As We Think So We Become – Buddha

The thought manifests as the word, the word manifests as the deed.

The deed develops into habit, and habit hardens into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care and let it spring from love.

Born out of concern for all living beings, the shadow follows the body

and never leaves it.

In the same way, as we think, we become. 

Buddha

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Love is Life – Leo Tolstoy

“Love is life.

All, everything that I understand,

I understand only because I love.

Everything is, everything exists,

only because I love.

Everything is united by it alone.

Love is God, and to die means that I,

a particle of love, shall return to the general

and eternal source.”

Leo Tolstoy

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(More) Messages from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mcleod Ganj – 5th March 2015

Holed up in cosy cafe in Mcleod Ganj, decorated with prayer flags and embroideries of the Potala palace, monks slap tables and play with their mobile phones, the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is played quietly from a giant, flashing speaker.  I’m sipping a special teas, Tibetan in origin it has dried lychees, plums, goji berries and some unknown foreign fruits floating around in it.  More of a fruity soup than a tea really.  As the rain lashes down in the narrow streets and freshly snow capped peaks are cloaked by by a swirling silver mist, I am left a window from which to reflect on my times so far up here in the heart of the Tibetan community in exile.  An wonderfully homely and inspiring place.  Mcleod Ganj is a place that cannot help but capture and challenge your heart equally, when the reality of the situation here sinks in,  humanities light and dark sides are finely exhibited.  This is especially true when you hear individuals tales of suffering and incredible human feats of courage, grief and resilience.  Every Tibetan citizen here has seen their lives violently uprooted and have suffered great loss and torment.  

Being in Mcleod Ganj feels a long way away from India at large, it’s like being in the centre point of the most vital page of an ancient cultures history.  History seems to move slowly at  the moment, too slowly for some of the younger Tibetans, but the Dalai Lama stands firmly within the peaceful, middle way, the way of Guatama Buddha.  The only way form him and Tibet.  Their way.  

In Mcleod Ganj we witness a displaced and gloriously elaborate community re-establishing its culture, proudly maintaining its unique identity in a melting pot of craft, cooking, music, literature, art and worship; whilst attempting to face up to incredible and almost impossible circumstances.  Dealing with the Chinese Government, a real life David versus Goliath situation, with peace and re-conciliation as their only weapon.  An awesome feat, led by an awesome human being….

Today I watched the Dalai Lama teaching from the eight verses of mind control.  The discourse related directly to esoteric Tibetan teachings but His Holiness always kept (and keeps) things contemporary and relevant to the audience, mainly the Tibetan lay community.  The Dalai Lama embodies ancient Tibetan ritual, ceremony and scripture and yet remains focused on moving Tibet forward, assimilating Western practices and technology.  

Witnessing the veneration of H.H. by Tibetans is a deeply moving and humbling experience.  The Dalai Lama speaks like an empassioned father, amazingly forceful and yet tender at the same time, the audience is utterly rapt to his every word, you could hear a pin drop, if you could find an empty scrap of floor space to drop one.  The large courtyard is a sea of shaven heads, wide eyes, craned necks and the occasional cluster of hairy Western travelers, highly incongruous and yet warmly very welcomed.  A little FM radio was offered up by a friendly nun sitting on my foot and I was able to catch bits and pieces of the English translation.  The Dalai Lama is irrepressible, radiant and a wonderfully pleasant person.  Being in his presence brings a sense of peace and always a chuckle or two.  This goes for the Tibetan community at large, when they weep and angst fills their faces, it seems like the world is filled with the deepest woe, all hearts lie broken and bereft; but when they smile, its as if sunshine and joy were never ending.  Gladly, in Mcleod Ganj, you will mainly see Tibet’s lighting up the streets with the broadest grins and much hearty laughter.   

After yesterdays post, I started to read more of H.H.’s quotes  and couldn’t help but share more.  The Dalai Lama is 80 years old, but is still the worlds most outspoken advocate of peace, tolerance and compassion.  Our only options for a better world.  

Spending time in the presence of His Holiness and so many softly spoken and devote Tibetan Monks and Nuns emphasises the importance of not only kind words, but practice, discipline and action infused with good intention.  I am a great one for talking about peace and spirituality, but in practice; the actual daily experience of living, well lets just say that things can be a very different matter!

