"Kisa Gotami and the Mustard Seed" by Alex Teo

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During Buddha’s time, there lived a woman named Kisa Gotami. She married young and gave birth to a son. One day, the baby fell sick and died soon after. Kisa Gotami loved her son greatly and refused to believe that her son was dead. She carried the body of her son around her village, asking if there was anyone who can bring her son back to life.

The villagers all saw that the son was already dead and there was nothing that could be done. They advised her to accept his death and make arrangements for the funeral.

In great grief, she fell upon her knees and clutched her son’s body close to her body. She kept uttering for her son to wake up.
A village elder took pity on her and suggested to her to consult the Buddha.

“Kisa Gotami. We cannot help you. But you should go to the Buddha. Maybe he can bring your son back to life!”
Kisa Gotami was extremely excited upon hearing the elder’s words. She immediately went to the Buddha’s residence and pleaded for him to bring her son back to life.

“Kisa Gotami, I have a way to bring your son back to life.”
“My Lord, I will do anything to bring my son back”
“If that is the case, then I need you to find me something. Bring me a mustard seed but it must be taken from a house where no one residing in the house has ever lost a family member. Bring this seed back to me and your son will come back to life.”

Having great faith in the Buddha’s promise, Kisa Gotami went from house to house, trying to find the mustard seed.

At the first house, a young woman offered to give her some mustard seeds. But when Kisa Gotami asked if she had ever lost a family member to death, the young women said her grandmother died a few months ago.

Kisa Gotami thanked the young woman and explained why the mustard seeds did not fulfill the Buddha’s requirements.

She moved on to the 2nd house. A husband died a few years. The 3rd house lost an uncle and the 4th house lost an aunt. She kept moving from house to house but the answer was all the same – every house had lost a family member to death.

Kisa Gotami finally came to realise that there is no one in the world who had never lost a family member to death. She now understood that death is inevitable and a natural part of life.
Putting aside her grief, she buried her son in the forest. Shen then returned to the Buddha and became his follower.

SOURCE: https://buddhiststories.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/kisa-gotami-and-the-mustard-seed/
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"Teaching" by Kahlil Gibran

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—Yoda on Dagobah by Fab

Then said a teacher, "Speak to us of Teaching."
And he said:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.


SOURCE:
“The Prophet” - Kahlil Gibran
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"The Story of the Other Wise Man" (excerpt) Henry Van Dyke

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Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul
Will reach the mark, but miss the goal;
While he who walks in love may wander far,
Yet God will bring him where the blessed are.

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"House of Light" by Mary Oliver

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“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—
that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.”

― Mary Oliver, House of Light
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Poet History # 6 - Hafiz

Hafiz came along a hundred years later (1320 to 1389). He lived most of his life in Shiraz. He is considered the most beloved poet of Persia, and one of the finest lyricists in the Persian language. He was a devout Sufi. He lived about the same time as Chaucer in England. Read More...
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"The Prayer of St. Francis" by Francis of Assisi

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The Prayer of St. Francis is one of the best known and best loved prayers in the world today. Attributed traditionally to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), pictured above, its actual origins are much more recent. Nonethless it beautifully reflects his devotion to God!

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.


Although he came from a wealthy family, St. Francis developed a burning desire as a young man to emulate Our Lord in his love of charity and voluntary poverty. He went so far at one point as to sell his horse, and cloth from his father’s store, to help pay for the rebuilding of a church!

After renouncing his wealth, St. Francis founded one of the most famous religious orders, the Franciscans. The Franciscans lived an austere life of poverty in service to others following Jesus’s example, and preached the Gospel message all over Italy and other parts of Europe.

St. Francis’s humility was such that he never became a priest. Coming from someone whose order attracted thousands of people within its first ten years, this is modesty indeed!

Fittingly, St. Francis is the patron of Catholic Action, as well as of animals, the environment, and his native Italy. We see his legacy in the wonderful chartiable work the Franciscans do all over the world today.

In addition to the Prayer of St. Francis (also known as the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis&rdquoWinking there are some other moving prayers that he wrote listed here that reflect his great love of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, and nature as part of God’s magnificent creation.

SOURCE: https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/the-prayer-of-st-francis.html
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"The Bud" by Bei Kuan-tu


As Winter gives it's final fro,
As luminous frost disappears into daylight’s song
A single bud beckons to discover its life amongst the coming Spring.
Tightly and securely bound - waiting, hoping for it's awakened state.
It finally yields to a perfect hue of tender green

How majestic you are, even in your child-like state.
With layers opening at a snail’s persevering pace.
Beauty unveiled and a majesty not of this world.
Ever expanding - pursuing the call of intensified light.
Surrounding you is your lineage,
turning heat into soothing shade
for all who partake in this perfect splendor.
You are unique, yet connected to the whole.

As the months move subtly by
change is a gathering force. 
Sleepiness comes over you,
like a suckling newborn.
From jaded green, to a brilliant yellow, to blazed and fiery orange,
your brilliance awes the sublime—perfect, and temporal.
Exiting your home whirling winds carry you
beyond effort or will
like a child swaying on a swing
Without a tear you land without expression or sound.
And find your place amongst the many
in a clear and cleansing stream.

Onward you go
past the rounded boulders and churning tide.
Away, away, on a journey of ages past
only to repeat nature's eternal call
Finally, purposely,  disappearing into perfection
And in your place, amongst the old oak,
another takes your honored position
and ponders it's future journey home.

© 2015 Bei Kuan-tu All Rights Reserved
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“When I Was the Forest”— Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328)

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“When I Was the Forest”
–Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328)


When I was the stream,
when I was the forest,
when I was still the field,
when I was every hoof, foot, fin and wing,
when I was the sky itself,

no one ever asked me did I have a purpose,
no one ever wondered
was there anything I might need,
for there was nothing I could not love.

It was when I left
all we once were that the agony began,

the fear and questions came,
and I wept, I wept.
And tears I had never known before.

So I returned to the river,
I returned to the mountains.
I asked for their hand in marriage again,
I begged—I begged to wed every object and creature,

and when they accepted,
God was ever present in my arms.
And He did not say,
“Where have you been?”

For then I knew my soul—every soul—
has always held Him.


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"Friendship" (excerpt) The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran

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And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship."

Your friend is your needs answered.
She is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And she is your board and your fireside.
For you come to her with your hunger, and you seek her for peace.
When your friend speaks her mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when she is silent your heart ceases not to listen to her heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in her may be clearer in her absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If she must know the ebb of your tide, let her know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek her with hours to kill?
Seek her always with hours to live.
For it is her to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

SOURCE:
“Prophet” - Khalil Gibran
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"Love After Love" by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit — Feast on your life.
________

The most important West Indian poet and dramatist writing in English today. Walcott has lived most of his life in Trinidad. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992. In his works Walcott had studied the conflict between the heritage of European and West Indian culture, the long way from slavery to independence, and his own role as a nomad between cultures. His poems are characterized by allusions to the English poetic tradition and a symbolic imagination that is at once personal and Caribbean.
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"Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?" —Unknown

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SOURCE: http://www.haikutimes.com/pen_colorado.html


  A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Life, broke the silence by asking the Master, "Master, how do I enter Life (inner-freedom)?"

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Life.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. "Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?"

The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Life. Now, as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to higher alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

"Yes, I can hear it now," he said.

The Master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, "Enter Life from there."

The disciple was stunned. It was his first epiphany - a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Life was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. "Master," he said, "I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn't been able to hear the mountain stream?" The Master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, "Enter Life from there."

FROM: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
by Eckhart Tolle





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"Man Of Tao" — Author Unknown

Zen-Catherine Thriver-Forestier
---“ZEN” by Catherine Thriver-Forestier

A student once asked, "What is the difference between a Man of Tao and a little man?"

The Zen Master replied, "It is simple. When the little man becomes a student, he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone.
Upon hearing the words of the master, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will parade through town telling one and all about his new knowledge”.

The Zen Master continues, "When the Man of Tao becomes a student, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon hearing the words of the master, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will bow to the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him".

~ Unknown
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