Sunday, 31 October 2010

Buddhism


I am hearten, and pleasantly surprised to see there are so many blogs on Buddhism on the net. And mostly by westerners too.

Buddhism is pragmatic and easy to understand. It is a universal teaching about Life which can be understood by All people. It is a teaching not just for the monks or for the Buddhists but for anyone who cares to ‘listen’, or who wants to know more about Life. Which is why some people consider Buddhism a philosophy rather than a religion.

The following are excerpts from Buddhist text and publications. 


The Enlightened One was moved to pity
i) because He saw Mankind drowning in the Great Sea of Birth, Death and Sorrow, and longed to save them.
ii) because He saw them doing evil with hand, heart, tongue and many times receiving the bitter fruits, yet were yielding to their desires.
iii) because He saw them afraid of birth, old age and death.

The Buddha does not attempt to solve all the ethical and philosophical problems that perplex mankind. He is chiefly concerned with one practical and specific problem; that of Suffering and its destruction. All side issues are completely ignored.

The Buddha teaches that no amount of factual knowledge will ultimately free man from the pain of existence. He must strive alone and diligently until he arrives at a true understanding of his own nature and of the changeable nature of the cosmos. To be truly free a man must seek to tame his mind, to destroy his craving for sensual pleasure.

The man who has conquered self-love is, according to the Buddha, the highest being in the universe. The conquest can be best be acquired by living the homeless life but even those who remain in their homes and follow their normal callings can still live the unworldly life; by practicing generosity, by following the principles of righteousness and justice, by abstaining from unworthy desires and by observing an elementary morality. The minimum required of a good man, a good citizen, is that he should abstain from taking life, from theft, from unchastity, from lying and from intoxicants, covetousness, malevolence, ill-temper, sloth and torpor of body and mind, fretfulness and irritability, doubt and perplexity - these the Buddha declares are hindrances to spiritual progress.

Detachment is one of the most important factors for the attainment of Enlightenment. The attainment of enlightenment is by way of non-attachment. Most of life's troubles are caused by attachment. We get angry; we worry; we become greedy and complain bitterly. All these causes of unhappiness, tension, stubbornness, and sadness are due to attachment. When we investigate any trouble or worry we have, the main cause is always attachment. Thus a person should maintain an attitude of detachment from worldly pleasures rather than being selfishly attached to them.

Worldly pleasures and bad experiences are so transitory – knowing their transitory nature, their relative nature, their conventional nature, makes you free.

One of the best ways to overcome possessive-attachment to loved ones is to reflect on impermanence. Everything changes, nothing lasts. One day death will separate us from the people we love. Separation could occur even before that if one of us is posted overseas or if we quarrel and come to hate each other. The more attached we are the more pain and stress we will suffer at this separation. Therefore it is wise to give up attachment. But that doesn’t mean giving up love! We can love people without being attached to them by living with the awareness of our inevitable separation. We can love and care for them now and at the same time be ready to say goodbye to them when the time comes.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Home In No Time


              A woman was waiting in the check-out line at a shopping centre. Her arms were laden with a mop and broom and other cleaning supplies. By her actions and deep sighs, it was obvious she was in an extreme hurry, and was not happy about the slowness of the line. 
              When the cashier called for a price check on a box of soap, the woman remarked indignantly, “Well, I’ll be lucky to get out of here and home before Easter!” 
              “Don’t worry, ma’am,” replied the clerk. “With that wind kicking up out there and that brand new broom you have there, you'll be home in no time.”

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Role of Spirituality


Fully functioning persons have a deep sense of spirituality. They know that the world in which they live cannot be explained or understood through human experience alone. They know that they must make the ‘mystical leap.’ They must go beyond themselves, beyond their limited reality. They have an inexplicable sense of something more. They feel a greater operative intellect than their own, even if they are at a loss to give it a name. They are aware of a great design, incessantly operative, in which all is compatible and in which there are no contradictions. 

Life offers us few explanations. We cannot be certain of the true meaning of life, the source of life nor life after life. Only we can fill the void which this incertitude creates. We can either accept in faith or select nothingness. Both are the same. Both will involve mind games, for neither offer definitive proofs. This does not mean that answers do not exist. 

Some of us are unable to live without answers. The void is too totally frightening, too devastating. So we must create answers for ourselves. 

Some of us choose to live without answers. We find them unnecessary. We live out our lives without asking questions, living into answers. 

Both ways require the creating of a belief system for which there is no validation. Either choice embodies a living sense of spirituality which arises from the affirmation of the self through personal choice itself.

Spirituality, faith and mystery are inherent in every aspect of life. 

To be in touch with nature, to feel deeply its moods, to experience fully its sorcery, to know how so-called ‘inanimate’ things work, is to become caught up in the spirituality and divinity of all things. 

The spirit of each person and thing is present even if we are too asleep to experience it, even if we deny its existence. Spirituality involves an awareness of all there is and an openness to what is not. It is the strength and fearlessness to allow ourselves to transcend reality and ourselves.

Fully functioning individuals know that it is this magic that gives life its spice, irradiates boredom and elevates existence beyond space and time. To be a fully functioning person is to reach out with total trust and touch the God of all things.

- Author Unknown 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I have learned that …..


I have learned that ....

Life isn’t fair but it’s still good.

To ignore the facts does not change the facts.

Being kind is more important than being right.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

Whatever doesn’t kill you really makes you stronger.

No one is in charge of my happiness but I am.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

The less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

When you harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

Just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

It’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

The world is like a mirror. If you face it smiling it smiles right back.

Good times become good memories. Bad times, become good lessons.

Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Sometimes all a person need is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

Under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

It takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof to destroy it.

Your shouldn’t compare yourself to others – they are more screwed up than you think.

I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

When you planned to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountains but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Proverbs


This was where it all started. Proverbs, Adages, Maxims, Idioms … struck a chord with me in my young, tender years. I took pains to keep a record when one crossed my path. I was in awe of the knowledge and lessons taught in these short sentences. I felt I had discovered the world of words, and the world of adults. 

Later on, I would collect anything which I found interesting – inspirational quotes, passages etc…. 


* * * * * * * * *

There are but few proverbial sayings that are not true, for they are all drawn from experience itself, which is the mother of all sciences. - Miguel de Cervantes

To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon. 

Go often to the house of thy friend; for weeds soon choke up the unused path. 

It is the part of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to skin it. 

No gain is so certain as that which proceeds from the economical use of what you already have.

Don’t think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm. 

Trumpet in a herd of elephants; crow in the company of cocks; bleat in a flock of goats. 

If you wish your merit to be known, acknowledge that of other people. 

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. 

Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we can get. 

Take hold lightly; let go lightly. This is one of the great secrets of felicity in love. 

Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water. 

It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps. 

You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. 

Help your brother’s boat across and your own will reach the shore. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

Thought For The Day


We owe most of our great inventions and most of the achievements of genius to idleness – either enforced or voluntary. The human mind prefers to be spoon-fed with the thoughts of others, but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly, begin to think for itself – and such thinking, remember, is original thinking and may have valuable results. - Agatha Christie 

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Power Of Words


              There once was a wise sage who wandered the countryside. One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by a woman who saw he was a sage and told him of a sick child nearby. She beseeched him to help this child. 
              The sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight. One woman brought the sick child to him, and he said a prayer over her.
              "Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine has failed?" yelled a man from the crowd.
              "You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!" said the sage to the man.
              The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him and said: "If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?" 
              And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Good News, Bad News


              Doctor: Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Which would you like to hear first?
              Patient: Well... The bad news first ...
              Doctor: Your legs were injured so badly that we had to amputate both of them.
              Patient: That’s terrible! What’s the good news?
              Doctor: There’s a guy in the next ward who made a very good offer on your slippers.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Toasts And Prayers


Now, if you were called upon to propose a toast, or to say a prayer, you should have a few ready for the occasion - any occasion.

* * * * * * * * *

May you have ……

enough happiness to keep you sweet;
enough trials to keep you strong;
enough sorrow to keep you human;
enough hope to keep you happy;
enough failure to keep you humble;
enough success to keep you eager;
enough friends to give you comfort;
enough wealth to meet your needs;
enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.
enough faith and courage in yourself, your business, and your country to banish depression;

May the road rise to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back.
May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

May your brightest days have the shadow of definition and your darkest admit some light.
May our feast days be many and our fast days be few.
May the sunshine of hope dispel the clouds of calamity.
May we ever remember to err is human and to forgive divine.
May all your troubles during the coming year be as short-lived as your New Year’s resolutions.

