Image: Harris Rosen with young girl in Tangelo Park.
The purpose of our human life is to help others as best we can. Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less stress, enjoy higher levels of mental health, feel more connected to your spirit, feel more grateful for what you have and less invested in the ‘rat race’ that causes stress for so many of us. Religion begins with an obliging nature. Happiness begins from the moment we do something for others. I cannot see why on earth we are born if not to help others. Okay, there are times when we can’t always do our best, but when we do, it is like a light going on.
I remember a sweet story from Sathya Sai Baba that dealt with this very topic. The story goes like this: A married couple asked him what was the most important piece of advice he could offer. He replied. “To serve. It does not matter what your station is in life, as long as you help others. It does not matter what career you have, what house you live in, large or small, none of these material gifts matter. All that matters is how much you have loved and how much you have shared.”
There are many times when people need our kindness and at other times we need kindness from others. To withdraw kindness from another person is like turning off the light.”
I read in the Dalai Lama’s book – Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, (1999) the following: “On a recent visit to New York, a friend told me that the number of billionaires in America had increased from seventeen just a few years ago to more than 350 today. So clearly the number of rich people in the world is growing. Yet, at the same time, the poor remain poor and in some cases are becoming poorer. This I consider to be completely immoral. It is also potentially a source of problems. Whilst millions do not even have the basic necessities of life – adequate food, shelter, education and medical facilities – the inequity of wealth distribution is a scandal. If we were the case that everyone had sufficient for their needs and more, then perhaps a luxurious lifestyle would be tenable. If that was what the individual really wanted, it would be difficult to argue that they need refrain from exercising their right o live as they see fit. Yet things are not like that. In this one world of ours, there are areas where people throw food away while others – our fellow humans, innocent children among them, are reduced to scavenging among rubbish and starvation.
Thus, although I cannot say that the life of luxury led by the rich is wrong of itself, assuming they are using their own money and have not acquired it dishonestly, I do say that it is unworthy, that it spoils us. Moreover, it strikes me that the lifestyles of the rich are often absurdly and pointlessly complicated. One friend of mine, who stayed with an extremely wealthy family, told me that every time he went swimming, he was handed a bathing robe to wear! This would then be changed for a fresh one each time he used the pool, even if he did so several times in one day. Extraordinary! Ridiculous even. So complicated! It is not as if living like this adds anything to one’s comfort. As human beings we only have one stomach. There is a limit to the amount we can eat. Similarly, we have only eight fingers and two thumbs. We cannot wear a hundred rings. Whatever extra we have is to no purpose in the moment when we are actually wearing a ring. The rest lie useless in their boxes. The appropriate use of wealth, as I explained to the members of one very prosperous Indian Family who came to see me long ago, is found in philanthropic giving. In this particular case, I suggested, since they asked, that spending on education is perhaps of most use. The future of the world is in our children’s hands.Therefore, if we wish to bring about a more compassionate, and fairer society, it is essential that we educate our children to be responsible, caring human beings. When a person is born rich, or acquires wealth by some other means, they have a tremendous opportunity to benefit others. What a waste it is when that opportunity is squandered on self-indulgence.”
Harris Rosen: “Tangelo Park does not have to be an exception, it is possible to help communities all over America. “
The undisciplined mind is like an elephant so I have suggested that, if we are to be genuinely happy, inner restraint is indispensable. We cannot stop at restraint, however. Though it may prevent us from performing any grossly negative misdeeds, mere restraint is insufficient if we are to attain that happiness which is characterized by inner peace.” ~ Dalai Lama quotation from Ancient Wisdom, Modern World
I am not ashamed of my very human responses to the painful and difficult things of life. I get angry, hurt, and despondent just like anyone. I do things that greatly embarrass me at times. I have plenty of shadow stuff to work on, just like anyone. But I have learned that *whatever* arises in my thought, and heart, is something that needs my attention, something that I need to look into, with curiosity, compassion, and loving-kindness.
