Just two words

Dear Seekers!

Welcome to Know Your SELF.
What I have for you today is another revealing Zen story. The question is  – What does it reveal?

Well, It reveals ample of secrets that we will talk about once you’ve read it. Just for you to know – It is one of the funniest and most famous Zen stories across the world.

Enjoy the reading!


There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?”

“Bed… hard…” said the monk.

“I see,” replied the head monk. 

Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?” 

“Food… stinks…” said the monk. 

“I see,” replied the head monk. 

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, “What are your two words now, after these ten years?” 

“I… quit!” said the monk. 

“Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”


The mind that wants to quit will eventually quit. The reason could be anything. Reasons are immaterial and are part of cheap rationalizations.
The real reason is that you want to quit so you quit; as simple as that. You did not want to quit – so you did not quit.

Ask the following questions before you begin a task –

  • Do I want to achieve this no matter what?
  • On what conditions I am going to quit?
  • Have I prepared for the adverse situations that might happen during the course?
  • Why am I doing this? 

This contemplation done before-hand will equip you better for the job that you undertake. Prepare before you start. Understand and remember the purpose and keep yourself awake at all times.

Let’s get to the story now –

This is a funny yet very meaningful story. You should ideally laugh after reading this story :)

The mind keeps complaining even if it is of a Monk. Mind does not pay heed to the monk. Mind is a Monkey and it spells longer than a Monk. A decade is too long a time to train the Mind but it does not want to be trained. It wants to quit and it does not want to be tamed. Mind is the obstacle that the Seekers will have to cross on the path to Self-Discovery. Be aware of your Mind. Look at its games, its tactics, its ways of deceiving you and its excuses. Mind need not be conquered but it needs to be Understood. Understanding of the Truth dissipates away the mind. On understanding the Real Truth, the Mind becomes a devotee of the Truth and achieves its true purpose.

The story also highlights the importance of Silence on the path to Enlightenment. Silence is very important on this path. The story tells us that monks were allowed to talk only two words per decade. This rule is to emphasize the importance of Silence over chatter. This rule also means you do not keep talking to yourself or within your mind. It suggests to be silent within and outside and to practice the teachings silently. Silence is a great friend and tool to know about your SELF. Learn and practice the importance of Silence. Silence can only be understood in Silence!

Piece of Contemplation –

How many words do you speak every day?
How many words do you speak to yourself (Self-Talk – the chatter that goes on in your mind unceasingly) every day?
If you were the monk in the story – would you be able to maintain your silence for 10 years?

Think and thank about it… :)

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Is that so?

Dear Seekers and Friends!

I wish you a very good morning with a bright Zen story.

Say aloud in your heart a couple of times – Good Morning Zen!
Feel the positive vibrations.

Today’s story is different. It is a metaphor for us all who are a victim of the mind. The mind rules our lives; the way we behave, we think or we do is all basically governed by our minds. The story that follows acts like a mirror that is going to reflect the nature of our mind.

It is also going to show us how a man of truth behaves. How does a man who has known lives? How does he think and how does he respond? How he handles various challenges that life brings and steers his course.

I really hope it is going to be a wonderful learning. Let’s talk more after reading the story. Read it slowly with a loving heart –


There was a Zen master who held a good reputation in his community.

One day the neighbors came to his door enraged and furious, accusing him of having fathered the child that their teenager was about to bear.

 The Zen master said: “Is that so”?

 The rumors ran wild and the master lost his reputation.

A few months later the child was born and the baby was brought to the Zen master, who accepted and cared for him or her.

A year later the daughter of the neighbors admitted that the father was actually the butcher of the town.

The parents, mortified, went back to the Zen master’s house and confessed, apologized and asked for the child back.

 The Zen master said: Is that so? – then returned the baby.


Is that so? 

One who has known, is cool:) in every situation. He does not label and he does not judge. He knows that the real him is beyond all the scenes. He knows that whatever happens, happens for good despite the falsely appearing pictures. He trusts existence completely. He is not bothered about the past nor anxious about the future. Whatever existence brings on his door, he welcomes it.

In the story we can see that the Master was blamed to have illegally fathered a child with a teenage village girl. We all know that this is too big a blemish on anybody’s collar but the Master was not moved. His calm was not lost. He did not shout or fight. He accepted the blame and immediately took the responsibility of the accusation and accepted the child. He not only accepted the gift that nature brought to him but lovingly fathered him and nurtured him. He did not bother about his reputation either.

Is it possible to have such a cool mind?

