Sebastião Salgado Photojournalist,
Mali, 1985

Saturday, June 25, 2011

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
(Kahlil Gibran - Lebanese American artist, poet, and writer, 1883 – 1931)

"You are the Veil"

“All these things have you said of beauty.
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and your are the mirror.”
(Kahlil Gibran - Lebanese born American philosophical Essayist, Novelist and Poet. 1883-1931)

“There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.”
(Swami Shivananda - Indian Yoga master, Physician, Monk and Founder of The Divine Life Society, 1887-1963)

“The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects.
We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.”
(Charles Baudelaire - French poet, 1821-1867)

"Come oh come ye tea-thirsty restless ones - the kettle boils, bubbles and sings, musically"
(Rabindranath Tagore - Indian Poet, Playwright and Essayist, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, 1861-1941)

Out of the sky, the birds, the parrots, the bells, silk, cloth, and drums, out of Sundays dancing, children's words and love words, out of love for the little fists of children, I will build a world, my world with round shoulders.
(Aimé Césaire - French poet, author and politician, 19132008)


“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”
(Samuel Smiles - Scottish author, 1812-1904)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Non Sequitur

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning we come round right.

-Shaker Song
Om mani padme hum is the most important mantra in Buddhism. It is the six syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara.
Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script
Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script.

Om Mani Padme Hum on a stone
Om Mani Padme Hum inscribed on a stone.
The Dalai Lama is said to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, so the mantra is especially revered by his devotees. Click here to hear the mantra chanted by a Tibetan refugee.
The basic English translation of Om mani padme hum is "Om Jewel in the Lotus Hum" or "Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus." However, the meaning and significance of the six Tibetan syllables have been interpreted in a variety of ways. One common interpretation is that each syllable corresponds to one of the six realms of existence and purifies the vice associated with that realm:
  • Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods)
  • Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods)
  • Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm)
  • Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm)
  • Me purifies poverty and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts)
  • Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm)
It has also been said that recitation of each of the syllables prevents rebirth in the corresponding realm.
The first known description of the mantra appears in the Karandavyuha Sutra, which is part of certain Mahayana canons such as the Tibetan canon. In this sutra, the Buddha says:
"This is the most beneficial mantra. Even I made this aspiration to all the million Buddhas and subsequently received this teaching from Buddha Amitabha."
In his book Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, Gen Rinproche says of the mantra:
"The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?"


  1. Meher McArthur, Reading Buddhist Art: An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols (Thames & Hudson, 2004), 156.
  2. "Om Mani Padme Hum." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Keep Moving

“I know the path: it is straight and narrow
It is like the edge of a sword.
I rejoice to walk on it.
I weep when I slip.
God’s word is:
‘He who strives never perishes.’
I have implicit faith in that promise.
Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail athousand times.
I shall not lose faith.”