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Posts Tagged ‘Enlightenment’

Who is Buddha?

Posted by kathavarta on February 12, 2009

There is a story told about the Buddha shortly after he was enlightened. As he was walking down the dusty road he met a traveller who saw him as a handsome yogi exuding a remarkable energy.

The traveller asked him, “You seem very special. What are you? Are you some kind of an Angel or Deva? You seem unhuman.”

“No,” Buddha said.

“Well, are you some kind of wizard or megician?” traveller asked.

“No,” Buddha replied.

“Well, are you a man?” traveller is now more curious.

“No,” Buddha replied with light smile.

“Then what are you?” tired and curious traveller is now littlebit frustrated.

At this the Buddha answered, “I am awake.”

In those three words – “I am awake” – he gave the whole of Buddist teachings.

The word “Buddha” means one who is awake. To be a Buddha is to be one who has awakened to the nature of life and death, and awakened and freed our compassion in the midst of this world.
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Posted in Buddhism, Fables, Katha, Moral story, Varta, Zen story | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Story of Rose

Posted by kathavarta on December 22, 2008

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends.

Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success.”

(1) You have to laugh and find humour every day.
(2) You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!
(3) There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.
(4) Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be…..YOU!!

Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional.
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
If God brings you to it … he will bring you through it. It’s better to try and fail, than fail to try.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
Visit www.etirth.com for more religious information.
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Posted in Buddhism, Hindu story, Jainism, Katha, Moral story, Sikhism, Story for Adult, Varta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Man with an umbrella

Posted by kathavarta on December 19, 2008

Whatever is sacrificed, given or performed, and whatever austerity is practised without faith, it is called ‘asat’, O Arjuna, it is naught here or hereafter (after death).
From The Bhagavad Gita; Chapter 17, verse 28

A long time ago, there was a severe draught in certain parts of India. One village in particular was caught up right in the middle of this draught belt. The economy of this village was entirely dependent on agricultural produce. Without rains, the villagers faced a bleak future, indeed. The extreme heat of the sun had dried up the rivers and the lakes. There was hardly any water left in the wells. The people were really desperate for water.

The villagers approached the village pundit (priest) and asked him to organise a prayer-for- rain meeting in the temple. The whole village turned out at this prayer meeting. One man was among the last group of people who arrived at the temple and every body with strange quizzical looks on their faces, was looking at this one man. This man was carrying an umbrella and he was the only man who brought his umbrella to this prayer meeting. No villager was ever seen carrying an umbrella outside of the rainy seasons. To the villagers, it was as strange as seeing a housewife going everyday to the vegetable market dressed in a bride’s costume! For it seemed unconventional to carry an umbrella when there was not one rain cloud in the sky.

The prayer meeting commenced and at the end of all the rituals and ceremonies, when people were about to leave the temple, they could not hold back their curiosity about the man and his umbrella.

‘Why was he carrying the umbrella?’ the people asked.

Upon being questioned, the man with the umbrella replied:

“The Lord will provide. He gives and He takes away. The Lord will surely answer our prayers for rain and I will need the umbrella for the rains”.

The villagers laughed him off. Not one of the villagers could appreciate the absolute and sincere faith of the man with the umbrella. The scorching heat of the sun outside the temple was still fresh in their minds.

And then……..

Behold, a miracle took place. As the people were streaming out of the temple door and putting on their shoes, rain clouds appeared in the sky, the gentle breeze gave way to gusting winds, the pallor of the sky darkened and thunder and lightning heralded the coming of the rains. And a sudden downpour opened the eyes of the villagers. Their ridicule of the man with the umbrella changed to amazement, disbelief, and they now understood the intense faith of this man. All the villagers agreed that it was the sincere prayer of this one man with his total faith and devotion that the Lord simply had to answer.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
Visit www.etirth.com for more religious information
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Posted in Buddhism, Hindu story, Jainism, Katha, Moral story, Sikhism, Story for Adult, Varta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Om, Aum, Pranava

Posted by kathavarta on December 3, 2008

Om is a word used by Hindu yogis to represent a vibration which they say pervades the entire universe. They believe this is the same sound as the one heard internally as a result of practicing yoga.*

More generally, Om represents God, the supreme, all that is.

Om is used as a mantra (a word or phrase that’s said repeatedly out loud or in one’s head) in Japa Yoga.

Aum is a variant spelling of Om. The word can be spelled either way because the letter o is regarded as a diphthong consisting of a and u.

According to one of the most famous Hindu scriptures, the Mandukya Upanishad, Om symbolizes the four states of consciousness. The letter a represents the waking state, u represents the dream state, m represents deep sleep, and the whole word represents the fourth state (turiya), which is the state of enlightenment.

