Sunday, June 14, 2015
"Four Noble Buddha Quotes"
by Perry Garfinkel
"Isn't it - I can't decide whether to say "ironic" or "appropriate" - that modern technology now brings us wisdom that would otherwise have been considered oh so 2,500 years ago? I refer here to sharing timeless tips from one Siddhartha Gautama, the prince who lived 500 years before the Common Era, a.k.a. the Buddha. But sage as he was, as relevant today as when he lived, quoting the Buddha is dangerous business. Nothing he said was written down until some 300 years after his death; it was all passed down orally. By the time it got to us - etched onto soap wrapping at 5-star hotels - something's been lost in the translation, like that children's game of telephone. Who knows, or should care, exactly what he said? In fact, who needs to know the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the yellow hat Tibetans from the black hats, to attain Buddha's nature? The lovely thing about Buddhism is you can take its message at its simplest or at its most complicatedness, and it all comes down to common ethical sense. In the age of McBuddhism, a few pithy pearls might be just the little reminders we need to keep us stumbling forward on the path. And yes, others have weighed in with similar advice - "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," "God helps those who help themselves," "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - but I find these particularly helpful at various bumpy patches along that path.
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." This does not mean be cynical and distrusting. This is not reconstituted and reincarnated Abbie Hoffman. The idea here is think for yourself, be true to those thoughts, and base those thoughts on your own experience, not someone else's. It also suggests that we follow our own wisdom, gained by that experience, and not follow gurus or ministers or rabbis or, lately, life coaches merely because they say so. Test their "truth" against your own experience-tested truth and trust yours. This is good advice anytime but it's especially appropriate as we become bombarded with increasingly venomous and often erroneous, if not entirely false, campaign advertising.
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned." If I could whisper this line into the ears of soldiers on the front lines, and politicians who send those troops onto the front lines, there would be no need to study war no more. If I could recite it to couples who've been harboring resentment for years, who bicker rather than let it go, I predict the divorce rate would drop by half. If I could slip it into the cocktails of alcoholics who drink out of anger, bitterness, frustration and internalized rage against society in general, there would be a whole lot more healthy livers around - and a whole lotta happier people around. If I had a nickel for every time I should have reminded myself of it - but forgot - I would be a very rich man.
"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world." In a world of words, where you, me, my fellow writers and fellow readers live, the opportunities to experience the effect (positive and negative) of words are boundless. Same holds true for everyone who speaks words to each other. Or even anyone who speaks only to himself. In the moral compass the Buddha devised for living sanely and serenely, called the Eightfold Path, this quotation would fit into the path called "right speech." If we abstain from false speech, slanderous speech, harsh speech and idle chatter, if we could think about the implications of the things that come trippingly out of our mouths or that come dashingly off our fingertips in emails and blogs (or even in comments responding to blogs) before we release them into the universe, just imagine how lovely communication would be.
"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." My father used to remind me when I'd get lost in life, and I have gotten lost often, that when I was about 10 years old I shared a precocious insight into what motives me, and all people. "I seem to do best at the stuff I love to do," I am said to have said. Mind you, I was 10. This is reconstituted Joseph Campbell: follow your bliss. Whether consciously or not, Campbell himself made the bridge to Buddhism in his conversation with interviewer Bill Moyers, expanding on his famous message to "follow your bliss." He said: "If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be."
Saturday, June 13, 2015
THE MOST AMAZING thing about the garden in early June is the fragrance. I won’t bore you with pictures of the honeysuckle, we have all seen more than our share of honeysuckle, I am sure. In the winter, on warmer days, I can spend hours pulling it out of the camellias, off of trees, out of the gardens. It truly grows like a weed here. But, depending on the severity of the winter (northern people – stop laughing, right now!) the world smells so wonderful starting usually the beginning of May with Honey Locust, the Fringe Trees, honeysuckle and magnolias. What a joy it is to step outside on a still cool morning and breathe in the sweetness of the southern air. I realize every morning of my life how blessed I am to not be in a city, not be caged in an apartment, to be free to walk on my small acreage, fill my eyes with the beauty planted there and to even enjoy the weeds – or at least the weeds we call honeysuckle. Better than that, I have the joy of growing my own food and each day I love to go out and see how much bigger this is or that… maybe pick some strawberries, blueberries, or later on, some beans, cukes or tomatoes. It doesn’t get better than that.
