Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wordship

In their efforts to impose universal worship, men have unsheathed their swords and killed one another. They have invented gods and challenged each other: "Discard your gods and worship mine or I will destroy both your gods and you!" - Fyodor Dostoevsky

I've begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, and a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to 'God' are all answered at about the same 50% rate. - George Carlin

The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. - Edward Gibbon

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tao Te Ching

  Tao Te Ching – The whole series - all 81 chapters of it.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Peace Through Buddhism

The Buddha taught the most deeply rooted, most perfectly developed ethical idealism there has ever been. Beneath the serenity of the Buddha image, underlying the Buddha’s calm reasoning with his followers and inspiring the simple and gentle ceremonies of practicing Buddhists there is a heart-stirring message of universal love. The sublime grandeur of the Buddha’s teaching may be gathered by such utterances as,

“Hatred never ends hatred – only love ends hatred.”

“Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered are unhappy.”

“One may conquer a thousand in battle, but the greatest victor is he who conquers himself.”

Each one of us has Buddha-nature, that is, the potentiality to enter Nirvana, and although we may not do so during our present lives, each of us can, if we choose, take a step towards it by first understanding, and then practicing the teachings of the Buddha. In doing so, we first find peace in ourselves, and then we spread it in ever-widening circles. Here, then is something we can do to make a positive contribution to peace.

Buddhists believe that the consequences of our actions are entirely our own responsibility. If our minds are pure, our thoughts will be pure. If our thoughts are pure our actions will be pure. A peaceful mind brings peaceful actions – and peaceful actions spread peace.

The Peaceful heart of Buddhism

Buddhism teaches that peace must begin in the mind of each and every man and woman. No amount of social and economic development will automatically bring about peace unless each and every one of us, purposefully and consciously directs his or her attitude of mind towards seeking the peaceful heart of Buddhism.

The attitudes of mind that can enable each one of us to make our own personal contributions to peace were taught by the Buddha and are known as the Four Sublimes States. They are:

Loving kindness
Compassion
Sympathetic Joy
Equanimity

They are known as Sublime States, because they are the right, or ideal way of conduct towards living beings. They provide, in fact the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peacemakers in social conflict, builders of harmonious communities and revivers of joy and hope.

If they are developed, by conduct and by meditation, they become the dominating influence in one’s mind. It is stressed that they are not only objects for meditation, but should also be the foundation for our conduct.

If our conduct is guided and inspired by the Four Sublime States, we will not only develop ourselves but will also make our contributions to peace, both by our own actions and by extending the virtues and spirit of the Four Sublime Truth.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Law of Attraction

Think of this random Universe where everything is possible. The organizational skills belong to Law and Attraction. If you will relax and allow Law of Attraction to do the organization and the managing, then you can spend your time doing the things that please you. - Abraham Hicks


Friday, January 19, 2018

Faith

Faith is irrelevant. One could have an infinite amount of faith, and it would still be the equivalent of nothing. - Unknown


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Moral Bigotry

Some of the greatest blood baths of mankind have been committed in the furtherance of religious faith. Though most of the declared sacred writings are opposed in their moral codes to the taking of life and advocate the brotherhood of man, hatred and intolerance yet prevail in the name of religion. Devout faith is often blind and even willfully closes the mind to historical fact.

Sacred books have been numerous through the ages; some preceded the Bible by centuries, and many still exist today. Yet some of the most renowned sacred personages never left any writings, as, for example, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed. There were no personally written accounts of their revelations or preachments. Some of their revelations were recorded centuries later by scribes who reduced the verbal accounts that had descended to writing.

The original revelations of such prophets were deemed sacred. Each prophet was considered to be a personal conveyor of a revelatory message that was proclaimed to be inspired by the transcendent, Supreme, Divine Being. However, the eventual written form of these messages, as history relates, suffered from the human interpretations of the original verbal accounts.

Many theological controversies arose as to what sections of these works would be accepted in conforming to the rituals and doctrines that the priests and theologians wished to promulgate. This confusion resulted in the schisms now existing in some of the sects today. Many followers of a faith will nevertheless accept the often-altered accounts of these sacred works as being the revealed word of God. They overlook the fact that, historically, various deletions have been made and that new constructions of meaning were inserted by quite human religionist councils of the past.

It is difficult to reconcile the divine transcendency and compassion of a God with the human attributes that members of religious sects have ascribed to Him. Man has often characterized his God, in various faiths, as jealous, as advocating retribution and even the destruction of the life of disbelievers. Even the human taint of envy and hate has found its way into these sacred tomes.

Intolerant attitude

The religionist may accept the monotheistic concept of a sole God, yet he too often cloaks this same God in a raiment of those limiting definitions established by the theology of his faith. This, however, results in a dichotomy with both commendable and detrimental aspects. It is commendable in that each man may create his God, not in essence but in the image he conceives or which he wants to believe. There cannot, of course, be a universally accepted concept of God, for the mental construct varies with the depth of understanding of the individual. However, the concept is detrimental when man’s individual image of God engenders intolerance; simply, the belief, held in all sincerity, that “the God I envision is the right one; all who think and believe differently are heretical and an affront to my God.”

