lao Tzu

At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. - Lao Tzu

Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of nature. - Lao Tzu

If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you can give is that of your self-transformation. - Lao Tzu

Acting without design, occupying oneself without making a business of it, finding the great in what is small and the many in the few, repaying injury with kindness, effecting difficult things while they are easy, and managing great things in their beginnings: this is the method of Tao. - Lao Tzu

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Teachings of Buddha

The Four Sublime States

The Four Sublime States are Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity. The article is quite long. So, I will separate it into four parts.

First Sublime State – Love

Love, without desire to possess, knowing well that in the ultimate sense there is no possession and no possessor – this is highest love.

Love, without speaking and thinking of “I”, knowing well that this so-called “I” is a mere delusion.

Love, without selecting and excluding; knowing well that to do so means to create Love’s own contrasts: dislike, aversion, and hatred.

Love, embracing all beings: small and great, far and near, be it on earth, in the water, or in the air.

Love, that is a sublime nobility of heart and intellect which knows, understands and is ready to help.

Love, embracing impartially all sentient beings, and not only those who are useful, pleasing, or amusing to us.

Love, embracing all beings, be they noble minded or low-minded, good or evil. The noble and the good are embraced because Love is flowing to them spontaneously. The low and evil-minded are included because they are those who are most in need of Love. In many of them the seed of goodness may have died merely because warmth was lacking for its growth, because it perished from coldness in a loveless world.

Love, embracing all beings, knowing well that we all are fellow wayfarers through this round of existence – that we all are overcome by the same Law of Suffering.

Love, but not the sensuous fire that burns, scorches, and tortures; that inflicts more wounds than it cures flaring up now, at the next moment being extinguished, leaving behind more coldness and loneliness than there was felt before.

Rather Love that lies like a soft but firm hand on the ailing beings, ever unchanged in its sympathy, without wavering, unconcerned with any response it meets. Love that is comforting coolness to those who burn with the fire of suffering and passion; that is life-spending warmth to those abandoned in the cold desert of loneliness; to those who are shivering in the frost of a loveless world; to those whose hearts have become as if empty and dry by the repeated calls for help, by deepest despair.

Love, that is strength and gives strength, this is highest Love.

Love, which by the Enlightened One was named “The Liberation of the Heart”, “The most sublime beauty”, this is the highest Love.

And what is the highest manifestation of Love?
To show to the world the Path leading to the End of Suffering, the Path pointed out, trodden, and realized to perfection by Him, the Exalted One, the Buddha.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mindfulness 念

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will): being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). - James Baraz

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. This approach to life leads you to a state of inner peace and greater understanding. - Unknown

When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. Practice Mindfulness. - Unknown

Mindfulness means being a wake. It means knowing what you are doing. - Jon Kabat Zinn

In mindfulness, one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. - Unknown

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Timeless Transiency

Philosophers and mystics have realized for themselves that nothing is permanent or changeless except the law of change itself.

What is good? It is the opposite to what we consider to be bad. Can we describe or experience good without knowledge of its opposite condition? Try to realize any positive concept without consideration of its opposite! We cannot because of the law of duality, the manifestation of which is the operation of the law of change. It is the constant and permanent swing of the pendulum between positive and negative or the eternal opposites.

The law is timeless but its manifestation is transiency.

Once we have understood the law of change we can and should develop hope, aspiration, tolerance, and patience. Remember, nothing is, but everything is becoming. The severe tests and disappointments of today are actually the preparatory stages for our blissful and rewarding moments of tomorrow – if we realize and accept them as such today. The vast majority of us, lacking vision and perspective, resent and reject our negative cycles as being some undeserved punishment inflicted upon us. And so we prolong or intensify our unpleasant experiences unnecessarily. We, too, must change according to the law.

Admittedly, accepting the negative or ‘down’ side of life is not always easy. Probably it is intended to be thus, for the very unpleasantness of it give birth to hope and aspiration, visualization and planning to change conditions toward the positive cycle. We are never subjected to more of the negative conditions than we can withstand. Whenever physical suffering becomes more than the body and mind can tolerate, nature has provided us with blessed unconsciousness. When mental torment becomes unbearable, nature induces a psychological block to conceal the source of aggravation from our objective and reasoning mind.

