Monday, November 25, 2013

From ‘Unposted Letter’ by mahatria Ra

“Master, please accept me as your disciple,” pleaded the seeker. “Tell me who you are,” the Master asked. “Ramachandra Rao.” “That’s your name. Drop it and tell me who you are,” the Master asked again. “I am a businessman.” “That’s your occupation. Drop it and tell me who you are.” “I am a man.” “That’s your sex. Drop it and tell me who you are.” “Master, I no more know who I am!” “That’s good. That is the starting point for a seeker. When you drop all your labels and come as the pure you – that is the starting point for a seeker.Your business card works with the priest, but it has no value with god,” the Master asserted.

The problem with ego is that when ego is fed, you struggle with a superiority complex, and when ego is starved you suffer from an inferiority complex. Either way, it robs you of your peace of mind.
When ego comes, everything else goes. When ego goes, everything else comes.

The saline waters of the ocean
the contaminated drains,
the stiking ponds, the stagnant lakes…
…from anywhere, when water evaporates
into the above and comes down again
as rains, it is pure drinking water.

Similarly, when man connects
with the force above,
self-purification happens.
Man’s thoughts, feelings and even the being
are purified when he connects with the divine.

When prayers go up, blessings come down.

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

“Let all your miseries be as short-lived as your NewYear resolutions,” goes an Italian saying.

From ‘from Sex to Super Consciousness’ by Osho

….Dagistan …. When the people of this place are annoyed with somebody they curse him with the most terrible curse ever: “May you forget your beloved’s name.”

Have you realized that the blooming of a flower is an expression of passion, that it is a sexual act? A peacock dances in full glory: a poet will sing a song to it; ….. it is primarily a sexual act? ….a boy has become an adolescent; a girl is growing into a woman. What is all this? What play, what leela is this? …. Throughout one’s whole life all acts of love, all attitudes and urges of love, are flowerings of primary sex energy
Religion and culture pour poison against sex into the mind of man. They create conflict, war; they engage man in battle against his own primary energy ….. Not enimity, but friendship is to be made with sex. Sex should be elevated to purer heights.
……if lust is transcended, sex can become love.

Because of condemnation, sex has become an obsession, a disease, a perversion……

…until natural sex is accepted without reservation there can be no love.

My conjecture is that man had his first luminous glimpse of Samadhi during the experience of intercourse. Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss …..that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. …And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.
Having unraveled the secret up to this point, man dug further…… that even without coitus the consciousness could be stilled and thoughts evaporated…

Our society will only be free of the ghost of sex when we develop the courage to talk about sex in a rational and healthy manner.
It is only by understanding sex in all its aspects that we will be able to transcend sex. You cannot free yourself of a problem by shutting your eyes to it.

Ninety-eight per cent of mental illness, of neurosis is because of the suppression of sex.

Whenever I meet prostitutes, they never speak of sex. They inquire about the soul, and about God. I also meet many ascetics and monks, and whenever we are alone they ask about nothing but sex.

This sexual climax only lasts a moment, but for this brief moment a man loses a considerable amount of energy and vitality and later laments this loss

….the results of this war with sex are difficult to assess correctly. Does homosexuality exist anywhere but in man’s so-called civilized societies? Aborigines who live in backward areas cannot imagine a man having intercourse with another man….. Prostitution also exists in direct proportion to a society’s civilization. … Can you find a prostitute in the hilly areas of the tribal peoples, in our far-flung settlements? Impossible.

…Khajuraho ….The outermost wall, the periphery of the temple, is decorated with scenes of the sexual act, with the various poses of intercourse ….the architects who built that temple were highly intelligent people. They knew that passion and sex exist on the circumference of life and believed that those who were still caught up in sex had no right to enter the temple.

The first step to free the world from sexuality is to allow children to remain nude, as much as possible, in the home. As far as it is feasible, it is advisable , to allow children, both boys and girls, to play in the nude, so that they become totally acquainted with each other’s bodies ….Then there will be no need to print nude pictures in books. Then they will be so familiar with each other’s bodies that no kind of perverted attraction will be possible in the future.

Conservation of energy is a prime requisite of religion ….The biggest outlet for man’s energy is sex. Sex is a continuous drain, and it should be stopped.

Although animals have their limits and their periods, man has neither. Man is sexual each hour throughout the year. Without exception, no animal in the animal kingdom is sexual to this degree. Animals have a specific time for it …..look at what has happened to man.The thing which man has tried to repress … shoots up throughout his life. It is an ever-active volcano….what we have done to suppress sex! We have had to develop an insulting attitude toward it; we have had to degrade it ….abuse it…call it sin ….Look into the eyes of an animal; wou will not find lust there. ….animals are beautiful in a way, but there is no limit to the ugliness and stench of man, the mad repressor.
As a first step in freeing man from sexuality, children – both boys and girls – should …receive instruction in the subject of sex. …they should be brought much nearer; this segregation is completely unnatural.

….if coitus can be prolonged for seven minutes, a man will be so free of sex that no thought of passion will arise in him for the next three months. And if the period of coitus can be extended to three hours, a man will be free of sex forever; he will never desire it again!

From ‘Happiness. Lessons from a new science’ by Richard Layard

One thing is clear: once subsistence income is guaranteed making people happier is not easy.

What are the factors of our life that make the biggest difference to our happiness? …..
The “Big Seven”
…..Seven factors stand out: our family relationships, our financial situation, our work, our community and friends, our health, our personal freedom and our personal values.

Family Relationships
…people generally become happier as a result of marriage, and this is true of both men and women…. The main benefits of marriage or cohabitation are obvious: you give each other love and comfort, you share resources, gaining economies of scale, you help each other. Married people also have better sex lives on average than single people ….married people are healthier and live longer. Though cohabitation is becoming much more common, it has not so far proved as stable a form of relationship as marriage. …..We need other people and we need to be needed.

We can be needed by our family, but most of us need more than this: we need to feel we are contributing to the wider society. Thus work provides ….an extra meaning to life. ….it is also important that the work be fulfilling. Perhaps the most important issue is the extent to which you have control over what you do. There is a creative spark in each of us, and if it finds no outlet, we feel half-dead.
Community and friends
According to the Greek philosopher Epicurus, “Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is friendship.” …The quality of our community is crucial for whether we make friends and how safe we feel.
….people can never adapt to chronic pain or to mental illness …..The control of such suffering must be one of our top priorities
Personal freedom
Happiness also depends on the quality of the government. …. people are much happier where they have more rights to referendums.

Explaining differences in happiness between countries
……six factors, closely linked to our Big Seven, can explain 80% of the variation in happiness [between countries]. The factors are the
  • divorce rate
  • unemployment rate
  • level of trust
  • membership in non-religious organisations
  • quality of government
  • fraction believing in God

…Sir Henry Wotton’s description of the happy man, which ends
This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall,
Lord of himself, though not of lands,
And having nothing yet hath all

…..the greatest happiness comes from absorbing yourself in some goal outside yourself. …..when you are so absorbed in what you are doing that you “lose yourself.” …We all have such experiences where we lose our sense of time. And we carry those experiences with us for the rest of our life. They are vital.

Television focuses far more on the extremes. It contains far more violence, sex and chaotic relationships than ordinary life does, and it contains far more wealth and beauty. ….Chaos on the screen tends to desensitize – to make people far more willing to engage in violence themselves and in illicit sex. At the same time wealth and beauty create discontent with what people have – an itch to earn or steal more wealth, or to find a more beautiful partner …..the effect of violence in television upon violence in real life ….To me the evidence is fairly persuasive ….If you expose children to violent films, they behave more violently in the playground ….For example, for two days after heavyweight prizefights in the United States, there is 9% more homicide than otherwise. And after a reported suicide or a suicide in a television drama, more people actually take their lives. …..Television programmes now contain much more violence and more illicit sex than are contained in real life. As a result people who watch more television believe there is more crime in real life and more adultery than there is. They become desensitized to those activities and more willing to contemplate them for themselves. In these ways television, for all its blessings, has contributed in some degree to the decline of family and community life and the increase in crime.

….see it in young children. First they want everything for themselves ….But bit by bit they recognize the concept of the fair share, and it is only on that basis that they make a claim. Interestingly, the trait of conscientiousness has a clear genetic component, being, in the language of geneticists, 40% heritable.

The biggest disease today is not leprosy or
tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of bein unwanted
uncared for and deserted by everybody

…A high-turnover community is rarely friendly. Yet economists are generally in favour of geographical mobility since it moves people from places where they are less productive to ones where they are more productive. But geographical mobility increases family break-up and criminality.
If people live near where they grew up, close to parents and old friends, they are probably less likely to break up: they have a network of social support, which is less available  in more mobile communities. Similarly, if people are highly mobile, they feel less bonded to the people among whom they live, and crime is more common. A good predictor of low crime rates is how many friends people have within fifteen minutes walk. Crime is lower when people trust each other, and people trust each other more if fewer people are moving house and the community is more homogenous. So violence tends to be high where residential mobility is high, and where there are concentrations of people who are new to the area.
…….if we look at the failures of modern societies, high crime is surely the most obvious one. It is linked to low trust …..mental illness is more likely if you live in an area where your group is in the minority.   ….

Most folks are as happy as
they make up their minds to be.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent

….Ezra Pound wrote, “What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross.”

A Better World: Taking Happiness Seriously
….What should we differently if we shifted our goal towards achieving a happier way of life
  • We should monitor the development of happiness in our countries as closely as we monitor the development of income
  • We should rethink our attitude on many standard issues. On taxes, we should recognize the role they play in preserving the work-life balance. On performance-related pay, we should worry about its tendency to encourage the rat race. On mobility, we should consider its tendency to increase crime and weaken families and communities.
  • We should spend more time on helping the poor, especially in the Third World …..
  • We should spend more time on tackling the problem of mental illness. This is the greatest source of misery in the West …..
  • To improve family life, we should introduce more family-friendly practices at work – more flexible hours, more parental leave and easier access to child care.
  • We should subsidize activities that promote community life.
  • We should eliminate high unemployment….
  • To fight the constant escalation of wants, we should prohibit commercial advertising to children, as in Sweden. We should also cut tax allowances for pictorial advertising to adults by business.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need better education, including, for want of a better work, moral education.

A society cannot flourish without some sense of shared purpose. The current pursuit of self-realisation will not work. If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful, too lonely – you are set up to fail. Instead, you need to feel you exist for something larger, and that very thought takes off some pressure.

Monday, November 4, 2013

From ‘The Classic Tradition of Haiku. An Anthology’ Edited by Faubion Bowers

Westerners have described haiku (pronounced evenly hi-koo) as epigrams, snapshots or telegrams. Sir George Sansom …. Defined them as “little drops of poetic essence.” Harold Henderson ….dubbed them “meditations …. Starting points for trains of thought.”

In all their brevity, haiku do tell a story and paint a vivid picture, leaving it up to the reader or listener to draw the meanings out and complete them in the mind’s eye. Many poets embellished their writing with shorthand, brush-stroke drwaings. Each haiku also contains a hidden dualism: the near and the far, foreground and background, then and now, past and present, high and low, sound and silence, and temporality and eternity.
Haiku lovers look for specific words and images to help reveal the deeper layers of meaning that expand the scope of each poem.

In no other country [as in Japan] is poetry more deeply respected, or so pleasantly ubiquitous.

Socho (1448 - 1532)

Even at the time
When my father lay dying
I still kept farting.
-          Tr. By Donald Keene

Arakida Moritake (1472-1549)
A fallen blossom
returning to the bough, I thought -
But no, a butterfly
-          Tr. by Steven D. Carter

Matsunaga Teitoku (1571-1653)

For all alike
the cause of noontime napping
is the summer moon
-          Tr. by Earl Miner

…The idea is that the full moon is so beautiful that people of refinement stay up all night staring at it and composing poems. The next day, they sleep

Yamaguchi Sodo (1642-1716)

In my hut this spring,
There is nothing -
There is everything
-          Tr. by Reginald Horace Blyth

…A celebration of poverty, the joy of spring unencumbered by possessions (other than those of barest necessity)

Ichikawa Danjuro I (1660-1704)

Is it a foster child clinging to me?
The cricket in my bedding
-          Tr. by Laurence Kominz

…The great Kabuki artist was alone, performing in Kyoto. He was accustomed to his three children crawling in under his futon (quilts), but he had sent them back to Edo with his pregnant wife. Now, in his loneliness, he imagines himself a wet nurse to a cricket, an autumn insect of sadness.

