Vegetarian Ideal

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
- Albert Einstein

Friday, June 28, 2013

Swami Muktananda – Siddha Yoga Path

Swami Muktananda – Siddha Yoga Path

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
Baba Muktananda
Bhagavan Nityananda
Shaktipat Initiation

For more information
Shaktipat Initiation
Shaktipat Intensive
Baba's First World Tour
Baba's Third World Tour—
Santa Monica

Baba Muktananda's Birthday
In the bookstore
Books by Baba Muktananda
Photos of Baba Muktananda
Books by Gurumayi

Swami Muktananda

Swami Muktananda (1908 - 1982) began the life of a sadhu, a wandering mendicant in search of spiritual fulfilment, at an unusually early age.

Though as a young man Muktananda gained recognition for his yogic attainments, Swami Muktananda often said that his spiritual journey didn't truly begin until he received shaktipat, spiritual initiation, from the holy man Bhagavan Nityananda. It was then that Muktananda's spiritual energy, kundalini, was awakened, and he was drawn into profound states of meditation. Nine years later Muktananda attained the state of God-realization.

In the 1970s, on his Guru's behalf, Swami Muktananda brought the venerable tradition of his master's lineage to the West, giving the previously little-known shaktipat initiation to untold thousands of spiritual seekers.

Muktananda established Gurudev Siddha Peeth as a public trust in India to administer the work there, and founded the SYDA Foundation in the United States to administer the global work of Siddha Yoga meditation.

Before Swami Muktananda took Mahasamadhi in 1982, he wrote many books and established more than six hundred meditation centers and a number of ashrams around the world. In May 1982, Swami Muktananda appointed two successors, Swami Chidvilasananda and her brother, Swami Nityananda. Three years later, in November 1985, Swami Nityananda resigned from the Guru's role. Swami Chidvilasananda became the sole head of the Siddha Yoga lineage and sole Guru of Siddha Yoga students. Swami Chidvilasananda continues to share Swami Muktananda's spiritual legacy with the world through her travels and teachings.


"The Heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam."

Thich Nhat Hanh: Diamond Sutra

Published on Apr 29, 2012

In this Dharma Talk offered by Thay in Upper Hamlet at 26th April 2012 the Diamond Sutra is explored.

This Dharma talk is offered by Thay in English - with French translation on the right channel. If you wish to listen in English it is most helpful to listen to this talk with a pair of ear buds, or earphones. Just place the left bud into your ear to hear only English.

For a French translation, please use the right hand ear bud.

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Category - Education

License - Standard YouTube License


Lesley Hazleton: The doubt essential to faith

When Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. Hazleton calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith -- and an end to fundamentalism of all kinds.
Writer Lesley Hazleton is the author of 'The First Muslim,' a new look at the life of Muhammad.


Which might be why when I looked 

at the earliest accounts we have of that night, what struck me even more than what happened was what did not happen. Muhammad did not come floating off the mountain as though walking on air. He did not run down shouting, "Hallelujah!" and "Bless the Lord!" He did not radiate light and joy. There were no choirs of angels, no music of the spheres, no elation, no ecstasy, no golden aura surrounding him,no sense of an absolute, fore-ordained role as the messenger of God. That is, he did none of the things that might make it easy to cry foul, to put down the whole story as a pious fable.Quite the contrary. In his own reported words, he was convinced at first that what had happened couldn't have been real. At best, he thought, it had to have been a hallucination --a trick of the eye or the ear, perhaps, or his own mind working against him. At worst, possession -- that he'd been seized by an evil jinn, a spirit out to deceive him, even to crush the life out of him. In fact, he was so sure that he could only be majnun, possessed by a jinn, that when he found himself still alive, his first impulse was to finish the job himself, to leap off the highest cliff and escape the terror of what he'd experienced by putting an end to all experience.

So the man who fled down the mountain that night trembled not with joy but with a stark, primordial fear. He was overwhelmed not with conviction, but by doubt. And that panicked disorientation, that sundering of everything familiar, that daunting awareness of something beyond human comprehension, can only be called a terrible awe.

This might be somewhat difficult to grasp now that we use the word "awesome" to describe a new app or a viral video. With the exception perhaps of a massive earthquake, we're protected from real awe. We close the doors and hunker down, convinced that we're in control, or, at least, hoping for control. We do our best to ignore the fact that we don't always have it, and that not everything can be explained. Yet whether you're a rationalist or a mystic, whether you think the words Muhammad heard that night came from inside himself or from outside, what's clear is that he did experience them, and that he did so with a force that would shatter his sense of himself and his world and transform this otherwise modest man into a radical advocate for social and economic justice. Fear was the only sane response, the only human response.

Too human for some, like conservative Muslim theologians who maintain that the account of his wanting to kill himself shouldn't even be mentioned, despite the fact that it's in the earliest Islamic biographies. They insist that he never doubted for even a single moment, let alone despaired. Demanding perfection, they refuse to tolerate human imperfection. Yet what, exactly, is imperfect about doubt? As I read those early accounts, I realized it was precisely Muhammad's doubt that brought him alive for me, that allowed me to begin to see him in full, to accord him the integrity of reality. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.

If this seems a startling idea at first, consider that doubt, as Graham Greene once put it, is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what's left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction. You're certain that you possess the Truth -- inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T -- and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism. It has to be one of the multiple ironies of history that a favorite expletive of Muslim fundamentalists is the same one once used by the Christian fundamentalists known as Crusaders: "infidel," from the Latin for "faithless." Doubly ironic, in this case, because their absolutism is in fact the opposite of faith. In effect, they are the infidels. Like fundamentalists of all religious stripes, they have no questions, only answers.They found the perfect antidote to thought and the ideal refuge of the hard demands of real faith. They don't have to struggle for it like Jacob wrestling through the night with the angel,or like Jesus in his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, or like Muhammad, not only that night on the mountain, but throughout his years as a prophet, with the Koran constantly urging him not to despair, and condemning those who most loudly proclaim that they know everything there is to know and that they and they alone are right.

And yet we, the vast and still far too silent majority, have ceded the public arena to this extremist minority. We've allowed Judaism to be claimed by violently messianic West Bank settlers, Christianity by homophobic hypocrites and misogynistic bigots, Islam by suicide bombers. And we've allowed ourselves to be blinded to the fact that no matter whether they claim to be Christians, Jews or Muslims, militant extremists are none of the above. They're a cult all their own, blood brothers steeped in other people's blood.

This isn't faith. It's fanaticism, and we have to stop confusing the two. We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It's difficult and stubborn. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.

And this conscious defiance is why I, as an agnostic, can still have faith. I have faith, for instance, that peace in the Middle East is possible despite the ever-accumulating mass of evidence to the contrary. I'm not convinced of this. I can hardly say I believe it. I can only have faith in it, commit myself, that is, to the idea of it, and I do this precisely because of the temptation to throw up my hands in resignation and retreat into silence.

Because despair is self-fulfilling. If we call something impossible, we act in such a way that we make it so. And I, for one, refuse to live that way. In fact, most of us do, whether we're atheist or theist or anywhere in between or beyond, for that matter, what drives us is that, despite our doubts and even because of our doubts, we reject the nihilism of despair. We insist on faith in the future and in each other. Call this naive if you like. Call it impossibly idealistic if you must. But one thing is sure: Call it human.

Could Muhammad have so radically changed his world without such faith, without the refusalto cede to the arrogance of closed-minded certainty? I think not. After keeping company with him as a writer for the past five years, I can't see that he'd be anything but utterly outraged at the militant fundamentalists who claim to speak and act in his name in the Middle East and elsewhere today. He'd be appalled at the repression of half the populationbecause of their gender. He'd be torn apart by the bitter divisiveness of sectarianism. He'd call out terrorism for what it is, not only criminal but an obscene travesty of everything he believed in and struggled for. He'd say what the Koran says: Anyone who takes a life takes the life of all humanity. Anyone who saves a life, saves the life of all humanity. And he'd commit himself fully to the hard and thorny process of making peace.

Thank you.


Thank you. (Applause)



Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Ps.19.. Sourc

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.  
- Buddha

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness,which unites your body to your thoughts.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Choose being kind over being right and you'll be right every time.~Richard Carlson

All spiritual disciplines are done with a view to still the mind. The perfectly still mind is universal spirit.~Swami Ramdas

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.~Nietzsche

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.~Carl Jung

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.~Standing Bear

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.~Antoine de Saint Exupery

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans: it's lovely to be silly at the right moment.~Horace

There is a deep untroubled stream flowing below all surface troubles and...we are of one substance with that stream.~Thornton

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.~Lao Tzu

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly~Richard Bach

Buddha Statue

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Horace: Life Lessons

A wise and witty revival of the Roman poet who taught us how to carpe diem 

What is the value of the durable at a time when the new is paramount? 

How do we fill the void created by the excesses of a superficial society? 

What resources can we muster when confronted by the inevitability of death? 

For the poet and critic Harry Eyres, we can begin to answer these questions by turning to an unexpected source: the Roman poet Horace, discredited at the beginning of the twentieth century as the "smug representative of imperialism," now best remembered-if remembered-for the pithy directive "Carpe diem." 

In Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet , Eyres reexamines Horace's life, legacy, and verse. 

With a light, lyrical touch (deployed in new, fresh versions of some of Horace's most famous odes) and a keen critical eye, Eyres reveals a lively, relevant Horace, whose society-Rome at the dawn of the empire-is much more similar to our own than we might want to believe. 

Eyres's study is not only intriguing-he re-translates Horace's most famous phrase as " taste the day"-but enlivening. 

Through Horace, Eyres meditates on how to live well, mounts a convincing case for the importance of poetry, and relates a moving tale of personal discovery. By the end of this remarkable journey, the reader too will believe in the power of carpe diem. 

Horace's "lovely words that go on shining with their modest glow, like a warm and inextinguishable candle in the darkness."

