Thomas a Kempis : The Imitation of Christ

Thomas a kempisAccording to our resolution so is the rate of our progress, and much diligence is needful for him who would make good progress.  For if he who resolveth bravely oftentimes falleth short, how shall it be with him who resolveth rarely or feebly?  But manifold causes bring about abandonment of our resolution,  yet a trivial omission of holy exercises can hardly be made without some loss to us.

Strive as earnestly as we may, we shall still fall short in manythings.  Always should some distinct resolution be made by us; and, most of all, we must strive against those sins which most easily beset us.

If thou canst not be always examining thyself, thou canst at certain seasons, and at least twice in the day, at evening and at morning.  In the morning make thy resolves, and in the evening inquire into thy life, how thou hast sped to-day in word, deed, and thought;

All cannot have one exercise, but one suiteth better to this man and another to that.  Even for the diversity of season different exercises are needed.

Book one – chap XIX

Thomas A Kempis 1380-1471

 

 

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Empty Cloud : In the pure single-mindedness of my meditation

Empty Cloud  A Chinese Zen Master (1840-1960)

Long before the time of his death in 1959 at the venerable age of 120 on Mount Yun-ju, Jiangxi Province, Master Xu-yun’s name was known and revered in every Chinese Buddhist temple and household, having become something of a living legend in his own time. His life and example has aroused the same mixture of awe and inspiration in the minds of Chinese Buddhists as does a Milarepa for the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, remarkable in view of the fact that Xu-yun lived well into our own era, tangibly displaying those spiritual powers that we must otherwise divine by looking back through the mists of time to the great Chan adepts of the Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties. They were great men whose example still inspires many today, but in many cases, we have scant details as to their lives as individuals, outside their recorded dialogues or talks of instruction.

 My 56th year (1895/96) : Abbot Yue-Iang of the Gaomin Monastery at Yangzhou came to Jiu-hua and informed us that one of his patrons by the name of Zhu had promised to give financial support for twelve weeks of meditation, including the current four weeks. He also informed us that the old Master Fa-ren of Chi-shan had returned to his monastery and that he hoped all of us would go there to assist him in supervising the meditation weeks. When the opening date drew near, I was asked to leave the mountain fírst. When I reached Digang Harbour at Da-tong, I walked following the river bank. The river was rising and I wanted to cross it but the boatman asked me for six coins; as 1 was penniless, the boat left without me. Walking on, I suddenly slipped and fell into the water and thus bobbed on the current for one day and night until I drifted to Cai-shi Jetty, where a fisherman caught me in his nets by chance.

 As I wore a monk’ s robe, he called a monk from Bao-ji Temple who recognised me as we had previously stayed together at the Jin-shan Monastery.He was frightened for my life and exclaimed, ‘This is Master De-qing!’ (ie. Xu-yun, ordained as De-qing). I was subsequently carried to the temple where I was revived. As a result of the battering which I had received in the swift current, I bled from the mouth, nose, anus and genital organ.

After a few days’ stay at Bao-ji Temple, I went on to the Gao-min Monastery. When I saw the director of duties (karmadana) there, he saw that I looked pale and thin, and asked if I was well, I replied that I was not. He then called on Abbot Yue-Iang who, after inquiring about Mount Jiu-hua where I had been, immediately asked me to take up a temporary post at the forthcoming meditation-weeks. I politely declined his request, saying nothing about my fall into the water, asking only that I be allowed to attend the meditation meeting.

According to Gao-min Monastery’s rules of discipline, to reject a post given by the Abbot was regarded as an affront to the whole monastic community. Thus, I was found to be an offender and punished by being beaten with a wooden ruler. While I willingly accepted this punishment, it did aggravate my illness. I bled continuously and also passed drops of seminal fluid in my urine. Waiting for my end, I sat firmly in the meditation hall day and night with increasing zeal. In the pure single-mindedness of my meditation, I forgot all about my body and twenty days later, my illness vanished completely.

 When the Abbot of Cai-shi Jetty carne with an offering of garments for the assembly, he was reassured and delighted to see that my appearance was radiant. He then spoke of my fall into the water and all the monks held me in great esteem. I was thus spared the trouble of working in the hall and could continue my meditation.

Henceforth, with all my thoughts brought to an abrupt halt, my practice-took effect throughout day and night. My steps were as swift as if I were flying in the air. One evening after the set meditation period, I opened my eyes and suddenly perceived a great brightness similar to broad daylight wherein everything inside and outside the monastery was discernible to me.

The autobiography of the chinese zen master Xu Yun (elements books)

 

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Swami Ramdas : What is Yoga ?

 

swami-ramdas-pictureYoga is not a thing to be merely talked about, read in books, and heard through others. Yoga is for practice in life. Yoga which does not soften the heart and fill it with the pure emotion of love, compassion, and peace is not worth the name. Real concentration of mind and meditation of God in the chamber of his heart does bring about an enormous change in the devotee. His transformed life becomes a beacon light for others. Through thought, word, and deed he pours out love and bliss upon all. If not to live such a life, what use is there for someone to speak of and wish to hear of yoga ?

Swami Ramdas  The Divine Life

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Edward Salim Michael : exercise in the street

paris1980-1While he is walking in the street, he will need not only to be continually listening to the particular sound within his head and his ears mentioned earlier, but he must also, while he is looking at anything, try to perceive and to encompass simultaneously out of the corners of his eyes all the various movements that come into his field of vision and to maintain this simultaneous perception for the duration. Wherever he turns his head, when his gaze is attracted by any sort of object or movement, he needs to remain, without interruption, conscious and concentrated on all the other movements that are taking place to his left, to his right, in front of him—and even to try to sense those that are happening behind him.

Somehow the visual organs constantly capture all that enters into their field of perception (and not only the object looked at), but the problem lies in the fact that human beings are never conscious of what is also being transmitted at the edge of their field of vision; moreover, in their customary state of being, they do not really look at the object in front of them. Everything that presents itself to their eyes is, so to speak, vaguely perceived.

At the same time that he is looking at something, the seeker needs to also succeed in being conscious not only of the thing seen, but also of all the other objects or movements that are perceived to the side, even down to their shapes and colors—but which, because of this curious absence to himself, ordinarily escape him.

He will discover that it is very difficult for him, at the beginning, to accept letting go of his futile preoccupations and imaginings (which ceaselessly go around in his head without purpose) to remain simultaneously conscious of and concentrated on all these different movements that are occurring around him; in a very short time, he will notice that his field of vision has narrowed and become fixed on a single movement at a time, whereas all the other movements will withdraw into the background and once again become vague. He will, once again, be immured within himself, in his customary state of diurnal sleep and, so to speak, absent, plunged into his habitual daydreams and futile torments. He will look, but he will no longer see.

If the aspirant finds within himself the strength to “hold” this exercise long enough, without allowing his concentration, on both the sound within his ears and the totality of the movements taking place around him in all directions, to slacken even for a moment, the field of his consciousness will gradually expand; an expansion of his consciousness will take place within him and, with this expansion of his consciousness, he will feel not only an astonishing liberation from what he habitually is, but also that he has been relieved of a heavy burden.

Through this exercise, he will not fail to notice that, every time this expansion of his consciousness takes place within him (as a result of sustained concentration on the various movements around him), it will be accompanied by this strange liberation of himself and that, every time he loses this expansion of his consciousness, his field of vision will also shrink and he will once again become absent and immured internally in a world that is so narrow and illusory.

So as to help him further in this difficult spiritual journey, it is necessary once again to emphasize something already mentioned several times, but that the aspirant must always remember, that is, the more one does, the more one will be able to do, and the less one does, the less one will be able to do. In reality, the problem with human beings does not lie in the fact that they cannot do, but rather that they do not want to do.

The Supreme Quest Chap 19

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The Buddha speaks : The right method

buddha teachingA puzzled seeker asked the Buddha : “I have heard that some of your disciples meditate with expectations, others meditate with no expectations, and yet others are indifferent to the result. What is the best ?

The Buddha answered : Whether they meditate with or without expectations, if they have the wrong ideas and the wrong methods, they will not get any fruits from their meditations. Think about it. Suppose some people want to have some oil and put sand into a bowl, then sprinkle it with salt. However much they press it they will not get oil, for that is not the method. Others are in need of milk. They start pulling the horn of a young cow. Whether they have any expectations or not, they will not get any milk out of the horn for that’s not the method. Or if some people fill a jar with water and churn it in order to get butter, they will be left only with water.

But if seekers meditate with a wholesome attitude, with right intention and mindfulness, then whether they have expectations of not, they will gain insight. It’s like filling a bowl with oil seeds and pressing them or milking a cow by pulling the udder or filling a jar with cream and churning it. It’s the right method.

Majjhima Nikaya

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Einstein on God : The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion – video

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The  religion  of  the  future  will  be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.

 

 

 

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Jetsunma Yenzin Palmo : Bringing meditation in our daily life

Capture d’écran 2016-07-10 à 15.21.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is no greater obstacle to God than time – Meister Eckhart

Maitre Eckart

 

« Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time. And not only time, but temporalities, not only temporal things, but temporal affections, not only temporal affections but the very taint and smell of time. »

Meister Eckhart

 

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Bede Griffith : the woundedness of our human nature

bedegriffithslrg“To enter deeply into meditation is to enter into the mystery of suffering love. It is to encounter the woundedness of our human nature. We are all deeply wounded from our infancy and bear these wounds in the unconscious. The repetition of the mantra is a way of opening these depths of the unconsciousness and exposing them to light. It is first of all to accept our woundedness and thus to realize that this is part of the wound of humanity. All the weaknesses we find in ourselves and all the things that upset us, we tend to try to push aside and get rid of. But we cannot do this. We have to accept that “this is me” and allow grace to come and heal it all. That is the great secret of suffering, not to push it back but to open the depths of the unconscious and to realize that we are not isolated individuals when we meditate, but are entering into the whole inheritance of the human family.”

Bede Griffith Beyond the Darkness (by Shirley du Boulay)

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Edward Salim Michael : Changing the past

Edouard  Salim MICHAEL

As the past and the future converge at every instant in the present, the seriousness with which a motivated aspirant accomplishes his spiritual practice in the present (meditation or other exercises) is not only tracing the future for him, but in the most mysterious and ordinarily incomprehensible manner, it is also changing the past, so that it will no longer be able to repeat itself in the same way. (…)

It is only “now” that one can escape the tyranny of Time, because it is “now” that liberates us from the flow of Time and of becoming, and connects us to Eternity. And, being conscious of oneself in the present in a very particular manner constitutes the key that opens the gate to Eternity.

Edward Salim Michael The Supreme Quest

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