Archive for the ‘Right action’ Category

Zen as an art for family cohesion

Shinkansen - the Japanese Bullet Train

The passenger doors opened and the morning commuters stepped forward to board the train. Ticket in hand, Nanami entered the carriage and quickly found a comfortable seat. It was next to the window, her favorite place to sit when traveling by rail. She pulled open the window drapes, closed her eyes, and settled in for her morning Zazen meditation. The warm sun shined on her smooth and gentle face.

Today Nanami was taking a trip from Osaka to the city of Ashiya. That’s a distance of about 450 km (280 miles). It should only take about 1½ hours traveling on the bullet train (called Shinkansen). The sleek and aerodynamically designed transport could reach speeds near 300 km/hr.

Working for the Osaka National Museum of Art as a restoration specialist her talents were in high demand. After finishing her graduate degree in art restoration, she traveled to Italy for two years on a post doc, to study and work with the men and women renovating the Sistine Chapel.

Today Nanami was traveling to the Ashiya City Museum of Art and History with her bag of specialty tools, brushes, and uniquely crafted surgical implements. The City Museum already had the high powered microscope that she would need for the painting restoration. And if time permitted there was also a sculpture that needed desperate attention. For that Nanami had preordered calcium and magnesium hydroxide (brucite) and other plaster based restoration materials.

Although this would be another hectic day, Nanami planned her morning to make sure that she had time for meditation. Regularity of practice is very important. She made it part of her daily schedule. And although a quiet room is preferred, a little noise is not an impediment. One can meditate almost anywhere – even on the train.

After forty minutes of Zazen she felt relaxed and rested.

Nanami then reached back into her memory as the train glided forward on the tracks. She is now a different person. After twelve years of Zazen her attitude and appreciation of life has blossomed like the morning glory (Ipomoea flower) at sunrise.

How was it back then?

12 years ago:

Nanami learned Zazen at the local Buddhist temple.

Zen Temple

That same year Nanami was in turmoil as a family squabble with her sister’s marriage to an “outsider” caused a major rift. They all felt dishonored and their ideals betrayed. Her parents ostracized her sister Asuka from the family. Her pictures were all taken down and put away. No one spoke of her anymore. It’s as if she never existed.

Nanami felt forced to comply with her father’s demands (out of filial respect) to no longer have contact with her sister. It tore at her heart, but she reluctantly went along.

The final exams of her senior high school year were coming up. She felt tension and stress. Her family was counting on her to do well, as her exam grades would determine if/where she could enroll in college. She studied many hours but felt distracted as her mind constantly wondered about what the future would hold. Did she have a place in it? Where would she be? Married or single, happy or still sad?

With the economy in contraction her father Haruki worked longer and longer hours just to make the extra money needed for the family. His employer was also squeezing the work force as much as possible to get by with fewer people. So working a sixty hour week was normal. He looked the other way as people bribed the managers for favorable status.

8 years ago:

Nanami was dating Aki who was a fellow classmate at the Setsunan University at Osaka. She was attracted to his bright eyes, jet black hair, tender heart, and open mind.

The episode with her sister Asuka weighed heavily on her mind. She was cautious while her heart told her to go forward. Aki was an adherent of Shintoism. Although the beliefs of Shintoism were not in direct conflict with her family’s religious views, Nanami wanted to proceed carefully. And this was a case of young love, where the couple felt that any obstacle could be overcome. After all, love and life go together.

On February 11th as the country celebrated National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinenbi) Nanami snuck away and traveled to the city of Katsuragi to see her sister Asuka. There she lived with her husband Kiyo and their newborn baby boy Tatsu. Nanami was an Aunt.

They spent the day together taking tea and then an outing to the local zoo. They hugged, cried, and embraced each other. Nanami showered baby Tatsu with affection. They walked in the sun and reminisced about their childhood. Nanami promised to keep in touch with her sister. Nanami’s heart was melting as she continued to reach out in love. Mental barriers and rigid thinking were starting to fall away.

But her father Haruki maintained his stubbornness and refused to hear anything about his daughter Asuka’s family. Nanami kept the family silence.

Her mother Roko was now working three days a week at the corner florist. Nanami’s calm demeanor seemed to rub off on her mother. It had a soothing influence. One day Roko followed Nanami to the Buddhist Temple. After a few months she also learned the Zazen way.

That summer they went to Tenjin Beach on Lake Inawashiro for a family vacation. The first getaway the family had taken in ten years.

By chance Nanami ran into Yui while at the Dojima Rice Market. They had been together since grade school but separated a few years back because of jealousy and a misunderstanding. Both were now more grown up. They hugged each other. Yui couldn’t remember the incident that touched off their separation. The two friends spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on the twists and turns their lives had taken.

4 years ago:

That year Nanami’s college theater put on “The Moon Princess.” It’s the story of Princess Kaguyahime.

One day while walking through the forest a bamboo cutter named Taketori no Okina happened across a shining bamboo stalk. After examining it more closely he discovered a beautifully child inside of it. Taketori no Okina and his wife (played by Nanami) raised the child who quickly grew into an extraordinarily beauty women – Kaguyahime.

Among the multitude of adventures that Kaguyahime found herself in was pursuit by Mikado, the Emperor of Japan, to be his wife. Many escapades were experienced. At the end a heavenly entourage takes Kaguyahime back to the “Capital of the Moon” leaving her earthly foster parents in tears.

Nanami overcame years of shyness and lack of confidence in order to joyfully star in this play.

Roko defied her husband and went on a secret trip to Katsuragi to see her daughter Asuka.

