Impermanence

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Die! Die!
Cut off those chains
that hold you prisoner
to the world of attachment

— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumi) – Love Poems of Rumi (edited by Deepak Chopra) – Excerpt of Dying to Love

Time has come to say goodbye. I have been thinking seriously over the last month about the future of this blog. As you might have read in the “About the Author and this Blog” menu, this blog was initially intended to be a 365 day project for me. The question recently came up what would be the future of the blog after this period of time. I have seriously taken into consideration to continue this blog with text I would have written from my own experience and how I live my spirituality. It is now a year that has passed since I started to put one quote a day and this was not easy at all. I remember running down the stairways of the Shechen Monastery Guesthouse in Nepal to ask Tashi, may he blessed, to start the WiFi connection at 4 o’clock in the morning, just to put my article online on time.

Yes, all this has been a challenge I have decided to take up. After several years of spiritual practice I decided to dedicate one year to cultivate only positive thoughts every day and shape my mind constantly towards virtue, to do positive deeds and to spend as much as possible of my time reading what other lineages, religions and spiritual teachers have written. My root lama once told me to study other spiritual texts to broaden my view, and I think that was a good idea. And this has been fulfilled this year. It has brought me a lot of good and I hope that the readers of this blog have found some interesting meditations here too.

For due to acquaintance with what is wholesome,
The force of my faith may for a short while
increase because of these (words).
If, however, these (words) are seen by others
Equal in fortune to myself, it may be
meaningful (for them).

— Shantideva – The Bodhicharyavatara – Chapter I – 3

Now, the day has come that this project is over. I think that this is the best teaching about impermanence I personally could receive and give to those people reading the quotes posted here day by day. I don’t pretend to be enlightened and I don’t pretend to have deep knowledge about spirituality, but I know that we have to let go this body one day. We die every moment and every day. Death permeates our existence but we avoid to look at it or understand it. Keeping in mind that death is but a step away, we will certainly understand the urge to abandon worldly concerns and turn towards virtue and spirituality in order to free ourselves from the bondage of our false self. The deathless is always in the palm of our hand and we just have to grasp it instead of grasping to concepts and living in ignorance and illusion.

During the time I maintained this 365-day-project, I have made many friends and discovered many different blogs about spirituality. I went personally through a lot of hardships on my spiritual path during the last years, knowing that truth is a pathless land. But to reach this land I had to tame the elephant that is my mind. I did a lot of meditation and purification practices to prepare my mind to stay in the light of awareness and abide in it like one of the pillars of Ashoka. The mind is like a monkey that needs to be hold tightly by the rope of mindfulness. I guess I am a very bad disciple because I have discovered some people through WordPress blogs that have attained perfect enlightenment without taming their minds and without the guidance of a true spiritual master. Today everything seems to go quicker and instantly and so it seems to be with spirituality too. I’d call it “Instant Enlightenment” (like the coffee)  and it will probably be sold in tin cans in a couple of years. Neo-Advaita teachers spring up like mushrooms with always the same message… “there is nothing to do”. The only message I personally would like to leave here is that there is a lot more to do than to understand that there is no such thing as a separate “I”, an observer, observing the “outside world”, grasping, rejecting and putting labels on it and hence seeing it through the veil of ignorance. Theory is not enlightening. Most of us need a certain preparation before we will be able to bring those teachings into practice and fruition. This preparation is consisting of preliminary practices to purify and tame the restless mind. Mind being conditioned and agitated for ages will not be tamed only by intellectually understanding that duality is ignorance and that there is only one divine non-dual reality. This knowledge is a nice point of entry to spirituality, but it is not a means to its end. So, always beware of thinking that you may have reached enlightenment because this could cut you straight from the path of spiritual evolution. Truth is a pathless land, but there is a path that should be followed to unveil truth, no matter what tradition you are into. There are very interesting articles on the Internet about this issue and the traps and pitfalls in the “Neo-Advaita” or “Pseudo-Advaita”. You may want to read the article on www.enlightened-spirituality.org.

But anyhow, I have met a lot of very interesting people through WordPress. There were a lot of true seekers and some true enlightened beings. I will continue to read the blogs I have subscribed to and this blog will be kept up, at least as long as the domain name is still active. I’ll leave it to the ‘now’ whether I’ll continue to put new posts from time to time or not, but my daily updates are definitively over now.

Meanwhile I would like to thank all the readers and give all of you great hugs with lots of love. May all of you attain timeless happiness and love.

