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Writings and Readings Blog

Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Tao Te Ching: Second Chapter

Tao te Ching Second Chapter When the people of the world know beauty as beauty, There arises the recognition of ugliness. When they all know the good as good, There arises the recognition of evil. Therefore: Being and non-being produce each other; Difficult and easy complete each other; Long and short contrast each other; High and low distinguish each other; Sound and voice harmonize each other. Front and behind accompany each other. Therefore the sage manages affairs without action And spreads doctrines without words. All things arise, and he does not turn away from them. He produces them but does not take possession of them. He acts but does not rely on his own ability. He accomplishes his task but does not claim credit for it. It is precisely because he does not claim credit that his Accomplishment remains with him. # As I understand it: Why judge pairs of...

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First Chapter: Tao Te Ching

Tao te Ching First Chapter: The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The Tao, the source of all the things between heaven and earth, is Nameless. The Tao, the mother of all the things, is named. Desireless feel subtleties of Tao, Desiring see the things Tao manifests. The subtleties and their manifestations are the same They both are deep and profound, The doorway to mystery. # As I...

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Learning Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, the Grand Old Master, wrote Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Way and Its Power), during the sixth century B.C.E. This slim volume of eighty-one chapters is an inexhaustible vessel of inspiration. Lao Tzu wrote it when, wise with years, he retired from his job as the archivist of his native western state. He was dismayed with the way his fellow human beings lived. In search of solitude, he rode on a water buffalo towards the mountains of Tibet. At the Hankao Pass, a gatekeeper implored him to write his views for future generations. Obligingly, Lao Tzu squatted down for three days and composed the volume of about five thousand Chinese characters now known as Tao Te-Ching. To this day, it is the basic text of Taoism. The...

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Spirituality

            I was born in a non-traditional Hindu family.             When I was nine I made my mother happy with a hand-made calendar with twelve illustrations.             For years I learnt Bharata Natyam and Kathak dances, and took painting lessons.             Once, a new girl in my class spoke to me in fluent English. She seemed to be saying something important. I looked into her eyes. I smiled when she smiled. I frowned when she frowned. At the end of the “conversation” she said, “Thank you;” the only words I understood.                       During our summer vacations in the Himalayas, I collected leaves and flowers. I pressed them between blotting papers and kept them to dry under my father’s dictionaries and thesaurus. In eleventh grade, I made an album of the dried collection and...

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Selective Verses From Dhammapada

42-43 More than those who hate you, more than all your enemies, an undisciplined mind does greater harm. More than your mother, more than your father, more than all your family, a well-disciplined mind does greater good. 50 Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; Give it to what you do or fail to do. 61 If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone. There is no companionship with the immature. 62 "These are my sons. This is my wealth." In this way the fool (immature) troubles himself. He is not even the owner of himself, how much less of his sons and of his wealth. 64-65 ...

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Homage to Solitude

The year-end holidays: Shopping in groceries and malls with well-equipped merchandise and clamoring crowds. Baking and boiling. Sweeping, mopping and dusting. Roasting and toasting. Food and fun with family and friends. At home, love abounds. Each year my husband and I look forward to spending the holidays with our daughters, son-in-law, and the rest of our family and friends. Our children's presence enriches us emotionally and makes me feel whole. But there are moments when I feel physically and mentally exhausted. It is time to stop and be quiet. Writing in my study with the door closed for nine to ten months each year has trained me to be by myself. I have discovered that in the hush of that space I find my balance, get to know myself and feel connected to...

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Readings for January – February 2006

Keeping Quiet Pablo Neruda Now we will count to twelve And we will all keep still For once on the face of the earth, let's not speak in any language; let's stop for a second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together In a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would not look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers In the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused With total inactivity Life is what it is about. If we were not so single-minded about keeping...

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Readings from Tagore and Neruda

Tagore joyously sings about the inevitable but tender relationship of death with life. God finds himself by creating (46) The infant flower opens its bud and cries, "Dear World, please do not fade." (66) The night kisses the fading day whispering to his ear, "I am death, your mother. I am to give you fresh birth." (119) Death belongs to life as birth does. The walk is in the raising of the foot as in the laying of it down. (268) (Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore. Translated from Bengali to English by the author, The Macmillan Company, 1916) Neruda's imagination transports an ordinary bed from a resting place of the newborn, the sick, the dead, to a bed of lovers and dreamers. His vision depicts the surface of a sea -- "the intimidating bed" -- which...

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All Humans are Spiritual Beings

From the outset we want to make clear that when we say "religion" we neither mean major organized faiths nor minor beliefs, but a universal consciousness at the macro level and individual mindful awareness at the micro level that, when awakened, can heal individuals and enhance their well-being. An educated understanding of the world's religions and fine arts can gratify a personal quest for spiritual growth. We strongly believe in carefully reading the underlying core of each religion that is common to all faiths and connects all human beings into a large global community. Let's not cage "God." Let's experience wisdom and compassion with sincerity and dignity. We call this sort of attitude "modern spirituality." Our individual private lives seem...

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Common things and awareness

Depending upon the degree of our awareness common things can be beautiful. What sizzles in boiling oil is the world's pleasure: French fries go into the pan like the morning swan's snowy feathers and emerge half-golden from the olive's crackling amber. Garlic lends them its earthy aroma, its spice, its pollen that braved the reefs. Then, dressed anew in ivory suits, they fill our plates with repeated abundance, and the delicious simplicity of the soil. ("Ode to French Fries" in Odes to Common Things, a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda selected and illustrated by Ferris Cook. Translated by Ken Krabbenhoft. Bulfinch Press, AOL Time Warner Book Group. 2002) Nature inspires in us wise thoughts when observed with awareness: "How far are you from me, O Fruit?" "I am hidden in your heart, O Flower." (82) It is the little things that I leave behind for my loved ...

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