Thursday, August 30, 2007
There is a Chinese saying that "if you want three hours of ecstasy, try gambling. For three weeks of rapture, go travelling. For three months of bliss, get married. Build a new house and you will enjoy three years of heaven. But if you want true and lasting happiness, grow and live with trees."
Much of the time we keep ourselves busy with things from the outside: friends, work, TV, shopping, and so on. We think these things are indispensable. We seek happiness from travelling, searching for delicious food, fun and excitement. But such feelings do not last.We look outward to avoid the problems inside.
People today are not happy because they cannot appreciate the good things they already have in the present. We keep looking for the happiness that lies ahead. Our heart keeps yearning for something else all the time.
The tree in our mind gets neglected. It becomes vulnerable to pests, weeds and drought. But now is the time to go back and nurture our tree.
To nurture mindfulness, to be constantly alert and awake, is to open our heart to happiness in the present. It helps our mind to reach the inner happiness, the spiritual side of us. Only then shall the wisdom arise and we will not be afraid of anything.
The tree is not afraid of the sunlight. As it grows and branches out, it can transform the sunshine into shade. Its roots are not afraid of waste, because they can transform this into nourishing food, into fragrant flowers and tasty fruit. When we look after our mind, always contemplating with mindfulness and wisdom, we will not be afraid of suffering, loss, pain and even death. We will be able to transform suffering into happiness, misfortune into a blessing. It is like the tree that can transform the heat of the sun into cooling shade, the waste into sweet fruit and flowers.
For full article, goto: True Happiness Cannot be Bought
Picture: aml®All Rights Reserved
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Everything had changed suddenly - the tone, the moral climate; you didn't know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. There was no one around, neither family nor people whose judgment you respected.
At such a time, you felt the need of committing yourself to something absolute - life or truth or beauty - of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules that had been discarded. You need to surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life that was abolished and gone for good.
Boris Pasternak, Dr Zhivago
Pic: Cover of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Excerpts from Time, 3 Sept 2007, Cover Story "The Secret Life of Mother Teresa" by David Van Biema:
A decade after Mother Teresa's death, her secret letters show that she spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God in her life. What does her experience teach us about the value of doubt?"
"Lord, my God, who am I that you should forsake me? I call, I cling, I want - and there is no One to answer - no One on Whom I can cling - no, No ONe. - Alone... Where is my Faith - even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness - My God - how painful is this unknown pain - I have no Faith - I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart - and make me suffer untold agony.
So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them - beacause of the blasphemy. If there be God - please forgive me - When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven - there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my soul." Mother Teresa
There are two responses to trauma: to hold onto it in all its vividness and remain its captive, or without necessarily "conquering" it, to gradually integrate it into the day-to-day. After more than a decade of open-wound agony, Teresa seems to hae begun regaining her spiritual equilibrium with the help of a particularly perceptive adviser. The Rev. Joseph Neuner, whom she met in the late 1950s and confided in somewhat later, was already a well-known theologian, and when she turned to him with her "darkness", he seems to have told her three things she needed to hear: there was no human remedy for it (that is, she should not feel responsible for affecting it); that feeling Jesus is not the only proof of his being there, and her very craving for God was a "sure sign" of his "hidden presence" in her life; and that the absence was in fact part of the "spiritual side" of her work for Jesus.
"I accept not in my feelings - but with my will, the Will of God - I accept His will." Mother Teresa
Rev Brian Kolodiejchuk thinks that the book may act as an antidote to a cultural problem. "The tendency in our spiritual life but also inour more general attitude toward love is that our feelings are all that is going on. And so to us the totality of love is what we feel. But to really love someone requires commitment, fidelity and vulnerability. Mother Teresa wasn't 'feeling' Christ's love, and she could have shut down. But she was up at 4.30 every morning for Jesus, and still writing to him, 'Your happiness is all I want.' That's a powerful example even if you are not talking in exclusively religious terms."
Rev James Martin: "Everything she's experiencing is what average believers experience in their lives writ large. I have known scores of people who have felt abandoned by God and had doubts about God's existence. And this book (Mother Teresa: Come be my life) expresses that in such a stunning way but shows her full of complete trust at the same time."
For full article, get a copy of Time magazine 3 Sept 2007 or read online here:
Time Cover Story: Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith
Friday, August 24, 2007
The first practice on the Buddhist path of meditation is called shamata - calm abiding or tranquility meditation. When we begin, it is a practice of mindfulness - lightly and mindfully watching our breath.
The problem with us is that our mind is nearly always distracted. When it's distracted, mind creates endless thoughts. There is nothing it will not think of or do. If we ever looked, we would see how undiscriminating we are, how often we simply allow any kinds of thoughts to come, and let ourselves get lost in it. It has become the worse of all bad habits. We have no discipline, nor any way of looking into what kind of thoughts we are thinking; whatever arises, we let it sweep us away and off into a spiral of stories and illusions, which we take so seriously we end up not only believing, but becoming as well.
Losing the clouds, Gaining the sky
Teachings by The Dalai Lama, Dudjom Rinpoche, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, and many others
Book at Amazon
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Monday, August 20, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
"The question of evil, like the question of ugliness,
refers primarily to the anaesthetized heart,
the heart that has no reaction to what it faces."
James Hillman, The Thought of the Heart
BBC: Rwanda: How did the genocide happen
BBC Video Clip: Rwanda's 100 days of genocide
BBC: Children coping with genocide
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Life is as evanescent as dew on the tip of a blade of grass.
Nothing can stop death.
You might be extremely beautiful,
but you cannot seduce death.
You might be very powerful,
but you cannot hope to influence death.
Not even the most fabulous wealth will buy you a few more minutes of life.
Dying is not like a fire going out.
when you die, your consciousness has to abandon your body,
accompanied only by the karmic impressions left by your positive and negative actions.
Now that I have this great ship, a precious human life, so hard to obtain,
I must carry myself and others across the ocean of samsara.
To that end, to listen, reflect and meditate
Day and night, without distraction,
is the practice os a bodhisattva.
The Heart of Compassion,
Picture: All Rights Reserved ® aml2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Iraq War Medicine: Pictures by James Nachtwey
Click here to view Photo Gallery@National Geographic
Click here to read report by Neil Shea@National Geographic