It doesn’t really help to think, “I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts or having such feelings.” It’s too late. You already did! These feelings or thoughts, which arise due to causes and conditions, we identify as “I” or “me’ or “mine.” And it does not help to deny it or to suppress the arising. Yes, sure, it’s a red flag, maybe even a neon sign flashing for immediate attention! The arising thought or feeling may point to some serious stuff. Our moral sense of the wrongness of something is *essential* to a healthy being. Never try to suppress or ignore your moral nigglings and alarms! But the first step to freedom is being honest enough with ourselves to admit the “truth” of what has shown up for our attention. And the “truth,” in this sense, is simply *what is* — yes, I am feeling this, yes, I felt that, yes, I am thinking this, yes, I thought that, yes I am doing this, yes, I did that. Just the facts, ma’am!
I find that genuine regret and remorse only arise when I am unmindful of some painful arising of feeling as “I” or “me” or “mine” and don’t give it what Buddhism calls “appropriate attention.” Some thoughts and feelings can be looked into and quickly dismissed; others may require deep self-investigation and courageous path-finding. If you really listen to your heart, you will know what to do.
But don’t ever be ashamed of being human and for having your human feelings. You can’t control the thoughts and feeling that arise as “I” or “me” or mine.” They come unbidden, whether we want them or not. And they tell us all about ourselves, sometimes more than we want, or even sometimes can bear. That’s OK! The good news is that what we can always own, and should own, is our *response* to what arises as “I” or “me” or “mine.” Let that response be mindful, attentive, curious, wise, patient, and compassionate.
Sometimes, we may think we are our own worst enemy, and I suppose in a certain sense that’s true, in that we cannot escape the effects of our own unskillful, selfish, ignorant thoughts and actions. But we are also our own very best friend, for everything we think and do tells us something about us we need to understand and know. If we will only get to know ourselves and investigate ourselves, we will indeed find we are our own very best friend. As we learn this, we become, as the Buddha once said, lamps unto ourselves, and the light in our hearts will take us all the way home.
In the light of today’s world, where war is waging on so many continents, I would like to bring you hope. I offer here the Tibetan legend of The Shambhala Warrior as told by Nicholas Roerich. His version of the legend is close, I would say, to the original tale held so dear by the people of Tibet. I cannot publish the entire legend, due to it being under copyright. Thus, a small excerpt will have to do. I highly recommend that you visit the website posted below, to read the rest of the tale. This beautiful legend and other writings/photos/art-work offered there, are remarkable as well as informative: an adventure into the mystical realms of the Tibetans, during a time of peace in their country.
Shambhala Warrior Legend – Small Excerpt
“Lama, tell me of Shambhala!” “But you Westerners know nothing about Shambhala—you wish to know nothing. Probably you ask only out of curiosity; and you pronounce this sacred word in vain.”
“Lama, I do not ask about Shambhala aimlessly. Everywhere, people know of this great symbol under different names. Our scientists seek each spark concerning this remarkable realm. Csoma de Koros knew of Shambhala, when he made his prolonged visit to the Buddhist monasteries. Grunwedel translated the book of the famous Tashi Lama, Pal-den ye -she, about ‘The Way to Shambhala.’ We sense how, under secret symbols, a great truth is concealed. Truly, the ardent scientist desires to know all about Kalachakra.”
“Can this be so, when some of your Western people desecrate our temples? They smoke within our holy sanctuaries; they neither understand nor wish to venerate our faith and our teaching. They mock and deride the symbols whose meaning they do not penetrate. Should we visit your temples, our conduct would be completely different, because your great Bodhisattva, Issa, is verily an exalted one. And none of us would defame the teaching of mercy and righteousness.”
“Lama, only the very ignorant and stupid would ridicule your teaching. All the teachings of righteousness are as in one sacred place. And each one possessed of his senses, will not violate the sacred places. Lama, why do you think that the essential teaching of the Blessed One is unknown to the West? Why do you believe that in the West we do not know of Shambhala?
“Lama, upon my very table you may see the Kalachakra, the Teaching brought by the great Atticha from India. I know that if a high spirit, already prepared, hears a voice proclaiming Kalagiya it is the call to Shambhala. We know which Tashi Lama visited Shambhala. We know the book of the High Priest, T’aishan —‘The Red Path to Shambhala.’ We even know the Mongolian song about Shambhala. Who knows—perhaps we even know many things new to you. We know that quite recently a young Mongolian lama issued a new book about Shambhala.”
