Monday, March 28, 2011

merton - only in the void

Only in the void
are all ways one;

Only in the darkness
are all the lost

Thomas Merton

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

the heart crosses it

The mind creates the abyss
but the heart crosses it.

Stephen Levine

a higher love

The best relationship is one in which
your love for each other exceeds
your need for each other.

HH 14th Dalai Lama

Sunday, March 13, 2011

not everything assumes a name - Solzhenitsyn

Not everything assumes a name. Some things lead beyond words. Art inflames even a frozen, darkened soul to a high spiritual experience. Through art we are sometimes visited - dimly, briefly - by revelations such as cannot be produced by rational thinking.

Alexander Solzhenitysyn
Nobel Lecture in Literature 1970

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

eternal return

This slow spider dragging itself toward the light of the moon
and that same moonlight,
and you and I whispering at the gateway,
whispering of eternal things,
haven't we already coincided in the past?
And won't we happen again on the long road,
on this long tremulous road,
won't we recur eternally?


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Friday, March 04, 2011

James Nachtwey: "Struggle to Live - the fight against TB"

James Nachtwey has documented the resurgence of tuberculosis and its varying strains MDR and XDR in seven countries around the world. These countries include Cambodia, Lesotho, South Africa, Siberia, India, Swaziland, and Thailand. He has captured the lives of both patients and health care workers in the struggle against this ancient disease, which still remains very much a part of the present. Not only does TB remain a killer disease in its most recognizable form but it is mutating into even more deadly forms: multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extremely drug resistant (XDR) TB. While still a small subset of the TB cases, these new strains pose a grave global health threat. XDR-TB is a man-made catastrophe, resulting from too few resources being allocated for the proper diagnosis and treatment of TB patients in developing countries.

Despite the fact that tuberculosis afflicts a huge number of people its not on the radar screen in terms of public awareness. Normal tuberculosis, if diagnosed and treated diligently, is very inexpensive and doesnt take very long to cure. But if normal TB is not treated, it mutates and becomes 100 times more expensive, requires a two-year cure and a long stay in the hospital, which many of those infected cannot afford. The thought of XDR getting out of control is truly frightening, says James Nachtwey.


(c) 2010 James Nachtwey, BURN Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

sutta-nipata: the worn-out skin

The Worn-out Skin - Reflections on the Uraga Sutta by
Nyanaponika Thera


The Sutta Nipata, in its oldest and most characteristic parts, is a deeply stirring Song of Freedom. The verses of this ancient book are a challenging call to us to leave behind the narrow confines of our imprisoned existence with its ever-growing walls of accumulated habits of life and thought. They beckon us to free ourselves from the enslavement to our passions and to our thousand little whims and wishes. A call to freedom is always timely because in our lives we constantly bind ourselves to this and that, or let ourselves be bound in various ways by others and by circumstances. To some extent, normal life cannot entirely escape from such a situation. In fact, "binding" oneself to a worthy task and duty or to an ennobling human relationship is an indispensable antidote to the opposite tendency: the dissipation of our energies. The physical act of walking consists not only in the "freeing" action of lifting and stretching the foot, but also in the "binding" function of lowering it and placing it firmly on the ground. Analogously, in mental movement, there is the same need for support as well as for uplift and forward advancement.

But, having the comfort of a "secure footing" in life, we too easily forget to walk on. Instead, we prefer to "strengthen our position," to improve and embellish the little cage we build for ourselves out of habits, ideas and beliefs. Once we have settled down in our habitual ways of living and thinking, we feel less and less inclined to give them up for the sake of risky ventures into a freedom of life and thought full of dangers and uncertainties. True freedom places on us the uncomfortable burden of ever-fresh responsible decisions, which have to be guided by mindfulness, wisdom and human sympathy. Few are willing to accept the full weight of such a burden. Instead, they prefer to be led and bound by the rules given by others, and by habits mainly dominated by self-interest and social conventions. With the habituation to a life of inner and outer bondage, there grows what Erich Fromm calls a "fear of freedom." Such fear, if allowed to persist and take root, inevitably leads to a stagnation of our inner growth and creativeness as well as to a stagnant society and culture. In a state of stagnation, toxic elements will endanger mankind's healthy progress — physical and mental, social and spiritual. Then William Blake's words will prove true: "Expect poison from stagnant water."

Those too who say "Yes" to life and wish to protect mankind from decline by its self-produced toxins — biological and psychological — will also have to shed that "fear of freedom" and enter freedom's arduous way. It is an arduous way because it demands of us that we break the self-forged fetters of our lusts and hates, our prejudices and dogmas — fetters we foolishly cherish as ornaments. But once we see them for what they really are, obstacles to true freedom, the hard task of discarding them will become at the same time a joyous experience.

The Sutta Nipata, however, warns repeatedly of false ideas of freedom. He is not truly free who only follows his self-willed whims and desires (chandagu, v.913), who is carried along by them (chandanunito, v.731). Nor can true freedom be found by those who only seek to exchange one bondage for another.

Continue reading: Access to Insight

Other writings by Nyanaponka Thera: More articles at Access to Insight

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


What distinguishes the Buddha's program for self-transformation from the multitude of other systems proposing a similar end is the contribution made by another principle with which it is invariably conjoined. This is the principle of self-transcendence, the endeavor to relinquish all attempts to establish a sense of solid personal identity. In the Buddhist training the aim of transforming the personality must be complemented by a parallel effort to overcome all identification with the elements that constitute our phenomenal being. The teaching of anatta or not-self is not so much a philosophical thesis calling for intellectual assent as a prescription for self-transcendence. It maintains that our ongoing attempt to establish a sense of identity by taking our personalities to be "I" and "mine" is in actuality a project born out of clinging, a project that at the same time lies at the root of our suffering. If, therefore, we seek to be free from suffering, we cannot stop with the transformation of the personality into some sublime and elevated mode as the final goal. What is needed, rather, is a transformation that brings about the removal of clinging, and with it, the removal of all tendencies to self-affirmation.

Bhikkhu Bodhi

Continue reading: Access to Insight

Finding Happiness in Troubled Times

Always such a joy to listen to His Holiness.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

McBride Martina- In my daughter's eyes (With lyrics)

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes