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Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

What can be achieved if we work at it.

What can be achieved if we work at it.

Weeding the Garden.

Pauline at work.

Pauline at work.

Every problem is an opportunity for growth. Life is a problem if we think what is taught in the school room is all we need to know. Learning should extend beyond the classroom. We must think for our self and look for facts to substantiate what we are told. We need more than blind faith in others.

Jack plaing in the garden.

Jack playing in the garden.

Weeds grow and flourish with no assistance from the gardener. In the garden of our mind weeds can thrive if we are not aware and constantly weeding out the unwanted negative thoughts.

Zen Garden ,note the tree shadow on the rock.

Zen Garden ,note the tree shadow on the rock.

Plant instead seeds of love, hope, peace and contentment. They will grow and produce medicine that will cure hate and despair and calming the stress in our life. Grow strong by planting good wholesome seeds.

Worker in Zen garden.

Worker in Zen garden.

Focus your mind on good and feed good thoughts into your mind as everything you experience influences your mind either positively or negatively.

Zen green tranquillity.

Zen green tranquillity.

Distance yourself from the toxic poison, that is too plentiful, in the modern world.

Weeds are always trying to invade.

Weeds are always trying to invade.

In technical terms all the sensory perception you come in contact with affect the neural activity in your brain. Repeated experiences leave lasting changes in the brain. You could say repeated thoughts and actions form habits that can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on what you come in contact with.

Zigzagging bright contrast.

Zigzagging bright contrast.

 To find happiness, peace and contentment you need to plant good seeds in the garden of your mind and repeatedly weed out weeds that are overrunning and destroying your beautiful, peaceful garden.

A feast for the eyes.

A feast for the eyes.

The underlying cause of all life’s wonders and woes, man has created or destroyed, all the joy or pain can be traced to what man has planted in his brain, the garden of his mind.

A joy to behold.

A joy to behold.

Over centuries of history man has planted mostly weeds in the garden of his mind. The seeds of ignorance, fear, greed and hate flourished. Ignorance created gods, fear created submission to shaman, witch doctors and priests that claimed they could communicate with a god or the gods. Greed, hate and ignorance flourished under these conditions till the renaissance.

A star for perfection.

A star for perfection.

These mistakes must be put behind us. We should think for ourselves not blindly believing comments from witch doctors, spin doctors, or media rubbish.

Nourishment from the garden.

Nourishment from the garden.

A point I made in my post ‘Elvis Lives’ shows one way to calculate the truth. Occam’s Razor is another problem solving principal that can be explained this way, ‘assume that the most straight forward or simplest explanation is the most likely to be the truth.’ I believe looking at people’s past history and their motives for making a statement helps make a correct decision on the value of their words.

The love of a garden...

The love of a garden…

Try to avoid most of the unsavoury, think and act positive. One suggestion is watch the news but not every time the same dreadful news is repeated. My wish is by keeping actively weeding you garden you harvest an abundance of nutrious vegetables, fruit and the flowers bloom in splendour.

is a garden of love.

is a garden of love.

 

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Young men looking after the environment in Arnham Land.

Young men looking after the environment in Arnhem Land.

More Dreams.

Fair dinkum Aussies we met in Katherine N.T.

Fair dinkum Aussies we met in Katherine N.T.

The Australian Aborigines speak of their ‘Dream Time’ of the serpent and creation. In the light of day their dreams were shattered, they were forced to step from hunter gathers into a modern age. In a few generations technology has advanced rapidly and everyone is finding it hard to manage the transition. Few have any understanding of how the indigenous people are struggling to cope with their crushed dreams.

The Buddha’s aim was to relieve suffering in the world. He explained the universal truth that all things are passing and subject to change.  This is the cause of dukkah, a Pali word that has no precise synonym, in English we loosely translate it as pain and suffering. The Buddha prescribed a cure for suffering by following  eight steps.

Pauline reads a sad reminder of History.

Pauline reads a sad reminder of History.

The Eightfold Path or The Middle Way is a way of moderation, a philosophy that can be practiced in conjunction with other religions.  Because of it being compatible with other beliefs the Buddha’s teachings are now associated with religions and local myths from other countries. There are many schools of Buddhism just as there are many branches and denominations of other religions. The below teaching I have outlined is fundamental to all schools of Buddhism. If you incorporate these steps with your beliefs your life will improve.

A Chinese representation of The Buddha.

A Chinese representation of The Buddha.

This is a self-disciplined guide, to become a better person.

Right understanding, Is understanding the true nature of life, realising all things change and cannot be clung to, is the beginning of right understanding.

Right thoughts, are kind, caring and compassionate thoughts.

Right speech, is honest, considerate and not harsh.

Right actions, are a benefit to all sentient beings.

Right livelihood, is to earn our livelihood in a decent, helpful way not a destructive way.

Right effort, is a matter of doing your best.

Right concentration, meditation is training in concentration and mind control.

Right mindfulness is to be aware of your thoughts and emotions.

A very impressive representation of The Buddha.

A very impressive representation of The Buddha.

These are not commandments they are a guide to self-disciplines, the goal to self-betterment, a path to peace and contentment in a troubled world. The Buddha’s philosophy became a religion after his death, as it spread to other countries their folk laws and myths were added.  Many different branches of Buddhism developed, a hierarchy debating over their differences. With all the complex religious ritual and added myths the basic path has been obscured.  The result is the basic philosophy Buddha taught, The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path, is often neglected. Buddhists need to wake up.

Once a belief becomes an organised religion it is lost in a power struggle for converts.

Peaceful image representing The Buddha.

Peaceful image representing The Buddha.

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Australian Hibiscus grows on this coast.

Australian Hibiscus grows on this coast.

An Inspiring Book.

Surfers Paradise from N. Burleigh headland.

Surfers Paradise from N. Burleigh headland.

This post is from a book that impressed me. The words are exactly how I try to live. But I could never convey them as well as, the book “Blossom,” by Michelle Merrifield. The author is a beautiful lady from the Gold Coast, Queensland, which accounts for her love of surfing.  The sample below may prompt you to read to the book.

Dietes saying good morning.

Dietes saying good morning.

“Blossom.”

The words are Michelle’s but the photos are mine.

Watching the action from S. Burleigh Headland.

Watching the action from S. Burleigh Headland.

I always say that, as a teacher I am merely a messenger passing along what I have learnt from all the incredible gurus I have been blessed to work with.

The entertaining action.

The entertaining action.

Breath, bend, blossom is my humble interpretation of what they have taught me over the years and how I have come to apply lessons of yoga in my life;

Everyone can enjoy.

Everyone can enjoy.

That it starts with the breath, the life-force, the union between our individual spirits and the divine universal energy.

That our body is the temple that houses the spirit, so we bend and stretch and twist and fold to keep that temple healthy and strong;

The watchful eye in the sky keeps everyone safe.

The watchful eye in the sky keeps everyone safe.

It is only when we have trained the body, mind and soul that we can truly blossom and use the lessons of yoga to make the world a more beautiful and peaceful place.

S. Burleigh from Ambience Apartment building.

S. Burleigh from Ambience Apartment building.

The first thing we do when we are borne is inhale. Last thing we do is exhale. In-between is life.

Gold Coast Highway and beach front apartments.

Gold Coast Highway and beach front apartments.

Like a find tuned woodwind instrument, our bodies need oxygen in order to sing and play. You will find the sweeter the quality of the breath the sweeter the harmony in our lives.

Our family often meet at Burleigh Beach.

Our family often meet at Burleigh Beach.

If you desire to live your life in a state of peace and serenity take control of your breath and inhale slowly, deeply, with deliberate conscious thought.

Jasmine being kind to the Sea Gulls.

Jasmine being kind to the Sea Gulls.

