Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dedication

A gifted young painter of extraordinary talent had been apprenticed to a renowned painter, who when he recognized the boy's gifts became intensely jealous.
"No, that is not the way to do it!" he would shout. "You will do better painting houses than pictures." 
Slowly the boy's confidence ebbed. No matter how hard he tried, the painter found fault and humiliated the boy in front of the other students. 
One day the painting assignment was goldfish. The boy closed his eyes and called up a splendid fat fish from his uncle's pond. 
This he painted. 
"No. No. No!" screamed the teacher and threw the boy's picture into the water, where to everyone's amazement the painted fish proceeded to swim away. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Expert's Dilemma

Once there was a monk who was an expert on the Diamond Sutra, and as books were very valuable in his day, he carried the only copy in his part of the world on his back. He was widely sought after for his readings and insight into the Diamond Sutra, and very successful at propounding its profundities to not only monks and masters but to the lay people as well. 
Thus the people of that region came to know of the Diamond Sutra, and as the monk was traveling on a mountain road, he came upon an old woman selling tea and cakes. 
The hungry monk would have loved to refresh himself, but alas, he had no money.
He told the old woman, "I have upon my back a treasure beyond knowing -- the Diamond Sutra. If you will give me some tea and cakes, I will tell you of this great treasure of knowledge." 
The old woman knew something of the Diamond Sutra herself, and proposed her own bargain. 
She said, "Oh learned monk, if you will answer a simple question, I will give you tea and cakes."
To this the monk readily agreed. 
The woman then said, "When you eat these cakes, are you eating with the mind of the past, the mind of the present or the mind of the future?"

No answer occurred to the monk, so he took the pack from his back and got out the text of the Diamond Sutra, hoping he could find the answer. 
As he studied and pondered, the day grew late and the old woman packed up her things to go home for the day. 
"You are a foolish monk indeed," said the old woman as she left the hungry monk in his quandary. "You eat the tea and cakes with your mouth."




Source: A lighter side of Buddhism 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Trap

A famous teacher took his pupils into a clearing in the forest that was known as a home for wild monkeys. There he took a hollow gourd with a small hole and inserted sweetened rice (a favorite of monkeys). Then he chained the gourd to a stake and waited with his class. 

Soon a very large monkey approached, sniffed the rice, inserted his paw, and screeched in frustration when he was unable to withdraw his paw (now a fist) through the narrow opening. Just then a leopard approached and hearing the monkey screeching decided to have monkey for his dinner. 
"Let go of the rice. Run!" screamed the pupils, but to no avail because the monkey in his hunger for the rice, refused to let go and was as a consequence caught and eaten by the leopard.

 "What was the trap that killed the monkey?" asked the master. "Rice," said one student. "The ground," said another. "No," replied the wise teacher. "The trap was greed." 


“A trap is only a trap if you don't know about it. If you know about it, it's a challenge.” 
― China MiévilleKing Rat

Friday, December 5, 2014

You are What You "Drink" / "Eat"...

Sometimes we encounter something and the memories are aroused.

I watched a video that made me think. My Grandmother always said that when we have our lunch and dinner we should be in a happy mood. We should sit together, chitchat and enjoy the food. As children we never understood "Why".


We will always begin the meal with the following :


वदनी कवळ घेता नाम घ्या श्रीहरीचे | सहज हवन होते नाम घेता फुकाचे ||
जीवन करी जिवित्वा अन्न हे पूर्ण ब्रह्म | उदरभरण नोहे जाणिजे यज्ञकर्म ||

vadani kaval gheta naam ghya shri-hariche l
sahaj havan hote naam gheta phukache l
jivan kari jivitva anna he purn-brahma l
udar-bharan nohe janije yadnya-karma ll 

(Meaning: Eating is not  merely for filling stomach but is a sacred act of consuming healthy meal for a complete digestion and so be humble and satisfied with the food.
 We should always remember that we are indeed so blessed to have food of our own choice. There is nothing wrong in being humble,  we should be grateful for the rain (nature in a way) and the farmers for their hard work for the harvests, the fire to cook the food and all the helping hands responsible for serving the food on our plates everyday. A simple way to express gratitude is by saying a thanksgiving prayer )
 Every culture has its own way of saying a prayer of thanksgiving before eating a single morsel of food,  the Christians say their grace.

In Islam, the tradition of saying a prayer when the meal is ready and while starting to eat is followed well: 

  • When meal is ready: "Allahumma barik lana fima razaqtana waqina athaban-nar. " (Translation: O Allah! Bless the food You have provided us and save us from the punishment of the hellfire.
  • While starting to eat: bismillahi wa 'ala baraka-tillah ("In the name of God and with God's blessing") or simply b-ismi-llāh-ir-raḥmān-ir-raḥīm ("in the name of God, the gracious, the merciful") 

In Japan it is customary to put one's hands together and say "Itadakimasu" (いただきます?) ("I humbly receive") before eating a meal. "Itadakimasu" is said to express gratitude for all people who played a role in preparing, cultivating or hunting the food.
In Korea, it is customary to say "Jal meokgesseumnida" (잘 먹겠습니다) ("I will eat well'). The saying is not religious in nature, and usually only occurs when eating with someone else.
Does all this has any meaning?
Does this only religious / cultural?
Do you know a thought is a vibration?
Do you know an emotion is a vibration?

Watch the following amazing Video. If water has these properties, can we make best use of it for ourselves? for our well-being? 


If you have stopped the tradition of offering prayer before meals, will you now restart it?
Will you teach that tradition to others? To the young ones in the family?

So I  understand my Grandmother better now.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Raft

"Monks, I will teach you the parable of the raft - for getting across, not for retaining. It is like a man who going on a journey sees a great stretch of water, the near bank with dangers and fears, the farther bank secure and without fears, but there is neither a boat for crossing over, nor a bridge across. It occurs to him that to cross over from the perils of this bank to the security of the farther bank, he should fashion a raft out of sticks and branches and depending on the raft, cross over to safety. 


When he has done this it occurs to him that the raft has been very useful and he wonders if he ought to take it with him on his head and shoulders. What do you think, monks? That the man is doing what should be done to the raft?" 

"No, lord."
 "What should that man do, monks? When he has crossed over to the beyond he must leave the raft and proceed on his journey. Monks, a man doing this would be doing what should be done to the raft. In this way I have taught you Dharma, like the parable of the raft, for getting across, not for retaining. You, monks, by understanding the parable of the raft, must not cling to right states of mind and, all the more, to wrong states of mind." 

Source: Teachings of the Buddha by Jack Kornfield 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Story of Derek Redmond

The former British 400m record-holder, now 46, was at his peak when he lined up for the 400m semi-final in Barcelona in 1992. Here he relives the day that ended his career but made him an inspiration to millions.



When I took my place on the starting blocks I felt good. 
For once I had no injuries, despite eight operations in four years, and I’d won the first two rounds without breaking sweat – including posting the fastest time in the first round heats. I was confident and when the gun went off I got off to a good start. 
Derek Redmond was helped towards the finish line by his father Jim
Derek Redmond was helped towards the finish line by his father Jim
‘I got into my stride running round the first turn and I was feeling comfortable. Then I heard a popping sound. I kept on running for another two or three strides then I felt the pain. I thought I’d been shot, but then I recognised the agony.
‘I’d pulled my hamstring before and the pain is excruciating: like someone shoving a hot knife into the back of your knee and twisting it. I grabbed the back of my leg, uttered a few expletives and hit the deck. 
I couldn’t believe this was happening after all the training I’d put in. I looked around to see where the rest of the field were, and they had only 100m to go. I remember thinking if I got up I could still catch them and qualify.
‘The pain was intense. I hobbled about 50m until I was at the 200m mark. Then I realised it was all over. I looked round and saw that everyone else had crossed the finishing line. But I don’t like to give up at anything – not even an argument, as my wife will tell you – and I decided I was going to finish that race if it was the last race I ever did.
‘All these doctors and officials were coming onto the track, trying to get me to stop but I was having none of it. Then, with about 100m to go, I became aware of someone else on the track. I didn’t realise it was my dad, Jim, at first. He said, “Derek, it’s me, you don’t need to do this.”
'I just said, “Dad, I want to finish, get me back in the semi-final.” He said, “OK. We started this thing together and now we’ll finish it together.” He managed to get me to stop trying to run and just walk and he kept repeating, “You’re a champion, you’ve got nothing to prove.” 

 Today I don’t feel anger, just frustration. The footage has since been used in adverts by Visa, Nike and the International Olympic Committee  – I don’t go out of my way to watch it,  but it isn’t painful any more
‘We hobbled over the finishing line with our arms round each other, just me and my dad, the man I’m really close to, who’s supported my athletics career since I was seven years old. I’ve since been told there was a standing ovation by the 65,000 crowd, but nothing registered at the time. I was in tears and went off to the medical room to be looked at, then I took the bus back to the Olympic village. 
My dream was over. In Seoul four years earlier I didn’t even get to the start line because of an Achilles injury and had “DNS” – Did Not Start – next to my name. I didn’t want them to write “DNF” – Did Not Finish – in Barcelona.
‘When I saw my doctor he told me I’d never represent my country again. I felt like there’d been a death. I never raced again and I was angry for two years.  Then one day I just thought: there are worse things than pulling a muscle in a race, and I just decided to get on with my life.
Today I don’t feel anger, just frustration. The footage has since been used in adverts by Visa, Nike and the International Olympic Committee  – I don’t go out of my way to watch it,  but it isn’t painful any more and I have the Visa ad on my iPad. 
‘If I hadn’t pulled a hamstring that day I could have been an Olympic medallist, but I love the life I have now. I might not have been a motivational speaker or competed for my country at basketball, as I went on to do. And my dad wouldn’t have been asked to carry the Olympic torch this year, which was a huge honour for him.


For greater impact, here’s the clip of this touching moment on youtube.


Source: Derek Redmond

Friday, November 14, 2014

Earthquake !!

One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed! Many of the monks were terrified. 

When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances." 

One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything. 
"What are you laughing at? asked the teacher. 
"That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce."