Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby zavk » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:51 am

Hi friends,

I'm curious about the kinds of non-Buddhist writing you've come across that remind you of some aspect or another of the dhamma.

They can be words from a poem, a novel, a song, a philosophical text, a scientific text, another religious tradition.... whatever..... even graffiti in public toilets!

I thought it'd be interesting to create a thread where people can post these quotes, as and when they come across something interesting.

Best wishes,
zavk
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:35 am

Nice one Zavk

There's a couple of songs on Bob Dylan's 'Modern Times' album that reminds me of the Dhamma.
So at the risk of causing blood to pour from Retro's ears and hearing his blood-curdling screams from across Bass Strait, here is a little bit of contemporary Bob.


When the Deal Goes Down

In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildering brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I'm haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

The moon gives light and shines by night
I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'er the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they're not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You'll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that's sayin' it true
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Copyright © 2006 Special Rider Music
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:04 pm

Nice thread ! :twothumbsup:

I find this song from Godsmack to have some interesting references, I added in brackets what kind of interpretation I make of the original text:

Spiral

Sometimes we only live for the here and now [Following the satipatthana instructions]
Sometimes we're lonely
Sometimes we feel we need a place to be grounded
Or fly away again [A place to be grounded would the Dhamma that leads to Nibbana , as an alternative there is samsara]

I will fly away again [Samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth]
Oh, I will fly away again

Why are we feeling something is familiar around us? [Remembering past lifes]
Are we just dreaming? [Questioning if what is perceived as real, wondering if what we conventionaly know is not just a delusion]
Always we search for the answers but nothing is found [An attempt to penetrate the truth is made, but Nibbana is not attained ]
We'll fly away again [not having broken the chain of conditionality, more becoming follows]

I will fly away again
Oh, I will fly away again

I feel rain pouring down
I wait to rot away [Death and old aging are, decay. Suffering and impermanence are seen]
Live again
Here forever
The spiral never ends [samsara seems to be a never ending spiral]

Rot away
Live again
Here forever
The spiral never ends

It never ends

I will fly away again
Oh, I will fly away again [A being stuck in samsara due his ignorance]
With Metta
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:10 pm

Marcus Aurelius book "Meditations" starts like this:

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.

From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character.

From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.


A parallel can be made to a great part of the Eightfold Path, just from these three paragraphs.
With Metta
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby thornbush » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:47 pm

From: The late Fr. Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest, influenced the world through his powerful understanding of the human condition. Through the use of parables and teaching stories, de Mello pointed the way to reclaiming our true power. Born in 1931 and died in 1987, he was known throughout the world for his writings and spiritual conferences. Excerpt from his "One Minute Wisdom"

When a new disciple came to the Master, this is the catechism he was usually subjected to:
Master: "Do you know the one person who will never abandon you in the whole of your lifetime?"
Disciple: "Who is it?"
Master: "You."

Master: "And do you know the answer to every question you may have?"
Disciple: "What is it?"
Master: "You."

Master: "And can you guess the solution to every one of your problems?"
Disciple: "I give up."
Master: "You."
http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/AnthonydeMello.html

Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.
Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one's own well-directed mind.
One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
By oneself is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself is one made pure. Purity and impurity depended on oneself; no one can purify another.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:47 am

zavk wrote:Hi friends,

I'm curious about the kinds of non-Buddhist writing you've come across that remind you of some aspect or another of the dhamma.

They can be words from a poem, a novel, a song, a philosophical text, a scientific text, another religious tradition.... whatever..... even graffiti in public toilets!

I thought it'd be interesting to create a thread where people can post these quotes, as and when they come across something interesting.

Best wishes,
zavk


A friend of mine who is spiritually eclectic is reading a book by a self-help guru that focuses on this prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

The first part reminds me of Dh. 17.3, which in one translation goes like this:

Where there is anger, apply lovingkindness.
Where there is evil, offer good.
Where there is stinginess, be generous.
Where there are lies, be truthful.

The second part of the prayer reminds me of a passage in Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path (Revised, 3rd edition, 2001) by Ayya Khema. I don't have the passage handy.

I told my friend that the prayer is very Buddhist, apart from the references to a Creator and the last line. Then I thought, "If that prayer could be translated into Buddhist terms, it might make a beautiful set of aspirations." The task has proved to be more difficult than I thought. This is my tentative, first attempt:

May I be an instrument of peace.
Where there is hatred may I apply lovingkindness.
Where I am wronged may I forgive.
Where there is doubt may I restore confidence in the Path.
Where there is despair may I offer hope.
Where there is darkness may I shine the light of the Dhamma.
Where there is sadness may I bring joy.

May I seek to console,
to understand,
to love,
to give.
May I follow in the footsteps of my Teacher,
who arose "for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world."
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Tex » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:33 pm

"Dust In the Wind" by Kansas reminds me of anicca:

"I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind.

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.

Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind, everything is dust in the wind (everything is dust in the wind)"

And the guitar line keeps looping over and over throughout the song, as if being reborn again and again, until it finally fades out into cessation at the end.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:11 pm

A sign posted in a public restroom:

Keep Clean.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:39 pm

"Watching The Wheels"
John Lennon, 1981

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if Ive lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry
I'm just sitting here doing time

Im just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby davcuts » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:41 pm

This song by Eurythmics sum up samsara for me.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
(Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart)

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I've travled the world and the seven seas
Everybody is looking for something

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Hold you head up
Keep your head up - moving on
Hold your head up- moving on
Keep your head up
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:23 pm

davcuts wrote:This song by Eurythmics sum up samsara for me.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
(Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart)

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I've travled the world and the seven seas
Everybody is looking for something

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to be used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Hold you head up
Keep your head up - moving on
Hold your head up- moving on
Keep your head up


Nice :namaste:
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby nathan » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:33 am

There is one reminder that I find almost everywhere I go. Hereabouts they are found on long posts topped with red octagons containing some white lettering spelling out "STOP". This one word pretty much sums up something central to the practice of vipassana for me even though there are a lot of different ways to read that symbol as you progress along the path of insight. I've found that one tends to notice the mind doing this or that and then if and when it becomes clear that it is not an autonomous process, if it is also a counter-indicated process, one directs the mind to stop it. So, I've found that there is a lot of watching of the sign posts and a lot of stopping and waiting vigilantly for the traffic to slow down involved in vipassana.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:04 am

Nicely put, Nathan!

Speaking of road signs...

Image


Where else, but America!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:07 am

nathan wrote:There is one reminder that I find almost everywhere I go. Hereabouts they are found on long posts topped with red octagons containing some white lettering spelling out "STOP". This one word pretty much sums up something central to the practice of vipassana for me even though there are a lot of different ways to read that symbol as you progress along the path of insight. I've found that one tends to notice the mind doing this or that and then if and when it becomes clear that it is not an autonomous process, if it is also a counter-indicated process, one directs the mind to stop it. So, I've found that there is a lot of watching of the sign posts and a lot of stopping and waiting vigilantly for the traffic to slow down involved in vipassana.



Image
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby pink_trike » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:15 am

"There's a Hole in My Sidewalk" by Portia Nelson

I.

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

II.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

IV.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V.

I walk down another street.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby zavk » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:21 am

Wow, I'm glad to see all these responses--all of them great. I've been meaning to post my own, and I have a few. But will do it later, gotta rush now.

Metta,
zavk
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby phil » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:46 am

I love this song's message - the whole Magnolia films was very Dhammish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn7F75stXxI

metta,

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Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:15 am

    Examination at the Womb-Door

    Who owns those scrawny little feet? Death.
    Who owns this bristly scorched-looking face? Death.
    Who owns these still-working lungs? Death.
    Who owns this utility coat of muscles? Death.
    Who owns these unspeakable guts? Death.
    Who owns these questionable brains? Death.
    All this messy blood? Death.
    These minimum-efficiency eyes? Death.
    This wicked little tongue? Death.
    This occasional wakefulness? Death.

    Given, stolen, or held pending trial?
    Held.

    Who owns the whole rainy, stony earth? Death.
    Who owns all of space? Death.

    Who is stronger than hope? Death.
    Who is stronger than the will? Death.
    Stronger than love? Death.
    Stronger than life? Death.

    But who is stronger than Death?
    Me, evidently.
    Pass, Crow.

    — Ted Hughes
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:39 am

THE SECOND COMING - Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Non-Buddhist writing that reminds you of the dhamma

Postby pink_trike » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:THE SECOND COMING - Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


There are echos of something much more ancient than Buddhism in this.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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