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Writings and Readings Blog

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

The Second Teaching

The Self-Discipline 1-3 Arjuna sat dejected, filled with pity; his eyes blurred by tears. Krishna said: Why this cowardice in the time of crisis, Arjuna? This ignobility and shamefulness is foreign to the ways of heaven. This impotence is unnatural in you. Banish this petty weakness from your heart. Raise and fight, Arjuna! 4-8 Arjuna said: Krishna how can I fight against Bhishma and Drona when they deserve my worship? I would rather beg for scraps of food than eat meals smeared with the blood of elders. We will not want to live if we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra. In the presence of conflicting sacred duties I cannot think clearly. I feel piteous. Please be my teacher, tell me what I seek! I don't know how to get rid of my grief that is clouding...

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A Letter to My Grandson

My Mokhta, My Pearl, With your birth on September 16, 2006 you raised my status in the family by making me your, Nani, maternal grandmother. Thank you for that! Nine months prior to that date when your mother told me that I was going to become a Nani I understood it but didn't know what to feel. How to feel? I had heard a grandmother's love for her grandchildren is overwhelming. Why didn't I feel it right away? My grandparents had passed away before I was born so I had not experienced this love. I had some knowledge of what I, now a Nani, was supposed to feel for you but I didn't feel it yet. I was more worried for your mother's health during the pregnancy and delivery. Being a painter, I...

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The First Teaching: The War Within

1-10 Dhritarashtra, Kaurava's blind father, asks Sanjaya to tell him about the battle that is about to begin. Sanjaya says: Your son Duryodhana tells his teacher, Drona, to look at his other pupils, Pandavas, the mighty archers and many other brave kings, all commanding great chariots. He tells Drona of the superb men and mighty leaders on their side that include Drona's son and many others who are risking their lives for prince's sake. All brave warriors bear weapons and all are skilled in the ways of the war. Duryodhana boasts that his army is limitless and says that the army of Pandavas is limited. 11. At this moment the great sire Bhishma roars his lion's roar and blows his conch horn. Upon hearing the sound Duryodhana is delighted. 12. At once conches and...

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The Bhagavad Gita: An Introduction

The Bhagavad-Gita, the "Song of the Lord," is a poem in the form of a dialogue. Although considered an independent sacred text it is part of the sixth book of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The dialogue is between the warrior prince Arjuna and Krishna. Krishna is an incarnation of the cosmic power that has descended to the earth to restore order in times of chaos. He is Arjuna's charioteer, friend and teacher. At the beginning of the text Arjuna, the warrior prince, is endowed with physical prowess and intellectual tenacity. By the end, Krishna makes him aware of his Self, a spiritual heart. The dialogue takes place on a battlefield. The war that is about to begin is between two sets of cousins: five sons of Pandu, Pandavas and one...

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Lessons Learnt II: Dhammapada

Lessons Learnt II: Dhammapada What we think, say or do have consequences. Sooner or later they come back to us. It may take years before we see the results of our thoughts, words and actions but they do come back--both good and bad. What we are today is the result of the choices we have made. 1. Observing Life's Impermanence The First Noble Truth, as taught by the Buddha, is that life is suffering, it is impermanent. Happiness and sorrow follow one another like shadow follows the body. The aim of human life is not so much the worldly happiness but the end of all suffering. We suffer because we thirst (in Sanskrit, trishna) for possessions, people and places. We constantly try to satisfy our cravings. It is fine to...

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Wishing You All A Warm Holiday Season!

Dear Readers, We have concluded reading the Buddhist text Dhammapada. Did you enjoy reading it as much as the Taoist text Tao Te-Ching? More? Less? Was any one chapter in particular your favorite? Starting from January, 2010 I will post "Readings" from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita. The text recounts the tale of Arjuna, a prince. The setting is a battlefield. As a warrior it is Arjuna's duty to fight. The epic war is about to begin. As Arjuna (with his four brothers and their armies) confronts the armies of his rival cousins he is faced with this moral dilemma, how can I kill my kith and kin? What is the meaning of war? What is its purpose? His duty conflicts with his thoughts. Then his charioteer, the god Krishna, intercedes....

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Twenty-Sixth Chapter: Dhammapada

Twenty-Sixth Chapter: Dhammapada The Brahmin 383. Cross the river, brahmin, conquer all your passions. Go beyond the world of dualities and know the deathless nirvana. 384. Cross the river, brahmin, conquer all your passions. Go beyond your likes and dislikes and all fetters will be broken. 385. Who is a genuine brahmin? The genuine brahmin is the one who has no likes or dislikes, and who is beyond fear. 386. Who is a genuine brahmin? The genuine brahmin is the one who has trained his mind to be calm and reached the supreme goal of life. 387. The sun shines in the day, the moon shines in the night. The warrior shines in the battleground, the brahmin in meditation. But the Buddha shines day and night in the radiance of love for all. 388. The...

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Twenty-Fifth Chapter: Dhammapada

Twenty-Fifth Chapter: Dhammapada The Monk 360-61. Train your eyes and ears, train your nose and tongue. Senses are friends when they are trained. Train your body in deeds; train your tongue in words and train your mind in thoughts. When a monk trains himself he leaves sorrows behind. 362. The true monk is the one who has trained his hands, feet and words to train others. He meditates deeply, finds inner joy and lives in perfect peace. 363. The true monk repeats the sacred verses, lives a humble life, and explains dharma in sweet words. 364. The true monk follows the dharma, meditates on the dharma, rejoices in the dharma, and therefore never falls away from the dharma. 365. The true monk is the one who is content with the offerings he receives and is...

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Twenty-Fourth Chapter: Dhammapada

Twenty-Fourth Chapter: Dhammapada Compulsive Cravings 334. The cravings of a thoughtless man grow like a creeper. Like a monkey he jumps from one life to another, looking for fruit in the forest. 335-36. When a man's cravings overcome him, his sorrows increase like the entangled creeper. But when a man overcomes his cravings his sorrows fall away like drops of water from a lotus flower. 337-38. Therefore cut off the bonds of desire like the creeper is cut from its fragrant roots, if you don't want Mara to crush you as the stream crushes reeds on its banks. Just as a tree, though cut down, grows again and again if the roots of compulsive urges are not extinguished, sorrows will come to you again and again. 339-40. Whenever the thirty-six streams of desire...

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Twenty-Third Chapter: Dhammapada

Twenty-Third Chapter: Dhammapada Endurance 320. I will endure harsh words as the elephant endures arrows on the battlefield. People often lack self-control. 321. Only trained elephants go to the battlefield, only a trained elephant carries the king. The best among men are those who have trained their mind to endure harsh words patiently. 322-23. Mules are good animals when trained; even better are well-trained Sind horses and great elephants. Best among men is the one with well-trained mind. No animal can take you to Nirvana; only a well-trained mind can lead you to this untrodden path. 324. The elephant Dhanapalaka will not eat when he is captive, for he remembers the elephant grove. 325. Eating too much, sleeping too much, like an overfed hog those who are too lazy to exert, are born...

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