Banyan Tree - Banyan Tree - Sep 2006
by Life Positive
-Thomas R. Kelly
The Power of Forgiveness
What could you want
forgiveness cannot give?
Do you want peace?
Forgiveness offers it.
Do you want happiness, a quiet mind,
a certainty of purpose,
and a sense of worth and beauty
that transcends the world?
Do you want care and safety,
and the warmth of sure protection always?
Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed,
a gentleness that can never be hurt,
a deep, abiding comfort,
and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?
All this forgiveness offers you.
Lift up your eyes
and look on one another in innocence
born of complete forgiveness of each other's illusions.
Those you do not forgive, you fear.
And no one reaches love with fear beside him.
Forgiveness is the answer to attack of any kind.
Forgive the past and let it go, for it is gone.
Whom you forgive is given power
to forgive you your illusions.
As you give, you will receive.
From A Course in Miracles
The Many-Splendoured Truth
Anekantevad and syadvad are two words that stand for the Jain concept of non-absolutism, which holds that all human judgments and perceptions of truth are only partially valid, and that one must accommodate points of view other than one's own. The profundity of this concept lies in the fact that it is so little practiced. The obdurate ego is so entrapped within its own perspective and point of view that it is often impossible to perceive that there could be other perceptions to the same event.
It is this inability that is the source of all misunderstandings and conflicts. Recall the famous film, Rashamon, by Japanese film-maker, Akira Kurosawa? Four people were involved in a major tragedy in a jungle, and each had their own story of what happened. There is nothing more complex than the truth or harder to get at. Anekantevad helps us to recognize this and to detach ourselves from our need to be right or to see things our way, so that we can retain an open mind on the subject.
Once four Brahmans went all over India and amassed every kind of knowledge. They wanted to show each other what each could do with his various skill and secret arts.
So they met in a forest, and one of them found a bone. It happened to be a tiger's thighbone. The Brahman who found it said, "I can create the whole skeleton of this animal," and he did so. The second Brahman said, "I can give it skin, flesh, and blood," and so he did. There in front of them stood a lifelike tiger, stripes and all.
The third Brahman said, "You know what I can do? I know how to give it life."
The fourth Brahman, who was not half as learned as the others, said, "Wait, don't give it life. We believe you."
But the third Brahman said, "What's the use of having the power to do something and not doing it? I've never been able to exercise this art of mine. I'm going to give life to this thing. Just watch."
The fourth Brahman said, "If you insist. But please wait till I climb this tree." And he quickly scampered up the nearest tree.
Then the third Brahman, with his mantras and magic skills, breathed life into the tiger. As soon as it came to life, it was hungry and looked around for something to eat. And it pounced on the three Brahmans, who stood there huddled in terror, unable even to run away. It killed them all and devoured them at leisure, leaving only their bones on the forest floor.
From Folktales from India
Learning to Succeed
What is a footstep for a man can be a day's work for an ant, for each is differently abled. For Dashrath Kesam, simply getting an education, which most children take for granted, has been a heroic feat, worthy of the loudest applause. Son of construction workers, who were themselves illiterate, he was also afflicted with polio in his right leg. He says, "We did not have a proper house to live in. Even getting enough food to eat was a problem and education was, naturally, a distant dream."
Forced to quit school at class six, he was redeemed by his contact with the NGO, Vatsalya. He says, gratefully, "Right from class five, Vatsalya took care of my education, The didis and uncles have been a source of constant support to me." Kesam completed class 10 at Ambedkar School, then studied for a year at Kirti College, and completed his HSC from Airport Junior College. "I never looked upon myself as a handicapped person, though many people told me I would not be able to do anything in life and was only fit to be a beggar," he says.
Today, Kesam teaches other children at Vatsalya to read and to write, and how to block print. His aim in life is to inspire other street children to pursue education.
With such admirable fortitude and grit, Kesam is already a success.
May the future bring him all the success and prosperity he deserves and in doing so, may he be a source of strength and support to the millions like him in this unfortunate country of ours.
"You are so proud of your intelligence," said the Master to a disciple. "You are like the condemned man who is proud of the vastness of his prison cell."
Anthony de Mello
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