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.