P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation


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A simple thing

This morning the train was having a bit of delay. So wasn’t exactly the way i was planning to start my week. Shows that things not always (almost never lol) go my way.
And i guess that’s good. Cause i had a beautiful meeting in the next train. As i was letting other people pass, i moved a little bit backwards in the train compartment.
Standing on this new spot, at first i didn’t see the guide dog. But when i looked down i saw his two front legs and in my thoughts i said hello to the dog.
And before i knew it, she laid her face onto my shoe. Such a simple gesture but it gave me fuel for the rest of the day.
As i had to move on, i gently moved my feet and gave her a little rub on the back of her head before i moved out of the train.

The simple things in life can mean a lot 🙂

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Photo book

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Yesterday made a photo book of some of my favorites. And turns out i can share a preview.

So for whomever is interested, you can see it here:

Click on the image to go to the photo book


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Ghost in our machine

What is our relationship to animals? Are they here to serve us? Should we take advantage? Or should we reconsider our role?
Can we live without meat? Or do we need the proteins?
In general people will answer most of these questions without considering we’re actually talking about individual beings, not about some product made in a factory.

That’s the strength of the documentary posted above. It shifts our focus to the truth of the individual existence of animals, both large and small. They have a right to live, just as we do.

Just portraying this creates a powerful message. Foxes and ferret are held in tiny cages purely for their fur. A being with no other value than their outer skin. Imagine if we value humans like that..

So to me the question is why are we so neglectant of basic rights for animals? Are we really better? So we can decide what to do with them – treating them as objects?

The documentary creates a mirror for me to look into. I am the lost animal,  forgetting about the herd i belong to.  Rather than recognizing i am lost, i prefer to enjoy the illusion of being separate and being above all other beings.

I am the king of the jungle, but i don’t realize I’m destroying my kingdom…

 

29: Momentary lapse of reason

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Momentary lapse of reason

When i was younger i sometimes dreamt of being famous. Whether a singer or a movie star, i looked up to the ‘stars’ as a youngster.
Now a little older i realize that being famous comes with a big price. First of all a loss of privacy. Not being able to go somewhere without being recognized. Having to live up to others expectations or disappointing people for not living up to their expectations. What a life. And what is even more striking to me, is that being famous is very likely to inflate the ego.
As i can see what pride does in my very anonymous life far from the cameras and media, i cannot imagine what it’s like to having to deal with those issues on a daily basis. So i rather focus on seeing my life as a movie, a film, an illusory display of the mind. So no need to be in others people movies too!

Lately i’ve noticed a wish for simplicity in my life. Less distractions, less fuzz, less buzz. So basically i long for anonymity, like being in a desert where no one can remember your name, for the lack of reverence. America sang about it beautifully. Longing for anonymity does not mean that i don’t  want to interact with the world. But if you’re anonymous, there are no expectations.
Reading the life stories of Patrul Rinpoche (a famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher from the 19th century) illustrates this with beautiful examples.

The book which was composed by Matthieu Ricard (see Enlightend Vagabond – The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche for more info) has multiple stories where this great realized master is disguised as a simple nomadic traveler. And disguised is perhaps not the right word, cause it’s a deliberate choice of the master to wander around like this. In being anonymous, Patrul Rinpoche helps beings without limit, not being limited by the formal ceremonies people perform when they would’ve recognized him. He just wants to be and act out of compassion for all beings. To me he sets a wonderful example of the limitlessness of true unconditional compassion. No need to get praise for the achievements as a master, he is humble and helping wherever possible. When i compare this to the way we treat our stars nowadays, the contrast is striking. We glorify Hollywood stars and Grammy award winning artists and take their opinions serious, sometimes more serious than scientific experts or politicians.

The most important thing i’ve learned from Patrul Rinpoche is that the best thing one can do to counter pride and arrogance, is to practice compassion.

Patrul once wrote:

One: Praise is nonsense – empty and unfounded.
Two: Fame just results in a swollen head
Three: Creating a cache of riches out of offerings creates a rich cache of bad karma

Having given up all these three, May I, Old Dog, die like a dog

source:
Enlightened Vagabond – The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche
by Matthieu Ricard