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I received these four books as a gift parcel from my cousin Shankar who had a fascinating tale to tell me about them.
Shankar was quite attached to a young lad who was his nephew’s classmate from school. This young lad is now 41 and having emigrated to Canada some years ago, for the past few years has been a Buddhist Monk there.
The monk has returned to India for a short visit to meet up with his past and had invited Shankar over to his family’s home to meet him and some other friends who have also come from Canada with him.
Shankar bought some of the books that the school to which the young monk belongs and sent them to me for the simple reason that he felt that I was the only one in the family who would enjoy reading them and also perhaps understand the contents.
I was quite intrigued as to his motivation and asked him on the phone as to what made him decide to choose me to receive the gifts and he said something that has been resonating with me since our talk. He said that I was the only one that he knew who had gone deeply into matters spiritual and also the only one who has more or less become very comfortable being on his own with his books and spiritual pursuits. Obviously, this is the image that I have in my family and I am very pleased that I am thought of as being like this.
Coming to the books, I had never heard of Ajahn Chah. My son Ranjan had a few Thai classmates in college who used to come home often and one of them even became a monk. I therefore knew that Thailand has a vibrant Buddhist environment and that there are many schools of Buddhism there.
I am intrigued enough with the new books to drop all other reading material that I have in the pipe line to read all these four books. If at the end of it all, I find anything interesting, I shall blog again about my impressions.
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I don’t believe in the sense that I think Pravin has suggested for this topic. I must confess however, that I started off believing but, now I know.
In the Vedic system, there are four methods to attain liberation. They are; Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga. You will get an idea of what each method means here.
I was led into Jnana Yoga by a series of what I then thought as coincidences, and have stayed in that system by chosing a qualified teacher in our Guru Shishya Parampara.
This system emphasises on Knowing. Therefore, I know. QED.
Pravin has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs. Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.
Young Pravin with one foot into spiritualism and the rest of his body firmly in materialism, has suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. I hope that I don’t disappoint him with my take on the subject.
I personally have no experience of any of my dreams becoming realities. I don’t remember most of my dreams anyway.
I shall leave my readers with this link to a very interesting article on the subject and the following two quotations to deal with the subject as I don’t think that I can do justice to it by being original.
“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
~ Zhuangzi, The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu.
“It’s at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don’t know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind. I wish I believed, as J. B. Priestley did, that consciousness continues after disembodiment or death, not forever, but for a long while. Three score years and ten is such a stingy ration of time, when there is so much time around. Perhaps that’s why some of us are insomniacs; night is so precious that it would be pusillanimous to sleep all through it! A bad night is not always a bad thing.”
~ Brian W Aldiss.
You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs. Maria, Pravin and Shackman.
I don’t quite remember what made me buy this book and when. It has been on the top of the list of the books unread on my kindle and finally I got round to reading it a few days ago. That it took me more than a day or two should tell my readers what a slow read that it makes. It is very heavy going from the word go and the plot unfolds in a leisurely fashion. For someone used to faster paced books, this was literally a drag. I can’t really figure out as to how this got to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
For all that, it is a book worth reading for its very unusualness. I have never read anything like this by any other author. The toing and froing of the two leading characters not only in the reading but also in the time frame of now and in the past, makes for a different than usual normal reading experience. The strangeness is not just in the flashback technique used but in the surreal presentation of the unfolding of the story.
The character portrayals of all the people who appear and disappear in the story is handled well as is the description of the crow whose presence is a very important part of the narrative. The Japanese culture juxtaposed with an American influence on a teenager is handled very well and that keeps the interest in the story alive till the whole story is resolved. Throwing in Tsunami, Zen Buddhism, The Schrodinger’s cat and Quantum Physics gives it a quaint twist too.
If you like serious reading in the fiction genre, this book will appeal to you.
This week’s LBC topic comes to us courtesy Lin.
Let me at the outset confess that I am at a loss to understand the meaning of the topic. I have heard of and understand ‘well being’ but ‘well of our being’ beats me. Google research lead me to a book which confused me even more.
After some discussions with friends who are more familiar with British and American idiom, I was able to understand that it simply means our inner resources that enable us to live whichever way we want to.
On the assumption that my understanding is right, the well of my being is an ability to be a witness to all that happens to and around me without getting tangled up. And let me confess, it is still a work in progress.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
Frost may have had miles to go before he slept but, this old heap has clocked a gazillion interesting miles on the meter and unless completely refitted with a new engine, body, suspension, transmission etc, is rapidly getting to the stage where it has to be scrapped. While it has plenty of starting trouble and wheezes while moving, when it comes to sleeping, man, does it beat all the newfangled fancy cars on the road!
This is my contribution to the Weekly Loose Bloggers’ Consortium (LBC) endeavour to post on one single topic every Friday. Today’s topic has been suggested by Padmum. I hope that you enjoyed reading my contribution.