Zen Koan #44: Parable of The Thief Who Became a Disciple – Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Mindfulness

Zen Koan #44: Parable of The Thief Who Became a Disciple - Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Mindfulness Much of life is dedicated to minimizing pain and maximizing ecstasy. We have become more and more sophisticated in our technology—we can live in space and map the human genome. Yet we have not been efficacious in our quest to culminate woefulness. Our age-old quandaries of prejudice, cruelty, and division persist, simply taking incipient forms over the centuries. With no exception everything will return to the Dharma Realm.”

Everything is generated by the one and will eventually return to the one. Don’t misinterpret this and cerebrate that since you are not supposed to affix to relishes and disrelishes, you should consequently not cultivate the Way. In addition, when you visually examine Zen monks walk, it’s very fascinating. They have a different kind of walk from everybody else in Japan. Most Japanese shuffle along, or if they wear Western habiliments, they race and hurry as we do.

Zen monks have a peculiar swing when they ambulate, and you have the feeling they ambulate rather the same way as a feline. There’s something about it that isn’t hesitant; they’re going along all right, they’re not remotely senescent around, but they’re ambulating just to ambulate. The reason for this is that it has never been separate from us.

Zen Koan: “The Thief Who Became a Disciple” Parable

One evening as Shichiri Kojun was reciting sutras a thief with a sharp sword entered, demanding wither his money or his life.

Shichiri told him: “Do not disturb me. You can find the money in that drawer.” Then he resumed his recitation.

A little while afterwards he stopped and called: “Don’t take it all. I need some to pay taxes with tomorrow.”

The intruder gathered up most of the money and started to leave. “Thank a person when you receive a gift,” Shichiri added. The man thanked him and made off.

A few days afterwards the fellow was caught and confessed, among others, the offense against Shichiri. When Shichiri was called as a witness he said: “This man is no thief, at least as far as I am concerned. I gave him the money and he thanked me for it.”

After he had finished his prison term, the man went to Shichiri and became his disciple.

Buddhist Insight on Cultivating Mindfulness

In Buddhism, one can find all the necessary advice, which can help one to lead a happy married life. Cultivating mindfulness can help craving verbal expressions to realize their meaning. You can sit up straight for hours when the breath is open and you’re concentrated. See if this practice makes your mind more alert throughout the day. In Zen Buddhism, an image that’s used is of these burdens or difficulties being the same as a poisoned tree. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Creating True Peace: Ending Conflict in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community and the World,

When you are in pain, remember to bring your mind back to your Buddha nature, your goodness and capacity for mindfulness, calm, and seeing deeply into the situation. If you allow yourself to be dominated by negative emotions, you will react in ways that will cause more suffering. You will want to punish the other person and say unkind things. We have all done this many, many times. To break out of this habit of suffering, this trap, we have to remember to practice mindfulness, to touch our Buddha nature. … We all have negative emotions and we also have Buddha nature within us, and it is possible for them to coexist in peace. The practice is to recognize our Buddha nature without running away from them. With mindfulness we can, maintain our peace, our stability, and our compassion in every moment and in every circumstance.

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Serve Life Than Fight Death

Positive Labor of Improving Health

Positive Labor of Improving Health The struggle against evil in. We and evil in our environment is often disheartening. We find these evils too firmly entrenched to prevail against. However, have you ever tried to alter the tactics you use in this struggle? Have you ever tried, instead of attacking evil to strengthen goodness, which is its opposite?

Our most effective defense against disease lies not in fighting germs and toxins, but rather in the positive labor of improving health. A well-nourished and well-rested body can automatically resist the challenging adversary. The scales are always swaying between life and death. We can tip them in favor of life by increasing the elements, which preserve life, so that the power of death is automatically curtailed.

It is more efficacious to serve life than to fight death. He who is orientated to the negative task of fighting against evil, sickness, and death has anchored himself in the swamp, and its foul odors will often depress him, but he who has set his heart to the positive service of extending life, faces the clean, open spaces that will exhilarate his spirit.

This is theory, but it is theory justified by experience. If you have wronged your fellow man, you will regain his goodwill by making up for that misdeed with overtures of kindness and friendship. The effort to undo what has already been done would be ineffective, and to persist would only cause growing anxiety. The foul air is withdrawn automatically when the windows are opened and the dear air blows in. There is no need to mobilize our energies in a positive campaign to expel the foul air.

As I consider myself, as I look at my world, I am often depressed. How deeply entrenched are the evils which depress me! What shall I do? Shall I organize a campaign to undo every thoughtless word or deed of mine? Shall I set myself to disprove every lie, to answer every word of malice spread in the world? Shall I reach out to seize and restrain the hand of every evildoer?

It is an impossible task. However, I can serve my cause by positive deeds of goodness and truth. In addition, He who ultimately judges and weighs the actions of men will know how to balance the scales. The realm of evil will recede by itself as the realm of goodness extends its sway.

We do not need to fight against darkness. When we kindle a light, the darkness is automatically vanquished.

Our Emotional Circumstance Affects Our Social Life

Our Emotional Circumstance Affects Our Social Life Arranging a successful out-of-state hunt takes preparation. Nonetheless, life is grueling in the Arctic barren grounds, even for bears, and they cannot be fussy. Likewise, our emotional circumstance affects our social life. If we are depressed or angry, it makes it difficult to build healthy friendships. Conversely, if we have deep, meaningful friendships, it can contribute to our emotional well-being. David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, writes,

There’s a very small difference between rational and rationale—one letter. … It’s rationality that can lead people to cheat and behave in immoral ways because they can justify for themselves why it’s okay for them. And, underlying that are emotional impulses that are pushing them to behave in the moral way that reason kind of tamps down and overrides.

Difficulty was, rather than having one large, consistent system, the induction was locally strong in some places, weak in others. This is where most groups go wrong. They settle on just getting warm bodies. I look for a dedication of purpose and a proven strength. Both these people are well known as confabulators among their friends and acquaintances. The curiosity of the evidence of numerical truths is that all the disputation is on one side. If you do not know how to practice selective watering in your own garden, then you will not have enough sapience to help water the flowers in the garden of your beloved. By penalizing old-fashioned ethics in this way, you do not make toleration of the new morality more likely.

By this contraption, the whole column of the bones acts directly against the load, and an immense weight is thus sustained. We have to discover the art of creating happiness. All the same, you keep your people healthy. In this enlarged sense of spiritual knowledge, to make its grandness to the happiness of humankind appear, let us consider man.

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Zen Koan #43: Parable of Zen in a Beggar’s Life – Buddhist Teaching on Buddha Nature

Zen Koan #43: Parable of Zen in a Beggar's Life - Buddhist Teaching on Buddha Nature According to Zen Buddhism, the only source of energy that can be subsidiary is commiseration, for the reason that it is safe. When you have commiseration, your energy is born from insight. It is not visually impaired energy. With commiseration, we practice in order to learn ways to bulwark the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. You will feel restless and think, “Today has gone by already and I’ve wasted my time.”

Some people have this attitude when, after a day or two, they feel they have not made any progress. Another case was a person who was required to take the English equivalency exam in order to apply for a U.S. You cannot practice this way. Once we see how we are hooked and how we are swept along by the momentum, there’s no way to be arrogant. The trick is to keep seeing. On the contrary, they are unable to practice. The master looked out of his hut and saw a man about to cross the river.

Can a Buddhist monk have a family? A true totality would not even be considered “one”; it can only be called “nothing.” It is only when a distinction is made that the one can subsist at all, and in that cases it will lead to two. They often make the mistake of exerting physical energy to fight against wandering thoughts.

Zen Koan: “Zen in a Beggar’s Life” Parable

Tosui was a well-known Zen teacher of his time. He had lived in several temples and taught in various provinces.

The last temple he visited accumulated so many adherents that Tosui told them he was going to quit the lecture business entirely. He advised them to disperse and to go wherever they desired. After that no one could find any trace of him.

Three years later one of his disciples discovered him living with some beggars under a bridge in Kyoto. He at one implored Tosui to teach him.

“If you can do as I do for even a couple of days, I might,” Tosui replied.

So the former disciple dressed as a beggar and spent a day with Tosui. The following day one of the beggars died. Tosui and his pupil carried the body off at midnight and buried it on a mountainside. After that they returned to their shelter under the bridge.

Tosui slept soundly the remainder of the night, but the disciple could not sleep. When morning came Tosui said: “We do not have to beg food today. Our dead friend has left some over there.” But the disciple was unable to eat a single bite of it.

“I have said you could not do as I,” concluded Tosui. “Get out of here and do not bother me again.”

Buddhist Insight on Buddha Nature

Transgressions are classified either depending on the essence or on time. In addition, it happened that the Buddha came along the road as he was waiting thus. He thought it was just a conventional ascetic, and he meant to kill Him and get the hundredth finger he wanted. That is Buddha Nature. What probably happens is that his mind flickers with incredible rapidity between the two ideas; the agony is still there but may be reduced to endurable dimensions. The American Zen and spirituality teacher Dennis Genpo Merzel wrote in The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way,

True nature is Buddha nature, unfixed and able to adapt to any container, so we will all express Buddha nature differently. Every person is a unique container and what is appropriate in one bowl may not be appropriate in another bowl. Our lives, too, are made up of different containers. Your body-mind is one container, and your family is another. Your work and living situations are containers, and our Earth is a container. For each situation a different manifestation is appropriate. Practice is all about learning how to recognize and manifest our true nature in everything we do. To become confident, free and joyful in manifesting our true nature takes a lot of attention and practice. Zazen is the way we accomplish this. Through zazen, we learn how to be who we really are.

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Highest Variety of Religious Belief

Subtle Forces Contribute to Our Freedom

Subtle Forces Contribute to Our Freedom A number of subtle forces contribute to our freedom. One of them is the fact of our limitations.

There is a common notion that to be free means to have the capacity of moving in any direction, without impediment or interference. However, this is not altogether true. The young man, who stands before the crossroads of his life, with many vocational opportunities beckoning him, is not free. Too many pressures are crushing him. He becomes free when he has resolved his dilemma and has accepted some limitation upon his life.

True freedom lies in expanding sufficiently to allow the fulfillment of one’s possibilities. However, growth can occur only in a particular direction. Among the conditions of freedom is the elimination of diversions, of distracting influences that would detour us away from the main course of our lives. Marriage commits a man to a particular woman. In that sense, it is a limitation, which contributes to freedom, for it, releases a man from pursuing every attractive woman who crosses his path.

Life offers too many possibilities. The attempt to pursue them all would spell a tragic dissipation of our strength and frustrate our hope of great achievement. The elimination of alternatives, the reduction of our goals to manageable proportions, is a true prerequisite of freedom. Life can be free only when it is lived within a boundary.

Pleasures of a More Immaterial Kind

Pleasures of a More Immaterial Kind That is why exercise is about turning around, reconditioning, getting out of that mind-state, and discovering a radically dissimilar kind of happiness that is not so vulnerable, that does not lead to endless dissatisfaction. Even so, moral philosophy is simply a basis for making individual decisions, and to each his own. Ramon Alcoberro, Professor of Ethics at the Universitat de Girona, once wrote,

In addition (apparently this is known as the “Pareto optimum’), it turns out that from a certain level of use of a good, the pleasure to be obtained from that good begins to decline dangerously, to the extent that an increase in accumulation does not necessarily lead to greater happiness. In other words, if we have one jumper, buying or otherwise obtaining another one will double our sense of well-being; but when someone has thirty jumpers, getting a new one does not make them any happier and, at most, means they will have problems finding somewhere to put it. ….

The question …. is very simple: once you have obtained a certain level of well-being or happiness, is it worth striving for more, or would it not be better to live a more relaxed life devoted, perhaps, to pleasures of a more immaterial kind or, at least, to ones which are difficult to express in quantifiable terms?

When I am trusting and being myself as fully as possible, everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously. All my life through, the new sights of nature made me triumph like a child. Voting is like a step function its differential coefficient is zeroing so fringy behavior is irrelevant.

