My Favourite Bhagavad Gita भगवद्गीता

Posted by Cora Wen Tuesday, December 15, 2009 6 comments

Bhagavad Gita भगवद्गीता
Chapter 6 ~ Samkhya Yoga
The Science of Self Realisation

In chapter six Lord Krishna reveals astanga Yoga, and the exact process of practicing such yoga. He explains in detail the difficulties of the mind and the procedures by which one may gain mastery of their mind through Yoga which reveals the spiritual nature of a living entity.

uddhared ātmanātmānaḿ

nātmānam avasādayet

ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur

ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

uddharet — one must deliver; ātmanā — by the mind; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; na — never; ātmānam — the conditioned soul; avasādayetput into degradation; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; hi — indeed; ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul; bandhuḥ — friend; ātmā — mind; eva — certainly; ripuḥ — enemy;ātmanaḥ — of the conditioned soul.


Only by the Self can one uphold oneself, and only by the Self can one degrade oneself. Self is the friend of oneself, and its enemy as well.

The word ātmā is body, mind and soul. In Yoga, the mind and the conditioned soul are especially important, and liberation of the mind is Yoga, so ātmā is the mind.

The purpose of Yoga is to see the mind clearly and to draw it away from attachment to sense objects. It is stressed the mind must be trained so well, it can deliver the soul from the mire of ignorance.

In material existence one is influenced by the mind and sense perception. We are entangled in the material world because the mind is in false ego, which desires and grasps.

The mind can be trained so that it will not be attracted by the material world, and the conditioned soul may be liberated from bondage.

The more one is attracted by sense objects, the more one becomes entangled in material existence. The best way to disentangle is to keep the mind focused in pure consciousness.

"For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation." ~Amrta-bindu Upanishad

mana eva manuṣyāṇāḿ

kāraṇaḿ bandha-mokṣayoḥ

bandhāya viṣayāsańgo

muktyai nirviṣayaḿ manaḥ

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Mitakuye Oyasin ~ We are all related ~the Lakota people

Posted by Cora Wen Tuesday, December 8, 2009 0 comments

1. “The voice of the land is in our language." --From the National First Nations Elders/Language Gathering, M'igmaq Nation [Canada]

2. "Our languages are the cornerstone of who we are as a people." --Mary Richards and Ida Bear, Winnipeg [Canada]

3. “Your language. Your tradition. Your family, All the relations of the World. We are not by ourselves. We are in Unison, Watch...” --From a poem by Damon Clarke, Hualapai [USA]

4. The indigenous languages of the original inhabitants of the Americas must be revitalized and perpetuated.

5. Of the more than 6,000 languages currently being spoken, fewer than half are likely to survive the next century. When a language is gone, it is gone forever. - Terra Lingua website 6. In the United States there are 19,000 speakers of Dakota. Including Canada, the total population of speaker of the Dakota language is 23,000.

7. Dakota is spoken in Northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Canada.

8. Dakota is related to Lakota, another Siouan language. In the United States, there are 6,000 total Lakota speakers out of a total 20,000 population including Canada 9. Lakota is spoken in Northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, North and South Dakota, northeastern Montana

10. The importance of language in human life and in determining the place of humans in the world is stressed in most past and present cultures on earth. In many religious traditions the spoken word is creative power. …. Among peoples as different as the Dogon of Nigeria and the Navajo of the southern United States, elaborate theories of language exist that see language as the means through which the world is created, organized, classified, and beautified. -Terra Lingua website

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Thinking of the 5 Subjects for Frequent Recollection...

Posted by Cora Wen Monday, December 7, 2009 0 comments

Jarādhammomhi jaraṃ anatīto/a
Vyādhidhammomhi vyādhiṃ anatīto/a
Maraṇadhammomhi maraṇaṃ anatīto/a

Sabbehi me piyehi manāpehi nānābhāvo vinābhāvo/a

Kammassakomhi kammadāyādo kammayoni kammabandhū kammapaṭisaraṇo yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmī

Evaṃ amhehi abhiṇhaṃ paccavekkhitabbaṃ

I am of the nature to age, I have not gone beyond ageing
I am of the nature to sicken, I have not gone beyond sickness
I am of the nature to die, I have not gone beyond dying
All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me

I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do, for good or for ill, of that I will be the heir.

Thus we should frequently recollect.

Stillness and Motion in Laos

Posted by Cora Wen Sunday, December 6, 2009 1 comments

This is shot in downtown Luang Prabang at the old bridge for motobikes and bicycles. It is one of the busiest intersections in this heritage town and we thought it was a good place to see a different view..!

Jack says that I usually pick quiet, peaceful spots and suggested a less relaxing spot to strike a pose. We ended up walked across town one day and I saw this spot and thought it met his description for less quiet and relaxed...

Can you find the yogini?

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Images of colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind, a dance of shadow and light against the majestic Himalayas. These speak of freedom and wishes for goodness and peace on the planet

In the high mountains, it is a simple way to gain merit by putting up prayer flags for the benefit of all beings. Prayer flags are ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and symbols that have a powerful spiritual vibration carried by and into the wind.

Prayer flags date to ancient Tibet, China, Persia and India, and the texts and symbols are based in Buddhist philosophy. Pre-Buddhist shamanistic priests used colored flags in healing ceremonies, arranging them around a patient harmonising the elements for physical and mental health. Colored flags were used to appease gods and spirits of the mountains, valleys, lakes and streams, thought to cause natural disasters and disease.

Tibetan word for prayer flag is Dar Cho

“Dar” ~ increase life, fortune, health and wealth

“Cho” ~ all sentient beings

Traditionally, prayer flags are in sets of five of five colors. The colors represent the five elements, and the Five Pure Lights and are arranged from left to right in specific order. Chinese medicine trusts health and harmony are produced through balancing these 5 elements.

The order of color is always: yellow, green, red, white and blue. In vertical display yellow goes at the bottom and blue at the top. For horizontal display the order can go from right to left or left to right.

Nyingma (Ancient Ones) School:

Blue ~ sky/space

White ~ air/wind/cloud

Red ~ fire

Green ~ water

Yellow ~ earth

When raising prayer flags proper intention is important. If they are put up with “I will benefit from this” – which is an ego-centered motivation, benefits will be small. If the attitude is “May all beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness,” the virtue generated by such motivation increases the power of prayers.

Tibetan tradition considers prayer flags to be holy, and they bear sacred texts and symbols that need to be treated respectfully. They should not be placed on the ground or put in the trash. When disposing of old prayer flags the traditional way is to burn them so the smoke may carry their blessings to the heavens.

Prayer flags move with the wind, quietly harmonising the world, impartially increasing happiness and good fortune to all beings. These prayers are blessings borne on the breath of nature. All beings touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. As a drop of water resumes into the ocean, prayers dissolve in wind extend to fill space.

May the winds rise to carry happiness along...

"For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world" - Shantideva prayer

Mudras and Meaning

Posted by Cora Wen Friday, December 4, 2009 0 comments

A mudrā Sanskrit: मुद्रा, lit. "seal", is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. A mudrā is a spiritual and energetic seal in the spiritual practice of East Asian religions. Some mudrās involve the entire body, but most are shown with hands and fingers.

Some important mudras are:

Dhyani Mudra Gesture of Meditation

Vitarka Mudra Gesture of Teaching

Dharmachakra Mudra Turning the Wheel of Dhamma

Bhumisparsha Mudra Gesture of Touching Earth - Enlightenment

Abhaya Mudra Gesture of Fearlessness/Protection

Varada Mudra Gesture of Granting Wishes

Uttarabodhi Mudra Gesture of Supreme Enlightenment

Anjali Mudra Gesture of Greeting and Veneration

Vajrapradama Mudra Gesture of Unshakable Confidence

Maha Mudra Gesture of Supreme Wisdom

Dhyani Mudra

In this mudra, back of right hand rests in palm of other with tips of thumbs lightly touching. The hands rest in lap. The right hand, resting on top, symbolizes state of enlightenment; the other below, the world of appearance. This gesture expresses overcoming the world of appearance through enlightenment, as well as the enlightened mind where samsara and nirvana are one.

In a special form of this mudra, middle, ring, and little fingers of both hand

s lie on top of one another ande the thumbs and index fingers of each hand, touching each other, form a circle, which symbolizes the world of appearance and true nature of reality.

