I'm joining Service Space because ... noble friends :)
A good day to me is when ... I have taken a small step on the path.
My hero in life is ...any pilgrim.
My favorite book is ...Dao De Jing.
One thing I'm grateful for is ... this human life!
Mar 08, 2018, 9 smiles (Continued from earlier post.) ----- Day 19: See Value Everywhere 一切是考验， 看尔怎么办？ 觌面若不识， 须再从头炼！ Everything is a test to see what you will do. If you don’t recognize what’s before you, you’ll have to start anew. -- Master Hua I used to think that "reality" is objective, material, and impersonal. But during the pilgrimage, I am slowly opening up to the view that "reality" is a big parable, a manifestation. It is a teaching tool and a testing ground. To put it another way, it is not really important whether or not something is "real"; the key is what we are learnings from it. The focus shifts from outer observation to inner response. With such an orientation, a sick dog on the street is not an eye sore; it is an invitation to practice compassion and metta. The visa bureaucracies are not a nightmare to endure, but an opportunity to cultivate patience and skillfulness. A delicious meal at the home ... Read Full Story
Feb 16, 2018, 8 comments, 23 smiles Past the point of no return No backward glances The games we've played till now are at an end Past all thought of if or when No use resisting Abandon thought and let the dream descend -- Phantom of the Opera Another volunteer at Gandhi 3.0 said it well: "I come this year to volunteer, hoping to repay in a small way the life-changing gift I have received at last year's retreat. But I am leaving with even greater debt of gratitude." Volunteering at this year's Gandhi 3.0 retreat has definitely been a life-changing gift which I could never repay. But before I could think of how to pay forward the blessings, I was blown away by another gift. Before I could even thank the volunteer team for allowing me to join the caravan at the last minute, they had the "insanity" of thanking me. When they handed me the exquisite, hand-made booklet of "21-Day Pilgrim's Challenge", I couldn't ... Read Full Story
Feb 04, 2018, 22 comments, 37 smiles “The men who discovered for us the Law of Love were greater scientists than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough, and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings. Such, at any rate, is the hallucination, if it is one, under which I am labouring. The more I work at this Law, the more I feel the delight in life, the delight in the scheme of this universe. It gives me a peace and meaning of the mysteries of Nature that I have no power to describe.” -- Gandhi In the heart of Gandhi’s homeland, there is a modern-day experiment of the timeless Law of Love. They call it Gandhi 3.0, where "Gandhi" stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation, and "3.0" represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by Internet. In January 2018, around the 100th anniversary ... Read Full Story
Jan 27, 2018, 10 comments, 32 smiles Right in the Gandhian heartland, there is a modern-day experiment of the timeless Law of Love. They call it Gandhi 3.0, where "Gandhi" stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation, and "3.0" represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by the modern-day Internet. In January 2018, around the 100th anniversary of the Gandhi Ashram, the experiment culminated in a global retreat, the third of its kind since 2014. "It is difficult, very difficult to find words to express all that we've lived in Ahmedabad," wrote Vasco from Portugal, who authored the first book in Portuguese on mindfulness. "When people ask me how it was, I just stay silent, let my eyes and smile shine, bless them in my heart and give them a big hug. :) All words seem to dilute the sacredness of the experience… Feel touched at a deeper part of my being... Although in the last ... Read Full Story
Dec 26, 2017, 1 comments, 12 smiles “The food tastes like Love!” “Best meal I’ve ever had!” “The volunteer team was in FLOW!” These are some of the common sentiments after an epic Karma Kitchen experiment in Auroville. Within 2 hours on a sunny Sunday, the team welcomed over 120 guests to co-create the magic of deliciousness and generosity. (Smiling volunteers at the end of a 9-hour day!) Karma Kitchen, a gift-economy restaurant, was the grand finale of a 3-day festival of love and kinship in Auroville hosted by ServiceSpace. A brochure on each flower-adorned table introduced the context for Karma Kitchen: Sharing food is a basic and universal human tendency. Feeding others and sitting down to a communal meal is a cross-cultural ritual that nourishes the spirit of giving. Karma Kitchen is one modern experiment to revive the ancient chain reaction of generosity in the context of a pay-it-forward restaurant. Entirely run by volunteers, our meals are cooked and served with love, ... Read Full Story
Oct 02, 2017, 3 comments, 18 smiles Thanks to the hospitality of dear friends, I am now writing from a balcony on the Asian side of Istanbul, looking across the Bosphorus Strait toward Europe. It's so close that one could swim over. Some say, "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet". Here, the twins are not only meeting, but have also been learning to live together for centuries, through low and high, in grief and praise. It is quite a fitting and striking setting to reflect upon the past three months of journeying through continental Europe. Between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, the pilgrimage has led me across Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. I spent about 3 to 4 weeks in each of these countries, knocking on strangers' doors, listening to their life stories, trying to wash their dishes, picking up the languages and cultures, cycling on well-paved roads, avoiding the grasshoppers ... Read Full Story
Aug 12, 2017, 6 comments, 14 smiles There have been people who have asked us: “Who are you to change the monastic codes made by the Buddha?” Our answer is always: “We are the children of the Buddha. We are his continuation, and we are practicing to carry out his wishes." […] For Buddhism to remain a living tradition, the teaching and practice should remain relevant. […] We are certain that the Buddha counts on the insight, intelligence, and courage of his descendants to continue making the path of liberation accessible and open to our current generation. Therefore, revising the teaching and the practice is truly necessary. -- "Freedom Wherever We Go: A Buddhist Monastic Code for the Twenty-first Century", by Thich Nhat Hanh I never expected that I would feel so disoriented and uncomfortable in a Buddhist monastery -- much more so than during a previous week in Taize, a Christian monastic community. After all, I have spent ... Read Full Story
Aug 10, 2017, 6 comments, 12 smiles Seeking reconciliation and peace involves a struggle within oneself. It does not mean taking the line of least resistance. Nothing lasting is created when things are too easy. -- Brother Roger’s unfinished letter It was Sunday again in Taize. That time of the week when some people come, and some people go. Actually, it is thousands who come to spend a whole week in this small "village" in rural France. During peak summer months, up to six thousands people -- mostly youth -- come from all over the world to Taize each week. That’s over 100,000 pilgrims every year. They've been coming for over half a century -- and are still growing. People -- from the Pope to politicians wishing to capture young hearts -- have been wondering for decades why the youths keep coming to Taize. Nobody really knows. In fact, materially, Taize has little to recommend itself. The food is ... Read Full Story
Jun 28, 2017, 1 comments, 15 smiles It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair… -- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens Well, it was also a summer in England. What Dickens wrote over 150 years ago applies too aptly to our current time. Judging from the headlines, the past month was certainly among "the worst of times" for England. Multiple terrorist attacks, horrific high-rise fire, ugly election… There were no shortage of "foolishness, incredulity, darkness and despair". However, when we tune out of the internet and tune into the inner-net, there is a totally different story unfolding in ordinary living rooms and in many open hearts. I feel fortunate to join in half a ... Read Full Story
Jun 20, 2017, 8 comments, 19 smiles "It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us… There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." -- Origin of Species It was an unusually hot summer day. It was a Sunday. Father's Day. There were International Yoga Day celebrations. For at least one couple, it ... Read Full Story