Hence, it is exactly among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest variety of religious belief and were in many cases considered by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes too as saints. It makes everyone feel well heeled. The one conversation rule provides just tolerable structure that people know where they fit. They know what is expected and do not feel the need to strike or grandstand.

As persona to be used for timelessness must be formed in time and in good time, so good habits to be used for happiness in this lifespan must be formed early on; and then they will be a treasure to be sought after in the house of the wise, and an oil of life in their home. Everything was turned upside down. More money will be raised in this fashion than by the common method of compensating for the short allowance account, by making it collectable at bone, and the humble extra expense is no thoughtfulness in comparing to the wellness of the men.

They cannot comprehend what it is to do for them: how should they? If they could see what it would do for them, it could not be originality. While taking the word in the sublimated sensation we shall maintain images and meanings, which are associated with the substantial sense.

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Belur’s Chennakeshava Temple, The Exemplar Hoysala Architecture and Sculpture in Karnataka

Chennakeshava temple at Belur, the best specimen of Hoysala architecture and sculpture

The Chennakeshava temple at Belur is perhaps the best specimen of Hoysala architecture and sculpture. The place was known as Velapura or Velapuri.

Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana defeated the Cholas at Talakad and to commemorate this great event built many temples in 1117 CE, of which Chennakeshava temple at Belur is the most important and beautiful. The entire temple is built of soapstone and stands on a platform also of star shape of 32 angles.

The outer wall of the temple from bottom onwards has tiers of minute sculptures consisting of rows of elephants, lion faces, creepers, ornamental frieze, dancers in small niches, female sculptures in between pillars, and the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Above the friezes are wall sculptures of gods and goddesses in various poses under finely carved canopies. These sculptures are so varied and finely ornamented, it looks like an open air museum.

Hoysala Architecture and Sculpture

Sculptures of Beautiful Damsels at Chennakeshava Temple, Belur The ornamented windows called jalandhras which were added at a later date allow sufficient light and air to enter the interior of the temple. Over the sculptures and on the level of the roof are bracket figures known as silabalikas or madanikai sculptures. They represent beautiful damsels in various moods representing feminine charm and grace and perhaps these are the best creations of the Hoysala sculptors of the Belur temple. Vishnuvardhana’s queen Shantaladevi is associated with these sculptures.

The interior of the temple consisting of a garbhagriha, sukhanasi, navaranga and a mandapa takes us to a new world of sculptures with lathe turned pillars of various designs. One of the pillars known as Narasimha pillar could be turned on its axis. There are many delicately carved ceilings and they represent the best specimens of that type. The doorway of the garbhagriha is another specimen of delicate carvings unsurpassed for intricate designs.

Tiers of Minute Sculptures at Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

Sculptures of Shilabalika celestial maidens at Chennakeshava Temple, Belur Inside the garbhagriha is the sculpture of Chennakeshava or Vijayanarayana of about nine feet in height holding sankha, chakra, gada and padma in his hands, with a karanda makuta (crown) at the head. Bhudevi and Sridevi are standing at the bottom. Famous sculptors like Dasoja, his son Chavana, Nagoja, and others made this beautiful temple, the pride of Karnataka.

Besides this temple, the prakara has many more temples like Kappe Chennigaraya temple, Devi temple, and others with a mahadvara and a gopura.

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Zen Koan #42: Parable of The Dead Man’s Answer – Buddhist Teaching on Mindful Breathing

Zen Koan #42: Parable of The Dead Man's Answer - Buddhist Teaching on Mindful Breathing Despair and anxiety can never be worked through until one confronts them in their stark and full reality. One can never apply some center from the outside. Difficult as the task is, we must accept ourselves and our society where we are, and find our ethical center through a deeper understanding of ourselves as well as through a courageous confronting of our historical situation. In this edification from the outset sitting in cogitation does not concern the mind nor does it concern purity. If you omit delusions, then the pristine nature reveals its purity. If you activate your mind to view purity without realizing that your own nature is pristinely pristine, delusions of purity will be engendered.