This attitude of zeal for a religious concept which is believed to be the only true one results in adverse emotional and psychological reactions toward all others who do not subscribed to it. It inculcates a spirit of defiance against all the different promulgated religions. Such other adherents are condemned as ‘non-believers,’ that is, they lack the spirituality that can only be had by the followers of a certain particular faith.

At this point, bigotry and intolerance enter. These bigots expound that their moral precepts and particularly their interpretation of sacred writings should become the social standard of morality. They openly affirm that they are the “moral; majority,” which can be construed as meaning that those who do not think in conformity with their ideas are immoral!

Now, no one religion should have conferred upon it the right of purging moral decay according to its precepts and interpretation. The fact is that some of these fundamentalist sects, of which the “moral majority” is mostly composed, become so constrained in their thinking as to want to prohibit acts which are basically humanitarian.

Each human must find his own spiritual enlightenment. It must be intimate to him. It must represent the sublimity of his moral motivation and understanding. If one’s religious and spiritual beliefs do not obstruct the faith of others or are not detrimental to the welfare of society, and are tolerant of the worthy qualities in others, then no religion can advocate more beneficence for its followers than that. Certainly, such moral idealism and behaviour is worthy of any divine beneficence that may be bestowed upon man.

Extracted from the article Moral Bigotry

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Parables

One good anecdote is worth a volume of biography. - William Ellery Channing


Once upon a time a big monk and a little monk were travelling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn't cross the river. The big monk offered to carry her across the river on his back... The lady accepted. 

The little monk was shocked by the move of the big monk. 'How can big brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?' thought the little monk. But he kept quiet. The big monk carried the lady across the river and the small monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the big monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her. 

All along the way for several miles, the little monk was very unhappy with the act of the big monk.. He was making up all kinds of accusations about big monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the big monk had no inclination to explain his situation. 

Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the little monk could not stand it any further, he burst out angrily at the big monk. 'How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your teachings to me make you a big hypocrite '

The big monk looked surprised and said, 'I had put down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?' 

This very old Chinese Zen story reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, sometimes they cause us to be bitter or jealous. But like the little monk, we are not willing to let them go away. We keep on carrying the baggage of the 'pretty lady' with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause us a lot of agony. 

We should ‘let go of the pretty lady’ immediately after crossing the river, that is after the unpleasant event is over. This will immediately remove all our agonies. There is no need to be further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.

Want to read more inspirational, motivational and educational parables? Get a copy of Parables on Amazon or join Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, and read it for free.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Suffering - Quotes

Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself. - C. S. Lewis

Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state. - George Eliot

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. - Thich Nhat Hanh

People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer any more. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Nothing brings suffering as does the untamed, uncontrolled unattended and unrestrained heart. That heart brings suffering. - Gautama Buddha

It is not permanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent, when they are not. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Suffering is but another name for the teaching of experience, which is the parent of instruction and the schoolmaster of life. - Horatius

To be most fertile, the soil must first be torn up; and shall not thy soul accept suffering for the sake of better growth? - Ivan Panin

All suffering contorts the countenance so woefully that the pain flies to the beholder likewise. - James Vila Blake

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Can we find true security in the world?

In the desperate search for happiness, a person places his hopes and dreams on his family, friends, success in business, acquiring wealth and property, pleasure and beauty. Yet, does he get happiness from any of them?

Family and friends? While loving family and good friends can be a constant source of happiness, he cannot depend on them forever, someone he loves may pass away or leave him. If his love is centered on one person, the separation will cause him great sorrow.

Business? His business can go bankrupt. Someone he trusts may abscond with the money. A sudden change in the international political scene may destroy his factories and property overseas.

Money? The only reason people want money is because they think it can get them what they want. While money can ensure a comfortable life, it cannot guarantee happiness. Have you seen how some rich people live? They surround their homes with huge walls and gates. The doors are padlocked and all windows barred. They live in constant fear – fear of being robbed, of having their children kidnapped, of losing the wealth they have so painfully gathered, of relatives and friends who might take advantage, of being cheated when responsibilities are give to others.

Pleasure? For the moment, he is lost in a good show, fine music or a game, he thinks that is all he wants. The entertainment has to be better and more vigorous each time to maintain interest. After it is over, he cannot escape the feeling of boredom and the fruitlessness of these pleasures.

Beauty and Youth? While still young, he spends hours maintaining his looks to draw attention from everyone. But no one can remain young forever. Time will be his greatest enemy. The skin that is smooth and delicate will later be furrowed with wrinkles. Muscles that are agile will become weak. The body that responds to any whims of the mind becomes the home of sickness and pain.

There is no security in family, friends, money, position, youth and beauty. The short-lived pleasures are only brief interludes to pain and drudgery. There is no guarantee against failure and disappointments. There is no guarantee to perfect health. Not even the richest and most influential can buy true joy. In this, the man who owns an empire is equal to a pauper who lives in a lean-to shed. Both have their share of sorrow and disappointments. Both will fall sick, grow old and die.

