Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A smile can change the world

"When someone has a tendency of causing sorrow, know that they are under an influence. Let your attitude be merciful, so that not only will you be unaffected by it, but also increase the possibility of transformation in them"

There is a certain someone I happen to know, and he is perhaps the "archetype" of arrogance and rudeness. I always wonder why is that so. Initially I always felt that he is just a crack head and should be ignored. I even felt angry every time he opened his mouth, at times even rage! But I always felt bad for him. Eventually I realised that many people feel the same about him. Some even hate him. As the time passed, however, and I got to know this stranger better, I couldn't help but notice this behaviour as an obvious defence mechanism he had created for himself. It was still a game of speculation but I was sure by then that what he does is only there to cover his weak inside which is so vulnerable to the unfair world. Some people just are quite tender and have a weak heart. Realising this, I decided that I will always be nice to him regardless of what he says or does to me. I was sceptical in the beginning but then I could see this work. He opened up bit by bit. One day he came and sat next to me and said he was sorry if he ever hurt me. I was surprised but then I was happy too. He couldn't control himself and began to cry. Never having seen a guy cry like this before did put me in a bit of a messy position but it was all for good. His own good I suppose. He said he didn't enjoy behaving like this. In fact he never even realised he was being bad until someone reacted differently to his behaviour. It gave him a chance to introspect. The reason he closed himself in this imaginary cocoon is because it made him feel less vulnerable as hardly anybody then approached him. He had been terribly heart broken in the past, for many different reasons and this made him believe everyone is bad.

I guess being a part of this race, and being so very social, it's everyone's job to make people feel loved and accepted. It doesn't cost us a penny. Plus you get to make people smile. Now going back to the thought for today above, such an influence can negate any previous conditionings which may exist in people's hearts. We cram too many emotion based conditionings inside...layers upon layers of them, which we can't even remove. One good thought can create a safe haven within the collective consciousness, just like a drop of pure water can make a clear area in a jug full of ink. Imagine innumerable such tiny clearings in our nice would we all feel? I am sure most of us, if not all of us would know such people who are controlled by their conditionings perhaps including ourselves. Just once, if we smile at them or speak kind words to them, it would make so much difference. I refuse to believe we are bad. Inherently, we are all pure and good. This reminds me of the 'hundredth monkey' phenomenon. It's very intriguing. But that, for the next post. Until then, keep smiling. Spread the joy. Life is too short to hate.

The three dimensions of reality

I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts and thought it's better to finally refer back to it. Just a quick reminder though, this blog is just to share my thoughts, or rather a bin for my cognitive whether to ignore or recycle it is up to you lot who will read it. Don't take my word for it. Anyhow, so talking about reality, if we observe carefully, it has three perceivable dimension. Special emphasis on perceivable. There may be or perhaps quite surely are other dimensions to it which are beyond the scope of our understanding. We saw how reality is linked to thoughts. So the first dimension is mental. When you think a "thought", having a certain subject, it manifests into reality in your mental plane. When you express that thought using one of your five sense organs, it is converted into what we could call as the subjective reality. This dimension refers the reality being subjective in nature, attached to the personality of the one who expresses it. If I say what I think, my manner of expression will be subjective to myself, in terms of my character, my life experiences, my conditionings, etc. In this dimension, reality is still in a state of flux. It may or may not convert into the third dimension which is objective reality. Objective reality is what has a fixed net effect and value. I know it sounds like maths but the point is, objective reality is fixed. It cannot be changed back to the previous versions or converted into anything else. It is just there. It's effects can be measured objectively by those who perceive this reality.

A good example might be that of a murderer. This person thinks in his mind of committing a murder. This is a mental reality. Real only in his mind. When he shares his thoughts, he expresses them using his motivations which may be driven by one of the three modes of material nature (in this case passion). This is subjective reality. It's effects will only be linked to that person. Whether he actually commits the crime or not is still in his control. If he decides to finally do it, then he converts this kind of reality into the fixed objective reality. Nothing can then change it or it's consequences.

