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My Favorite Quotes

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I will probably take all the bible quotes here and others, and soon do a separate note like the Qur’anic quotes one.

“The purpose of life is to find the gifts God gave you, the meaning of life is to give them away.” – Unsure

“People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.” – Kierkegaard

“Problems can never be solved with the same minds that created them.” – Einstein

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Ben Franklin

“Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”
— W.C. Fields

“It is better for the thinker to control the thoughts than for the thoughts to control the thinker.” – Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow
citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,”
– Ephesians 2:19

“There are only four questions in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? what is the spirit made of? what is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? the answer to each is the same. Only love. ”

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test
and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”-
Romans 12:2

The one who would be frequent in happiness must frequently change. (fortune cookie)

The eye is not strong enough to look at the brilliant sun,
But you can watch its light reflected in water.
Pure Being is too bright to behold,
yet it can be seen reflected in the mirror of this world …
Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In each atom lies the light of a thousand suns.
~Shabistari, The Secret Rose Garden

“No one is afraid of heights, they are afraid of the fall; No one is afraid to play, they are afraid to lose;
No one is afraid of the dark, they are afraid of what’s in it;
No one is afraid to say “I love you”, they are afraid of the response.” – some facebook thing

“When someone tells you you’re cute, they’re looking at your face.
When someone tells you you’re hot, they’re looking at your body.
When someone tells you you’re beautiful, they’re looking at your heart.” – another facebook thing

“God (Brahman) is one without a second. [Its] name is Truth. [She] is the creator, devoid of fear and enmity. He is immortal, unborn, and self-existent. [It] is truth, consciousness, and bliss. [She] is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. He is changeless and flawless.” – the Adi Granth (Sikhism)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. – a Christian evangelist

In the 0 dimension, there can only be 1 point, that is infinitely thin, short, and cramped. However, because there is only 1 single point, and no other, everything must exist at that point, whether a 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional, or 3 dimensional being. Because of that, we all share at least 1 point in the universe, with everything. – someone on a random online physics forum

Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath (/spirit); humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

Our problem is that inside us there’s a mind going, “Impossible, impossible, impossible. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” We have to banish that mind from this solar system. Anything is possible; everything is possible. Sometimes you feel that your dreams are impossible, but they’re not. Human beings have great potential; they can do anything. The power of the mind is incredible, limitless.
~~ Lama Yeshe ~~

Dr. Ekman once read to the Dalai Lama a passage from Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man that said one of humankind’s noblest virtues “seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings.” After hearing this, His Holiness told Dr Ekman, “I am a Darwinian.” – an online article which now escapes me

Winter Break Poems

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I wrote these a few months ago obviously, but I felt they were worth posting here, now.

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Escape Into Reality
December 16th, 2010

Poor men and women, poor families
going to the church, the temple, the mosque, and calling forth in prayer-
they lose sight of You in trance.

Poor swallowers of inebriating joys…
they are deaf and blind to the great
drunkenness-unparalleled.

Your being alone do I drink;
ne’er do I trance into myself,
but by the glorious sight of non-being.

I am drunk, my mind lost in Your beautiful oblivion.
Joys yet unbeknownst to Thine world.
You will show them.
One day.

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Suffer is Waste
December 24th, 2010

In the frame of a lifetime,
a joy is but a moment:
why be concerned?
Pain is but a moment:
why be concerned?
All shall come and pass.
Life too will come and pass:
why be concerned?
Strive to make use of the gift of
time.
Benefit others;
conquer self:
this is the inexorable,
and unending truth of happiness:
this is the truth of Love.
Love openly, but not loosely.
What you seek is right there.
Have no worry, have no fear.
Why be concerned
when you have Love to share?

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Reaching the Ocean
January 11th, 2011

The greatest endeavors, lost in time
But caught in the blink of an eye,
Do see the light of inward eternity,
And move on, til I give it a try.

Minutes age, and then become years;
This road has been littered with many tears.
But signposts abound, they compel me to fight,
To continue through these darkest of nights.

Thus this battle will prove to be won,
Or else I’ll find a new path to the sun.
Year or minute, it matters not-
For time is merely the veil of my lot.

I enter the now, reality crumbles to my feet
Embracing the will, even it i’ll defeat.
To the ground falls thought and ephemeral dream,
I’ve entered mind’s ocean of truth, so it seems.

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Time Will Fall
January 18th, 2011

O dear Meditation,
thrust me beyond the ways of the living,
beside the mind of the dead.
time will fall,
time will surely fall.
self will be broken,
will shall destroy
itself. but Action, thy ways
know me well.
by you i see the face of the
Transcendent. and across the gateway,
through the arches, do lie
contentment. but time,
surely it will fall,
so never do i suffer but the moment
i live before i enter
Eternity. like a raindrop enters
the vast sea; like this i am.

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Back: Longing
January 23rd, 2011

I’m back from an eternity of unity!
Back into the now, of time;
Back into the everything of stuff-ness;
Back into the being of existence.

I long to return to non-existence!
to be one again with Is;
to be the consciousness through consciousness;
to simply Be.

A List of My Favorite Quotes from the Qur’an

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Surah 1
Surah 2: 62 and 136
Surah 3: 64 and 133-34
Surah 4: 85
Surah 5: 46-48
Surah 7: 199
Surah 16: 97
Surah 19: 16-21
Surah 24: 35
Surah 29: 46
Surah 49: 13
Surah 70: 19-24
Surah 73
Surah 90: 12-17
Surah 103

This site has three translations of the Qur’an back-to-back, verse-by-verse. Look up these verses. Seriously. http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/

On Acts of Kindness Under the Eyes of God

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An act of kindness or compassion generates the same merit regardless of who does it; a prayer to God is the same regardless of the faith of the person presenting it; in sum: a good act is a good act. There is no double-standard with God. One cannot do God’s work without God; thus, the religion in question is irrelevant.

If people from religions A, B, C, and D all donate $100 to charity, whose donation was the greatest in God’s eyes? First let’s assume the religions are all completely differing in beliefs, especially about the nature of God, and that they all donated to the same charity. Now we must look at the two types of merit: merit derived through physical actions, and merit through non-physical actions or mental formations (thoughts and feelings). Now certainly, physically speaking the merit could differ in terms of the sacrifice each of these individuals made of their time, energy, and total amount of wealth (Bill Gates donating $100 is not the equivalent of a homeless man donating $100), but for the sake of argument here, we will assume that these men lead equally busy lives, doing the same profession, and have equal amounts of total wealth. This removes any confounding variables for our thought experiment.

Now, I have heard the argument that God would favor the person following religion “X,” because they are donating in the name of “X’s” deity, which is the proper deity. I have also heard the argument that it is anyone but the follower of religion “X,” because they are all ignorant of the “truth” and are thereby committing the good act without the help of [proper deity X] and simply from the kindness of their own heart alone (not that this will save the person from eternal torment in hell). The really cracker-jack people (sarcasm) would say that only followers of religion X are committing a virtuous deed, and that all others are not really virtuous deeds, but are simply deceptions induced by evil which are meant to trick the good followers of X away from [proper deity X].

But today I submit to you for your own consideration that it is the intention and emotion with which the person donates the money which determines the amount of non-physical merit in God’s eyes. If person from religion A gives the money with pride in his heart, person from religion B gives the money with regret and attachment to the money, person from religion C gives the money because “deity C ‘said so’,” and person from religion D gives the money out of nothing at all but genuine compassion and kindness for the people benefiting from the donation, it will be the person from religion D whose act is most favored by the “supreme deity” whether it’s deity A, B, C, or D. If all act from true compassion and kindness, then it will be the levels of genuine compassion and kindness they each possess by which the merit or virtue of their actions is judged. And true compassion is always a more favorable reason than “because God said so.” Biblical example: Mark 12:41-44 and/or Luke 21:1-4

What follows from this conclusion is that virtue acted out from the genuine emotions of compassion and kindness are more favorable to God than acting simply because God commanded us to. God says in the scriptures of the world to love your neighbor, not just to act kindly toward him/her, but to actually have the emotion of compassion, kindness, or if realized enough: agape (transcendent, unconditional, non-dual love) – or bodhicitta for my readers familiar with Buddhist terminology. Truly virtuous and moral actions by any individual are thus inherently following God.

As for the side of prayer, any prayer is inherently directed to the same thing. The nature of the functioning of the mind itself necessitates that prayer go in the direction of what we call in the West: God. If one prays, they are establishing a relationship with God, and it does not matter by which name the individual refers to God. If you have the gall, the audacity, the sheer pretentiousness required to assert that another’s prayer is illegitimate, then you really need to look at yourself in the mirror of discriminating awareness and reflect internally on the nature of yourself and your faith.

Godliness is measured by communion with that which is the most Transcendent and Immanent, the Ultimate Reality, the seed of the clear light of consciousness itself, and, in addition, by one’s virtuous and moral actions in relation to others. To deny others of this is not only wrong, but utterly disgraceful.

The New Christianity

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John 14:10-12:
“[10] Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. [11] Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. [12] Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
and John 14:20:
“[20] On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
when taken together imply directly that God is within you. And through that, you can do essentially anything (“greater works than Christ” basically implies doing anything). Furthermore, Luke records Christ’s explanation that the “Kingdom of God/Heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21), where “Kingdom of God/Heaven” has been described as in its simplest form “being with God for eternity.” The conclusion one must draw from the Bible if looking at explicit verses is that our most basic nature is God. The deepest part of our being is God, and if you can fully take Christ as an example, you can tap into that infinite potential. Conclusion: according to the Bible we all have Christ-nature at the deepest level of our being, just as Buddha taught that we have Buddha-nature, and Krishna taught that we have a soul synonymous with God which is Him.

The implications which follow from this are needless to say, highly profound, as everything expounded by the Eastern religions (and Buddhism in particular) now becomes highly relevant to Christians. Having “an eternal unity with God” with you (Luke 17:21) and being one with the one who is one with God (Christ [John 14:20]) are fairly clear in delineating our unity with the Absolute. If that’s not enough John 14:12 says that through realizing this unity with the Absolute we obtain something akin to omnipotence. I’ll be continuing this look at how Christians can learn valuable lessons from Eastern texts that take this conclusion further in future posts.

I Wonder…

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I wonder what the truth really is.
Do we really know it?
Maybe some religions hold the truth
And others don’t.
Maybe none of them do.
Maybe it’s just certain fortunate individuals who’ve found the truth
Maybe it’s just God who knows the truth,
And that’s why he’s God.
Or perhaps God is truth.
Maybe all the religions hold the truth somewhere
Maybe everything in life is permeated by truth to some degree
And also falsity.
Maybe we have souls separate from the aggregate of our psycho-physical constituents
Maybe we don’t have souls.
Maybe the mind is the soul.
Maybe morality exists.
Maybe it doesn’t.
If it does, maybe that’s the meaning of life.
Perhaps there is no meaning of of life.
Does the meaning of life relate to the nature of reality?
Does it relate to morality, or the mind, or truth, or God?
Probably, but I don’t know.
Can we know truth?
Can we know the mind?
Can we know reality, or God?
Certainly we can know God.
Or maybe not.
Is he personal or impersonal?
Maybe he’s both.
Is he a “he”?
Or a “she”?
Is she transcendent or immanent?
Maybe she’s both.
Or perhaps she’s an “it”
Maybe it’s within all of us.
Maybe it’s completely beyond us.
Maybe it’s the Creator.
Or maybe everything just was and will be for eternity
Is love the greatest human faculty?
Or maybe the capacity for enlightenment.
Maybe we can’t reach enlightenment.
Does God exist?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Or maybe God exists, but not as we’ve known God to exist.
Does existence exist?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Or maybe it exists, but not as we tend to think it exists.
Is there worth to asking these questions?
Maybe there is.
Or maybe the worth lies solely in the answers.
Maybe these questions are all of what it is to be human.
Maybe mystery is what breathes life into instruments by the hands of miniature creators,
Mimicking God.
Maybe mystery is what drives poets and adventurers mad with passion.
Maybe it drove Einstein, Lao-tze, Christ, and Muhammad.
Maybe mystery permeates the greatest sacred books the world has ever known.
Maybe it’s mystery which creates beauty and happiness and peace.
Maybe mystery is the greatest thing that we can know.
How funny would that be! The greatest wisdom is ignorance!
Or maybe not.