“Horace’s time and ours are linked by a curious sense of hollowness at the heart of unparalleled prosperity." -Horace and Me,

Harry Eyres has become one of the most eloquent representatives of the worldwide Slow Movement. Having worked for leading newspapers and magazines as a wine writer, theater critic, and poetry editor, he created the international Slow Lane column in the Financial Times in 2004. 

Slow Lane encourages and facilitates thoughtful enjoyment of the profound, and often uncostly and unmonetized, pleasures and values that make life worth living. Eyres is the author of the poetry collection Hotel Eliseo, Plato’s “The Republic”: A Beginner’s Guide, and several books on wine. You can find him online @sloweyres.

Horace and the Ages of Excess

by Harry Eyres

While researching Horace and Me, my book on the Roman poet (and a few other things besides), I was astonished time and again by the uncanny prescience of this ancient and some might think antiquated poet; by how pertinent so many of his words remain, two thousand years after they were written. Perhaps it was something like the experience an archaeologist has, pushing a spade into long-dormant earth and coming up with a perfect glittering coin or piece of jewelry: how can this thing still be shining so bright after so long?

Horace wanted his poems to be useful as well as sweet. He offers not just beautiful images and rhythms, but a philosophy of living well. It is a poet’s philosophy, that is to say it is thoroughly human, grounded in experience, not theory, and accepting of inconsistency, of the fact that the noblest philosophy can be undone by a bad cold.

Some of the words that seemed truest came in one of his verse letters, or Epistles, written to a friend called Bullatius. They concerned the mania for traveling which afflicted wealthy Romans in the time of Augustus almost as much as it afflicts us. Horace begins with a list of famous islands and beauty spots which his friend has just visited on his trip to the eastern Aegean. Are Samos, Chios and Lesbos all they are cracked up to be, and how do they compare with the familiar sights of Rome?

Horace himself prefers a desolate place called Lebedus, quite the opposite of a tourist trap: a back-of-beyond hole with, as it were, no wifi or cell-phone coverage, where he would like to live completely secluded from the world.

Traveling, he goes on to say, doesn’t really get you anywhere; “if it’s really reason and philosophy, not a splendid sea-view, which remove anxiety and restore the mind to health, then those who cross oceans only change the climate, not their state of mind.”

I like sea views myself (Horace obviously did too), and I treasure my memories of visiting Greek islands and beauty spots, but I can also recognize the deeper truth that however far you travel, you cannot get away from that chief source of all your joys and sorrows: yourself.

The very end of Horace’s epistle to Bullatius is possibly even more pertinent to our times. My loose modern version goes like this: “a sort of busy idleness wears us out;/We think the best way to live is to buy a yacht or an SUV;/ Everything you need is here, in Pitsville, if your mind is sane.”

Horace wrote his Odes at the beginning of the Imperial age in Rome, a time of relative peace (the terrible Civil Wars, in which Horace fought on the losing side, were over, the main foreign enemies defeated) and growing affluence. But Horace saw that growing wealth did not necessarily bring inner peace or environmental balance. He railed against the excesses of plutocrats, the pollution and noise of Rome, the ridiculous over-refinements of Roman gastronomy. These are all things we can relate to in our own age of excess.

Horace’s most famous phrase is still, I think, the deepest and the best. “Carpe diem,” in my reading, does not mean seize the day, with violence and a kind of desperation, but pluck it and taste it, like a grape, a grape which will turn into wine, that wonderful liquid which, like poetry, restores and revives.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Iron Cross

The German Iron Cross in its various grades was awarded to all ranks of the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine to recognize officers and men for acts of bravery, heroism and leadership. It was first introduced on March 10, 1813 by King Frederick William III of Prussia, who was then at war against the French under Napolean. Since then it has gone through many evolutions and was reinstitued again by Adolf Hitler on 1st September 1939, in readiness for the Second World War.


The first we know about the Iron Cross, which is mistakenly refered to as a Maltese cross, was when an order of Teutonic Knights adopted it for their sign.

After being used as personal emblems by several Teutonic emporers as an emblem sometime around 1800 or so it was used as a military decoration for extreme valor on the battlefield. Needless to say it went thru a lot of ornamental changes as it went from dynasty to dynasty.

During W W 2, it was last awarded to a German soldier in May 1945, it has not been issued to anyone else because Germany has not been at war since then, and it is only a WARTIME military medal.

When G I's coming back from W W 2 brought home their 'booty" a lot of them brought back Iron Crosses as souveniers.....Now some of these G.I.'s were bikers and some may have been surfers because it was adopted by both groups during the 50's and 60's.....But I'm sure if you asked a biker and a surfer what it meant to them you would get to completely different answers...

Of late variations on the Iron Cross theme have shown up used by Motorcycle builders and anyone else wanting to cash in on Jesse James 15 minutes of fame........

Oh yeah, sidewalk surfers seem to have taken a liking to it too.....You see a lot of skateboards with the iron cross type decorations.....

File:Oxalis tetraphylla Iron Cross20090522 018.jpg

The leaf of cultivated Oxalis tetraphylla [syn. Oxalis deppei] ‘Iron Cross’


Wednesday, June 12, 2013


"Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to help someone in need." ~ Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche RT :