Wednesday, August 23, 2017


There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind, it is all a sham. - Anna Sewell

Your religious beliefs are not sacred or immune to criticism. They are beliefs in your head based on where you were born, how you were raised, and who influenced you. Simply having religious beliefs does not make them true or obligate others to respect them. So please, for everyone’s sake: wake up and educate yourself. - Unknown

Personally, I would not give a fig for any man’s religion whose horse, cat and dog do not feel its benefits. Life in any form is our perpetual responsibility. - S. Parkes Cadman

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Excerpts from "I Am That"

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves, the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds - never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. - Pema Chödrön

Monday, August 21, 2017


A drop of water has the tastes of the water of the seven seas: there is no need to experience all the ways of worldly life. The reflections of the moon on one thousand rivers are from the same moon: the mind must be full of light. - Hung Tzu Ch'eng

A sage knows by intuitive wisdom, not limited by what he sees and hears only. In the whole universe, there is nothing that is not me. - Zhang Dai

In the morning, hear the Way; in the evening, die content! - Confucius

Let not a man do what his sense of right bids him not to do, nor desire what it forbids him to desire. This is sufficient. - Mencius

Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term. Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time, becomes good at another time to somebody else. - Mencius

Taking the first footstep with a good thought, the second with a good word, and the third with a good deed, I entered paradise. - Zoroaster

When you are deluded and full of doubt, even a thousand books of scripture are not enough. When you have realized understanding, even one word is too much. - Fen-yang

To study The Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. - Dogen

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Noble Eightfold Path - The Middle Way

The Noble Eightfold Path is the Buddhist way of life that is intended for all people. This way of life is offered to all mankind without any distinction. If you understand the spirit of Buddhism correctly, you can surely follow and practise it while living the life of an ordinary man. It is certainly more praiseworthy and courageous to practise Buddhism living among fellow beings, helping them and offering service to them.

To recap, the Noble Eightfold Paths are: Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

Right View or Right Understanding requires the disciple to be equipped with correct ideas about the world and the significance of life. No superstitions or delusions should mislead him; he must follow neither any person nor anything unquestioningly, sheep-like baaing in chorus, but he should satisfy himself, as far as he can judge that the doctrines he professes and the deeds he performs are good, wise and therefore, conducive to happiness. He must make full and free enquiry regarding everything that is put before him, but suspend final judgment till he knows the full facts. He should look straight at the facts of existence, unflinchingly, unprejudiced and unafraid and realize the universality of suffering. The Buddhist is not required to accept anything on faith, unless he does so of his own free will.

Right Resolve or Right Thought is the determination to foster noble aspiration and endeavour, to renounce sensual pleasures, to be freed from malice and ill-will, from all desire to inflict pain for whatsoever cause, and to cultivate a temper of kindness and benevolence.

Right Speech is abstention from every kind of falsehood, from backbiting and slander, from rude malicious and abusive language, from foolish talk and unworthy chatter and gossip.

Right Action ensures that the disciple's conduct shall be peaceful, honourable and pure; that he shall, above all, abstain from injury to any living thing, from appropriating to himself that which is not willingly given by its owner and from carnal indulgence.

Right livelihood is the abandonment of wrong occupations and getting one's living only by right methods. Five occupations are specially mentioned as bad: those of trader in weapons of war, butcher, slave-dealer and purveyor of poisons.

Right Endeavour or Right Effort demands assiduous self-discipline, the prevention of evil states of mind from arising, and the suppression of evil states that have arisen. Good states of mind not yet arisen must be produced, well-established, developed and brought to perfection. It consists not merely in the suppression of evil but also in making all the good things in one to grow, acquiring new aloofness, fostering and increasing it.

Great stress is laid on Right Mindfulness whereby the disciple is mindful not only of his body in all its actions, such as eating and drinking, sleeping and waking, talking and being silent, but also in watchfulness over his mind. It amounts to complete self-mastery by full awareness of what we do and see, think and feel, and allows nothing to happen needlessly or mechanically, and controls not merely our conscious doings but even those activities of the mind in which we generally regard the mind as being just receptive and passive.

The eighth and the last is Right Concentration which leads to mental equipoise and balance. The disciple's body and mind become permeated with a feeling of purity and peace; he can focus his mind to one point and apply all his mental powers to such great matters as he may select or he may revel in the enjoyment of supernatural powers, such as recalling his past births, or clairvoyance or clairaudience. But, what is really important is that he now realized the full significance of the four truths, of sufferings, its cause, its cessation and the way thereto. He also realizes the origin of the three great evils of love and pleasure, desire for continued existence and ignorance. Thus, seeing and knowing, his heart is set free. The knowledge of this freedom fills him with joy. "Just as if in a mountain vastness there were to be a pool of water, clear, transparent and serene and a man standing on the bank with eyes to see should perceive therein the mussels and the shells and the gravels and the pebbles, and the shoals of fish as they move about in the water or live therein, even so the whole world and everything within it and the nature of life appears within the disciple's vision. He sees the truths and is full of serene joy, with intelligence alert and the conscious of freedom won and duty done."

It will be seen that the various divisions of the path are not mutually exclusive; also, that it involves discipline of great severity, sustained energy, prolonged endeavour and unwearied patience. Not everyone can undertake to cover the whole Path in a few, short, sharp strides.

The Buddha recognized the frailty of human nature and the differences that exist among men in temperament and capability. He, therefore, indicated in his teachings how each one can, according to his swill and power, follow the Path in graduated stages. Those who cannot lead the perfect life, can at least practise the common virtues, the common duties of the good man, follow conduct that would ensure him happy re-birth, realizing at least in glimpses, the vanity of worldliness and the advantages of abandoning the sensual desire.

The Noble Eightfold Path has certain features that deserve special mention. It is not a divine revelation, but a way, discovered after long search and experiment. The goal is to be reached by earnest and incessant activity: mere belief can achieve nothing, nor prayer or sacrifice.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Science doesn’t set out to refute religion; science sets out to discover what is true. Religion is collateral damage. - Unknown

Science is corrosive to religious belief. - Steven Weinberg

Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you. - Dara O’Briain

The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. - Nikola Tesla

Friday, August 18, 2017


The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some super-human accomplishment, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable, that is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form.

The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflict within and without becomes the norm...

Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death. However, Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence.

This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature. But don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still.

When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of "feeling-realization" is enlightenment...

- Eckart Tolle

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Converting Thought into Action

The conversion of intelligent thought into action is not an accidental or chance process. Such achievement comes only as the result of vigorous and sustained effort. Any thought, however rich in content and potential in design, must be supported by an active and purposeful endeavor in order to surpass the state of wishful thinking and find expression as a noble realization.

Inspiring thoughts are not the end product. Rather, they are only the means to an end, which end becomes the means to a more remote and advanced end in the infinite chain of human progress. Those noble images of the mind are only tools granted to us by the Cosmic for the purpose of erecting great edifices of moral and spiritual excellence.

Within themselves, our most inspiring thoughts and noblest ideals are not a sufficient cause of great human achievement. They provide the necessary pattern or blueprint for further active response. Many great and noble thoughts have been allowed to lie dormant and ineffective simply because they were not related to one’s will and supported by an ernest effort.

The surest way to convert a thought into action is to act while the thought is still fresh and vigorous. The longer we confine a thought or impression within limits of theory alone, and fail to give it volitional expression, the easier it becomes for us to live with that thought and, at the same time, hold it in utter disregard. That lofty thought or idea which came to us with such vibrant life and creative potency, when neglected, tends to withdraw from us and will find a more suitable channel for its release. Whoever ignores the opportunity to make thinking creative loses a measure of respect for both the thought he had and for himself.