The ease of understanding was related to whether a koan was difficult or easy for a particular participant and also for the reason that some koans are designed to produce different effects on the student. It is not a five-star Hotel or the kind. If you have faith in the mind of equanimity and non-distinction, you have faith in no mind. When you grasp onto something, find a blissful medium. However, if there is no such duality, then there is no oneness to speak of either. Do not discombobulate this with enlightenment.

Zen Koan: “The Dead Man’s Answer” Parable

When Mamiya, who later became a well-known preacher, went to a teacher for personal guidance, he was asked to explain the sound of one hand.

Mamiya concentrated upon what the sound of one hand might be. “You are not working hard enough,” his teacher told him. “You are too attached to food, wealth, things, and that sound. It would be better if you died. That would solve the problem.”

The next time Mamiya appeared before his teacher he was again asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand. Mamiya at once fell over as if he were dead.

“You are dead all right,” observed the teacher, “But how about that sound?”

“I haven’t solved that yet,” replied Mamiya, looking up.

“Dead men do not speak,” said the teacher. “Get out!”

Buddhist Insight on Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is the state of mind is very peaceful and you stop grasping it. In addition, if you haven’t found it, it’s really a crucial part of spiritual practice to look for it. As just explained, after being taught how to enter consistent with the vehicles of cause and characteristics, as the fruition, there is the instruction to enter the vehicles of secret mantra. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Creating True Peace: Ending Conflict in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community and the World,

To breathe in mindfully is to be aware that air is entering our body, and to breathe out mindfully is to know that air is leaving our body. The moment our mind is attentive to the contact between our body and the air, we are also in contact with our mind, just as it is. It takes only one conscious breath to be in touch with ourselves and the world around us. Then, with each mindful breath, ease is restored to our body and mind.

Posted in Faith and Religion

Compatibility in the Face of Differences

Compatibility in the Face of Differences

Tension of Adjustment

Tension of Adjustment There is bound to be a measure of misunderstanding in every human-relationship, for even the most, ideally mated friends are distinct individuals, with unique mind and outlook on the world. Although reacting to the same experiences, we are bound to show different responses. From those differing responses, arise occasional clashes of temperament, which produce bitterness and strife.

An ideal relationship is not one in which clashes never occur. Such a relationship is impossible; if it pretends to exist anywhere, it is because one individual entering the relationship is not truly himself. He may have suppressed his individuality for that of his more dominant partner, but one who lives in servility cannot fulfill the highest role of a mate, whether in friendship or in marriage, which is not only to commend but also to reprove; not only to acclaim but also to challenge. Common values, however, not inevitably enough to create a friendship, if values are too diverging, it is unmanageable for a friendship to flourish. The noblest mate is not one whose voice is an echo of our own; it is one whose voice blends with ours, while speaking with the uninhibited resonance of a free individual in action.

With mindful breathing, they get calm, and they can be in touch with the wonders of life usable in the present moment.

An ideal relationship is one where compatibility is achieved in the face of differences, where the two voices speaking in different tones are adjusted to blend in harmony, for the precise meaning of harmony is the readiness of differing elements to seek a higher unity by complementing each other instead of competing with each other. In addition, if occasional clashes occur, true comrades on life’s journey do not become alarmed, since such clashes are, for them, the tensions of adjustment rather than the explosions of open war.

Restraining Violence and Killing

Restraining Violence and Killing

The only chastity a character needs to possess between hardcover, even if he bears a real person’s name, is vitality: if he comes to life in our imaginations, he passes the trial. In reality, when you feel low-spirited, lonely, betrayed, or any undesirable feelings, this is a significant moment on the religious path. This is where real transmutation can take place. The British academic philosopher Simon Blackburn writes in Being Good: a Short Introduction to Ethics,

Every society that is recognizably human will need some institution of property (some distinction between ‘mine’ and ‘yours’), some norm governing truth-telling, some conception of promise-giving, some standards restraining violence and killing. It will need some devices for regulating sexual expression, some sense of what is appropriate by way of treating strangers, or minorities, or children, or the aged, or handicapped. It will need some sense of how to distribute resources, and how to tread those who have none. In other words, across the whole spectrum of life, it will need some sense of what is expected and what is out of line.

The steelyard is an instrument of this variety, contrived for weighing bodies by an individual weight, whose velocity or distance from the airplane propeller, we increase in proportion to the weight unit to be known. As the air is thus capable of the most flexible enlargement, so is it also of being pressed into a small compass. The inherent aptitude of everything is to move away from pain and toward delight. Nevertheless, extravagant rigorousness is no less harmful. This would have the happiest effect upon their welfare, by allowing them to have complete rest, and to get exhaustively dry.

When we are continually moved by looking for the next experience and the next delight, it is like going from one mirage to another. That kind of trust pulls us in the direction of death. When you rely on what you know, you are perpetually relying on a map, which, as soon as it is drawn, has begun to depart from the territory it intended to describe, which life is. Neither could the prohibition be censured as spiritual persecution. The indebted countries are then constrained to privatize their public resourcefulness. I think of a very extraordinary echo, at a destroyed fortress near Louvain, in Flanders.

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Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu’s Zen – Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment

Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu's Zen - Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment Our struggle is obligatory, but it is eventually just our inclination to be present that counts and that this is the true effort of the way. Glad to know that you have time to meditate. In a country like America, where people can do so many things, and where there are so many distractions, to meditate is not easy. One gets older doing this and that, finding no real satisfaction in anything. Coming to accept that there is nothing wrong with me has been a very important part of growing up.

How can one be certain that there was a Teacher known as the Buddha? We present everything to the object of our surrendering. The basic act of surrender does not involve the worship of an external power. Rather it means working together with inspiration, so that one becomes an open vessel into which knowledge can be poured. You may feel liberated. If you do this, you are grasping the false. For instance, suppose you endeavor to clear a blocked pipe by pushing another object into it.

You can see the tip of each blade of grass and the outline of every leaf. The person who is seeking to attain is separate from the attainment, the object of his search. All of your actions will boomerang back to you and you will have to take the consequences.

Zen Koan: “Joshu’s Zen” Parable

Joshu began the study of Zen when he was sixty years old and continued until he was eighty, when he realized Zen.

He taught from the age of eighty until he was one hundred and twenty.

A student once asked him: “If I haven’t anything in my mind, what shall I do?”

Joshu replied: “Throw it out.”

“But if I haven’t anything, how can I throw it out?” continued the questioner.

“Well,” said Joshu, “then carry it out.”

Buddhist Insight on Being With Disappointment

Wisdom is also this development of patience, love, or constancy that you go through so many cycles. Unfortunately, the truth dealt with by science is only a partial one. By looking for complexities of developing and perfecting within the primordial unstructured presence of the nature and disenchantment, the essence without accepting and rejecting will not be seen. The American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck writes in Nothing Special: Living Zen,

When we refuse to work with our disappointment, we break the Precepts: rather than experience the disappointment, we resort to anger, greed, gossip, criticism. Yet it’s the moment of being that disappointment which is fruitful; and, if we are not willing to do that, at least we should notice that we are not willing. The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day if we’re alert. This gift is always present in anyone’s life, the moment when “It’s not the way I want it.”

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Man is the Noblest Flower in God’s World

Charity Towards Those Who Disagree with Us

Charity Towards Those Who Disagree with Us Tolerance is more than charity towards those who disagree with us. It is a duty we owe to ourselves.

What is the essence of tolerance? It is respect for the free expression of minds other than our own. Surely, I do not possess perfect wisdom. My way of life reflects my own taste, my background of experience, what my limited knowledge has suggested to me as being sound and right. Because I am conscious of my limitations, I want other forms of life to flourish freely. It is their right, and I owe it to them. Nevertheless, I also owe it to myself, for how else will I ever correct my own deficiency except by permitting myself to be challenged by those who disagree with me?

A bigot is a source of misery to his fellow man, but he is also the forger of his own chains, jailing his soul from free contact with die world. He bites the hand that offers him food he has never tasted before, and which has new delights for the body or the mind.

A single flower could not contain within itself all the beauty and fragrance of the universe. This is why God has made many flowers in the garden of the universe. Woe unto the man who is so in love with the flower in his own window box that he would deny all others the right to be!

