Sunday, August 31, 2008

When we see ...

When we see that there is already a precious jewel in our pocket, we give up every attitude of craving or coveting. Seeing that we are lions, we do not long to nurse from a mother deer. Seeing that we are the sun, we give up the candle's habit of fearing the wind. Seeing that life has no boundaries, we give up all imprisoning divisions.

We see ourselves and our life everywhere. That is why we help all living phenomena, all living species, like someone who has attained awakening.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Anicca

The Buddha listed impermanence (anicca) as the first of his Three Marks of Existence - characteristics that apply to everything in the natural order. The Buddha believed that we are free from the pain of clutching for permanence only if the acceptance of continual change is driven into our very marrow. Followers of the Buddha know well his advice:


Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream.


The depth of the Buddha's wisdom is astounding. It is very difficult, at least for me, to understand how it is possible for a human being to achieve so much in his life. Yet, the Buddha's achievement is undeniable. His followers testified from their own experience that advance along his path enlarged their lives as well. Their worlds seemed to expand, and with each step they felt themselves more alive than they had been before. If increased freedom brings increased being, total freedom should be being itself.

A thousand questions remain, but the Buddha is silent.
Others abide our questions. Thou are free.
We ask and ask; thou smilest and art still.


And you know what the Buddha said on his deathbed?

All compounded things decay. Work out your own salvation with diligence.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chess Lesson (Take Two)

Ozgur, a strong Chess expert, sent me this article - http://www.kevinspraggett.com/badhabit.htm

Fantastic Chess advices, something every Chess player should adhere to. And, just like many other things in life, lessons we learn here can be applied everywhere.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Chess Lesson

My friend Kyle is a Chess master. Kyle's supreme knowledge of the opening theories, skillful handling of difficult positions, and ever present tactical alertness make him a deadly opponent; I have never played anyone as good as he is. Sometimes when we play a game, I feel as if I am not just fighting another chess player, but Chess itself.

One day I asked him for some guidance, and this is what he said:


A healthy, "connected" position is the basis of all things.

Play in harmony with the position. Seek strategic guidance from the pawn structure (e.g. pawn targets, strong squares, spatial advantage in a sector of the board); think of how your plans may change if the pawn structure changes.

Think of how you can generate play/how play will "flow" from your position. Think of the same about your opponent's position. Have an idea of what your next few moves will be (call it an "operation" or "miniplan") if your opponent does nothing to distract you.

Before you move, try to take into account all of your opponent's possible replies that contain an immediate threat. Make a "prediction" of his most likely reply or replies, and how you will probably respond.

Look for multi-purpose moves (e.g. a way to deal with an opponent's threat which also furthers your own play, rather than being purely defensive).

Lose yourself in the game and enjoy the battle of ideas.


As far as Chess advice goes, I would be hard-pressed to find a better one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Either now or on your deathbed ...

you can come to the inevitable decision that there is no reason NOT to be great. Just be. Greatness is within everyone of us. Do you ever feel the burning of that internal fire? That is greatness. There are no reason, no excuses, no circumstances in the world can stop you from being great. Except you, that is.

So be great. Don't let anyone, most importantly yourself, tell you otherwise.

Imagine how sad it must feel to realize that on your deathbed.

A Musical Treat

I love the performance in this video. The music itself (theme from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is hauntingly beautiful, and then the performer's intense concentration, combined with the silky smooth movement of his fingers as they slide up and down the neck of the cello, just make the whole piece very enjoyable to watch.

video

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Joy and Happiness

Happiness is more than joy. According to the teachings of the Buddha, joy is less pure because there is desire and excitement in it. When we anticipate a special occasion, we are often filled with excitement and joy - "I can't wait!" We should, however, be mindful of the fact that if we are too excited about something in the future, we tend to forget about the what is happening in the present moment. Joy is not the same as happiness. In the beginning, we need joy. But as we develop our happiness, the excitement that is present in joy disappears.

The example given in the sutra is of a man dying of thirst in the desert, who sees an oasis, a fountain of water, in the midst of a grove of trees. He feels joy and excitement. His body and mind race towards the pool, and he bends down, puts his hands in the water and brings the water to his mouth. Until the very last moment before he drinks the water, he feels joy.

But, when he finally drinks the water, he tastes real happiness, and his excitement has completely disappeared.

True happiness is the emptiness of desire.