A Poem: Don’t Read So Much

Penned by Chinese poet Yang Wanli in the 12th century, the poem, translated by Jonathan Chaves, is a renunciation of books as a distraction from the core Buddhist virtue of mindful presence:

Don’t read books!
Don’t chant poems!
When you read books your eyeballs wither away
leaving the bare sockets.
When you chant poems your heart leaks out slowly
with each word.
People say reading books is enjoyable.
People say chanting poems is fun.
But if your lips constantly make a sound
like an insect chirping in autumn,
you will only turn into a haggard old man.
And even if you don’t turn into a haggard old man,
it’s annoying for others to have to hear you.

It’s so much better
to close your eyes, sit in your study,
lower the curtains, sweep the floor,
burn incense.
It’s beautiful to listen to the wind,
listen to the rain,
take a walk when you feel energetic,
and when you’re tired go to sleep.

In my opinion, the poet is suggesting that context is important-at that time books would have a certain contemporary equivalent to TV or movies or video games.

Therefore when studying, study; when thinking, think; when being confused, be confused; when concentrating, concentrate; but don’t ever take book knowledge to be something other than what it is. Don’t confuse knowledge for experience.

 

 

 

Advertisements

International Day of Non-Violence

“There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.”

Mahatma Gandhi
The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1927

Mahatma Gandhi’s first Salt Satyagrah was inspired by Imam Hussain’s non-violent resistance to the tyranny of Yazid. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have studied the history of Islam and Imam Hussain (A), and was of the opinion that Islam represented not the legacy of a sword but of sacrifices of saints like Imam Hussain (A).

Mahatma Gandhi wrote:“My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain (A), the great saint.”

The sculpture "Non-Violence"
The sculpture “Non-Violence”

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. This day is referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti. It is, the United Nations writes, an opportunity to “disseminate the message of non-violence” with the goal of “securing a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding”.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi inspired countless others with his philosophy, including Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Einstein. In celebration of non-violence, and the history of social change it has helped achieve, here are few quotes from cultural leaders on the topic:

  • “Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil,” — Albert Einstein

  • “Non-violence doesn’t mean we have to passively accept injustice. We have to fight for our rights, we have to oppose injustice. Gandhi fervently promoted non-violence, but that didn’t mean he was complacently accepting of status quo. He resisted, but he did so without doing harm.” — Dalai Lama

  • “Non-violence means avoiding avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse t0 shoot a man, but also refuse to hate him.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • “We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace. We need love and compassion.” — Mother Teresa

  • “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” — Thomas Edison

 

 

Knowledge and skills are the currency of 21st century

“Skills have become the currency of 21st Century economies.” — Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Vice President

Once someone asked Thomas Friedman, author of World is Flat, “What’s your favorite country, other than your own?”

“Taiwan? Why Taiwan?” he replied, “Because Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world.

Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women.

skills-knowledgeAccording to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, “There is a significant negative relationship between the money countries extract from national resources and the knowledge and skills of their high school population, this is a global pattern that holds across 65 countries that took part in the latest PISA assessment.”

According to the latest PISA results, students in Singapore, Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan stand out as having high PISA scores and few natural resources, while Qatar and Kazakhstan stand out as having the highest oil rents and the lowest PISA scores.

So hold the oil, and pass the books.

Knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.

Read more:

 

Excellence by Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals was a great Spanish cellist and conductor who is considered one of the greatest cellists of all time. He believed that music has the power to save the world.

When he was 93, he was asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours everyday. Pablo’s response to this question, in my view, is the hallmark of excellence. He said, “Because I think I am making progress and improving.”

pablo-casals-cellist

The French novelist Marcel Proust one said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Learning gives us that new set of eyes.

Malcolm Gladwell has famously said, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Although some may see recognition of excellence as an ultimate goal, the quest never really ends with the receipt of an award. The process of improvement continues.

The pursuit for excellence never ends.

Pablo Casals on Creative Vitality and How Working with Love Prolongs Your Life via Brain Pickings

Life acts, you react

Much of our lives is spent in reaction to others and to events around us. The problem is that these reactions might not always be the best course of action, and as a result, they can make others unhappy, make things worse for us, make the situation worse.