Aki and Nanami were married in traditional fashion. The ceremony was held at a local Shinto shrine. Only immediate family members and close friends attended. Asuka, her husband Kiyo and son Tatsu were there. Haruki was not happy about that but did not make a scene, as he was determined to enjoy and celebrate the wedding of his youngest girl. At least they were in the same room together.

Nanami and her new husband were soon off to Italy. She accepted the appointment for work on the Sistine Chapel. Her husband Aki found a job with a local consulting company providing accounting and audit services. Nanami loved her work. She looked forward to every day. The time seemed to pass so quickly as she was caught up in the restoration project.

Although it often appeared that 24-hours were not enough to get accomplished what needed getting done, they both found time for morning and evening Zazen. They had made it a priority in their lives.

Today:

On today’s train ride Nanami smiled at the thought of her two year old daughter, Mizuki. She was a bit fussy this morning but would be OK.

The standing of her sister Asuka in the eyes of her father Haruki was improved. Although he still maintained that Asuka was banned from the family, his heart said otherwise. He secretly carried pictures of Asuka and her family in his wallet, and often looked upon them with pride and joy. But he had to keep up appearances otherwise his ego would be severely bruised. He just could not publically admit that he had made a mistake.

§§

Zen garden

There are reasons why each of us has been born. Search out those reasons and fulfill your destiny.

Life changes minute by minute.
It’s best to be opened minded and prepared to challenge old habits and thinking.
Growth is the process of overcoming (destruction) the current way for loftier goals.

Expand your horizons and reach for the Absolute.

The Self is and forever will be; consciousness aware of itself.
The timeless gives birth to time, and the ego is born.
From the ego the principle of mind emanates
From mind the world of cause and effect, light and dark, life and death, happiness and suffering play.

The underlying consciousness always is.
During deep sleep the ego persists
During waking our awareness shifts to the body and the external environment.
During sleep we repose once again with the ego

All that is has ever been
The kernel of the ego is eventually burnt in the flame of Self Realization.
Then through your breath and activity, the absolute timeless value of life witnesses the joy of creation.

Nanami and her family discovered the benefit of meditation. Regular daily practice is a key toward success. Day after day, month after month, awareness becomes clearer. Our connection to other people and the universe becomes more tangible.

Wake up from this dream of samsara, and realize the infinite beauty of life.

Posted by on August 7th, 2011 Comments Off on Zen as an art for family cohesion

Tales of avarice, deceit, and courage

Our journey through life takes us on many adventures.   Whether down a valley or over a hill, we all face multiple challenges and opportunities at each bend in the road.

Every person is unique.  We all reach for the summit but our paths to that place are many.  Not everyone travels the road from the South.  Some come from the East, or the West, or from the North.  Yet we all meet at the very center of Being.

The lessons we face are tailored to our specific needs, and therefore usher each one of us down a unique path.  One person may go through fiery trials to test and develop their belief in honesty; yet another person already has that quality without making sacrifice.

Our traditional evolutionary approach is to learn one lesson after another.  Learn from experience and through our mistakes.  Yet those who are on a path of meditation leap frog (jump over) individual lessons by gaining and imbibing the source of all lessons, eternal Being.

Here as some of the lessons that we learn by trial and error, through the hard knocks of life:

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The Goose with the Golden Eggs (Aesop’s Fable)

One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering.

When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him.  But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold.

Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs.  As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

“Greed oft o’er reaches itself”

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The Shipwrecked Impostor (Aesop’s Fable)

The shipwrecked Chimpanzee had been clinging for a long time to a slender spar, when a Dolphin came up and offered to carry him ashore.  This kind proposition was immediately accepted, and, as they moved along, the Chimp commenced to tell the Fish many marvelous tales, every one of them a bundle of falsehoods.

“Well, well, you are indeed an educated chap,” said the Dolphin in admiration.  “My schooling has been sadly neglected, as I went to sea when but a week old.”

Just then they entered a large bay, and the Dolphin, referring to it, said,  “I suppose you know Herring Roads?”  The chimp, taking this for the name of a fellow, and not wishing to appear ignorant, replied: “Do I know Rhodes? Well, I should almost think so!  He’s an old college chum of mine, and related to our family by-”

This was too much for the Dolphin, who immediately made a great leap, and then diving quickly, left the impostor in the air for an instant before he splashed back and disappeared.

“A liar deceives no one but himself.”

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The Bald Man and the Fly (Aesop’s Fable)

A FLY bit the bare head of a Bald Man who, endeavoring to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap.

Escaping, the Fly said mockingly, “You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the Prick of a tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult to injury?’  The Bald Man replied, “I can easily make peace with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt.  But you, an ill-favored and contemptible insect who delights in sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if I had incurred a heavier penalty.”

“Revenge will hurt the avenger”

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The Ant and the Chrysalis (Aesop’s Fable)

An Ant nimbly running about in the sunshine in search of food came across a Chrysalis that was very near its time of change.

The Chrysalis moved its tail, and thus attracted the attention of the Ant, who then saw for the first time that it was alive.  “Poor, pitiable animal!” cried the Ant disdainfully.  “What a sad fate is yours!  While I can run hither and thither, at my pleasure, and, if I wish, ascend the tallest tree, you lie imprisoned here in your shell, with power only to move a joint or two of your scaly tail.”

The Chrysalis heard all this, but did not try to make any reply.  A few days after, when the Ant passed that way again, nothing but the shell remained.  Wondering what had become of its contents, he felt himself suddenly shaded and fanned by the gorgeous wings of a beautiful Butterfly.

“Behold in me,” said the Butterfly, “your much-pitied friend! Boast now of your powers to run and climb as long as you can get me to listen.”  So saying, the Butterfly rose in the air, and, borne along and aloft on the summer breeze, was soon lost to the sight of the Ant forever.

“Appearances are deceptive.”