Notice too all the emotions associated with fast breathing, stress, anger, fear, uncertainty and panic.

Jason gives us a song.

Jason gives us a song.

The quality of your breath is directly related to the quality of your posture. By lengthening of the spine you naturally lengthen the breath. By rolling your shoulders back and down opens a clear passage to inhalation.

Jade looks mischievous with a bucket of water.

Jade looks mischievous with a bucket of water.

Maintaining good posture takes concentration and self-awareness at first, in time it becomes natural.

Pauline and Jason wrapping while James gives a tune.

Pauline and Jason wrapping while James gives a tune.

Every breath is a connection with the universal life force. The air we inhale has been purified by trees and vegetation. We breathe out all the toxins and negative waste.

Thanks to the Indigenous People.

Thanks to the Indigenous People.

Living meditation is about being totally president in everything I do and making it a sacred experience. When eating a meal focus on smell, flavour, texture and savour every morsel. Imagine how your life would change, if you could just be aware and present in every moment. Breathe in the sweet fresh air. Smell the perfume of flowers. Hear the birds sing. Look up to the clouds. Let go of thoughts and just breathe.

Respect is not much for what they gave up.

Respect is not much for what they gave up.

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Without wheels.

Without wheels.

Wheels of Progress.

This is the way, bikes for hire.

This is the way, bikes for hire.

The invention of the wheel took a load off mans shoulders. It has many commercial uses one of its first uses was the wheelbarrow, carts and chariots. Today we have a vast array of uses for the wheel it is seen everywhere from the push-bike to the locomotive, the family car to the huge road-trains, big trucks pulling a string of trailers all with many pneumatic duel wheels.  On the water the wheel has mostly replaced the tiller.

road trains

road-trains

In the late sixth century BC, before Christ, a man called Siddhartha Gautama lived, commonly known as the Buddha. Buddha found and taught others how to free themselves from life’s suffering. His teaching is called the Dharma by his followers. The basic teachings, fundamental to all schools of Buddhism, are known as The Four Noble truths and The Eight Fold Path. They are simple to understand but not so easy to put into practice as it takes mindfulness and self-discipline, without any supernatural assistance.

The wheel symbol on Thai Watt.

The wheel is symbol on a Thai Watt. (Thailand temple)

The symbol adopted to represent the eight ethical steps of the eightfold path is an eight spoke wheel. Each spoke represents a teaching to master. The first step is ‘right understanding, as outlined in The Four Noble truths, understanding that all things are passing. With right understanding the passing of people and material things no longer brings anguish and suffering. Through meditation on the impermanence of all things one learns equanimity. Also the futility of greed and clinging are realized. This is as big a step as the invention of the wheel but not in a commercial sense.

Cooktown foot-path.

A Cooktown foot-path decorated with indigenous peoples design.

If you are ignorant of right understanding, the first step on the path, the other seven steps will be harder to keep to. The steps are not necessarily in any order each one must be practiced when the occasion arises. To be aware and mindful therefore is an important step on the moral path to contentment. Every step is important the second step right thoughts are just as important as, right speech, right actions, right effort and right occupation, earning our living in a way that does not adversely affect other beings. The sixth step is equally important the right effort to practice this honourable path to peace of mind is critical. All the steps combined are vital. Our right thoughts lead to right action. Just as all things are interconnected and essential in the balance of nature, so all steps on this intelligent path need following and practicing equally.

The wheel spokes remind us to be cantered.

The wheel spokes remind us to be centered.

Evert time I see a wheel it reminds me of those eight steps, that when practiced take me closer to perfection. This is the under laying goal in my life. Often I find myself straying from the right path unmindful, distracted and heading to an unsavoury destination, not a burning hell nothing as drastic as that. It is a worldly mercenary hell of greed and aversion, a world that is lacking in consideration, compassion, reciprocity and respect. I have trained my mind to respond to other symbols as a reminder of the path I am following.

Road-train overtaking, all things are passing.

Road-train overtaking, all things are passing.

