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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quantifying Dukkha

By Atreya (participant in Youth Retreat held at Vedanta Society of Providence, July 25-27, 2014)
Having read books by Swami Vivekananda, it is very difficult to resist the temptation of - giving up the worldly life and taking up the life of a monk. This spiritual retreat, under the guidance of Swami Yogatmananda, provided a balanced learning experience. It helped me gain better control of my emotions, behavior and actions while humbly reminding that we have lot more to know about this universe.

Walking the noble eightfold path, encompassing Samyak- drishti (view), Sankalpa (intention), Vac (speech), Karmanta (action), Ajiva (livelihood), Vyayama (effort), Smriti (midfulness) and Samadhi (concentration), we can completely eradicate Dukkha from our life. As any other powerful tool, these are difficult to master. These are to be practised simultaneously like spokes of a wheel.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Youth Retreat Thoughts

By Ratana  (participant in Youth Retreat held at Vedanta Society of Providence, July 25-27, 2014)

During this retreat we went over the Noble Eight Fold Path. This is a system used by the Buddhists to control one's mind. The ultimate goal of this path is to attain release from suffering. In order to reach the goal we are instructed to follow the right wisdom, ethical conduct, and concentration.

To begin on the path, we must first realize that suffering is an unavoidable part of life. No matter how much we try to fix the world, suffering will always be a part of it. Therefore, we must turn inwards and adjust our own perception. We have to WANT to be free from suffering - this is what is meant by having the right view.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Logical Extension

By BeJoy

What are dreams made of? Is dream furniture made of wood, nails and fabric? Are dream people made of flesh and blood? How preposterous is that! We all know dream objects are not for real, they are made of mind-stuff.

Now what stuff is the real world made of? That cup I see on my desk, what stuff is it made of? Actually, what I see is nothing but light of different shades and hues as presented to the retinas in my eyes. Beyond that, the cup is indeed a bunch of electrical signals through the nerves. Do we know what those neural currents look like? A further hodgepodge of processing in the brain and -Voila!- the cup shows up in the mind! The cup exists only in the mind. And it is made purely of mind-stuff, the same stuff that dreams are made of. Indeed the whole world exists only in the mind!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Two Hikers and a Porter

By a Porter

On a sunny day, the porter came to the base of the mountain with his mule. Today two hikers were his customers.

While hiking, he found their conversation a little boring because they were not talking about sports, politics or any kind of gossip. They were joyfully talking about a person called ‘Sri Ramakrishna’ and now and then referring to a thick book that they were carrying.

Curious porter continued to listen to these simple, loving and joyful hikers. As time went by he started enjoying their association and spiritual conversations. 

On the way back, hikers took a break to meditate in the woods. Porter also sat with them imitating but could not still his mind. He miserably failed to calm it down. This was the first time he came face to face with the rebellious inner world. He became anxious and wanted to know more …..

After a while conversation continued….

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Comment on "Mysticism of Sound and Music" class (Tuesday, July 08, 2014)

by Srikanth S.

I have some points for discussion regarding Tuesday's class on "Mysticism of sound and music" and hopefully someone may get interested to drop in his/her views about these.
Swamiji presented that the sense of taste is more or less available in all, whereas the sense for music is not. I humbly disagree with this view. Over 99% of humanity listens to some kind of music but only the genres differ. So one who likes classical music will find it difficult to appreciate rock music and vice versa. Similarly not everyone likes a particular food item. Some foods can be appreciated only after taste has been acquired over repeated attempts. So the sense of appreciation of music and taste is prevalent amongst almost all, but only they are directed towards a particular kind in each human being. Swamiji supported his viewpoint, stating that the nuances of musical notes are lost on many untrained people. But the same can be said about taste also: many nuances of taste in the food are lost to the untrained people. Just like there are virtuosos in music, so there are in taste field too: the big bucks that restaurants pay to such trained minds in taste is a pointer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Religious Liberty, Equality, and Solidarity Revisited

by Charlie (Prana) Feldman

A while ago, I sent in a blog entry on religions and the archetypes of liberty, equality and solidarity. I now think I can simplify this by saying that Hinduism emphasizes liberty, or freedom to choose from many paths toward God-realization; Buddhism emphasizes equality, in that we are all said to be potential Buddhas; and the Abrahamic religions emphasize solidarity, saying that loyalty to the given path (and interpretation of scripture or ecclesiastical body) is the best or only way to attain God's favor.

This ties in with the Vedantic idea that different religions suit people of different tendencies.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Particle World: ONE, two, ... Creation

By Abhijit

My friend, much has been talked about the "free" electron. Such an electron flew unrestrained, undetected, ever-oblivious of the world.  Without the world, there was no me nor mine; no knower or known; no creation, nor non-creation. "What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?" The Veda reveals: "tadānīm!"

My friend, much has been talked about the electron-proton bond. The electron slowly opened up her eyes to the undeniable presence of the distant proton. O what Rajas came about! The bounty of happiness was full of promise. Yet there was the relentless drag of inertia..... And thus began the story of (+) and (-), of harmony and chaos, of states and transitions. And sure enough, from duality came multiplicity and from thence, my friend, came you and me and all this.

But much was talked about as to "why" and "how" could the freedom depart and bondage arrive. Indeed, there was a lot of fuss. But the wise one, with closed eyes, retreating deep within, left behind only a smile, curious and glowing. The Veda reveals: "tadānīm!" The Ganges tide of pure bliss is ever ablaze; it can still be seen.