Being in Nature Archives - Page 17 of 18 - Madhu Bazaz Wangu
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Being in Nature

A Few Words of Counsel

The venue of the Bhagavad Gita jolts its reader into wakefulness by making its site the field of blood, devastation and death. The horrific setting demonstrates that even under the most horrible circumstances the one with sharp mind, pure intentions and willingness to understand can cross to the other shore. One of the "hidden" teachings of the Gita that has affected me deeply is that the "Great Man" (God) without is, what Carl G. Jung calls, the Self within-the organizing source of our psychic system. And I realize that with pure intention I too would be able to make link with my "inner companion" and ultimately with the God within, (Atman). In the beginning chapters of the Gita, Arjuna is a virtuous man and an intellectual. He is well versed...

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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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Is Silence Sacred?

A decade or two ago, whatever little time we use to have to ourselves, walking, driving, shopping, biking, gardening or any other such activity seems to have been replaced by the hurly-burly of cell-phones, speakerphones, texting and twittering. Experiencing silence has become remote, even counter culture. We have become a culture of din and distraction in which it has become increasingly hard to find time to be by ourselves. In doing so we have lost a precious gift. Since time immemorial mystics and ascetics have experienced sublime in silence. In silence they discovered mystery that was greater than them. When they sat with themselves they paid attention to themselves. Similarly, when we sit by ourselves regularly we become aware of ourselves. We realize how important it is that we cultivate our...

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Four Phases of Life

Four Stages of Life in Ancient India Depending on what kind of person you are and what stage of life you are in, Hindus believe that your life parallels a day in your life. Morning, afternoon, evening and night:as are your days, so is your life. An ideal life, Hindus say, is hundred years and it passes through four phases, each a quarter of a century long. Each phase has its demands and expects certain behavior. From the time you are born to the time you are in your mid twenties the focus of your life is being a student. Your primary responsibility is to get educated, to learn. At this stage your only obligation is to pay attention to what the teacher says or shows. Good study habits are...

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Lessons Learnt

Lessons Learnt: Tao te-Ching Like Dhammapada, Tao te-Ching is a treasury of spiritual teachings. Recently, as I re-read it. As I basked in the richness of its glorious path, I thought of sharing its life lessons with you. Inner Guide Tao te-Ching inspires us to access our sacred center within and listen to its guidance during the good times and the bad. The inner guide is no one but our original self, what we are capable of becoming-our potentiality, and what we were before we started to put on masks to interact with various people in our lives. When our gaze is turned within we see the world with a new light. Rather than trying to understand others, we make earnest attempts to understand ourselves. Time comes when we replace the...

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A Step-by-Step Path to Spiritual Growth

A Step-by-Step Path to Spiritual Growth: Teachings of Dhammapada In May, we completed reading the Tao-te Ching. Decades ago, the Taoist scripture had cast a spell on me that was never quite undone. It had spoken to the deepest recesses of my heart and mind. I knew I would go back to it someday. And I did. Re-reading the incredibly effective book for 81 weeks has increased my sense of awe of nature and my capacity to progress emotionally and spiritually, albeit painstakingly slowly. How did it affect you? We will start reading Dhammapada from June 5. The word Dhammapada may be roughly translated as "The Righteous Path of Life." A collection of vivid Buddhist verses, it is the second book on our reading list of four Asian scriptures. The other two...

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Happy 2009!

Dear Readers and Writers, Happy New Year! A good place to start the year 2009 is with the sixty-third chapter of Tao-te Ching. (See under "Readings") In this verse the sage Lao Tzu asks us to pay attention to the present moment, to the task at hand, and not worry about the next moment or the trillions of future moments that would follow it. It is only by doing little things that we can accomplish something great. I have planned a wonderful year of "Readings" and "Writings" to share with you. In May this year, we will finish reading Tao-te Ching and start Dhammapada, a collection of vivid verses based on the teachings of the Buddha that were preserved by his students. The topics in this collection of harmonious poetry are...

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Discovering Virginia Woolf

Several winters ago on a frigid January morning, I was at my lowest writing ebb. By habit, I sat in front of my computer screen staring at a blank document. I could not think of anything to write, not even a word. Where had my muses gone? I got out of the study, put on my coat, muffler and gloves and left home in search of my lost creativity. I tried to imagine June blossoms in January-a spring scene superimposed on the uncreative winter landscape-and felt dislocated, ending up at the local library. A book sale was on. The first book that caught my attention was A Room of My Own by Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). I wondered what the book was about. The name of the author was familiar because...

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