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#2157 - Saturday, May 28, 2005 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.

-A.H. Maslow


it can never be complicated, corrupted, or stained    

"Where exactly is our buddha nature? It is in the skylike nature of our
mind. Utterly open, free and limitless, it is fundamentally so simple
and so natural that it can never be complicated, corrupted, or stained,
so pure that it is beyond even the concept of purity and impurity.

To talk of this nature of mind as skylike is, of course, only a metaphor
that helps us to begin to imagine its all-embracing boundlessness; for
the buddha nature has a quality the sky cannot have, that of the radiant
clarity of awareness.

It is said: 'It is simply your flawless present awareness, cognizant and
empty, naked and awake.'"

~Sogyal Rinpoche

From the book, "Glimpse After Glimpse," published by Harper Row.
  posted by Dharma Grandmother to Daily Dharma

       If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and
       expectations, you would be able to discern the
       beautiful pattern of events.  It is your restlessness
       that causes chaos.

                         - Nisargadatta Maharaj   posted to Along the Way

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photographer  

by T.V. Ramamurthy*  (from an article published in The Mountain Path, Jayanti Issue 2005)    

The French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson died in early August 2004 at the age of 95. He was instrumental in influencing a generation of photographers on the way they viewed their subjects. In The Decisive Moment, a seminal essay written in 1952 for a book of photographs he released, he wrote about capturing the 'decisive moment': "Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you." This term ' the decisive moment' has become synonymous with him. (The English title of Images a la Sauvett is literally, "Images on the Run")   With his relatively unsophisticated 35 mm Leica camera, he created a new direction in his medium. Like Hemingway in English literature or Picasso in painting, he reduced the subject to the barest fundamentals of geometry and revealed the essence of the moment. His work was about plain composition, immaculate clarity, stillness in movement and pure emotion - the decisive moment. Many of his images have a timeless quality because they are so 'true'. Though they do reveal sensations to the eye, the intent is not to excite but calmly reveal the composition's underlying harmony.      ......  

Other memorable images taken were the late patrician photos of Sri
Aurobindo and of Swami Shivananda majestically captured sitting on a tiger
skin by the Ganga, images indelibly impressed on the memories of their
respective followers.

For Ramana devotees he is best known for the last three photos taken of
Bhagavan on 4th April 1950. He was also at the ashram the night
Bhagavan attained mahanirvana. In fact, he witnessed the glowing meteor that
travelled north over Arunachala the moment Bhagavan left his body. Most
people in the ashramm were so engrossed in the trauma of his death that
they did not look up into the night sky. The photographer's words have
been quoted in many books and articles about Bhagavan's last days.

Some of the photos he took on the subsequent day of devotees in grief
during the ceremonies for Bhagavan's internment are among his most
familiar images from his portofolio on India. In the haze of collective
sorrow he recorded the intense emotions when a great soul departed from
this physical realm, with a dispassionate eye sensitive to the individual's despair and disbelief. One does not feel he has intruded. Quite the
reverse, he is absent from these pictures. be continued   posted by Viorica Weissman to MillionPaths  

I hope that you enjoyed reading the Henri Cartier-Bresson daily installments - All the  installments have been assembled together and the article can be read here:  

Srinagar, Kashmir, 1948  

Photography is nothing. It's life that interests me.

H. Cartier-Bresson

some sites showing his photographs:    

at above link, clicking on various books gives pages and pages of thumbnail photos to enlarge  

grabbing the snake's tail  

"We people don't want suffering, we want happiness. But in fact
happiness is just a refined form of suffering. Suffering itself is the
coarse form. You can compare them to a snake. The head of the snake is
unhappiness, the tail of the snake is happiness. The head of the snake
is really dangerous, it has the poisonous fangs. If you touch it, the
snake will bite straight away. But never mind the head, even if you go
and hold onto the tail, it will turn around and bite you just the same,
because both the head and the tail belong to the one snake.

"In the same way, both happiness and unhappiness, or pleasure and
sadness, arise from the same parent -- wanting. So when you're happy,
the mind isn't peaceful. It really isn't!  For instance, when we get the
things we like, such as wealth, prestige, praise or happiness, we become
pleased as a result. But the mind still harbors some uneasiness because
we're afraid of losing it. That very fear isn't a peaceful state. Later
on we may actually lose that thing, and then we really suffer. Thus, if
you aren't aware, even if you're happy, suffering is imminent. It's just
the same as grabbing the snake's tail -- if you don't let go it will
bite. So whether it's the snake's tail or its head, that is, wholesome
or unwholesome conditions, they're all just characteristics of the Wheel
of Existence, of endless change."

~Ajahn Chah
  posted by Dharma Grandmother to Daily Dharma  

simply the total awakeness  

Shariputra asked: "When a follower attains the great insight of perfect wisdom, does that follower then covet and cultivate omniscience, infinite knowledge?"

The Buddha answered: "Such a follower never covets or cultivates infinite knowledge. That very attitude of not coveting and not cultivating reveals everything to him and he sees all possible structures--from objects of the senses to buddhas--to be transparent in their nature. This radiant transparency is, in fact, simply the total awakeness of a buddha. The now-awakened follower becomes, in this way, immersed in infinite wisdom and blossoms spontaneously as omniscience itself."

From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000  

'Be Not Afraid'  

None of what you've learned in college means anything without the courage to use it in the world.
By Anna Quindlen

Adapted from the commencement address delivered May 17, 2005 to Barnard College.

concluding excerpt:

There is plenty to fear out there. Last year I gave into it myself, writing a column at just this time called "An Apology to the Graduates," telling the class of 2004 how sorry I was about the unremitting stress they have been under all their lives.

In part I wrote:

There's an honorable tradition of starving students; it's just that, between outsourcing of jobs and a boom market in real estate, your generation envisions becoming starving adults. Caught in our peculiar modern nexus of prosperity and insolvency, easy credit and epidemic bankruptcy, you also get toxic messages from the culture about what achievement means. It is no longer enough to make it; you must make it BIG. You all will live longer than any generation in history, yet you were kicked into high gear earlier as well. Your college applications looked like the resumes for middle-level executives. How exhausted you must be.

Here is what awaits you: you will be offered the option of now becoming exhausted adults, convinced that no achievement is large enough, with resumes as long as short stories. But what if that feels like a betrayal of self, a forced march down a road trodden by other feet, at the end of which is--nothing you truly care for?

Fear not. Remember Pinocchio? There is a Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder. It is you, your best self, the one you can trust. The only problem is that it is sometimes hard to hear what it says because all the external voices and messages are so loud, so insistent, so adamant. Voices that loud are always meant to bully.

Do not be bullied.

Earlier this year I attended a session of Dennis Dalton's Political Theory class. The students were studying the Tao. Professor Dalton graciously gave me my own pocket-sized copy. I now read it every day, especially this passage. It makes me despair of ever saying anything original. And it keeps me honest.

It says:

In dwelling, live close to the ground.

In thinking, keep to the simple.

In conflict, be fair and generous.

In governing, don't try to control.

In work, do what you enjoy.

In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself,

And don't compare or compete,

Everybody will respect you.

We live in a world in which the simple, the generous, the enjoyable, the completely present, above all the "simply yourself" sometimes seem as out of reach as the moon. Do not be fooled. That is not because anyone has found a better way in the millennia since the Tao was written. It is because too often we are people shadowed by fear. The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.

That voice is strong now. Go take a leap of faith and fearlessness into the arms of the great adventure of an authentic life. Courage, and congratulations. Bless you all.


entire speech at:

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