This year i decided to indulge myself with some plantings I normally don’t have the time to mess with… i doubt they will winter over in my little greenhouse, but who knows? Every year is a new experiment. Here are a few of my plants and a lot of my weeds.
This hosta is so big, a neighbor argued with me and insisted it is an elephant’s ear. That is a yard stick standing in it… so it is nearly 4 feet tall. Behind it is a blue hosta which is almost as big, but not quite.
Right in front of that hosta are these plants and the new birdbath. i finally found a couple straggly strobilanthes… that’s it behind the pink Astilbe and Heuchera.
In the back yard, flowers grow in and around the veggies. On the left, just below the Adirondacks, are some potato bags. All the way on the right is a 4x4 space with cukes and tomatoes.
potatoes (in the pots) tomatoes, basil, peppers, and pansies. Qwan Yin and geraniums are tucked in the huge English Daisy plant. Who’d believe I cut that better than in half a2 years ago. On the right, potatoes (redskins), miniature roses, violets, iris, pansies and dianthus.
From the other side, this shows the clematis. Finished blooming under that is a deep red peony and not blooming yet, phlox. Out in the side yard, a rhododendron is in bloom.
Out front, the window boxes have impatiens that wintered over, geraniums (ditto), new coleus, and a couple new blue things – i can’t think of their names. And a close up of the mountain laurel.
I have a hanging petunia and a hummingbird feeder (being filled) in front of Rusty’s bedroom window to keep him occupied when he isn’t watching puffins or hummers on the computer. Pix of that on the next posting!
Hope you enjoyed my garden, disorganized as it is… but it is fun and something in bloom in every direction. Yes, it is a lot of work for me, but I can’t describe the joy I get from it. The lilies are just starting to bloom!
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Finally blogger decided to let me publish stuff… so since it took the climbing fox from my graft collection, lets see if it will take these shots.
Just a few shots from some other corners of the yard… Mountain laurel is not supposed to grow here. But I used to bring it rocks down from my place in PA to make it feel more at home. We don’t have rocks here, either.
Hope you enjoyed the visit!
IN A WORD, YES. BUT… it also depends on the tree. He can’t go up very far on a straight tree, but if he tries a tree that is angled or had relatively low branches, he is as agile as a cat. Well, going up, but coming down- not so much. Mostly it is a leap to the ground. I have never been lucky enough to see any of my foxes climb the trees around here, but I borrowed some shots from google’s image files.
“My” fox has been known to go up a neighbor’s tree and have a snack of baby robins. I heard the racket, the birds did not sit back quietly and allow it to happen, but by the time my neighbor got his camera, the fox was running back into the woods and part of the nest was on the ground and the robins were flying above the fox yelling some serious curses at him, I am sure.
Meanwhile, back at the compost pile “my” fox had just finished up some baked potato skins which the coon really loves, licked the cheese and sour cream off her nose and spotted my camera… and off she ran. Mrs Coonie-Bear decided to try her luck at any left over cat food. She could care less about me standing there with the camera.
in case you are interested, that big black thing behind the coonie-bear is a gro-bag with carrots in it. Part of my container “farming.” The pink flowers behind the fox are peonies.
Spook was enjoying his time on the patio having already eaten his dinner. Perhaps he was amused to know they would find nothing but an empty dish at his dinner place. He no longer runs from the other critters tho he used to climb up on the barn roof when the previous fox lived here.
Thanks for visiting my garden/zoo!