Later when the true culprit was found village people felt ashamed of their doings they apologized to the master. They asked for his forgiveness and gave the responsibility of the child to his original father. At this moment again, the Master did not budge. Not only the Master was free of all Judgments but also from the shackles of Attachment. He was not attached but he loved the child, provided for all his needs and cared for him. When asked to return the child, he bowed down to the existence and obeyed. He gave the child back without adding any conditions or trails. He did not say – Why did you blame me earlier? 

There was so much material for the mind to talk and commentate, but it did not say a word. The mind lives like an obedient servant with the master. You see, the monkey has been tamed.

A person of Zen has gone beyond the mind and all its colors. He has known the Truth and he lives in complete harmony with the existence.

Piece of Contemplation –
What would you have done in these situations?
How would you have reacted in this scene?

Think about it…

Have a Zen life!

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Achieving Excellence of Mind– A review of “Maansik Dakshata”

Today I am going to tell you about one of my favorite books in Hindi language which has completely transformed the way I think and use my mind. It’s a priceless book offered at a low price. Do not be quick to judge it by its price or cover. You need to read it, think and apply it in order to be benefited by this tree of wisdom.

It was first published long ago and hadn’t reached the masses. Then after a period of time considering its importance to reach more and more seekers, it was re-published by one of the leading publishers of India in the Spiritual genre – Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. “Geeta Press” is a household name when it comes to the religious books in India. They are a legendary publishing trust, headquartered in the city of Baba Gorakhnath and print all kinds of books associated with all the Gods and Goddesses of Hindu Dharma. They started in early 1900’s, before India had got its freedom and their main objective was to spread the principles of Sanatana Dharma (Hindu religion) to general public by publishing Bhagwad-Gita, Ramayana, Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Discourses of eminent saints, Character-building books & magazines and all kinds of Kandas  and Sanhitas at highly subsidized prices. Basically you could not visit a religious city in India without seeing a book or two of them.

Let us now talk about the book that is today’s topic. This simple and effective mind handbook is popularly known as “Maansik Dakshata”. It is authored by Sri Rajendra Bihari lal ji, a venerable figure in the field of psychology. The masterpiece contains 256 pages of fresh pearls of wisdom scattered across 13 chapters that provide you with an evolutionary ladder to progress and transform your life for good by teaching you techniques to effectively use and train your mind. It is an excellent guide that has inspired millions of people to learn and progress in multitudes of directions by strengthening their mental ability and effectively applying it.

The title of book, when translated in English, might mean Mind Strength or Mental Ability or Excellence of Mind. It keeps the truth of the title by successively unveiling the secrets buried within our minds. I believe it to be one of the finest pieces in this domain.

I first stumbled upon it on a train journey way before 25 silver years during 90’s when I was doing my schooling. One of my acquaintances who accompanied me on the journey had bought it on the Gorakhpur railway platform on the mid-way journey since the title grabbed his attention. He bought it but didn’t bother to read it immediately as he might have saved that activity for later. Thanks to him – it lay freely on the berth in our coach, waiting to be read and I happened to catch a glance. I borrowed it and started reading immediately and got lost in that beautiful garden of psychology as the author had literally called it. I curiously rummaged through the pages enjoying my happy time but unfortunately the journey was about to finish. I could only read the first 20 pages of that compelling book in the remaining journey but it remained in my mind thereafter. I returned that copy to the proud owner when the destination came and thanked him. I had finished reading it when I had bought a copy for myself some time later. I loved the book and it became a part of my personal collection and raised its way up on my favorites.

Very recently I had a provoking thought which made me read it again. When I made the decision to re-read it, I ensured to devote much more time in this visit so that I could understand and apply it in my life. I picked up the book during March and spent about a full month reading it devoting four to six hours every day. Surprised I was by the amount of wisdom it hid within. I pledged to go through it, page by page and line by line and contemplate fiercely on each aspect using a diary and pen. I made notes of my own based on the teachings shared in the book and experiences of my own which helped me understand the topics from a deeper perspective.

The book narrates all the important topics related to the mind- it’s functioning and application in various sectors of life maintaining a simple language. It starts with a moderate pace and progresses its way up to the deeper topics. All concepts are backed with hundreds of proven and published scientific case studies conducted across all the leading universities and research organizations in the globe. Simple daily life analogies have been used to explain the difficult topics that make them easy to relate to. It is a wide canvas that explores various unique shades of the mind such as positive thinking, creative reading, memory-power, sub-conscious mind, effective -reading, auto-hypnosis, second-wave of energy and so on. A lot of self-development techniques are hidden and waiting to be learned and mastered within this deep ocean of wisdom. It is a concise testament of inner power that needs to be elaborately embraced.

What this book can do for you depends on how deeply you are intent on reading it. Let us now explore its purpose. What makes you think you should read this book. Ask yourself the questions that follow –

  • What is the mind and how does it work?
  • Is my mind my friend?
  • Have I aspired for a powerful mind?
  • What is effective thinking?
  • How do thinkers think?
  • What is the power of positive thinking?
  • How to read effectively? What is my perpetual span of reading?
  • What is memory? Can i increase my memory power?
  • What is short-term and long-term memory?
  • Can I read creatively?
  • Do I want to succeed in Life?
  • Do I believe that my mind is not capable of handling the challenges in life?
  • Do I want to enhance my mental abilities?
  • Do I want to become an effective reader, writer or orator?

Do they sound familiar to you? If any of these questions seem to apply or ring a bell then you should give it a read. It is surely going to take you to the next level.

It is a wonderful gift to the entire mankind and especially to those people who are striving to succeed in this world. Success is a function of a healthy mind in a healthy body in a perfect harmony. Mind is a magnificent gift that you’ve received from nature which when trained properly, can help you achieve almost anything that you could ever imagine.

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Worse than a Clown

Dear Seekers!

Zen seem to be calling on the shots these days.
The winds are cold and it’s the onset of Monsoon in India. What do rains remind you of?
Beautiful smelling mud and trees, a cool breeze and serenity.

This is Zen.

You have been reading Zen stories for the last few days that remind you of the Zen. Zen stories are not alike other stories because they are illogical, simple, short and to the point. They are like powerful sutras which need a long contemplation and practice before you understand them.

In order to understand these powerful stories, just read them slowly and use your heart. Do not try to understand them using your mind. Keep all your knowledge aside and just be in the moment when you read them.

That way you are closer to understanding.

If you don’t understand anything by the word “Zen” – you can consider it to be a synonym for Dhyan or The Source.

Here’s another addition in this hit list. Let’s talk more after reading the story –


 

There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma. 

Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he kept laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing.

The young monk was very disturbed by the master’s reaction. For the next 3 days, he could not eat, sleep nor think properly. At the end of 3 days, he went back to the master and told the master how disturbed he had felt. 

When the master heard this, he said, “Monk, do u know what your problem is? Your problem is that YOU ARE WORSE THAN A CLOWN!” 

The monk was shocked to hear that, “Venerable Sir, how can you say such a thing?! How can I be worse than a clown?” 

The master explained, “A clown enjoys seeing people laugh. You? You feel disturbed because another person laughed. Tell me, are u not worse than a clown?” 

When the monk heard this, he began to laugh. He was enlightened.


What does the story suggest?

Contemplate for few mins…

This story is very unique. Unique in the terms of being illogical and paradoxical. There is no direct hint at anything in particular in this story. Laughter is present and is reverberating throughout the story but without any reason. The reason is not disclosed. There is a very important reason behind not disclosing the reason!

The mind is interested in the reasons. The mind creates various reasons. The mind likes to understand things from a logical perspective. This happened and therefore that happened and so on…Mind does not believe in effect without a cause.

But truth is without a cause. Truth is illogical, all-permeating, form-less, omnipresent, beyond the mind and beyond the entire duality of feelings, thoughts, words and actions. Truth cannot be understood by the mind.

Let’s go to the story now –

A young monk who takes himself to be a very serious and intelligent practitioner of dharma – the path comes to know of something that he cannot understand. A logical mind tries to understand everything. He is unable to understand and hence he goes to the Master. You use your mind to understand everything but cannot understand the mind itself.

How can you understand mind with the help of the mind itself? 

You go to the Master.

Master listens to him and ends up in a bursting laughter. Master goes on laughing but the monk does not have any idea. He is unable to comprehend it. Since his logical mind still wants to know the reason behind this laughter and not the truth.

Basically Master is saying – Laugh! Laugh wholeheartedly because you have found. Rather, the Dharma has found you. But monk goes on evaluating this logically and tries to understand this paradox using the mind.

Finally Master compares him to a clown and then he understands! A clown makes you laugh and then laughs to see you laugh.

Laughter is a far better tool to point to the real truth than the mind. True laughter arises from the heart.

Truth can be expressed in Silence!

If Silence doesn’t help, then Masters (those who have known) have laughed.

If you don’t understand the laughter then they have used words. And those words are illogical since logic is too small to contain the truth.

Have an enlightened life!

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Dear Seekers!

I bring you another Zen story today –


A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master. One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.

When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. “Isn’t it beautiful,” he called out to the old master. “Yes,” replied the old man, “but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I’ll put it right for you.”

After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. “There,” said the old man, “you can put me back now.”


Let us now understand the story –

What is beauty?

Beauty is a state of your mind or you can say beauty is a quality of no-mind. Beauty unveils itself when the mind is silent. Beauty is when you are simply present in the moment and aware. Beauty is in the spontaneity and it cannot be created. If you want to make something beautiful – you are chasing in the wrong direction. Things are beautiful as they are.

When you look at a rose flower and you say, wow! It is so beautiful. You’ve labelled it. On the contrary when you look at a garbage truck, you feel disgusting. These labels of ‘beauty’ and ‘disgust’ are created by your mind. Mind is a labeling machine that continuously labels everything that it sees or experiences. Something happens and your mind immediately says – this is not good or this should not happened or something else.

The mind goes on and on. It doesn’t allow you to see things as they are. Everything is beautiful. In fact everything is as it should be. Beauty and Non-beauty is the duality created by our own minds, conditioned over a period of time.

Just let things be. Let your mind be silent and you’ll witness true beauty all around. Everything is holy and sacred as it is. Once you’ve re-gained your sight, everything is beautiful.

Have a beautiful Life!

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‘You are’ Meditation

Dear Seekers!

I bring you a Zen story today on a very important and attractive topic – Meditation. I am sure it is so mysterious a topic that many seekers across the world want to practice, learn and achieve the highest purpose of Meditation.  Many seekers meditate daily and consistently for months and years with little or no results. 

Why is it so?

What is the missing link? 

A lot of us want to learn meditation and do it correctly. May this story and contemplation shared alongside take you to a higher stage than where you are.

Let us read the story and then talk more about it.


 

It Will Pass

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!” 

“It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly. 

A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!’ 

“It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.


 

Let’s answer some basic questions related to Meditation first –

What is Meditation?

Meditation is not an activity to be done, it is your very nature, the quality of your being. Meditation flowers when the Self realizes itself. It is pure beingness. It might start as an activity that you do in the beginning but as it grows deeper and if you are going in the right direction it should slowly encompass your whole day and then become your very nature.

Nothing is to be done during Meditation as many people think. You don’t have to do anything and also Not do the non-doing!

It is a process of silent and pure witnessing.

“You are not supposed to meditate. Just understand that ‘you are’ meditation.” – SirShree.

 

What is the purpose of Meditation?

The purpose of the Meditation is to realize one’s SELF. Realizing your SELF (Who you are actually??) and getting stabilized in that experience is the purpose of Meditation.

Let us understand the story now –

While meditating, you might get a lot of experiences. They may include light, colors, signs, heaviness, lightness, awareness, sounds, smells or anything else for that matter. Just remember that these experiences are not Meditation. These experiences just tell you that are slowly progressing in Meditation. They are like signboards or milestones of your journey inside. Whenever you get any experience, ask yourself inside –

Am I this experience? 

The answer will come from the inside:

I am the one knowing this experience.

Ask again – Who is this knower?

 

Until the real knower is known, Meditation does not flower. It flowers on its own, at the ripe time. All you need to do is sit consistently with the right way, let your mind surrender and go with the flow. When the thoughts come, try to know the KNOWER of the thoughts.

 

Who is the knower?

Who am I?

 

More info:

You can download a free Complete Meditation android app here

You can also be benefited by 7 meditations for the full week on YouTube here

You can also buy books or cd/dvds related to Mediation here

 

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.” – Zen Master Basho

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Working very hard

Dear Seekers and Friends!

Today I bring you a small Zen story which needs deep contemplation in order to be understood and applied. Let’s talk more after reading the story.

A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial arts system. How long will it take me to master it.” 

The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” 

Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?” 

The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years.”

What is the meaning of this story?

Contemplate for a while…

Let us try to understand it. Life has two category of things. There are things in Life that will come to us if we are dedicated and focused and spend enough hours of relentless efforts to achieve. Then there are other category of things that require just the reverse. Patience, Complete Relaxation, Unshakeable Faith , Love and Complete Surrender to the Master. The story tells us that we need to patient with these kind of things.

If you want to learn Mediation or you want to know the real purpose of Life or Who you are??, You cannot force and bring it to you. You need to be patient. You need to be relaxed and most importantly you need to have complete faith, devotion and surrender to the Master. And then, one fine day. It occurs! You UNDERSTAND it.

Mind achieves the world and In order to achieve itself, it has to look within.

Wish you a very Happy, fulfilling and meaningful Life!

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