Vitarka Mudra

Right hand up, left down; both palms turned out. The thumb and index finger of each hand form a circle. Right hand is shoulder level, left hand is hip level. A variant is left hand rests palm up in lap, and right hand raised to shoulder level with thumb and index finger forming circle. Another form is with index finger and little fingers of both hands fully extended, middle and ring fingers curved in. The left hand points up, right points down.

Dharmachakra Mudra

The left palm is turned in (toward the body), right out, and circles formed by thumbs and index fingers of each hand touch.

Bhumisparsha Mudra

Left hand rests palm up in lap; right hand, hanging over knee, palm in, points down to earth. Sometimes left hand holds a begging bowl. This is the gesture Buddha summoned Earth as witness to realization of buddhahood. It is a gesture of unshakability; Akshobhya (the Unshakable) is depicted with this mudra.

Abhaya Mudra

Right hand is raised to shoulder height with fingers extended and palm turned out. This is gesture of Buddha Shakyamuni immediately after attaining enlightenment.

Varada Mudra

Right hand, palm facing out, is down. When Shakyamuni is depicted with this mudra, it symbolizes summoning Heaven as witness to buddhahood. In a variant, thumb and index finger of down extended hand touch. Frequently abhaya and varada mudras are combined: right hand makes gesture of fearlessness, left of wish granting.

Uttarabodhi Mudra

Both hands are held at level of chest, two raised index fingers touch, remaining fingers are crossed and folded down;thumbs touch at tips or crossed and folded.

Mudra of Supreme Wisdom

Right index finger is grasped by five fingers of left hand. This mudra represents the realization of unity in the manifold as embodied in Buddha.

Anjali Mudra

Palms held together at level of chest. This is customary gesture of greeting in many Asian countries. Used as a mudra, it expresses "suchness" (tahata).

Vajrapradama Mudra

Fingertips of hands are crossed. This is gesture of unshakable confidence.

The Abhaya mudrā ("mudrā of no-fear")

In Sanskrit Abhaya means fearlessness, and the abhaya mudra symbolises protection, peace, and the dispelling of fear.

The gesture is ancient, demonstrating that the hand is empty of weapons, indicating friendship and peace. The gesture implies fearlessness before a potential enemy.

In Buddhism, it is a symbol of the fearlessness and spiritual power of the one who makes it. According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha made this gesture after enlightenment. When the Buddha was attacked by an angry elephant, he held up his hand in the Abhaya mudrā and immediately calmed it.

It is usually made with the right hand raised to shoulder height, the arm bent and the palm facing outward with the fingers upright and joined and the left hand hanging down while standing. When the right hand is in the abhaya mudra, the left hand usually makes the varada mudra (gift-giving gesture). In Japan, Abhaya mudrā is with the middle finger slightly forward, a symbol of Shingon sect. (Japanese: Semui-in; Chinese: Shiwuwei Yin)

In Laos, the mudrā is shown with both hands making a double Abhaya mudrā that is translated as "No War". The abhaya mudra on a (standing) walking Buddha is called 'the Buddha placing his footprint' and is unique to this region.

In a region that has suffered colonialism, civil war and the largest bombing mission throughout the American-Vietnam war, this is a particularly poignant symbol.

The US dropped two million tons and 580,000 bombing missions - the equivalent of a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years in a secret bombing campaign from 1964-1973.

The bombing was an effort to destroy North Vietnamese supply lines and fend off the North Vietnamese Army. The Ravens, U.S. pilots in Laos, flew 1.5 times the number of air sorties flown in all of Vietnam.

Each cluster bomb scattered several hundred tennis-ball-sized bomblets (known as bombies in Laos) over 5000-sq-meter areas. About 260 million cluster bomblets fell over Laos with close to 53 million bomblets dropped within one kilometer of villages.

Up to 30% of the bomblets did not detonate on impact, leaving an estimated 86 million unexploded cluster bomblets buried in fields, roads, forests, rivers and villages. Laos continues to have the largest unexploded landmines and bombs of any nation.

Perhaps we can remember this reminder of how important it is to promote Peace on the planet.

...No War, Protection, Fearlessness, Benevolence to all beings...

Upajjhatthana Sutta - Five Daily Remberances

Kammassakomhi kammadāyādo kammayoni kammabandhū kammapaṭisaraṇo yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmī...

I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related to my actions, abide supported by my actions. For whatever actions I do, for good or for ill, of these I shall be the heir.

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