Strengthening the Will

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Willpower is one of the greatest gifts of humankind. It gives us self-control. In the words of an acquaintance: “If you can’t control yourself, someone else will.” Emotion is one of the strongest sources of lost control. This is why it’s so essential to remember that even if you are hurting emotionally, you don’t necessarily have to be hurting in other areas of your mind. We really shouldn’t break down and lose the ability to think when we’re in emotional pain. When we’re angry we often say and do things we don’t mean to people and hurt them. This is because our emotion consumes the rest of our mind and handicaps our rationality. It’s fine to feel anger, but our rationality should never go by the wayside. If we don’t have control, then we’ve given up our will, and our will is quite possibly the greatest gift we have. That’s the point of fasting, for instance: to strengthen our will power.

Strong will means strong love, too. The love of someone with more willpower is more valuable than the love of one who has next to no willpower and is at the mercy of their innate tendencies because it comes from a place of true compassion or intentional devotion rather than their biological desire for the person. Innate tendencies push us to be what we don’t want to be. It takes a great deal of strength to assure otherwise. Emotions in part are natural reactions to things, but they don’t have to consume us so far that we lose the rest of our mind. If we do, that indicates a lack of willpower and self-control. Animals cannot control their emotions and think rationally. We as humans have the amazing gift (and duty) to be above that, and fully utilize our will.

Emotion is not the only source of lost control. More commonly it is the senses which reduce our will. Pleasures of tongue, touch, smell, eye, and ear bind us, while avoiding certain things unpleasant to the senses helps secure that bondage. In the spirit of this i’ve outlined the sense experiences in my life which i most need to gain control over:

1.) Sleep – My inability to control my sleepy mind and to retain full awareness when tired; the inability to force myself to wake up after taking a nap.
2.) Eating and drinking – i’ve pretty much gotten control over my drinking habits by drinking water almost exclusively for the last couple weeks. i was nearly addicted to soda and energy drinks, but now they are beneath me, and it hasn’t been too hard to maintain. In terms of eating however, i’ve had little luck. When i eat typically i don’t feel full until i feel sick. Actually even then i still usually feel hungry, which i attribute to the food i eat. Delicious food is extremely attractive to my sense of taste, and i don’t have much command over it. i also typically have eaten anything and everything put in front of me. Now i’m avoiding sugar and meat as much as possible (sugar makes me crash and the meat makes me groggy because of the energy it takes to digest it).
3.) Exercise – i have avoided exercise thus-far in my life because i don’t like to feel tired, nor the minor discomfort of physical exertion. Now i’m attempting daily exercise, however minimal such as push-ups, sit-ups, yoga, jogging, etc. Anything at all really.
4.) Sexuality – i am a teenage boy. so sexual desire comes with the territory. a firm reminder to control myself so as not to let sexual thoughts arise, or to prevent sexual arousal is a MASSIVE test of my willpower.

We’ll see how these new lifestyle changes go from now on, as i don’t plan to stop at any point if i can help it. Hopefully my willpower will be strengthened significantly to increase my ability in focus and concentration, especially in meditation. The added willpower i will gain from this will go to my effort in trying to always bear in mind patience, and awareness of the present moment, awareness of the dream-like nature of phenomena (for dream yoga), and awareness of my innate Buddha-nature and capacity to affect the world as an enlightened being one day. In addition it will go to my simply trying to get my work done.

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