Monthly Archives: November 2018

Zen Koan #38: Parable of Gisho’s Work – Buddhist Teaching on Healing Presence

Zen Koan #38: Parable of Gisho's Work - Buddhist Teaching on Healing Presence Zen Buddhism stresses intimacy, while in Theravada and Tibetan forms of Zen Buddhism you will find “mindfulness” and “compassion” to be the salient terms. Yet the ultimately mindful is personally most intimate some of us close space by hammering our point through; others do it by trying to smooth the waters. Recedes are like road repair. We should carry our patience around as if the hermit crab carries its shell.

Our patience will also protect us and help us survive! Please understand that the hermit crab does not live like a parasite, it lives like an orchid. Some Westerners question whether Zen Buddhism is a religion at all. It is identically tantamount with the mind. Probably Zen Buddhism, although the evidence is circumstantial. There is a suggestion that the most likely arrival of the first Buddhists in this continent may have been with the armada of Cheng Ho in the 15th century.

The spiritual friend who teaches the instructions of the four immeasurable is the dominant condition. This is difficult to accomplish without practice. Breath should be smooth, natural, and deep in the belly. When we think we have gotten something, we have not really gotten it and when we think we have lost something, we have not really lost it.

Zen Koan: “Gisho’s Work” Parable

Gisho was ordained as a nun when she was just ten years old. She received training just as the little boys did. When she reached the age of sixteen she traveled from one Zen master to another, studying with them all.

She remained three years with Unzan, six years with Gukei, but was unable to obtain a clear vision. At last she went to the master Inzan.

Inzan showed her no distinction at all on account of her sex. He scolded her like a thunderstorm. He cuffed he to awaken her inner nature.

Gisho remained with Inzan thirteen years, and then she found that which she was seeking!

In her honor, Inzan wrote a poem:

This nun studied thirteen years under my guidance.
In the evening she considered the deepest koans,
In the morning she was wrapped in other koans.
The Chinese nun Tetsuma surpassed all before her,
And since Mujaku none has been so genuine as this Gisho!
Yet there are many more gates for her to pass through.
She should receive still more blows from my iron fist.

After Gisho was enlightened she went to the province of Banshu, started her own Zen temple, and taught two hundred other nuns until she passed away one year in the month of August.

Buddhist Insight on A Healing Presence

We each create our own misery and unhappiness, and even regulate the degree to which we suffer by the prospects we set up, and by the strength and inflexibility with which we hold those expectations. The healing presence is a step in renunciation. Don’t worry about this, try to keep your mind in the present. If everything seems to become indifferent, arouse kindness and meditate on that. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path,

In opening to our experience, without holding onto any story about it, we create a compassionate space that allows new parts of ourselves to unfold, and old parts that were cut off to enter the stream of awareness and be included. We can only be healthy and whole when our awareness circulates freely through all aspects of our being. Unconditional presence promotes this kind of circulation, which is the essence of health.

When children are in pain, what they want is this kind of presence, rather than band-aids or consolations. They want to know we are with them in what they are experiencing. That’s what our wounded places most need from us as well – just to be there with them. They don’t need us to say, “Things are getting better every day.” The full presence of our being is healing in and of itself.

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Posted in Faith and Religion

Traits of Effective Change Leaders

'Facilitating Effective Change' by Patrick Love (ISBN 1505402387) Leaders invest remarkable talent, energy, and caring in their change efforts, yet few see the desired results. There is a good reason. Today’s leaders simply do not have much practice at large-scale change. Few organizations were doing sweeping reinvention 30 years ago, so there is little experience to pass on. The changes undertaken today—producing better products, faster, at lower cost—were inconceivable 30 years ago. Over the next decade, leaders will guide remarkable changes. That is a social and economic imperative.

Leaders exist at all levels. At the edges of the business enterprise, needless to say, leaders are responsible for less territory. Their vision may sound more simple; the number of people to motivate may be few. However, they perform the same role in leading change.

  • They outshine at seeing things through fresh eyes and at challenging the status quo.
  • They are energetic and pervade through, or around, obstacles.
  • People who provide great leadership are also deeply interested in a cause or discipline related to their focus area.
  • Such change leaders also tap deep convictions of others and connect those feelings to the purpose; they show the meaning of people’s work to that larger purpose.
  • The most prominent trait of great leaders is their quest for learning. They push themselves out of their comfort zones and continue to take risks.
  • They are open to people and ideas. Often they are driven by goals or ideals that are bigger than what any individual can pull off, and that gap pushes them to keep learning.

The single biggest impetus for change tends to be a new manager in a key job. It is often a new division-level manager or a new department head—someone with fresh perspective—that sees that the status quo is unacceptable. Producing change is about 80 percent leadership—establishing direction, aligning, motivating, and inspiring people—and about 20 percent management—planning, budgeting, organizing, and problem solving. Regrettably, in most change efforts, those percentages are reversed. We continue to produce great managers; we need to develop great leaders.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

19 Inspiring Quotes by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga, an ancient discipline, has become popular worldwide. The selling of yoga and debate over its origins have led to discuss as to whether yoga should be branded at all. Some yoga instructors have gone so far as to patent their variations of yoga; others in the yoga community declare it is a religious and/or spiritual practice and as such should not be declared as intellectual property.

Yogacharya (Yoga Expert Guru) B.K.S. Iyengar was born in India to a family of thirteen children, ten of whom lived. His brother-in-law Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, introduced Iyengar to yoga through the yoga school he ran. Iyengar was not successful in the beginning, and it was only in 1952 when Iyengar met Yehudi Menuhin that he became internationally known.

Menuhin was suffering from sleeplessness and Iyengar showed him an asana which caused him to fall asleep, and wake up so rested that he spent several hours with the yoga teacher and later came to believe that yoga assisted his violin-playing. Iyengar paid frequent visits to the west where his system of yoga was adopted by schools and centers. Iyengar yoga is known for its use of such props as straps, chairs, or blocks in empowering students to accomplish the traditional asanas, or body postures. One of Iyengar’s earliest books, Light on Yoga (1966), is a clarification for Westerners of Patanjali’s thought.

Iyengar is specifically linked with the idea of yoga as a spiritual activity, and a discipline that he explained as “the quest of the soul for the spark of divinity within us.” In every movement, students should be psychologically aware, as yoga is more than a system of aerobic or flexibility exercises.

Iyengar yoga teachers are among the most meticulously trained in the field of yoga. A teacher must finish two full years of training and supervision to be certified at the introductory level. The New York Iyengar organization requires teacher candidates to be experienced in practicing Iyengar yoga up to Level III and to uphold a home practice.

  • 'Light on Yoga: The Classic Guide to Yoga' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 8172235011) “The union of nature and soul removes the veil of ignorance that covers our intelligence.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.”
  • “Yoga is a means and an end.”
  • “When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake.”
  • “By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.”
  • “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”
  • “My body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.”
  • “Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”
  • “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
  • “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.”
  • “As animals, we walk the earth. As bearers of divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle.”
  • “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
  • 'B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 1465415831) “Words cannot convey the value of yoga—it has to be experienced.”
  • “The supreme adventure in a man’s life is his journey back to his Creator.”
  • “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”
  • “The art of teaching is tolerance. Humbleness is the art of learning.”
  • “Be inspired but not proud.”
  • “Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”
  • “It is while practicing yoga asanas that you learn the art of adjustment.”
  • “Body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target.”
  • “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God.”
  • “Life means to be living. Problems will always be there. When they arise navigate through them with yoga—don’t take a break.”
  • “True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.”
  • “Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”
  • “Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.”
  • 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' by B. K. S. Iyengar (ISBN 0007145160) “When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist.”
  • “Focus on keeping your spine straight. It is the job of the spine to keep the brain alert.”
  • “How can you know God if you don’t know your big toe?”
  • “Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you.”
  • “Breath is the king of mind.”
  • “Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek, but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.”
  • “Your body is the child of the soul. You must nourish and train that child.”
  • “There is no difference in souls, only the ideas about ourselves that we wear.”
  • “It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.”
  • “Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.”
  • “The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.”
  • “Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”
  • 'Iyengar Yoga: Classic Yoga Postures For Mind, Body And Spirit' by Judy Smith (ISBN 0754830764) “One’s spiritual realization lies in none other than how one walks among and interacts with one’s fellow beings.”
  • “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.”
  • “Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”
  • “Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.”
  • “You exist without the feeling of existence.”
  • “Confidence, clarity and compassion are essential qualities of a teacher.”
  • “You must purge yourself before finding faults in others.”
  • “Do not aim low, you will miss the mark. Aim high and you will be on a threshold of bliss.”
  • “You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul.”
  • “Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
  • “Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquility and joy.”
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Posted in Faith and Religion Health and Fitness

The Affluent Must also Struggle

The Affluent Must also Struggle

Affluence is Often Dangerous

Affluence is Often Dangerous Gardeners will tell you that too much watering harms the lawn. If you watered too copiously, your plants would be content to get their nourishment from the earth’s surface. They would not bother to grow roots deep enough to draw their supply from below. Further, down, there is not only water but also precious mineral food of all kinds. The shallow living plants miss these, and grow into weaklings. The deeper the root, the sturdier the plant.

I have often reflected on this peculiarity of plants. Does it not correspond with human life? Affluence is often dangerous to its possessors. Only those who grapple arduously with life’s problems develop these qualities or character—endurance, patience, the capacity to suffer privation. They are the sturdy plants in the world’s garden. They have sucked up from its depths the nourishment, which will help them face the rigors of life, fearlessly. Those who lack the incentive for striving, who find their needs supplied by a ready abundance, grow into weaklings.

People who have to struggle for their livelihood are spared this risk, since the normal course of their existence is sufficient to send their roots deeply into the soil of life and to give them the necessary toughening. Those who are affluent must also struggle. Theirs should be the greater privilege and the greater struggle—the struggle for ideals—for intellectual and moral growth, for the amelioration of the evils, which beset their fellow men.

The roots must go deeper if the plant is to grow sturdier.

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Even Violence

Causes for Prejudice, Anger, Oppression and Violence The miserableness of human life is made up of declamatory masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year the demise of a child; years later, a bankruptcy in trade; after another retentive or shorter interval, a daughter may have married sadly; in all but the singularly inauspicious, the constitutional parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life are easily counted and clearly remembered. Once you observe it is there, you do not hold on to it. The happiness of your life depends upon the timber of your thoughts, thus guard consequently, and take care, that you entertain no notions inapplicable to virtue and sensible nature.

There is something about the literary life that repels me, all this despairing building of castles on cobwebs, the long-drawn disharmonious struggle to make something imperative, which we all know, will be gone incessantly in a few years, the miasma of failure which is to me almost as nauseating as the cheap floridness of popular success. Recall that most poor weather conditions go hand-in-hand with a higher woods noise level. American Psychologist Lorne Ladner writes in his The Lost Art of Compassion,

Over the centuries, many violent deeds have been done in the name of religion. …. From a psychological perspective, it seems clear that it occurs when religion exists as a set of doctrines, ideas, rituals, and experiences divorced from any deep and expansive sense of empathy or compassion. Without empathy, people’s religious ideas become yet another means of seeing others as ‘different’ and of distancing oneself psychologically from them. Feeling disconnected in this way, people devaluate others, leading to intolerance and the tendency to inflict their view on others. When this happens, even the most beautiful and inspiring religious doctrines become like poison, serving as causes for prejudice, anger, oppression and even violence.

