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  1. [HHC Study] Hua Hu Ching Chapter 2

    I'm re-reading my Brian Walker translation which I started reading in 2010, and looking at the notes that I wrote at that time This chapter triggered the practice for me to "just help without reservation" without discriminating regarding who are deserving and who are not deserving. This manifested in what I call "random acts of kindness" without looking back. I just follow my inner voice and, if it inspires me to helpful action, I just do it and then move on. Last Sunday, on the subway, my friend Margie and I met a man our age with very good energy. He was a person of meager income who was a "busker" (sings on the subway for extra money to make ends meet) and who gave me his "entertainer card" with contact information after we had a very good conversation. I was planning to go to the opera Tosca at the Met and called him to ask if he had ever been to the opera. Since he was a musician, he indicated that he would love to go but had never been to an opera since it was not in his budget. I told him that, if I could get online RUSH tickets, I would treat him. Sure enough, I got orchestra RUSH tickets to the opera for $25 each (tickets which normally sold for $230 each) and treated him to a wonderful evening. When one does "random acts of kindness" without even considering who is "deserving" or "not deserving", the Universe somehow cooperates in the best interests of all. (I should add that, prior to going to the opera, his sister warned him to be careful since she couldn't imagine a virtual stranger taking her economically-challenged elderly brother to the opera. However, his intuitive sense of good vibes worked to his benefit and his sister afterwards said that he was fortunate to have met such an altruistic person who "helps others" without looking for something in return.) This is a very good chapter which helped to develop a "random acts of kindness" practice for me and I now try to do at least one "random act of kindness" each day. Talk and theory must be translated into action or it is just talk.
  2. [HHC Study] Hua Hu Ching Chapter 1

    I am a new member here, and I am so glad to find this thread. It inspired me to take out my Hua Hu Ching book (translated by Brian Walker), which I started reading on March 19th 2010, and to review the notes that I made in the book while reading the comments on this thread. I had underlined practically the whole chapter () and it's great to re-read it. This chapter resonated completely with me. I particularly liked: "Those who wish to know the whole truth take joy in doing the work and service that comes to them". I am a firm believer of staying in the moment and not missing opportunities to learn via whatever "comes to them" naturally. I've discovered that, when one is mindful and follows one's pure intuition, one naturally and effortlessly comes in contact with whatever is in the best interests of all in any given moment.
  3. [HHC Study] Hua Hu Ching Chapter 1

    If the words resonate with me, I investigate further but this does not necessarily mean that words that don't resonate are not true Tao. It may simply mean that I don't understand, and I can cite many instances in my life where the words didn't resonate at first but, at some point in my life, I finally recognized as Truth. The words hadn't changed ...... but I had.
  4. Yoga Vasishta

    I am learning to be more precise with my terminology here as Truth cannot be fully or adequately expressed in words. I do, however, agree with you that "different ways are suitable for different individuals". That is one of the reasons why I love the Bhagavad Gita since it indicates various ways which are suited to those of different dispositions. Verily, "the Divine resides at the very center of any individual" and discovering that is actually what I meant by the "same destination" and the "journey without distance" in my prior post. It's more of a "discovery" than a "destination". I am definitely learning to be more precise in my terminology.
  5. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    I've been to almost 50 countries but, spiritually, Tibet and the Khumba Mela (Haridwar, India) had the most impact on me spiritually from a location perspective. In the Tibet of the 1980s, the spiritual atmosphere in Lhasa was contagious. In the market place, when there were no customers, the vendors were constantly chanting "Om Mane Padme Hum". On the streets, they would walk with their japa beads and chant. Everywhere, there was chanting. It was part of their lifestyle. It was awesome. At the Haridwar Kumba Mela in 1998, the impact was similar. From sunrise to sunset and even at other times, all one could hear in the city was various chants emanating from the ashrams there as well as from the tents on the Ganges. Storefronts had only spiritual pictures in their windows (other than their products obviously). Everything that one saw or heard related to the spiritual. After being immersed in that for the three weeks I was there, it was virtually impossible to have a non-spiritual thought in one's mind. Since I accompanied one of the sages of India to the event, I was able to participate in the Great Procession to the Ganges. Our order was the largest of the orders of Shankaracharya so we led the procession. Inside the acharya's palace, the chariots moved into formation. The banners were unfurled. The elephants were ready to move forth. At the sound of the conch, the gates of the palace opened and the procession moved forth as millions lined the procession route. (I was wearing orange and walked beside my teacher's chariot.) The event was unforgettable. In addition, since sages come out of their caves in the Himalayas for the event, I met many remarkable beings who outwardly appear very ordinary but are quite extraordinary if one recognizes them and establishes contact. In Amman, Jordan, a moderate Islamic country, I was impressed by the modest apparel of the inhabitants. However, what impressed me most was the calls to prayer five times a day. Since it is a Muslim city, one awakens in the morning to the stereo-type calls to prayer echoing through all the mosques in the city. In the evening, one goes to sleep hearing the same echoes of prayers throughout the city. During the day, when it is time for the call to prayer, everything literally stops as people go to the mosques to pray or take out their prayer mats and pray where they are at that time. It's an incredible experience. I could go on and on and on but those are the three incidents that come to mind first. There are obviously others. However, one of my most life-transforming longer-term connections that I will never forget was a remarkable nine-year spiritual journey with a "homeless" black man right here in New York City. He would mysteriously appear and vanish throughout those years and was one of the most spiritually advanced beings I've ever met. On our last day together, when he announced that I would not longer be seeing him since his work with me was done and another master would take his place, I followed closely behind him to the street corner as he left me and I could not bear to let go. I was only a couple of steps behind him when I turned the corner after him .... and no one was there. As he had indicated, I never saw him again but I have never forgotten him.
  6. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    I've had cats for years and currently have three adorable street cats living with me. You may have a point there !
  7. Yoga Vasishta

    Perhaps "destination" is not the best word and that's why I also used "journey without distance" which actually sounds paradoxical but isn't. That is the problem with words.
  8. Yoga Vasishta

    It has been a long time since I read the Yog Vashistha, but one part that really commanded my attention was the story of Lila and the King which gave insights into the nature of the mysteries of Life and Death. If anyone would like to discuss that story, I would be very receptive to hearing any insights regarding it. Regarding the subject of "surrender", I noticed that Bodhicitta mentions that there are four methods to "cross the ocean of worldly existence" but that he doesn't think that the Yog Vashistha emphasizes "surrender". It is my understanding that all four methods ultimately lead to "surrender" but, having said that, it is important to define "surrender" as I see it. (There may be other definitions so one must be clear about what one means by "surrender".) Thinking (vicara) is helpful for the intellectual (dominant within myself along with bhakti and karma "service" yoga) until one realizes that which lies in the stillness/silence beyond thoughts, thought-conception, and discursive-thought. When one gets even a glimpse of this "beyond", two other methods (contentment and tranquility) spontaneously arise on the path of jnana. The company of the wise is simultaneously helpful as that often provides food for meditation. Eventually, one reaches a point where thinking subsides and one attunes to (or "surrenders") to that which lies beyond it all --- the "not knowing" of the Zen Master Bodhidharma as he responded to the Emperor of China. My practice specifically employs the intellect to reach that point where the intellect is no longer really needed. For a Bhakti who is devoted to a chosen deity such as Lord Shiva, "surrender" accomplishes the same thing but for a different reason. Bhakti is indeed the easiest path for crossing over, and is most recommended for the masses. However, the Bhaktis generally can't help others along the path unless the others are also Bhaktis. More often than not, they simply tell the devotee to surrender and add nothing more. Nonetheless, that is sufficient in many cases. It is my understanding that all roads lead to the same "destination" (the Alpha and the Omega) in this "journey without distance". In my opinion, methodologies may differ but aware, alert understanding of the stillness/silence (the "cloud of unknowing" in mystical Christianity) is the key. Of course, if one can tap into the Universal Mind and navigate it, there is much more conventional knowledge to be gleaned in the "ocean of existence".
  9. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    When I went to the Taoist monastery in Chengdu, there was one particularly memorable aspect of my stay during that day visit. Since I don't speak Chinese, I went with a friend who spoke both Chinese and English. (My stay in Chengdu was brief since it was only a stopping point to and from Lhasa, Tibet.) When we got to the monastery, we met with some of the monks and I had a lot of questions on Taoism. When the monks couldn't go deep enough, they introduced me to the senior monk. When he experienced some difficulty in addressing my questions, they brought me to the "Master" at the monastery but would not allow my interpreter to accompany me. I was a bit confused by that but they told me that it didn't matter that I couldn't speak Chinese and that the Master didn't speak English. That was perplexing ... initially. When I emerged from the Master's room, my interpreter questioned me about what happened during the THREE HOURS or so that I had been alone with the Master. All I could say was that all of my questions had been answered .... without words. (This happened again to me years later at the Khumba Mela in Haridwar, India, and similar experiences .... but not as lengthy .... have happened at other times in my life.) Telepathy and silent communication are facts
  10. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    My spiritual mentor shared freely, and I too share freely whatever is of interest to others. By the way, I spent time once at a Taoist monastery in Chengdu, China, and it was an awesome, transforming experience.
  11. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    Thank you. If you're who I think you are, it's great to see you here again. Even if you're not who I think you are, thanks for the welcome.
  12. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    Thank you. I see that the whole slack crew seems to be here.
  13. First Post - Introductory Post by Paul (Still_Waters)

    Thanks for recommending this site to me, Siva.
  14. This site was highly recommended to me by a newfound spiritual buddy so I decided to check this out. The site indicated that an introductory post is required, and I'm doing that now. I'm generally a person of few words and few posts but, when inspired, the words flow quite freely and spontaneously. I've practiced meditation for many years. While working in corporate America, I was able to travel to over 45 countries in pursuit of spiritual masters before discovering that the keys to realization are actually "within" and that there was really no need for such extensive travel. Nonetheless, I met and practiced under sages from various traditions with a sincere, questioning "weigh-and-measure" attitude until, eventually, one gets to a point where all traditions point in the same direction. My primary spiritual mentor for over 30 years was a Hindu sage whom I accompanied to the Haridwar Khumba Mela in 1998 and for whom I wrote the introduction to the ashram's meditation book. The Khumba was particularly life-transforming since I met several extraordinary beings there and realized that virtually anything is possible. My focus is on direct experiences and practice as opposed to intellectual theorizing. Having said that, however, I was fortunate to have met and connected with wise ones from many traditions, including but not limited to Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, the Bahai faith, Sufism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Native American, Shamanism, and so on. I am looking forward to participating in the forums here as they come highly recommended.