En Route

 
 
_______________________________________________________________

Addresses the struggle to find open, creative ways to explore meaning in life.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

An excerpt from The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master, by Takuan Soho.
 
The Right Mind and the Confused Mind
     The Right Mind is the mind that does not remain in one place. It is the mind that stretches throughout the entire body and self.
     The Confused Mind is the mind that, thinking something over, congeals in one place.
     When the Right Mind congeals and settles in one place, it becomes what is called the Confused Mind. When the Right Mind is lost, it is lacking in function here and there. For this reason, it is important not to lose it.
     In not remaining in one place, the Right Mind is like water. The Confused Mind is like ice, and ice is unable to wash hands or head. When ice is melted, it becomes water and flows everywhere, and it can wash the hands, the feet or anything else.
 
If my mind is treated like a tied-up cat, it will not be free and will likely not be able to function as it should. If the cat is well trained, the string is untied, and it is allowed to go wherever it pleases. Then, even if the two are together, the cat will not seize the sparrow. Acting along these lines is the meaning of the phrase “engendering the mind with no place for it to abide.”
 
The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discrimination nor thought bu wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self.
     The No-Mind is place nowhere. Yet it is not like wood or stone. Where there is no stopping place, it is called No-Mind. When it stops, there is something in the mind. When there is nothing in the mind, it is called the mind of No-Mind. It is also called No-Mind-No-Thought.
     When this No-Mind has been well developed, the mind does not stop with one thing nor does it lack any one thing. It is like water overflowing and exists within itself. It appears appropriately when facing a time of need.
     The mind that becomes fixed and stops in one place does not function freely. Similarly, the wheels of a cart go around because they are not rigidly in place. If they were to stick tight, they would not go around. The mind is also something that does not function if it becomes attached to a single situation.
 
When you dance, the hand holds the fan and the foot takes a step. When you do not forget everything, when you go on thinking about performing with the hands and the feet well and dancing accurately, you cannot be said to be skillful. When the mind stops in the hands and the feet, none of your acts will be singular. If you do not completely discard the mind, everything you do will be done poorly.
 
When the Zen priest at Kamakura, Mugaku, was captured during the disturbances in China and was at the point of being cut down, he quoted the gatha, “With the speed of a flash of lightning,/Cut through the spring breeze,” and the soldier threw down his sword and fled.
     Mugaku meant that in wielding the sword, in the infinitesimal time it takes lightning to strike, there is neither mind nor thought. For the striking sword, there is no mind. For myself, who is about to be struck, there is no mind. The attacker is Emptiness. His sword is Emptiness. I, who am about to be struck, am Emptiness.
     If this is so, the man who strikes is not a man at all. The striking sword is not a sword. And for myself, the person who is about to be cut, in a flash of lightning, it will be like cutting through the breeze that blows across the spring sky . It is the mind that absolutely does not stop. And it is not likely that the sword will react to cutting through the wind.
      Completely forget about the mind and you will do all things well.
 
 

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Poems by the 13th century Sufi mystic, Rumi, from The Language of Life and The Book of Love.

We can’t help being thirsty
We can’t help being thirsty,
moving toward the voice
of water.
 
     Milk-drinkers draw close
to the mother. Muslims, Christians, Jews,
Buddhists, Hindus, shamans,
everyone hears the intelligent sound
and moves, with thirst, to meet it.
 
Clean your ears. Don’t listen
for something you’ve heard before.
 
Invisible camel bells,
            slight footfalls in sand.
 
Almost in sight! The first word they call out
will be the last word of our last poem.
 
Some kiss we want
There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives, the touch
 
of spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.
 
And the lily, how passinoately
it needs some wild darling!
 
At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.
 
Breathe into me. Close
the language-door, and open the love-window.
The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.
 
The Silent Articulation of a Face (selected verses)
Love comes with a knife, not some
shy quetsion, and not with fears
for its reputation! I say
these things disinterestedly. Accept them
in kind. Love is a madman,
 
working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes,
running through the mountains, drinking poison,
and now quietly choosing annihilation….
 
You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge,
holding up your robes to keep them dry.
You must dive naked under and deeper under,
a thousand times deeper! Love flows down.
 
The ground submits to the sky and suffers
what comes. Tell me, is the earth worse
for giving in like that?…
 
Let the cords of your robe be untied.
Shiver in this new love beyond all
above and below. The sun rises, but which way
does night go? I have no words.
 
Let soul speak with the silent
articulation of a face.
 
The Basket of Fresh Bread (selected verses)
Wait for the illuminated opennes,
as though your chest were filled with light,
as when God said,
     Did we not expand you? (Qur’ran 57:4)
 
Don’t look for it outside yourself.
You are the source of milk. Don’t milk others!
There is a fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.
You have a channel into the ocean,
yet you ask for water from a little pool.
 
Beg for the love expansion. Meditate only
on THAT. The Qur’ran says,
          And he is with you. (57:4)
 
There is a basket of fresh bread on your head,
yet you go door to door asking for crusts.
 
Knock on the inner door, no other.
Sloshing knee-deep in fresh riverwater,
yet you keep asking for other people’s waterbags.
 
Water is everywhere around you, but you see
only barriers that keep you from water….
 
Mad with thirst, you can’t drink from the stream
running close by your face. You are like a pearl
on the deep bottom wondering inside the shell,
Where’s the ocean?
              Those mental questionings
form the barrier.
              Stay bewildered inside God,
and only that.
 
Birdsong from inside the egg
Sometimes a lover of God may faint
in the presence. Then the Beloved bends
and whispers in his ear, “Beggar, spread out
your robe. I’ll fill it with gold.
I’ve come to protect your consciousness.
Where has it gone? Come back into awareness.”
 
This fainting is because
lovers want so much.
A chicken invites a camell into her henhouse,
and the whole structure is demolished.
A rabbit nestles down
with its eyes closed
in the arms of a lion.
 
There is an excess
in spiritual searching
that is profound ignorance.
 
Let that ignorance be our teacher!
The Friend breathes into one
who has no breath.
 
A deep silence revies the listening
And the speaking of those two
who meet on the riverbank.
 
Like the ground turning green in the spring wind.
Like birdsong beginning inside the egg.
 
Like this universe coming into existence,
the lover wakes and whirls
in a dancing joy,
 
then kneels down
in praise.
 

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Selections from Ocean of Wisdom: Guidelines for Living, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance. Wars arise from a failure to understand one another’s humanness. Instead of summit meetings, why not have families meet for a picnic and get to know each other while the children play together?

*

Great compassion is the root of all forms of worship.

*

Anger, hatred, jealousy-it is not possible to find peace with them. Through compassion, through love, we can solve many problems, we can have true happiness, real disarmament.

One of the most important things is compassion. We cannot buy it in one of New York City’s big shops. We cannot produce it by machine. But by innder development, yes. Without inner peace, it is impossible to have world peace.

*

If we understand the oneness of humankind, then we realize the differences are secondary. With an attitude of respect and concern for other people, we can experience an atmosphere of happiness. That way we can create real harmony, real brotherhood. Through your own experience, try to be patient. Youc an change your attitude. If you practice continuously, you can change. The human mind has such potential-learn to train it.

*

Inner darkness, which we call ignorance, is the root of suffering. The more inner light that comes, the more darkness will diminish. This is the only way to achieve salvation or nirvana.

*

We need to clearly recognize that the basic aim of all religions is the same. Since all religions are for the sake of taming our minds to make us better persons, we need to bring all religious practice into a healing of our minds. It’s not at all good, and extremely unfortunate, to use the doctrines and practices that are for the sake of taming the mind as reasons for becoming biased.