In addition, if perhaps such reduction were possible, what do we learn? We learn that there were possibly certain exceptional reasons or opportunities for the intensification of certain aboriginal (later adult) tendencies. While a lot of time is spent pursuing happiness, the grounds is compelling that if you plunge toward this unicorn straightaway, you will miss it by miles, and thus will not receive its illustrious forgivingness. In the end, you might find traces of the contentment and clarification they realized. The refinement of the imaginativeness leads to the development of the ideal out of which your future will egress.

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Glimpses of History #9: Mesopotamia

Mesopotamian Civilization in the Tigris and Euphrates Valley

As the term is now used, Mesopotamia describes the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates spreading from the Kurdish foothills in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise in the Taurus and Zagros mountains (modern-day Turkey and Iraq’s Mosul region), flowing southeast to meet near Basra. The area between their near-parallel stretches was reliably fertile amid the surrounding desert, and gives rise to the Greek name ‘Mesopotamia’. 10,000-year-old pottery from the region traces the southward movement of settled farms as the climate altered. The Neolithic discovery of mutant grasses with distended seeds that were easier to separate from their plants soon led to deliberate cultivation. Emmer wheat, rye, barley and flax were selectively bred (though whether farmers realized this is debatable) and planted in oxen-ploughed fields. The advent of bronze made ploughing and harvesting less labor-intensive.

The need to predict and, to some extent, control water and crops tended towards priests, dynastic kings and permanent farms specializing in single crops. Similar processes occurred in the Indus valley of India and the Yellow River in China (where the staple cereal was early rice). As rice reached Mesopotamia and India, while bronze reached China, it is tempting to assume some exchanges took place, but the pattern of development may be coincidence. Mesoamerica followed a similar pattern, also apparently independently. Townships became more durable and fortified: Susa, in Iran, and Ur, near the confluence of the rivers, were cities by c.4400 BCE. Their bounty had to be recorded and protected, requiring both clerks and armies.

Mesopotamia

The most notable achievement of the Akkad Dynasty (2360—2180 B.C.) was the creation of the first world empire, and for this reason the Sargonids lived on in legend, not only in Sumerian and Akkadian, but also in Hurrian, Hittite, and Elamite.

The earliest tallies were recorded as impressions in soft clay, from which the earliest known alphabets and arithmetic developed around 3100 BCE—written ‘bustrophedon’ alternated left-to-right and right-to-left, as a plough does in a field. Pictographic notes, running top-to -bottom, predate these. The written form of the Sumerian language, transcribed as if spoken, begins c.2600 BCE; edicts and chronicles are accompanied by myths such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. The script takes decades to learn, suggesting that it was limited to a specialized cadre (including women, to begin with). Many other specialists, notably architecture, carving, brewing and metallurgy, can also be identified. One tantalizing detail: a female tavern-keeper, Kug-Bau, is listed as king of Sumer after 2500 BCE, and later recognized with various mother-goddesses.

Ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq), one of the world’s longest (almost three thousand years old) and influential civilizations, remains the most concentrated archaeological site on Earth, a fact that incited outcry from researchers at the outset of the 1991 bombing of the Persian Gulf known as Operation Desert Storm. Throughout the history of Mesopotamia, its people interacted vigorously with their neighbors, warring, trading, migrating, and sharing ideas.

