The Parable of the Light Princess (Jewish) – Myths and Legends

Hi folks, having a lovely time here in Prasanthi. The gardens are exquisite and full of bouganvillas, butterflys and beauty. Don’t really want to leave here it is such a treat after the cold winters in Europe.

Here is one of my favourite parables from years ago. Happy Ugadi – New Year !!


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aawhiteed

I love this short story. Actually it’s a parable within the Jewish Faith. I have had it at the back of the blog for sometime now, where it is not seen. Hopefully bringing it to the front page will be a good way of sharing it.. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

aawhiteed


There was once a long time ago, a lovely princess who made her home in the Temple In Jerusalem. She was not an ordinary princess, oh no, she was very special for she was made of light.

Her father, was the ruler of the world and made his home in a heavenly palace. There he had two thrones, a throne of justice and another throne of mercy. Because he was a good and wise ruler, he used the thrones to make the laws. When he sat on the throne of justice, he was stern and very strict. When he sat on the throne of mercy he was a forgiving and loving ruler. The king had sent his princess into the world to give out blessings and light.

Most of the time the princess was invisible, although people could sense her presence, and once in a while they saw her in visions and sometimes in dreams.

Sometimes she appeared as a princess and sometimes as a lovely bride and at other times she would appear as a saintly person, she could sometimes be seen hovering over the Temple. Then the people would gather together and say to each other, ‘the princess is with us!’ Whenever she appeared they would utter prayers, for they knew that as long as the princess was there, her father the king, was also protecting them.

While the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the princess of light was always happy, her days were full of blessings.

But when the Temple was torn down, the princess was sorrowful. She saw how the people of Jerusalem were forced to leave their homes and decided she would also leave the Temple and go into exile with the people.


Her father called upon all the princes in the world to go and find her


When her father learned that she had left the Temple and gone into exile, he called upon all the princes in the world to go and find her and to report back to him with news to where the princess was. He promised the prince who found her that he would wed him to the princess. He foretold that on the day of the marriage, all the people in the world would celebrate their marriage.

Now all the princes wanted to marry the princess whose father was the ruler of the world. Each went his separate way in search of the princess. Some looked to the North, others to the East, a few went to the South, and others to the West. They searched every town and village, in every house and under every bed. But even though they searched everywhere, they could not find her.

At last there was but one prince left who had not searched for the princess. Now it was his chance to go and look and he could not turn down the quest. Before he set out into the world, he went around his castle saying to himself, ‘Where is it that the princess is so well-hidden, yet the same time always with her people?’

This prince sought out a wise rabbi and the rabbi said, ‘There is only one thing in the world that is always with our people, and that thing is the holy book, the Torah.’ ‘Well’ said the prince, ‘you must teach me the words of the holy book.’ The rabbi agreed.

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The prince had to study the Torah for many years before he was able to master it, but a day came when he had become such a master of the teachings, that he was able to find out where the princess was hidden.

And as was the case, his search came to an end one day while he was reading the holy book. For all of a sudden he glimpsed the princess hidden in the sacred words of the Torah. The prince as he became filled with wisdom was able to see the shining brightness of the princess in the holy words, and his eyes were filled with luster.

Now the prince knows where the princess is hidden, he is determined to set her free. And when he does, her father the ruler of the world will keep his promise to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, that was once her home and on the day of their wedding the whole world will celebrate.


-retold by moi from the Original.

The Arrow Parable From The Buddha – Myth and Legend

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Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.”  – Gautama Buddha

BUDDHA’S PARABLE OF THE ARROW

“Imagine a man that has been pierced by an arrow well soaked in poison, and his relatives and friends go at once to fetch a physician or a surgeon. Imagine now that this man says:

“I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know the name of the man who shot it, and the name of his family, and whether he is tall or short or of medium height; until I know whether he is black or dark or yellow; until I know his village or town. I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know about the bow that shot it, whether it was a long bow or a cross bow.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know about the bow-string, and the arrow, and the feathers of the arrow, whether they are feathers of a vulture, or kite or peacock.

I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know whether the tendon which binds it is of ox, or deer, or monkey.

