Friday, 31 July 2009

Organic Food ‘No Healthier’

              Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published yesterday.
              Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated US$48 billion (S$69bikkion) in 2007.
              A systematic review of 162 papers published in scientific literature over the past 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.
              “A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced food-stuffs, but these are unlikely to be of an public health relevance,” said DR Alan Dangour, one of the report’s authors.
              “Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”
              The results of the research which was commissioned by the British government’s Food Standards Agency were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
              Sales of organic food, which is grown without pesticides and other chemicals, have fallen in some markets, including Britain, as recession has led consumers to cut back on such purchases.
              The Soil Association, a Britain-based group which campaigns for planet-friendly organic food and farming, said in April that growth in sales of organic products in Britain slowed to just 1.7 per cent last year, well below the average annual growth rate of 26 per cent over the past decade, following a plunge in demand at the end of the year.
              Mr Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said it was disappointed with the conclusions of the study and called for better research on the issue, according to the BBC.
              “The review rejected almost all of the existing studies of comparisons between organic and non-organic nutritional differences,” he said.
              “Although the researchers say that the differences between organic and non-organic food are not important, they report in their analysis that there are higher levels of beneficial nutrients in organic compared to non-organic foods. 
              Also, there is not sufficient research on the long-term effects of pesticides on human health.”
              In Singapore, the prices of organic food have been falling due to the increase in organic farms in the region.
              However, prices remain higher than non-organic varieties.

- Reuters 

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Buddha's Teachings

(The word ‘Buddha’ means 'Awakened One' or 'Enlightened One')

The Buddha's way of saving mankind was to teach them how to find salvation. He was not interested in alleviating a few chance cases of physical or mental distress. He was more concerned with revealing a Path that all people could follow. 

According to the method introduced by the Buddha, each and every person must make the effort to train and purify himself to attain his own salvation by following the guidance given by the Buddha. 'You yourself make the effort for your salvation, the buddhas are only teachers who can show you how to achieve it.'

The Buddha's teachings, also known as The Dharma, are the Doctrine of Reality. It is a means of Deliverance from suffering and deliverance itself. Whether The Buddha arise or not, the Dharma exists. It lies hidden from the ignorant eyes of men, till a Buddha, an Enlightened One, realizes and compassionately reveals it to the world.

The Buddha's Teaching and message have had their effect on all people for thousands of years whether they believe in religion or not. They are not only meant for monks in monasteries. His Teachings are also meant for ordinary men and women living at home with their families.

When we recognize that all phenomenal things are transitory, are subject to suffering and are void of any essential reality, we will be convinced that true and enduring happiness cannot be found in material possessions and worldly achievement, that true happiness must be sought only through mental purity and the cultivation of wisdom.

The Buddha did not teach from theories. He always taught from a practical standpoint based on His understanding, His Enlightenment, and His realization of the Truth. His intention was to point out the futility of the worldly life and to show the correct, practical Path to salvation that He discovered. 

The Buddha said, "Wise men give no credence to passing theories. They are past believing everything they see and hear."

The practical nature of Buddha's teaching is revealed in the fact that not everyone is expected to attain exactly the same goal in one lifetime, since the mental impurities are deeply rooted. Some people are spiritually more advanced than others and they can proceed to greater heights according to their state of development. But every single human being has the ultimate potential to attain the supreme goal of Buddhahood if he has the determination and will to do so.

The Buddha has said that it is because we fail to understand The Four Noble Truths that we have continued to go round in the cycle of birth and death.

His approach to the problems and suffering of mankind is straightforward and direct. His teaching illuminates The Way for mankind to cross from a world of darkness, hatred, and suffering, to a new world of light, love and happiness. Often, we only praise His Teaching and respect Him, but do not try to practice what He preached. 

A sign board at partings of roads, for instance, indicates directions and it is left to the way farer to tread along the way watching his steps. The board certainly will not take him to his desired destination.

A doctor diagnoses the ailment and prescribes; it is left to the patient to test the prescription. The attitude of the Buddha towards his followers is like that of an understanding and compassionate teacher or physician.

