Zen Koan #25: Parable of Three Days More – Buddhist Teaching on Attention and Awareness

Zen Koan #25: Parable of Three Days More - Buddhist Teaching on Attention and Awareness A Zen master may seem insouciant, but behind superficial appearances, there is a solid substratum. However, the important thing is that the Dharma is universal. In that moment we have let go of the pathways of stories and speculation about what is happening, and have turned our attention to what is actual and true in each moment.

The practice of renunciation is essentially a celebration of simplicity some people approach retreat as if they were a caterpillar hoping to transform himself or herself into a beautiful butterfly. If you were elected president of the United States, would that be a success? Later on, you would most likely be criticized as a failure. You will not even be reborn in the heavens, not to mention be liberated from birth and death. We have all disappointed ourselves through being impatient at some time. There are many times in our life when we have to do, to go, to act.

Patience is not always staying still, not hurrying, not rushing. Everything has to be ready on time, and patience is the discipline and training to be able to achieve that objective. If there is no object, then what about a subject? When you enter deeply into this method, even though you may not be enlightened, you will not have any sense of self.

Zen Koan: “Three Days More” Parable

Suiwo, the disciple of Hakuin, was a good teacher. During one summer seclusion period, a pupil came to him from a southern island of Japan.

Suiwo gave him the problem: “Hear the sound of one hand.”

The pupil remained three years but could not pass this test. One night he came in tears to Suiwo. “I must return south in shame and embarrassment,” he said, “for I cannot solve my problem.”

“Wait one week more and meditate constantly,” advised Suiwo. Still no enlightenment came to the pupil. “Try for another week,” said Suiwo. The pupil obeyed, but in vain.

“Still another week.” Yet this was of no avail. In despair the student begged to be released, but Suiwo requested another meditation of five days. They were without result. Then he said: “Meditate for three days longer, then if you fail to attain enlightenment, you had better kill yourself.”

On the second day the pupil was enlightened.

Buddhist Insight on Attention and Awareness

According to Buddhist culture, duty supersedes rights through attention and awareness. To be mindful first means simply to come into the present—to pay attention with our senses, with our heart, with our physical body, with our ears, with our eyes, awareness, to what is essentially here in the present; the body, the heart and the mind. Try to be mindful and let things take their natural course. The American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck writes in Nothing Special: Living Zen,

There’s an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu. please write for me something of great wisdom.” Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: “Attention.” The student said, “Is that all?” The master wrote, “Attention, Attention.” ..

For “attention” we could substitute the word “awareness.” Attention or awareness is the secret of life and the heart of practice.. Every moment in life is absolute in itself. That’s all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don’t pat attention to each little this, we miss the whole thing. And the content of this can be anything. This can be straightening out our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting one we don’t want to visit. It doesn’t matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That’s all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we’re upset, it’s axiomatic that we’re not paying attention. If we miss not just one moment, but one moment after another, we’re in trouble.

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How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

How to Build Up Your Confidence in Presentations

Confidence is the main component of a successful presentation. This premise is easy to state and accept—it is not so easy to work out how to build up your confidence. However, it is worth a try.

  • Knowledge. Know your material thoroughly and take time to check the facts and verify source. Do not agree to present subjects you only half know about, no matter how tempting and persuasive others are. Be clear about the one big issue you are going to present. Get the scope right so you are not sidetracked and go off on aimless tangents when researching and compiling likely material to support your ideas. It is not just knowledge, it’s ‘knowledge of what exactly?’ that you should be asking yourself at the outset.
  • Time. Put enough time into the task of preparing your material—“It always takes longer than you expect’ (Hofstadter’s Law)—and aim to complete your rough script/slides with a couple of days to spare. You need time to ‘sit on it’ without doing anything, to let it sink into your mind naturally. Remember how you used to cram for exams right up to the last minute and how you later felt?
  • Congruity. Make sure your words, tone of voice and body language are congruent, particularly if taking a strong position and expressing your own feelings and attitudes. According to Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, people rely more on the combination of what they see and hear than on any text alone. They look at slides, so do not read your slides—the audience does that—refer them to the point you are making and talk them through it. Always aim for simple structures so listeners find it easy to follow. Reiterate points in a different form of words to reinforce your message.
  • 'How to Speak with Confidence in Public' by Edie Lush (ISBN 1509814531) Practice. Take an example from theatre actors who learn their lines and rehearse their actions. Although you don’t memories your lines, practicing them out loud nevertheless builds a familiarity, not only with the words and ideas themselves, but also with how each part links with the next. Good linking controls the pace of your performance. This constant working through also helps you measure the timing of the presentation—and being aware of these invisible clues leads you seamlessly through your mental script. Only Icarus was dumb enough to “wing it on the day.”
  • Attitude. You are not going out there to fail. You are not there by chance and you have not left anything to chance. Everyone in the audience wants to hear a good presentation, to be entertained and stimulated. Start from that premise and believe in your ability to deliver it. You have agreed to present in order to demonstrate that you can communicate your ideas clearly to others—allow this simple idea to lodge in your mind.
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Chakras: Energy-collection Centers of the Body

A Buddhist Thangka painting from Nepal, showing the seven main chakras of the body

Chakras are energy-collection centers of the body that are essential for physical and mental health.

In the traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, chakras are centers of energy that correspond to parts of the body. A non-physical life force is said to travel through the body, and each chakra is linked to a part of this force. Chakras exist in the body along a central channel and are connected to vital bodily functions, including consciousness, vision, communication, health, digestion, reproduction, and survival.

In the most common understanding of the system, each chakra is associated with a deity, color, bodily organ or set of organs, and a mantra (a transformative sound or syllable). Bringing the energy of the body in line with the central channel and the chakras is possible through meditation, and this process of alignment plays an important role in achieving fulfillment and enlightenment. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga, said “Kundalini [a corporeal energy] will rise and always cleanse the chakras.”

The idea of chakras is an ancient one and it is found in Sanskrit documents and in oral traditions of both Buddhism and Hinduism. “Breath channels,” for example, appear in the Hindu Vedas, produced in India between c. 1500 and c. 500 BCE. The idea of a hierarchy of the chakras was introduced later, in eighth-century Buddhist teachings. There is no standard interpretation of chakras in either religious tradition, with chakra systems varying from teacher to teacher within the same religious tradition.

Chakras are essential if we are to understand the body as a system of energy. Two of the five major world religions are built on the idea that human beings are capable of making peace within themselves as a result of energy systems within the body. The chakras are key to unlocking this inner power.

The theory of chakras plays a crucial role in two age-old Indian remedial systems (Ayurveda medicine and yoga) that are well-liked today. In recent decades, though, many contemporary actions (like polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, process acupressure, core energetics, and color therapy) have likewise integrated the concept of chakras into their own prophecies of restorative healing. Diverse approaches may be used to “balance” the chakras.

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We Are What We Repeatedly Do

We Are What We Repeatedly Do

How do we come to be strong as people? How do we come to be brave, patient or persistent? Are we born that way?

Sayings such as “Practice makes perfect” exemplify the well-known fact that repetition improves learning. This was discussed by abundant ancient and medieval philosophers and was demonstrated empirically by Hermann Ebbinghaus, the first academic to carry out a protracted series of experiments on human memory. In a classic 1885 book, Ebbinghaus showed that retaining of information improves as a function of the number of times the information has been studied. Since the time of Ebbinghaus, innumerable investigators have used repetition to examine learning and memory.

Without any knowledge of how the brain works, about 2,500 years ago Greek philosopher-scientist Aristotle pretty much nailed it by using common sense to explain what he observed in human behavior:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

It may sound a lot like the truism, “Practice makes perfect,” but Aristotle is accurate that being who we are comes from repetition of performance to form behavior patterns.

These days, neuroscientists explain that behavior patterns happen when the brain cells concerned in the behavior become physically connected to each other in a network called a neural pathway. We aren’t born with this efficient hard-wiring. More exactly, the separate brain cells involved in the behavior are stimulated by usage to grow tiny filaments called dendrites. By reiterating the behavior over and over, the dendrites ultimately connect the cells with each other into a network called a neural pathway. At this stage the behavior pattern is said to be entrenched, meaning the mental processing is so efficient it feels effortless and automatic. Indeed, the behavior may be implemented even without conscious thought.

We use words like skills, habits and personal strengths to describe these behavior patterns. We can learn bad habits as well as good habits—any kind of behavior pattern at all. All it takes is replication over time. We can develop addictions as well as character strengths. As Aristotle said it so well so long ago, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Thus, repetition need not lead to enhanced learning. Rather, repetition leads to increased opportunities for learning to occur. Whether learning takes place will depend on the type of information that has to be recollected and the amount and nature of dispensation that a person carries out.

Because the brain cell connections are physical, the patterns they enable are hard-wired…and everlasting. So if you want to break a bad habit, your challenge is to grow a new substitute neural pathway. You don’t actually get rid of old, undesirable behavior patterns. You learn new ones that give you more satisfaction, which means you’ll use them more and the old ones less.

The good news is that once you learn how to swim or ride a bicycle, the skill will stay with you for the rest of your life, even without using the ability for years.

More good news for people practicing a learning journey: You can grow stronger by simply doing the right things constantly over time. The behavior may seem awkward and clumsy at first, but it becomes easier the more you do it.

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Boredom is a Sickness of the Soul

The Only Unhappiness is a Life of Boredom

The Only Unhappiness is a Life of Boredom Have you ever been bored? When we have nothing in particular to do, and have time on our hands, a strange unrest seizes us, and we feel our life to be futile and meaningless.

Nearly all unhappiness in life comes from the inclination to blame someone else. Let us always hope well of a cause that is good in itself, and beneficial to human race. The pathology of the case up until now remains concealed in darkness. At that profundity the bottom, which had no pressure of water above it, and had a substantial pressure below, would not sink nor fall from the tube, but in reality swam at that depth upon the water? There is no one rationality why all these states got into trouble. Much is already being done, but more is needed. It is called the sewer serene, a disquiet in which the eye is, to all appearance, as capable of seeing as in the profound state; but, notwithstanding, the individual remains for life in gross darkness.

Boredom is not an uncommon human experience. It is a divine judgment against our uncreative life. The Lord placed us in this world for a purpose. We have tasks waiting to be done. In us, there is the energy of hand and heart and mind, craving for release, for action. Yet we allow the tasks to remain undone, and our energies to be untapped. Our feeling of boredom is an indication of God’s displeasure with what we are making of ourselves. This unrest of the soul calls for no special cure except work, work that will serve someone in the world, work that will give us the most priceless of all joys—the satisfaction of being useful, of being creative.

God has woven many safeguards, for our own wellbeing, into the fabric of our natures. In the face of peril, we are pervaded by an emotion of fear. When our bodies need sustenance, we feel a sensation of hunger. Because the Lord wanted us to live with mates in the family of life, He gave us the sexual urge. These pressures in our nature are the controls the Lord has set upon us to steer us die way He wishes us to go. Boredom is just such a control.

The Lord did not want us to stagnate through idleness. We each have a job we can do, and should do. It may be a rigorous job, and initially it may appear hard, even beyond us. Nevertheless, let us put our hand and heart to it, and if we suffer from any feeling of boredom, it will fade before we know it, as morning mist fades at the oncoming sun.

Boredom is One of the Greatest Tortures of Life

Boredom is One of the Greatest Tortures of Life Humans defend their territory covetously—trapping, snaring, poisoning, shooting offhanded, and putting the dogs on the contention. The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means ‘family.’ The connotation suggests a bond between people who have made an interchangeable commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar fate. It implies the presence of the deep connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past. The air upon the Italian desolate coast, still open and dry the soil, is incessantly found grievous; while universally through Europe the most thickly settled cities are reckoned the most healthful.

Normally, people believe that defeat is characterized by a general bustle and a vehement rush. Bustle and rush are the signs of victory, not of defeat. Victory is a thing of action. Every participant in victory sweats and puffs, carrying the stones for the building of the house. But defeat is a thing of tiredness, of incoherence, of boredom. Above all of futility. Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote in his best selling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,

Nobody would doubt that all the new technologies will enhance again the collective power of humankind, but the question we should be asking ourselves is what’s happening on the individual level. We have enough evidence from history that you can have a very big step forward, in terms of collective power, coupled with a step backwards in terms of individual happiness, individual suffering. We need to ask ourselves about the new technologies emerging at present, not only how are they going to impact the collective power of humankind, but also how are they going to impact the daily life of individuals.

