Monthly Archives: November 2011

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Do you think that the flame on the candle is going down only in a vertical direction? If you think so, then you are following the flame in time. You may also think in this way about your own life span: that it is going in a linear direction and that one day it will end. You may think that you were born on a point on a vertical line, a point you may call 1960. You may think that you will die on a point somewhere farther down on that line, which you may call 2040. All you can see is yourself moving in time like the candle. But you are not just moving in a linear direction.

You might think that the flame is just going down. You might think that the candle will die. In fact the flame is going out in many other directions. It is giving out light all around itself to the north, south, east and west. If you had a very sensitive scientific instrument, you would be able to measure the heat and light that the candle is sending out into the universe. The candle is going into you as an image, as light and as heat.

You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment.

— Thich Nhat Hanh – No Death, No Fear – Pages 121 and 122


This text is illustrated by this example following the text above on page 122:
This morning you said something unkind to your child. With those unkind words you went into her heart. Now you are regretting what you said. It does not mean that you cannot transform what you have said by admitting your mistake to your child, but if you fail to do so, those unkind words may stay with your child for a long time.

You are like a candle

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“According to the true Indian view, our consciousness of the world, merely as the sum total of things that exist, and as governed by laws, is imperfect. But it is perfect when our consciousness realizes all things as spiritually one with it, and therefore capable of giving us joy. For us the highest purpose of this world is not merely living in it, knowing it and making use of it, but realizing our own selves in it through expansion of sympathy; not alienating ourselves from it and dominating it, but comprehending and uniting it with ourselves in perfect union.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

Realize our own selves into the world

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In what for others is night,
therein is the man
of self-restraint wide awake,
separate from passion
and hate,
self-possessed and drawing near
to calm serenity.
This is the athlete of the spirit,

whose ground remains unmoved,
whole soul
stands firmly on it.
This is the fixed,
still state
which sustains even at the time of death
the athletes
of the spirit,
who even then set forth,
some
to return, some never to return.
Outstanding is
he whose soul views in the selfsame way
comrades
and enemies, loving all alike.

—Philip Glass – Satyagraha – Act III – (compilation of excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita)


This Saturday I had the great pleasure to attend to the Metropolitan Opera Live transmission of Philip Glass’ opera named Satyagraha. Gandhi conceived the term Satyagraha for his principle of nonviolent and civil resistance. This opera in 3 acts lasted about 4 hours. But it was so captivating that the time went by as quickly I could have stayed even 2 hours longer watching and listening to that wonderfully composed and performed opera.

Satyagraha

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Buddhist monks gathered together in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment.

All mistakes that occur
And all the various kinds of wrongdoing
Arise through the force of conditions;
They do not govern themselves.

These conditions that assemble together
Have no intention to produce anything,
And neither does their product
Have the intention to be produced.

— Shantideva – Verses 25 and 26 / Chapter 6 of the Bodhicharyavatara

The world and its beings are full of aberrations. These various and varied aberrations are the result of dependent originations of phenomena. Causation means both, the main cause and the conditions for a resultant consequence to happen. The seed buried in the earth is the cause and the soil, the sun, the rain are the conditions which cause it to germinate and to become a plant as a resultant consequence. Anger and all the other afflictions, and the whole panoply of negative actions motivated by them – killing, stealing, and so on – are brought about by circumstances. They are not independent or self-governed. Therefore, there is no use exhibiting anger at others’ faults. When no physical object is present, the experience of seeing (on the part of the eye consciousness) does not occur. The same is true mutatis mutandis with hearing and all the other senses. And when there is no seeing or hearing and the like, there is no engaging in positive or negative deeds. Therefore, although anger arises on the basis of the coincidence of an object, the sense power, and the sense consciousness, the gathering of these three conditions does not itself intend to produce anger in a given person’s mind. And the resulting anger is not an entity that regards itself as produced by such conditions. In all of this, there is no trace of an independent, autonomous agent.

— This commentary is compiled by a combination of the Parmanda Sharma and Kunzang Pelden Commentaries

Causes and Conditions

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Neither time nor space exists for the man who knows the eternal.

Space and time are real for the man who is yet imperfect and space is divided for him into dimensions, time into past, present and future. He looks behind him and sees his birth, his acquisitions, all that he has rejected. That past is being continually modified by the present which is ever being added to it. From the past man turns his eyes to the future where death, the unknown, the darkness, the mystery, await him.

Fascinated by these he can no longer detach himself from them. The mystery of the future holds for him the fulfillment of all his desires, which the past has denied to him, and in his dreams he flies to that brilliant horizon where happiness must exist, where he must seek it.

Fatal error!

No one will ever pierce the infinite mystery of the future -impenetrable in its evanescent illusion- neither magician, prophet nor God! But on the contrary it will be the mystery which will engulf man, which will not let him escape, which will break the mainspring of his life.

Life is not to be approached through the past, nor through the mirage of the future. Life cannot be approached through intermediaries, nor conquered for another.

That discovery can only be made in the immediate present -by the individual for himself and not for others- by the individual who has become the eternal “I”. That eternal “I” is created by the perfection of the self – perfection in which all things are contained, even human imperfections. Man, not yet having achieved that condition of life in the present, lives in the past which he regrets, lives in the future where he hopes, but never in the present which he ignores. This is the case with all men.

Balanced between the past and the future, the “I” is poised as a tiger ready to spring, as an eagle ready to fly, as the bow at the moment of releasing the arrow.

This moment of equilibrium, of high tension, is “creation.” It is the fullness of all life, it is immortality.

The wind of the desert sweeps away all trace of the traveller.

The sole imprint is the footstep of the present. The past, the future… sands blown by the wind.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti – From Darkness to Light – page 5

Neither time…

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The moment I die,
I will try to come back to you
as quickly as possible.
I promise it will not take long.
Isn’t it true
I am already with you
in every moment?
I come back to you
in every moment.
Just look,
feel my presence.
If you want to cry,

please cry.
And know
that I will cry with you.
The tears you shed
will heal us both.
Your tears are mine.
The earth I tread this morning
transcends history.
Spring and Winter are both present in the moment.
The young leaf and the dead leaf are really one.
My feet touch deathlessness,
and my feet are yours.
Walk with me now.
Let us enter the dimension of oneness
and see the cherry tree blossom in Winter.
Why should we talk about death?
I don’t need to die
to be back with you.

— Thich Nhat Hanh – The Collection of Poems – page 141

Oneness