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Mercury and the Woodman (Aesop’s Fable)

A Woodman was felling a tree on the bank of a river, when his axe, glancing off the trunk, flew out of his hands and fell into the water.  As he stood by the water’s edge lamenting his loss, Mercury appeared and asked him the reason for his grief.  On learning what had happened, out of pity for his distress, Mercury dived into the river and, bringing up a golden axe, asked him if that was the one he had lost.

The Woodman replied that it was not, and Mercury then dived a second time, and, bringing up a silver axe, asked if that was his.  “No, that is not mine either,” said the Woodman.

Once more Mercury dived into the river, and brought up the missing axe.  The Woodman was overjoyed at recovering his property, and thanked his benefactor warmly; and the latter was so pleased with his honesty that he made him a present of the other two axes.

When the Woodman told the story to his companions, one of these was filled with envy of his good fortune and determined to try his luck for himself.  So he went and began to fell a tree at the edge of the river, and presently contrived to let his axe drop into the water.  Mercury appeared as before, and, on learning that his axe had fallen in, he dived and brought up a golden axe, as he had done on the previous occasion.  Without waiting to be asked whether it was his or not, the fellow cried,  “That’s mine, that’s mine,” and stretched out his hand eagerly for the prize: but Mercury was so disgusted at his dishonesty that he not only declined to give him the golden axe, but also refused to recover for him the one he had let fall into the stream.

“Honesty is the best policy.”

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The Boy and the Nettles (Aesop’s Fable)

A BOY was stung by a Nettle.  He ran home and told his Mother, saying, “Although it hurts me very much, I only touched it gently.”

“That was just why it stung you,” said his Mother.  “The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you.”

“Whatever you do, do with all your might.”

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The Crow and the Pitcher (Aesop’s Fable)

A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it.

He tried, and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair.  Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher.

At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him, and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.

“Little by little does the trick.”

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The Dove and the Ant (Aesop’s Fable)

An Ant, going to a river to drink, fell in, and was carried along in the stream.  A Dove pitied her condition, and threw into the river a small bough, by means of which the Ant gained the shore.  The Ant afterward, seeing a man with a fowling-piece aiming at the Dove, stung him in the foot sharply, and made him miss his aim, and so saved the Dove’s life.

“Little friends may prove great friends.”

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The Fox and the Hedgehog (Aesop’s Fable)

A FOX swimming across a rapid river was carried by the force of the current into a very deep ravine, where he lay for a long time very much bruised, sick, and unable to move.

A swarm of hungry blood-sucking flies settled upon him.  A Hedgehog, passing by, saw his anguish and inquired if he should drive away the flies that were tormenting him.  “By no means,” replied the Fox; “pray do not molest them.”  “How is this?’  said the Hedgehog; “do you not want to be rid of them?’  “No,” returned the Fox, “for these flies which you see are full of blood, and sting me but little, and if you rid me of these which are already satiated, others more hungry will come in their place, and will drink up all the blood I have left.”

“A needy thief steals more than one who enjoys plenty.”

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The Hares and the Frogs (Aesop’s Fable)

The Hares were so persecuted by the other beasts, they did not know where to go.  As soon as they saw a single animal approach them, off they used to run.

One day they saw a troop of wild Horses stampeding about, and in quite a panic all the Hares scuttled off to a lake hard by, determined to drown themselves rather than live in such a continual state of fear.  But just as they got near the bank of the lake, a troop of Frogs, frightened in their turn by the approach of the Hares scuttled off, and jumped into the water.

“Truly,” said one of the Hares, “things are not so bad as they seem:

“There is always someone worse off than yourself.”

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The Lion in Love (Aesop’s Fable)

A LION demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage.  The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his importunities.

He expressed his willingness to accept the Lion as the suitor of his daughter on one condition:  that he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off his claws, as his daughter was fearfully

afraid of both.

The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal.  But when the toothless, clawless Lion returned to repeat his request, the Woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, and drove him away into the forest.

“Even the wildest can be tamed by love.”

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The Old Woman and the Wine-Jar (Aesop’s Fable)

AN OLD WOMAN found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents.  She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards said,  “O most delicious! How nice must the Wine itself have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!”

“The memory of a good deed lives.”

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The Tortoise and the Hare (Aesop’s Fable)

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten,” said he, “when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.”

The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.”

“That is a good joke,” said the Hare; “I could dance round you all the way.”

“Keep your boasting till you’ve beaten,” answered the Tortoise. “Shall we race?”

So a course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise:

“Plodding wins the race.”

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Some folks need to learn the same lesson over and over again.  They may intellectually understand that their behavior needs to change, but they just can’t seem to muster the strength to do it.  That’s because their current level of consciousness does not truly imbibe the sought after quality.

You may have learned a lesson in honesty, and practice it daily without any thought or question, but yet when placed in a position of power and opportunity, you may weaken and fall prey to its lure.

An Auschwitz survivor once said, “if you really want to know about friends, spend one week with them in a locked room, with very little food and water.”  Those who you thought were your best friends may turn to basic survival instincts and do whatever it takes (i.e., greed and violence) to continue living.

All lessons are part and parcel of your physiology in the state of Enlightened.  Living life beyond the influence of the ego, your universal status radiates the highest values of human (and divine) thought.

Employ the principle of “The Highest First.”  If you want to capture the best human qualities: caring, detachment, discrimination, empathy, focus, forgiveness, humility, imagination, love, morality, optimism, persistence, self acceptance, sympathy, trust, etc…

… then capture consciousness, the source of all those qualities.  Through the unfoldment of consciousness you don’t have to go after each item one at a time.  You can jump over various lessons to gain the home of all lessons – pure consciousness.