This gives rise to a tremendous stirring, one based not on hope but on experience. When the Dutch, smith bole, cut down the clove trees of the island of ternate, of which it was full, in order to raise the cost of cloves in Europe, this produced such a shift in the air, that the island from being exceedingly salubrious, became sickly and unhealthy to an uttermost degree. At least you would ultimately know how mystifying the hole is. Yet what is inside is the only origin of happiness.

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Stimulus Events That Can Trigger Employee Disengagement

Stimulus Events That Can Trigger Employee Disengagement

Employee disengagement has huge expenses for individuals and organizations. Employee engagement is indispensable to the health, well-being, and success of organizations and individuals as the work environment becomes leaner, more information-driven, and extremely competitive.

Employee engagement endures to capture the interest of practitioners and scholars, yet estimations are that between 50%and 70% of workers are not engaged. Disengagement has insinuations for profitability, productivity, safety, mental health, turnover, and employee theft.

'The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave' by Leigh Branham (ISBN 0814408516) Though there may be multiple symptoms behind low employee engagement levels, one common culprit is a failure of companies to diagnose that the way people work is developing. From Leigh Branham’s The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave:

  • Being passed over for promotion
  • Realizing the job is not as promised
  • Learning they may be transferred
  • Hiring boss being replaced by new boss they don’t like
  • Being assigned to new territory
  • Being asked to do something unethical
  • Learning the company is doing something unethical
  • Sudden wealth or sufficient savings to buy independence
  • Earning enough money (grubstake)
  • An incident of sexual harassment
  • An incident of racial discrimination
  • Learning the company is up for sale
  • Learning the company has been sold
  • Realizing they are underpaid compared to others doing the same job
  • Realizing they are not in line for promotion for which they thought they were in line
  • Realizing that their own behavior has become unacceptable
  • An unexpected outside job offer
  • Being pressured to make an unreasonable family or personal sacrifice
  • Being asked to perform a menial duty (e.g., run a personal errand for the boss)
  • Petty and unreasonable enforcement of authority
  • Being denied a request for family leave
  • Being denied a request for transfer
  • A close colleague quitting or being fired
  • A disagreement with the boss
  • A conflict with a coworker
  • An unexpectedly low performance rating
  • A surprisingly low pay increase or no pay increase

The costs of disengagement have not been calculated, though some statistics might begin to suggest on important economic reasons to address this silent majority. What makes it exceptional is the high level of employee engagement exhibited by its high performing workforce; the result of true enterprise-wide transparency and trustworthiness that is supported and promoted by all employees and people managers.

Disgruntled customers have a big impact on a business’s bottom line, which brings us to the most important reason employee engagement should be top of mind for executives.

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Disentangle All of Your Mixed Messages to Diminish Anxiety

Disentangle All of Your Mixed Messages to Diminish Anxiety

Anxiety somehow touches almost every aspect of our lives. It is woven invisibly into the fabric of our existence and often sets into motion a chain of reactions and circumstances.

As leaders, we need to ensure that anxiety does not consume our workplaces and degrade the performance of our people. The key to reducing anxiety at work is direct and clear communication that eliminates mixed messages—the catalytic driver of anxiety.

Communicative people are less anxious and more secure because they know where they stand. They are less afraid to ask the awkward questions and less intimidated to have difficult conversations. They know that “meta-messages” live inside of every communication, and they strive to create clarity and understanding.

For example, if you seek new business, you may fail to keep your team in the loop. As time passes, you leave your team without a leader. Soon your people feel disconnected from your activities. Worst-case scenarios seem to be whispered, and one-on-one side conversations echo the halls. As a result, anxiety starts to dominate your team. It shows up as people start distrusting your leadership capability, turning to other leaders outside the team for advice and information, creating concentric circles of communication with others, and building mountains out of molehills.

Our sense of security and well-being are profoundly affected by how well we are kept in the vital loop, how well our leaders interpret and integrate the dynamics and complexities of workplace life for us.

Interpreting Meta-Messages

Anxiety is a natural response to a perception about the future. Employee anxiety often becomes the ever-present fabric when their managers and leaders are suddenly behind dosed doors, speaking in hushed tones, and refusing to address rumors directly. This sends a very direct message. Great leaders put themselves in someone else’s shoes temporarily in an effort to interpret these events for them in a straightforward and truthful way. In doing so, they create a sense of calmness, control, forward movement, security, and direction. Unless leaders set a dear and explicit context for this communication, employees create their own worst-case scenarios.

Anxiety elevates under certain conditions. Lack of shared focus, purpose, and vision creates confusion. Lack of communication opens the door to paranoia (the ultimate anxiety response). Lack of interpersonal communication causes more emotion, misunderstanding, and anxiety.

Emotions have a dramatic effect on our success. Positive emotional connection is good for business. Lack of respect for others undermines security, which causes resentment-another form of anxiety. Failure to tap the inner talent and creativity causes deeper isolation and anxiety. Failure to develop team agreements, strategies, and decision-making policies enhances isolation. Management’s self-serving and exclusionary approaches cause isolation and anxiety among employees. Negativity and complaining become both the cause and effect of anxiety. Low morale due to leadership’s inability to acknowledge the truth causes anxiety.

Tips for Leaders to Diminish Anxiety

'13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do' by Amy Morin (ISBN 0062358308) How can you as a leader build an environment where people feel safe? Mixed messages cause employees to retreat into anxiety. For example, when you say you care about keeping people in the loop, yet fail to do so, you send meta-messages. When you talk at employees and give directives, but do not ask questions to clarify understanding, you set the context for mixed messages. Predictably, employees will think one thing while you say something else, and confusion will result. Mixed messages create a metaphorical moat. We don’t know which side of the river we are standing on, and without the security of knowing where we stand, we can’t do our best.

Instead of allowing mixed-messages and worst-case scenarios to take over, enhance your commendation and set the context for inclusion:

  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for your people. Create a safe environment so they know that you are there for them. When having vital conversations about the future direction, minimize misunderstandings. Repeat what employees say and ask questions to uncover hidden implications. Be sure that reviews are realistic so that people know exactly where they stand at all times. Be genuinely interested and acknowledge good effort and accomplishments for others to see. Clarify what employees are saying before drawing conclusions or making assumptions.
  • Keep an open mind even if you disagree with what is being said so you can understand employee concerns. Remember emotions don’t always reside in logic; they reside in anxiety, and that’s what you want to release, not amplify. Evaluate information without bias. Ask questions to hear concerns.
  • Respond rather than react. Acknowledge employees’ issues and points of view; listen actively so that you can respond. Listen to the logic and the emotion-convey that you hear what is being said at all levels.
  • Accept responsibility for the impact of the way you are communicating. Walk the talk-people will know that they can trust you. Say what you mean and mean what you say!
  • Don’t be a people pleaser—speak the truth. Be a change agent. Take timely action. Give constructive feedback.

Understanding how unspoken anxiety is affecting your business and dealing with it by straightening out mixed messages will have a big bottom-line payoff.

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Zen Koan #24: Parable of Reciting Sutras – Buddhist Teaching on Beginner

Zen Koan #24: Parable of Reciting Sutras - Buddhist Teaching on Beginner's Mind Before enlightenment, people distinguish between a quiescent state, which they call “nirvana,” and a chaotic state, which they call “samsara.” They want to leave samsara behind and enter nirvana. If you take a snapshot with a high quality camera, everything in front of the lens will be imprinted on the film in minute detail. If you can grasp a small spot, you have access to totality. Yet you must visually examine non-subsistence from the perspective of subsistence. The true practitioner is not affected by the environment. They dedicated the remainder of their lives to saving other living beings.

Though some of you have trouble concentrating, it cannot be that during the entire recede there has not been at least once when you could concentrate to some extent. Those who take up the study of Zen Buddhism before their views have expanded are subject to fears and doubts. They may be able to get into that state again, but nonetheless it is an attachment. It is simultaneously the most immensely colossal and the most diminutive.

Each day provides myriad opportunities to continue this practice. That is, they should discard the mentality of relishing and mispricing. Illusory dharma is the dharma of distinctions, of small and large, of positing one thing against another. You follow worldly conventions.

Zen Koan: “Reciting Sutras” Parable

A farmer requested a Tendai priest to recite sutras for his wife, who had died. After the recitation was over the farmer asked: “Do you think my wife will gain merit from this?”

“Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit from the recitation of sutras,” answered the priest.

“If you say all sentient beings will benefit,” said the farmer, “my wife may be very weak and others will take advantage of her, getting the benefit she should have. So please recite sutras just for her.”

The priest explained that it was the desire of a Buddhist to offer blessings and wish merit for every living being.

“That is a fine teaching,” concluded the farmer, “but please make one exception. I have a neighbor who is rough and mean to me. Just exclude him from all those sentient beings.”

Buddhist Insight on Beginner’s Mind

Have you noticed, for many people, when you start to work with the breath, there’s this tendency to hurry it up, or to move it, or to change it, how it takes a little while? If that had happened before you started to teach me, I’m sure, it would have absolutely destroyed me. In Zen Buddhism, so one with a beginner’s mind has decided that spiritual practice is worthwhile for some reason. Shunryu Suzuki, the Japanese-American Zen monk who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, writes in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind.

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our “original mind” includes everything within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything, In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion, When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.

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The Difference between Airline Hard and Soft Products

The Difference between Airline Hard and Soft Products » Singapore Airlines

Essentially, an airline’s hard product is the plane itself, and the airline’s soft product is the service, food, and the drinks.

Hard product can also be non-airplane constituents, such as lounge amenities. Consequently, the food and drinks in the lounge is soft product, while airline lounge showers are hard products.

The real differentiation is that hard product is hard to alter (requires construction), while soft product can be changed in 5 min with a phone call. Accordingly, limo service is a soft product for the airline (and a hard product for the limo company, at least as far as the car goes). For airplanes, the actual cost of the hard product is the airplane’s downtime during fit out (often greater than the cost of the hardware being added).

Travel consultant and blogger Ben Schlappig (“Lucky”) provides a rule of thumb:

A first/business class hard product is anything physically attached to the plane, which doesn’t differ from flight to flight. For example, the seat, onboard amenities (shower, bar, etc.), size of the entertainment screen, etc.

A first/business class soft product is anything which can differ from flight to flight. For example, food, drinks, service, amenity kits, etc.

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The Unique Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Gaudara Gudi near to the Ladkhan temple at Aihole is another interesting monument of Karnataka architecture. It is not known as to why it is called by that name (Gauda = Village headman).

A few years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India conducted excavations here and this has shown that Gaudara Gudi is former than the Ladkhan temple. As the precise date of the Ladkhan temple is also not known, the exact date of Gaudara Gudi cannot be fixed. On stylistic grounds, it has been surmised that this temple should have been built in the early part of the seventh century CE.

Gaudara Gudi is a fascinating and irreplaceable structure. It has a basement of four and half feet in height with thick moldings. This temple consists of a garbhagriha, a pradakshinapatha and a mandapa. Sixteen square shaped pillars with abacus hold the roof. The roof is in two tiers one above the other and is made of sloping stones. The lower eave-like molding has some decorations. At the western side of the roof are found low sikhara-like part, which is made of two tiers, the outer edges of which have decorative moldings.

Description of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

The temple has a flight of steps in the middle of the mandapa. The columned mandapa has on its base a series of pumakumbhas. Behind them are kakshasanas. The pillars are heavy and thick. The beams inside are well carved and have bass-relief sculptures of floral patterns, animals, and human beings. Some of them have chaitya windows.

The garbhagriha is small and it has very beautiful carvings on its doorway. Its outer walls have three koshthas that once perhaps contained three sculptures which are now missing. The side and upper jambs of this doorway were intricately carved with floral design. The lintel has in the middle a flying Garuda in human form. He is flanked on either side by pilasters. What is more important is the sculpture of Lakshmi above the garuda. The ornamented and seated Lakshmi holds lotus flowers in her two hands. On both sides are elephants performing abhisheka to her.

Mandapa of Temple Architecture of Gaudara Gudi, Aihole

Below in the pond are two more elephants. Such Lakshmi motifs are found in Badami also. Founded on this sculpture of Lakshmi, it is supposed that this temple was dedicated to Bhagavati or Lakshmi. So therefore, this may be considered as one of the earliest temples of Lakshmi in Karnataka. From all these characters, this temple occupies an important place at Aihole.

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