Breath Meditation – Simple Instructions Anyone Can Follow

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“The technique I’ll be teaching is breath meditation.
It’s a good topic no matter what your religious background.
As my teacher once said, the breath doesn’t belong to Buddhism or Christianity or anyone at all.
It’s common property that anyone can meditate on.”
~Thanissaro Bhikkhu in accesstoinsight.org

Here’s a link to very simple instructions on breath meditation: Basic Breath Meditation Instructions by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

©1993 Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Ill-Directed Mind…

Photo by Josiel Miranda from Pexels blur-close-up-depth-of-field-1786769Photo by Josiel Miranda from Pexels

Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy,
or a foe to a foe,
the ill-directed mind can
do to you even worse.
Whatever a mother, father or
other kinsman might do for you,
the well-directed mind
can do for you even better.

~ The Mind, Citta Vagga, Dhammapada

Mindculture for Kids and Adults – New Facebook Page

Mindculture for Kids and Adults - My New Facebook Page
Mindculture for Kids and Adults – My New Facebook Page

Dear All, I started a new Facebook page, Mindculture for Kids and Adults.

Your mind is your greatest asset.
This page is dedicated to sharing info on the art and science of mind culture from cradle to grave.

If your focus in self improvement is business oriented, you may also want to visit my Business Trainer Sri Lanka Facebook page.

Please visit, like and follow. And share the good news with your friends and family.

Thanks

Nilooka

 

Research on Happiness and Bad Decisions…. from Dan Gilbert

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Research shows that when we (humans) make decisions, we tend to focus on what we’re getting and forget about what we are forgoing.

I was just going to share this interesting article–Buried by bad decisions–by Dan Gilbert with you. But then I happened upon Dan Gilbert’s TED Talks:

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You can access them all at Dan Gilbert’s Ted page.

Enjoy the article. Its really interesting. Enjoy the talks, I am yet to complete all three. But I’ve watched the first one some time ago.

Close down the R&D Division

You don’t think its a good idea? Okay. Remember this then:

“Children are the research and development division of the human species”
~Psychologist Alison Gopnik

Don’t send your kids to a preschool where teaching is the priority.

Kids should be allowed to explore and experiment and ask questions in preschool, not burdened with instruction. teaching things too early is harmful for their natural development and future progress.

Just like closing down the R&D division. Only short-sighted companies do that, right?

This move towards teaching too early comes from two things: Parental pressure (why aren’t they teaching my kids stuff?) and government policy towards more structured instruction.

In Sri Lanka, where the government schools do not expect kids to enter grade one knowing their alphabet and counting, too much teaching comes from over zealous parents demanding preschools to teach stuff… and preschools who actually listen to the parents and their ignorant requests.

Perception Quotations: “It’s all in the mind”!

Can't see my castles?  Try harder. It's all in the mind! Photo: NilookaDissanayake
Can’t see my castles? Try harder. It’s all in the mind! Photo: NilookaDissanayake

Its amazing how we confuse perception with reality. Then again, its a complicated thing, what is reality for any of us but what we perceive? Think about it for a while.

Here are some nice quotations on perception.

The goodreads quotations list for perception runs into dozens of pages. Here are a few that took my fancy:.

“Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.” ~Irving Berlin

***

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”
~Robertson Davies, in Tempest-Tost

***

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have,
you will never, ever have enough”
~Oprah Winfrey

***

“The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
~W.B. Yeats

***

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
~C.S. Lewis, in The Magician’s Nephew

***

“Everything that irritates us about others can
lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~C.G. Jung

***

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
~Oscar Wilde, in Lady Windermere’s Fan

***

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”
~John Lennon

***

“It’s all in the mind.”
~George Harrison

And I really like this one:

“What people in the world think of you is really
none of your business.”
~Martha Graham

You will find hundreds more interesting quotations on perception together with links to author pages and their book pages on goodreads. Happy reading!

Quotes about the brain

Among other things, my search came up with a goodreads page with over 250 quotations tagged Brain.

Here are a few I liked:

I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix. 
~Arthur Conan Doyle,  The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

How ghastly for her, people actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all.
~Gail Carriger,  Soulless

Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain.
~Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.
~Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

See which ones appeal to you. Here’s the complete list. The wonderful thing about it is that each quote is given with author name and link to the respective book as well as author page.

Karma – Story 03 About the bird that died in the wildfire

Not in the air, nor in the middle of ocean,
nor in the caves of hills, nowhere in the whole world
could a man find a spot
where he might not be overcome by death.
–Dhammapada

A group of bhikkus on their way to see the Buddha, saw a bird that had perished in a wildfire. They asked the Buddha why this was so.

According to the Buddha, this happend because the bird, in a previous birth as a farmer had got so angry with an unmanageable bull and killed it by tying a load of hay onto its back and setting it alight. This is the karma that caused him to be burned in a wildfire even though he could fly.

Your deeds follow you like the wheels of the cart follow the oxen. There is no escaping that.

Visit AccesstoInsight.org to learn more about how to break this cycle of death and birth through mind culture.

Thoughts and Deeds Have Consequences…

 

Indian Ocean at Sunset - Galle Fort Ramparts, Sri Lanka
Indian Ocean at Sunset - Galle Fort Ramparts, Sri Lanka

Continuing from the last post, here’s another thing that the priest spoke of:

Not in the air, nor in the middle of ocean,
nor in the caves of hills,
nowhere in the whole world could a man find a spot
where he would be safe from his evil deeds.

Not in the air, nor in the middle of ocean,
nor in the caves of hills,
nowhere in the whole world could a man find a spot
where he might not be overcome by death.

–Dhammapada

I have known the meaning of these stanzas for years. But I got to know the stories behind them only on this day. Let me share those stories with you another day.

And here’s a short example of the power of thoughts and deeds.

According to the priest, Lord Buddha too suffered from severe headaches throughout his life. And as Buddha has once revealed, this was because, in a previous birth, he had derived enjoyment from watching the fishes jumping around when caught in the fishermans’ nets.

I could not help wondering what I am getting my occassional headaches for. Seriously. Of course, all this makes sense only if you believe in karma and rebirth. I don’t care particularly to focus on results after death. However, I do get a kick out of being good just for the sake of it.

More the reason to watch out for what your mind gets you to think of and look at and enjoy. You never know what will lead to what.

It also reminded me that there are books listing what results you get when you do good deeds. Example, what results you get for giving food to people or for sweeping a temple garden.

I knew a girl who believed that sweeping the temple garden and cleaning the old flowers would make her look prettier. We found this out when she suddenly developed a passion for this activity. 🙂

Watch out for your mind.