The Lama studies us with his piercing glance. Then he says:
“Great Shambhala is far beyond the ocean. It is the mighty heavenly domain. It has nothing to do with our earth. How and why do you earthly people take interest in it? Only in some places, in the Far North, can you discern the resplendent rays of Shambhala.”
“Lama, we know the greatness of Shambhala. We know the reality of this indescribable realm. But we also know about the reality of the earthly Shambhala. We know how some high lamas went to Shambhala, how along their way they saw the customary physical things. We know the stories of the Buryat lama, of how he was accompanied through a very narrow secret passage. We know how another visitor saw a caravan of hill-people with salt from the lakes, on the very borders of Shambhala. Moreover, we ourselves have seen a white frontier post of one of the three outposts of Shambhala. So, do not speak to me about the heavenly Shambhala only, but also about the one on earth; because you know as well as I, that on earth Shambhala is connected with the heavenly one. And in this link, the two worlds are unified.” The Lama becomes silent. With eyes half concealed by the lids, he examines our faces. And in the evening dusk, he commences his tale: “Verily, the time is coming when the Teaching of the Blessed One will once again come from the North to the South. The word of Truth, which started its great path from Bodhigaya, again shall return to the same sites. We must accept it simply, as it is: the fact that the true teaching shall leave Tibet, and shall again appear in the South. And in all countries, the covenants of Buddha shall be manifested. Really, great things are coming. You come from the West, yet you are bringing news of Shambhala. We must take it verily so. Probably the ray from the tower of Rigden-jyepo has reached all countries.
“Like a diamond glows the light on the Tower of Shambhala. He is there—Rigden-jyepo, indefatigable, ever vigilant in the cause of mankind. His eyes never close. And in his magic mirror he sees all events of earth.
And the might of his thought penetrates into far-off lands. Distance does not exist for him; he can instantaneously bring assistance to worthy ones. His powerful light can destroy all darkness. His immeasurable riches are ready to aid all needy ones who offer to serve the cause of righteousness. He may even change the karma of human beings…”
“Lama, it seems to me that you speak of Maitreya; is it not so?”
“We must not pronounce this mystery! There is much which may not be revealed. There is much which may not be crystallized into sound. In sound we reveal our thought. In sound we project our thought into space and the greatest harm may follow. Because everything divulged before the destined date, results in untold harm. Even the greatest catastrophes may be provoked by such light-minded acts. If Rigden-jyepo and the Blessed Maitreya are one and the same for you—let it be so. I have not so stated!
“Uncountable are the inhabitants of Shambhala. Numerous are the splendid new forces and achievements which are being prepared there for humanity…”
“Lama, the Vedanta (Holy Scriptures), tells us that very soon new energies shall be given to humanity. Is this true?”
“Innumerable are the great things predestined and prepared. Through the Holy Scriptures we know of the Teaching of the Blessed One about the inhabitants of the distant stars. From the same source we have heard of the flying steel bird . . . about iron serpents which devour space with fire and smoke. Tathagata, the Blessed One, predicted all for the future. He knew how the helpers of Rigden-jyepo would be reincarnated in due time; how the sacred army would purge Lhassa of all its nefarious enemies; and how the realm of righteousness would be established.”
“Lama, if the great warriors are incarnated, will not the activities of Shambhala take place here on our earth?”
“Everywhere—here and in heaven. All benevolent forces shall come together to destroy the darkness. Each one who will help in this great task shall be rewarded a hundred-fold and upon this very earth, in this incarnation. All sinners against Shambhala will perish in this very incarnation, because they have exhausted mercy.”
-Nicholas Roerich – (The entire legend is on his website listed at the end of the post.)
Monks photographed during a visit to Tibet January – May 1928
More on The Secrets of Shambhala can be found on the Nicholas Roerich Museum website. Here you will find the detailed writings of Shambhala the Resplendent, as told by the author. Also there is a large collection of art-work from his travels in Tibet. ~ Who is Nicholas Roerich? Here are a few notes:
(About the book Shambhala the Resplendent)
The artist’s eye and philosopher’s spirit which are Roerich’s, are as a magnet. Drawn by their power, there flows into Roerich’s being a stream of experiences which he is able to transmute into beauty by that spiritual alchemy which is possessed by the teachers of men.
In “Shambhala the Resplendent,” Roerich has recorded the way of his journey through Central Asia and Tibet in the terms of spirit. It is a record of legends, of parables, of notes—the very substance of which the larger reality is composed, and all revealing different facets of the theme of Shambhala. In this book—as in his other books, “Altai-Himalaya” and “Heart of Asia,” one realizes that Roerich’s vision is manifold. Traveling on his way, he discerns all the beauty of the natural spectacle through which he passes. And in his works—as in his paintings— he records this panorama in successive sparks which flow into a continuous pageantry. But in addition, Roerich perceives also that subtler manifestation of the countries and peoples through which he journeys. He discerns their thoughts; he perceives the pulsating, throbbing hopes and beliefs that sweep like winds across space. And it is this record—so little visible to the many of us— that becomes the vital force of Roerich’s message.
One must remark the style of Roerich—it has the unrepeatable quality and synthesis of life. He transmits to us the essentials and we discern that these fragments of seeming fantasy are weaving themselves into a pattern of essential truth and essential beauty.
Roerich has named this book, “Shambhala, the Resplendent” advisedly. Reading it, one realizes that Roerich has woven a wreath which he has offered in full reverence to the great Principle which is Shambhala, the New Era; for truly it is the salutary wind of people’s thought and faith which will aid the fires of Shambhala. And once again, as in all the deeds of his inexhaustible creative fervor, Roerich’s “Shambhala, the Resplendent” pronounces the evocation of the fires of new human achievement and a new human destiny.
Nicholas Roerich died in Kullu on December 13, 1947. His body was cremated and its ashes buried on a slope facing the mountains he loved and portrayed in many of his nearly seven thousand works.
Inspired by and featuring the Artwork of Nicholas Roerich, a true artist.
The music is a bit loud, I would suggest you use half volume.
The Dalai Lama stands for achieving peace and kindness by way of peace and kindness, and since Gandhi and Martin Luther King aren’t around, he’s a placeholder for that kind of position. He describes himself as a ‘simple monk,’ but that’s wishful thinking. He’s a monk that’s been saddled with the responsibility of shouldering the hopes and dreams of millions of Tibetan people. … He’s doing the best he can with that, and frankly, these are the kind of people we admire. Recently another good soul entered on to the world’s arena, taking on the herculean task of restoring the hopes of millions of Catholics. I am speaking of the new pope, Francis..
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting in Prague, Czech Republic on September 15, 2013. Both Nobel Peace Laureates are in Prague to attend the 17th Forum 2000 Conference on Societies in Transition. (Photo by Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)
An excerpt from You don’t need to be perfect to have a happy life!
A Happier Life by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD
When the Dalai Lama and some of his followers began to work with Western scientists, they were surprised to find that self-esteem was an issue, that so many Westerners did not love themselves and that self-hate was pervasive. The discrepancy between self-love and love for others—between miserliness toward ourselves and generosity toward our neighbors—simply does not exist in Tibetan thought. In the words of the Dalai Lama, “Compassion, or tsewa, as it is understood in the Tibetan tradition, is a state of mind or way of being where you extend how you relate to yourself toward others as well. ” When the Dalai Lama was then asked to clarify whether indeed the object of compassion may be the self, he responded:
Yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others. In a way, high levels of compassion are nothing but an advanced state of that self-interest. That’s why it is hard for people who have a strong sense of self-hatred to have genuine compassion toward others. There is no anchor, no basis to start from.
There is much research pointing to the importance of self-esteem when dealing with difficult experiences. Recently, however, psychologist Mark Leary and his colleagues have illustrated that especially in hard times, compassion toward the self is actually more helpful than self-esteem is. Leary explains, “Self-compassion helps people not to add a layer of self-recrimination on top of whatever bad things happen to them. If people learn only to feel better about themselves but continue to beat themselves up when they fail or make mistakes, they will be unable to cope nondefensively with their difficulties.”