Take comfort in the fact that there can be no positive unless there is a negative; there is no good, except as compared with evil. How can we recognize happiness unless we have experienced sadness? We reach or attain success from what? The pendulum must swing. The swinging is timeless; the extremes of the swing are transient.

In striving toward self-mastery we would do well to ponder upon certain basic and fundamental principles. Time is a man-made invention or concept. Certainly, it is a great convenience in regulating our lives so long as we do not permit time to control us. Time is relative to the situation in which we measure it. If we are waiting, it drags; if we are very busy, it races. Actually, it does neither except as we measure it against our activity.

In a similar manner we measure our happy and pleasurable moments in life as being very brief and our less happy, learning, and adjusting periods in life as being very long and tedious. They are neither except as we measure them and experience them. Our consolation is the inevitable law of change. Whatever conditions we experience – good or bad – life will change. With sufficient evolvement and accumulated wisdom we will realize that the duality of experience is all-beneficent in the long run

If we remember that the law of change functions in both directions we shall be able to maintain equilibrium and tranquillity in our lives. Realize that the positive and negative are simply two aspects of the same thing. Monotony would be a curse. The law of change blesses us with its timeless transiency.

Extracted from the article Times Transiency by Chris. R Warnken

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Compassion

Compassion is that species of affection which is excited either by the actual distress of its object, or by some impending calamity, which appears inevitable; it is a benevolent sorrow for the sufferings or approaching misery of another. - Charles Buck

Be kind to people whether they deserve your kindness or not. If your kindness reaches the deserving, good for you. If your kindness reaches the undeserving, take joy in your compassion. - James Fadiman

Compassion is a lifetime business. You can’t say something like, “I will have compassion on Monday, Thursdays and Fridays only. But for the rest, I will be cruel”. That is hypocrisy. - Israelmore Ayivor

Compassion is not just a feeling; it is a response to pain that is deeply rooted in wisdom. It is a commitment to alleviating suffering and the cause of suffering in all its forms. - Christina Feldman

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. - Thomas Merton

A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. - Steve Maraboli

Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory. - Aberjhani

Compassion is a mixed passion, composed of love and sorrow. - Noah Webster

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Art of Peace

So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lily, and has not tasted the sweetness of its honey, it hovers around the flower emitting the buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it noiselessly drinks the nectar. So long as a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of true faith; when he has tasted it, he becomes quiet and full of peace. - Sri Ramakrishna

Nowhere does there exist the one who is the cause of mental activity. And yet, since activity exists, how can you say that such activity does not arise? Since merely allowing thoughts to settle into their own conditions, without trying to modify them in any way, is sufficient, how can you say that you are not able to remain in a calm state? - (Padmasambhava)

Joy is an attitude; it is the presence of love – for self and others. It comes from a feeling of inner peace, the ability to give and receive, and appreciation of the self and others. It is a state of gratitude and compassion, a feeling of connection to your higher self. - Unknown

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the centre of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this centre is really everywhere, it is within each of us. - Black Elk

Peace comes within the soul of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its power. - Black Elk

Monday, September 11, 2017

Law of Attraction

What you feel about another person, what you think or say about another person, what you do to another person – you do to you. Give judgment and criticism and you give it to yourself. Give love and appreciation to another person or anything, and you give it to yourself. - Rhonda Byrne

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. - Northrup Christiane

Grateful souls focus on the happiness and abundance present in their lives and this in turn attracts more abundance and joy towards them. - Stephen Richards

Like attracts like. Whatever the conscious mind thinks and believes, the subconscious identically creates. - Brian Adams

Nothing can prevent your picture from coming into concrete form except the same power which gave it birth – yourself. - Genevieve Berhrend

The presence of an active, energetic, successful man, or set of men, in a place, will permeate the place with positive vibrations that will stimulate all who abide there. - William Walker Atkinson

The wonderful thing to understand here is that the energy that you radiate or send out attracts other situations, events, persons, etc. which are in harmony with your internal energy field. - Unknown

When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it. - Stephen Richards

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Buddhist Views on Change

Looking at life, we notice how it changes and how it continually moves between extremes and contrasts. We notice rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain; we experience honour and contempt, praise and blame; and we feel how our hearts respond to all that happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, fear and hope.