Great thoughts are much like fruit. When ripe, they must be harvested. This principle of timely action has been recognized and emphasized by leading thinkers of all ages. While they have expressed this concept in different ways, the essence of what they said on the subject was the same. “Whatsoever thou resolves to do, do it quickly. Defer not till the evening what the morning may accomplish.”

The conversion of a thought into action involves personal commitment to all the implications of the process. The thought must be clearly visualized and appreciated. That thought must be supported by a dominant desire to see it materialized. Then, the dominant desire must be backed by a strong and determined will toward action. The whole enterprise will succeed in the exact measure in which the agent involved works in harmony with cosmic forces.

- Unknown

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action. - Daniel Goleman

The nature of compassion isn't coming to terms with your own suffering and applying it to others: It's knowing that other folks around you suffer and, no matter what happens to you, no matter how lucky or unlucky you are, they keep suffering. And if you can do something about that, then you do it, and you do it without whining or waving your own cross for the world to see. You do it because it's the right thing to do. - John Connolly

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors. - Andrew Boyd

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Law of Attraction

When you make a decision to look for positive aspects in the experience that is unfolding right now, you will create an expectation that will allow an immediate manifesting of evidence to support that Vibrational shift. In other words, the more you look for positive aspects of your current life, the more positive aspects will step forward to reveal themselves to you. - Abraham

Use whatever excuse you can to vibrate in harmony with those things you’ve been saying you want. And when you do, those things that are a vibrational equivalent flow into your experience in abundance. Not because you deserve it, not because you’ve earned it, but because it’s the natural consequence of the Law of Attraction. That which is like unto itself is drawn. - Abraham

If you’ve got somebody’s aspects in your experience that you don’t like, there’s only one reason they’re there. You keep evoking them with your attention to them. Without knowing about Law of Attraction, you have – through your old habit of observation – achieved vibrational harmony with the parts of them that you do not like, and you keep summoning those parts from them by your constant vibrational offering of them. - Abraham

It’s not your work to make anything happen. It’s your work to dream it and let it happen. Law of Attraction will make it happen. In your joy, you create something, and then you maintain your vibrational harmony with it, and the Universe must find a way to bring it about. That’s the promise of Law of Attraction. - Abraham

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Buddhist Views on Prayers

Buddhism gives full responsibility and dignity to man. It makes man his own master. According to Buddhism, no high being sits in judgment over his affairs and destiny.

The Buddha Himself has clearly expressed that neither the recital of holy scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring the real happiness of Nirvana.

In place of prayer, Buddhists practise meditation for mental culture and for spiritual development.

To have a healthy body and mind and to have peace in life, one must learn how to practise meditation.

When the mind is free from mental disturbances, it can see many things that other cannot see with their naked eyes.

If you practice meditation, you can learn to behave like a gentleman even though you are disturbed by others. Through meditation, you can learn how to relax the body and to calm the mind; you can learn to be tranquil and happy within.

The worship of the Buddha really means paying homage, veneration and devotion to Him and what He represents, and not to the stone or metal figure. Buddhists use the statue as a symbol and as an object of concentration to gain peace of mind. When Buddhists look upon the image of the Buddha, they put aside thoughts of strife and think only of peace, serenity, calmness and tranquillity. The statue enables the mind to recall this great man and inspires devotees to follow His example and instructions.

An understanding Buddhist does not ask favours from the image nor does he request forgiveness for evil deeds committed. An understanding Buddhist tries to control his mind, to follow the Buddha's advice, to get rid of worldly miseries and to find his salvation.

Buddhists do not see the Buddha image as a dead idol of wood or metal or clay. The image represents something vibrant to those who understand and are purified in thought, word and deed.