*

I feel that the essence of all spiritual life is your emotion, your attitude toward others. Once you have pure and sincere motivation, all the rest follows. You can develop this right attitude toward others on the basis of kindness, love and respect, and on the clear realization of the oneness of all human beings. This is important because others benefit by this motivation as much as anything we do. Then, with a pure heart, you can carry on any work – farming, mechanical engineering, working as a doctor, as a lawyer, as a teacher – and your profesion becomes a real instrument to help the human community.

*

Without love, human society is in a very difficult state; without love, in the future we will face tremendous problems. Love is the center of human life.

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

from Native American Wisdom, compiled by Kent Nerburn &  Louise Menglekoch

It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.

If any child is inclined to grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are arelated about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person….

The Indians in their simplicity literally gave away all that they have-to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.

Charles Alexander Eastman(Ohiyesa), Santee Sioux

Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regard of the rule that “thought comes before speech.”

And in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death, or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than words was silence with the Lakota.

His strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being stoic…..As a matter of truth, he was the most sympathetic of men, but his emotions of depth and sincerity were tempered with control…The silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously.

Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thought nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Anonymous, Shoshone

Whenever, in the course of the daily hunt, the hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful, or sublime-a black thundercloud with the rainbow’s glowing arch above the mountain, a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge, a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of the sunset-he pauses for an instant in the attitude of worship.

He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God’s days.

Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), Santee Sioux

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you-the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.

You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road, and the road of difficulties, and when they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.

Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

Every part of all this soil is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plan and grove has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. The very dust you now stand on responds more willingly to their footsteps than to yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.

Even the little children who lived here and rejoiced here for a brief season love these somber solitudes, and at eventide they greet shadowy returning spirits.

And when the last red man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the white men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe; and when our children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone.

Chief Seattle, Suqwamish and Duwamish

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

from Markings by Dag Hammarskjold, trans. Leif Sjoberg and W.H. Auden

I am being driven forward 
Into an unknown land
The pass grows steeper,
The air colder and sharper.
A wind from my unknown goal
Stirs the strings
Of espectation.
 
Still the question:
Shall I ever get there?
There where life resounds,
A clera pure ote
In the silence.
     *
In a whirling fire of anihilation,
In the storm of destruction
And deadly cold of the act of sacrifice,
You would welcome death.
But when it slowly grows within you,
Day by day,
You suffer anguish,
Anguish under the unspoken jugment which hangs over your life,
While leaves fall in the fool’s paradise.
The chooser’s happiness lies in his congruence with the chosen,
The peace of iron filings, obedient to the forces of the magnetic field-
calm is the soul that is empty of all self,
In a restful harmony-
This happiness is here and now,
In the eternal moment of co-inheritence.
A happiness within you-but not yours.
     *
In the shadow of the castle
The flowers closed
Long before nightfall.
Body,
My playmate!
Neither the master
Nor the slace,
A buoyant heart
Shall bear you along,
While you cheer my way
With your lively flame.
 
But body,
My playmate,
You must not flinch
Nor fail me when
The moment comes
To do the impossible.
     *
The breaking wave
And the muscle as it contracts
Obey the same law.
 
An austere line
Gathers the body’s play of strength
In a bold balance.
 
Shall my soul meet
This curve, as a bend in the road
On her way to form?
     *
I am the vessel.
The draught is God’s.
And God is the thirsty one.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

from The Wine of Endless Life: Taoist Drinking Songs
 
 
 write poems when I’m sober, and sing when I’m drunk
I leave my fancy lute untuned,
throw down my book and sleep.
I don’t dream dreams of empire
to have a little idle time is good enough
the sun and moon race like the weaver’s shuttle
wealth and rank are blossoms, bloom and fall
spring goes
why not enjoy it?
          *
go where my mind will
sit when my heart’s still
drink when I’m thisty
and sing when I’m drunk
when hard times come
I find a pile of grass and sleep
the days and months are long
the world is vast
and idleness is happiness
 
toss off the vintage wine
use up the raw
laugh beside the earthen pot
ha, ha, ha
hum harmonies together
with this rude old mountain bonze
he has a pair of chickens
I’ve brought along a duck
and idleness is happiness
 
