Children

Don’t Miss the Flower – A Short Zen Story from Thich Nhat Hanh

One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns.  He did not say anything for quite a long time.  The audience was perfectly silent.  Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha’s gesture.

Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled.  He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower.  The name of that monk was Mahakashyapa.  He was the only person who smiled, and the Buddha smiled back and said, “I have a treasure of insight, and I have transmitted it to Mahakashyapa.”

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“The happiest moments in our lives are when we are playing just like children, when we are singing and dancing, when we are exploring and creating just for fun.  It is wonderful when we behave like a child because this is the normal human mind, the normal human tendency.  As children, we are innocent and it is natural for us to express love.  But what has happened to us?  What has happened to the whole world?” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love

“Make the child aware of the mystery.  Rather than giving the answer it is better to make the child aware of the mysterious that’s all around, so the child starts feeling more awe and more wonder.  Rather than giving a pat answer it is better to create an inquiry.  Help the child to be more curious, help the child to be more inquiring.  Rather than giving the answer, make the child ask more questions.  If the child’s heart becomes inquiring, that’s enough; that’s all parents can do for the child.  Then the child will seek his or her own answers in his or her own way.” ~ Osho, The Art of Living and Dying

“When you know your direction and are living it fully, your core is alive and strong.  Your children will naturally feel this.  They will respond to your clarity and presence differently than they will respond to your ambiguity – an ambiguity that results from having detoured from your deepest purpose because you think it’s ‘right’ or ‘fair’ that you spend time with them.  A short period of time with a father who is absolutely present, full in love, undivided inside, and sure of his mission in life, will affect your children much more positively than if they spend lots of time with a father who is ambiguous in his intent and has lost touch with his deepest purpose, no matter how much he loves his children.” ~ David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

“Yet we are what we read.  We are the educators of our own personalities.  Certainly we have great influence in the crafting of our children.  If we brought half the intelligence to the making of souls that we bring to the making of machines, we would be people of character and imagination.  We would be sharp and therefore less inclined to kill and cheat each other.  We would know where to find the deep pleasures, so we would be less desperate for shallow entertainments and the ephemeral gratifications of gadgets.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self

“We are a population that is satisfied with sound-bite news, instant and opinionated political analysis, manipulative popular psychology, and insubstantial novels and magazines.  At the same time, and understandably, we feel the absence of meaning and are speechless when we learn of atrocities in our society.  We don’t know how to think about them because we don’t know how to think, and we don’t know how to think because we don’t believe that thinking for its own sake is worthy of our attention.  We educate our children to make a good living rather than to become thinking persons, and often we honor as celebrities those who have not made a genuine contribution to society but who mirror our own madness.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self

“When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.  When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.  When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.  When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.  And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The Four Seasons of Mastery; How Swimming is the Mother of All the Arts.

The Four Seasons of Mastery

The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens

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Water is the source of wisdom; swimming is the mother of all the arts.

Children should be introduced to the sea as early as possible.  Rather than being strictly “taught” how to float and swim, they should be unobtrusively guided at first in order to allow them to gradually acquaint themselves with the mystery of water.

Body and mind must remain flexible.  A calm mind is the single most important element of successful training.  A swimmer must avoid struggling against the water, against him- or herself, or against others.  A trainee must strive to harmonize him- or herself with the waves, becoming one with the body of water, be it a pond, lake, river, or ocean.  Ride the waves with your mind as well as your body.

There are four levels of mastery, symbolized by the four seasons.  In spring, the raw swimmer, bursting with energy and eager to compete, needs discipline and hard physical training.  In summer, the experienced swimmer, now at his or her physical peak, should explore the full dimensions of the art.  In autumn, the mature swimmer can relax a bit, sporting more freely in the water, and reflect on past experiences.  By winter, a true swimmer  has become a wise old master, beyond the limits of victory or defeat, in perfect harmony with the sea, sky, and shore.

Swimming teaches us how to live properly.  There is no way a solitary swimmer can impose his or her selfish will on the water.  Swimming against the current will ultimately result in disaster.  Swim with the flow without strain, resistance, confusion, or unnatural movement.

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Budo Secrets - Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters

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More:  The Nine Views – Traditional Form of Meditation Taught to Samurai  ///  Relax Your Mind; Flow Like A River – A Short Zen Story

“The very idea of bringing up children is nonsense.  You can help at the most, you cannot ‘bring them up.’ The very idea of building up children is nonsense – not only nonsense, very harmful, immensely harmful.  You cannot build… A child is not a thing, not like a building.  A child is like a tree.  Yes, you can help.  You can prepare soil, you can put in fertilizers, you can water, you can watch whether sun reaches the plant or not – that’s all.  But it is not that you are building up the plant, it is coming up on its own.  You can help, but you cannot bring it up and you cannot build it up.” ~ Osho, Love, Freedom, Alonenss: The Koan of Relationships

 

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