You must be thinking, what's the point of all this brain gym? Well it may or may not matter to the most. But if our goal is purification of our being, then it is essential to be aware of this principle. If a bad thought comes up in our mind, remember its still real, albeit on a mental plane. Real nonetheless. The crime has already been committed on our mental plane and we start accruing the karma for it. If we don't nip it in the bud, it becomes subjective reality and along with it the intensity of the karma being accrued rises. Finally if we still can't control it, then we make it an unchanging fact and the result is a full blown equal and opposite reaction to this action. An objective reality. Our aim must be to make sure that only healthy, positive and righteous thoughts reach this dimension of reality. All the rest must be gotten rid of. ASAP!! We may still be liable to face consequences, but then it's better to suffer for a bad thought than a bad deed. Of course, only until we reach a state where no bad thought ever crops up in our minds. Not many are fortunate enough to have reached there but we must all strive for it nonetheless.

There's my penny worth of intellectual trapeze for you. Hope it makes sense.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Adversity, inner strength and rewards

"To tolerate and maintain good wishes in the face of adversity requires tremendous inner strength. However, the rewards are immense"

This is like burning gold in extreme heat so that it glitters even more, all it's impurities having been washed away. No matter how much you subject gold to heat, it only gives more pleasure to those who behold it. Gold, however, can only derive the strength to do it from its innate qualities which enables it to bear all this heat and still make others happy. Real gold is tested thus, so is the character of a man who is sincere and strong. Adversities will come regardless, it's how we face them and what we do in their face is that matters. Rewards, needless to say, is that we become extremely precious, one in a million, the one who glitters more than other raw gold nuggets around, fetching more value for our what our worth is.

Gifts in life

"If you consider the gifts you have received in life to be given in trust, then you will have great value for them and will use them wisely"

Having a human body, a sound mind, a loving family, good education and camaraderie of the wise, if a man/woman wastes the life, then there is no bigger fool than him/her! Animals do not have body or mind able enough to comprehend the mysteries of life. Humans generally don't value them, although they are gifts given to them. A healthy mind cannot be possible without a healthy and disease-free body. Having these two, knowledge cannot be acquired without a proper teacher, our parents (family) being our first teachers. These conditions are perfect for spiritual realization. If we consider them as gifts, we will value them. We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect. If we were perfect we would not have been here. Point is to overcome them and not repeat them. Learn the lesson, dump the guilt and move on. Time won't wait for us even if we keep sulking over our misgivings. It will keep moving. Change is the unchangeable law of nature. We can either carry the burdensome emotional baggage with us in this journey or simply feed off of the things we experience, gain what we must gain, embed it in our being, make it our nature so its easy to use and carry, jump in the flow and relax. Destination shall arrive when the time will come. All we need is inspiration and determination.


"A useful thought is that which brings value to you and others"

Thoughts create life as we see it. Thoughts are the seeds of existence. Reality cannot manifest itself without first being real on the mental plane of thoughts. The subject of various planes of reality is an entirely different topic in itself which there is no point talking about in this post. Thoughts either pollute or clean the mind. The aim is to have a mind uncluttered with thoughts. Calm, serene, focussed, silent, disillusioned. Good thoughts make it easier, bad thoughts make it hard. Anything that creates bad thoughts should be considered as poison and discarded. Anything that creates good thoughts should be welcomed and accepted whole heartedly. Thoughts direct our senses. A thought of killing somebody, if strong and intense enough, will make our hands actually kill! A thought of loving, if strong and intense enough, will make you overflow with love not just for your friends but even your enemies. Its all down to thoughts.

Ultimately even good thoughts have to be gotten rid of. However, it is easier to get rid of good thoughts than it is to get rid of bad thoughts. Bad thoughts will thicken the existing conditioning of our being which is already making it hard for us to realize the true purpose of our existence. Good thoughts will unwrap those conditioning layer by layer. Eventually leading to a state where your mind will be blissful. The field will then be ready to bear the crop of an enlightened soul. As everything, thoughts only have utility value. Thus, referred to here as useful thought instead of good. Good indicates duality. Aim is to go beyond it. Way is here. No scope really to complain and say I have no time for good thoughts. It can be a process running in the background, it won't hamper your download speed or any other applications of job, study, family, etc. which may be running simultaneously on your system. Not so hard then I guess.