These mighty waves of emotion carry us up, fling us down, and no sooner we find some rest, then we are carried by the power of a new wave again. How can we expect a footing on the crest of waves? Where shall we erect the building of our life in the midst of this ever-restless ocean of existence?

This is a world where any little joy that is allotted to beings, is secured only after many disappointments, failure and defeats. This is a world where scanty joy grows amidst sickness, desperation and death. This is a world where beings who a short while ago were connected with us by sympathetic joy are at the next moment in want of our compassion. Such a world as this needs equanimity. This is the nature of the world where we live with our intimate friends and the next day they become our enemies to harm us.

The Buddha described the world as an unending flux of becoming. All is changeable, continuous transformation, ceaseless mutation, and a moving stream. Everything exists from moment to moment. Everything is a recurring rotation of coming into being and then passing out of existence. Everything is moving from birth to death. Life is a continuous movement of change towards death. The matter of material forms in which life does or does not express itself, are also a continuous movement or change towards decay.

This teaching of the impermanent nature of everything is one of the main pivots of Buddhism. Nothing on earth partakes of the character of absolute reality. That there will be no death of what is born is impossible. Whatever is subject to origination is subject also to destruction. Change is the very constituent of reality.

The world is a passing phenomenon. We all belong to the world of time. Every written word, every carved stone, every painted picture, the structure of civilization, every generation of man, vanishes away like the leaves and flowers of forgotten summers. What exists is changeable and what is not changeable does not exist.

- Unknown

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Mind

Control of the mind is the key to happiness. It is the kind of virtue and the force behind all true achievement. It is owing to lack of control that various conflicts arise in man’s mind. If he is to control them, he must learn not to give free rein to his longings and inclinations and should try to live a self-governed, pure and calm life. - K. Sri Dhammananda

It is in our own mind and not in exterior objects that we perceive most things; fools know scarcely anything because they are empty, and their heart is narrow; but great souls find in themselves a number of exterior things; they have no need to read or to travel or to listen or to work to discover the highest truths; they have only to delve into themselves and search, if we may say so, their own thoughts. - Luc de Clapiers

Our different existences are based on one subtle mind. The subtle mind is the holder of all good and bad karma. When we act/produce/react, it becomes a form of imprint on our mind which is the subtle mind. Actually, the main goal is to go deeper into our subtle mind. Meditate with the subtle mind, that is our goal. - Dagyab Rinpoche

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Spiritual

Somewhere along the line, we have to stop mistrusting. We have to let go of the suspicion and doubt, which are supposed to protect us but never work, and only end up hurting us even more than what they are supposed to defend us from. - Sogyal Rinpoche

Spend your brief moment according to nature's law, and serenely greet the journey's end as an olive falls when it is ripe, blessing the branch that bare it, and giving thanks to the tree that gave it life. - Marcus Aurelius

A spiritually optimistic point of view holds that the universe is woven out of a fabric of love. Everything that is happening is ultimately for the good if we're willing to face it head-on and use our adversities for soul growth. - Joan Borysenko

By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life. - Gary Zukav

Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other’s experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination. - A. R. Rahman

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Religion

Religion has treated knowledge sometimes as an enemy, sometimes as a hostage; often as a captive, and more often as a child: but knowledge has become of age; and religion must either renounce her acquaintance, or introduce her as a companion and respect her as a friend. - Charles Caleb Colton

Religion is a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. Religion's eleventh commandment is "Thou shalt not question." - Sigmund Freud

Religion is the organization of spirituality into something that became the hand maiden of conquerors. Nearly all religions were brought to people and imposed on people by conquerors, and used as the framework to control their minds. - John Henrik Clarke

It is hard for many people to give up the religion in which they were born; to admit that their fathers were utterly mistaken, and that the sacred records of their country are but collections of myths and fables. - Robert Green Ingersoll

Monday, September 4, 2017

Taoism

The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days. - Lao Tzu

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. - Lao Tzu

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. - Lao Tzu

Without stirring abroad, one can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window, one can see the way of heaven. The further one goes, the less one knows. - Lao Tzu

The career of a sage is of two kinds: He is either honoured by all in the world, like a flower waving its head, or else he disappears into the silent forest. - Lao Tzu

