Compassion – the supreme power

April 27, 2008

When the policeman took me to the remand cell inside Police station at Thalahena, (Colombo, Sri Lanka), I felt bit uneasy. This person, whome I supposed to see in few minutes, changed my entire life experience in a single night. He has intruded into my house during the midnight, and stole every valuble item (including the wedding neckless of my wife) remained inside house. When I realized, he had roamed around our bed room, when we were in deep sleep, I felt horribly helpless. And for more than a week, I could not sleep.

Months later, Police caught him (during another midnight intrusion). And now, I am in front of this terrifying individual, behind the bars.

He is stout and shot, dark and humble. Smiling, despite the fact he is under police custody. When Policman ask certain questions, he explained how he entered our house, and spend the time there.

I felt sorry (and questioned myself, is this the deamon who made myself so scared). He is another human being, very much helpless in his ability to stand on his own in this society. He is extremely poor, cannot pass a day without having drugs. Theft is the only skill he posses. He use it for his own living.

‘How can I get him out of the prison?’ – that was my question to Policman. ‘Mithuru Mithuro’ – Drug rehabilitation center is the best place for him (not the prison). That can transform this extremely distorted individual into a normal human being.

This is the revelation of Compassion. (in a matter of senconds, my mind has transformed from Aversion to Compassion in front of this humble individual – called thief).

Compassion – is one of the best emotional states any human can experience. That makes us very comfortable in mind and body. When compassion dominates our mind, we feel very relaxed. It passes a soothing feeling through all our body muscles. It empowers our spirit to the point, that we tend to become supreme for a moment.

Compassion tends to radiate unique waves from our entier body, thus every living being around us tend to feel comfortable.

We all humans have compassion inside us, and experiences it random occasions, But awakening compassion skillfully at our will is not that easy. Most difficult is recognizing it from other diffiled emotional states.

At times, we tend to recognize our own love, affection and even some forms of desires as compassion. (as they tend to make our selves comfortable).

Following two examples may provide some help to gain clarity on compassion;

  • One day when I was travelling through the woods (in thick jungle) to meet my meditation guru, I suddenly felt the creeping leach on my left leg. In a quick impulse I caught him and started squeezing between my fingures (before throwing). Suddenly I felt how helpless this small creature, between my fingers. I saw how small it is – like a baby leach. Suddenly I felt like holding my own small daugter. Immediately I left him without incurring any more pain.

Spirituality in Fusion space

April 26, 2008

Spirituality!?

What we mean by the word is the human spirit nurtured by religious practice and wisdom, that is essentially peaceful and empowering.

Why it is important in the Fusion space?

Despite moden advancement of technology human civilization is losing its values and human qualities. Fusion envisages holistic approaches to ICT can avoid this negative development in the space of ICT technology advancement.

Fusion is seeking holistic ICT for develoment. It would not be wholesome just combining social, economic, ecological and cultural element without converging spirituality.

‘Individual’ being the building block of the communiy, this would primariliy aim to awaken the spirit of individual interacting within the Fusion community (Paurushodaya), that is to nurture the advance human qualities within the mind, body and action.

Advance human qualities>

  • sharing (dana) once time, energy, skills and intelect for the benefit of other humans and life forms.
  • self disciline to abstain from killing, stealing, disception, sexual misconduct and alcoholism.
  • respecting gender, culture, color, ethnic and religious diversity
  • cultivating compassion towads all human beings, other life forms and nature.

Cultivation and nurturing of Advance human qualities may awaken individual human spirit. That would nurture the advance qualities of the psychosphere of the Fusion community, thus creating a healthy enviornment of peaceful existance, harmless advancement and holesome development.

Handling Fear

April 26, 2008

I still remember the day that an intruder (thief) stole our valuble belongings from our home, while we all were sleeping. When I was driving the police officer to home I said;

‘ I never anticipated a thief coming to my house. Becuase we spend a very rituous life, helping people, giving whatever we could share….!’

Police officer started laughing at me.

‘You cannot escape from these mushrooming drug addicts!’

The following night was the worst ever experience in my life; I couldnt catch sleep. Every small sound raise my suspecion that thief is coming again. And I tend to grapple with horrible imaginations that he is threatening my kids…….and I kept walking up and down all the night’.

But theif had never come. It was the manifestation of fear in my mind.

The night before, when the thief intruded, walked into our bed room, spend hours stealing all our valuables…..I slept without a single worry. The next day, there isn’t any thief, night is very peaceful, but I am sleepless, worried and struggling all night.

What makes the difference?

Difference is not the thief. It is my mind. Fear in my mind create all the confusion.

Like all other emotions, fear too has its life cycle> birth – maturity – decay – death.

All these life cycles are pretty short, sometimes difficult to notice. We dont recognize we were in fear. Yet some times, we feel like we were completely disempowered.

That can be multiple emotional cycles occupying us simultaniously as repetitive cycles. For example, when before the first cycle of fear emotion ends, the next one begins. And it builds up into bundles of negative emotions (combined with other negative emotions too).

We have the controling window at the early stage (before it reaching the acute stage). The controle is nothing but the recognition of fear.

Nevertheless, handling of complex fear needs multiple approaches.

  1. realizaing the nature impermanence
  2. getting the blessings of Dhamma (truith)
  3. cultivating and nurturing Metta (Compassion).

If you are Therawada Buddhist following may be helpful>

When you are in fear – just recall following:

a). Repetitively pray – Buddha Vandana Gatha (Ethipiso – Bhagawa – Arahang…….!)

b). Pray – Karaniya mettah Sutta

These two will relax your mind.

Living through turbulance….!

April 26, 2008

‘Life is like a river, at times very calm and quite, at times very violent and rowdy..!’ – childhood reading.

violent phases are very unpredictable, too tough to pass though, extremely vulnerable. Until we come out of such phase, nothing is certain. Most of the time, we end up with lot of psychological wounds, losing our loved ones, losing our jobs etc.

We cannot avoid such phases. But we certainly CAN minimize the damage.

How?

1. Beware – that we are in a violent phase

2. Live with caution

How do we know we are passing though a violent phase?

Such phases are typically associated with repetitive Frustration, Dissatisfaction, Lose of hope, Unpredictability.

Typical eg: at work> ‘None of the initiatives we make, no matter how briliant they are, not working’

at society> ‘We feel like whole world is against us. No matter how much I care and share with them’

at family> ‘close ones or we ourselves fell sick, neither the doctors nor best medicine can help’

If such things happen just ones or twice, that is not an indication of a Violent phase. But, if they happen repetetively, for more than twice in a row, that is a sign of Violent phase. Be aware..! we are entering into a bad time.

So what?

Dont get panic. ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ – but challange is how to identify the silver line, without watching the big, dark, nasty cloud?

My recipe!

  • be optimistic – Every bad time is a blessing. They offer an opportunity to enter into a better phase of life subsequently (this is my personal experience in majority times).
  • return to basics – Avoid taking risks, try to maintain simplicity, avoid complex engagements, keep searching for calm & quite places.
  • be an obedient child – Turn to wisdom keepers (adults, friends, gurus, books) whoever believe to have pass through such tough experiences in life and who are ready to offer genunie help,
  • pass time momentorily – Just hang on to each minute, hour and day. Be happy that you managed to pass that moment without losing the nerve.
  • dont fall into traps – It is very likely that you may get exciting suggestions, options, offers from somebody or somewhere that is seemingly the answer to all the problems. Dont rush to take them up. In most of the cases, these are the gifts from Devil. They tend to escalate Violence, at the end.

How do we know, that the Violent phase is over?

You may gradually begin to see the light. May begin to notice smiles are again returning, people begin to admire, friends begin to call. Make sure such returns are gradual, not sudden. They tend to last long.

Supreme value of Pain

March 27, 2008

Pain has a true value. Despite the fact we all hate it.

One day my guru said – ‘it is only because of the pain this samsara is place of sadness. There is no place to get away from pain (Dukkha)’.

But, what is the value of Pain (Dukkha)?

Extreme pain does not have any value. It confuses all our mind and push the mind further deep into agony and misery.

But, pain at a tolerable level, has a very positive power to awake our mind into realization of truth. The truth of impermanence!

What is the trick?

  1. Nurture the perspective to recognize the value of pain (believe in its hidden value).
  2. Develop the skill to accept pain (avoid effort to get away from pain)

How to develop that skill of acceptance?

Pain has its own life cycle> ‘birth – maturity – decay – death’. Every pain has its birth and also its death. Learn to recognize the life cycle and how to live through that. That living through pain leads us to multiple meaningful realizations (awakening).

Recognizing this life cycle of pain is an art (one need to master). We hardly recognize the birth of pain, we recognize when it matures, then as natural human beings our body and mind tend to suppress the pain. (This is the point of rejection – which leads to aversion).

The more we reject the pain – more it aggravates.

The more we accept it (instead of rejection) the faster pain loses its grip.

What we need is to master the skill of

a) recognizing the pain (before it dis-empower us)

b). observe its life cycle (as a meditation)

This needs continuous effort and practice. But it is a very worthy effort.

Opening the gates for Wisdom

March 27, 2008

One need greater wisdom to define the word wisdom. To me – wisdom implies more holistic, harmonious, beyond the logical intelligence and insights.

I remember at the early stages of meditation, one stimulation for me was to improve my wisdom. I have seen enough books emphasizing that meditation improves wisdom! (So I was craving to seek this wisdom.!).

Today – I certainly recognize the true meaning of this word (though I would still struggle to explain it properly).

Wisdom is something comes from no-where. At deep meditations, when the mind is free from Lobha (Craving) & Dosha (Aversion), the Moha (Illusion) fades away. At that state, the mind is free from thoughts & emotions thus no perceptions or judgements. It is a very free state. (Pl note there is no-bliss at this state. It is free from bondage).

Wisdom – opens at that stage, from no-where. I never could recognize from where it comes (because my mind is not searching for anything at that state). But, some insights occur, which is unimaginable and perhaps beyond the explanation.

It is like, I read ten books on Climate Change to recognize its background information, logic, theories etc. etc. etc. And through these reading I gradually gather or generate a new insight. But at that meditative mind, I may reach the same insight (perhaps much much healthy, clear, peaceful, harmonious and broader one) just in a fraction of a second.

So, are we meditating to generate wisdom?

Yes and No.

Yes for the meditator in search of Nibbana. Through advance meditation (Vipassana), the meditator receives this wisdom of life and universe, wisdom of birth, death and rebirth (samsara) and path to get away from that cycle.

But, certain ‘No’ for person seeking materialistic wisdom. Dont try this. That will distract you from true merit of meditation and certainly take you back to the vicious cycle!

Meditation – the toughest thing in the world

March 24, 2008

Controlling mind…is truly truly truly tough.

Yet…every human has the capacity to do it. Take it step by step.!

Stage 1

The first step is to make it a regular practice.
a) to sit for meditation
b). to make it Every Day habit (eg. 6.30 am every-morning)
c). to make the Time Period (10 minute) consistent
(Indicators of maturity>

  • Inner sense of desire to sit for meditation (i.e. no inner resistance).
  • Spontaneous reminder to do meditation during a particular time of the day (despite all other busy demands of life)
  • Guilty feeling, if you miss one meditation sitting

(Dont expect any special result during this stage. Single aim is to cultivate the habit. And this phase may take three months to years depending on your degree of effort)When you qualify those indicators… then should aim to the next stage.Stage 2>
2a). Check the technique
2b). Search for Guru (teacher)
2c). Strive to improve the time (from 10 – 30 minutes – 1 hr).
Technique:There are thousands of meditation methods, and selecting correct meditation method is a tough challenge. (In my case, I read variety of books – Sinhala and English both. And I had the childhood exposure to a monk in an ashram, who lately became my guru. But, I was not sure whether he was the right one. Thus reading helped me to test variety of methods).Guru:Dont continue meditation without proper guidance from a good meditation teacher. It is very dangerous. Meditation is a training of your own mind. Wrong meditation techniques can lead to wrong extremes. (I have by-passed at least 3 – 5 twisting junctions during my meditation life. They were so subtle and convincing. Only in the retrospect I can recognize how fortunate I am to get away from those traps). Lengthy meditation: If you are general layman / woman living day to day busy life in a modern day demanding environment, the lengthy meditation practice is a must. To get the best use of meditation one need to practice minimum of 1 hr (1.3ohrs preferred) of undisturbed meditation daily basis.

Simple Meditation – to get away from busy-ness.!

March 21, 2008

I saw few of my close circuit friends and colleagues ending up exhausted.

Common problem:

  • all were happy, excited and grossly enjoying the work few weeks ago
  • suddenly all are complaining about frustration, overload, no-exit from work load.

Why is this sudden change? Isn’t there a way to enjoy tasty apples without losing the taste?

Well, I had the same question years ago. And found a modest answer, and now I happily live with that. So, answer is yes, we can keep enjoying the apples, without losing the taste..!

How? What is the secret?

‘Live in this moment’Thich Naart Haan

(Practical)?

At the beginning – NO !, But with persistence, we can gradually reach it, step by step. When you reach that level, world is much much much better place >>>> in my own experience.…>>(bombs blast, but not painful; roses die, but not distressful; lose the close friends, but not miserable).

What is the starting point?

This moment., yes….this very moment.!!!!

Step 1:

  • Close your eyes, and take a deep breath.
  • Take another deep breath, and another one.
  • Now let the breath slow down,
  • Keep watching the breath going up and down….up and down….up…..and down……up………down…….

Step 2:

  • You may notice, you lost your track
  • All of a sudden mind jump into a different world
  • Acknowledge yourself…> ‘I know’ (means> I know that my mind has been away).
  • ….’I know’…..’I know’……’I……….know’…….br….eath…..up …down…up….

Step 3:

  • Try this for 8 minutes
  • Then open your eyes
  • Reflect upon yourself.
  • Enjoy the fresh air..circulating around you……Sound of music in the wind…….Beauty of serenity in the silence……..Glamor of brightness and darkness…….
  • We are gifted with eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell…..and legs to walk….and hands to touch…..Yes….we can fly….!!!!
  • World is a beautiful place….!!!!!

Step 4: Make it a wish, to follow these steps, every day..!

With Metta..!

Free-Tibet..!>……Nurture compassion

March 20, 2008

The jeep running in front of me carried a small poster on the back. Free-Tibet.!

That sparked the simmering question inside me, why global media is not recognizing the freedom fighters of Tibet? BBC, CNN all display the blood shed, anger running over the streets in Tibet, against the Chinese. Why these responsible media channels of worlds leading democracies not democratic enough to highlight the silent compassion of the thousands of Tibetans, who are not taking part in this aggressive demonstrations.

I was reading a Dalai Lama’s book these days, and every page spill the tolerance, compassion and hope. The Buddhist teachings are truly in action. Dont reciprocate the aversion by aversion. Compassion will dissolve aversion, and will eventually cultivate peace and harmony.!

I recall the question raised by the taxi driver, when he took me from Seattle Airport to the Pan Pacific Hotel, week ago.

‘Why the world is so aggressive? People kill people, corruption and aggression parade all over the world, the world today is not a place to live!’

‘Well, if you want to see the affectionate side of the world, just dont believe in media. I travel around the world. I meet many people with warm hearts, the people who want to help the helpless, share a dime to help poor, volunteer in dirty places helping elderly, I am not talking about 100s, I am talking about 100s of 1000s of human beings all around the world!’.

He started nodding, but silent.

It is not the absence of compassion, but it is clearly the absence of critical mass of compassion. The underlying compassion is dis-empowered by the over-riding desire, greed and competition for power, wealth and money. Thus majority of the world live with fear, distress and dissatisfaction, despite expanding superhighways of technological progress.

Spiritual leaders like Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict continuously saw the seeds of compassion within their capacity. Tibet is one such example, under the spiritual leadership of Dalai Lama. Despite their lost land, and being victims of ruthless cultural cleansing (by Chines politicians), they continue demonstrating tolerance, compassion and hope.

But recent display of anger by Tibetans raises two questions,

Are tibetants loosing their trust in compassion and hope?

Are they beginning to adapt the opportunistic tactics of the modern world?

After all – Dalai Lama is not Lord Buddha!

Journey begins!

March 20, 2008

These are open reflections of another human individual in this complex world. I wish these reflections may help you to get away from complex moments, as it takes twists and turns…through our seemingly eternal, but realistically very temporary – journey call Life!