Mar 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

A man can apprehend Truth at another’s intimation, but he will stray from it. Hence that is not so enlightening as apprehending it completely by himself. And he can secure a pleasure from an extraneous source, but he will lose it. Therefore that is less secure than an ecstasy from within.

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Feb 12 2017

Pure Happiness

Published by under Simple living

From The Way of Contentment (17th century, translated by Ken Hoshino in 1913), by Kaibara Ekken.

There is a happiness called pure happiness, and it is enjoyed by him who has neither too much nor too little. Though he is not recognised by the world and possesses neither position nor wealth, yet he enjoys his peace of mind and leisure hours. He lives in a house which is sufficient to protect him from wind and rain. He wears cotton cloth, and enjoys simple vegetable food. He reads books quietly, and enjoys poetry. To follow the teaching of the Sages is his delight, to see and feel the beauty of Nature his joy. Friends he has also who share with him this pure and simple pleasure in life.

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Feb 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

Mountains and forests are scenes of wonder. Once they are frequented by people, they are debased into market-places. Calligraphy and paintings are things of beauty. Once they are craved by people, they are degraded into merchandise.

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Jan 16 2017

The Need for Empty Places

Published by under Simple living

From The Serpent and the Wave: A Guide to Movement Meditation (1995), by Jalaja Bonheim.

To rebalance ourselves, we must consciously search out empty places. Spend some time in the desert or by the ocean. Lie down on a hillside and gaze into the sky, or into the infinity of a starlit night. Create an empty, uncluttered, yet beautiful space in your home—a room with white walls, a simple seat, and perhaps a flower, or a candle. Dare to spend more time alone, granting yourself moments of nothingness—of sitting quietly, breathing, just being. Such spaces of simplicity and non-doing are healing medicine. In the same way, the most healing movements are empty ones, free of intention and purpose. Like the wind, like the falling of snowflakes, they simply are. We need open spaces inside us. We should take care not to obliterate such spaces, for they are like the stained glass windows in a cathedral, letting in the sunlight.

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Jan 01 2017

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

The spirit of man communes with Heaven; the omnipotence of Heaven resides in man. Is the distance between Heaven and man very great?

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Dec 26 2016

The Vanity of Glory

Published by under Vanity of Glory

From The Divine Comedy, Volume 2, Purgatory (1320), by Dante Aligheri, translated by Charles Eliot Norton in 1892.

Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes hence and now comes thence, and changes name because it changes quarter. What more fame shalt thou have, if thou strippest old flesh from thee, than if thou hadst died ere thou hadst left the pap and the chink, before a thousand years have passed?—which is a shorter space compared to the eternal than a movement of the eyelids to the circle that is slowest turned in Heaven.

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Dec 11 2016

The Universe as One Living Being

Published by under Stoicism,Unitive Vision

From The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius , by Marcus Aurelius Antonius. (Written circa 170 CE; translated by George Long in 1862).

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the co-operating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web.

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Dec 01 2016

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

If a man aims at finding the ebb and flow of life in a decayed tree or withered grass, an inaudible sound or a savorless taste, he becomes a bellows for the fires of heaven and earth and a root to men and to objects.

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Nov 25 2016

The Two Halves of Human Consciousness

Published by under Unitive Vision

From Creative Meditation and Multi-Dimensional Consciousness (1984), by Anagarika Govinda.

Only he who, while fully recognizing and understanding his Western heritage, penetrates and absorbs the heritage of the East, can gain the highest values of both worlds and do justice to them. East and West are the two halves of our human consciousness, comparable to the two poles of a magnet, which condition and correspond to each other and cannot be separated. Only if man realizes this fact will he become a complete human being.

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Nov 01 2016

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

Those desolate door-steps where foxes crouch and those deserted terraces where rabbits ramble, might in olden days have been places for singing and dancing. There where yellow flowers are chilled by dew and where faded grass is obscured by mist, might once have been battlegrounds. Can prosperity and decline remain constant? Where are the victors and the vanquished of old?

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Oct 10 2016

Material Poverty, Spiritual Richness

Published by under Wabi-sabi

From Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (1994), by Leonard Koren.

Wabi-sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered. “Material poverty, spiritual richness” are wabi-sabi bywords. In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success–wealth, status, power, and luxury–and enjoy the unencumbered life.

Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things.

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Oct 01 2016

Garden of Serenity

Published by under Garden of Serenity

From A Chinese Garden of Serenity (1959), by Hung Tzu-ch’eng, translated by Chao Tze-chiang:

When a man contends for supremacy, he contends like the sparks flashed between two stones. How long can those sparks last? When he fights for victory, he fights in the horn of a snail. How large a world is that horn?

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