I’ve reined mind’s horses
locked up my monkey heart
leapt up from red dust and evil-mannered wind
who woke me from my shady dreams of Empire?
I’ve left the field of honor
and wormed into a nest of joys
where idleness is happiness
          *
toot once, strum once
give us a song
               to Great Virtue.
enjoy yourself, relax
stop setting snares.
get delicate  
               and follow
where that leads you.
go find yourself a place to flop
and flop there.
with lute and book and pen and ink
I’ll make my living.
who cares for fame, or glory.
I’ll gab with fishermen and woodsmen,
drink together to the scattering clouds
no way, I’ll ever stay home sober.
          *
flourishing and withering are fated
stop coveting, stop plotting
simply approach the thing in the cup
don’t tell me Li Po’s a sage
don’t speak of Liu Ling’s tomb
wine won’t seep down
               through the earth of their graves
          *
try to calculate the spring nine or ten days
as you count on your fingers……
it flies
and of three parts the best two are gone
better to get drunk as mud
how long have we anyway
don’t set aside the golden cup
in a moment the sun will be down
          *
one note from the jade pipes
and grief is everywhere
I feel the plum blossoms wasting
cold runs clear, and shallow
a bright moon after yellow dusk
lovers should by trysting
I’m drunk,
one cup, of Autumn’s wine.
          *
done with the world
and pure
               as darkness
nothing to hold me
nothing restrain
the old guy here
within the grove
before the blue cliffs the
                moon’s companion
mad and singing
drunk and dancing
smashed, polluted with the wine
of endless life
 
 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Selections from Tagore’s NaivedyaJanmadine, and Rabindra Rachnavali.

Salvation through the practice of renunciation

is not for me.

I will taste of the freedom of joy in the midst of

innumerable ties.

You will fill the earthen pot of this world several times

With your nectar of color and fragrance…

Practice of yoga closing all the doors of the senses

is not for me.

Whatever joy is in sight, smell or songs,

Your bliss will be in its midst.

I am the poet of the world—my flute responds to

All the notes that rise at any corner there…

The grand orchestra of the universe has filled my heart

In many a quiet moment in my imagination.

The inaccessible snow-clad mountain peaks in their

Infinite solitude of blue

Have sent to my heart many an invitation

For the unheard songs that they compose, –

The unknown star above the Antarctic pole,

That is spending its long night in deep silence,

Has touched my open yes during the sleepless nights

With the splendor of its glow.

The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light,

And pursued my voyage through the

Wilderness of worlds leaving my track on

Many a star and planet.

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to

Thyself, and that training is the most intricate

Which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to

Come to his own, and one has to wander

Through all the outer worlds to reach the

Innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and

Said ‘Here art thou!’

The question and the cry ‘Oh, where?’ melt into

tears of a thousand streams and deluge the

world with the flood of the assurance ‘I am!’

Keep me fully glad with nothing. Only take my hand

In your hand.

In the gloom of the deepening night take up my

heart and play with it as you list. Bind me close

to you with nothing.

I will spread myself out at your feet and lie still.

Under this clouded sky I will meet silence with

Silence. I will become one with the night

Clasping the earth in my breast.

Make my life glad with nothing.

The rains sweep the sky from end to end. Jasmines

In the wet untamable wind revel in their own

perfume. The cloud-hidden stars thrill in secret.

Let me fill to the full of my heart with nothing but

My own depth of joy.

This is my prayer to thee, my lord—strike,

Strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength to lightly bear my joys and

sorrows.

Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in

Service.

Give me the strength never to disown the poor or

Bend my knee before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above

Daily trifles.

And give me the strength to surrender my strength

to thy will with love.

Joy flows through the universe,…

The sun and the moon drink of it

A full measure.

The light of the joy of goodness

Stays ever effulgent….

Why are you all by yourself, confirmed to

Your own ego?

Wake up to a new joy today

With the new rays of the sun

To a clean life which is good, beautiful, and

Sparkling with love…

The wind of peace today

arries the fragrance of the flowers of eternity.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Excerpts are from Martin Buber, To Hallow This Life (Greenwood Press), pp. 4, 83, 88, 89, 162, &163

The eternal Thou cannot become It

The eternal Thou can by its nature not become It; for by its nature it cannot be established in measure and bounds, not even in the measure of the immeasurable, or the bounds of boundless being; for by its nature it cannot be understood as a sum of qualities, not even as an infinite sum of qualities raised to a transcendental level; for it can be found neither in or out of the world; for it cannot be experience, or thought; for we miss Him, Him who is, if we say “I believe that He is” – “He” is also a metaphor, but “Thou” is not.

Religion

What is of importance? A man may “climb about in upper worlds”; suddenly it touches him, and everything is blown away, and he stands in an infinite, pathless darkness before the eternal presence. Only the defenseless, outstretched hand of him who is insecure is not withered by the lightning. We are sent into the world of contradiction; when we soar away from it into spheres where it appears
fathomable to us, then we evade our task. It would be contrary to the faith and
humor of our existence—Hasidism is both faithful and humorous—to believe that there is a stratum of existence into which we only need to raise ourselves to
get “behind” the problematic. The absurd has been given me that I may withstand it in my life; this withstanding the absurd, is the meaning which I can experience.

The “Holy Insecurity”

The whole systematic structure of the Kabbalah is determined by a principle of certitude which hardly ever stops short, hardly ever cowers with terror, hardly ever prostrates itself. Hasidic piety, on the other hand, finds its real life just in stopping short, in letting itself be disconcerted, in its deep-seated knowledge of the impotence of all ready-made knowledge, of the incongruity of all acquired
truth, in the “holy insecurity.” In this also is found its love of the “ignorant.”

Our treasure is hidden beneath the hearth of our own home

If we had power over the ends of the earth, it would not give us that fulfillment of existence which a quiet devoted relationship to nearby life can give us. If we knew the secrets of the upper worlds, they would not allow us so much actual participation in true existence as we can achieve by performing, with holy intent, a task belonging to our daily duties. Our treasure is hidden beneath the hearth of our own home.

Belief is a relation of life to what is believed

The so-called religious man, no matter how great the enthusiasm with which he thinks and speaks of the object of his faith and gives expression to what he considers to be his faith by taking part in religious services and ceremonies, is only imagining that be believes unless the heart of his life is transformed by it, unless the presence of what he believes in determines his essential attitude from the most secret solitude to public action. Belief is a relation of life to what is believed, a relation to life which includes all life, or it is unreal.

Cosmos, Eros and Logos

For actually there is a cosmos for man only when the universe becomes his home, with its holy hearth whereon he offers sacrifice; there is Eros for man only when beings become for him pictures of the eternal, and community is revealed along with them; and there is Logos for man only when he addresses the mystery with work and service for the spirit.

Form’s silent asking, man’s loving speech, the mute proclamation of the creature, are all gates leading into the presence of the Word.

But when the full and complete meeting is to take place, the gates are united in one gateway of real life, and you no longer know through which you have entered.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Selections from Guru Nanak: His Mystic Teachings and Teachings of the Sikh Gurus

No idea of Him can be conceived

through thousands of thoughts,

Ultimate silence evades the most deep

meditation.

To heap up the wealth of the world

does not lessen man’s hunger,

And multiple cleverness will not assist

us hereafter.

Nanak says: How to be cleared? How

to break down the wall of the ego?

Follow His will and command, from

the first written out.