Ego and harmony

"When ego is out of the way, it is very easy to create an atmosphere of harmony"

Whenever we hear the word "ego", our mind starts working on all possible explanations and knowledge associated with the word ego. It's like as if we search a term on Google and it returns all possible relevant options we may be interested in. Now since most of us, either through upbringing or through our own life experiences have associated ego with a negative feeling which is a pre-cursor for unwanted emotions like anger, jealousy, hatred, self obsession and so on. However, is that really the case? Etymologically all it means is a sense of being. Simply put, identity. What we think "i-ness" really means. When we refer to ourself, we are thinking of ourself as the body, the mind, the emotions, the knowledge we have, our achievements, our understanding of life, our associations with our loved ones/family, our position in the society we live in, our identity in terms of the name given to us and so forth. But that which knows something cannot be the thing it knows. If I can sense an object with my six senses, then I cannot be that object. Subject cannot be the object. That which perceives cannot be what is being perceived! Therefore, obviously that which perceives has to be beyond both perception and the object being perceived. Who is it then who actually perceives? If I say, I see my hand, that doesn't mean I am that hand. It is an instrument which I use. The only value my hand has is of utility. If I perceive my body, then I am not the body, I perceive it as a subject from a third person point of view.

Considering this, we can quite simply break this whole dilemma in three things - the one who perceives (subject), the actual process of perception and what is being perceived (the object). That being perceived on a primary level is the body. That which performs the process of perception is our mind. Then who is the one who perceives, the subject, who is beyond the duality of subject and object? That's for each of us to find. This may just be all there is to be realized.

When one knows this, there will certainly be harmony. Life shall be blissful. Unfortunately though, its easier said than done. It doesn't take much to know, but it takes everything to realize and experience what we may know.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


"Introspection will eventually allow you to see your true self in the mirror of your heart"

Mind thrives on change. It is a friend if in your control, otherwise your worst enemy in uncontrolled. Introspection is like a quality audit. Everyone hates it. If you have worked in an office, you would know what I mean. Especially when there is an external audit, everyone is running around like mad trying to get things in shape and order. They will stay late at night to finish work, take less breaks and do everything possible to avoid any audit findings. Mind is similar. When you decide to introspect, it will start cleaning its mess. It will try to hide or disguise unwanted memories and thoughts just so as it can make a good impression. This audit of introspection is done by the intellect. Intellect is mind's enemy. Mind is like a drunken monkey. Intellect is like a lion in it's face. A monkey, no matter how drunk, will be still with fear if faced by a ferocious lion. This is why introspection will bring out mind's true nature.

While the mind and intellect are thus engaged in preparing for and conducting introspective audit respectively, your true self is exposed. The self lies beyond the dualities. The self is supreme. Hence, if we know the SELF our self, we will know all worth knowing. Note that the SELF is different from our self. SELF is what we really and truly are. What we know as 'our self', however, is simply a projection of this self through the haze of mind and intellect. Thus, distorting the image itself. The self transcends everything we know or think as we know. The only way we can "know" this self is when we understand that there is nothing to be known. The truth just simply is. What just is, needs no reason to be. It was, is and will be in that state of "is-ness" eternally.

The heart is the seat of this self. Introspection clears the weeds of mind clearing the path for us to reach that "self-realisation".

Thursday, August 06, 2009

3. Great and small evil

Mingjiao said:

"Of the evil that people do, there is that which has a form and that which has no form. Formless evil injures people, evil with form kills them. The evil that harms people is relatively small, the evil that kills them is greater.

That is why, "there is a poison in a party, a spear and shield in talk and laughter, there are tiger and a panther inside a chamber, there are savages in the next alley".

Unless you are yourself a sage and nip these evils in the bud, guarding against them with standards of propriety, they injury they do will be significant.

(Translator's source: West Lake Annals).


"It takes courage and determination to remain forgiving, loving, merciful and compassionate"

When Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in the Sinai region of Egypt with a view to conquer the nation, he was in a condition with which he could not even challenge a tiny tribal kingdom for war. His men were injured physically and mentally, their bodies were infirm and minds had suffered deep wounds of loss. They had no arms and his army's morale was shaken completely. In this, he said to them, "Although we have nothing with which a war is waged, we have courage and we have determination. So long as we do not lose it, we can conquer not just Egypt but even the whole world!" So they did! With just courage and determination they destroyed the Egyptian army and won!

The question now is, this story is about how courage is necessary in a war or battle situation. What has it to do with remaining forgiving, loving, merciful and compassionate? These are all battles in their own right. In our battle against the mind, which is ever fickle and unfaithful, at the end only courage and determination helps. We face numerous problems in our lives and find ourselves in situations where we have to be forgiving and loving to the ones we love, ignoring their faults and mistakes. It is hard. Especially with the loved ones, when they do things which shake your morale, they commit mistakes which leave deep wounds in our heart and act in ways which challenge your love for them, nothing but courage and determination works in still remaining loving and forgiving in spite of the seeds of hatred they sow in your heart. Of course it takes divine grace much more than the rest but God only helps those who help themselves, and if we find ourselves in situations like this, the best way we can help ourself is by remaining courageous and determined.

