Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drink Deep of Learning

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."

From Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Peace and Joy

"Consider the subtlness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide underwater, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. . . . Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in ourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the sorrows of the half-lived life. (Emphasis added.)"

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, at p. 293. The latter part of this quote (which inspired me to read, and finish this time, Melville's transcendental masterpiece) was brought to my attention in There's A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, an audiobook on CD by Wayne Dyer. This beautiful quote, that captures the inner serenity and absolute paradise of the soul which is surrounded and encumbered by the fears, unquenchable desires and "the terrors" of relative, everyday life is the subject of a wonderful essay in Wayne Dyer's masterful book about his greatest spiritual teachers,"Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days to Enlightenment".

Reclaiming Equanimity

"When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it."

Marcus Aurelius, neo-Platonist philosopher and Emperor of Rome, from Meditations(6:11), written by "The Last of the Five Good Emperors" while leading the Roman Legions on the battlefields on the Germanic Plain.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Battle for Happiness

"The battle for happiness is fought and won or lost primarily within the mind. The mind is the absolute key, both to enlightenment and to life. When the mind is peaceful, aware, and under your command,you will be securely happy. When your mind is unaware of its true nature, constantly in turmoil, and in command of you, you will suffer endlessly."

Robert Thurman, "Infinite Life: Awakening to Bliss Within" (Riverhead books, New York: 2004, p. 35). Robert Thurman, a close friend and student of the Dalai Lama, was the first Westerner initiated as a full monk in the Tibetan Bhuddist tradition, before doffing the monk's robes and returning to New York where he is a prolific author, lecturer and tenured Professor at Columbia University. Mr. Thurman's efforts on behalf of humanity in spreading the Bhudda's great message of liberation and on behalf of the Tibetan people struggling to preserve their culture and their message for humanity about Tibet's millennia old experiment in inner spiritual and cultural transcendence have been tireless. It was Mr. Thurman who first turned the Wheel of the Dharma for me as I struggled towards a near fatal life-crisis, when I viewed a recording of the second of his three-part lectures for Tibet House on the Bhudda, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What is Bliss?: Part 1

"Bliss it is in THIS dawn to be alive!"

Message written in red chalk on Andrew Harvey's hotel room door by a friend in Stockholm, December 1989, during the week in which His Holiness, the Dalai Lama was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. From Mr. Harvey's Introduction to "Essential Teachings", by H.H., the Dalai Lama (North Atlantic Books, Berkely, CA: 1995, p. xiii). Andrew Harvey is the author/editor of a number of excellent books on comparative religions, spirituality, metaphysics, mysticism etc., including "The Essential Mystics: The Soul's Journey Into Truth" (Castle Books, Edison, NJ: 1996).