Pranava is a name used for the syllable Om. For example, you might say, “I recited the pranava a thousand times,” meaning you said “Om” a thousand times. Literally, pranava means “pronouncing” in Sanskrit. The word consists of the prefix pra (a cognate of the Latin prefix pro) and the root nu meaning “call out” and “exult.”

Pranava also means the sound that people hear internally after they practice yoga for a while.

The place of these concepts in yoga is summarized nicely by this paragraph from the website of the Himalayan Academy (www.himalayanacademy.com):

“Literally, Pranava in Sanskrit means “humming.” The mantram [mantra] Aum denotes God as the Primal Sound. This sound can be heard as the sound of one’s own nerve system, and meditators and mystics hear it daily, like the sound made by an electrical transformer or a swarm of bees, or a thousand vinas playing in the distance. It is a strong, inner experience, one that yogis hold with great reverence. The meditator is taught to inwardly transform this sound into the inner light which lights up ones’ thoughts, and to bask in this blissful consciousness of light. Pranava is also known as the sound of the nadanadi sakti. Hearing it one draws near to God Consciousness. When we are living in the lower chakras, or when the world too strongly dominates our mind, this sound may, for a time, not be heard. But it returns as awareness withdraws, as the mind becomes perfectly quiescent, silent, still. Listen for this sound in your quietest moments and you will learn to recognize it as a daily encounter with the Divine that lives within all men, within all creatures, within all existence.”

You can say HARI AUM or Aum Namah Shivaya!

Some skeptics say that the humming heard by experienced meditators is actually a form of self-induced epilepsy.

Source: http://www.realization.org
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Posted in Buddhism, Hindu story, Jainism, Katha, Religious, Sikhism, Story for Adult, Varta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by kathavarta on December 2, 2008

“The purpose of meditation is to achieve uninterrupted mindfulness. Mindfulness, and only mindfulness, produces Enlightenment.”
—Gunaratana in Mindfulness in Plain English

People meditate for many reasons. Some do it to lower their blood pressure; others like to see special effects with their eyes closed. Many people do it simply because it makes them feel good.

There is nothing wrong with these motives, but on this article, we are only interested in meditation methods that can help lead to enlightment.

We think all such methods have something in common: all of them are exercises in remaining aware of where your attention is pointing. In other words, they teach you to avoid getting lost in thought. When the exercise becomes automatic, permanent, and effortless, enlightenment may follow.

Note the word permanent: you are supposed to meditate all day while engaged in normal activities. If you want to get enlightened, meditation is not just something you do for half an hour while sitting on a cushion. This can’t be stressed enough: these techniques lead to enlightenment only if they become permanent states of mind. They must become habits.

People sometimes say that practicing a deliberate technique is not meditation. According to them, only an effortlessly alert and quiet state is meditation. Such assertions are confusing. Actually, both things are meditation, because the word meditation has two meanings.

The important point to understand is that meditation in the first sense (deliberate effort) is intended to lead to meditation in the second sense (an effortless state of quiet awareness). It is a two-stage process. (And it is designed to lead to a third stage, the dissolution of the ego.)

Although many types of meditation have been advocated by various schools of Hinduism and Buddhism, this page emphasizes insight methods associated with Theravada Buddhism, and the method of self-enquiry as taught by Ramana Maharshi.

The best book about the first is probably Mindfulness in Plain English, which is on our website here; the best book about the second is probably Be As You Are, which can be purchased here.

Beginning meditators may find it useful to divide meditation methods into two categories, those that stress concentration (holding onto a single thought) and those that stress mindfulness (remaining aware of what the mind is perceiving without getting lost in thought). This conceptual division is associated with Theravada Buddhism and is explained brilliantly in the book The Meditative Mind. The reason we recommend mindfulness techniques is that they automatically develop both concentration and mindfulness. This is not true for concentration techniques: they do not necessarily develop mindfulness.

When the English word “Meditation” is used in the context of Hinduism or Buddhism, as we use it here, it is a translation of the Sanskrit word “Dhyana” or its cognates in other Asian languages: “Jhan” in Pali (the language of the Buddha), “Chan” in Chinese, and “Zen” in Japanese.

This page was published on www.realization.org
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Posted in Hindu story, Katha, Moral story, Religious, Sikhism, Story for Adult, Varta, Zen story | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Fly and the Draught-Mule

Posted by kathavarta on November 30, 2008

A Fly sat on the axle-tree of a chariot, and addressing the Draught-Mule said, “How slow you are! Why do you not go faster? See if I do not prick your neck with my sting.”

The Draught-Mule replied, “I do not heed your threats; I only care for him who sits above you, and who quickens my pace with his whip, or holds me back with the reins. Away, therefore, with your insolence, for I know well when to go fast, and when to go slow.”

Life is not just about Speed.
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Posted in Aesop Fable, Children story, Fables, Moral story, Story for Adult, Varta | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »