P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

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

 

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I found you when I lost you

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We met in the dark
Your eyes shone as you approached
Keeping the distance you made your moves
Weeks had passed since I last saw you

I had to let you go
You didn’t want to be with me
The choice you made was hard to swallow
I fought it off initially
Seeing it as a phase which would pass

But you were determined
The nights without you continued
When I brought you back in
Within minutes you vanished again

Back to the open door
WIth the food waiting for you
You no longer wanted to be with me
As painful as any loss can be

So to my surprise this night
The pain had subsided
Making room for somehing bigger
A feeling of love and compassion

As you carefully approached me
Never close enough to touch
But my heart was moved deeply
You were at home now

And yet you didn’t forget about me
As you turned around
And walked back to the door
Your meow resounded in my heart

I may have lost you to the neighbour
For the first I know
I truely found you
Thank you White Spot

18: Flower of Compassion

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Flower of Compassion

Oh flower of the heart
Shine your light over us
Open up and show your beauty
The guiding force

You know what it is like
To be vulnerable
Naked and alone
You know there is no need
To be afraid of our tears

You grow so easily
As you are inherent within us
On the good soil of pure intent
Our wish for all to be happy
Stems from your seeds

Oh flower of compassion
Love is your guiding light
Teach us to be human
Help us to accept
The basic uncertainty of life

 

This poem was inspired by the documentary Crazy Wisdom (2011) about the late Tibetan Buddhist Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Rinpoche taught people how to become warriors of Shambhala, how to become genuine human beings. A beautiful and encouraging message worth contemplating.

13: Slow down now

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Slow down now. Take it easy. Take a deep breath

Sometimes i really need to remind myself of this. Slowing down comes natural for snails. Home is wherever they are.
I think we humans can learn a lot from snails. For me snails represent beautiful metaphors and a powerful reminder that it’s ok to take things a little more easy.
Why worry and hurry if you can achieve the same thing while being relaxed? Focusing is much more easy when we’re relaxed.
And we’ll get there in the end, just like the snails do. Just glide towards where you want to be and you’ll arrive there one day.

Speaking about the heart, why not see our heart as our true home? Everything else can be taken from us, but as long as we are alive our heart is with us. And if we take up compassion as our armor, we even have our own little shell protecting us just like the snails have…


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Re-minding

The mind is such a weird creature. It could have its own episode at ‘weird wonders of nature’. Its capability to create everything ranging from beautiful to grotesque, its illusive nature.. only when it is looked into by scrutinizing analysis, can we learn to see some of its workings. If we leave the mind without looking into its nature and essence, the mind will not be seen for what it is. The trickery of the mind is grand, so our investigation should be thorough.

A good first step into our research is to calm the mind. Mindfulness can create a spaciousness which makes it possible to see how the mind operates. To just be aware of what is going in the mind, gives one the opportunity to recognize and break free from the habitual patterns which normally dominate our experience. To see through our feelings, thoughts and inner demons is a task which demands determination and diligence. At first one may run away, but with time it becomes increasingly better to stay focused and aware.

Another great way of working with the mind is focusing on loving kindness and compassion. To open oneself to the reality that all beings want to be free from suffering and want to be happy, helps to break out of the confinement of self grasping. We are all interconnected.  Once this truth is realized, the circle of compassion can be widened from our loved ones and friends to strangers, animals and our enemies. Mindful giving of love and compassion combined with taking in all the suffering from others is a powerful tool to transform ourselves. At first it may seem odd to take in the suffering of others, while giving away your best, but as time progresses it becomes natural to wish for the best for others. It actually is a great recepy for happiness and joyfullness. 

As one becomes familiar with the workings of the mind, the path to wisdom and clarity lies in resting the mind. This was written as a friendly reminder to myself. May it be of benefit. 


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Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Thank you, Mark Cavendish

Yesterday just before going to bed i read an article about a crash which had just happened during the Olympic omnium (a discipline within track cycling) involving multiple Tour-de-France stages winner Mark Cavendish. After reading some comments on Twitter i found a video of the said crash and i was surprised there were no consequences connected to this crash.

I felt it was injustice and went to bed. But then i started reflecting on what was happening inside. I realized that i was judging a situation on which i had absolutely no influence. And in my mind i was already condemning Cavendish. By contemplating on this feeling, it made me realize that no matter what the reason for his move were, it wasn’t up to me to judge.

So instead, i started shifting towards feeling compassion for Mark Cavendish instead. Whatever caused him to make his move, he wants to be happy just as i want to. Perhaps he thought he could win gold through this unorthodox move? As i concentrated on letting go of all this second-guessing, i realized that i just didn’t like the move. I thought the move was irresponsible, dangerous. But this move doesn’t make him a bad person. It began to feel more and more as an act out of ignorance. And i realized that i’ve made quite a few of those moves in the past myself. I was able to separate the act from the one who committed the act and realize that there is a difference between the two.

In the heat of the moment we’ve all made mistakes. Would i want to be condemned for mistakes i’ve made in the past? Or would i rather be forgiven and shown compassion and understanding, so that i can learn from my mistakes?

So in retrospect i realize that i have to thank Mark Cavendish for this opportunity to accept what i dislike and actually have compassion for just that.

Compassion

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6e opzet-44

As there is this creative mood at the time, i might as well utilize it. For pretty much the first time i worked with layers and it turned out quite good. What an easy way to filter out unwanted details..
This image is inspired by a thangka from the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig. He has multiple arms so he’s fully equipped to help beings. One of my aspirations is to help others and myself, so i feel connected to the message of Chenrezig. It’s mantra is very famous across the Himalayas, and probably around the world by now. The mantra goes like this: Om Mani Padme Hum
One can accumulate this mantra by reciting it, either by saying or whispering (when you’re not alone ;)) the text, or perhaps sing it in a melodious voice. If you want to hear the mantra in the latter category, please listen to the following beautiful recording as sung by nun Ani Choying Drolma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flvo0QA-AnE

And my personal favorite is another mantra (Om Ah Hung Bendza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID7h3ys7qHI
To close of, some great advice by Quantumreceptor:

“Please do not forget, when practicing compassion we must always remember wisdom. Wisdom without compassion is cold and hard and compassion without wisdom is too soft and allows us to be taken advantage of.”


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Nemo the sequel

Nemo5_klein
‘Nemo’ in another position in the anemone, inside a saltwatertank. It feels a bit double to see a beautiful and famous fish like this clownfish in an aquarium the size of a big tv (an old fashioned one ofcourse, not the flat ones we have today). I can understand the beauty of having such fish inside a fishtank in your waiting room, but the more i think about it, the sadder it makes feel. To counter this, and to finish off positively, i’d like to share my feelings of compassion for all beings with you.

Even the simplest thing as tea brings suffering for the insects which are killed in the process of harvesting, transporting and packiging. Realizing the true scale of suffering makes us more humble and it can truely help to arouse feelings of loving kindness and compassion for all living beings. It places our own suffering in a different and yet more balanced perspective: all beings suffer, so what we can do within our own power is not to add more suffering to the whole. Instead, by using our human potential, we can share love, compassion and joy to this world. By being true to ourselves and by protecting those beings who don’t have a voice of their own.

Lol.. Disney makes me go into moral mode 😛


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Homage to the Buddha

May all beings be free from suffering3
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Concerning the Buddha the teaching of compassion towards all living beings starts to become alive in me. I realize how much i still have to learn and yet i can now see that thats ok too. If i’m willing to investigate, study and practice with diligence and earnesty.. i might be able to help others. Untill then, may the Buddha be a guide on the way.

The inspiration for this post is also the title of this photo: “May all beings be free from suffering”