31 December 2007

Ring in the Old

There is nothing new at all. It is the old that tells us that it is new, and through this gimmick thought is making what it calls "new" part of the old, and it thus maintaining its continuity. So, whatever you cannot experience does not exist. It may sound as a very dogmatic assertion on my part, but when you try to experience something that you have not experienced before, the whole movement of the experiencing structure comes to an end.

-- U.G. Krishnamurti, from Thought is Your Enemy

28 December 2007

Fight over word for "God" in Malaysia

A church and Christian newspaper in Malaysia are suing the government after it decreed that the word "Allah" can only be used by Muslims. In the Malay language "Allah" is used to mean any god, and Christians say they have used the term for centuries. Opponents of the ban say it is unconstitutional and unreasonable. It is the latest in a series of religious rows in largely Muslim Malaysia, where minority groups claim their rights are being eroded.


25 December 2007

Does generosity reward the brain?

In a neurological study cited in Science, human research subjects were placed in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner and manipulated through situations in which they gave charitable donations. Some brain regions involved in reward were activated by giving, indicating that the brain was experiencing positive sensations from the act of giving.

"If you look at human financial behavior as an attempt to increase the feeling of reward," said a neuroscientist, "then donating money makes economic sense. Look at it this way: when I'm giving to charity I'm paying for the pleasure of donating money."


Meal for higher Principles

The substances that we use are a sacrifice to us, just as we are a sacrifice to the Reality that Lives us and ultimately Dissolves us in Itself. We sit at a great dinner table. We are ourselves a kind of Meal for a higher Principles. We are not intended to be a degraded slaughter, as are the cattle eaten by self-indulgent people, but we are the sacrificial elements in a higher Meal.

-- Bubba Free John, from The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace

22 December 2007

Meditation vs. depression

Meditating could be a simple solution to treating depression. Brain scans show significant changes in brain waves after just a few weeks of meditation. Experts say meditation helps patients get rid of anger, anxiety and just let everything go.


15 December 2007

Absent or present Master

If there is surrender, even an absent Master can help you. If there is no surrender, even an alive Master who is present cannot help you.

-- Osho, from The Book of the Secrets, Vol. 2.

14 December 2007

Change your brain -- with meditation

Feeling stressed or depressed? You may one day be prescribed meditation rather than medication, thanks to a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ontario.

A research team is the first to use
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map brain activity changes in people trained in mindfulness meditation. The researchers scanned the brains of study participants as they responded to various word prompts.

People with no meditation training showed very little change in brain activity from task to task. They mostly engaged the areas along the middle of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for personality and social behaviour.

But participants who had practiced meditation regularly showed a more dramatic change in brain activity when asked to move from the narrative to the experiential focus: they shifted away from the midline brain regions to areas that regulate more primitive functions such as touch, pain and temperature sensation.

“This ability to alter brain activity may explain why so many studies show mood improvements with meditation. It turns out taking a break from the middle regions of the brain, which we tend to overuse,might be just what’s needed to help you feel better,” said a researcher.


11 December 2007

Cognitive reserves help older brains

The brain, like every other part of the body, changes with age, and those changes can impede clear thinking and memory. Yet many older people seem to remain sharp as a tack well into their 80s and beyond. Although their pace may have slowed, they continue to work, travel, attend plays and concerts, play cards and board games, study foreign languages, design buildings, work with computers, write books, do puzzles, knit or perform other mentally challenging tasks that can befuddle people much younger.

But when these sharp old folks die, autopsy studies often reveal extensive brain abnormalities like those in patients with Alzheimer's.

Cognitive reserve, in this theory, refers to the brain's ability to develop and maintain extra neurons and connections between them via axons and dendrites. Later in life, these connections may help compensate for the rise in dementia-related brain pathology that accompanies normal aging.

Cognitive reserve is greater in people who complete higher levels of education. The more intellectual challenges to the brain early in life, the more neurons and connections the brain is likely to develop and perhaps maintain into later years. Several studies of normal aging have found that higher levels of educational attainment were associated with slower cognitive and functional decline.

But brain stimulation does not have to stop with the diploma. Better-educated people may go on to choose more intellectually demanding occupations and pursue brain-stimulating hobbies, resulting in a form of lifelong learning.


Osho birthday message

I’m not a person, and if you like me as a person you have missed me. You have missed the impersonal that is present here. I am just an opening. Come close to me and I will help you to become impersonal too.

-- Osho (Rajneesh) from The Wisdom of the Sands Vol. II., p. 338

10 December 2007

Balance and Vitality

The daily rule for dietary discipline is never to eat to the point of fullness. The daily rule for sexual discipline is never to make love to the point of emptiness. Appetite should remain after all vital activities. Otherwise vital energy enervates, toxifies, isolates, and kills the body and mind.

Avoid excess or extremes. These create imbalance and enervation and toxicity. Do what maintains vitality and do it constantly. Feel to Infinity as the whole body. Relax profoundly under all conditions. Do not think or recoil (emotionally or physically) as a chronic activity. Learn to retain the vital force, especially in sexuality, and pervade the whole body with it. Learn to reverse the current of life in order to refresh and conserve the whole body.

-- Bubba Free John, from The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace

09 December 2007

Zazen without Zazen

From ancient times until the present day, all who were ever enlightened either by light or sound practiced zazen without zazen and became simultaneously enlightened.

-- from the Shobogenzo (Treasury of True Dharma Eye) of Dogen (13th cent.)

08 December 2007

Living in Totality

When you have lived life in its totality, you have to renounce it! Only those who have not lived rightly, who have not lived at all, who have known only tepid lives, try to cling. Beggars are unable to renounce. Only a king like the Buddha is ready to renounce. Only emperors can become sannyasins, not beggars.

-- Osho, from Until You Die: Discourses on the Sufi Way

07 December 2007

What is Left

"Maturity is what is on the other side of Realizing. Maturity is what is left after inquiry."

-- Byron Kate, The Work Intensive (El Segundo 5/14/00)

01 December 2007

Osho speaks on the Bauls

A Baul is a man always on the road.
He has no house, no abode.
God is his only abode,
and the whole sky is his shelter.

He possesses nothing except a poor man's quilt,
a small, hand-made one-stringed instrument called aektara,
and a small drum, a kettle-drum.
That's all that he possesses.

He possesses only a musical instrument and a drum.
He plays with one hand on the instrument and he goes on beating the drum with the other.

The drum hangs by the side of his body, and he dances.
That is all of his religion.

Dance is his religion; singing is his worship.
He does not even use the word "God."
The Baul word for God is adhar manush,
the essential man.

The Bauls are called Bauls because they are mad people.
The word "Baul" comes from the Sanskrit root vatul.
It means: mad, affected by wind.

The Baul belongs to no religion.
He is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian nor Buddhist.
He is a simple human being.
His rebellion is total.
He does not belong to anybody; he only belongs to himself.
He lives in a no man's land:
no country is his,
no religion is his,
no scripture is his.

His rebellion goes even deeper than the rebellion of the Zen Masters --
because at least formally, they belong to Buddhism;
at least formally, they worship Buddha.

Formally they have scriptures --
scriptures denouncing scriptures, of course --
but still they have.

At least they have a few scriptures to burn.
Bauls have nothing --
no scripture, not even to burn;
no church, no temple, no mosque --
nothing whatsoever.

-- Osho Rajneesh, from The Bauls