Hardly the tiniest grain’s worth of

honor

Comes through bathing, austerity, pity

and charity.

Hearing, acceptance, love in the heart

Show the place for true bathing and

cleansing within.


All virtues are Yours, in me there are

none.

Without practicing virtue, there is no

devotion.

I salute You, Creator, the World and

the Word,

The True and the Lovely, delight of

my heart!

Born of the waters,

We children of great earth

Learn our lessons from the winds,

And we spin in the arms

Of day and night;

They nurse us well.

Before the great judge

Will be read out our actions,

Good or bad; By our own actions

We shall be nearer Him or farther off.

Those who fix their dhyan [inner

contemplation] on Nam [creative

power]

Will pass above the pain of labor.

Their task is done.

Bright are their faces!

And in the joy of one liberated soul

Shall many more be,

Through His great love, made free!

Most say ‘mine, mine!,’ those who

don’t are set apart.

As each has done each one must settle

their account.

In this world no one stays, why go

about in pride?

Make these your rules: Do not say

anyone is bad,

And never quarrel with a fool.

 
 

Friday, December 3, 2010

All selections come from Marcia Falk’s The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival.  (Boston, Beacon Press, 1996).

Call to Blessing

Leader: Let us bless the source of life.

All:  As we bless the source of life

so we are blessed.

Leader: As we bless the source of life

so may we be blessed.

Morning Blessing

The breath of my life

will bless,

the cells of my being

sing

in gratitude, reawakening.

Blessing Before Going to Sleep

Sleep descending

on my lids,

on my limbs,

I call to mind

the gifts

of the day –

the gift

of this day –

and give thanks.

Handwashing Before the Meal

Washing the hands, we call to mind

the holiness of body.

Blessing After the Meal

Let us acknowledge the source of life,

source of all nourishment.

May we protect the bountiful earth

that it may continue to sustain us,

and let us seek sustenance

for all who dwell in the world.

Sh’ma: Communal Declaration of Faith

Hear, O Israel  –

The divine abounds everywhere

and dwells in everything;

the many are One.

Loving life

and its mysterious source

with all our heart

and all our spirit,

all our sense and strength,

we take upon ourselves

and into ourselves

these promises:

to care for the earth

and those who live upon it,

to pursue justice and peace,

to love kindness and compassion.

We will teach this to our children

throughout the passage of the day –

as we dwell in our homes

and now as we go on our journeys,

from the time we rise

until we fall asleep.

And may our actions

be faithful to our words

that our children’s children

may live to know:

Truth and kindness

have embraced,

peace and justice have kissed

and are one.

Closing Blessing

May the blessings of peace and kindness,

graciousness, goodness, and compassion

flow among us

and all the communities of Israel,

all the peoples of the world.

May this Sabbath bring peace and restoration.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Indian Classical Dance: Dashavataram
Pallavi Penumetcha, a senior at Davidson from Atlanta, GA performs a Kuchipudi dance from Andhra Pradesh, India.

The Indian dance called Dashavataram is based on the 10 forms, or avatars, of the Hindu god Vishnu.

The 10 avatars are as follows:

1. Matsya = fish
2. Kurma = tortoise
3. Varaha = boar
4. Vamana = dwarf
5. Narasimha = man-lion
6. Parasurama = angry man
7. Lord Rama = perfect man
8. Lord Krishna = divine statesman
9. Buddha = teacher of compassion; or Balarama = brother of Krishna
10. Kalkin = warrior
 
 

These avatars are part of legends about how Vishnu appeared at various times to restore order to the universe.

For example, in the legend of Vishnu as the boar the earth disappears into the sea. To save the earth, Vishnu becomes a boar and dives into the netherworld. The boar emerges holding the earth on its tusks. Returned to its proper place, the earth is restored to order.

Friday, November 12, 2010

 
The Writings of Dag Hammarskjöld, 2nd Secretary-General of the UN
All selections are taken from Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964).