The Dalai Lama brings sometimes complex philosophy and metaphors into such simple and profound phrases.  He speaks to us from a universal space of love and a sense of deep rooted humanity.  He shares his own life experiences and subsequent revelations.  He claims to be a simple monk, but we all know that he is much, much more……  

The words we need for dramatic evolution and end to the travails of existence  and  harmonious new dawns are all below.  They are simple and yet profound.  The big challenge is can we put them into action?  Can we stick to them?  Do we really want to make the sacrifice, change, give it a try?  We are at a point in human history where something needs to give, we either destroy ourselves, our planet and everything that we share it with, or, we wake up to our current situation.  Ignorance rules.  Money and material gains do not bring peace or happiness of oneself or ones society.  Can we individually break down cultural, religious and all mind based delusions of separateness?  Can we realise true happiness?  Can we embrace our precious human life?  Can we see the light and potential that shines within us all?  The Dalai Lama would smile an indefatigable yes.  Then he’d concisely show you how…….Be loving, be fearless, be free.

 Long life H.H. the Dalai Lama!

 

You can find the official account of yesterdays ‘Long Life Ceremony’ here.

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Messages from His Holiness the Dalai Lama – 4th March 2015

I am travelling around India at the moment and had the luck and great pleasure of spending time at the Long Life Offering today for H.H. The Dalai Lama in Mcleod Ganj, the home of the Tibetan community and government in exile. Pictures and messages from the Dalai Lama are found everywhere here and I thought I’d share a few that I read whilst having a coffee and reflecting on the wonderful ceremony.

The peaceful and compassionate attitude that the Dalai Lama embodies gives us all hope for a brighter tomorrow.  If he can forgive the Chinese government for their atrocities in Tibet, then forgiveness must be an option for all of us (at all times). 

For more on my travels in India, have a look at the ‘The Jalebi Express’.

Free Tibet!

“If you think that you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.”

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.”

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

“I think that true religion is the kind heart.”

Today the Dalai Lama finished the ceremony with these words:

In short, may all the vast prayers of aspiration
The lord Avalokiteshvara made for the land of Tibet
In the presence of the Buddhas and their bodhisattva heirs,
Swiftly come to positive fruition here and now!

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Short Order Grilling

Feral freight boxes on the midnight boundary;
Bugles and epaulets sink like sugar in the rain,
Heart beast flutters, roads signs and bullet holes
Pass the time.

Honey is love and the city a concrete hive,
Worker bees low and not humble
But words burn deeper than the Stanley knife tease,
When mixed with vim, a cocktail of forces
In the maverick rows of green bottled minds.

Creations heals a miden of scar tissues and knotted intentions,
Something amiss breeds hope unrequited and delectable;
Acid rain erodes the detritus and coaxes the
Grotesques asphalt to appease the soles.

Honoured ghosts you are beatific in the marble forest creeks,
Speak now for our virtues are brackish and needy,
Our Gods left us diseased on the short order grill
Where all immigrant flesh is broiled
And desensitized and tranquilized.

We are presented as a cripple
Beneath the flashing bulbs of bucolic banality.

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A Child with Dusty Feet

Deep in the mind there are oceans of empty peace,

Beyond the mind the universe is blissful and whole,

 

Within the body our senses are the merest dawning of experience,

In consciousness we are in flight and tracing the astral vapours,

 

In love we are the divine incarnate entwined in a colourful game,

On rocks we rest and stare into sheer nothing in adulation,

 

Enraptured by the wilderness fold, we are lost to the elements,

Our fate is sealed, there is one road to a glorious departure,

 

Where we may tread as a child with dusty feet, still trusting.

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Moss Banks and Fading Heather

Summers Coming!

Summers Coming!

This poem is a gift to all those still living through winter, summer is ever on the way!x

The steaming moss banks and fading heather,
The land gently sloping away;
The call of sky larks hung in morning splendour
Breaking through the new day haze.

The lightening greens of summer promise,
The aching wait for the first fair day;
The coming of the heat wave and ice creams,
The loosening of our island ways.

The startled sheep as trains pass by,
Smoke clouds cloak holiday makers and sighs,
The people clutching hold of valleys,
Carving paradise into the hills.

The quietening of the countryside,
The wind is seldom raised to a breeze;
The snoozing in meadows and riverbanks,
The laughter over a picnic tea.

The dark water marks of winter recede,
The light comes pouring through;
Stride emboldened over dip and dale,
Deep in forests along new found trails.

There is a palpable ease
When the trees sway listless under brightened leaves;
There is a sense of inner peace
When the sun kisses our milky skins.

There is a rising of our dreams
As we are ironing this crease,
Where nature is a friend not foe
And each life a legend to behold.

May we harvest the essence of these times,
Store its energy as precious seeds inside;
Mark this very day as the tidal reverse,
A chorus springing straight from the heart.

We are arm in arm enraptured
By these early summer chapters,
Devoid of precious, sullied fears,
At this blessed time of year.

P1070363

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