Self-compassion includes being understanding and kind toward oneself, mindfully accepting painful thoughts and feelings, and recognizing that one’s difficult experiences are part of being human. It is also about being forgiving toward ourselves if we perform poorly on an exam, make a mistake at work, or get upset when we shouldn’t. Leary notes that “American society has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to promote people’s self-esteem when a far more important ingredient of well-being may be self-compassion.”
“Child Of God, You were created to create the good, the beautiful and the holy.” The miracle worker’s purpose is spiritually grand, not personally grandiose. The high cosmic drama is not your career, your money, or any of your worldly experiences. When we outgrow our immature preoccupation with the small self, we transcend our selfishness and become cosmically mature. – all quotes from Marianne Williamson
“The Sign of Christmas is a star, a light in the darkness” The desire to serve God doesn’t lie in what we’re done or even in what we’re doing. Our power lies in our clarity about why we’re on the earth. We’ll be important players if we think that way. And the important players of the coming years will be the people who see themselves as here to contribute to the healing of our world.
“Your holiness reverses all the laws of the world. It is beyond restriction of time, space, distance, and limits of any kind.” There’s no more potent way to thank God for your gifts, or to increase them, than by sharing them. You will be given as much power in the world as you are willing to use on His behalf.
“When you meet anyone, remember it is an holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” In every relationship, in every moment, we teach either love or fear. “To teach is to demonstrate.” As we demonstrate love and kindness towards others, we learn that we are lovable and we know how to love more deeply.
“Forgiveness takes away what stands between your brother and yourself.” When people behave unloving, they have forgotten who they are. They have fallen asleep to the Christ within. The job of the miracle worker is to remain awake. We choose not to fall asleep and dream of our brother’s guilt. In this way we are given the power to awaken him.
My religion is Kindness – That’s what I do. – Dalai Lama
All great spiritual masters teach the same message irrespective of the religions that are later formed in their name. The truth of life is in unity. They all teach Self-inquiry to lead the mind back to the inner Self, a unified state of existence. Different traditions may use different terms for this, but they are all essentially the same. The religious organizations that follow in the wake of great teachers often lose sight of this message of unity and even fight wars in the name of their beliefs.
Actually in all walks of life, we humans, are not as civilized as we would like to think. The world population more than double in the 20th century to more than 6 billion people, and it is consuming Earth’s natural resources at an outrageous rate. By some very reasonable estimates, our global natural resource base cannot support a population of more than 2 billion people consuming at the level of Western cultures. Clearly, major changes in thinking about our lifestyles is required as developing nations naturally aspire to the consumption of the West. Yet our political system is now punishing dissent, freedom of inquiry and efforts at preservation – tactics certain to slow the drive toward sustainability.
The days when we can ignore what the great masters have told us time and time again, are drawing to and end. Personal responsibility for the greater good must become the mark of an informed and conscious people, then instilled rapidly into those yet unaware. Raising consciousness has been a “motto” for the new age through several decades of civil rights, Feminine rights and minority rights activism. Though that phrase sounds trite, even passe, to many ears, the concept of setting aside prejudice and bias in order to support a greater good and a larger view is vital to our collective well-being in the near future. The greatest philosophic and religious teaching of all time, as I have said before, are been ignored and perverted with regard to this issue. May our descendents forgive us these errors as we struggle to bring our Earth back into balance.
This time next week I shall be in Paris exploring the city in all its Christmas finery, and hopefully will bring back some interesting stories and photos to post here. This blog definitely is not easy to create. It takes ages to prepare a post like the one posted here today. I have had moments of wanting to push it aside and let it go. I carry on because I believe deeply that the world we live in needs each and everyone of us to share whatever talent or knowledge we have. Be it Occupy Wall Street, or helping with a charity, or caring for animals, whatever it is, sharing at this time in our human history is important. We live in times of change like never before. PEACE.