Metta,

JC

31 responses »

  1. I’ll be so sorry not to see your daily posts, but you must do as you must. I agree with everything that you’ve said about the advaita way. We do have to take a ‘pathway’ to the pathless because of who we are. I think they do as they do because first people must realize that they are not the ego/body. Only then can they start letting go. Anyway, I will miss you a lot, so keep posting regularly please, if not every day. Thank you for the gentleness of your energy which comes through everything you post. Lots of love always, Yaz

    • Thank you very much for your appreciation. This thought, the initial idea about this 365 day project, that appeared a year ago in my mind and that I grasped has brought me immeasurable good. These 365 days were certainly a significant milestone on my spiritual journey that will definitively last for the rest of this life and beyond. It gave me strength and perseverance to continue as I did over these last years and I will definitively continue to share because I will never be able to give as much as I receive.
      Lots of love to you!
      JC

  2. Hace 10 meses que descubri este proyecto buscando una cita de shasntidheva.
    Gracias por este hermoso regalo que alimento mi espiritu durante este tiempo de pronto me senti algo a la deriVa pero conforme lei lo que nos escribiste pense que era el termino de este alimento no todos los blogs son confiables pero seguire el recomendado
    Nuevamente gracias desde un rincon de mexico tijuana B C
    Estranare el mensaje de mi gmal
    Ahora Buscare enla computadora de mi corazon. Gracias.

    Mensaje enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Nextel

    • Hi,
      First of all I want to thank you for this very nice and motivating comment. I will not answer you in English because I cannot write correctly in Spanish. You understood correctly that my project has now come to an end. I will not continue to post new quotes every day but I think that I will keep the blog up and post new messages from time to time. I will keep it spontaneous. If I read something I want to share and have a nice picture, then I will most probably post it here. It is a pleasure to read that you have followed the blog for 10 month and this is very motivating for me keep the blog alive, even if I do not post new messages every day.
      Thanks a lot and my warmest greetings from Luxembourg,
      JC

    • JC habla perfectamente alemán. La traducción de su comentario:
      ‘ Vor 10 Monaten entdeckte ich dieses Projekt auf der Suche nach einem Zitat von Shantideva. Vielen Dank für dieses schöne Geschenk, das meinen Geist während dieser
      Zeit ‘sättigte’ [fütterte]… Ich fühlte mich hilflos … Blogs sind nicht zuverlässig, aber ich werde
      den ( von Dir ) empfohlenen (Links) folgen … Nochmals vielen Dank von einer Ecke/einem
      Winkel Mexikos : Tijuna BC…
      Ich werde die Mails vermissen … (völlig freie Übersetzung ): Jetzt sucht mein Herz …
      Nachricht wurde gesendet von BlackBerry/Nextel. ‘

  3. Shantideva:

    This mind has been immeasurably enriched and delighted by our interactions here on WordPress. Thank you !

    It has been quite a revelation ( in humility) how awakening does NOT stop foolishness and mistaken appearance from arising. Good habits that developed during years of plodding practice are still what keep this life from chaos, same as before.

    I shall be aware of your absence, and am happy that you are doing what you like, and that sharing the dharmas of the world with the world the way that you did happened when and where I got to
    see it.

    May the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions forever light your way.

    love,

    d

    • Hi Dominic,
      Thank you so much for these nice and wise words. I admire the way you write and how your words naturally seem to flow out of your mind. The guiding words I have found on your blog have always been very authentic to me. During the year of my 365 day project I saw blogs pop up and close but your blog always had this continuity of quality and your wise words always were imbibed with humility. Writing about spirituality can be like walking on a razors edge. If you are not truly awakened this could be a real pitfall. The Ego is always hiding somewhere. 🙂 I admire that your words come out of experience and not of pride and I will not miss your future posts.
      Much love,
      Jean-Claude

  4. No I am not sorry, this slowing down is necessary, there is far too much haste in our modern world. Also I will have more time to savour the words and understand them. You took on a mamoth task and performed admirably, I am sure, like me, many have and still will benifit from the words you selected for your blog. I felt intune with you as soon as I started reading your posts. I will try not to loose touch with you as you are a great help to me in my travels on the path to understanding. Thank you my friend. P.S. some where in your replys to me I was pleased when you honored me by calling me your friend. Jack Caldwell.

    • Hi Jack, you are welcome and I am always happy to ready your comments here and the precious texts on your blog because I can feel that these come straight from your heart. I will certainly continue to read all your posts because they really radiate joy and happiness. And I agree with you about feeling in tune. I have this feeling for several bloggers, including you, and I think that exactly this is one of the most beautiful things that this huge network has to offer. Though geographically well separated, the Internet made it possible that we have met and shared a lot of beauty.
      Thank you,
      Jean-Claude

  5. Hallo Jean-Claude,
    Du huess et färdeg bruecht, eis 365 Deeg laang all Daag een lehrréichen Text an eng impressionnant Foto ze weisen.
    Ech mengen mir hun alleguer dodurch vill béi geléiert , fir d’Welt an d’Liewen aaneres ze gesinn an virun allem durch déi verschidden Texter kënne besser ze verstoen!
    Och wann déi 365 Deeg elo ëm sinn, waert ech nach laang een Notzen dovun hunn an och kënnen villes weidder ginn..
    Dofir nacch eng Kéier een déicken Merci.
    An bis geschwënn, irgendwéi waerten eis Weer sëch hei, an dem “positiven Deel” vum Internet, kréizen.
    Léif Gréiss
    René

    • Ech soen och dir villmols Merci fir den léiwen Kommentar. Leider sinn mir d’Fotoen jo ausgangen, awer ech wäert dofir suergen erem eppes neits zesummen ze kréien. Et ass mir och eng immens Freed gewiecht fir deng regelméisseg Kommentarer ze liesen. Sou konnten mir gemeinsam e Steck vun denen Philosophien an Photoen aus denen Länner deelen wou mir sou gären higinn. Haut denken ech dass ech wuel nach vun Zäit zu Zäit een Artikel hei weisen wäert. Den Projet un sech war eng richteg Erausfuederung an ech sinn frou dass ech domat fäerdeg sinn an et gepackt hunn. Et huet mir och immens vill bruecht. Virun allem schwammen ech elo regelrecht an den Bicher.
      Soss hoffen ech dass mir souwisou nach iergendwéi an Kontakt bleiwen. Wann nët hei, dann iwwert Flickr. Ech sinn awer och gären erem dobäi wanns du eng Virféierung mechs iwwert deng Reesen oder villäicht och bei engem gudden Iessen eng Kéier Owes.
      Gréiss,
      Jean-Claude

    • Tjo… 🙂 Ech wollt bei een Text den ech selwer schreiwen och gären eng Foto setzen déi ech selwer gemeet hunn. Des Foto hat ech hei nach net gewisen well ech d’Sensibilitéit vun verschiddenen Lieser eventuell net wollt verletzen. Awer an desem Kontext, also leschten Post fir den Projet, huet mir dat leschten Abendmahl alt gudd an de Krom gepasst. 😉

  6. Dear Jean-Claude,
    I am new to your blog. I wished I had discovered it sooner but then again, I might not have been ready to receive what you had posted. But here I am now just as you are embarking on the next chapter of your blog and I happily await this journey!
    I am new to the many spiritual teachings and terminologies. Yet, I have been on a relentless quest for God and spiritual truths since I was a child. I too started my blog about the same time as you did after recovering from a mastectomy and chemotherapy two years earlier. I believe that was a turning point of my life and that lightning bolt which struck my life awakened me to a realm I had perhaps sensed acutely as a child and had become dimmer over the years. This awakening has opened and sharpened certain perceptions I didn’t notice before.
    Like you, I too have over the course of this one year come across many spiritual blogs and I too have been struck by the same message “there is nothing left to do” but to simply rest in awareness which left me feeling faintly hollow after a while. And any questions or thoughts concerning this were brushed aside as the “thinking mind getting in the way.” I have often been perplexed by this.
    To me, the essence of spirituality must surely be more than just an inward journey into self. Shouldn’t it also be an outward journey at the same time? An overflow from one’s inner attainments and enlightenment into acts of service and compassion to humanity.
    I read your comment in one blog post which struck me very deeply and it led me here. I have found a deep affinity in the collection of teachings here. I would very much appreciate it, if you could at some point share your understanding of what you have learnt from your spiritual journey which has brought you to where you are today. I would be most grateful.
    Thank you for your time and sorry this was long! Many blessings and my warmest wishes to you. Sharon

    • Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for this long message. I admire you openness about your story and how this has opened you the way to the Dharma (or however you’d like to call it). I can fully understand how this experience confronted you with the impermanence of your life because I lived a similar situation in my life. Today I see this experience as a gift because I have fully recovered and it opened my eyes.
      And, as you have mentioned it, there is much more than only wisdom. Wisdom without love and compassion is sterile and will ever lack something although at a certain moment there will be no difference anymore between an inward and an outward journey. But as we are in some way all individuals springing from the same source, like waves on the ocean, not different from the ocean and still waves as long as we have not reached the shore and merged with the ocean. Meanwhile our relationships play a very important role and there is a lot to do. We are all in the same boat.
      Many blessings to you Sharon!
      JC

      • Dear JC,
        Thank you for your message. I appreciate your thoughts very much. I am glad to hear that you have recovered fully and that what was perceived as a calamity was actually a divine gift indeed. I am blessed that it has brought you here and you are able to share with us the gems of your discovery today. With warm gratitude and well-wishes, Sharon

  7. הנה מה שוב ומה נעים שבת אתים נם יתד כשמן התוב על הראש ירד על הזקן זקן אהרן שרד על פי מדותיו כטל חרמון שירד על הרדי ציון כי שם צוה יהוה שת הברכה חיים עד העולם

    • Eh Mr.JC fragt, was ich da gepostet habe: Psalm 133[132]/David :
      ‘Seht, wie lieblich und gut, wenn Brüder beisammen wohnen in Eintracht.
      Es ist wie köstliches Öl auf dem Haupt, das niederrinnt in den Bart,
      auf den Halssaum seiner Gewänder.
      Es ist wie Tau auf dem Hermon,
      wie Tau, der niederfällt auf den Zion.
      Denn dort entbietet Segen Jahwe:
      Leben auf immerdar.

      Yom Shabbat / 20 Tishrei 5773

      Matta !
      Rolf

      • Ich danke dir für die Übersetzung. Leider konnte ich in Google diesen Text, so wie du ihn hier niedergeschrieben hast nicht finden, jedoch eine andere Version.

        • Folgendes KEIN Bezug zu Davids Liedern: Patrul Rinpoche/S 323/deutsche Ausgabe/2012:
          ‘Wenn ihr Konzentration übt, ist es wichtig, dass ihr in der “Sieben-Punkte-Haltung von
          Vairochana” sitzt und eure Augen in der richtigen Weise blicken.
          – Wenn der Körper gerade ist, sind die Kanäle gerade.
          – Wenn die Kanäle gerade sind, sind die Energien gerade.
          – Wenn die Energien gerade sind, ist der Geist gerade. ‘

          Metta ! [ entschuldige, dass ich gestern zu später Nacht-Stunde einen Vokal falsch-tippte ]
          Rolf

          • Hallo,
            Ich hoffe dass dir das Buch gefällt. Es mag schwerfällig zu lesen sein und auch mancherorts zu Missverständnissen führen (zB.: Teil über die Höllen obwohl es keine Bestrafung und Hölle als solches gibt… halt nur als Geisteszustand).
            Die Sieben-Punkte-Haltung kennen ich sehr gut. Damit habe ich einige Jahre meinen Tag um 5 Uhr morgens angefangen. Was hältst du eigentlich in deiner beruflichen Sicht von den Energiezentren im Körper (Chakrensystem und Energiekanäle, genannt Nadis)?
            Jedoch muss man auch irgendwann davon loslassen wie es sehr schön im Artikel vum ersten Oktober von Ajahn Chah beschrieben ist (http://shantideva.me/2012/10/01/cultivating-steady-awareness/). Danke und eine schöne Woche an dich!
            JC

  8. Cyber- friend Jean-Claud, I was over joyed to read your valued commemt and know we will both keep communicating. I was so inspired i did a post knowing you will look at it and get know your cyber-friend, pinged your blog as I am sure my blog followers will appreciate and benefit fron visiting your site. All the best in future endevers. Jack Caldwell.

    • Dear Jack,
      This left me speechless. Thank you so much and thank you for being. If we all would be so kind and humble, this world would be a much better place.
      Jean-Claude

  9. Of late I was not very regular on net hence have missed a lot.I am so thankful to God that I came here in time.I wondered when I did not find your pictures with the texts.somehow I had developed a habit of enjoying the synchronization between the two medium in your posts.
    While reading your this post one thing struck me.You took the challenge of posting one thought daily for 365 days and fulfilled the commitment .It was also kind of spiritual training….training the mind to adhere to the commitment. living in that kind of aura too help in focusing the mind.I thought of reading your posts daily but could not.the level dedication matters a lot.I need to be far more sincere in my attempts.
    I have yet to read a lot of posts of this blog and I shall continue to explore them till I read all of it.
    Thanks a lot
    Best wishes
    Namita

    • Hi Namita,
      Thanks a lot for your comment. It was a wonderful project and I was so happy that it resonated with so many people. And I would express my gratitude for all the comments you have left here and I was always happy to read them. You are amongst the people that most commented my posts although you might not have paid me a visit very often, but you always left your point of view and this was very kind of you.
      I guess this will not be the last post. I have met so many interesting, nice and kind people here that I’d like to keep up the relationship.
      Many thanks to you,
      Jean-Claude

  10. Hey, was off the blog for a while… Sad to see you have decided to go ahead with the ending of your blog project. Do hope to meet you someday…!

    • Hi Aalif, thanks for your comment. I guess I will still continue from time to time to post some new articles on the blog. This year has brought me a lot of good and now I take some time to live that gift before I will share a bit. I am very thankful that though this blog I was given the opportunity to meet online such interesting people as you are and this is a great gift. I’d like to keep that up and I still hope to meet you, may be, at the beginning of my next India trip. 🙂

  11. I have just found your blog. And while you plan not to continue daily posts, I am now going back to read it from the beginning. Thank you.

    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks a lot for your nice words. I’ll continue to add articles from time to time depending on my motivation and inspiration. But I will not quote anymore and rather try to write in my own words as I did in the latest articles.
      Thanks for your visit! 🙂
      JC

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