I am reminded of the fleeting nature of all things when I see a flower, a sunset or the face of a clock. This natural law that we are all subject to is not a case of being singled out and persecuted, victimized or picked on. Things are just as they are. Realizing all things are subject to change we become less grasping and clinging more caring and sharing  and appreciate the simple pleasures in our life. Happy to be well and when plagued by misfortune knowing it will also pass. All things can be used to keep one focused, following the spiritual. I have no organized religion dictating to me but everyone needs a guiding ethical path. Man has created many Gods there is, I believe, only one with many names

Inventions are often misused.

Inventions are often misused.

The wheel can be used for commercial purposes or ethical. How we use the wheel and other inventions is the critical point. The wheels on a car must be kept in balance for safe and comfortable travel. Our symbolic spiritual wheel also needs attention to keep it in good running order. When you see a wheel you may recall the Eight Fold Path as I do and try to practice the eight steps. They will not clash with or change any of your existing beliefs. But may change your life by providing direction and meaning. To conclude I wish you a wheel good life.

Warn -out and retired.

Worn out and retired.

Please look at the link, I have highlighted, it is well worth the effort. Another tip on effort the push has been taken out of the push-bike  with the invention of the powered bicycles. You will conserve more energy if you purchase one. Remember only if you need and do not just want to hang it on the garage wall. Like the Eight Fold Path it must be used to do any good.

Take care and stay on the  on the right  path.

Take care and stay on the right path.

     

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Pauline and June's bread.

Pauline and June’s bread.

Food for Thought.

Staff of Life.

Staff of Life.

The smell of baking bread wafting on the morning air as you pass by a bakery is a delight to the nose. To the eye the delight of warm natural golden brown bread remind us of the corn or wheat fields. Then there is the pleasure of eating bread. The feel of the crunchy crust the ears can tune in on this and the texture is a delight as the taste buds go to work. Bread feeds all the senses. It is no wonder it is mentioned in The Lord’s Prayer.

Bakery shelf.

Bakery shelf.

Give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses. I do not think it is that easy. As the saying goes, “There are no free lunches” I believe one needs to put in a bit more effort than praying. Practicing the steps in the Buddha’s Eight Fold Path is more practical. Eight self-imposed ethical rules that if followed lead to peace and understanding.

First step.

First step.

The first step is right understanding, realizing all things in life are constantly changing. All material things, no matter how we try to preserve them, deteriorate and relationships are also subject to change and bring sorrow. Aware of these facts one realizes wanting and clinging are not the way to happiness, caring and sharing brings joy, where as greedily wanting and clinging brings grief.

Healthy food.

Healthy food.

Prayer has not saved religious people in the Middle East the ground has been soaked in their blood. Ever since the Garden of Eden there has been sin and intrigue.  These people all believe in the one supreme, omnipotent, know all God. The Jews, Christians and Muslims have been in a frenzy plotting and killing in his name. These are the very things their perfect God commands they refrain from.

Peaceful Sanders Beach Qld.

Peaceful Sanders Beach Qld.

Peacefully follow the religion of your choice and allow others the same privilege. Read other ideas and incorporate what is good for promoting peace in our world into your beliefs. By taking responsibility for your actions and working to become a worthy person, that can be trusted to stand by his word and show kindness to others will not distract from your sacred beliefs.

Our wonderful land.

Our wonderful land.

We have a wonderful world if we show our appreciation by sharing and harmlessly enjoying its wonders. Whoever or whatever created this world will respond with kindness. Appreciation as opposed to destruction is the way to happiness. A prayer will do no harm but your actions are more important. Pray with your hands together and pick apples with both hands and see which fills your basket.

Savour your food to appreciate.

Savour your food to appreciate.

All food should be savoured, appreciated and given the time needed to allow for its enjoyment. Nothing can be fully enjoyed in a hurry try slowing the greedy haste in life and find more enjoyment. Live in the moment, enjoy the now and stop hurrying to some future pleasure that may only bring disappointment. The most important thing is what you are doing now. The most important person in the world is the one you are with now. Give what you are experiencing in the now your full attention.

Beautiful creatures.

Beautiful creatures.

No one can be forced to believe a religion especially when it has a track record of violence. If you want to convert people to your religion it is advisable to understand their beliefs first and know the history and many branches of your own religion. Then set a good example for them to follow. Do not make bread or wine something it is not and do not only pray for the hungry they need something more sustaining like real crisp crunchy wholesome bread.

Sugar Cane for those that like cakes.

Sugar Cane for those that like cakes.

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What is your problem?

1997 Korean trip.

 Korean 1st trip.

You see your world from your unique position; it is crystal clear to you. You know your version of your vision. I see my world from my point of view; it could be close to yours or totally opposite to you. It is clear to me what I see, but you cannot see it my way and I cannot see as you do. Perhaps we should change positions. You would then have a clearer view from my position and some idea of my understanding, and I would see things from your angle. We could then decide the advantage of holding a particular point of view. We would then realize we need a three hundred and sixty degree view and this is difficult for a mere mortal to do. Then who has x-ray vision? We still would not know the secrets hidden below the surface. We would remain ignorant but at least have established some understanding of another point of view.

2006 top steps

All our views lack a full understanding of what is beyond our view. On this limited view we make our hypotheses to explain the nature of the inexplicable universe and this is our view. There are many views from scientific to the super natural, some totally different to the view of another, but armed with reciprocal understanding of the other persons view, there is no need to take up weapons to defend our view. Realizing these views are only theories, to explain what we cannot see.

2004 view from steps

Look at some facts; find out how many different views there are on a subject like religion. You may be surprised every major religion, and there are many, have thousands of different branches, denominations or schools. Then there are the cults, the secret societies, the shamans, the witch-doctors and many new age groups. All sincerely believing they are right many without looking into any of the many other beliefs. They may tell you their God has spoken to them. May be God spoke to me too, but evidently I was not listening. Maybe a different God spoke to someone else. There are many Gods and all are the true God to the one that believes in him or her, or ‘it’. Yes, god could be an ‘it’, a force or something like nature with natural laws all interrelated and interdependent.

 Look out

It is easy to accept someone else’s words on faith. Words they claim were given to them from their God. There have been many prophets. The only one with any credibility in recent times would be Haile Selassie a very good man by all accounts. He was an inspiration to Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King also Malcolm X and if you are a fan of Bob Marley you will know about the Rastafarian Movement. Throughout history there have been many admirable men such as Jesus and the Buddha. It is not unusual for followers to enlarge on the good deeds of the deceased. In the case of the Buddha some people have elevated him to the status of a god. A lot of things change over 2,500 years and it takes a lot of unbiased reading to realize the truth is difficult to ascertain. Recently a man was interviewed on T.V. he was claiming to be the returned messiah I do not think anyone believed him.

Gwancheol gate

Metaphysics a philosophy concerned with knowing and being, a metaphysicist tries to explain the fundamental nature of the universe. All I can say is philosophy is a very heavy subject. Was the Buddha a metaphysicist? He taught

The Four Noble Truths. 

1. life was  dukkha, dukkha equates to the unsatisfactory nature of things.

2. The origin of dukkha.

3. the cassation of dukkha.

4. The Eight Fold Path the way to the cessation of dukkha.

Insige wall.

The first step on the path is ‘right understanding’ to realizing all things that are subject to arising are subject to cessation. Wanting these impermanent things is to invite eventual pain. If we have right understanding and practice  the other steps on The Eight Fold Path. We avoid dukkha, much of life’s suffering and will promote good in the world.

good view

We should study all the good teachings available to us and our P.C. gives us access to a vast amount of wisdom. If you are interested type into Google names and things in my post you are unfamiliar with. I do not wish to take anyone to exclusive sites I have chosen.  It is up to you to learn from the outside and growing on the inside. Not accepting anything or ruling out anything till it is tested thoroughly. Any God that objects to this is very insecure and not the true ultimate power in the universe.

Lookout

That is our problem, perhaps it is an unsolvable one. The Alcoholics Anonymous has adopted a prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr. That is appropriate to quote here, The Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Stream and wall

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Tan’s ice sculpture.

The Buddha gave us fundamental principles to live by in the                Noble Eight Fold Path. They are Right understanding; R/ thoughts; R/Speech; R/actions, R/livelihood; R/effort; R/mindfulness &   R/ concentration. To put this into practice we need to know just what is meant by all these Right things he mentioned & knowing is not enough these principals have to be practiced. Every day we need to be aware or mindful of our thoughts, speech & actions. This is not easy it takes effort, perseverance & concentration; we will be distracted, falter, forget & make mistakes.  Life is about learning skills to improve things & what better improvement than to improve our self to be calm contented & live in harmony with the world & all its inhabitants.                                                                            Right understanding is to realise all things are subject to change. So to crave & cling to impermanent things will only cause us anguish. Life is passing all is in flux. We cannot change the inevitable we must accept the universal truths & natural laws. The river runs to the ocean & we will have difficulty unless we go with the flow. Knowing this we can appreciate & share the good fortune & cope with adversity knowing that it will pass.  Right thoughts: What we think controls our mood & our outlook on life. If we are aware or mindful of our thoughts we can wisely monitor our thinking & take more control of our life. Our thoughts shape our personality the thoughts we dwell on make us what we are.

Sawing the ice.

Right Speech: The wise know the truth is essential eventually a liar gets found out then trust & credibility is lost. Be mindful & consider before making a comment, what effect will it have, will it help the situation or am I qualified to comment on this subject. Are people interested in my opinion or am I boring them, is my voice disturbing in tone or volume? If what we have to say has no useful purpose then silence is preferable. These are right thoughts to have before airing our views. After all this considering & thinking the opportunity to give our opinion may have passed but no comment is better than foolish remarks we could regret. Sometimes the mouth can run away without the brain.

The artist at work.

Right actions are mindful, when you wash dishes are you washing dishes, or trying to get them clean so you can do something else, then you are not mindful. When you eat savour the foods do not gorge consider all your actions carefully. Except in an emergency, circumstances where alert prompt action is essential. Although fear can sometimes lead to wrong decisions, there is a danger in taking action when under strong emotions such as fear, pride, impatience & especially anger. Anger is like temporary insanity.                                                                                               If the occupation we choose to earn a living is something we enjoy work is not drudgery. That is a good thing to remember when deciding on a profession. Right Livelihood involves more than this, others have to be considered besides ones self. The work we do should promote good and do no harm to any sentient being. Every step on The Eight Fold Noble Path complements the other, Right Effort needs Right Thought, Right Mindfulness, and Right Actions, consider how our actions affect others.  A calm mind is necessary to advance on The Eight Fold Path.

Work at its best.

                    In the modern world there are so many options, in every aspect of this technological world, where everything is clamouring for attention.        We need to stop and calm down to let our thoughts settle. Meditation is needed to achieve a calm mind. Right Concentration, controlling the thoughts that are stirring our mind. Till you try to sit in meditation and concentrate on one single thing, such as counting the inhalation and exhaling of your breath, you may not realise how your thoughts are racing. Once you have learned how to still your mind and get your thoughts under control. You can use the time you would normally be impatiently waiting for an appointment or any dreary wait, to calm your mind and let the world catch up to you. Also to take a few deep breaths can ease pain, control nerves and trigger calmness in stressful situations. In short. Be mindful and the most important thing is, what we are doing now. Give it our best shot, try to stay on target, give it a go make it our life’s aim to do our best and not stray off the righteous path. It’s not a command it’s a challenge a commitment for life that can benefits all.

These Photos were taken at Buddha’s Burthday celebrations Brisbane.

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