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Posted in Hobbies and Pursuits Travels and Journeys

Being on The Leading Edge: How to Create Strategies That Change Quickly

Being on The Leading Edge: How to Create Strategies That Change Quickly Even under the best of conditions, life and business seldom work as planned. For leaders, the capability to predict has become a pipe dream. For businesses to stay ahead of the pack, strategies must change quickly. The top-down decision-making system no longer works. Today, the best companies seek the knowledge of employees to generate strategies that meet six goals:

  1. Stay responsive to customers. No one knows better than front-line employees what customers need and anticipate. Those who work most closely with buyers should lead the decision-making in product development because these employees do not have to deduce to reach a decision-their close proximity to customers gives them both empirical and anecdotal knowledge that managers cannot have. Managers must expand their focus to the needs of external customers by helping create boundary-less organizations that permit information about and from customers to flow quickly to everybody. Managers must kill policies and practices that prevent a focus on the customer and include customer orientation and service in performance reviews, promotion criteria, and incentive compensation plans. Managers must have the external customer in mind at all times.
  2. 'Strategic Management Awareness and Change' by Frank Martin (ISBN 1473726336) Hire and develop the right people. Too many executives fail to recognize their primary mission: to make a direct contribution to corporate profits. The key is to hire the “right” employees based on desired skills and competencies and guide them through the right jobs. Human Resource managers can help determine where, when and how to integrate employee skills, training and competencies to achieve corporate objectives. The HR manager must engage in a consultative role with the leadership team, and become a partner in strategic planning. Every HR practice, principle, program, or process must directly support the business objectives and strategies. Work hard to bring into line people, programs, and practices with business strategies.
  3. Retain valuable employees. The number of employees working at any company now ebbs and flows. In place of a fixed workforce, companies hire up or scale down depending on production requirements. In theory, that makes sense. In practice, however, it often clashes with the realities of the new labor pool. Today’s young workers rank empowerment high on their list of expectations. For managers, the challenge is to create a workforce that thrives in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The best and the brightest employees must be retained at all cost. The best companies go to any length to protect their “intellectual capital.” To retain the best workers, companies are creating more dialogue to find ways to give them a strong sense of purpose, control, and ownership.
  4. Reduce management burnout. As cutbacks persist, many companies are transferring more work to a smaller management team. What results, of course, is premature burnout. Many managers, in whom the company has authorized a lot of training, suddenly are bailing out. Empowering all employees is a way to reduce pressure on managers. Teams also make it possible for managers to more broaden their knowledge, and to delegate more efficiently.
  5. Achieve greater flexibility. If workers see their role as merely to carry out a plan handed down from on high, they aren’t likely to adapt strategies to new circumstances. But, if they see themselves as having the power to shape the strategies, they are more likely to act flexibly and responsively. Today, our best companies find ideas and move them up to managers who then judge and prioritize ideas and facilitate their implementation. These decision-makers have the right to make the final call. Without these key managers, employee empowerment stands little chance of prospering. When empowerment is done appropriately, a company will retain good employees, reduce burnout, respond more quickly to customers, and be malleable enough to flow with marketplace changes
  6. 'Strategic Leadership for a Change' by Kenneth McFayden (ISBN 156699392X) Listen to build profits and morale. Managers need to hear employees’ suggestions because employees are closer to customers and processes. Most fast growth companies implore employee recommendations. Their success rests on a steady flow of ideas, and most employees want to provide suggestions: They want to express their ideas and beliefs. For a suggestion program to work, however, employees must be encouraged to submit ideas and rewarded for exceptional ideas. Management must act on ideas to create a supportive culture.

Leading companies track employee ideas. They measure suggestions per employee, percentage accepted, average turnaround time to handle suggestions, and percentage of eligible employees who participate. They proactively ask for ideas, and they respond to all suggestions quickly-within days, not months. They make sure employees know company priorities so their suggestions reflect these concerns. They create a strong sense of teamwork by bouncing ideas around while working toward the same goal. In companies with a strong team culture, ideas not only tend to come more often, but are better developed.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Quotes from Jeswald W. Salacuse’s Leading Leaders

'Leading Leaders' by Jeswald Salacuse (ISBN 0814417663) Jeswald W. Salacuse‘s Leading Leaders shows readers how to improve your capability to control three key facets of negotiation—interests, voice, and vision—towards advance your power and persuasiveness as a leader. His practical guide scrutinizes the vital role of negotiation in expanding, using, and maintaining leadership within organizations, large and small, public and private. Its purpose is to educate readers on the way to use negotiation to lead effectively. Here are quotes from his book.

  • “Smart, talented, rich, and powerful people require one-on-one leadership, tailor-made leadership, leadership up close and personal.”
  • “Elicit as much relevant information as possible in conducting a one-on-one encounter and strive to interpret that information accurately.”
  • “Lack of authority does not necessarily mean lack of power.”
  • “You find leaders at all levels throughout any organization, whether or not they have an office in the executive suite or a seat on the governing board.”
  • “Failures of an organization to achieve desired results lie as often in mistakes of leadership as in the intractable structure the situation.”
  • “People follow you because they believe it is in their interests to do so.”
  • “The test of leadership is followership.”
  • “Smart, talented, rich, and powerful people require one-on-one leadership, tailor-made leadership, leadership up close and personal.”
  • “The medium you use says things about you and about your relationship with the person you are trying to lead.”
  • “Avoid the tendency to dominate conversations and to talk more than listen, a tendency that has the effect of inhibiting the persons you are trying to lead.”
  • “Use questions to probe the underlying interests of the persons you hope to lead.”
  • “Move your followers to take action by characterizing a problem or challenge in such a way that it is in their interests to do something about it.”
  • “Mere articulation of the vision is not enough. You must convince your followers to accept it.”
  • “Persons you lead will look to you to motivate them, encourage them, and strengthen them to do the right thing for the organization.”
  • “Without creating trust you will find it difficult, if not impossible, to direct, integrate, mediate, educate, motivate, or represent the persons you lead.”
  • “In organizations and groups composed of leaders, each of them is likely to have a quite distinct organizational vision.”
  • “Beware of becoming so intoxicated by your own vision that you fail to see clearly the reservations that members of your organization may have about pursuing that vision enthusiastically.”
  • “You need to find and develop a process that will enable the organization’s members to participate in determining new directions.”
  • “In leading leaders, the most effective instrument is not an order but the right question.”
  • “The follower’s dilemma creates a constant tension between the drive to assert individual interests and the drive to assert organizational interests.”
  • “An organization without a common accepted culture may experience constant conflict, miscommunications, disappointed expectations, and dysfunction.”
  • “You first need to understand the nature of the cultural differences that divide your organization’s members and then seek to find ways to bridge that gap.”
  • “Leaders need to be cheerleaders for the organization both inside and outside.”
  • “A mediator may move a dispute toward resolution by bringing to the situation the skills and resources that the parties themselves lack.”
  • “The more an organization allows its members autonomy of action, the more likely it is that a resolution of conflicts will require mediation.”
  • “A first principle for any leader teacher is to know the persons to be taught; it affects what you teach and how you teach it.”
  • “When you educate leaders, you need to identify their frameworks and figure out how to use them for the educational purposes you want to achieve.”
  • “To the extent that “command and control” leadership does not work with other leaders, seek to rely on “advice and consent” leadership.”
  • “One of your basic tools as an educator of other leaders is not the declarative sentence but the question.”
  • “Leaders usually do not view their professional activities as just a job, but as a profession, a calling, a life-long commitment to an area of endeavor.”
  • “Understanding the interests of the people you lead comes from getting to know those people extremely well, as persons, a process that requires one-on-one interactions.”
  • “Before seeking to convince other persons of the rightness of a particular position, first work hard to convince yourself.”
  • “Motivate your followers by envisioning a future that will benefit them and communicating that future to them in a convincing way.”
  • “You must not only focus your efforts on the people you lead, but also concentrate enormous attention on the world outside your organization.”
  • “One of the most important functions that leadership representation serves is the acquisition of needed resources.”
  • “Don’t confuse trust with friendship. Creating a friendly relationship with people you lead doesn’t automatically mean that they will trust you.”
  • “Persons who trust each other are more likely to achieve a higher level of performance.”
  • “Openness is not just an easy smile or a charming manner; it refers to the process by which you make decisions that have implications for your followers’ interests.”
  • “Developing trust among the people you lead is also an incremental process. They will learn to trust one another through experiences of working together.”
  • “In organizations and groups composed of leaders, each of them is likely to have a quite distinct organizational vision.”
  • “Beware of becoming so intoxicated by your own vision that you fail to see clearly the reservations that members of your organization may have about pursuing that vision enthusiastically.”

Salacuse is Distinguished Professor and Braker Professor of Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership Mental Models and Psychology

Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras – Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity

Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras - Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity Zen Buddhism is not a religion according to the dictionary meaning of the word religion for the reason that it has no center in god, as is the case in all other religions. Rigorously verbalizing, Zen Buddhism is a system of philosophy co-ordinated with a code of morality, physical and pyretic. The goal in view is the extinction of suffering and death. To be attached to the one can either take the form of pure materialism or monotheism.

Like those who have narrow views and only optically discern what is in front of their ocular perceivers, it is a shallow and circumscribed perspective. However, for the reason that you have a concept of emptiness, your mind is still subtly present. This is for the reason that in the reality of totality, there is no gain and no loss. Many psychological traits were associated with having longer telomeres, including greater mindfulness skills, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness.

How do you return to the root? By letting go of all words, thoughts, eliminating all grasping, and rejection. If you spend your time hoping that a pleasant experience will return, or trying to avoid pain, you will become more aware of the passing of time. A tree should be watered very gradually as it is growing.

Zen Koan: “Publishing the Sutras” Parable

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at that time the Uji Rive overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people. For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.

Buddhist Insight on Silence and Simplicity

Buddhists maintain the freedom of the individual to choose. You could look into the situation in terms of cause and effect and gain some understanding of it through simplicity. In that, way much that is to be surpassed will be transcended and good dharma that are true and superb will be established. The intention is gentle, silence, but the practice is very harsh. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman writes in The Buddhist Path to Simplicity,

In the search for simplicity we can learn to explore the space between thoughts. Listening closely to our mind, the thoughts begin to slow down. We discover that just as the out-breath is followed by a pause before the in-breath, there is also space between the thoughts. We learn to seek the gaps – the space between sounds, between sensations, between thoughts, and to explore the nature of these gaps. The gaps are the home of the mind, the limitless silence of the mind. Thoughts arise in that silence and fall back into silence. Exploring the nature of silence we begin to understand that it is not dependent on the absence of thought but is the prevailing sound that permeates all thought. Silence is profoundly simple – resisting nothing, wanting nothing, lacking in nothing yet present and complete in all moments.

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History and Architecture of the Virupaksha (Pampapathi) Temple, Hampi, Capital of the Vijayanagara Empire

History and Architecture of the Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

Sri Virupaksha or Pampapathi was the family deity of the early Vijayanagara kings and this was incorporated even in their sign manual as found in copper plate inscriptions.

Maharangamandapa of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

Situated on the southern bank of Tungabhadra river, the original temple with Virupaksha Sivalinga was perhaps first consecrated in the twelfth century A.D. With the establishment of the Vijayanagara kingdom additions were made twice. The first addition of a sabhamandapa took place during the period of King Mallikarjuna in the middle of the fifteenth century A.D. The second addition of a maharangamandapa took place during the period of Krishnadevaraya in 1510 A.D., to commemorate his coronation in 1509 A.D.

Dravidian Temple Architecture of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

The temple consists of a garbhagriha, antarala, sabhamandapa, and a maharangamandapa. The square garbhagriha has a Shiva Linga. It has a Dravidian type of sikhara with a kalasha on the top. The square sabhamandapa has four central pillars and sculptures of gods and goddesses of which Bedara Kannapp, Kiratarjuniya, Bhairava are important. It has two entrances at the north and south.

