Nagarjuna’s Killer Time-Gap

art.thewalters.org nagarjuna 

” … 

But what fascinated me most was Nagarjuna’s stress on what my guru referred to as ‘the Killer Time Gap.’ Now Eastern philosophy rests on the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation; since volumes have been written on these concepts, I will simply say here that karma is defined as the movement of the mind (thought) and what it produces in terms of speech and action; the consequences are inevitable and come later—whether a second later, lifetimes down the road, or anywhere in-between. According to Nagarjuna, it is this lethal time gap between our thought, speech and action (karma/doing) and the ensuing results of those actions that is responsible for all the suffering of humanity.

Take the act of killing for instance: If, as I lowered my foot to crush a bug, my own ribs started to break, I’d likely be too terrified of my own well-being to ever kill again, right? Or if, just after I’d stolen ten bucks from you, someone stole a thousand out of my wallet, I might put the action and the consequence together (since they came so close on the heels of each other) and the fear of being punished so quickly and severely might urge me to never ever steal again, right?

Only a few of us are born virtuous; the rest of us are a mix of darkness and light and therefore prey to all the temptations of the world. And yet, unless we are criminally insane or prone to masochism, we would all be perfectly moral if there was no gap between our actions and the consequences of those actions.

Right now (I am writing this post in October 2016) the US Presidential Debate rages on and all sorts of filth relating to the actions of both major candidates is rising up in a tidal wave to hurt not just them, but their families, associates, their respective parties, and all those peripherally involved in this major drama. Now, had either of these two candidates known (at the time they did what they did) that their past sins would rise up to bite them in the butt—too too right in the thick of their fight for a powerful office—would they have blithely gone ahead and done what they did? I think not—it was that killer time gap that allowed both to believe they would ever have to pay the karmic piper—and how wrong they both were.

What we do about this time gap in our own lives? I can only speak for myself. First I forged for myself a strong foundation of reality (known as the “view). In doing so, I digested the meaning of karma so well that in time I became convinced that nothing but nothing goes unrecorded in the vast reservoir of consciousness. This perennial awareness of how reality works now makes me careful in how I think, speak and act; if I make mistakes, as I often do, then I am quick to make amends—to offer an apology or do whatever is necessary to compensate for the hurt or trouble I have caused—for it is said that an amend performed minus the ego is said to wipe out the original bad act. Gradually, as this wisdom seeps into our consciousness, we become organically beautiful people and our happiness and peace quotient rises into the heavens. The beauty of living in such a way is that the whole cosmos benefits.

…”

End

 

 

Source: miraprabhu.wordpress.com and art.thewalters.org

Wisdom From Pazhamozhi Nanooru (4th Century)

These are from பழமொழி நானூறு (Four hundred Proverbs). Since most of its content is similar to Naaladiyaar (an anthology of 4-liners compiled by jain monks in the post-sangam period), it is thought to be be written in the following period, possibly around 4th Century AD. These four hundred proverbs were collated and written in verse by the poet Mundrurai Arayanar (முன்றுரை அரையனார்).

தக்காரோடு ஒன்றி, தமராய் ஒழுகினார்;
மிக்காரால்என்று, சிறியாரைத் தாம் தேறார்;-
கொக்கு ஆர் வள வயல் ஊர!-தினல் ஆமோ,
அக்காரம் சேர்ந்த மணல்?

“They were one with the virtuous, lived like kith and kin,
hence they’re good too”, saying so no one will befriend them (the not virtuous);

Oh man from the town where paddy fields are full of cranes,
can one eat sand mixed with sugar?

பெரிய நட்டார்க்கும் பகைவர்க்கும், சென்று,
திரிவு இன்றித் தீர்ந்தார்போல் சொல்லி, அவருள்
ஒருவரோடு ஒன்றி ஒருப்படாதாரே,
இரு தலைக் கொள்ளி என்பார்.

When a close friend and his foe have a fight, one who goes and talks to both as if he is their friend and incites them,

making sure that they don’t reconcile, is said to be a torch lit in both ends (doubly dangerous).

End

Source: oldtamilpoetry.wordpress.com

Toward Civilization

 

An inspiring piece from Seth Godin

If war has an opposite, it’s not peace, it’s civilization. (inspired by Ursula LeGuin writing in 1969)

Civilization is the foundation of every successful culture. It permits us to live in safety, without being crippled by fear. It’s the willingness to discuss our differences, not to fight over them. Civilization is efficient, in that it permits every member of society to contribute at her highest level of utility. And it’s at the heart of morality, because civilization is based on fairness.

The civilization of a human encampment, a city or town where people look out for one another and help when help is needed is worth seeking out.

We’re thrilled by the violent video of the iguana and the snakes, partly because we can’t imagine living a life like that, one where we are always at risk.

To be always at risk, to live in a society where violence is likely—this undermines our ability to be the people we seek to become.

Over the last ten generations, we’ve made huge progress in creating an ever more civilized culture. Slavery (still far too prevalent) is now seen as an abomination. Access to information and healthcare is better than it’s ever been. Human culture is  far from fully civilized, but as the years go by, we’re getting better at seeing all the ways we have to improve.

And this can be our goal. Every day, with every action, to make something more civilized. To find more dignity and possibility and opportunity for those around us, those we know and don’t know.

Hence the imperative. Our associations, organizations and interactions must begin with a standard of civility. Our work as individuals and as leaders becomes worthwhile and generous when we add to our foundation of civilization instead of chipping away at it.

The standard can come from each of us. We can do it. We can speak up. We can decide to care a little more. We can stand up to the boss, the CEO, or the elected representative and say, “wait,” when they cross the line, when they pursue profit at the cost of community, when they throw out the rules in search of a brawl instead. The race to the bottom and the urge to win at all costs aren’t new, but they’re not part of who we are and ought to be.

End

‘So, Find A Man Who Always Speaks The Truth’

A Paramacharya anecdote on wearing rudraksha maalai

 Periyava

He had visited Nepal to have darshan at the holy Pashupathinath temple.

On return, he presented himself before the Paramacharya and respectfully offered the temple prasadam and a rare rudraksha maalai (string of rudraksha beads).

‘Did you have a good darshan?’ the old sage inquired.

‘Yes, Sir, by god’s grace and your blessings.’

The sage lifted the maalai in his frail hands.

‘What’re you going to do with this?’

‘If you may kindly permit, I intend wearing it around my neck…’

There was silence.

‘So, you’ll always speak the truth?’

He was startled. ‘Yes, Sir, I’ll henceforth always speak the truth,’ the words almost rolled off his tongue.

He knew it was not possible at all try as he might. In the presence of the sage he would dare to speak untruth.

Holding himself back, ‘No, Sir, it’s impossible for me to be speaking truth at all times.’

‘Why so?’

‘Sir, I work in a bank. The official records are never unmixed truth. Further, if my manager orders me, I would be compelled to…’

‘Take this, if and when you find someone who never speaks untruth, give it to him.’

The man was mighty happy to receive the maalai back from the sage.

Rushing back he said to his wife: ‘Let’s do as you had suggested. We even have His okay. And imagine we never saw we always had someone with us right here with us in this house who never spoke untruth!’

Since then the maalai adorned the sage’s portrait in the pooja room!

The incident was shared some days later by the sage with another man who had come to have darshan: Your relative…that fellow who works in the bank…he has aspects of Harishchandra in this age. He didn’t lie to me he never lies…’

End

 

Source: https://mahaperiyavaa.blog/author/mahaperiyavaa/

 

Hurry Up Before…

Today I read here a post about a teacher who went to great lengths to help out a student of his. Brings me to what I always wanted to write about, but never quite managed it. Won’t hold longer.

The boy was a little sickly, prone to frequent attacks of cold forcing him to stay away from school. And he wasn’t any good in languages that had one too many consonants like four ‘ka’s, four cha’s… (Hindi, Marathi…). He had trouble telling one from the other. To add to his grief, the nouns in these languages had gender they had no business carrying at all. Besides these phonetically sooper-correct languages, drawing also brought him down. His rendering of objects made his teacher wonder if he (teacher) was seeing things right.

Well, suffice to say these subjects often messed up his grade and rank in exams. And there were times he couldn’t muster even pass-marks in these subjects. On those occasions the class teacher would personally plead with the Marathi/Drawing teacher taking the boy along – unbelievable? but that’s what he did. The teachers would oblige passing the boy with minimum marks. At least once it happened even when the boy had not taken the exam at all owing to sickness.

The boy never understood the gestures fully. The incidents receded in his consciousness as he moved on from sixth grade to the seventh and so on, over the many years of education and employment that followed. It wasn’t until he was into his late thirties and gotten quite worldly-wise that the memories surfaced from deep recesses of his mind and their full import struck him.

A class-teacher going out on a limb for him for no personal gain? And there were those teachers chiming in with him in his extraordinary (and irregular, of course) act.

I’ve never stopped kicking myself for not having gotten back in good time to esteemed Shri Manikkavaachakam (my class teacher), Ms Kamath (Marathi teacher), Shri Venkataramana (Drawing teacher who could draw with both hands at the same time)…to tell them what those gestures (though patently in violation of rules) meant then and mean even today, the feelings I’m awash with…While words fail me here, I do know it’s a debt that I’m incapable of ever repaying, a lapse too late to correct and a sin that’s unforgivable.

The only positive fallout – ever since it is my endeavor to express myself sooner than later to those whom I owe in life: parents, spouse and children, relatives, teachers, friends, colleagues… and often perfect strangers too.

End