The Buddha images are nothing more than symbolic representations of His great qualities.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Belief, humble belief, is the foundation of all righteousness and the beginning of spiritual progression. It goes before good works, opens the door to an eternal store of heavenly truth, and charts the course to eternal life… Belief is the brilliant beacon that marks the course through the waves and woes of the world to that celestial harbor where rest and safety are found. - Bruce R. McConkie

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Mind

The supreme of all efforts is to subdue one’s mind. Be constantly aware of one’s mind because our mind is very unstable. Our mind is very gross and rough. When we are able to pacify and remove the delusions from our minds, our minds will become very flexible and peaceful. - Unknown

When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don't actually "become" a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a Buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being. - Sogyal Rinpoche

It’s all in your mind. Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life. If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted. If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten. If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind. - Unknown

Thursday, August 10, 2017


When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is also limitless. We say, "inner world" or "outer world" but actually, there is just one whole world. - Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

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

We are so at the mercy of our minds that even when we find that the spiritual teachings strike a chord inside us, and move us more than anything we have ever experienced, still we hold back, because of some deep-seated and inexplicable suspicion. - Unknown

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Religion, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves "right" and others "wrong" and thus define their identity through their enemies, the "others," the "nonbelievers" or "wrong believers" who not infrequently they saw themselves justified in killing. - Eckhart Tolle

Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! - George Carlin

Let us feed the hungry. House the homeless. End the wars. Give healthcare to the sick. Empower the weak. Stand up to the system and create a better world for all. Once we have accomplished this, then we can sit around and argue about religion. - Unknown

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Wisdom of Zengetsu

Zengetsu, a Chinese master of the T'ang dynasty, wrote the following advice for his pupils:

Living in the world yet not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the way of a true Zen student.

When witnessing the good action of another encourage yourself to follow his example. Hearing of the mistaken action of another, advise yourself not to emulate it.

Even though alone in a dark room, be as if you were facing a noble guest. Express your feelings, but become no more expressive than your true nature.

Poverty is your treasure. Never exchange it for an easy life.

A person may appear a fool and yet not be one. He may only be guarding his wisdom carefully.

Virtues are the fruit of self-discipline and do not drop from heaven of themselves as does rain or snow.

Modesty is the foundation of all virtues. Let your neighbors discover you before you make yourself known to them.

A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.

To a sincere student, every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame can move him.

Censure yourself, never another. Do not discuss right and wrong.

Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave immediate appreciation.

Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation."

Source: 101 Zen Stories, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Monday, August 7, 2017


Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centred by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. - Chuang Tzu

If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation. - Chuang Tzu

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man? - Chuang Tzu

The perfect man has no self; the spiritual man has no achievement; the sage has no name. - Chuang Tzu

The mind of wisdom is like a mirror. It grasps nothing. It expects nothing. It reflects, but does not hold. - Chuang Tzu

Thus, those who say they would have right without its correlate, wrong; or good government without its correlate, misrule, do not apprehend the great principles of the universe, nor the nature of all creation. - Chuang Tzu

Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light. So, when the faculties are empty, the heart is full of light. - Chuang Tzu

He who knows the activities of Nature lives according to Nature. - Chuang Tzu

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Four Noble Truths - Explained

The Buddha, after an early life of wealth and luxury, observed that all humanity suffered, and resolved to seek out the cause and the cure. He studied and put into practice for himself all the philosophies of the time, but realizing that none of them could provide an answer, he determined to find his own Enlightenment, and, seated under the Bodhi tree, he did so.

The Buddha’s approach to the problems of the world was not that of a saviour, or of a prophet, or of a philosopher, but that of a physician. First, he examines the patient, observing the symptoms of the sickness; then by analysing the symptoms, he diagnoses the cause of the sickness. Next, like any good physician, he explains to the patient that there is hope, and he tells of the nature of the cure. Finally, he gives the prescription and the course of the treatment which is to be followed.

These stages are set out in what all Buddhists known as the Four Noble Truths. They are called Noble because of the lofty, spiritual insight, and they are at the heart of the Buddha’s teaching.

In the first Noble Truth, the Buddha identified the basic cause of the problems of humanity as “Dukka”. This is the Pali word which the Buddha used. Now, because the full meaning of words cannot be directly translated from one language to another, it is necessary to explain the concept of ‘dukkha’ in some detail. In ordinary usage, ‘dukkha’ means suffering, pain, sorrow or misery. But in the First Noble Truth, representing what the Buddha saw in the world and in life, the word has a deeper and wider philosophical meaning. It includes the ideas of imperfection, impermanence and insubstantiality, and comprises also the corruptibility of all things living or inert, and their liability to disease, ageing and death.

‘Dukkha’ even involves happiness, whether those of family life, or of the senses, or even the higher pleasures of exalted spiritual states, not because they are suffering in the ordinary sense of the word, but because they are impermanent and liable to change.

Thus, in the First Noble Truth, the Buddha pointed to the factual existence of dukkha.

In the Second Noble Truth he showed its origin, which is “tanha”. The direct meaning of this is ‘thirst’, but it also includes desire, greed and craving. At one level, this means greed and craving for material things, sense pleasures, wealth and power. At a deeper level, it involves a desire for permanence, continuance and changelessness even in the face of the fact, shown in the First Noble Truth, that in reality nothing is changeless. According to the Buddha’s analysis, all troubles and strife in the world, from quarrels in families to wars between nations, arise out of this selfish ‘thirst’.

The third Noble Truth given to us by the Buddha is that we can achieve an end to “dukkha”, and that it is called “Nirvana”. Volumes have been written about ‘Nirvana’ in attempts to explain what it is. But the only reasonable reply to the question is that it can never be answered satisfactorily, because human language is too poor to express the nature of Absolute Truth, or Ultimate Reality, which is Nirvana. Parallel situations are to be found in all religions; Ultimates are not to be named, are inexpressible.

In one sense, there is ‘Nirvana’ when “dukkha” ceases, because of the ending of ‘tanha’. If this seems obscure, we may say that when wisdom is developed and cultivated according to the Fourth Noble Truth, (which we will take up later), the secret of life will be seen, the reality of things as they actually are. When that secret – one which in truth is blindingly obvious – is discovered, then all the forces feverishly producing the illusion of reality, and therefore the desire for it, are stilled. “Tanha” is like a mental disease, which is cured when the cause of the malady is discovered and seen by the patient.

One who has realized the Truth is truly happy. He is free from all complexes and obsessions and has perfect mental health. As he is free from selfish desire, hatred, ignorance, conceit, pride and all such “defilements”, to use the Buddhist term, such a person is pure and gentle, full of universal love, compassion, kindness, sympathy, understanding and tolerance.

The Fourth Noble Truth is that of the way leading to the cessation of “dukkha”. This is known as the ‘Middle Path’, because it avoids two extremes; on the one hand, the search for happiness through the pleasures of the senses, which is “low, common and unprofitable”, and, on the other hand, the search for happiness through self-mortification in various forms of asceticism, which is “painful and unworthy”. Having himself tried these two extremes and found them to be unproductive, the Buddha discovered through personal experience the Middle Path, which gives “vision and knowledge leading to calm, insight, enlightenment and Nirvana”. It is generally referred to as the Noble Eightfold Path, because it is composed of eight categories, namely, Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

The Buddha devoted 45 years of his life to his teaching, and nearly all of it deals in one way or another with this Noble Path.

My next post will be about The Noble Eightfold Path.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Food for Thought

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to critical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and your planet. - Dr. Sagan

Friday, August 4, 2017


Before anything else, we need a new age of Enlightenment. Our present political systems must relinquish their claims on truth, justice and freedom and have to replace them with the search for truth, justice, freedom and reason. - Friedrich Durrenmatt

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. - Morihei Ueshiba

It is never too late. Even if you are going to die tomorrow, keep yourself straight and clear and be a happy human being today. If you keep your situation happy day by day, you will eventually reach the greatest happiness of Enlightenment. - Unknown

To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment. - Eckhart Tolle

Borrowing knowledge of reality from all sources, taking the best from every study, Science of Mind brings together the highest enlightenment of the ages. - Ernest Holmes