The highest truth cannot be put into words. Therefore, the greatest teacher has nothing to say. He simply gives himself in service, and never worries. - Lao Tzu

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. - Lao Tzu

One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others. - Lao Tzu

Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning and which permeates all heaven. - Lao Tzu

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. - Lao Tzu

No thought, no action, no movement, total stillness: only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and at last become one with heaven and earth. - Lao Tzu

If you have truly attained wholeness, everything will flock to you. - Lao Tzu

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Metta - Loving Kindness

Metta, in short, is somewhat like the affectionate attitude of mind that a good mother has towards her child while protecting him even at the risk of her own life. If you can cultivate such an attitude of mind towards all, breaking down all barriers of caste, colour, creed, sex, etc, then you have cultivated Metta in full. It is not of course easy for anyone to attain this high standard at once, unless one had such past experience in this ‘round of rebirth’ called Samsara. However, anyone can acquire this standard by following a graduated course of meditation and conscious application of the principle in everyday life.

The practice of Metta is the very essence of the Buddhist way of life. It is a positive quality of the mind which promotes an ethical attitude. The man, who attends to his fellow-beings the love and affection which a mother reserves for her only son, and says with conviction and feeling, “May all beings be happy,” finds no place in his mind for malice, jealously, envy or pettiness.

By the very practice of loving kindness, he becomes incapable of killing, stealing, lying slandering or using harsh language. Not only does he avoid doing harm to others whether by deed, word or thought, but also develops the tendency to engage himself in the task to make his neighbours happy, to help them in times of difficulty, to care for the sick and the old and to look after the welfare of the poor and the destitute.

He that practice Metta lives the sublime life. Free from malice and jealously, he looks upon all with equanimity.

Most outstanding characteristics of Metta are the absence of its opposites – hatred, anger, ill-will etc. They are two opposites that are inter-related in this manner, one reducing the other, or one’s presence causing the other’s absence. Therefore, the first step in the meditation of developing Metta is to reduce the opposite tendencies of hatred and ill-will.

According to the Buddha, war and peace begin in the minds of men. Therefore, most of His Teachings, if not all, are directed towards understanding, developing and controlling the mind, eventually leading to perfect purity of conduct, perfect peace of mind, and perfect wisdom. Metta is only one such method prescribed by the Buddha for the purpose of this mind culture. If you develop Metta, your attitude of mind will change for the better and that will in turn change your whole personality.

If you have adequate patience to continue this meditation regularly at least for a few minutes each day and maintain the consequent attitude of mind throughout your waking life, you will realize how happy and pleasant you are. This is the cumulative and collective benefit of practicing Metta.

Anyone who practices Metta even a few minutes a day or a short time, will be rewarded in proportion to the sustained effort and the sincerity of purpose. One need not wait long to see the result of such elementary practice. The meditator himself will feel the difference resulting from the presence of Metta as a dominant part of the content of his psychological field.

The Buddha urged that we love unconditionally – love that is non-possessive, non-seeking, unselfish love.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Bible

The Bible is historically inaccurate, factually incorrect, inconsistent, contradictory, unscientific and immoral. Therefore, no reasonable human being in this day and age should believe in it or live their life by it. - Unknown

Sometimes, the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of [another]. - Harper Lee

Friday, September 1, 2017

~ Mindfulness 念 ~

Pinched this from a page I am following on Facebook. I am sure they don’t mind.

The Chinese character 念 is composed of two parts, the top 今 meaning "now; this" and bottom 心 signifying "heart; mind."

Mindfulness is the quality and power of mind that is aware of what's happening — without judgment and without interference. It is like a mirror that simply reflects whatever comes before it. It serves us in the humblest ways, keeping us connected to brushing our teeth or having a cup of tea. It keeps us connected to the people around us, so that we're not simply rushing by them in the busyness of our lives.

We can start the practice of mindfulness meditation with the simple observation and feeling of each breath. Breathing in, we know we're breathing in; breathing out, we know we're breathing out. It's very simple, although not easy. After just a few breaths, we hop on trains of association, getting lost in plans, memories, judgments and fantasies.

This habit of wandering mind is very strong, even though our reveries are often not pleasant and sometimes not even true. As Mark Twain so aptly put it, "Some of the worst things in my life never happened." So we need to train our minds, coming back again and again to the breath, simply beginning again.

Slowly, though, our minds steady and we begin to experience some space of inner calm and peace. This environment of inner stillness makes possible a deeper investigation of our thoughts and emotions. What is a thought — that strange, ephemeral phenomenon that can so dominate our lives? When we look directly at a thought, we see that it is little more than nothing. Yet when it is unnoticed, it wields tremendous power.

Notice the difference between being lost in a thought and being mindful that we're thinking. Becoming aware of the thought is like waking up from a dream or coming out of a movie theater after being absorbed in the story. Through mindfulness, we gradually awaken from the movies of our minds.

- Joseph Goldstein

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Growth in Consciousness

It is only natural in our spiritual growth and development that we should pause from time to time in order to solidify the knowledge we have gained and assess our progress and its usefulness to ourselves and others. It is during these times that we can entertain doubts and reservations about the value and purpose of what we may have accomplished or the lack of progress we sometimes feel. Such pauses on the path are quite necessary. We cannot always be led by the hand to the highest attainment of life, but must assess our own inner strengths and weaknesses in order to begin a new spiral of progress toward a goal we cannot always see.

Inwardly, we know and realize how much lies before us and what necessary sacrifices we will have to make to achieve the goal of the spiritual life. And so we pause to gather strength before moving onward, sometimes in a new direction for a period, only to return later, refreshed and encouraged in the good work we seek to achieve.

Life is the great teacher. Much lies within us awaiting recognition and expression, but this unfoldment must come in its own time and in its own way. Progress on the path is not always straight and uneventful. It consists of those experiences we all need to unfold the best that lies within, and reveals those traits of character needing to be improved and molded to a new and finer expression through the trails of life – to the point where we may say that the qualities of our character are worthy of emulation by others.

Development on the mystical path does not come by leaps and bounds, but in the hourly and daily progress we make and by viewing our experiences from the wiser insights of a spiritual consciousness.

We are all more spiritual than we realize. If we persist in the path we have chosen we will receive the help and guidance we need from the cosmic forces on the inner side of life. We must accept that the help we need awaits our loving and determined appeal.

If we believe that we are progressing toward a more spiritual life, we must accept that service to others is paramount to that progress. We will have the inspiration and encouragement of those who have gone before us on this same path as well as feel the association of thousands of our fellow members who are treading this path along with us.

Never let yourself be daunted or feel despair; the inner life may mean sacrifice of some things you would like to have or achieve on the material plane, but the rewards of the spiritual life are so remarkable, so joyful and fulfilling, that no words can adequately describe their true beauty and significance. Therefore, be resolved that no matter what the trial or tribulation or how hard the task, however heavy the burden, you will persist to the next level in your personal evolution, for there is but one path for you and the higher powers are watching awaiting your arrival.

Our greatest progress made when we consciously build towards the higher levels of consciousness, and in so doing our state of awareness is more greatly expanded. Consciousness is developed step by step through our daily experiences, the trails and difficulties we experience provide the opportunity for our growth in consciousness. Our reactions to happy and pleasurable events also have a marked effect upon us depending upon how we react to them.

Accepting adversity gracefully, and not allowing our thoughts and emotions to become negative when faced with criticism and annoying events, builds a higher consciousness. It is when things go wrong or against our wishes that we face the opportunity to achieve a growth of our consciousness by closing the door on any negative thoughts and being determined to hold a positive and constructive outlook upon the events of our daily life.

Life is a challenge to think and do the best we know how when faced with any event, and how we succeed determines whether we have grown a little wiser in dealing positively with these difficult circumstances. Of course, many of life’s difficulties will soon disappear once our attitude towards them undergoes a change.

The focus of our attention must be adjusted if we experience many trails and problems each day, for when we see ourselves and others as spiritual beings and that the purpose of life is to grow in spiritual consciousness, we become aware that the events and experiences making up our daily life are the results of our past negative thoughts and actions. If we want a better, more enjoyable life, and happiness and contentment, then we must change the focus of our attention and strive to correct any negative thoughts before they happen to become an accepted part of our belief.

The spiritual life, one where our minds are drawn more to higher things and less to the mundane, will result in a growth of consciousness which will allow us to deal more successfully and efficiently with all our material affairs, making for greater happiness and success in whatever we undertake.

Source Unknown