Tag Archives: gratitude

Kwan-Yin, the Compassionate Rebel

Kwan Yin, Artist Vitthal Das Rathore

“IT is unfortunate that Buddhism’s most enduring (and universal) contribution to the world has been insufficiently translated as compassion. The original Sanskrit word is ‘karuna,’ which holds within itself traces of the fragment ‘ru,’ meaning to weep. While the Oxford dictionary describes compassion as pity bordering on the merciful, karuna is actually our ability to relate to another in so intense a measure that the plight of the other affects us as much as if it had been our own.

“Over centuries, Kuan Yin’s visual depictions have highlighted her lithe, flowing form, much like the willow tree itself, which has the ability to bend during the most ferocious winds and then spring back into shape again. Indeed, who wants to stand rigid like the tall oak that cracks and collapses in a storm? Instead, one needs to be flexible like the willow, which survives the tempest.”

(Kuan Yin, The Compassionate Rebel)

H. P. Blavatsky’s definition of Compassion, in The Voice of the Silence, remains the favorite of Theosophists:

Yet, one word. Canst thou destroy divine compassion? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of laws — eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.

The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become Compassion Absolute.

Such is the Ârya Path, Path of the Buddhas of perfection.

“Never will I seek nor receive private, individual salvation; never will I enter into final peace alone; but forever and everywhere will I live and strive for the redemption of every creature throughout the world.”

Buddha Fields

(The Mandala Offering)

“First, we need to understand what a Buddha-field or pure land is. It is a place where everything is conducive for being able to study and practice the Dharma twenty-four hours a day.”

The Child State

“You don’t have to work; you don’t have to eat; you don’t have to sleep; you don’t have to pay rent; you don’t have to go to the toilet – you don’t have to do anything except study and practice all the time. It’s not a place that you go, hang around the swimming pool, and play cards all day long.

“Buddha-fields are filled with Arya Bodhisattva, those Bodhisattva who have had nonconceptual cognition of voidness, and there they are taught by Sambhogakaya forms of Buddhas, physical forms that Buddhas manifest in that make full use of the Mahayana teachings. That’s what happens in pure land Buddha-fields.”

Sambhogakaya

The Three Buddhic Bodies:

1. Nirmanakaya.
2. Sambhogakaya.
3. Dharmakaya.

“The first is that ethereal form which one would assume when leaving his physical he would appear in his astral body — having in addition all the knowledge of an Adept. The Bodhisattva develops it in himself as he proceeds on the Path. Having reached the goal and refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as an Adept; and when he dies, instead of going into Nirvâna, he remains in that glorious body he has woven for himself, invisible to uninitiated mankind, to watch over and protect it.

“Sambhogakâya is the same, but with the additional lustre of ‘three perfections,’ one of which is entire obliteration of all earthly concerns.

Manushi Buddha

“The Dharmakâya body is that of a complete Buddha, i.e., no body at all, but an ideal breath: Consciousness merged in the Universal Consciousness, or Soul devoid of every attribute. Once a Dharmakâya, an Adept or Buddha leaves behind every possible relation with, or thought for this earth. Thus, to be enabled to help humanity, an Adept who has won the right to Nirvâna, “renounces the Dharmakâya body” in mystic parlance; keeps, of the Sambhogakâya, only the great and complete knowledge, and remains in his Nirmânakâya body. The esoteric school teaches that Gautama Buddha with several of his Arhats is such a Nirmânakâya, higher than whom, on account of the great renunciation and sacrifice to mankind there is none known.”

“Although ‘Nirmanakaya’ is technically the name for the body or ethereal vesture of a Bodhisattva – being described on p. 45 of The Voice of the Silence as the ‘Bodhisattvic Body’ – it’s also often used simply as a synonym for the Bodhisattva himself or herself.

“This is the acquirement or attainment of a permanent astral, closely linked with the attainment of unbroken continuity of consciousness. According to Theosophy, this is the true immortality.”

(Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK, “The Permanent Astral”)

Offering the Mandala

Here is the great Earth,
Filled with the smell of incense,
Covered with a blanket of flowers,
The Great Mountain,
The Four Continents,
Wearing a jewel
Of the Sun, and Moon.
In my mind I make them
The Paradise of a Buddha,
And offer it all to You.
By this deed
May every living being
Experience
The Pure World.

Idam guru ratna mandalakam niryatayami.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field, explains what she learned from her  intention experiments. These involved hundreds of participants focusing healing intentions towards otherwise complete strangers — and how the healings reportedly healed the healers themselves.

The Intention Experiment: How Healing Healed the Healers:

After participating, an overwhelming majority of our participants not only felt better about themselves and the world; they also tended to get along better with the people with whom they came into contact, most especially perfect strangers.Many made profound changes in their lives and directions, and even sought to radically change direction or careers .Others found it easier to cope with setbacks and downturns in their lives, including their  current financial difficulties. Most of all, they found it easier to accept people or ideas that clash with their own.These preliminary results suggests that using this kind of altruistic intention not only may help to grow your own sense of compassion and tolerance, but also may help you to heal your own life.It accords with much of the research I have studied on intention. Altruistic intention heals the healer as much as the healee.

Thoughts are Things

By Lynne McTaggart

Next are excepts from instructions inspired by the greatest of all spiritual teachers and healers, The Buddha.

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: How to enjoy a life of great meaning and altruism

Course VII: The Vows of the Bodhisattva

Even just wishing you could stop
A headache another person has
Can bring you merit without measure
Because of the helpful intent you feel.
What need then to mention the wish
That you could stop the immeasurable pain
Of every being, and put every one
In a state of measureless happiness?

There are many methods for achieving the “Great Compassion.” Each person strives in his/her own way, but there are useful contemplative truths. In The Voice of the Silence, one finds an important teaching about compassion. It is not an individual “virtue,” but rather a universal law of life.

The Law of Life

The Asian Classics Institute
Middle Way Philosophy (Madhyamika), Level Two
Course VII: The Vows of the Bodhisattva

Reading One: Bodhichitta, the Wish for Enlightenment Tsongkapa

The following selection is taken from the Commentary on the Three Principal Paths, an explanation by Pabongka Rinpoche (1878-1941) of the famous root text by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419).

The Vows of the Bodhisattva:

To actually gain the wish for enlightenment he must first contemplate it. To contemplate it, he must first learn about it from another. “Loving-kindness” is an almost obsessive desire that each and every living being find happiness. “Compassion” is an almost obsessive desire that they be free of any pain.

Think of how a mother feels when her one and only and most beloved son is in the throes of a serious illness. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, she is always thinking how wonderful it would be if she could find some way of freeing him quickly from his sickness.

Mother Theresa

These thoughts come to her mind in a steady stream, without a break, and all of their own, automatically. They become an obsession with her. When we feel this way towards every living being, and only then, we can say we have gained what they call “great compassion.”

Once you develop great compassion, then you can develop the extraordinary form of personal responsibility, where you take upon yourself the load of working for others’ benefit. And the wish to achieve enlightenment for every living being comes from this.

H. P. Blavatsky 1877

 

We close with H. P. Blavatsky’s inspired reminder to all aspiring student-disciples from her The Key to Theosophy, on how to help others:

The Theosophical ideas of charity mean personal exertion for others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought and assistance in their troubles or needs.

We Theosophists do not believe in giving money (N. B., if we had it) through other people’s hands or organizations. We believe in giving to the money a thousandfold greater power and effectiveness by our personal contact and sympathy with those who need it.

We believe in relieving the starvation of the soul, as much if not more than the emptiness of the stomach; for gratitude does more good to the man who feels it, than to him for whom it is felt.

H. P. Blavatsky, The Key toTheosophy

“That Secret Path leads the Arhan to mental woe unspeakable; woe for the living Dead, and helpless pity for the men of Karmic sorrow.”

Today, Choose Kindness

ONE reason I admire His Holiness the Dalai Lama is that he summed up his religion in a single word. Tibetan monks at monasteries memorize long sections of text.

As part of their training they tradition they practice the art of debating. Yet a single word summary? The Dalai Lama says “My religion is kindness.” You can carry that with you. 

H.P. Blavatsky’s works occupy a full bookshelf wide. How can one select a single passage?

For myself, I would pick a line from the Voice of the Silence. There she writes “Compassion is the Law of Laws.” This is suitable for engraving on one’s heart. In only six words it can provide the basic compass for guiding us through life.

– Reed Carson

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”

“When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

~ Both quotes from The Dalai Lama

Just for today, choose kindness.

Choose to smile from your heart.

Hold back any harsh thoughts, words or criticisms, and find a way to be gentle in your dealings with self and others.

Let kindness be both your journey and your destination.

Just for today, choose kindness.

Let kindness colour the way you see the world.

Put away judgement, and seek out things that can swell your heart with gratitude.

Look for the good in people, the beauty in your surroundings, the blessings at your feet.

Appreciate the simple things, and if you can, share those simple things with others.

A caring word, a gentle touch…

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Soul and Shadow

NEARLY all of us humans, occult teachers say, are inexorably reincarnated into new lives of earth, yet invisibly clothed in myriads of memories from the past.

These include snippets of our innate ideas, haunting images of unrealized aspirations and desires, and our unresolved fears.

These torn pages of personal history are the underlying drivers that steer our reincarnations. This is Karma, reincarnation’s unerring “twin doctrine.”

This post has been edited and updated, and republished at:

Karma

That First Feeling

lotus11

Let thy Soul lend its ear to every cry of pain like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning sun.

Let not the fierce Sun dry one tear of pain before thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer’s eye. But let each burning human tear drop on thy heart and there remain, nor ever brush it off, until the pain that caused it is removed.

These tears, O thou of heart most merciful, these are the streams that irrigate the fields of charity immortal. ‘Tis on such soil that grows the midnight blossom of Buddha more difficult to find, more rare to view than is the flower of the Vogay tree. It is the seed of freedom from rebirth. -The Voice of the Silence

THE FIRST DEVOTION

“…during its early beginnings, psychic and physical intellect being dormant and consciousness still undeveloped, the spiritual conceptions of that race were quite unconnected with its physical surroundings.

