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#2013 - Saturday, December 25, 2004 - Editor: Gloria      


"Peace and Universal Love is the essence
of the Gospel preached by all
Enlightened Ones.
The Lord has preached that equanimity
is the dharma.
Forgive do I all creatures,
and let all creatures forgive me.
Unto all have I amity, and unto none enmity.
Know that violence is the root cause of
all miseries in the world.
Violence, in fact, is the knot of bondage.
'Do not injure any living being.'
This is the eternal, perennial, and unalterable
way of spiritual life.
A weapon, howsoever powerful it may be,
can always be superseded by a superior one;
however, no weapon can be superior to non-violence and love."

~Jain Prayer of Peace

posted to Daily Dharma  


  if you pass your night
  if you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart
what do you think will happen

if the entire world
is covered with the blossoms
you have labored to plant
what do you think will happen

if the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the desert and towns
what do you think will happen

if because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives
what do you think will happen

if you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the head of those already drunk
what do you think will happen

go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies
if you touch their hearts
what do you think will happen


Translated by Nader Khalili
'Rumi, Fountain of Fire'


A Christmas Story  

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."

Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

author unknown, contributed by Rick Grunwald


"Snowy Path to Nowhere" by Alan Larus  

reposted by Mazie Lane  


   On this Christmas Eve, something by the Catholic monk, Thomas Merton who did so much to bridge the spirituality of East and West.

Regardless of faith, belief, tradition, or practice, may the renewal of light at this time of year renew in all of us life and hope and peace.

Blessings,
Ivan
============

Thought for the Day:

All of mysticism comes down to this:

to recognize
what is already
and always there.
     ============

Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

     

O Sweet Irrational Worship

By Thomas Merton
(1915 - 1968)

Wind and a bobwhite
And the afternoon sun.

By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,

Bird and wind.

My leaves sing.

I am earth, earth

All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.

A tall, spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.

When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire
When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!

I am earth, earth

My heart's love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
Stand reflected.

I am earth, earth

Out of my grass heart
Rises the bobwhite.

Out of my nameless weeds
His foolish worship.

--from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton


Question: Going back to the question of how to determine who is and who is not a jnani, can we not come to some valid conclusion by studying his life and his teachings? Will not his state be somehow reflected in the life he leads?

 

Annamalai Swami: You cannot determine the answer to this question by studying the teachings or the behaviour of a person you think might be a jnani. These are not reliable indicators. Some jnanis may stay silent; others may talk a lot. Some are active in the world; some withdraw from it. Some end up as teachers while others are content to stay hidden. Some behave like saints, whereas others act like madmen. The same peace can be found in the presence of all these beings, since this peace is not affected by modes of behaviour, but there may be no other common factors.

        

Question: Jnanis are supposed to have an equality of vision. Can we not decide whether someone may be a jnani on the basis of whether he treats people around him equally?

 

Annamalai Swami: Jnanis remain absorbed in the Self at all times and their apparent behaviour is just a reflection of the circumstances they find themselves in. Some may appear to be egalitarian. Others may not. They play their allotted roles, and though they may seem to be involved in them as ordinary people would be, they are not really touched by any of the events that occur in their lives. Equal vision may be there, internal equanimity may be there, but don’t expect all jnanis to behave in a prescribed, egalitarian way.

Bhagavan often used to cite King Janaka as an example of a jnani who was fully involved in the affairs of the world. But when his palace caught fire and was burning to the ground, he was the only person in the vicinity who was not disturbed.

            In this same story there was a group of sadhus who lived near the palace. When the fire began to spread, they panicked and began to collect their sticks, their spare kaupinas, their water pots, and so on. They had very few possessions, but they were still very attached to them, and they definitely didn’t want to lose them to the fire. They were more worried about their spare underwear than Janaka was about his palace. Janaka watched his palace burn to the ground with complete equanimity. When you have this jnana, your inner peace is a solid rock that cannot be disturbed.

 

ANNAMALAI  SWAMI, FINAL TALKS

edited by DAVID GODMAN

 

posted on MillionPaths

 


photo by Alan Larus

 

You, you only, exist
Rainer Maria Rilke


You, you only, exist.
We pass away, till at last,
our passing is so immense
that you arise: beautiful moment,
in all your suddenness,
arising in love, or enchanted
in the contraction of work.

To you I belong, however time may
wear me away. From you to you
I go commanded. In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up: look:
all becomes festival!

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

posted on AlphaWorld

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