Where do we learn to solve our sorrows?

Although frustration and sorrow are basic to human life, there is no school, college or university in the country which teaches us how to face problems.

It was Buddha who, so intimately concerned about human suffering, he renounced everything to seek a cure to these universal problems. He was concerned about problems facing you and me – our frustrations, our sufferings and our feelings of hopelessness.

What did the Buddha find?

In his enlightenment, the Buddha found that man suffers because of his wrong views. Being ignorant of the nature of things, he gets infatuated with them - his life, his ideas, his family, his property, his pride. Only after developing wisdom to see and experience the truth of all things will he be able to put an end to suffering.

The Buddha realized that the phenomena rise and fall away immediately. From the largest to the smallest, all are in the state of flux. On a clear night we see millions of twinkling stars. What we do not see are the clouds of gas coalescing into stars and galaxies, the myriad stars and planets in various stages of evolving and decaying, the planets circuiting in their solar systems. The smallest of things, the atom, is in constant flux with the electrons orbiting around its nucleus.

Our physical body replaces its old tissues with new cells. Our thoughts, impressions, perceptions, experiences, wants and desires are changing day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Toy guns and dolls which once made us happy are no longer satisfactory now. Our happiness is short lived. If we emerge top in an examination, the rejoicing will last at the most for a few days. Such happiness evaporates like the early mist in the morning sun.

Because of wrong views, man clings and desires for pleasurable things and avoids unpleasant things. Things which please the senses – fragrant smells, beautiful sights, pleasant sensations, delicious tastes, soothing sounds – he pursues for more. Unpleasant things are avoided. He dislikes people who hurt his ego and turns away from bores. He pursues someone who has captivated him and he tries to possess everything pleasing.

Man then builds his world on concepts which he calls “I”, and “Me” and “Mine”. He will say, “These are my wealth, my property, my children, my youth and beauty, my knowledge.” “Look here,” he shouts, “You are hurting my feelings. Don’t you know who I am?” He clings to things and tries to own them.

Does he realize that in reality none of these things belongs to him? No, when he dies, all his wealth and property pass on to others. There is nothing he can bring beyond the grave – not even his own body.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Spiritual

Your life is a process of self-realization. Your consciousness is rising to a new level. You are maturing away from rationalization, fear, resistance, escape, commitment-phobia, ego-death paranoia, profaning the sacred. Your movement is toward creativity, joy, contentment, transcendence, insight, harmony, beauty, compassion, bliss, and High Power. - Unknown

Nothing is isolated. We are each a uniquely evolving pattern of energy and information, born within a vast system of purposeful intelligence which we call Nature. If humanity.. is to maintain health and prosperity then we simply must regain a right relationship with Nature. And to do this requires, at least in part, that we begin to acknowledge the intelligence within Nature. - Simon G. Powell

Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. - Joseph Campbell

As we to learn to trust the Universe, we gradually let go of our attempts to control events and exert influence over the world. By cultivating peace in our minds we become less fearful, more forgiving and compassionate. As you release egoistic intentions your actions flow from a place of deeper love and wisdom. We then become beacons of light for others, not by will or persuasion, but by living joyfully in tune with the Way. In the words of Lao Tsu, "Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.” - Unknown

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

God

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. - Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rebirth

"Rebirth, which Buddhists do not regard as a mere theory but as a fact verifiable by evidence, forms a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, though its goal Nirvana is attainable in this life itself."


Associated with karma is rebirth. As long as karmic force exists there is rebirth, for beings are merely the visible manifestations of this invisible karmic force.

Life does not die at the body's death, nor do the consequence of a dead. Forms are created and destroyed; they come into being, secure their purpose and then die, but the life within knows no such limitations until it reaches its goal - Nirvana.

Death is the death of the body, and as the body comes into being it must one day die. Death is therefore a gateway to a different form of life; one which is strictly limited by the thoughts and acts of the individual.

Death is nothing but the temporary end of this temporary phenomenon. It is not the complete annihilation of this so-called being. The organic life has ceased, but the karmic force which hitherto actuated it has not been destroyed. As the karmic force remains entirely undisturbed by the disintegration of the fleeting body, the passing away of the present dying thought-moment only conditions a fresh consciousness in another birth.

It is karma, rooted in ignorance and craving that conditions rebirth. Past karma conditions the present birth; and present karma, in combination with past karma, conditions the future. The present is the off spring of the past and becomes in turn the parent of the future.

The cause of this karma is ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. Ignorance is therefore, the cause of birth and death; and its transmutation into knowingness is consequently their cessation.

The karmic law cannot be altered by the forgiveness of sins but must be overcome by doing more good and eradicating evil from the mind by your own efforts. Understanding of the law of karma leads to self- reliance.

"As a man, casting off worn-out garments, take the new ones, so the dweller in the body, casting off worn-out bodies entered into others that are new."

- Author Unknown