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Old pond – frogs jumped in – sound of water
-          Tr. by Lafcadio Hearn

Basho’s most quoted hokku, considered the apogee for manifesting “eternity in tranquility.” Zen adepts take it to be symbolic of “instant wisdom” (satori)

frog pond …
a leaf falls in
without a sound
-          Tr. by Bernard Lionel Einbond

sleeping at noon
the body of the blue heron
poised in nobility
-          Tr. by Earl Miner

Quietness: seeping into the rocks, the cicada’s voice
-          Tr. by Hiroaki Sato

The roadside thistle, eager
To see the travelers pass,
Was eaten by the passing ass!
-          Tr. by Curtis Hidden Page

….Considered to be one of Basho’s pastoral masterpieces. Some interpret it as a moral, like the proverb “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

How reluctantly the bee emerges from
The depths of pistils of a peony!
-          Tr. by Asataro Miyamori

Ill on a journey
All about the dreary fields
Fly my broken dreams
-          Tr. by Edward G. Seidensticker

Mukai Kyorai (1651-1704)

A sabre! what has such to do
On one who comes to view the flowers?
-          Tr. by Basil Hall Chamberlain

Kawai Otokuni

O, insect! – think you that
Karma can be exhausted by song?
-          Tr. by Lafcadio Hearn

Kaga no Chiyo (1703-1775)

All round the rope a morning-glory clings
How can I break its beauty’s dainty spell?
I beg for water from a neighbour’s well.
-          Tr. by Clara M. Walsh

the frog observes
the clouds
-          Tr. by Patricia Donega and Yoshie Ishibashi

dawn’s separation
to dolls
-          Tr. by Patricia Donega and Yoshie Ishibashi

Dolls never know the loneliness of early morning when a womans’s lover has left after a night of love.

I wonder in what fields today
He chases dragonflies in play
My little boy who ran away.
-          Tr. by Curtis Hidden Page

..This haiku, one of the most moving in literature, was written by Chiyo after her only child died at the age of nine.

I’ve seen the moon
I sign my letter to the world
“Respectfully yours.”
-          Tr. by Faubion Bowers

…Chiyo’s deathbed verse….

Yosa Buson (1716-1783)

struck by a
raindrop, snail
closes up
-          Tr. by Janine Beichman

On the great temple bell
stopped from flight and sleeping
the small butterfly
-          Tr. by Earl Miner

hunter out before dawn
a dog scolds him on the far side of the fence
-          Tr. by Mark Morris

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

Oh, wont some orphan sparrow come and play with me.
-          Tr. by Max Bickerton

Come with me,
Lets play together, swallow
Without a mother
-          Tr. by Donald Keene

….Issa’s mother died when he was two…. He claimed he wrote this masterpiece of pathos at age 6. He used the word “sparrow,” however a picture Issa later drew to illustrate the poem shows a swallow.

Hey! Don’t swat:
the fly wrings his hands
on bended knees
-          Tr. by Faubion Bowers

Ah, the sad expression in the eyes of that caged bird -
envying the butterfly!
-          Tr. by Lafcadio Hearn

Under cherry-flowers
None are utter strangers.
-          Tr. by Asataro Miyamori

The nightingale sings in the same voice ever,
Even before his Lordship
-          Tr. by Asataro Miyamori

Get ready, get ready to die, the cherries say
-          Tr. by Hiroaki Sato

Falling cherry petals say
Hurry, hurry
Thy preparedness for death
-          Tr. by Ian Mutsu

Life’s brief moment on earth is like the cherry blossom’s short, three-day loveliness.

Ours is a world of suffering.
Even if cherry-flowers bloom
-          Tr. by Asataro Miyamori

The world of dew
Is a world of dew, and yet
And yet …
-          Tr. by Donald Keene

Issa’s most famous haiku. Written a month afte the death of his daughter in 1816.

Ichikawa Danjuro V (1741-1806)

Where are the rain-laden clouds bound
Borne on the wintry wind?
-          Tr. by Laurence Kominz

…His farewell poem, composed on his deathbed.

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)

I’ve turned by back
On Buddha
How cool the moon!
-          Tr. by Alex Kerr

…Written while staying in a temple guest room with an altar on the wall. He turns from it to gaze at the moonlight outside. Is he choosing beauty over religion?

Men are disgusting.
They argue over
The price of orchids
-          Tr. by Alex Kerr

Coming out to close the gate I end up listening to frogs
-          Tr. by Hiroaki Sato

I’m trying to sleep -
go easy
when you swat flies
-          Tr. by Burton Watson