Balustraded Elephants of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi The maharangamandapa added by Krishnadevaraya contains 38 pillars with entrances on three sides with flights of steps decorated with balustraded elephants.

The pillars contain relief sculptures of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The ceilings have paintings of Tripurantaka, Parvati Kalyana, procession of Vidyaranya, etc. There are also stucco figures of Parvati Kalyana, Kalarimurti, Mahishamardini, etc.

Krishnadevaraya renovated the main eastern gopura, which is 170 feet in height, and it dominates the entire area. This main mahadvara or the gateway with its Dravidian gopura rises in ten diminishing tiers and is famous as ‘hiriya gopura’, meaning a huge gopura.

This gopura has many stucco figures and decorative elements. The Bhuvaneshwari shrine contains beautifully executed Chalukyan doorway and Chalukyan pillars of the twelfth century A.D.

Doorway and Chalukyan Pillars of Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

As this is a living temple, devotees throng the portals of this temple to worship at the shrine of the sacred Virupaksha linga and to see the remnants of the Vijayanagara architecture and sculpture.

Worship at the Shrine of the Sacred Virupaksha Linga in Virupaksha Pampapathi Temple, Hampi

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Glimpses of History #8: Bronze Age and Iron Age

Bronze Age and Iron Age

While many Neolithic cultures continued to use stone tools, they also developed copper and ultimately bronze metallurgy, leading early scholars to coin the term “Chalcolithic” (copper-stone) to distinguish them from earlier Neolithic and Paleolithic cultures.

The earliest manufactured alloy, bronze is made with copper and tin ores (and consequently required trade with remote ore-producing regions). Gold and copper had formerly been smelted, mainly for decorative purposes, but bronze tools and weapons outlived and outperformed stone. From circa 3500 CE, their use spread from Mesopotamia, with separate cultures amending recipes and techniques. The later discovery of similar techniques in the Americas seems unconnected.

Bronze age is the epoch between the human cultural development between the Neolithic period and the discovery of iron-working techniques (the Iron Age). In Mesopotamia, bronze tools were used from c.3200 BCE and the Bronze Age lasted until c.1100 BCE. In Britain, bronze was used after 2000 BCE and iron technology did not become prevalent until c.500 BCE.

Ireland had rich sources of copper ores, specifically in the southwest, which were recognizable by these early prospectors, and which resulted in the development of a significant copper- and later, bronze-working industry. In Britain and Ireland the beginning of the Bronze Age is marked by the appearance of metalworking, new burial practices, and an growth in trade and exchange.

Bronze Age and Iron Age Tools and swords that outlived their owners made inheritance and theft possible, and as cities developed, so did professional armies. Fields could be ploughed and harrowed, and older clay and wax technologies were put to use in metal casting. Early experiments with iron ore produced a brittle, corroding metal, but around 610 BCE, climate changes triggered mass migrations that made local iron ore mining in Europe easier than importing tin. Elsewhere, notably in Japan and southern Africa, bronze and iron arrived more or less concurrently.

From about 700 BCE a steady change from a mainly bronze-working economy to one based on the use of iron as the preferred metal took place. These changes were intense and irreversible, affecting all aspects of society. Ultimately, iron replaced bronze as the preferred metal for the production of tools and weapons, and bronze was restricted mostly to objects of a more decorative nature.

The working of iron was introduced, probably from Asia Minor (modern day Turkey,) into southeastern Europe around 1000 BCE, and into central Europe by the 8th—7th centuries BCE. The European Iron Age has conventionally been divided into two phases, named after type-sites at Hallstatt in Austria and La Tene in Switzerland. In areas conquered by the Romans the ‘Iron Age’ is succeeded by the ‘Roman’ period. Contemporary cultures outside the empire are designated as being of the ‘Roman Iron Age’. From about 400 CE these periods are succeeded by the migration period.

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