Silence, A Parable – Myth And Legend

401803_10151825828400231_1988446125_n

PAINTING: Odilon Redon, “Buddha Walking Among the Flowers,” 1905.

The mystic and author G.I. Gurdjieff, suggests that there are two world. He says, “There is in us a zone where noise and tumult have no place, and a zone where everything reverberates. Hazrat Inayat Khan also tells us through his writings, that everything emanates from silence and gives rise to all that exists, including ourselves and our many manifestations. There is so much to say about silence, but shhhh! – I won’t be saying it. Here’s a Zen tale on the subject… Enjoy! 🙂 

Learning to Be Silent:

The pupils of the Tendai School used to study meditation before Zen entered Japan. Four of them who were intimate friends promised one another to observe seven days of silence.

On the first day all were silent. Their meditation had begun auspiciously, but when night came and the oil lamps were growing dim one of the pupils could not help exclaiming to a servant: “Fix those lamps” The second pupil was surprised to hear the first one talk. “We are not supposed to say a word,” He remarked.

“You two are stupid. Why did you talk?” asked the third. “I am the only one who has not talked,” – concluded the fourth pupil.

sorry about errors on first post.. (Had to repost.)


The Soul As An Image Of Nirvana – Myth And Legend

1149051_580738438642880_558886652_n

….

I found this to be an interesting tale and well deserving for a post here on the blog. The story goes that once a great king of India asked some fundamental questions about the basic teachings of the Buddha. The text is preserved as a dialogue between King Milinda and Nagasena, a representative of Buddhism. I might add  that according to Buddhist tradition, King Milinda (c.155 b.c.) was a local ruler of a province in India that had been part of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Archaeological evidence indicates that Buddhism had reached some degree of official status under King Milinda. Popular Buddhist legend recounts that in his constant search for new truths, King Milinda asked a number of questions about how man should live a good life and meet a good death.. Here is the story:   

King Milinda said: “I will grant you, Nagasena, that Nirvana is absolute ease, and that nevertheless one cannot point to its form or shape, its duration of size, either by simile or explanation, by reason or by argument. But is there perhaps some quality of Nirvana which is shares with other things, and which lends itself to a metaphorical explanation?”

“Its form, O king, cannot be elucidated by similes but its qualities can.”

“How good to hear that, Nagasena! Speak then, quickly, so that I may have an explanation of even one of the aspects of Nirvana! Appease the fever of my heart! Allay it with the cool sweet breezes of your words!”

“Nirvana share one quality with the lotus, two with water, three with medicine, ten with space, three with the wishing jewel, and five with a mountain peak. As the lotus is unstained by water, so is Nirvanan unstained by all the defilements. As cool water allays feverish heat, so also Nirvana is cool and allays the fever of the passions. More over, as water removes the thirst of men and beasts who are exhausted, parched, thirsty and overpowered by heat, so also Nirvana removes the craving for sensuous enjoyments, the craving for further becoming (the craving for reincarnation), the craving for the cessation of becoming (the craving for the end of reincarnation). As medicine protects from poison, so Nirvana protects from the torments of the poisonous passions. Moreover, as medicine puts an end to sickness, so Nirvana to all sufferings. Finally, Nirvana and medicine both give security. And these are the ten qualities which Nirvana shares with space.

Neither is born, grows old, passes away, or is reborn; both are unconquerable, cannot be stolen, are unsupported, are roads respectively for birds and Arhats (Someone who is or is becoming a Buddha) to journey on, are unobstructed and infinite. Like the wishing jewel, Nirvana grants all one can desire, brings joy, and sheds light. As a mountain peak is lofty and exalted, so is Nirvana., As a mountain peak is inaccessible, so is Nirvana inaccessible to all the passions. As no seeds can grow on a mountain peak, so the seeds of all the passions cannot grow in Nirvana. And finally, as a mountain peak is free from all desire to please or displease, so is Nirvana.”

“Well said, Nagasena! So it is, and as such I accept it.!

from Buddhist Texts, Throughout the Ages. (New York: Harper & Row 1964), pp.97-100

Ganesh And The Contest For Guardianship Of The Gunas, Myth And Legend

968940_10151518421509527_670804017_n

“The Ganas approached Brahma with their problem, but he was unable to solve it, so he sought the help of Vishnu to persuade Lord Siva to appoint a new Ganapati (Leader of the Ganas). Lord Vishnu suggested that the Ganas select either of the two sons of Lord Siva as their Guardian: Kartikaya or the pot-bellied Lambodar, also known as Ganesha. In order to find out which of the two sons would be worthy of assuming the title of the Ganesha, the gods and subgods decided to hold a contest between the two. A day, time and site for holding the contest were decided.

On the appointed day, everybody came to watch the contest. Vishnu was appointed judge, and Lord Siva and Divine Mother Parvati were present, occupying the central seat. At the appointed time Vishnu announced the task to the audience and to the two brothers: they had to go all around the existing universe and come back to the starting point as soon as possible. The one who came back first would be appointed Ganesha, the patron of all the Ganas. After hearing the terms and conditions of the task, Kartikeya took his fast-flying peacock and flew off into space so as to travel the universe as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Ganesha remained seated on his rat and did not move. Lord Vishnu, seeing Ganesha making no effort, urged him to hurry up. At Vishnu’s constant insistence that he join the contest, Ganesha smiled and paid his homage first to his father and mother, then to the other gods and subgods, and finall took off on his rat. All the Gods and subgods were astonished when they saw that instead of heading for outer space, Ganesha simply rode around Siva and Parvati, his mother, who represents the primordial Prakriti, the cause of all existing phenomena. After thus circling Siva and Shakti, Ganesha came back to his starting point, bowed down to his parents and declared: ‘I have completed my task. I have gone all around the universe.’

‘It is not true.’ exclaimed the gods and lesser gods. ‘You did not go anywhere. You are lazy!’

Ganesha stood before Lord Vishnu with folded hands and said, ‘I know you understand what I have done, but to make everybody understand I will say this: I HAVE completed my task of going all around the universe, because this phenomenal world of names and forms is but an expression and manifestation of the Divine Mother and my Divine Father. They are the source of everything that exists. I have gone around the source, which is the Truth, the essence of all exsitence, all phenomena. I know this Samasara is an ocean of relative existence, that it is all illusory – and it makes no sense to leave the Truth behind and and go all around the illusion. My brother is still busy going around the illusory world of relative existence. When he reaches Truth, he will also reach the same Truth, which is the only Truth – all else is illusion, including you and me.’

This statement ignited a spark of true understanding in all the Ganas, who were astonished and delighted at its wisdom. Applauding his refined judgement and enlightening performance, they accepted the coarse-looking, pot-bellied Ganesha as their patron. As Vishnu was putting the mark of victory on the forehead of the elephant-headed Ganesha, Kartikeya came back sweating and breathing fast. He became angry and challenged the victory of Ganesha. The gods then told Kartikeya about the subtle sense and wisdom of Ganesha and said, ‘You went after matter, which is illusion; you went around the phenomenal world, which has a relative existence, and so you could not perceive the Truth directly.'”

– from TOOLS FOR TANTRA by Harish Johari ISBN 9780892810550

In Search Of The Beloved – Myth and Legends

The myth of Cupid and Psyche is analogous to the story of Krishna and the Gopis.  We learn through the Krishna Myth, that he plays hide and seek with the gopis and no matter where they search for him, he cannot be found. They cannot see him. The gopis become afraid and almost mad for him. They cannot stop thinking of him and become absorbed in thought, thinking of the time they shared with Krishna in great love and affection. Also we read in the myth of Cupid and Psyche a similar situation occurs, where Cupid is invisible to Psyche. She yearns for her kind and gentle husband and finally finding her beloved, she drops hot wax on his shoulder because she is surprised by his great beauty. Best read the story for the full picture.


Cupid and Psyche

“Love and the Soul (for that is what Psyche means) had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; and that union could never be broken. (Cupid and Psyche)”
― Edith Hamilton, Mythology

Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. They were all beautiful, but by far the most beautiful was the youngest, Psyche. She was so beautiful that people began to neglect the worship of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Venus was very jealous, and asked her son Cupid (the boy with the arrows) to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible monster.

When he saw how beautiful she was, Cupid dropped the arrow meant for her and pricked himself, and fell in love with her. Despite her great beauty no-one wanted to marry Psyche. Her parents consulted an oracle, and were told that she was destined to marry a monster, and they were to take her to the top of a mountain and leave her there.

The west wind took her and wafted her away to a palace, where she was waited on by invisible servants. When night came her new husband visited her, and told her that he would always visit her by night and she must never try to see him. Although her invisible husband was kind and gentle with her, and the invisible servants attended to her every desire, Psyche grew homesick. She persuaded her husband to allow her sisters to visit her. When they saw how she lived they became very jealous and talked Psyche into peeking at her husband, saying that he was a monster who was fattening her up to be eaten and that her only chance of safety was to kill him. Psyche took a lamp and a knife, but when she saw her beautiful husband, Cupid, she was so surprised she dripped some hot wax onto his shoulder, waking him.

He took in the situation at a glance and immediately left Psyche and the magnificent palace she had been living in disappeared in a puff of smoke.Psyche roamed about looking for her husband, and eventually in desperation approached his mother, Venus. Still angry, the goddess set various tasks for Psyche, all of which she passed, with a bit of help from ants and river gods. At last Cupid found out what was going on, and he persuaded Jupiter to order Venus to stop her persecution of Psyche. Then they were married and lived happily ever after – and it really was ever after since Psyche was made a Goddess.The similarity to modern day fairy stories such as Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella is obvious.

– source. Bingley

photo source Top Left – Art.com