May the sun light your path, may love surround you and may the light of inspiration always burn strong within you.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Walk Away Dementia


Walking at least 9.7 km a week may help people keep their brains from shrinking and fight off dementia, US researchers said.

A study of nearly 300 people in Pittsburgh found that those who walked at least 9.7 km a week had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less.

“Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trails of physical exercise in order adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh, whose study was published in the journal Neurology.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, slowly kills off brain cells, and activities like walking have been shown to build brain volume. There is no current cure for the disease which affects more than 26 million people globally.

Dr Erickson and his colleagues began their study in 1995, involving 299 volunteers who were free of dementia and who kept track of how much they walk. Nine years later, scientists took brain scans to measure their brain volume. After four more years, they tested to see if anyone in the study had cognitive impairment or dementia.

They found that people who walked roughly 9.7 km to 14.5 km a week halved their risk of developing memory problems. They said more studies needed to be done on the effects of exercise on dementia, but in the absence of any effective treatments for Alzheimer’s, walking may be one thing people can do that may help down the road.

- Reuters 

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Life


All lives are so profoundly and intricately intertwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.

Therefore after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength – to the very survival of the human tapestry.

Every hour in every day contains such often unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days for which we, in our dissatisfaction so often yearn are already with us; all great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day. 

- Author Unknown 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

One Mistake Too Many


              An employee noticed that his pay check was five dollars short. He went immediately to the pay office to complain. “But you didn’t complain last week when you were overpaid five dollars,” the clerk there pointed out to the angry man.
              “Of course not,” came the reply. “I can overlook a mistake once, but when it happens for the second time, then I think it’s time to complain.”

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Salt Remedy For Sore Throat


The claim: Gargling with salt water can ease cold symptoms.

The facts: Nothing but time can cure the common cold but a simple cup of salt water might ease the misery.

A sore, itchy throat and respiratory congestion are some of the more common symptoms of a cold, and gargling with salt water seems to help for several reasons.

A saline solution can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less, said Dr. Philip T. Hagen, editor in chief of the Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies, which is due out this month. He pointed out that gurgling also loosens thick mucus which can remove irritants like allergens, bacteria and fungi from the throat.

In a randomised study published in The American Journal Of Preventive Medicine in 2005, researchers recruited almost 400 healthy volunteers and followed them for 60 days during the cold and flu season.

Some of the subjects were told to gargle three times a day. At the end of rthe study period, the group that regularly gargled had a nearly 40 percent decrease in upper respiratory tract infections compared with the control group, and when they did get sick, ‘gargling’ tended to attenuate bronchial symptoms’.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for best results, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out. Adults who want a more palatable remedy against cough and sore throat can try mixing warm water with lemon and honey. No need to spit it out.

The bottom line: Gargling with a saline solution can ease symptoms of a cold.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Life


Each smallest act of kindness – even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile – reverberate across great distances, and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo. 

Likewise each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people who you have never met, and never will. 

- H.R. White 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Lady Golfer


              A lady was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. She was unhappy with the women’s type she had been using. After browsing for several minutes, she was approached by one of the good looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help her. 
              Without thinking, she looked at him and said, “I think I like playing with men’s balls.”

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Enjoy Each Day


              First I was dying to finish my high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. Then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work. But then I was dying to retire. And now I’m dying. And suddenly I realised I forgot to live.
              Please don’t let this happen to you. Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day.

- Unknown

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Let’s Talk


              A guy gets on a plane and finds himself seated next to a cute blonde. He immediately turns to her and makes his move. “You know,” he says, “I’ve heard that flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger. So let’s talk.”
              The blonde, who had just opened her book, closes it slowly and says to the guy, “What would you like to discuss?” 
               “Oh, I don’t know,” says the guy. “How about nuclear power?”
              “Okay,” says the blonde. “That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet the deer excretes little pellets, the cow turns out a flat patty, and the horse produces muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?”
              The guy is dumbfounded. Finally he replies, “I haven’t the slightest idea.”
              “So tell me,” says the blonde, “How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don’t know shit?”