We often react without thinking. It’s a gut reaction, often based on fear and insecurities, and it’s not the most rational or appropriate way to act. Responding, on the other hand, is taking the situation in, and deciding the best course of action based on values such as reason, compassion, cooperation, etc.

Let’s see whether or not you agree with the following statement.

“You are responsible for all of your experiences of life.”

There is a trick in this statement, it does not say “in life” but “of life.” You are not responsible for everything that happens to you, but you are responsible for how you react to what does happen to you. The formula is that, “Life acts. You react.” Your reaction is under your control.

In any life situation you are always responsible for at least one thing. You are always responsible for the attitude towards the situation in which you find yourself. Your attitude is your reaction to what life hands you. You can have either a more positive or a more negative attitude. Your attitude is under your control and can be changed. With the right attitude you can be a resilient person.

‘Do you have the patience to wait, till your mud settles and the water is clear?
~Lao Tzu

 

Wisdom – Be like the Pencil

be-like-a-pencilThe pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are five things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.”

  1. You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.
  2. You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you will need it to become a better pencil.
  3. You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.
  4. The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.
  5. On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in his heart.

Now replacing the place of the pencil with you; always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

  1. You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.
  2. You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person.
  3. You will be able to correct mistakes you might make or grow through them.
  4. The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.
  5. On every surface you walk, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation.

Everyone is like a pencil… created for a unique and special purpose. By understanding and remembering this, let us proceed with our life by having a meaningful purpose.

Poor People have Big TVs

TL;DR – Basically the whole point of this article is “only stupid people watch reality TV, so stop otherwise you are going to be poor all of your life.”. In other words, reading is more likely to lead to success than TV watching”. To get a true perspective on how to become rich, you must study rich people. After all, you become what you study.

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” – Zig Ziglar

I was reading this article on Entrepreneur.com where author talks about the differences in thoughts and actions between the “rich” and the “poor”. I think the most important part of this article is that the poor people have TV and rich have big libraries, following is an excerpt:

10a. Poor people have big television sets
Poor people take a lot of time to drift off to sporadic images of which they often have little to no control over. They use their free time to avoid the art of thinking (which is the most challenging task) and zone out to what many have conformed to believe is “entertainment.”

10b. Rich people have big libraries
Wealthy people are educated and read a lot of books. They use their knowledge in a way that benefits them. Instead of drifting off in random activities, they seek to get within their minds to understand themselves, others, and the world in which they live. In fact, as your personal library increase over the years, so will your home. I can attest to this!

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253331

Being rich does not mean the guy with a lot of money whose decorative book shelf is just a display of books, which are never read. It’s the people with genuine interest in reading and learning. It implies a person who has worked hard, and achieved true success through perseverance and effort.

Successful people have libraries, the rest have big TVs.
Successful people have libraries, the rest have big TVs.

Time Wasting Habits
The author Thomas C. Corley documented the daily activities of 233 wealthy people and 128 people living in poverty. He discovered there is an immense difference between the habits of the wealthy and the poor. During his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” The result of his research can be found in his #1 bestselling book Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals”.

During his research he found that poor people indulge in a lot of time wasting activities like reality-TV and internet etc while rich people spend more time on self-education and skill building. According to his research:

  • Only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, compared to 78% of the poor.
  • 74% of the poor spend more than an hour on internet using things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube. Conversely, 63% of the rich spent less than an hour each day on the Internet. This freed up more time to read for self-education.
  • While many of the poor in his study said they read regularly, 79% admitted that they read strictly for entertainment.
  • Only 11% of the rich said they read for entertainment. Instead, they focused their reading on self-education: biographies of successful individuals, career-related reading, self-help, history and money matters.

When you’re wasting your time watching TV, on social media or reading for entertainment it leaves little time to do productive things like reading to learn, volunteering or building a side business.

Time does not discriminate. Everyone gets twenty four hours, rich or poor. The rich simply choose to spend their time differently, doing things that are productive.