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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha): “Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books.

The Rigveda is an ancient Indian text one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism written between the 5th and 2nd century BCE, the first four books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were written between the 6th and 2nd century BCE, the Tao Te Ching in the 6th century BCE, the Buddhist Sutras between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, the New Testament in the 1st century CE, the Qur’an is the newest written around 632 CE.  Wow!  If you can remember all of that you’re better than I am!

 What’s my point?  The people who wrote these books were wonderful people who wanted to memorialize their beliefs and experiences for those who would come after them.  They were trying to explain, nature, birth, death, life, good and evil and more.  Science was not at the level it is today, they only had their eyes, ears, nose, and sometimes mouth to discover and memorialize their lives and how they dealt with what happened to them and in them in their waking and sleeping hours.

This is neither good nor bad—it just is.  Thus if saying a bed time Buddha at Bedtimeprayer will help keep you alive through the night—great what can you lose! If not eating meat is how you desire to live your life wonderful, go for it.  If eating meat but not pork or crustaceans (lobster, crabs, shrimp, etc.) is your choice that’s great too.  In ancient times you might have been better off not eating pork because it caused an infection we know as trichinosis, but so did lots of other foods.  Just a few more reasons “not to believe” everything found in your ancient texts.

My mom believed it about the pork and thus when we had pork chops for dinner they were so well done they tasted and acted like shoe leather!  That was one of the nights I always found a reason to eat at my best friend’s house for dinner.  Another time I bought some “free range chicken” and served it to her for supper.  I was bragging about how great they were and that all the chickens should be freed.  Once again mom told me a “farm story.”  “I fed plenty of chickens on the farm growing up and let me tell you they ate anything and everything in sight, at least this way their waste ends up far enough away that they can’t get at it.” You’ve got to love my mom!

So in this day and age with our education, science, technology, the internet, and more you have the opportunity to be your own researcher and discover about life for yourself.  If following your religious and family traditions is important in your life…go for it.  Just remember that not everything written in them is true…then move full speed ahead and live the life that works for you and spreads peace, love, and compassion wherever you go!

In gassho,

Shokai

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For anything new to emerge there must first be a dream, an imaginative view of what might be. For something great to happen, there must be a great dream.  Then venturesome persons with faith in that dream will persevere to bring it to reality.

Some ideas whose time has come will spread as in a forest fire. But most need the help of a teacher.  I had the good fortune to have an extraordinary one.  He dreamed a great dream of how servanthood could be nurtured in the young, and he spent his best years in bringing it to pass (page 9-10).[1]

Where I work at Kaplan University they encourage not only the students to volunteer and make a difference in their communities but they encourage all faculty to do so as well through The Virtual Difference Makers. Here is a list of some of the things they did in 2016: ran a Spring Virtual Serve-A-Thon, hosted a Stress Management Series, a Virtual Celebration of Rio, sponsored their first annual Health and Wellness Fair, held a Fall Serve-A-Thon and more!.

I have been invited to Lynn University to participate in an interfaith dialog and will be back there again in April for another interfaith dialog.  The hall was jammed with students!  Standing room only!  They asked wonderful questions of the panel.

These were the words on the Flyer for the event: Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue.

In a world where religion so often is the cause of hate and intolerance, we stand infaith-headtogether at Lynn to create a world where our religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated. This event is precisely that; where religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist traditions will come together in celebration of our diverse faith traditions.  Come and be amazed!

Imagine the great education the students are receiving at both Kaplan and Lynn and many other colleges around our country when their faculty and administration support such events.

If you are able to create similar events on your campuses I encourage you to do so.  Create a Virtual Difference Makers club for students and faculty, run interfaith dialogues, offer training for faculty on meditation and mindfulness.  Be the change you want to see in our world! Be the catalyst for peace, love, and kindness spreading around your campus and beyond!  The time has come to spread the message of servant leadership at all levels.  Change has always come from the bottom up not from the top down! Be the change you want to see in the world!

Good luck with that!  Let me know how it goes!

Shokai

 

[1] Greenleaf, R.K. (1987) Teacher as Servant: A Parable. The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership: Indianapolis, IN

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As I was listening to a Rod Stewart album (“It Had to Be You, The Great American Songbook”) this morning he mellowed into a beautiful rendition of “For All We Know.”  This verse jumped out at me like a lightning bolt, “We come and go like a ripple on a stream.”  It brought to my mind’s eye the vision of a beautiful stream in the mountains that contains all the debris of a forest from small pebbles and stones to leaves and flowers and moss each floating gracefully along with the pull of the earth drawing them to various and sundry places to lodge who knows where.  It was an analogy of my life for sure.

Sometimes I feel as though the stream is flowing faster than I can manage, and other times it is meandering along at a smooth and subtle pace where my mind may sit and rest like the family I observed one day floating down the Tellico River in TN in huge tire tubes smiling, laughing, and enjoying the lazy trip.

There is an adage that goes something like this, “You can never step into the same river twice.”  Why” Because the river is different every moment with what it catches and carries along with it.  Exactly like my mind.  Each situation brings with it different thoughts, emotions, worries, joys, and jubilations.  Depending upon how much “thought” and “time” I give each one of these things is how my day, week, month, year, and life will go.

Being mindful of the multitude of things that could be drifting along with me down this river of life makes me realize how life is such a great and hidden adventure to be enjoyed and shared and used each and every minute of the day.

As I continued to listen to Rod sing this verse appeared, “Tomorrow was made for some, Tomorrow may never come for all we know.” And what then—does  my river stop flowing?  Or does my river flow elsewhere? Will my river grow, disappear, or simply swallow me up (whoever that me is).  Or does it drop me lovingly into a new world beyond my human mind’s ability to even imagine? Remember he sings, “For all we know—this may only be a dream”

Just like in lucid dreaming we can manipulate the dream as we please.  If we find ourselves falling off of a tall building we can spread our arms and fly upward just before we hit the pavement and slowly and softly land ourselves upright on the pavement or grass.  Ah, the power of those lucid dreams!

If we have the power to master the lucid dream, why do we so often lose the power to master our lives? Or maybe we are not supposed to “master our lives.”  Maybe our lives, as the Zen Buddhists say are “Thus.”  Maybe they just “are.”  Or maybe life just “is.”  These thoughts meander through my mind as I write this blog like the leaves and stones floating down the river, never to be seen again…

And thus today, “We come and go like a ripple on a stream.”  And for others, “tomorrow may never come.”  I wonder which will be mine and what I will do with it when I get there…wherever there is.

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