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"Trees are Sanctuaries" by Herman Hesse (Sep 19, 2016)

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Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow…

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The Golden Eternity" by Jack Kerouac

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The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks don't see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.

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"The Fallacy of Togetherness" by Osho

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Make friends with those who are on the path at least as much as you are. If they do not take you forward, at least they do not become a reason to move you backward on your quest. If this is not possible, just walk alone. The companionship of fools is not good. Remember one thing, you have come alone in this world and will leave this world alone. The togetherness ideal is just a way to make you feel better. That is why it is important to learn the art of solitude. In the company of a person who has gone deeper into themselves, you will feel their company as well as solitude…

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A Spiritual Conspiracy by Author Unknown

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On the surface of the Earth exactly now there is war and violence and everything looks horrible.  But, simultaneously, something quiet, calm and hidden is happening and certain people are being called by a higher light. A quiet revolution is settling from the inside out.  From bottom to top. It is a global operation. A spiritual conspiracy. There are cells from this operation in every nation on the planet…

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"Confucius Quotes"

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“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Confucius

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
Confucius

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Confucius

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Confucius

“He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”
Confucius

and MORE…

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"The Waves and the Ocean are One - We and God are One" by Atman Nityananda

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The waves are one with the ocean. Both are sea water. The waves are only an expression of the ocean. The ocean is permanent and the waves are impermanent. The ocean is the substratum and the waves the phenomenon that appears due to and in the substratum. But the waves never stop to be the ocean.


Similarly we are a wave in the ocean of bliss-consciousness. We as a human being we are both: the ocean of Bliss-consciousness and as a wave a body-mind entity. 
Between the body and the consciousness arises the ego. The body and ego are insentient, impermanent, changeable and  subject to death. The consciousness is self-existent, sentient, immortal and eternal and is the permanent substratum that appears the impermanent waves - the human beings as a body-mind entity…


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"Buddha's Flower Sermon "

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"Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.

But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.

The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.

When at last the Buddha came to Mahakasyapa, the disciple smiled, bowed to the Buddha, and said, “I understand”.

And thus, a special transmission of the dharma was given to Mahakasyapa, who Zen Buddhists attribute as the first patriarch of Zen.

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Is the Universe Friendly? by Albert Einstein

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"I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
"For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons…

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"Surrendering To The Stream" (excerpt) Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

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The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. [...]
Siddhartha listened. He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything. He felt that he had now completely learned the art of listening. He'd often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. He could no longer distinguish the different voices--the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice. The all belonged to each other: the lament of those who…

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"The Formula" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like?”

But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?

He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.

They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.

The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.

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"Cultivate Well-roundedness" from JamesBaquet.com

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It seems the happiest people I know can whoop it up with friends on Saturday night and attend church with great conviction on Sunday.

They can chat with equal amiability with college professors and construction workers, with police officers and prostitutes, with ministers and mine workers.

They can have fun in a disco or on a mountain trail, can be at peace in traffic or in tranquility…

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"The Explorer" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The explorer returned to his people, who were eager to know about the Amazon. But how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded his heart when he saw exotic flowers and heard the night-sounds of the forest; when he sensed the danger of wild beasts or paddled his canoe over treacherous rapids?

He said, “Go and…

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"Right and Wrong"

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When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case…

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"Thomas Aquinas Stops Writing" - (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw.”

How could it be otherwise when the scholar becomes a seer?…

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"The Wise Woman’s Stone" - Author Unknown

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A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation….

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"Autobiography in Five Chapters" by Portia Nelson
by Portia Nelson

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Chapter 1
 
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
 
Chapter 2
 
I walk…

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The Book of Serenity - "Dizang’s Planting the Fields"

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Dizang asked Xiushan, “Where do you come from?” Xiushan said, “From the South.” Dizang said, “How is Buddhism in the South these days?” Xiushan said, “There is extensive discussion”” Dizang said, “How can that compare to me here planting the fields and making rice to eat?” Xiushan said, “What can you do about the world?” Dizang said, “What do you call the world?”


Time and again during question and answer sessions after a Zen lecture, someone will ask: ‘What is the use of just sitting in silent meditation when there is so much suffering in the world?’ This question is usually meant as…

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"The Pointer" — a Zen Story

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The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master.
The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game.
On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.

“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are…

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"Moving to a New City" (a parable) —Unknown

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There was a person coming to a new village, re-locating, and he was wondering if he would like it there, so he went to the zen master and asked: do you think I will like it in this village?
Are the people nice?  

The master asked back: "How…

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"If You Love, Love Openly" — Zen Story

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Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master.

Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain.
Several monks secretly fell in love with her.
One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.

Eshun did not reply…

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"Taming the Mind" — Zen Parable

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After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then…
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"Where Can I Find a Man Who Has Forgotten Words?" by Chuang Tzu

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“The purpose of a fish trap
is to catch fish,
and when the fish are caught
the trap is forgotten.

The purpose of a rabbit snare
is to catch rabbits.
When the rabbits…

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“The Beloved” (from New Mother, New Earth Night Songs) by N

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My Beloved emerges and
arises from within
divinely created moments
to surprise and startle me awake
from my human slumbering
talks to me in rumbling thunderstorms
in whirling …

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"Trust" by Mooji

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Trust is the great key!
First look at what mistrust brings you
then you have a sense of what trust is.
Mistrust shuts you down, hides you away.
Trust opens you up to the fullness of life.

There was a time when ship builders
would carve a figure out of wood at the front of the boat.
I found it so beautiful…

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“Endless Ages” by Bodhidharma

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Through endless ages, the mind has never changed.
It has not lived or died, come or gone, gained or lost.
It isn’t pure or tainted, good or bad, past or future,
true or false, male or female.

It isn’t reserved for monks or lay people,
elders to youths, masters or idiots,..


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"Surrender" by Doreen Davis

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Surrender to Spirit,
          not to form and objects
            whose heaviness feigns fullness,
But to timeless Spirit
            which lifts and lightens in its wholeness.

Surrender to Vision,
            not to vision that comes from eyes
            and…

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“Blessing” by Aeterna Lumen

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This is a union of souls, and hearts, and time. Whispers of the universe swirling and colliding until the particles finally configure and align. Lessons are learned as we travel this world. We can travel the perimeter or take the plunge into the center to seek and understand its core.

She walks in beauty as the night leaving behind…

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"Quotes from Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse

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“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”….

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Tao Te Ching 34 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd

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The great Way is all-pervading.
It reaches to the left and to the right.
All things depend on it with their existence.
Still it demands no obedience.
It demands no honor for what it accomplishes.
It clothes and feeds all things without ruling them.

It is eternally without desire.
So, it can be called…

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Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd

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The Way gives birth to them.
Virtue gives them nourishment.
Matter gives them shape.
Conditions make them whole.

Therefore:
Of all things,
None does not revere the Way and honor virtue.
Reverence of the Way…

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"The Mystical Theology" (excerpt) by Pseudo-Dionysius

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Chapter Four
So this is what we say. The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor be touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion…

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"In Silence" by Thomas Merton

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Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

name.
Listen
to the living walls.

Who are you?…
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"The Saint" — Buddha

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There is no suffering for the one
who has completed the journey,
who is freed from sorrow,
who has freed oneself on all sides,
who has thrown off all chains.

The thoughtful exert themselves;
they do not delight in a home;
like swans who have…
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"The Thinking Mind" (Zen Tale) by Charlie Badenhop

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Many years ago there was a young man living in a large city in Japan who felt his life was quite empty. With the hope of achieving a state of inner peace, he shaved his head and went to live in the mountains as a monk.

After studying diligently for ten years, the man realized he still didn't understand how to live with a sense of emotional fulfillment. Talking with other disciples, the young monk heard of a highly evolved Zen master living in China. He was drawn to study with this man with the hope of finally realizing his true self. He gathered his meager belongings, crossed the sea of Japan, and started a long and arduous journey across arid plains.

Every day he walked for many hours, and would stop for the evening only after finding a patch of land that had a natural source of water safe for drinking. After traveling in this manner for more than a month, he had the strange sensation of feeling…

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THE TAO IS SILENT — Preface (excerpt) p. xi by Raymond M. Smullyan

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When I first came across the Taoist writings, I was infinitely delighted. I did not feel that I was reading something strange or exotic, but that I was reading the very thoughts I have had all my life, only expressed far better than I have ever been able to express them. To me,
Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined with an intense aesthetic awareness. Neither alone is adequate; a purely passive serenity is kind of dull, and an anxiety-ridden awareness is not very appealing. A Chinese friend of mine (of the modern school) recently criticized Taoism as a philosophy of “having one’s cake and eating it too.” I replied…

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"Uni-Verse" by Doreen Davis

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One Song.

Sense the rhythms of the Earth.
 
Place your feet upon her heart
and let your blood pulse to her tempo.

Feel the chants in winds and waters echo.

Search for melodies in stars and space –
Heaven’s notes infuse your Soul.

Angels …

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“The Great Way” by Wu Men

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“THE GREAT WAY”
by Wu Men

The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.
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"The Taoist Sage" (excerpt) THE SILENT TAO by Raymond M. Smullyan

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“At all costs, the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away at each other.

Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tao to his hearts content, without ever…

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"Wind and a Bobwhite" by Thomas Merton

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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…
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"Lillies of the Field"

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One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned,
he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible. "No," Gasan
replied, "Please read some of it to me." The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon
on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading…

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"Awareness" by Anthony de Mello

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The student monk had spent seven years,
Learning how to comprehend awareness.
At the end of his study it was time for assessment,
To visit the master was his final assignment.

The master sat, at the young man he looked,
Was he ready to become a teacher monk?…
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Psalm 139

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Oh Love
You have pursued me
and dared to know me
You embrace my stillness
and my uprising
You understand my thoughts,
share a shadowland of memory…

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"Insight" from Personal.tao.com

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Heaven and Hell are not after life
Heaven and Hell are within life.
It’s in movement we create joy
It’s in despair we cement walls.

Step over limitation.
      Openly reveal, peel apart & feel poetry
      moving around every barrier
             Overflowing to your own….

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“Test of Socrates”

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In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

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“What Else Have You Ever Risked?" (excerpt) ANOTHER ROADSIDE REACTION by Tom Robbins

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“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked?
Have you risked disapproval?
Have you ever risked economic security?
Have you ever risked a belief? ….

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"Vast Emptiness" — Author Unknown

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The emperor, who was a devout Buddhist, invited a great Zen master to the Palace in order to ask him questions about Buddhism. 

"What is the highest truth of the holy Buddhist doctrine?" the emperor inquired. 

"Vast emptiness... and not a trace of holiness," the master replied. 

"If there is no holiness," the emperor said, "then who or what are you?" 

"I do not know," the master replied…

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"Misfortune" Author Unknown

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A Chinese farmer's neighbors came over to offer him their sympathy after his horse ran away. "I'm not so sure it's a misfortune", said the farmer. The neighbors left, shaking their heads.

The next day, the farmer's horse returned, and three wild horses came home with him. The neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune. "I'm not certain that it is good fortune", replied the farmer. The neighbors left, more bemused than before…

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'Worse than a Clown' — Unknown

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There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma.  Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he kept laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing….

 
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Perceptions by Doreen Davis

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Branches and brambles
     confess their strong, swarthy hues
     beneath a gentle, snowy cloak

As smoky-gray clouds at the horizon
     attempt to mask
     the promise of today’s sunshine.

On this morning of stark contrasts
     I remember 
     that beauty colors both light and dark.

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The Gates of Paradise " by Japanese Zen teacher Muju

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A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"

"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.

"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.

"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."…

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"Time To Learn " — Author Unknown

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A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:  "If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen." 

The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years." 

The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and …

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"More Is Not Enough - The Stone Cutter " — by Benjamin Hoff

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There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.  One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant. 

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying ….

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"The Little Monk and the Samurai — Zen Parable

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The old monk sat by the side of the road, with his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap in deep meditation.
Suddenly his tranquility was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior standing before him. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”

At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But slowly he began to open his eyes…

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"Giving" from THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran

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Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?….

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"Heaven and Hell" — Zen Wisdom

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The old monk sat by the side of the road, with his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap in deep meditation.
Suddenly his tranquility was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior standing before him. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”….

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"Tea Master"

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A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill. As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony." The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.

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"Finding Joy in the Simple Things" — by Derek Lin

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In 1900, toward the end of the Ch'ing dynasty, China found itself in discord and turmoil. European countries had made their entrance. They easily dominated the scene with their superior technology and firepower. Anti-foreign Chinese militants fought back, even though they were hopelessly outgunned.

The conflict escalated until Beijing itself turned into the battleground. The situation became more and more dangerous until it was no longer prudent for Empress Tz'u-hsi to remain in the palace. Escorted by imperial guards and personal servants, she fled into the countryside.

Excerpt From: The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed The Joys of Inner Harmony Found The Path to Enlightenment Illuminated

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"Self-Control" — Zen Story

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One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances."One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything. "What are you laughing at?" asked the teacher. "That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce."

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"What I Believe is Who I am" by Rebecca Braun

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I am
The mantra is clear.
I am
Connecting to spirit.
I am
 
My Source is Light.
I am
The Creator lifts me higher.
I am
To believe in myself.
I am
I must trust the possibilities.
I am
 
No longer a…

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"RITUAL" — Zen Story

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When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, a cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. One day the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

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Sripad Valmiki Muni

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Previously Valmiki, having the name Ratnakara, was living in the forest, and to maintain his family he would kill and rob passers by as they went through the forest. Some days he would come back with not very much, to which his demanding wife would reply to his entrance, "Is that all you've brought?" "Be patient dear, tomorrow a group of rich merchants will pass through the forest and I will relieve them of their wealth, " he would dutifully reply….

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Buddha Tells a Parable

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A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. One the vine sustained him.  Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.
How sweet it tasted!

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"The Stars" by Morton Marcus

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The stars are grains of salt
thrown over God's shoulder.
They fly from us and we fly after.

But the heart, that dark star,
the heart, that heavy planet,
is all we can know of heaven.
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"Truth Is" by Adyashanti

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Truth is only discovered in the moment.
There is no truth that can be carried over
to the next moment, the next day, the next year.
Memory never contains truth, only what is past, dead, gone.

Truth comes into the non-seeking mind fresh and alive.
It is not something you can carry with you, accumulate, or hold onto.

Truth leaps into view when the mind is quiet, not asserting itself.
You cannot contain or domesticate truth, for if you do, it dies instantly…


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"Touched By An Angel" by Maya Angelou

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We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls….

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"Ego" Unknown

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The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well…..

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"The Strength of Weakness by Richard Seymour

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Be wary of the very strong
And they shall become weak.
Be dismissed as being weak -
And that shall be your strength.
Remember that the oceans place themselves
Below the land;
But all rivers flow into them.
And remember, too,
That water - the most Pliant of all substances -
Has shaped continents.

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Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?

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A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Life, broke the silence by asking the Master, "Master, how do I enter Life?"….
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"Against Certainty" by Jane Hirshfield

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There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.

If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.

Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.

I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.

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Hymn of the Universe by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Hymn of the Universe by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin "Hymn of the Universe" (excerpt) by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Chapter 1: The Mass On The World

Since once again, Lord — though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia — I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labour. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits….
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'In My Soul' by Rabia — 8th C, poetess of Islam

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In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church.

Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,
where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost,
where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body?

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
that dissolve,
that dissolve in God.

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“Wings of Love and Longing” - Author Unknown

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When longing lures us from sleep
to follow the flutter of wings
playing around the heart,
a soft breath carries remembrance
of the long grateful sigh
of breaking free
from whatever binds….

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"When the Shoe Fits" by Chuang Tzu

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Chu’i the draftsman
could draw more perfect circles freehand
than with a compass.
His fingers brought forth
spontaneous forms from nowhere.
His mind was meanwhile free and without concern
with what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle…..

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'Waking' by Hafiz

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In the morning
When I began to wake,
It happened again -That feeling
That You, Beloved,
Had stood over me all night
...Keeping watch,
That feeling
That as soon as I began to stir
You put Your lips on my forehead
And lit a Holy Lamp
Inside my Heart.

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'O Sweet Irrational Worship' by Thomas Merton 


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'‘For a New Beginning’  by John O'Donohue

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In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown….
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GRATITUDE' by Gary Snyder - (based on a Mohawk prayer)

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Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day —
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light changing leaf
and fine-root hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it….

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'In My Soul' by Rabia, 8th C, poetess saint of Islam

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In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing,

where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost,

where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body?

In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church

that dissolve, that dissolve in God.

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"Love" by Kahlil Gibran

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Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun…

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"Spirituality Means…" by Anthony de Mello

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Spirituality means waking up.  Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep.  They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up.  They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.

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Parable — A Man Encountered a Vicious Tiger

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One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.

The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.

Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.

Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he
didn't have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine….

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Yin & Yang — Feminine & Masculine

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  • Yin and Yang form completion and are complementary
  • Within Yin and Yang are the seeds of the other
  • Through intersection and connection each accentuates the other.
  • Nothing is exclusively Yin, nothing is exclusively Yang.
  • Together both natures are transformative.

"The Monk and the Spider"

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Once upon a time, there was a monk who had trouble meditating. Whenever he tried going into meditation, a giant spider would appear. No matter what he did, he could not get rid of it.

At his wit's end, the monk sought help from his master. The master instructed him to prepare a brush at his side for the next attempt. When the spider appeared again, he was to use the brush to draw a circle on it….



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Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson's "In Memorium" Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson's "In Memorium"

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I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain

In words, like weeds, I wrap me o’er
Like coarsest cloths against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more…

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"UNENDING LOVE" by Rabindranath Tagore

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I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever….

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"SEASONAL LOVE" by Rebecca Braun

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Fresh and new,
flowering Love’s view
with growing buds,
flourishing leaves
and trees,
I saw Spring in you.

Skin flushed and burned,
fiery kisses returned
from hot moist air,
sun bleached hair,
Summer looked good on you…

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The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus

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Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed,
sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch,
whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning,
and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome;
her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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"The Way of Love" 1 Corinthians 13 English Standard Bible

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If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….

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"Intoxicated by the Wine of Love" — Farid al-Din Attar

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Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.
From each a mystic silence Love demands.
What do all seek so earnestly? 'Tis Love.
What do they whisper to each other? Love.
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts.
In Love no longer 'thou' and 'I' exist,
For Self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of mine inmost soul,
Behold the Friend; Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds,
Will find the secret of them both, is Love.

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The World Is a Beautiful Place by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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The world is a beautiful place 
to be born into 
if you don't mind happiness 
not always being 
so very much fun 
if you don't mind a touch of hell 
now and then 
just when everything is fine 
because even in heaven 
they don't sing 
all the time…

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“Every Ordinary Moment” by William Martin

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We are learning to distinguish
between true and false power.
We see the clamoring of the young
for wealth and position
and we sadly smile and shake our heads.
We are less attached to our possessions and no longer dominated by great ambition. We are not enslaved by our desires and therefore not as vulnerable to the schemes of others.
Our thoughts are becoming clearer,
and our needs are becoming more simple.
Enough to eat,
a comfortable bed,
and the glow of friendship
suffice to delight us….

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"Beginnings" — Deng Ming Dao

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This is the moment of embarking. All auspicious signs are in place.
In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.
In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life…
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"REALIZATION-WAY SONG " — Cheng-tao Ke, translated by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen

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Like the empty sky
it has no boundaries,
Yet it is right in this place,
ever profound and clear.

When you seek to know it,
you cannot see it.

You cannot take hold of it,
But you cannot lose it.
In not being able to get it,
you get it.

When you are silent,
it speaks;
When you speak,
it is silent.

The great gate is wide open
to bestow alms,
And no crowd is blocking the way.

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"Not Ready to Be a True Teacher — Unknown

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"Kasan, a Zen teacher and monk, was to officiate at a funeral of a famous nobleman.

As he stood there waiting for the governor of the province and other lords and ladies to arrive, he noticed that the palms of his hands were sweaty.

The next day he called his disciples together and confessed he was not yet ready to be a true teacher. He explained to them that he still lacked the sameness of bearing before all human beings, whether beggar or king. He was still unable to look through social roles and conceptual identities and see the sameness of being in every human. He then left and became the pupil of another master. He returned to his former disciples eight years later, enlightened."

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"I CHOP WOOD"

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When the Zen master attained enlightenment
he wrote the following lines to celebrate it:

"Oh wondrous marvel:
I chop wood!
I draw water from the well!”

After enlightenment nothing really changes. The tree is still a tree; people are just what they were before and so are you. You may continue to be as moody or even-tempered, as wise or foolish. The one difference is that you see things with a different eye. You are more detached from it all now. And your heart is full of wonder.


That is the essence of contemplation: the sense of wonder.
Contemplation is different from ecstasy in that ecstasy leads to withdrawal. The enlightened contemplative continues to chop wood and draw water from the well. Contemplation is different from the perception of beauty in that the perception of beauty (a painting or a sunset) produces aesthetic delight, whereas contemplation produces wonder—no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone.

This is the prerogative of children. They are so often in a state of wonder. So they easily slip into the Kingdom.

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"The Way the World Is" by Anthony de Mello

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When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world becomes right. We're always bothered by the problem of evil. There's a powerful story about a little boy walking along the bank of a river. He sees a crocodile who is trapped in a net. The crocodile says, "Would you have pity on me and release me? I may look ugly, but it isn't my fault, you know. I was made this way. But whatever my external appearance, I have a mother's heart. I came this morning in search of food for my young ones and got caught in this trap!" 

So the boy says, "Ah, if I were to help you out of that trap, you'd grab me and kill me." 

The crocodile asks, "Do you think I would do that to my benefactor and liberator?" …

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"Wonder" (from his private journal) — Dag Hammarskjoid

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“God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity.   
But we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined
by the steady radiance,
renewed daily,
of a Wonder—
the source of which is beyond all reason.  

—Dag Hammarskjoid

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"The Active Life" by Chuang Tzu

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If an expert does not have some problem to vex him, he is unhappy.
If a philosopher's teaching is never attacked, he pines away.
If critics have no one on whom to exercise their spite, they are miserable.
All such people are prisoners in a world of objects.

Whoever wants followers seeks political power.
Whoever wants reputation holds an office.
The strong man looks for weights to lift.
The brave man looks for an emergency in which he can show his courage…

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"THE LITTLE MAN" by Bob Fergeson

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From early morning coffee
to late night herbal tea,
We lived for near forever,
the Little Man and me.


When first I came to travel
in this classroom wide and grand,
I knew nothing of the coming
of this lonely Little Man…

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"Symphony of Spirit" by Naomi F. Stone

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Every night I arise to sing,
to invite,
and to celebrate
the birth
 of sacramental love
in the opening of hearts,
as the earth and sky
reflect the brilliance of the light,
of each created moment,
of unnumbered seasons,
of the unexplored spaces of the soul,
of all that is possible
in the flashes of vision
radiantly given
through the divine
light of God.
In perfect stillness…

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"The Need to Win" by Chuang Tzu

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When an archer is shooting for nothing,
he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle,
he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold,
he goes blind or sees two targets.
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
but the prize divides him.

He cares.

He thinks more of winning than of shooting.
And the need to win drains him of power.

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"PRIDE ANGER AND FEAR ARE THE INNER ENEMIES OF EVERY WARRIOR" — a Zen Story

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A young Japanese archer took great pride in the excellence of his marksmanship with a bow and arrow. Having read a lot of pithy Zen stories and received some basic training on mindfulness, he soon came to the conclusion that he was a true master of archery. So he decided to travel to a remote mountain monastery in order to challenge an old Zen master, who was reputed to have once possessed great skill with a bow and arrow.

After having arrived at this monastery he eventually managed to persuade the old Zen master to compete against him. The old man was reluctant to accept this challenge, as he had not touched his bow in many years. He first had to dust and wax his bow before testing its pliancy, then gently brush the cobwebs away from his quiver and arrows….

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"Beauty" (excerpt) The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran

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And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty."
Where shall you seek beauty,
and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her
except she be the weaver of your speech?
The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us
and the sky above us."…

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Romans Chapter 6 — Harry Priestly

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There is a lot of confusion about salvation. And about repentance. Salvation has nothing to do with my beliefs, opinions, nor even my decisions. Nor does repentance consist of wringing my hands because I've been so bad. Repentance is a change of attitude, a new way of seeing things. "Repent and believe the good news." This is the command, and it's a living command. Now the key to our attitude in Romans 6 is "God be thanked because you have obeyed from your heart that form of doctrine unto which you were handed over" (RSV). God has given us a form of doctrine. Now doctrine simply means teaching. Sound doctrine is helpful teaching, healing teaching, teaching that liberates. What is the "sound doctrine" in Romans 6? Paul has been discussing justification. We have been justified by faith; we have peace with God. …

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The Way to Love ~ Week One (Excerpts from the 'Way to Love' book) by Anthony De Mello

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Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a thing, a situation, as it really is and not as you imagine it to be, and to give it the response it deserves. You cannot love what you do not even see.

And what prevents you from seeing? Your concepts, your categories, your prejudices and projections, your needs and attachments, the labels you have drawn from your conditioning and from your past experiences….

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"Kingdom of Heaven" (from Omega Retreat) Eckhart Tolle

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Kingdom of Heaven - a dimension of vast spaciousness

And the moment your “thinking mind” ceases between two thoughts, what is left of you? 
A spaciousness that at first seems like nothing and then you sense it is a Presence. 
It is essentially who I am. 
And to live in connectedness with that, and as that, is the foundation for your life— that is awakened living. 
That is why we are here.

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Finding a Piece of the Truth — Parable

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One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.”

“Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked.
“No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”…

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"Maybe" — a Zen Parable

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Once upon the time there was an old farmer who, for many many years, worked on his farm. One day it happened that his only horse ran away from him. When his neighbors heard the news, they immediately came to visit the farmer and called out:
“Such bad luck!”.
“Maybe,” the old farmer replied.

Not long, the horse returned again. Not only that, it even brought three other wild horses along.
“What a luck!” his neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe” was the farmers response.

After a while the farmers son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown by the untamed horse and broke his leg. Again his neighbors came and started to spread the word about his misfortune.
“Maybe” was his answer again.

The day after that, some military officials visited the village to draft young and strong men into the army. But since his son’s leg was broken, the officials passed him by. The neighbors were surprised how nicely things had turned out and congratulated the farmer.
“Maybe” was all he said.

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"Village of Creatures" — Richard Bach

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Once there lived a village of creatures on the bottom of a great crystal river.

The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."

The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!"

But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks….

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"Civilization" — Mahatma Gandhi

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“Civilization, in the real sense of the term,
consists not in the multiplication,
but the in the deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants.
This alone promotes real happiness and contentment,
and increases the capacity for service.”

-------------------------------------------—Mahatma Gandhi

"A Passion Not Tamed By Words" — (excerpt from) The Couples Tao Te Ching by William Martin

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Spinning words together to create vows
will not unite two souls.
Pouring over words in marriage manuals
will not pour spirit into a relationship.
Words may speak of love
but they cannot create it.

The union of one soul with another
is born of a passion that must not be tamed by words.
Let your words be tools of this passion,
not barriers to it.

Words emerging from love's furnace
will be few but powerful.
A few words of understanding
may heal a wounded heart.
A few words of wisdom
may comfort a lonely soul.
A few words of sensuous longing
may kindle love's embraces.


William Martin’s Website

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An Old Buddhist Story

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In ancient times there was a small village with a monastery nearby. One day, samurai warriors arrived and sacked the whole village. They took all the valuables, burned the homes, and killed all the people they met. Finally, they came to a monastery, and out in front of this monastery was an old Zen master. He is just sitting in the garden when a young samurai warrior comes up to him. The samurai pulls out his sword, holds it up over his head and says, “Old man, don’t you know that I have the power to kill you? I could lop off your head right now without even thinking of it.”…
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"Prayer" (excerpt) THE LUNAR TAO by Deng Ming Dao

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Prayer is simple.

Pressing your palms together is a universal gesture of prayer, benediction, gratitude, and humility. It signals that you are unifying all aspects of yourself and that you are completely present. No one can pick up a weapon or form a fist with palms pressed together. In prayer, there can be no aggression.

Some people doubt prayer. They declare that there are no gods to listen. Prayer works—because that higher part of ourselves is listening—and it works instantly: the very act of prayer is its own truth and its own reward.

We have to free ourselves of childish expectations; we must not pray like children whining to our parents. We must also reject any latent feudalism in our hearts: we still call our gods “lords” and act like serfs begging for consideration. Neither infantile wailing nor medieval supplication is the prayer we need….

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"Can’t" by Edgar Guest

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CAN’T IS A FAVORITE WORD OF SOME CHILDREN.
HERE IS THE CASE AGAINST IT:


Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;

On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.

It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:

It rings in our ears like a timely sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and halfhearted work;…

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Autumn Promise by Rebecca Braun

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It’s been a year.
Autumn is here to remind me
of the reflection.

A sweet progression
of time. As each leaf changes color,
falling and drifting in the wind,
memories are being cast away
from my mind.

New Life is dreaming,
old paths are fading, in the streaming
sunlight of this soft chilly morn.

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©2014 Rebecca Braun All rights reserved.

"Coming to Life" - Zen Koan

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There’s a man way high up in a tree and he’s hanging from a branch by his teeth.
Holding on to the branch by his teeth. And of course if he lets go he’ll fall to his death,
and so he’s in quite a predicament, and his hands are tied behind him so he can’t
reach up and grab the branch. And so just imagine there you are, holding onto a
branch way high up in a tree by your teeth, and you’re weakening and you can
feel your impending death coming because you’re just about to have to let go of
this branch. And just about that time some little Zen master walks in, walks in the scene,
looks up at you and says ‘Say the one true thing that can save your life.’

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Genghis Khan and His Hawk  by James Baldwin, (The Book of Virtues)

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One morning Genghis Khan, the great king and warrior, rode out into the woods to have a day's sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.

It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening.

On the king's wrist sat his favorite hawk, for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow.

All day long Genghis Khan and his huntsmen rode through the woods. But they did not find as much game as they expected.

Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer road through a valley between two mountains….

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"A Deep Life of Awareness" — (excerpt) Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart: Parables of the Spiritual Path from Around the World — Christina Feldman & Jack Kornfield

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The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. …

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"Green Mountain" by Li Po (Translated by: A. S. Kline)

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You ask me why
I live on Green Mountain?
I smile in silence
and a quiet mind.
Peach petals blow
on mountain streams
To earths and skies
beyond Humankind.

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"I Went Into a Stone" — Morton Marcus

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I went into a stone.
Inside its silence
there was the static
knitting it together.

A silver lake lay clenched
beyond the trees, but every bush
was a closed gate, and iron branches
barred my way. Finally,

I crawled into a thicket of noise,
became part of a vast forest
where everything buzzes and hums
beneath a tight sky.

My shape was the silence
I could not reach:
the noise defined me
and….

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"Is That So?" — Japanese Zen teacher Muju

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The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parent went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.
A year later…

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"More Precious Than a Gem" — Unknown

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-“A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
--But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone." 
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THE EMPTY BOAT by Chuang Tzu

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Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.

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“Giving” (excerpt from THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran

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Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."

And he (the Prophet) answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?

And what is fear of need but need itself?…

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BODHI-TREE —Author Unknown

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BODHIDHARMA left his robe and bowl to his chosen successor; and each patriarch thereafter handed it down to the monk that, in his wisdom, he had chosen as the next successor. Gunin was the fifth such Zen patriarch. One day he announced that his successor would be he who wrote the best verse expressing the truth of their sect. The learned chief monk of Gunin's monastery thereupon took brush and ink, and wrote in elegant characters:

The body is a Bodhi-tree
The soul a shining mirror:
Polish it with study
Or dust will dull the image.



No other monk dared compete with the chief monk. But at twilight Yeno, a lowly disciple …

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"FORCE" by Deng Ming Dao

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A sword is never sheathed
Until it has tasted blood.
A good swordsman
Is seldom seen with a sword.

Many centuries ago, there was a wanderer who was constantly chased by assassins. He was the best swordsman in the country. His challengers wanted to overcome him and thereby establish their own fame. Although the swordsman had long ago repented his killing and had renounced his status, he was still considered the best.
Over and over, his enemies ….

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“Honoring My Mother” by Rebecca Braun

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Remember the years
of struggle and defiance,
underneath it all
you and I had a special alliance.

Those teen-age years
might have challenged our love,
but it was you who held me close
with the spirit from above.

Leaving my home
I fled as far as I was able,
across the country and beyond
to forget my family table…..

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IN MEMORY OF MAYA ANGELOU — "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

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You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard?…

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IN MEMORY OF MAYA ANGELOU — “When Great Trees Fall” ― Maya Angelou

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When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity….

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IN MEMORY OF MAYA ANGELOU — 7 Pieces of Timeless Wisdom From Maya Angelou — by Dana Liebelson (Mother Jones Magazine)

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Maya Angelou, acclaimed poet, author, and civil rights activist, died Wednesday at the age of 86. Mother Jones had the opportunity to interview Angelou almost 20 years ago. Our reporter, Ken Kelley, wrote that she "speaks in the lilting cadence of the dancer she was trained to be. She moves with the sure grace of the poet she was born to be." Her words of wisdom are as true now as they were in 1995. Here are seven excerpts from the interview: 

1. Not everyone can pull themselves up by the bootstraps: 
The powerful say, "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps." But they don't really believe that those living on denuded reservations, or on strip-mined hills, or in ghettos that are destinations for drugs from Colombia and Iraq, can somehow pull themselves up. What they're really saying is, "If you can, do, but if you can't, forget it." It's the most pernicious of all acts of segregation, because it is so subtle.

2. Life isn't about material things:…

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“A CELEBRATION OF DEATH” — Chuang Tzu

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Upon hearing of the death of Chuang Tzu's wife, his good friend Hui Tzu went over to comfort him and found the sage sitting on the ground banging on an overturned pot and singing a song at the top of his lungs.

Horrified at such behavior, Hui Tzu reproved him, saying, 'This woman has lived with you, borne your children, grown old with you and now she has died. It is bad enough not to be weeping at this time but to be out here banging on a pot and singing is too much

Chuang Tzu replied, 'You are mistaken my friend, at first I could not help but feel sad and depressed at my beloved wife's death. But then I began to reflect. In the beginning, she had no life, and having no life she had no spirit, and having no spirit she had no body. But then she was given life, she was given a spirit and then she was given a body. Now things have changed again and she is dead. She has joined the great cycle of the seasons. Now she lies suspended between heaven and earth. Why then should I weep and moan over her. It would be as though I did not understand the process of life. Therefore I stopped and decided to celebrate.

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“When I Was the Forest”— Meister Eckhart (1260 – 1328)

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When I was the stream,
when I was the forest,
when I was still the field,
when I was every hoof, foot, fin and wing,
when I was the sky itself,

no one ever asked me did I have a purpose,
no one ever wondered
was there anything I might need,
for there was nothing I could not love.

It was when I left
all we once were that the agony began….

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"Teaching" by Kahlil Gibran

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Then said a teacher, "Speak to us of Teaching."
And he said:

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

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"If" — Rudyard Kipling



If you can keep your head,
When all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:


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"Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?" —Unknown

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  A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Life, broke the silence by asking the Master, "Master, how do I enter Life (inner-freedom)?"

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Life.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. "Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?"

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"Man Of Tao" — Author Unknown

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A student once asked, "What is the difference between a Man of Tao and a little man?"

The Zen Master replied, "It is simple. When the little man becomes a student, he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone.
Upon hearing the words of the master, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will parade through town telling one and all about his new knowledge”.

The Zen Master continues, "When the Man of Tao becomes a student, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon hearing the words of the master, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon learning the ways of the master, he will bow to the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him".

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"Holy Man" — Alok Jagawat

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Word spread across the countryside about the wise Holy Man who lived in a small house atop the mountain. A man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, he saw an old servant inside.

"I would like to see the Holy Man," he said to the servant.

The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house, anticipating his encounter with the Holy Man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the servant,

"But I want to see the Holy Man!"

"You already have," said the wise-old man. "Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear plain and insignificant, see each of them as a Holy Man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved."

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"Concentration" — Author Unknown

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After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.
'There,' he said to the old man, 'see if you can match that!'

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log….

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"Putting It All Together" from The Sage's Tao Te Ching — William Martin

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Many in our culture
regard youth as good
and old age as bad.
But is this true?  

In the sage, youth and age are married.
Wisdom and folly have each been lived fully.
Innocence and experience now support one another.
Action and rest follow each other easily.
Life and death have become inseparable.

The sage has experienced all opposites
and lets them come and go
without clinging or fretting.
Therefore the sage can talk without lecturing,
act without worrying about results,
and live in contentment with all events.

The first part of our life
was spent separating things into categories:
good and bad,
like and dislike,
me and you,
us and them.
Now it is time to put all the pieces back together
into a seamless whole.

The Sage's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life

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"What If…" — Ganga White

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"What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water--the rivers, lakes, and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being."

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"The Essence of a Life" by Aeterna Lumen

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A child
Kicked, battered and bruised
Innocence stolen far too early
Are some paths truly destined for this?

Strong, beautiful lights
Fiercely attacked from every side
Tormentors seek to squelch and trample,
stamping and blowing at the flames
And yet they shine… they shine
Brighter and more brilliant
than the untouched

Searching lights
Continue to lear…

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“Children" — Kahlil Gibran

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And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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“Family Tree” by H.K. Stewart

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Every twig follows
its own path to the sun.
And yet, even branches
tell each other what to do.
This is how a tree is formed.

Communities grow this way, too.
We each want our share of the light,
but when we block the way for others,
we stunt the growth of all.

Christian Taoism Website

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"Environment" from 365 Tao by Deng Ming Dao

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How can you live
With the constant noise of traffic?
The stench of garbage?
The sight of buildings instead of mountains?
The movement of streets instead of rivers?
The feel of pavement instead of earth?


There are some metropolitan areas famous for their power, their
sophistication, their history, their place in civilization. These places
cannot be centers of spirituality too. You only need to look at them
with open eyes and heart. How can anything holy root there?…

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“Gone From My Sight” — (A Parable on Immortality) by Henry Van Dyke

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I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
"There she goes!"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight . . . that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .

"Here she comes!"

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"Friendship" (excerpt) The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran

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Your friend is your needs answered.
She is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And she is your board and your fireside.
For you come to her with your hunger, and you seek her for peace.
When your friend speaks her mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when she is silent your heart ceases not to listen to her heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in her may be clearer in her absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If she must know the ebb of your tide, let her know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek her with hours to kill?
Seek her always with hours to live.
For it is her to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


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“Prophet” - Khalil Gibran

"Muteness" — Deng Ming Dao (from 365 Tao Meditations)

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The more you dwell in the spirit,
The farther you are from common ways.
If you want to speak of Tao's wonders,
Few will listen.


If you spend a long period of time in study and self-cultivation, you will enter Tao. By doing so, you also enter a world of extraordinary perceptions. You experience unimaginable things, receive thoughts and learning as if from nowhere, perceive things that could be classified as prescient. Yet if you try to communicate what you experience, there is no one to understand you, no one who will believe you. The more you walk this road, the farther you are from the ordinary ways of society. You may see the truth, but you will find that people would rather listen to politicians, performers, and charlatans….

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"Half-Enlightened Masters" (from Hua Hu Ching - Reading 80) by Brian Browne Walker

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The world is full of
half-enlightened masters.
Overly clever,
too "sensitive"  to live in the real world,
they surround themselves with selfish pleasures
and bestow their grandiose teachings
upon the unwary.

Prematurely
publicizing themselves,
intent upon reaching some spiritual climax,
they constantly sacrifice the truth
and deviate from the Tao.

What they really offer the world
is their own confusion….


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"I Write Because..." by Scott McCleod

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I write because of the fragility of our existence.

I write because it's my answer to impermanence.

I write because it helps me stay connected to my heart.

I write because we’re all different, and so much the same.

I write because the world needs more tenderness.

I write because I'm tired of secrets.

I write because it’s my path to redemption.

I write because I've forsaken those that I love.

I write because I want to know myself.

I write because I want to know you….

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"Vanity" — Unknown

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There was a zen monk whose vanity was his poverty and humility. He lived in a cave outside his monastery, ate only food he could glean from what others threw away, and washed his robes only by walking in the rain. Once every week he would leave his cave and enter the monastery. There he would choose a young monk to walk with him that day so that he might give the younger man the benefit of is wisdom, which he was sure was both vast and deep. He delighted in tormenting the young students, and then lecturing the abbot about the poor quality of his teachings. One day while walking, the young man which he had chosen stopped to squat down and crap. When he finished, he looked up to the old monk and said, "Sensei, may I have a leaf to wipe my ass?' …

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Zen Poem — Ikkyu

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Every day priests minutely examine the Dharma (universal law)
and endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though,
they should learn how to read the love letters
sent by the wind and rain,
the snow and moon.


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“LOVE” (from 1st Corinthians 13) by Joni Mitchell 

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Although I speak in tongues
of men and angels
I'm just sounding brass
and tinkling cymbals without love

Love suffers long
Love is kind!
Enduring all things
Love has no evil in mind

If I had the gift of prophecy
And all the knowledge
And the faith to move the mountains
Even if I understood all of the mysteries
If I didn't have love
I'd be nothing

Love never looks for love
Love's not puffed up
Or envious
Or touchy
Because it rejoices in the truth
Not in iniquity
Love sees like a child sees

As a child I spoke as a child
I thought and I understood as a child
But when I became a woman
I put away childish things
And began to see through a glass darkly

Where as a child I saw it face to face
Now I only know it in part
Fractions in me
Of faith and hope and love
And of these great three
Love's the greatest beauty
Love
Love
Love

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"BEGINNING" by Deng Ming Dao (excerpt from 365 Tao)

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This is the moment of embarking.
All auspicious signs are in place.


