Daily Tao

The Tao in Everyday Life

Archive for the month “December, 2013”

Heaven is Attractive but Hell is Popular

A sinner once won a holiday to Heaven. After a few days in Heaven the sinner approached the angel Gabriel to complain:

“Gabriel…I have been seven days in Heaven and not a single murder, or rape, or beating, or slander or bad word said against anybody ! Gabriel, Heaven is soooo boring !”

The sinner packed his bags and returned to Hell.

I believe that Buddhists have a saying:  “There is no one in Hell that truly doesn’t want to be there”. The truth is people like pain, strife and suffering, it makes them feel alive … And when it gets too much they turn to  a dubiously vengeful God to complain about what they themselves  manufactured !

The truth is a lot of our suffering is self created.


Lessons in Prayer from Eckhart Tolle

I was recently listening to a lecture on YouTube by Eckhart Tolle, truly one of the most inspirational teachers in our modern times, and I’d like to share some interesting distinctions  between 3 different types of prayer. And it’s interesting to note the similarities between prayer and meditation.

The most basic form of prayer is where the petitioner prays to a God outside of themselves and asks for a specific favour. This type of prayer operates on the level of duality where there is a psychological distinction between the self of the petitioner and God.

More advanced prayers, but still operating on the level of duality, are Affirmations: When you pray feel as though you already have it, visualise the desired outcome. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, wrote that thoughts mixed with strong emotions can have a very powerful and definite effect.

Then there are the most advanced forms of prayer where the petitioner does not look for themselves in the outcome nor do they  look for any form of self fulfilment. This seems to be the best form of prayer, because there seems to be no intervening ego that interferes with the strength of the request. In fact Buddhists or other practitioners of meditation would simply recognise this as just that, Meditation. The Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness) meditation in Buddhism is one example of such prayer (or meditation). – eg. May all beings be well and happy. This kind of prayer opens up a door in the mind of the petitioner and brings them into an awareness of stillness. What matters here is the stillness  and not the result. To quote the Old Testament: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Walking into a Sauna – Rediscovering Your Own Suffering

The First Noble Truth in Buddhism teaches that all beings suffer. Whether they are Human, Animal, Ghostly or Godly makes no difference. We all undergo suffering at one point or another. One may read this and think “yeah, noble thought” and then forget all about it.  Because, after all, the whole premise of Western society is built on the pursuit of personal comfort, so why would that be relevant ?

But then today I had the opportunity of spending some time at the gym, that old haven of personal comfort, and I decided to laze it out  in the sauna, since I hadn’t been for a while.  After a while, the heat started playing on my mind and it started to turn to thoughts of a “higher order” : So this must be what it’s like to burn alive…but I’m sure this doesn’t even compare to burning alive,  I’m  sure burning alive would be ten times worse, far worse …  So when you hear of victims burning alive in the Twin Towers this is what they go through ! … And this can happen so suddenly and it all suddenly seems so much more real.

So the next time we read some nice (or maybe not so nice) piece of Scripture like “the whole world is ablaze with the fires of hatred delusion and anger” then maybe it’s not just some piece of nice poetry anymore, maybe it’s much more real than that !

Understanding The Manifestaion of Qi

Nice article on the practical aspects of Qi Gong


shikuen1Understanding The Manifestation of Qi

By Sifu Lawrence Ramirez

Chi Kung or Qi gong can be described as the art of developing vital energy. Throughout ancient China, people believed that through certain exercise, meditation and, various breathing technique, they could control and enhance their physical, as well as mental, development.

Chi Kung may be classified into many different types, and may be used, or practiced for a variety of reasons. The elderly or sick may use a certain group of Chi Kung exercises for keeping up and regaining their strength. Some may utilize Chi Kung exercises that develop stamina, and power for combat efficiency. At the other end of the spectrum one may use Chi Kung exercise for spiritual development.

The many different Chi Kung exercises, may be grouped into three basic elements; Body, or the form aspect which regulates body promoting health and fitness, Breath, or the energy aspect…

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Develop Qi Power for Healing, Martial Arts and Meditation

Disclaimer: This blog is in no way affiliated to Energy Arts

Did the Buddha really Care about Buddhism ?

The Baghavad Gita relates the condition of Mankind as someone who has just been shot with an arrow who is more concerned about the conditon of the arrow, what kind of wood it’s made of, whether the individual who shot that arrow was of low or high birth, which caste he came from etc…than he is about getting rid of the arrow altogether.

The Buddha once related: “This only I teach: suffering and the end of suffering“. In other words, what are the causes of suffering and what are the ways out of this suffering ?

Many would come to the Buddha with long discourses on high philosophy and obtruse religion: What’s the meaning of Nirvana ? What’s the meaning of Rebirth ? Why has God created the universe ? …to which  the Buddha would often reply with a dignified silence. For, as long as one has not discovered the causes of one’s own suffering, what is the point of all that talk ?

Many like to engage in philosophical discourses of what it means to be a Buddhist, or a Christian, or a Muslim, or whatever they happen to come by, some ready to kill anyone who disagrees with their image or  idea of what it is to be so and so. They like to feel that they are a Buddhist, they like to feel that they are a Christian and everyone else is not, and that is that.

But when the Buddha had his Realisation was he then more concerned about being a Buddhist or was he more concerned about having realised the truth of his own condition ? Did Jesus even care about being a Christian ?

Thoughts Are Things !

What the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.  Thoughts are things!  And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches – Napoleon Hill

Thinking has the power to transform reality – It is an energy all of its own which can be directed to the highest purposes imaginable by any man but can also lead him into the very depths of hell.

Empty Mind, Empty Hand

Gichin Funakoshi is widely credited to have been the father of Modern Karate through his art of Shoto-Kan Karate (literally meaning “Tiger’s Tail”, his pen name). One of his favourite phrases was that not only that Karate-Do is the Way of the Empty Hand (from the Japanese characters Kara meaning empty, Te meaning hand and Do meaning way) but more importantly the Way of the Empty Mind, in other words a mind devoid of ego and the pursuit of self. Noble maybe but the spirit still rings true. Whatever you do do with an empty hand and, more importantly than that, do with an empty mind. Do not seek the results of your own actions, only be content with their own doing.

Tai Chi for Health and Spiritual Wellbeing

Tai Chi can be practised at three different levels of increasing depth :

  • Tai Chi for stress relief
  • Tai Chi for deeper mental calmness
  • Tai Chi for spiritual enlightenment

As you can see each level requires  a greater depth of commitment and focus, from the superficial to the ultimate. It can be just a series of physical movements which improve your general health, a tool to control your mind and emotions, especially at times of emotional turmoil or stress, or simply a vehicle to help you discover the meaning of your own existence. Rare are those who follow this last path, and at this level we find the path well trodden by Taoist Immortals and Buddhas, but in this age of spiritual poverty there is no real reason not to benefit, even if superficially, from the many benefits an ancient tradition like Tai Chi can offer.

Tai Chi and the Lower Tan Tien

Disclaimer : I am not in any way affiliated with Master Bruce Frantzis

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