The traditions of the world have outlined the valuable lessons that we each need to learn:

* The Seven Deadly Sins as identified by the Catholic Church – lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.
* Buddha’s Wheel of Life – highlights the result of delusion, desire and hatred.
* The Six Subtle Adversaries of Man – kaama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (intoxification), and maatsarya (jealousy).
* Hinduism – advises be without the three gunas; sattva, rajas and tamas.
* The Buddhist Three Marks of Existence are; impermanence, ego, and suffering.
* Mahatma Gandhi’s Seven Blunders of the World  – wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle.

Aesop

Years ago Aesop aptly outlined the core human values in his wonder fable stories. These truths are as relevant today as they were those many years past.

We all face obstacles to progress.  We act from our center of consciousness, whatever that may be.  Our world view is structured by our past experience, and the influence of family, society, religion, and Earthly environment.

The old state needs to be destroyed in order to give birth to a new view.   Meditate every day to step onto higher plateaus of knowledge, freedom and life.

Posted by on June 19th, 2011 Comments Off on Tales of avarice, deceit, and courage

It’s time to change your destiny

Chinese Temple in Maenam

Yuan Liaofan’s contemplation …

My father passed away when I was young. My mother persuaded me to learn medicine instead of studying and passing the imperial examinations because it would be a good way to support myself while helping others. Perhaps, I could even become famous through my medical skills; thus fulfilling my father’s aspiration for me.

One day, I met an elderly but distinguished looking gentleman at the Compassionate Cloud Temple. He had a long beard and the look of a sage. I immediately paid my respects to him. He told me: “You are destined to be a government official. Next year, you will attain the rank of Learned First Level Scholar. Why are you not studying for the examination?” I told him the reason.

I asked the elderly gentleman for his name and where he was from. He replied: “My family name is Kong and I am from Yunnan province. I have inherited a very sacred and accurate text on astrology and prediction. The text, written by Shaozi, is called the Imperial Standard of Governing the World. By my calculations, I am supposed to pass it on to you and teach you how to use it.”

I invited Mr. Kong to my home and told my mother about him. She said to treat him well. As we tested Mr. Kong’s ability at prediction, we found that he was always correct whether it was for big events or for minor everyday matters. I became convinced of what he had said and again began to think of studying for the examinations. I consulted my cousin who recommended Mr. Yu Haigu, who was teaching at the home of a friend, and became Mr. Yu’s student.

Mr. Kong then did some more calculations for me. He told me that as a scholar, I would be placed fourteenth in the county examination, seventy-first in the regional examination, and ninth in the provincial examination. The following year, I placed exactly where Mr. Kong had said for all three examinations.

I then asked him to make predictions for my entire life. Mr. Kong’s calculations showed that I would pass such and such a test in such and such a year, the year that I would become a civil scholar, and the year that I would receive a promotion to become an Imperial Scholar. And lastly, I would be appointed as a magistrate in Sichuan province.

After holding that position for three and a half years, I would then retire and return home. I would die at the age of fifty-three, on the 14th day of the eighth month between one to three o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, I would not have a son. I carefully recorded and remembered everything that he said.

The outcome of every examination turned out exactly as predicted.

(From A Commentary on Liaofan’s Four Lessons, Master Chin Kung)

Qinglong Green Dragon Temple

In philosophical circles a favorite discussion is free will verses predetermination.  Students often ask, “To what extent are we free to act in the world, but does it really matter because the future is already set in stone?”

Yuan Liaofan faced the same dilemma.  Was his life already mapped out for him, just waiting for him to go through the motions, or could he significantly change the course of action (by studying medicine) and thereby alter his destiny?

From a spiritual standpoint, when we speak of predetermination or destiny, we are referring to events/opportunities that will present themselves to us in this lifetime – based on our past actions.  These will come to us in due time.    

How we chose to respond to these events is our exercise of free will.

Our destiny is usually a “mixed bag,” of good, bad, or indifferent events.  We certainly want to celebrate and enjoy the good, while trying to change and improve on the bad.

The wise masters of China have given us the following recommendation for changing our destiny, toward a more rewarding and fulfilling life.    

Strategy for improving ones destiny:
Recognize good actions from bad actions
Acknowledge and correct our faults
Practice good deeds, and cultivate virtue and humility
Meditation every day (to purify mind and body)

Recognizing good actions from bad are not always that easy.  We certainly know that offering need and comfort to the sick is good, while causing suffering is bad.  But sometimes an action is not so clear cut.  It has been said that the affect of action on the universe is “unfathomable.”    

So a good rule of thumb is – action that contributes to growth and fuller expression of our eternal nature is good.  Recognize your personal habits (samskaras); enhance the positive ones and work to change the negative ones. 

Acknowledge and correct our faults to avoid the misfortunes yet to come, and thereby accumulate good fate. 

Change behavior, reasoning, and enhance the qualities of the heart.  Accomplish exemplary deeds.   Enhancing intrinsic qualities (love, goodness, and empathy) is within your control.

The Ten Good Deeds:

1. To support the practice of kindness.
2. To revere love and respect.
3. To help others succeed in practicing goodness.
4. To persuade others to practice kindness.
5. To help those in desperate need.
6. To develop public projects for the greater benefit of people.
7. To practice merits by giving wealth.   
8. To protect and maintain proper teachings.
9. To respect elders.
10. To love and cherish all living things.

One meditation changes your destiny for the better, and alters the trends of time for all mankind.  It accelerates personal growth, purifies the atmosphere, and lifts up all life.   

We each have a personal, family, cultural, national, and human destiny.

“Know that destiny is the result of one’s own action acquired in another bodily existence. Hence the wise man calls one’s effort superior. So even adverse destiny is vanquished by the heroic efforts of people exerting themselves in auspicious actions”
(Matsya Purana).

William Shakespeare has said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”

Taking action to improve our destiny is both advisable and admirable, but better yet is taking action to escape the field/influence of destiny itself (time, space and causation).

“The knots of the heart are broken, all doubts are cut asunder, and Karma and its effects cease
to exist when the Self is realized”
(Mundaka, II, 2, 9).

Self Realization is that sublime state of human existence (Being) where the field of temporal life has been completely transcended.  The SELF remains an unaffected “witness” to the activities of life. 

To change your destiny, live as though your past has been completely dissolved and your life is beginning today anew, starting with a clean slate.   Meditate every day to loosen the shackles of ignorance, and forge your own future.

Posted by on March 22nd, 2011 Comments Off on It’s time to change your destiny

Zen Wisdom

Buddha

How is it that we have come to practice meditation? What path did you take?

Here are some wonderful interviews, excerpts, stories, wisdom and inspirational writings …

Tami Simon: I wonder if you can start by going back in your life and talking to me about why you decided to become a monk, when you were a child, how old you were. And what was that inspiration?

Thich Nhat Hanh:
I was 9 when I saw a picture of the Buddha on the cover of a Buddhist magazine. I saw the Buddha sitting on the grass, like we do now, very peaceful, very solid. And I just wanted to be like him, someone like him, with some solidity and peace, because I saw around me people were not very happy, very relaxed. And it was not a decision. It was a kind of desire. And I saw that desire was in me, very clear, very strong. And it was watered by other events, like when I was twelve we climb together as a school to a mountain in the northern part of Vietnam for a picnic. I was excited because I knew that there was a hermit living in the mountain and a hermit is someone who practices in order to become like a Buddha, so I was very excited about meeting him. And when I arrived at the mountain, the hermit was not there. I was disappointed, but I discovered a well on the mountain where I drunk very refreshing water and I was a completely satisfied because of that water. And I thought it was the hermit who transformed himself into a well so that I can have private audience with him. And the fact that I drunk some of this water was very important to me, because during the time of drinking I had the idea that it must be the best water in the world. And if I think now more, I would say that the source of solidity, the source of peace and freedom, must be symbolized but that kind of water. And although I did not meet the hermit in person I had the impression that my desire to meet the hermit was fulfilled, and it transferred into my desire to become a monk. And at the age of 16 I was able to realize my dream to become a novice monk, and I had a very happy time being a novice. I think it is very important to be happy during the time you are a novice. If you can spend three or four years happily as a novice you will succeed in your life as a monk or as a nun. I always tell my students about this.

I was motivated in the very beginning to practice so that I have peace and joy and solidity in order to help other people. So Buddhism was already an engaged Buddhism at that time. You practice not only for yourself but you practice for people around you as well…

(The above transcript is courtesy of Insights at the Edge podcast, Sounds True.)

Other wonderful works from Zen Masters, found in the world’s literature…

Zen Master Huang Po:
Our original Buddha Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, and pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy, and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awaking to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all fullness utterly complete. There is naught beside. Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva’s progress toward Buddha hood, one by one, when at last in a single flash you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha Nature which has been with you all the time, and by all the foregoing stages you will have added to it nothing at all.

People always say that the outside states obstruct the mind, and phenomenon obstructs the principle. So they always wish to escape from the outside state to make their minds peaceful and to renounce phenomenon to protect the principle. They do not know that the mind obstructs phenomenon. Therefore, if you cause the mind to be empty, the outside states will be naturally empty, and you cause the principle to be calm, so phenomenon naturally will be calm. Do not use the mind in an upside down way.

§§

Zen Master Linji:
If you want to be free, get to know your real self. It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant. It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located. Therefore, when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more.

§§

Zen Master Taisen Deshimaru:
Do karma and fate mean the same thing?

Karma equal action. Action of our body, our consciousness, our speech. If I strike you with my fist, for example, that is karma, an action that becomes karma …

At a sesshin once, one of my disciples did not behave well – too much sex, too much drinking – and the day he left he had an accident in his car with a young lady. That time, karma returned to the surface quickly. Even little things reappear. Whatever we do with our body, speech or thought, very certainly karma is created.

When you are born you have karma: that of your forebears, your grandparents, for example. But karma can be changed, whereas fate is a constant.

If you practice zazen your karma changes completely, it becomes better.

§§

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh:
Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind, the element which reconciles our body and mind and which makes possible oneness of body and mind. Breath is aligned to both body and mind and it alone is the tool which can bring them both together, illuminating both and bringing both peace and calm.

§§

Zen Master Hakuun Yasutani:
Your mind can be compared to a mirror, which reflects everything that appears before it. From the time you begin to think, to feel, and to exert your will, shadows are cast upon you mind which distorts its reflection. This condition we call delusion, which is the fundamental sickness of human beings. The most serious effect of this sickness is that it creates a sense of duality, in consequence of which you postulate “I” and “not I.” The truth is that everything is One, and this of course not a numerical one. Falsely seeing oneself confronted by a world of separate existences, this is what creates antagonism, greed, and, inevitably, suffering. The purpose of zazen is to wipe away from the mind these shadows or defilements so that we can intimately experience our solidarity with all life. Love and compassion then naturally and spontaneously flow forth.

Between a supremely perfect Buddha and us, who are ordinary, there is no difference as to substance. This “substance” can be likened to water. One of the salient characteristics of water is its conformability: when put into a round vessel it becomes round, when put into a square vessel it becomes square. We have this same adaptability, but as we live bound and fettered through ignorance of our true nature, we have forfeited this freedom. To pursuit the metaphor, we can say that the mind of a Buddha is like water that is calm, deep, and crystal clear, and upon which the “moon of truth” reflects fully and perfectly. The mind of the ordinary man, on the other hand, is like murky water, constantly being churned by the gales of delusive though and no longer able to reflect the moon of truth. The moon nonetheless shines steadily upon the waves, but as the waters are roiled we are unable to see its reflection. Thus we lead lives that are frustrating and meaningless.

How can we fully illumine our life and personality with the moon of truth? We need first to purify this water, to calm the surging waves by halting the winds of discursive thought. In other words, we must empty our minds of what the Kegon (Avatamsaka) sutra call the “conceptual thought of man.” Most people place a high value on abstract thought, but Buddhism has clearly demonstrated that discriminative thinking lies at the root of delusion.

§§

Zen Master Bankei:
When you’re walking down a road, if you happen to encounter a crowd of people approaching from the opposite direction, none of you gives a thought to avoiding the others, yet you don’t run into one another. You aren’t pushed down or walked over. You thread your way through them by weaving this way and that, dodging and passing on, making no conscious decision in this, yet you’re able to continue along unhampered just the same. Now in the same way, the marvelous illumination of the unborn Buddha mind deals perfectly with every possible situation.

There was once a monk in my temple who had been dozing off. Another monk saw him and really laid into him with a stick. I reprimanded him: “Why hit him when he’s enjoying a pleasant nap? Do you think he leaves the Buddha mind and goes somewhere else when he sleeps?… If you stay awake, you stay awake. If you sleep, you sleep. When you sleep, you sleep in the same Buddha mind you were awake in. When you’re awake, you’re awake in the same Buddha mind you were sleeping in. You sleep in the Buddha mind while you sleep and are up and about in the Buddha mind while you’re up and about. That way, you always stay in the Buddha mind. You’re never apart from it for an instant.”

White Lotus

Zen Stories …

Nature’s Beauty:
A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master. One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.

When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. “Isn’t it beautiful,” he called out to the old master. “Yes,” replied the old man, “but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I’ll put it right for you.”

After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. “There,” said the old man, “you can put me back now.”

Moral of the story – Nature is more perfect than anything man can create. To disrupt that beauty for the sake of making something beautiful is an absurdity.

§§

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen:
Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, ” I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”

Moral of the story -The Master and the thief walked beneath the same moon but the thief could not know the peace that the master held inside him.

§§

Moving Mind:
Two men were arguing about a flag flapping in the wind. “It’s the wind that is really moving,” stated the first one. “No, it is the flag that is moving,” contended the second. A Zen master, who happened to be walking by, overheard the debate and interrupted them. “Neither the flag nor the wind is moving,” he said, “It is MIND that moves.”

Moral of the story – Nothing is as it seems.

§§

Without Fear:
During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived – everyone except the Zen master. Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn’t treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger. “You fool,” he shouted as he reached for his sword, “don’t you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!” But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved. “And do you realize,” the master replied calmly, “that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?”

Moral of the story – It takes a lot more strength and courage to be a non-violent person.

§§

Finding a Diamond on a Muddy Road:
Gudo was the emperor’s teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used to travel alone as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his way to Edo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he approached a little village named Takenaka. It was evening and a heavy rain was falling. Gudo was thoroughly wet. His straw sandals were in pieces. At a farmhouse near the village he noticed four or five pairs of sandals in the window and decided to buy some dry ones.

The woman who offered him the sandals, seeing how wet he was, invited him in to remain for the night at her home. Gudo accepted, thanking her. He entered and recited a sutra before the family shrine. He then was introduced to the woman’s mother, and to her children. Observing that the entire family was depressed, Gudo asked what was wrong.

“My husband is a gambler and a drunkard,” the housewife told him. “When he happens to win he drinks and becomes abusive. When he loses he borrows money from others. Sometimes when he becomes thoroughly drunk he does not come home at all. What can I do?”

I will help him,” said Gudo. “Here is some money. Get me a gallon of fine wine and something good to eat. Then you may retire. I will meditate before the shrine.”

When the man of the house returned about midnight, quite drunk, he bellowed: “Hey, wife, I am home. Have you something for me to eat?”

“I have something for you.” said Gudo. “I happened to get caught in the rain and your wife kindly asked me to remain here for the night. In return I have bought some wine and fish, so you might as well have them.”
The man was delighted. He drank the wine at once and laid himself down on the floor. Gudo sat in meditation beside him.

In the morning when the husband awoke he had forgotten about the previous night. “Who are you? Where do you come from?” he asked Gudo, who still was meditating.

“I am Gudo of Kyoto and I am going on to Edo,” replied the Zen master.

The man was utterly ashamed. He apologized profusely to the teacher of his emperor.

Gudo smiled. “Everything in this life is impermanent,” he explained. “Life is very brief. If you keep on gambling and drinking, you will have no time left to accomplish anything else, and you will cause your family to suffer too.”
The perception of the husband awoke as if from a dream. “You are right,” he declared. “How can I ever repay you for this wonderful teaching! Let me see you off and carry your things a little way.”

“If you wish,” assented Gudo.

The two started out. After they had gone three miles Gudo told him to return. “Just another five miles,” he begged Gudo. They continued on.

“You may return now,” suggested Gudo.

“After another ten miles,” the man replied.

“Return now,” said Gudo, when the ten miles had been passed.

“I am going to follow you all the rest of my life,” declared the man.

Modern Zen teachers in Japan spring from the lineage of a famous master who was the successor of Gudo. His name was Mu-nan, the man who never turned back.

§§

Egotism:
The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.
One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, “Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?” The master’s face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, “What kind of stupid question is that!?”

This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, “THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism.”

§§

Liberation:
A monk set off on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He devoted many years to his search until he finally reached the land where the Buddha was said to live. While crossing the river to this country, the monk looked around as the boatman rowed. He noticed something floating towards them. As it got closer, he realized that it was the corpse of a person. When it drifted so close that he could almost touch it, he suddenly recognized the dead body – it was his own! He lost all control and wailed at the sight of himself, still and lifeless, drifting along the river’s currents. That moment was the beginning of his liberation.

Apollo 8 Earthrise

Since every day on the Earth is a celebration of Buddha’s message, close the eyes and transcend to the unbounded bliss of the infinite splendor of life.

Posted by on December 11th, 2010 Comments Off on Zen Wisdom

The winner takes it all……or not?

The starting lineup for today’s baseball game was only slightly changed from last Monday. Akira would occupy the mound as pitcher, and Roka as catcher. Jiro, Makoto, Sachio and Torio would be in the infield with gloves waiting, and Yuki, Rei and Yoshiro would protect the outfield. The Tokyo Bears were about to start the last game of the Little League season.

Akira had been working hard to develop his curve ball. At first it had very little hop or curve to it, but after more advice from the coach and a lot more practice, it seems to be performing much better. Makoto’s batting was coming around, and Yuki’s in fielding improved considerably as he was now able to scoop up those fast ground balls and get it over to first base before the speedy batter. Rei figured out how to keep the sun out of his eyes when looking for a popup fly ball, and Yoshiro mastered catching the ball over his shoulders while on the run.

The day was sunny and filled with excitement. The boys had been together all year and became good friends. Today Rei would host the team for ice cream after the game, as it was now his turn. They looked forward to the game and reflected on the hard work that they had all put in.

Akira stepped out onto the pitchers mound and held his cap as the Japanese National Anthem was played. The umpire then shouted, “play ball,” and the crowd of spectators (mostly parents) all shouted for joy. As far as Akira and his team mates were concerned, regardless of win or lose, they were already winners, since they had given the game their all.

To some people winning is the only thing that matters. Standing with authority above others, or defending family and religious honor are deemed worthy of fighting for. But trying to place yourself above others provides only fleeting joy, reinforces the illusion of ego (self), and may be quickly replaced by jealousy as someone else better qualified comes onto the scene.

Meditation brings us ever closer to the “silent present”. In that thoughtless state of awareness we transcend the field of ignorance (Maya) and delight in every breath we take in pursuit of excellence in action. You are a winner as long as you are trying your best.

ABBA

ABBA is a vibrant and wonderfully creative Swedish pop music group (formed in Stockholm 1972). They have many top of the chart hits.

A collection of their works is presented in the movie “Mamma Mia,” released in 2008 by Universal Pictures featuring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, and other great talents.

Here are a few lines of lyrics from one of their hit songs that we can use for today’s discussion:

I don’t wanna talk
About the things we’ve gone through
Though it’s hurting me
Now it’s history
I’ve played all my cards
And that’s what you’ve done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play

The winner takes it all
The loser standing small
Beside the victory
That’s her destiny

The gods may throw a dice
Their minds as cold as ice
And someone way down here
Loses someone dear
The winner takes it all
The loser has to fall
It’s simple and it’s plain
Why should I complain.
…… and the song (The Winner Takes It All) continues.

Does the winner really take it all?

The world that we live in seems to be dominated by Young souls, and their egocentric view of life. A great emphasis is placed on immediate gratification, and the willingness to do almost anything to get ahead (be the winner). Having the most money, becoming the most famous, and being first in class are paramount. Viewing the competition as “weak” and sweeping them aside is accepted behavior.

But this type of conduct only leads to more suffering and a deeper entrenchment in the relativistic illusion of life.

Instead, the steps of progress are anchored in a growing awareness of the absolute and its integration into daily life. Moving onward toward Enlightenment our experience of inner silence becomes more profound. We can categorize that experience as four levels of Savikalpa Samadhi (non-permanent):

Infant soul – Focuses on eliminating the competition so that their own status is not contested.
Samadhi negligible

Baby soul – Winning by almost any means is acceptable.
Samadhi negligible

Young soul – Takes pride, identifies with the rich and famous, and works hard to be on top.
Vitsaranugat Samadhi – experience degrees of inner silence

Mature soul – Is always a winner, even before a contest starts, and does not need to get to the finish line first. Believes in honesty, is self actualized, and has a loving attitude.
Vitarkanugat Samadhi – experience deep silence
Anandanugat Samadhi – experience greater degrees of bliss and happiness

Old soul – Is indifferent to win or a loss; residing mostly in the field of the absolute.
Atmikanugat Samadhi – experience the sense “I am” pure consciousness

The nature of bliss cannot be expressed or described. It does not share in the duality of happiness and unhappiness. It is absolute in nature, eternal and ever joyful. It is there to be experienced by everyone, and is an all time reality in Enlightenment.

Eternal silent awareness is ever present, established outside the realm of past and future.

Our meditation practice (Sadhana) establishes these timeless values of life in our awareness.

We gain knowledge by leveraging critical thinking along with sensory perception. We utilize the Scientific Method to help unfold the truths of our world. But perception is not the total basis of knowledge because it depends upon our level of alertness (consciousness). The field of silent awareness (absolute) is the “home of all knowledge,” as consciousness itself is the fabric of reality.

The Scientific Method:
» Are techniques for investigating the world and acquiring new knowledge
» Is based on gathering observable, empirical, and measurable evidence (data)
» Subjects the evidence to reason and critical thought
» Formulates hypotheses along with verification/rejection based on the evidence
» Produces objectively verifiable results by anyone

The Sioux Chief Black Elk, referring to the Great Spirit says,
“I am blind and cannot see the things of this earth
But when the light shines from above it lights my heart
And I know that the eye of the heart sees everything.”

The Self is always the Self; it is never non-Self; but somehow (via Maya) it became identified with the body and with the whole objective field of life. So the ‘I’ got mixed up with ‘mine’; and when the ‘I’ awakens fully to its own identity, human life is experienced in fullness.

We are all winners. The paradigm has changed. The yardstick for measuring who is a winner has now expanded to include everyone, as long as they give life their all. Men, women and children can function in the clear rays of light and rejoice in the play of creation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, “Within us is the soul of the whole; the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One. When it breaks through our intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through our will, it is virtue, when it flows through our affections, it is love”

Meditation is a key for unlocking our full potential. Spend a few minutes each day to open awareness to the timeless. Neglecting this opportunity in life is like “selling a diamond for the price of spinach.”

Posted by on December 2nd, 2010 Comments Off on The winner takes it all……or not?

Every cloud has a silver lining

Manuel grabbed his books, gave Angelina a kiss and headed out the door for his first day at the Juárez instituto de tecnología. This was a long time coming; born of dreams, fallen hopes, a broken heart and a shattered will. But he mustered his strength from within on this special day and continued forward.

That was not always so. Just three months ago Manuel’s life seemed to come crashing down. He was working at the marble quarry and was not very happy with his job. He was there because he followed his father’s footsteps. His father Rafael worked at the quarry as a stone cutter; using jackhammer, sledgehammer, wedge, and dynamite to rough out the stone walls into smaller manageable pieces. Rafael worked at the quarry for almost 36 years; supported his family, went to church regularly, and was a descent caring person.

But his son had other dreams. He wanted to be an engineer. He wanted to build earth moving machinery and other large vehicles. But the economy took a downturn and his working hours were cut back significantly, and then he was eventually laid off.

For a long time before that he wanted to quit his job and pursue an engineering degree, but was held back by fear of an uncertain future. He even prayed for guidance to help lead him down another path, hopefully to the university. But when he got laid off along with 26 other men at the quarry his mind tumbled into depression. His world had come to an end. But then Angelina reminded him that he was praying for another path, and that he wasn’t able to take the first step on his own. So why was he now in despair when fate intervened to free him?

There is a famous Victorian age saying, “every cloud has a silver lining.” Even a bad situation has some good aspect to it. No matter how bleak or dark the circumstances, be encouraged that there is a way forward to growth and happiness.

The phrase “silver lining” was first put forward by John Milton in his literary piece, “A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle,” in 1634.

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

Milton’s cloud with the silver lining gained notoriety within other literary circles, and in 1840 Victoria England Katty Macane wrote (in Dublin Magazine, Volume 1):

“There’s a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it.” And in 1849 it was written as, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

We all experience times in life when there seem to be no solutions for moving ahead. Mired in problems and distraught where do we turn?

But on those occasions we need to be reminded that our situation is fictitious – a product of mind. It has no real basis or foundation. The dance of creation is perceived as consisting of a past, present, and future. The three qualities of nature (gunas: creation, preservation, and destruction) when out of balance conspire to fill a clouded mind with visions of dread, and a heart with emotional separateness.

In reality there is only the eternal present. Meditate every day to establish that bedrock foundation for your life.

Our experience of hopelessness is based in the mind, due to lack of full development. Through continued meditation the mind gains strength and is no longer buffeted and overturned by the vicissitudes of apparent life. It’s strictly a matter of your personal level of consciousness.

It is said in the Bhagavad Gita:

“The turbulent senses forcibly carry away the mind even of a discerning man who endeavors to control them.”

“He who’s mind is unshaken in the midst of sorrows, who amongst pleasures is free from longing, from whom attachment, fear and anger have departed, he is said to be a sage of steady intellect.”

Every cloud has a silver lining. All bad things have an element of good in them. Growth is a personal matter and comes from within. Life takes us into uncharted waters, to experience what we have not seen before. But stand tall and brave the headwinds established in the bedrock of absolute bliss consciousness.

Manuel’s job loss propelled him to take the necessary steps forward to realize his goals. How are you addressing your dreams?

Others have said:

Albert Einstein, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

John Maxwell, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

Mark Victor Hansen, “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “He who moves not forward, goes backward”

George Eliot, “The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.”

Pearl S. Buck, “Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.”

§§§

Nature has a vested interest in you.

Nature promotes growth and expansion of awareness. That is its purpose; to unfold the infinite value of the absolute within the finite (human ego) relative value of life. When our actions are in harmony with nature, the three gunas are balanced in our personal constitution and life is lived in happiness.

The influence of action and its resulting consequence (karma) is unfathomable. Just as a pebble tossed into a pond starts with a small ripple that expands outward, so to human action emanates to influence all of creation. Participate in activity that promotes growth, education and understanding.

We have said that “the world is as you are.” Maybe that sounds trite and does not seem to be supported by your life experience; never the less meditation shows us that other states of consciousness are available to human beings. When we are in a valley we don’t see great distances in any direction. But from the mountain top all of the landscape below and the sky above is plainly visible. So to as human consciousness expands (Enlightenment, CG and UC) our appreciation/perception of the world becomes enhanced and we are lifted out of the field of problems and suffering.

Growth involves change, and change sometimes involves risk. Stepping from the known to the unknown can often be a challenge. But we can start with small steps, and as time passes and our meditation practice becomes more fulfilling (more inner silence) we feel more confident to take ever larger leaps. Nature will help us along the way.

Meditation is a key that unlocks our potential. There is some good to be found in every situation (every cloud has a silver lining). Dive within to experience the field of all possibilities. Act in the world to stabilize that influence. Enjoy bliss consciousness.

Posted by on October 31st, 2010 Comments Off on Every cloud has a silver lining