I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know whether it is an arrow, or the edge of a knife, or a splinter, or the tooth of a calf, or the head of a javelin.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without having found out all these things.

In the same way, any one who would say: ‘I will not follow the holy life of Buddha until he tells me whether the world is eternal or not; whether the life and the body are two things, or one thing; whether the one who has reached the Goal is beyond death or not; whether he is both beyond death and not beyond death; whether he is neither beyond death nor is not beyond death.”

Well, that man would die, but he would die without Buddha having told these things.

Because I am one who says: Whether the world is eternal or not, there is birth, and death, and suffering, and woe, and lamentation, and despair. And what I do teach is the means that lead to the destruction of these things.

Remember therefore that what I have said, I have said; and that what I have not said, I have not said. And why have I not given an answer to these questions? Because these questions are not profitable, they are not a principle of the holy life, they lead not to peace, to supreme wisdom, to Nirvana.”

– Majjhima Nikaya

Shambhala Warrior Legend, – Video

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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.)

 

 


 

 ‹ › Nicholas Roerich 1892 St.Petersburg



Nicholas Roerich
1892
St.Petersburg

 

 

Roerich in old age, 1934? - not sure where he died.
Roerich in old age, 1934?

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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:

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.

 

http://www.roerich.org/roerich-writings-shambhala.php

http://www.roerich.org/museum-archive-photographs.php

http://www.roerich.org/museum-paintings-slideshows.php

 

 

The Wise Deer – Myth And Legend

https://sathyasaimemories.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/deer_by_yaphleen-d53y92k.jpg
https://sathyasaimemories.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/deer_by_yaphleen-d53y92k.jpg

Sri Yogananda and the 16h Karmapa have both stated most strongly, one of the worst actions a human can do is hunt wild animals. There is no gain in killing an innocent animal for the sake of blood sport, yet often the richest people and the most powerful among us, in all countries, indulge in blood sports. Those who do not need to kill for food or for any other reason than for taking life are attracting to themselves very bad  karma in future.

Although it was a crucial part of humans’ survival 100,000 years ago, hunting is now nothing more than a violent form of recreation that the vast majority of hunters do not need for subsistence.(1) Hunting has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger and the great auk.(2,3)

Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, and state parks and on other public lands.(40 Almost 40 percent of hunters slaughter and maim millions of animals on public land every year, and by some estimates, poachers kill just as many animals illegally.


The Tale Of  The  Wise Deer – Buddhist

It is written in the great books of the East, the Buddha once took on
an incarnation of a beautiful deer, possessing the qualities of
strength, swiftness, intellect and above all a deep love for all
creatures.

Like all deer he lived simply and according to his dharma. He ate
grasses and berries and drunk only pure water from the mountain
stream. In silence he wandered through the forest showing respect for
all the other creatures who dwelled there, in returned they too,
respected him.

One day the king was out hunting in the forest but he took a wrong
path and found himself in a dense and dark part of the forest where he
hadn’t been before. Suddenly between the thick trees, he spotted the
great deer grazing in a nearby glen. Over come with excitement at the
size and beauty of the animal, the king quickly laid an arrow onto his
bow. But the deer was too quick for him and ran towards a hidden chasm
where he quickly jumped over to the other side and to safety.

The king unwilling to lose the deer, followed him but when his horse
arrived at the chasm it came to an abrupt halt, hurling his royal
master into the darkness below.

The deer became aware of the silence behind him. Looking back, he saw
the riderless horse peering into the depths of the ravine and realised
that the king must be lying on the rocks below.

With wondrous compassion the noble deer slowly retraced his steps
towards the one who sought to take his life for mere sport.

At the edge of the chasm the deer looked down and saw the king laying
in a heap below. His sharp ears picked up a faint sound of moaning as
the king, obviously in pain, cried out for help.

Tears welled up in the deer’s large soft eyes,

“Oh Your Majesty,” he said,

“You command the respect and loyalty of countless subjects. Through
God’s grace you have brought goodness to the land and prosperity to
your people. I pray that you have not suffered any serious injuries
from your fall and that you will continue to rule your kingdom with
love and respect in your heart. Although I am only a creature of the
forest, I ask you to trust me because it is within my power to help
you out of your unfortunate situation – but only if you grant me
permission.”

The king replied, “my armour saved me from serious wounds, but now I
suffer a greater pain and that is one of great shame for wanting to
take your life, a creature of such righteousness and compassion. I
accept your offer of kindness. But first, tell me why you would risk
your life to help the one who sought to kill you for sport?”

The deer answered, “does not the Lord of Life who illumines my heart
also illumine yours? Beyond the superficial awareness that I am a deer
and you are a man lies the supreme Truth that within us burns the same
light of God. So in saving your life, O King, I acknowledge and honour
the divine Self within us both.”

Then the deer began his perilous journey to the bottom of the ravine.
The King embraced the sacred animal, who knelt to allow the king to
climb onto his back. Carefully the deer climbed up the rocky path to
the horse waiting patiently at the top.

Once the king was safely on his horse again, he asked the deer to
return with him to the palace where he would live his life protected
from hunters in the palace gardens.

“Your offer is very kind,” answered the deer,

“But my home is in the forest with my family and other creatures. If
you really want to help me, then protect the forest by banishing
hunting altogether. Let the animals live in peace and according to the
laws of nature. If you agree to this your life will be ennobled and
you will be a monarch of supreme virtue and wisdom.”

Then the Deer bestowed his grace upon the king and turned and walked
back to his sylvan domain, leaving the king to return home with a
profound realisation of the sanctity of life.

– Anon

Lilith Snippets – Myth And Legend

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I can’t resist the myth of Lilith, although I don’t believe one word. Lilith has been unkindly treated by history. And of course she is just so easy to find fault with. She actually would not obey her husband and declared herself equal to him in every way! And like all strong headed women she left him! She spoke the Ineffable Name of the Creator and soared up into the air. Thereupon Adam stood in prayer before the Creator and thus he spake: ” O Lord of the Universe, the woman Thou hast given me has fled from me.”

The Lilith teaching is actually used to divide the relationship between man and woman and destroy the start of marriage which God intended for all creation. The Lord did not create two separate beings in the book of Genesis but one. Adam existed as a dual being until  God caused him to sleep and divided Him into another separate creation, creating Eve in Genesis 2. Man is neither complete by himself nor is woman, but the two come together to create the original creation. The story of Lilith is intriguing, but also dark. Lilith, the first wife of Adam, spoke the truth when she said, “I am equal to Adam in every way.”  She suffers a dreadful fate from a  wrathful God and vengeful men. She will be forever known as the demon-ess, the dark one. The seducer of men and young boys.


Aramaic Demon incantation bowl depicting female figure bound by rod and chain – dated between the 5th and 8th century AD. Translation of text: “Elisur Bagdana, the king of demons and the great ruler of Lilliths, I beswear you, the Lilith Hablas, granddaughter of the Lilith Zarnay, who resides upon the threshhold of the house and kills boys and girls, in order that you should struck in your pericardium – the mighty Siqaros – go out from her son of Ahata from the threshhold of Yaya daughter of Aya. Behold, I write to you and behold, I dismiss you, just as demons write deeds of divorce to their wives and they do not come back. Flee and go out and do not appear, from this day and forever. And may you go out from her, from her house, from her dwelling place, from her entrance, from her exit, from the four corners of her house, from this day and forever. Amen, Amen, Selah, This bow is for the curse of the brother and of the sisters, and from the curse of the neighbours, and from the curse of the male nurse, and from the stranger and the relative, from the curse of the Aramaean and of the Jew, and from the curse demon, from the blow demon, from the vow demons, and from idol spirits, and from the blow demons, and from the mevakkalta demon, and from the tormentor, and from man and from woman, neither during the daytime nor during the night, from this day and forever. Amen, Amen, Selah. Yah Yah Yah, yyh Elohim.”

the Story of Lilith can be found on this link..

https://sathyasaimemories.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/goddess-or-demon-lilith-myths-and-legends/

O My Heart – Myth And Legend

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Our thoughts are powerful, and just like the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul said and I quote  here: “The average man is often the victim of his own thought forms. He constructs them, but is neither strong enough to send them out to do their work, nor wise enough to dissipate them when required. This has brought about the thick swirling fog of half-formed, semi-vitalized forms in which eighty five percent of the human race is surrounded.”

There is an ancient image of the heart and its function that likens it to the way a sound arises from an underground cave. To an older way of thinking, thought begins below in our hearts.  Then ascends to our brains, where it brings insight and intelligence to our awareness. Silence is a requirement. When our thoughts has collected sufficiently, they are ready to be carried outward, in words. Only then do our voices call to express what  needs saying as it was meant. Then, we speak truly. Our words are heartfelt. All is well, we hope.

..


 

That The Heart No Longer Moves – Sufi Tale

Long ago, in Andalusia, a Sufi merchant awaited the arrival of his shipment of goods. A messenger came running to inform him of a great mishap – the boat had sunk, carrying the livelihoods of many to the bottom of the ocean. Upon receiving the news, the merchant paused, cast his eyes downward, and softly said, “Praise be to God – AlhamduliLah.”

Some weeks later, the messenger joyfully appear at the merchant’s door.

..

“O Merchant,” he cried out. “Your goods arrived safely and are at this very moment being unloaded on the dock. The ship did not sink after all!”

..

At this the merchant again lowered his gaze and murmured, “All praise is due to God.” The messenger inquired, “What is this pausing and lowering of your gaze?” The merchant replied, “In both cases, I was checking to make sure my heart didn’t move.”

..

-Retold by Gray Henry


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To end on a wise quotation from the Peaceful Warrior. 

“You haven’t yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability–to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.” – Dan Millman

One and One Make One – Myth And Legend

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Mullah Nasrudin was on a journey, and he stopped for the night in a town where he did not know anyone. He found an inn, and slept comfortably. The next morning on awakening, he discovered to his dismay that he did not know who he was. He thought for a while about his predicament, then decided to go out into the street to see if anyone might recognize him and tell him who he was. There were many people in the street, but since he was a stranger in the town, no one recognized him. After wandering around a while, he decided to go into a clothing store. Perhaps someone in there…?

The shopkeeper pounced on him. “Ah, good sir, I have just the suit for you. Here, try this on.” The Mullah complied, and tried on several suits and jackets, none of them being quite satisfactory. After humoring the shopkeeper for some time, he turned to him and said: “Excuse me, my good man, but did you see me come into your store?”

..

“Well, yes, of course,” the shopkeeper replied, puzzled.

“Tell me then,” said the Mullah, “how did you know that it was me?”

source: R. Brown


The greatest riddle, the greatest mystery of all, aside from the Creation itself, is the mystery of the inner world and the outer world, and of their relationship to each other. Perhaps it is even the same as the mystery of the Creation. Along with this short myth, I have posted a link to the video, Innerworlds * Outerworlds, the movie. I highly recommend it.

http://www.innerworldsmovie.com/index.cfm?page=video&videoid=1

Fly Like A Butterfly – Inspirational Parables And Quotations

When living creatures come into contact with Divine Light, three kinds of defilements disappear in them. Their bodies and minds become supple and gentle. They become full of joy and enthusiasm, just like a butterfly that has descended on a pollen filled-flower.  🙂

There is a legend, one of many from the Native American achieves, that  if  you want your wishes to come true, first you must capture a butterfly in your hands, cradle it gently not to harm it, whisper your wish, then let it go.  Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.

In appreciation for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom back, the Great Spirit will grant your wish.

….

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Taken this summer in Kent,England, at the butterfly sanctuary

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Photo of caterpillar taken by the roadside in France on the journey to England…

Probably the most well-known Butterfly Parable from the Zen Tradition.

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The most well-known of Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) parables is the Butterfly Dream anecdote, which (in translation by Lin Yutang) goes like this:

Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.


This short story points to a number of interesting and much-explored philosophical issues, stemming from the relationship between the waking-state and the dream-state, and/or between illusion and reality: How do we know when we’re dreaming, and when we’re awake? How do we know if what we’re perceiving is “real” or a mere “illusion” or “fantasy”? Is the “me” of various dream-characters the same as or different from the “me” of my waking world? How do I know, when I experience something I call “waking up” that it is actually a waking up to “reality” as opposed to simply waking up into another level of dream?4