For the Buddha, the entire teaching is just the realization of the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomenal existence or conflicts of life and the cultivation of the path leading away from this unsatisfactoriness. This is his philosophy. His sole intention and aim was to explain in all its detail the problem of suffering or unsatisfactoriness, the universal fact, to make people feel its full force and to convince them of it.

Buddha also taught that all existence is subject to the law of karma, that re-birth is the lot of man and that suffering is due to attachment - beliefs.

The Buddha emphasized the practical aspects of his teaching, the application of knowledge to life - looking into life and not merely at it. Wisdom gained by understanding and development of the qualities of mind and heart is wisdom par excellence.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Buddha Rising

The following article, Buddha Rising by Perry Garfinkel was extracted from the December 2005 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be known as the Buddha, was born around 500 B.C. near the foothills of the Himalayan, the son of a local king. In the centuries after his death, as his reputation grew, fact intertwined with myth, and a legendary Buddha was born as well. 

Most versions agree, however, that at age 29, the married prince, disillusioned with his opulence, ventured out of his palace and for the first time encountered old age, sickness, and death. So moved was he by this brush with the painful realities of life that he left his comfortable home to search for an end to human suffering. For six years he withstood all the deprivations of his fellow seekers – he fasted, he observed silence, he lived alone in a cave – until he realized he had not found what he sought.

There must be another way, he thought, a “middle way” between indulgence and asceticism. He decided to sit in mediation under one of the broad papal trees that dotted the plain of the Ganges River until he found his answer. He examined his thoughts to discover how and why human beings often create their own mental suffering. He emerged from under the shade of the tree as the Buddha, which simply means “enlightened one.” (The tree, Ficus religiosa, is now known as the bodhi tree.) Until his death at 80, the Buddha travelled the corridor of what are now India’s Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, sharing his insights with all who would listen.

His ideas were based not on faith, as in other religions, but on empirical observation, starting with his own outside the palace. He arrived at Four Noble Truths:
1. There is suffering in the world, whether mental or physical. 
2. Suffering occurs because of too great an attachment to one’s desires. 
3. By eliminating the cause – attachment – you can eliminate suffering. 
4. There is a method to eliminating the cause, called the Eightfold Path, a guide to ‘right’ behaviour and thoughts. The Eightfold Path is a moral compass leading to a life of wisdom, virtue, and mental discipline.

One of the key practices of the Eightfold Path is meditation. Though the technique may differ from sect to sect – alone or in groups, facing a wall or fellow meditators, eyes closed or slightly open, in silence or chanting phrases – many types begin by paying close attention to your own breathing. There is nothing mystical or otherworldly about it, no levitation, no out-of-body experience. With each in and out breath, your awareness becomes more refined, more focused.

The Buddha did not intend his ideas to become a religion; in fact, he discouraged following any path or advice without testing it personally. His dying words, as it’s told, were: “You must each be a lamp unto yourselves.” Nonetheless, within several hundred years of his death, the Buddha’s teachings had taken strong hold. Today, Buddhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and traditional Chinese religion.

Some people argue that the Buddha was right, that Buddhism should not be categorized as a religion but as a philosophy or form of psychology. After all, unlike other religions, there is no supreme being, and it encourages you to question – even challenge authority. 

There are those who were attracted to these traits of Buddhism. It was non-dogmatic; it relied on evidence you could test with your own senses; it suggested that you, not some external force, hold the answers to your own happiness; it saw your mind as both the obstacle and the key to truly understanding yourself. 

While many Europeans and Americans are drawn to the ornate and complex rituals of Tibetan and Japanese Zen Buddhism, others seem to prefer the simplicity of Southeast Asia’s Theravada Buddhism.

As Buddhism migrated out of India, it took three routes. To the south, monks brought it by land and sea to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. To the north, they spread the word across Central Asia and along the Silk Road into China, from where it eventually made its way to Korea and Japan. A later wave took Buddhism over the Himalayas to Tibet. In all the countries, local customs and cosmologies were integrated with the Buddhist basics: the magic and masks of demon-fighting lamas in Tibet, the austerity of a Zen monk sitting still as a rock in a perfectly raked Japanese garden. Over centuries Buddhism developed an inclusive style, one reason it has endured so long and in such different cultures. People sometimes compare Buddhism to water: it is still, clear, transparent, and it takes the form and colour of the vase into which it’s poured.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Should You Put The Kettle On?

The claim: Drinking tea can lower your levels of iron.

The facts: With its bounty of antioxidants and relatively moderate levels of caffeine, tea is one of the healthiest beverages around. However, drinking tea is said to block the body’s absorption of dietary iron, potentially causing a deficiency.

Studies have shown that there is some truth to the idea. Compounds in tea called tannins can act as chelators, binding to minerals and inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb them. Although that an reduce a person’s levels of iron, studies have also found that it is unlikely to have much of an impact.

In one study, scientists examined the effect by having people eat a typical meal – a hamburger, string beans and mashed potatoes – and then measuring their iron levels after the meal was combined with various drinks.

When the subjects ate the meal with tea, there was a 62 percent reduction in iron absorption. Drinking coffee resulted in a 35 percent reduction. Orange juice increased iron absorption by a bout 85 percent.

However, there was a twist. Coffee and tea affected only the levels of non-heme iron, the kind found in grains and vegetables. Heme iron, found in meat, fish and poultry, was unaffected.

If you get enough iron or more is needed from your diet, a daily cup of two of coffee or tea is unlikely to lead to low levels of iron.

The bottom line: Compounds in coffee and tea can affect iron absorption.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Wanting to put up a sign? Or writing an instruction? You should double check how you phrase it, in case it ended up with a different meaning, or sounding stupid. 

On some frozen dinners: 
Serving suggestion: Defrost.

On a chain saw: 
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.

Spotted in a toilet in a office block:
Toilet out of order. Please use floor below.

On an Airlines packet of nuts: 
Instruction: Open packet, eat nuts.

On a bar of soap: 
Directions: Use like regular soap.

In a hotel:
Sports jackets may be worn but no trousers.

In a bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

In a restaurant window: 
Don’t stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up.

By the photocopier:
Do not put ink powder in yourself.

On the menu of a restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

Message on a leaflet:
If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.

On a hairdryer:
Do not use while sleeping.

On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

Notice in a dry cleaner’s window: 
Anyone leaving their garments here for more than thirty days will be disposed of.

In an office:
After tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.
….. another one
Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Faster Walkers Live Longer

              Walking is a terrific and convenient form of exercise, especially as people get older. But is a leisurely stroll as good as a fast clip?
              A recent study measuring walking speed and longevity says maybe not, at least when it comes to life expectancy. Ina presentation at the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics earlier this month in Paris, researchers found that faster walkers lived longer than slower walkers.
              People who walked at a gait speed of 1.4m per second or faster were more than twice as likely to be alive after 10 years than those who walked at 0.4m per second or slower. The survival gap between faster and slower walkers widened even more after 15 years. The findings were the results of nine previous studies that included 34,00 men and women whose average age was almost 74. the long-term studies tracked participants for 10 years to more than 20 years.
              The authors noted that gait speed was a good predictor of survival. “(Gait speed) may be useful clinically for estimating general life expectancy.”
              Studies have shown that a person’s walking speed can mirror the health of many of his body parts. Researchers have noted that because walking is influenced by many vital body parts, a faster gain indicates a body that is functioning well – and is thus likely to live longer. This holds true regardless of gender, ethnicity and health condition, they say.
              The conclusion mirrors that of earlier studies such as one done by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh two years ago. They tracked nearly 500 people who were 65 years or older, and found that after nine years, 27 per cent of the fastest walkers had died, compared with 77 per cent of the slowest walkers.
              However, researchers have stressed that the findings are not meant to encourage older people to walk faster. Health experts have long advocated walking as good for various parts of the body.

- Associated Press, Washington Post 

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Appeals of Buddhism

It is realistic and offers a realistic view of life and of the world. It does not entice people into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize people with all kinds of imaginary fears and guilt-feelings. Buddhism tells us exactly and objectively what we are and what the world around us is, and shows us the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquillity and happiness.

It appeals to the West because it has no dogmas, and it satisfies both the reason and the heart alike. It insists on self-reliance coupled with tolerance for others. Buddhism points to man alone as the creator of his present life and as the sole designer of his own destiny. It produces the feeling of self-reliance by teaching that the whole destiny of man lies in his own hand, and that he himself possesses the faculty of developing his own energy and insight in order to reach the highest goal. Such is the nature of Buddhism.

Faith in the theistic sense is not found in Buddhism because of its emphasis on understanding. One should not adopt an unquestioning belief of his teacher and his textbook. One studies the fact, examines the scientific arguments, and assesses the reliability of the information. If he has doubts, he should reserve his judgment until such time as when he is able to investigate the accuracy of the information for himself.

"To read a little Buddhism is to realize that the Buddhists knew two thousand ago far more about our modern problems of psychology than they have yet been given credit for. They studied these problems long ago, and found the answers too. We are now rediscovering the Ancient Wisdom of the East." - C.G Jung 

The Buddha's message of non-violence and peace, of love and compassion, of tolerance and understanding, of truth and wisdom, of respect and regard for all life, of freedom from selfishness, hatred and violence, delivered over two thousand five hundred years ago, stands good for today and will stand forever as the Truth.

The Buddha taught that we must develop a heart of wisdom, a heart of love, a heart of understanding, to overcome the prevailing vices that have plagued man since the beginning of time.

Buddhism can teach humanity to walk the Middle Path of moderation and have a better understanding on how to lead a richer life of peace and happiness.

In the Three Greatest Men in History, H.G. Wells states:
In The Buddha you see clearly a man, simple, devout, alone, battling for light, a vivid human personality, not a myth. He too gave a message to mankind universal in character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents of life are due, he taught, to selfishness. Before a man can become serene, he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he mergers into a greater being. Buddhism in a different language called men to self-forgetfulness 500 years before Christ. In some ways, The Buddha was nearer to us and our needs. He was more lucid upon our individual importance in service than Christ was and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality.

Buddhism wins by the warm touch of love, not by the cold claws of fear. Fear of the supernatural and the doctrine of everlasting hell-fire have no place in Buddhism.

Buddhism is saturated with this spirit of free inquiry and complete tolerance. It is the teaching of the open mind and the sympathetic heart, which, lighting and warming the whole universe with its tiny rays of wisdom and compassion sheds its genial glow on every being struggling in the ocean of birth and death.

In Buddhism, there is no personal judge either to condemn or to reward but only the working of an impersonal moral causation and natural law.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Aims of Buddhism

Buddhism aims at creating a society where the ruinous struggle for power is renounced; where calm and peace prevail away from the conquest and defeat; where one who conquers oneself is more respected than those who conquer millions by military and economic warfare; where hatred is conquered by kindness, and evil by goodness; where enmity, jealously, ill-will and greed do not infect men's minds; where compassion is the driving force of action; where all, including the least of living things are treated with fairness, consideration and love; where life in peace and harmony, in a world of material contentment, is directed towards the highest and noblest aim, the realization of the Ultimate Truth, Nirvana.

The purpose of Buddhism is to attain Enlightenment. This is the individual road to salvation. Salvation in Buddhism is an individual affair. You have to save yourself. Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap! There is no God who could divert at will the law of karma. Karma is the child of ignorance which is the father of all human suffering. The cause of all suffering is desire; the cause of desire is ignorance.

Buddhism believes in the possibility of self-purification, attainment of desirelessness, only through self-control, self culture, self-discipline and self-realization, no external rites will help the attainment of inner purity.

As it is man who suffers the effects, so it is man who generates the cause and having done so, he cannot free the consequences. Every man is a moulder and sole creator of his life to come and master of his destiny.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Essence of Buddhism

The Buddha taught that impermanence, dissatisfaction and egolessness are the hallmarks of this worldly life. Seeking worldly gains which are impermanent brings no real permanent satisfaction. It only lead to further craving, dissatisfaction and the shattering of one's ego and pride. Instead of letting our minds run wild and be conditioned by worldly desires which ultimately creates a false ego, we should look inwards rather than outwards and know ourselves for what we really are. 

Whilst many falsely believe that happiness is the attainment of worldly values, Buddhism forewarns the folly of such delusion. The mind should not be nourished on worldly values. Instead it should be freed from bondage with worldliness so that the defiled mind like a muddy pool would became as clear as sparkling pool when allowed to settle without extraneous interference or defilements.

In the final analysis, the fact remains that the pleasure or happiness which we experience in life is impermanent. We may enjoy a happy situation, or the good company of someone we love, or we enjoy youth and health. Sooner or later, when these states change we experience suffering. Therefore, while there is every reason to feel glad when one experiences happiness, one should not cling to these happy states or be side-tracked and forget about working one's way to complete Liberation.

The practice of Buddhism in essence is therefore not knowledge of Buddhism gained from books but the actual practice of Buddhism itself. What we read from books are inferior to the knowledge we gain through the actual practice. Interpretation and perception of book knowledge differs from person to person, from an untrained mind to a trained mind and from bias to the unbiased mind.

The disciplined mind understands life in a new light. The disciplined mind has little to gain through reading of scriptures. Practice is the essence of Buddhism. Knowledge gain through practice is the backbone of Buddhism.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Happiness is … Little Happy Moments

Here is something to keep in mind: People who appreciate small moments of happiness, laughter and joy through the course of each day tend to be happy people who are more likely to be resilient against adversity and more successful in jobs, relationships and health outcomes.

Researchers reached this conclusion after a series of studies that required 86 participants to submit daily “emotion reports” that gauged their emotional status in detail over the course of the day.

The study showed that happy people do not need to be Pollyannas or deny the upsetting parts of life. However, these people have the ability to put greater stock in small, happy moments.

Savouring these blips of pleasure in everyday life, the study found, elevates one’s mood overall and leads to more resilience against negative events.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal Emotion, was co-authored by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, the University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh and Conrell University.

- Los Angeles Times 

Sunday, 19 July 2009

4 Or 6 Pieces?

A man ordered a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding.. 'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Qian Hongyan: Legless Young Girl

This will surely touch and move you. The power of the human spirit is shown at its mightiest by this one little girl. I salute her.

Friday, 17 July 2009

About Buddhism

What the Buddha taught is popularly known as Buddhism. Some people embrace Buddhism as a religion, while others think of it as a philosophy. However, Buddhism is too vast and too profound to be neatly placed in any single category. 

Buddhism is a way of moral, spiritual and intellectual training leading to complete freedom of mind. It is an intellectual approach to reality through mental development and purification. It is a method to get rid of miseries and to find liberation. Buddhism is a righteous way of life for the peace and happiness of every living being. 

While Buddhism can bring greater understanding on how to lead a good, worldly life, its main focus is how to gain spiritual liberation through the development of wisdom and mental culture. 

It is neither mere love of, nor inducing the search after wisdom, nor devotion (though they have their significance and bearing on mankind), but an encouragement of a practical application of the teaching that leads the follower to dispassion, enlightenment and final deliverance. 

The fountainhead of all Buddhism is this experience, called 'Enlightenment.' With this experience of Enlightenment, the Buddha began His Teaching not with any dogmatic beliefs or mysteries, but with a valid, universal experience, which He gave to the world as universal truth. 

Buddhism is a teaching which furnishes men with a guide to conduct that is in accord with its in-look, a teaching which enables those who give it heed to face life with fortitude and death with serenity, or a system to get rid of the ills of life. 

On the lower level, Buddhism teaches the individual how to adjust and cope with events and circumstances of daily life. At the higher level, it represents the human endeavour to grow beyond oneself through the practice of mental culture or mind development.

Buddhism is not mere mumbo-jumbo, a myth told to entertain the human mind or to satisfy the human emotion, but a liberal and noble method for those who sincerely want to understand and experience the reality of life.

Buddhism has a complete system of mental culture concerned with gaining insight into the nature of things that leads to complete self-realization of the Ultimate Truth. This system is both practical and scientific; it involves dispassionate observation of emotional and mental states.

Buddhism also contains an excellent ethical code which is unparallel in its perfection and altruistic attitude. 

Thursday, 16 July 2009


My posts on Buddhism are not designed to preach, but to share some of my thoughts on the Teachings of The Buddha. They are extracts from books, and articles on and about Buddhism, and Buddhism as I understand it to be. 

I embrace Buddhism as a Philosophy, A Way of Life, rather than as a religion. The Great Teacher lived more than 2,500 years ago, but His Teachings are ageless. 

What I like about Buddhism is that it does not demand blind faith from its adherents. In Buddhism there is not, an Almighty God to be obeyed and feared. The Buddha does not believe in a cosmic potentate, omniscient and omnipresent. There are no divine revelations or divine messengers.

A Buddhist (believer or follower of Buddhism), is therefore, not subservient to any higher supernatural power which controls his destinies and which arbitrarily rewards and punishes. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or meditating priests.

Many people think that to be a good Buddhist one must have absolutely nothing to do with the materialistic life. This is not correct. What Buddhism teaches is that while we can enjoy material comforts without going to extremes, we must also conscientiously develop the spiritual aspects of our lives. While we can enjoy sensual pleasures as laymen, we should never be unduly attached to them to the extent that they hinder our spiritual progress.

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should…avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things as a meaningful unity… If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism." - Einstein 

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Where Science and Buddhism Meet

A twenty-one minute video on Emptiness, Interconnectivity and the Nature of Reality.
Very abstrace, very profound, and very interesting!

Where Science and Buddhism Meet from Gerald Penilla on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Stress Turns Your Hair Grey

Can this common folklore be true after all? If it is, and you do not like your hair to be grey, you will have to stop stressing yourself out.

People develop grey hair as they age but the real cause of the colour change is stress, researchers said.

If people experienced less stress, they might keep the colour of their natural locks longer.

Stress actually damages DNA and depletes the melanocyte stem cells within hair follicles that are responsible for making the pigment-producing cells. The depletion leads to irreversible hair greying, said Dr Emi Nishimura of Kanazawa University in Japan, the lead researcher of the study which was published last month in the journal Cell.

Using mice, the researchers also showed that a “caretaker” gene called ATM serves as a checkpoint to protect against melanocyte stem cell changes. That is why people with an ageing syndrome called ataxia-telangiectasia, which is caused by a mutation in the ATM gene, go grey prematurely.

Grey hair is one of the most obvious signs of ageing. However, changes to other body stem cells have been reported and it appears stress on the stem cell pool and maintenance failures in the function of cells are strongly linked to accelerated ageing.

It is not clear though whether anything can be done to stop these processes – at least not yet.

- Los Angeles Times 

Monday, 13 July 2009

Flash Mobs

Flash Mobs in remembrance of the King of Pop. 

Flash mobs are kind of fun. Provided, of course, that it is done constructively, creatively, and in the name of fun. It adds a bit of zest to the moment, and moments are what our life is made up of.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

In Good Hands

A traveller couldn't find his luggage at the airport baggage area. So he went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that his bags never showed up. She smiled and told him not to worry because she was a trained professional and he was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'.…..

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Search For Truth

This is a Parable which I picked up from one of the blogs I am following – “Progressive Buddhism” 

There once was a poor man who lead a donkey every day across the border from one kingdom to another. The border guards suspected that he was smuggling something, so each day as the man passed the border they carefully searched the man and the donkey’s saddlebags, but they never did find anything.

After a while the man starts to wear more expensive clothing and buys a large house. The border guards redouble their efforts to inspect the man and his donkey closely because they now are certain the man is smuggling something. But in their daily searches of the man and the saddlebags they never come up with anything but straw.

After 30 years of this daily routine, one of the border guards retires. One day when the retired border guard is walking across the street, he runs into the man and says, "Listen, I am no longer a border guard and I can no longer hurt you. I promise I will never tell anyone, but just for my peace of mind, please tell me what you have been smuggling all those years?" 

The man replies, "Because I know that you can no longer arrest me, I will tell you. I was smuggling donkeys."

Moral of the story
Truth is pure and simple, and right in front of our eyes. Yet, we search high and low for it.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Mystic

A mystic is anyone who had realized, if but for a few moments in a human lifetime, the fullness of his true nature, his own highest degree of spiritual consciousness, and who spends the rest of his life seeking to fulfil Truth through love, for no man is a mystic who has not known love in its indivisible essence. 

The mystic has also been defined as ‘One who through proper recognition of, and response to, the God of his heart, has found a rich and satisfying harmony between his inner most being and its ultimate source.’ 

While the mystic is well aware of his limitations and imperfections, he senses a great challenge on the path. One of the most exciting things to a mystic is a thrilling and justifiable anticipation of what he is in process of becoming. 

The mystic does not claim that one way of comprehending reality, of being at home in the universe, is superior to the other. He claims rather that for his fullest human hood, a person must approach them (understanding of some phenomena) from two different viewpoints. Each viewpoint by itself tells only half of the truth. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Relationship - Quotes

A good relationship is when someone accepts your past, supports your present and encourages your future. - Unknown

A healthy relationship is one in which two people encourage each other to reach their respective goals while sharing each other's hopes and dreams. - Unknown

A great relationship is about two things. First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. - Unknown

A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity. - Mandy Hale

A relationship without trust is like a car without gas. You can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere. - Unknown

A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation. - Bertrand Russell

Any serious human relationship takes work. Not so much in the sense of learning the right rules or formulas that govern all relationships (if there were such things), but in two individuals working together to find what is best for both of them. - Leo Buscaglia

Assumptions are the termites of relationships. - Henry Winkler

All failed relationships hurt, but losing someone who doesn't appreciate and respect you is actually a gain, not a loss. - Unknown

Being alone may scare you but staying in a bad relationship will damage you. - Unknown

Don’t cheat in a relationship. If you are not happy then just leave. - Unknown

Don’t find reasons to stay with someone who always finds a reason to leave. - Unknown

Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship. - Unknown

Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of love, and it might be wise to let them go along with your anger. Wish them well, and let them go their way. - Unknown

Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who really want to be together. - Unknown

In human relationships, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths. - Graham Greene

Intimate relationships which extend beyond sociability and offer opportunities for prolonged togetherness, can offer us the most growth -producing setting in which we may be ourselves and express that self freely within a reliable, safe, accepting, encouraging and trusting environment. - Unknown

If you are not happy being single. You will never be happy in a relationship. Get your own life and love it first. Then share it. Love when you're ready. Not when you're lonely. - Unknown

Its the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but its the little differences that make them interesting. - Todd Ruthman

Many relationships fail because we spend too much time pointing out each other’s mistakes and not enough time enjoying each other’s company. - Unknown 

No partner in a love relationship should feel that he has to give up an essential part of himself to make it viable. - May Sarton

No relationship is ever a waste of time. If it didn’t bring you what you want, it taught you want you don’t want. - Unknown

Our relationship to reality and to our experience is all based upon the ideas in our mind that were always trying to live up to. - Andrew Cohen

Regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place. - Unknown

Relationships are about trust. If you have to play detective, then it’s time to move on. - Unknown

Relationships are about two individuals who maintain their own lives and create another one together. - Unknown

Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than hurt yourself trying to put them back together. - Unknown

Relationships aren’t designed for selfish individuals. - Unknown  

So many go into relationships hoping to get something and feel something to make them feel complete. When in actuality, a relationship is about sharing who you already are in your wholeness and then bathing in the beauty and adventure of that. - Shari Alyse

So often it is only when people suddenly feel they are losing their partner that they realize how much they love them. Then they cling on even tighter. But the more they grasp, the more the other person escapes them, and the more fragile the relationship becomes. - Sogyal Rinpoche

Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if  you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take. - Anthony Robbins

Talk and activities are the glue that holds relationships together; it creates connections between people and a sense of community. - Unknown

The best person to talk about the problems in your relationship is the person you’re in a relationship with. - Unknown

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

The best relationship is when you can act like lovers and best friends at the same time. - Unknown

The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. - Carrie Bradshaw

The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom ones relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvellous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident. - Sir Hugh Walpole

The only real security in relationship is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. It lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now. - Anne Lindbergh

The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. - Neale Donald Walsch

The relationships we have with the world are largely determined by the relationships we have with ourselves. - Unknown

Treasure your relationships, not your possessions. - Anthony D'Angelo

Trust is a very important factor for all relationships. When trust is broken, it is the end of the relationship. Lack of trust leads to suspicion, suspicion generates anger, anger causes enmity and enmity may result in separation. - Leo Buscaglia  

When you make a commitment to a relationship, you invest your attention and energy in it more profoundly because you now experience ownership of that relationship. - Barbara De Angelis

You can’t expect to have a deep relationship with a shallow person. - Doe Zantamata  

What is Mysticism?

This won't be a favourite topic with most people but if you can keep an open mind - whether you believe in it eventually is another matter - you will find that Mysticism is actually very interesting. It will definately answer some of your questions about life and clear some of your doubts on matters pertaining to life.

My experience with Mysticism is mostly theoretical. The Organization which I was a member of (for a couple of years only - unfortunately) was based overseas. Thus, I was not able to participate in their activities. My understanding of Mysticism is from reading their publications. 

But first, let's see what Mysticism is all about.

Mysticism is the belief in the attainment, through contemplation, of truths inaccessible to the understanding. From a historical and psychological viewpoint, it is the search for and experience of the relationship of the individual himself and the totality that makes up the universe.

Mysticism brings all the various elements of man’s nature together into one beautiful synthesis. It develops every facet of a person, and evolves him toward wholesome maturity, as rays of the sun bring the budding rose into full bloom. 

The first and the essential element in mysticism is belief in mystical union. It does not matter what terms or symbols are used to express this concept. The point is that man is one with the whole. Union or oneness means direct knowledge of the Cosmic. This union is the basis of intuition, or knowledge derived from the Cosmic. 

This is explained by the second element: the Whole, the Cosmic, or God is essentially Mind – mental force and its manifestations of energy. There is no separation of even its objective manifestations. Human beings make this apparent separation. We realize separateness because of our own mental functions, thus bringing up a third factor: the basic union of fields of knowledge. 

We separate the Cosmic, its manifestations, and our own knowledge into categories in order to comprehend both the Cosmic and its manifestations. Objectively, we are unable to do otherwise, because our physical brain and nervous systems function that way. But the deeper levels of consciousness are capable of realizing the Whole as one and of transmitting this realization to the objective consciousness. 

In more specific terms, cosmology, ontology, psychology, physics, literature, and art are not truly separated divisions of knowledge. Each field of study is affected by others and is really inseparable from all knowledge as a whole. 

Logically, the fourth element is the belief in pantheism, or in monism, or both. Pantheism is the concept of the Cosmic Mind as the many manifestations of its principles and laws operating universally. Monism is the belief that actuality is one united, organic whole. 

This leads us directly to the next principle, the “As Above, So Below” axiom, which is simply a way of saying One is All and All is One. The microcosm, or man as the little world, corresponds to the Cosmic as the macrocosm or the great world. 

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Search For Answers

There was a period in the early years of my life, when I was besieged with doubts, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness - with myself, with my life, as well as with life in general. I felt so lost, and miserable. 

There were all these questions in my head, but no answers. Somehow, I got it into my head that the answers might lie in Mysticism, and that’s where I began my search for answers. Buddhism was another place I turned to for answers. 

Did I find all the answers I seek? I am not sure if all my questions are answerable, or can be answered satisfactorily. However, I have learned to take things easy, to go with the flow of Life, and to enjoy the moment.

I realised that Life is a learning process. So I guess I will be learning, and looking for answers till the day I die.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Estate Agent

While looking at a house, a man asked the estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. 

She asked, 'Does the sun rise in the north?' 

When the man explained that the sun rises in the east, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, 'Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff.’

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Can You Inherit An Allergy?

The claim: Allergy problems run in families.

The facts: It is well known that traits like hair and eye colour, height and even certain aspects of personality can be inherited. What about allergies?
              The environment may get most of the blame but scientists have found that allergies like asthma and hay fever have a powerful genetic component.
              Once study of 344 families, for example, found that when neither parent had a history of asthma, only 6 percent of children went on to develop it.
              However, in families where one parent had the condition, 20 percent of children had the diagnosis; in families where both parents had it, 60 percent of children had it too.
              More compelling evidence comes from dozens of studies on twins. Generally, when one identical twin suffers from hay fever, asthma or eczema, the other twin has it in 50 to 80 percent of the cases. In fraternal twins, the percentage drops to about 25 to 40 percent.

The bottom Line: Environment and genetics both contribute to allergies, but studies suggest that genes play a critical role.

- The New York Times