Man is the noblest flower in God’s world. When you meet one with unfamiliar color or character, do not trample on it. Cherish it as a new revelation of enriching beauty.

This is why good will is so often the best place to start wishing the other person well, but realizing that true happiness is something that each of us finally will have to find for ourselves.

True Merit and Pretend Knowledge

True Merit and Pretend Knowledge A growing body of theological reflection has concluded that ethical treatment of nonhuman creatures is an issue of justness and mercy. It is perpetually better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. Men in health who are outstandingly dirty, or that have been in the company of those who have been affected with an infective fever, will transmit disease as much as the sick themselves, and the jail distemper has been known to continue from prisoners who were not themselves affected by it. Nevertheless, crucially, we have to want to be emancipated; we have to want to become educated. It is on all hands acknowledged, that the most obvious appearances in nature are those, which are least, understood. The progressive and discerning public can readily differentiate true merit from pretend knowledge. Facts are demonstrable—his superiority is universally acknowledged. Into what grievous forms these have shot forth, and what various mischief’s they have produced in society, is too well known.

You are either somebody who feels this (or has felt it) or not-much like you are someone who either gets headaches or does not. Even if you have never felt it yourself, almost sure enough you know someone who has (whether you recognize it or not). Existential boredom defines an inability to find not just specific things but all of life interesting. It manifests itself as a mood in which, for no reason you can articulate, nothing seems to satisfy-even things that normally do. American founding father Ben Franklin once wrote,

  • Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep. Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrows, and Never leave that till tomorrow, which you can do today.
  • If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? Be ashamed to catch yourself idle when there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, and your country. Handle your tools without mittens: Remember, that the cat in gloves catches no mice.
  • It is true, there is much to be done, and perhaps, you are weak handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for Constant dropping wears away stones; and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks.

When you find yourself flipping from Cyberspace site to Internet site; picking up a book, reading a few pages, and then putting it back down; walking around your flat or house in search of something to do but finding nothing to occupy you.

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Glimpses of History #13: First Civilizations in Minoan Crete

First Civilizations in Minoan Crete

The biggest Grecian island was home to the first important Aegean civilization—the Bronze Age Minoan culture (approximately 27th–15th centuries BCE). Evidence for the hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Greece has been flimsy, but intensive research in Epirus (northwestern Greece) and Argolid (Peloponnese, southern Greece) proposes that long-lived successful adjustments probably were prevalent on the mainland by the end of the last Ice Age and in the first few millennia of the current warm era (the Holocene, after 8500 BCE).

The island of Crete sustained the most composite civilization in Europe. Similar to the Phoenicians, with whom they traded, they were skilled seafarers trading with Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean; they had a written script known as Linear A, which is still untranslated at the moment (Linear B seems to have been the first form of Greek).

The pioneer was Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist from Germany who, in 1870, uncovered the site of Troy that was made famous by the legend of the Trojan War. Four years later, he exposed the rich remains of an ancient kingdom at Mycenae.

Minoan culture, religion, bulls Archaeological work has endured on Crete until the present day, with archaeological diggings of palaces, villas, and towns and important archaeological surveys of much of the island. The portrayal of this civilization that we can piece together is at the same time impressive and frustrating. Many towns and palaces were built, the most famous of which, Knossos, inspired Greek myths of the labyrinth thanks to its sheer size, complexity and religious rites involving bulls.

Minoan culture degenerated for a number of reasons—earthquakes affected the island more than once, and a natural disaster in the 15th century BCE, possibly the flare-up of the close by Thera volcano, had a major impact. From 1500 BCE, there was growing influence from the Mycenaean culture on the Greek mainland, and there is clear archaeological proof for prevalent destruction on the island around 1450 B.C. If the Mycenaeans were blameless for this destruction, they definitely took advantage of the events—administrative records from this period are written in Linear B, the script of Mycenaean Greeks. The cultural interconnection now shifted towards the developing Mycenaean civilization of mainland Greece, but the tale of rapid destruction of a sophisticated civilization is occasionally credited with motivating Plato’s Atlantis.

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