Archive for buddhism

Life’s a joke! – Alan Watts

One of my favourites from Uncle Alan:

 

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“The best way to take care of the future…” Thich Nhat Hanh

“If we cling to the idea of hope in the future, we might not notice the peace and joy that are available in the present moment. The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment.”

“The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.”

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not  to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged  in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes.  All is a miracle.”

“You are like fireworks. You go out into your children, your friends, your society, and the whole world.”

“You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you.”

“I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands
to keep the loneliness warm –
two hands protecting,
two hands nourishing,
two hands preventing
my soul from leaving me
in anger.”

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.”

Mindful Consuming

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in the body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and for the transformation of society.”

“You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are …transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment.”

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.””

“The Buddha’s teachings on love are clear. It is possible to live twenty-four hours a day in a state of love. Every movement, every glance, every thought, and every word can be infused with love.”

“Use your time wisely. Every moment produce beautiful thoughts, loving, kindness, forgiveness. Say beautiful things, inspire, forgive, act physically to protect and help.”

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

“Be yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just Be.”

“May our heart’s garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.”

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

“We have to learn to die in every moment in order to be fully alive.”

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Believe in your own heart – Gautama Buddha

Do not believe anything
because it is said by an authority,
or if it is said to come from angels,
or from gods,
or from an inspired source.

Believe it only if you have explored it
in your own heart
and mind and body
and found it to be true.

Work out your own path,
through diligence.

~ Gautama Buddha

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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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“Real Love Begins….” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Real love begins when nothing is expected in return.”

“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.”

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet……….Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis that the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing to the future.”

“I have arrived, I am home.  My destination is in each step.”

“There is no path to peace, the path is peace.”

“Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.”

“When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity of accepting and having compassion for them is there.”

“I have arrived, I am home in the now.  I am solid.  I am free.  In the ultimate I dwell.  What a loving place to be.”

“Peace in oneself.  Peace in the world.”

 

~Thích Nhất Hạnh~

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‘The Western Guru’ – Albert Einstein and Tenzin Palmo

I have heard people in the East refer to Albert Einstein as one of the great Western gurus of the modern age and have had the pleasure of reading more into his life of late. The more that I learn about the man, the more I realise what a shining light of spiritual wisdom he was, especially when considering the cultural and social backdrop that he was living amongst.

‘A human being is part of a whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space.  He (or she) experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal selves and to affection for a few people nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.’  Albert Einstein 

I think the picture and words above show a man at ease with the nature of existence and possibly operating on a different level of awareness to most of us, behaviour certianly befitting that of a ‘guru’ (who traditionally takes seekers us from the dark and into the light).  Most of these spiritually charged quotes come from later in his life, when his science seemed to go a little awry.  I guess you can’t have the best of both worlds!

Milarepa

As the great Tibetan Buddhist saint Milarepa said:

‘Accustomed long to meditating on the whispered chosen truths. I have forgot all that is said and written and is printed in books.

Accustomed long to application of each new experience to my own spiritual growth, I have forgot all creeds and dogmas.

Accustomed long to know the meaning of the word-less, I have forgot the way to trace the roots of verbs, and source of words and phrases.’ 

The greater the level of spiritual inclination or exploration, the greater the intention to free ourselves from the bonds and restrictions of a purely ‘mind and material’ based existence; this in turn leads to a dissolution of concepts that once seemed to define our existence and ‘ourselves’.  We see a higher path to be tread.  We are free to perceive life for what it truly is, undistracted and pure.  Our focused consciousness encompasses all and is clearly immersed in the glory of the all pervading present; radiant in its simplicity and luminosity.  To exist in such a state, life can be equated to:

‘Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music while the music lasts.’  T.S. Eliot   

If we can make this our life’s work, make this quest, this great disrobing, one of our priorities in life; then we may for once, collectively, unearth a remedy for human kinds many woes and unearth the route of all temporal suffering.

‘The whole of the worlds troubles are due to mans inability to sit alone in a room.’  Pascal      

Quotes and inspiration taken from the book ‘Cave in the Snow’ based on the life story of Tenzin Palmo. 

Tenzin Palmo

Loving kindness is spontaneous.  Obstacles the teacher, develop patience.  The way we die will be the way we lived.’  

‘We need to wake up, but the desire to keep sleeping is so strong.  We like dreaming.’

Tenzin Palmo

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