That divine man dwelt in his animal-though externally human-form; and, if there was instinct in him, no self-consciousness came to enlighten the darkness of the latent fifth principle. When, moved by the law of Evolution, the Lords of Wisdom infused into him the spark of consciousness, the first feeling it awoke to life and activity was a sense of solidarity, of one-ness with his spiritual creators.”

“As the child’s first feeling is for its mother and nurse, so the first aspirations of the awakening consciousness in primitive man were for those whose element he felt within himself, and who yet were outside, and independent of him.

DEVOTION arose out of that feeling, and became the first and foremost motor in his nature; for it is the only one which is natural in our heart, which is innate in us, and which we find alike in human babe and the young of the animal. This feeling of irrepressible, instinctive aspiration in primitive man is beautifully, and one may say intuitionally, described by Carlyle:”

thomas-carlyle-1867-posters1

Thomas Carlyle

“‘The great antique heart,’ he exclaims, ‘how like a child’s in its simplicity, like a man’s in its earnest solemnity and depth! heaven lies over him wheresoever he goes or stands on the earth; making all the earth a mystic temple to him, the earth’s business all a kind of worship. Glimpses of bright creatures flash in the common sunlight; angels yet hover, doing God’s messages among men …Wonder, miracle, encompass the man; he lives in an element of miracle.'”

(“That which was natural in the sight of primitive man has become only now miracle to us; and that which was to him a miracle could never be expressed in our language.” – HPB)
H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine 1:181

THAT FIRST DESIRE

Kama (Sanskrit) Cosmic kama or desire, equivalent to the Greek eros, is the source of fohat, the driving intelligent energies of the universe. It is impersonal compassion and sympathy.
Kamadeva (Sanskrit) [from kama desire + deva god, divinity] The Hindu god of love, one of the Visve-devas in the Hindu pantheon.

As the Eros of Hesiod was connected in early Greek mythology with the world’s creation, and only afterwards became degraded into the passional Cupid, so was Kama in his original meaning as used in the Vedas, which gives the metaphysical and philosophical significance of his functions in the cosmos.

Kama is the first conscious, all-embracing desire for universal good, love, and the first feeling of infinite compassion and mercy for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, that arose in the consciousness of the creative One Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the Absolute. There is no idea of sexual love in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love.

KAMA

Kama “is in the Rig-Veda (x. 129) the personification of that feeling which leads and propels to creation. He was the first movement that stirred the One, after its manifestation from the purely abstract principle, to create.

‘Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind; and which sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered to be the bond which connects Entity with Non-Entity’ ” — or manas with pure atma-buddhi. Only later did kama become the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.” -H. P. BLAVATSKY

In the ancient Rig-Veda, virtue is given first place. In the famous hymn (X, 129) Kama-Love-Eros is said to be the first movement that arose in the One after it had come into life through the power of abstraction.

kamadeva11

KAMA-DEVA

Compassion is the Soul of all Virtues – be they the Christian and Greek Cardinal ones, or virtues of the divine man of the Gita or the six and ten Paramitas of the Buddhistic Philosophy. In the Mahayana Book of the Golden Precepts this archetypal Virtue is described: –

Compassion is no attribute.
It is the Law of Laws –
Eternal Harmony,
Alaya’s Self,
A shoreless universal essence,
The Light of everlasting right,
And Fitness of all things,
The Law of Love eternal.

THE GOSPEL OF GOODWILL

by H. P. Blavatsky

The tendency of modern civilization is a reaction towards animalism, towards a development of those qualities which conduce to the success in life of man as an animal in the struggle for animal existence.

Theosophy seeks to develop the human nature in man in addition to the animal, and at the sacrifice of the superfluous animality which modern life and materialistic teachings have developed to a degree which is abnormal for the human being at this stage of his progress.

…the essence of Theosophy is the perfect harmonizing of the divine with the human in man, the adjustment of his god-like qualities and aspirations, and their sway over the terrestrial or animal passions in him. Kindness, absence of every ill feeling or selfishness, charity, goodwill to all beings, and perfect justice to others as to oneself, are its chief features.

He who teaches Theosophy preaches the gospel of goodwill; and the converse of this is true also — he who preaches the gospel of goodwill, teaches Theosophy.

The function of Theosophists is to open men’s hearts and understandings to charity, justice, and generosity, attributes which belong specifically to the human kingdom and are natural to man when he has developed the qualities of a human being.

Theosophy teaches the animal-man to be a human-man; and when people have learnt to think and feel as truly human beings should feel and think, they will act humanely, and works of charity, justice, and generosity will be done spontaneously by all.

H. P. Blavatsky to the American Conventions, Letter 1

humanbrain2Your Brain on Gratitude
BRAIN IMAGES

Dr. Amen’s groundbreaking research has shown that people can change and improve the structure and function of their brains and in doing so, improve overall health, happiness and success. The implications of this are enormous. Gratitude makes the brain light up.

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Dr. Amen’s site:
http://www.amenclinics.com/media2/