I remember a similar story a friend once told me. Prophet Mohammad was once being followed by a large army of his enemies. He was alone with his most faithful disciple (can't remember his name). I think they were fleeing from Mecca to Medina. After a while they managed to outrun their enemies, but the sound of their horses was coming closer and closer. They hid themselves in a cave. The Prophet's disciple asked him, "We will surely die now. What can we do? If we stay here and they come, they will kill us. If we run, we will die of exhaustion. Is this what I get for being faithful to you all my life?" The Prophet smiled and said, "Dear brother, if death is what Allah wishes for us, then what can change it? Neither our musings nor our prayers. What happens, happens for a reason. We must surrender unto the divine will. But if you ask what should we do? We should be courageous even in the face of death, and determined to die for our cause. If this is just a test, then our courage and determination will please our Lord and his mercy will save us. So fear not. Be brave and fix your mind in Allah!"

Another incidents from the great Hindu epic Mahabharata proves a similar point. The five pandavas (heroes of this story) lose their kingdom and are forced to live in disguise for 12 years in the forest. They along with their wife, walk for a long while until they reach a dense forest. Everyone is hungry and tired. They start looking for food but can't find anything. Finally the eldest brother Yudhishthira finds a single sesame seed. Now how can one sesame seed feed six people? When faced with this dilemma, he says, when fate has forced us to this length then we must not lose courage. If we are brave and courageous, this one sesame seed will not only feed us all but even keep us alive. So they divide this tiny little seed in six parts and pleased with their courage, they are blessed and survive these testing times.

We find such stories all over the world, regardless of religions or culture. These are universal facts. Sooner we learn to appreciate them, the sooner our life becomes blissful. I decided to use this quote for today's post, but just couldn't think of anything to write about it. Things happened during the day which showed me the way. Everything happens for a reason. Life is a very intricate fractal, every point has its importance.

I hope and pray that may us all be blessed with the strength to remain courageous and determined forever, no matter what the circumstances force us to do. Let us not be divided by the duality of thoughts, let us instead be united into that one, indivisible supreme consciousness which gives birth to the life as we see it!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

2. Study and Learning

Mingjiao said:

"The study of saints and sages is certainly not fulfilled in one day. When there is not enough time during the day, continue into the night; accumulate it over the months and years, and it will naturally develop. Therefore it is said, "Accumulate learning by study, and understand what you learn by questioning".

This means that study alone cannot bring realisation or discovery withought proper discernment and questioning. Nowadays where the students go there is hardly anyone who asks a question to discern people. I do not know what they will use to help their learning and achieve the benifit of daily renewal."

(Translator's source: Jiufeng Annals)


"Thoughts are like seeds, out of which grows the tree of our personality. As are your thoughts, so does the tree grows to be, upright or crooked, pretty or ugly; good or bad attitude and behaviour as its branches"

I have modified this thought a bit to make it more inclusive. This being said, no more need to say as you sow so shall you reap. What you do now determines your tomorrow, just like what you did in the past has shaped your today. Actions grow out of thoughts so make your thoughts pure, pure action shall follow. There is a point I'd like to make here about the three types of realities. But I will write about them later.

Therefore, we can see that in every religion/faith there is a heavy emphasis on purification of your mind. May it be through repentance, surrender, knowledge or purification of actions...goal is the same. Empty mind may be a devil's workshop, but a pure and focused mind is an angels' harp from which only soothing melodies can be created!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

1. Enlightened Virtue

Mingjiao said:

"Nothing is more honourable then enlightenment, nothing is more beautiful than virtue. Those who have enlightened virtue, have it even though they be ordinary people, while those who lack it lack it even though they be kings.

There were some people who starved to death in the ancient times but have been admired ever since only for their virtue; there were others who were kings but have been despised ever since only for their lack of virtue.

So the learnede worry only about not being imbued with virtue and not about being in the positions of power and authority."

(Translator's Source: Tanqin Annals)

Zen Lessons

Zen Lessons is another series of posts I shall be starting today. Should be a good companion to the inspirational thoughts series. The first volume will be The Art of Leadership (translation by Thomas Cleary). This is a collection of social and psychological teachings of Chinese Zen (Chan) teachers of the Song dynasty from 10th to 13th centuries. Some marvellous gems of the oriental wisdom.