In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate…
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PATSY CANYON by Rebecca Braun

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Where my dreams ran wild.
Fierce rolling thunderclouds and sheets of rain 
move quickly through the wide expanse.
Purple, black, angry energy;
fragrant coniferous forest floating 
on the current of chilly air
as the stormy clouds tumble toward me.

Wild stallions run, 
prairie dog and chipmunks chatter,
King birds hover as jackrabbits stop
their foraging to run down the rocky slope. 
Far off into the distance coyotes howl a warning, 
their voices singing on the crisp cold air….

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DANCE by Doreen Davis

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Dancer of Lies, what are you telling me?
“Keep dancing.
Dance around the truth.
Dance this way and that.
Dance until you are exhausted.”

Dear Soul, what are you telling me?
“Keep dancing.
Dance into the truth.
Dance to your heart’s beat, the earth’s pulse,
            to God’s breath.
Dance your imprint on cave walls and forest floors.
Dance into the light that surrounds your crown.
            Let it lift you,
And dance your spirit into the heavens.
Dance until your heart sparkles.

Dance until you awaken to your Divine Perfection.”

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"The Monk With Sweaty Palms" from A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle

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Kasan, a Zen teacher and monk, was to officiate at a funeral of a famous nobleman.
As he stood there waiting for the governor of the province and other lords and ladies to arrive, he noticed that the palms of his hands were sweaty.

The next day he called his disciples together and confessed he was not yet ready to be a true teacher.
He explained to them that he still lacked the sameness of bearing before all human beings, whether beggar or king. 

He was still unable to look through social roles and conceptual identities and see the sameness of being in every human.
He then left and become the pupil of another master.
Then returned to his former disciples eight years later, enlightened.

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"The Empty Boat" by Chuang Tzu

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Who can free himself of achievement and fame
Then descend and be lost
Amidst the masses of men?
 
He will flow like Tao, unseen…
He will go about like life itself,
With no name and no home.
 
Simple is he, without.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace.
 
He has no power.
He achieves nothing.
He has no reputation.
 
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
 
Such is the perfect man.
His boat is empty.

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"How Will You Kiss?" by Judith Pordon

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Lilt me your lips,
our lost breath intermingling.

Synchronize our silence
as lazy hours ease by.

Waft cocoa, hazelnut, cinnamon,
scents around me.

Tremble with me
in paralyzing pauses.

I may no longer breathe
without breathing you.

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"Writer" — Donna Woodka

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She withdrew into herself,
First writing just for one,
Then touching thousands,
She incarnated ghosts, hurt, and joy
Into paper-and-ink stories of wonder.

One author said, “I can get rid of anything by writing about it,” meaning that the process of externalization could liberate him from the pain in his soul. That realization produced a delicious dichotomy; to free himself: or to hold on to both joys and tortures by remaining silent about them.

Writers write because they must: They need to express something from deep within themselves. They hear voices that others do not. They listen urgently, and they must communicate what they hear….

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“New Life” by Aeterna Lumen

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The images of my past are swiftly being left behind as I travel into a new day. I lived in a “zombie” state for many years, allowing life to beat me down as I watched others live and breathe, my own death closing in on me. Sleep blanketed my thoughts and I hid underneath the covers to escape the sad reality of my truth in this time of struggle and complacency. I believed my days of creativity, growth, and personal joys were over. I gave my time and lifeblood to soothe and strengthen others. Somewhere in the process I forgot what my life was about.

Now, in this time of autumn as the leaves reach full blazing color, and the rain gently washes them away from their branches, I become fully aware of the steps I have so carefully taken to be free. Free of the dogma of ritualistic religion. Free of relation…

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"Spaceships & Invitations" — (excerpt) Marianne Williamson

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Sometimes, love arrives as though it were a spaceship landing in the back yard. The captain comes out of the ship and says to us, "Hi, I'm here to beam you up! Come on! We're going!"

Yet so many times we reject him, saying, "Uh, well, I can't just leave here so fast. Actually, I can't even believe you're here.  How long do I have to prepare my things?"

And he says, "You have no time at all. Your entire life been spent preparing. Now, we must go quickly. If you wait, your eyes will adjust and you will no longer see me. I've just  landed for a bit, to pick you up. You have an hour, max.  You can make further plans from the ship."

The captain sees that we are bewildered, but so is he,  "Haven't you been asking for this for years?" he asks.

"Well, yes," we say. "I have. But I guess I didn't think you were coming. ... I sort of made a life for myself here, in the meantime."

"Not that much of one, judging from your prayers at night," he tells us. "Let's go, if you're coming. I can't wait forever."

And then we say, if we say it, what is ultimately the most tragic thing we will ever say, and that is, "No, thank you." No, I don't ….

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"Moon Cannot Be Stolen" – Zen Parable

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Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. 
Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” 
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.  Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.” 
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"Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann

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Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than
yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to….

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"The Song of the Bird" — Anthony de Mello

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The disciples were full of questions about God.

Said the Master, “God is Unknown, the Unknowable. Every statement about Him, every answer to your questions, is a distortion of the Truth.”

The disciples were bewildered. “Then why do you speak about Him at all?”

“Why does the bird sing?” said the Master.
Not because he has a statement, but because he has a song.
The words of the Scholar are to be understood. The words of the Master are not to be understood. They are to be listened to as one listens to the wind in the trees and the sound of the river and the song of the bird. They will awaken something within the heart that is beyond all knowledge.

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"Bashert" — Definition

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- A person's soulmate, or "it was meant to be,” considered as predestined.  
(feminine - basherte):

- “Oneness" in their past, present, and future is thus what defines a truly predestined (bashert) couple. They share a common soul-root (their past), common goals (their future), and always (in the present) remember their common origin as they proceed toward their common goal.

-
Bashert, (Yiddish: באַשערט), is a Yiddish word that means "destiny". It is often used in the context of one's divinely foreordained spouse or soulmate, who is called "basherte" (female) or "basherter" (male). It can also be used to express the seeming fate or destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening.

- In modern usage, Jewish singles will say that they are looking for their bashert, meaning they are looking for that person who will complement them perfectly, and whom they will complement perfectly….

AND LOTS, LOTS MORE….

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