 

To say Yes to life is at one and the same time to say Yes to oneself.

Yes – even to that element in one which is most unwilling to let itself be transformed from a temptation into a strength.

– – –

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.

– – –

The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside, And only he who listens can speak.

– – –

Then I saw that the wall had never been there, that the “unheard-of” is here and this, not something and somewhere else,

that the “offering” is here and now, always and everywhere – “surrendered” to be what, in me God gives of Himself to Himself.

– – –

How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen?  That God should have time for you, you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for Him.

– – –

To love life and men as God loves them – for the sake of their infinite possibilities,

to wait like Him,
to judge like Him
without passing judgment,
to obey the order when it is given
and never look back –
then He can use you – then, perhaps, He will use you.

And if he doesn’t use you – what matter.  In His hand, every moment has its meaning, its greatness, its glory, its peace, it’s peace, its co-inherence.

From this perspective, to “believe in God” is to believe in yourself, as self-evident, as “illogical,” and as impossible to explain: if I can be, then God is.

– – –

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

– – –

Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
Let all that is in me serve Thee,
And thus free me from all fear.
 
You dare your Yes – and experience a meaning.
You repeat your Yes – and all things acquire a meaning.
When everything has a meaning how can you live anything but a Yes.
 
 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Aboriginal Australian Wisdom
All writings are taken from The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture. Ed. Neale Margo, Kleinert Sylvia, and Bancroft Robyne. Melbourne ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Story about Feeling – Bill Neidjie
Well I’ll tell you about this story,
About story where you feel… laying down.

Tree, grass, star…
Because star and tree working with you.
We got blood pressure
But same thing…  spirit on your body,
But e working with you.
Even nice wind e blow…  having a sleep…
Because that spirit e with you.

Listen carefully this, you can gear me.
I’m telling you this because earth just like mother
And father or brother of you.
That tree same thing.
Your body, my body I suppose,
I’m same as you… anyone.
Tree working when you sleep and dream…

I love it tree because e love me too.
E watching me same as you
Tree e working with your body, my body,
E working with us.
While you were sleeping e working.
Daylight, when you walking around, e work too.

That tree, grass… that all like our father.
Dirt, earth, I sleep with this earth.
Grass… just like your brother.
In my blood in my arms this grass.
This dirt for us because we’ll be dead,
We’ll be going this earth.
This the story now.

Aboriginal Thoughts – Michael Anderson

The land, for the Aboriginal people, is a vibrant spiritual landscape.  It is peopled in spirit form by ancestors who originated in the Dreaming, the creative period of time immemorial.  The ancestors travelled the country, engaging in adventures which created the people, the natural features of the land, and established the code of life which is today called ‘the Dreaming’ or ‘the Law.”  The Law has been passed on through countless generations of people…

The Past – Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Let no one say the past is dead.
The past is all about us and within.
Haunted by tribal memories, I know
This little now, this accidental present
Is not the all of me, whose long making
Is so much of the past.

Tonight here in suburbia as I sit
In easy chair before electric heater,
Warmed by the red glow, I fall into dream:
I am away
At the camp fire in the bush, among
My own people, sitting on the ground,
No walls about me,
The stars over me,
The tall surrounding trees that stir in the wind
Making their own music,
Soft cries of the night coming to us, there

When we are one with all old Nature’s lives
Known and unknown,
In scenes where we belong but have now
forsaken.
Deep chair and electric radiator
Are but since yesterday,
But a thousand camp fires in the forest
Are in my blood.
Let none tell me the past is wholly gone.
Now is so small a part of time, so small a part
Of all the race years that have molded me.

 
Our Way of Life – Mudrooroo
To the Aboriginal person, the entire universe is permeated with life – it is a living, breathing biomass which has separated into families…  Our way of life is spiritual in that there is an interconnectedness, an interrelatedness with all existence, existence extending from the merely physical realms to the spiritual.
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