What I post here will be straight from Thomas Cleary's unabridged translation published in the Shambhala's Pocket Classics series. I am simply doing this to spread this knowledge around and with no intention of commercial gain. Author has been duly credited for everything. For further details read the book. If anybody still has issues regarding this disclaimer, then deal with them yourselves!


I will be starting a new series of posts from today. Inspirational quotes and a little something I have to say about them. Hope you get inspired and hope they work miracles in your life. The quotes/thoughts won't be mine but what will follow them is. So if you want to credit these or use them somewhere, don't use my name! I don't particularly like courts, especially for copyright reasons.

Today we start with this:

"When you build a house every brick counts, when you build a character every thought does"

Character sure is a dodgy issue in this day and age. People don't know what it means, what it's worth and why should one have a good character. Most importantly they don't know what actually constitutes a good character. Now I shall be posting my views on character building and things related to that later. For now though, I for one am very inspired by this quote. I feel like it gave my existing beliefs a proper platform to stand and grow on.

A good, strong, consistent and unblemished character may perhaps be the only key to a happy and successful life. Achieve this and all other achievements are but a state of fleeting glee! Nothing compares a good character.

Your thoughts please.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Slowly as I get back on track...I ponder time

Life really gets quite busy at times leaving you no time to do something as simple as post in your blog! Well, one may say that "I am busy" is perhaps the lamest and most clichéd of all the excuses and just as it appears, I too believe it is. However, the point is, these are the moments when there is a possibility. There is what is known as a transition state in chemistry, where the possibility of conversion of reactants to products is maximum. Well, just so in our lives these are verily the times when such seemingly unimportant incidents inspire us to have a rendézvous with ourself.
Things said and done, where am I leading with all this you must be wondering? Simple. If we decide, even the tiniest of things in our everyday life has the capacity to lift us up to that transition state where we have a highest possibility of transformation. Take this for instance, lack of time. Makes us think about time. What is time? Do we really understand time? Is it an illusion? Think. Think. Think...If you say time is constant, then by definition it does not match the state of constancy; where that which is constant is eternally and immutably static and which is unaffected by any external factors. If you catch a flight to a destination a few latitudes either direction of where you are, time is changed! Leave this planet and move to Saturn, time is longer there. Leave the solar system, there is no time as we know it. So you see, here time is changing with the change in the location of observer. Anyhow, my aim is not to write a thesis on time. I simply want to encourage some sincere thought in those who would read this. Thought about the true nature of time, and how are we linked to it at the very core!

Take human life as an example. Let's say, that ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), humans tend to have a lifespan of about a 100 years. Now of these, about 35 years are spent in sleeping (assuming 8 hours sleep every night). 15 years in childhood, where we really have no clue what we are doing or supposed to do. Fine that we are children and our life is joyful and happy (though I doubt it is the case for kids these days), but generally, in these years we are incapable of giving any real and serious thought to the nature of life, reality and so on. Now of the remaining, about 25 years on an average are taken up by old age and a condition of almost to total infirmity and incapacity. This makes the total number of years we actually have for us only 25! Even of these 25, we spend about 5 years in acquiring the skills necessary for that glorious and successful career we desire, another 10 or so in developing/building this career. Of the remaining last 10 years, we in the east have our share of responsibility towards old parents to perform, serving them and so on; while those in the west spend most of this final decade left in what is termed as "domestic issues" (love issues, drinking problems, money problems and so on...list is endless!) Considering this, we really, honestly only have these 5 years in hands to think, know, understand what the heck our life really is! Is this enough? Think about it. Of a possible 100 years of life, we may, just may get 5 years for this and since most of us never reach 100, its even less.
Is a time period of 5 years enough for all these things? Although a fruit may become ripe overnight, it did so because it was in the process of ripening for several days and without those days this one night would have made no difference in it whatsoever! Question is that of the amount of margin we have. Given the imperfect nature we are born with, this most certainly is a very short time; and time is always fickle. A backstabber. Time is your greatest friend, time is your greatest foe. Choice really and truly is individual. We may make a day's life an eternity, or live an eternity in a day!

I know it's just my first post after returning back to blogging and you may think why this out of everything! But well, since I don't care about world politics anymore, bored to death of other issues plaguing this planet and unable to write poetry...what better friend to turn to than good old philosophy! It is the science of putting the burden of your questions on someone else's shoulder to ease your pain. You chose it though and I appreciate it.