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Quotes From Here And There

Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
Dylan Thomas
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
Eddie Cantor
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.
Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
e e cummings
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
Eyler Coates
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Gustave Flaubert
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Going to the Opera is like making love; we get bored but we come back.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
John Steinbeck
Only through imitation do we develop toward originality.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
Montaigne
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Paul Sweeney
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Peter Altenberg
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart.
Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money.
Satchel Paige
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Thomas Mann
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
V S Naipaul
The writer has only to listen very carefully and with a clear heart to what people say to him, and ask the next question, and the next.

My Personal Library


Rengetsu And The Cold Night



The story I am going to narrate today is a fable that has grown to be a leitmotif in my life. It is so important to me that I have spent days gathering the courage to (re)write it (though it is very unlikely that I'll be able to narrate it with the exalted erudition it deserves), and searching for an appropriate image to place it with. For me, it justifies much more than my absence from this blog for a long time - it justifies in ample measure much of my attitude and many of my thoughts, writings and actions. In a sense, it defines the difference between the me I was before I read this story ten years ago and after it.

It is about Rengetsu née Otagaki Nobu (1791-1875), a Buddhist nun who was well-versed with the schools of learning of the Pure Land sect, Zen and Esoteric Buddhism.


Born of a high-ranking Samurai and a Geisha in the city of Kyoto (famous for its long, famous tradition of comely Geishas that remains unbroken to the present day), she was raised by Otagaki Teruhisa, a priest serving at Chionji, head temple of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism. She suffered great tragedies earlier in her life, but later went on to become a successful potter, calligrapher and poet. She is one of the few women who have attained Enlightenment under the Zen school of Buddhism.


One day tired from her travel, Rengetsu reached a village and asked for a place to rest for the night. The village was home to orthodox Buddhists. As soon as they found out that she was following the path of Zen preachings, they turned her out of the village.


Rengetsu was now faced with the twin prospects of spending the night under a tree in the forest (for the village was surrounded by a dense forest on all sides), or continuing her journey in the dead of the night (which was certainly the better and more tiring option, for it did not subject one to the scrutiny of wild animals and the danger of being eaten up by them without the benefit of a struggle). She chose the former and lay down to rest under a tree that bordered the village. She soon fell asleep...


In the middle of the night, she woke up from her sleep due to a strong breeze blowing through the land and howling in her ears. When she looked up at the sky, she was awestruck by the majesty of the tree which was in full bloom and showered her with flowers possessing an ethereal fragrance.


At this act of Providence, she turned towards the village and said an oath of thanks for turning her away.

Due to your utter sensitivity
In turning me away without shelter

On this dark night of a pallid moon,

I find myself showered with flowers from heaven.
She thanked the very people who took offense to the idea of sharing her company for a single night. If it had not been for their act of denial, she would have been sleeping in someone's home, oblivious of the beauty that this night was to offer her - the showering of blossoms, the cold lonely whispering night, and the silent conversation with the moon.

She was not angry with the villagers, and through her acceptance of the tribulations that they had wished upon her, she found a reason to celebrate in the bone-chilling lonely night. She had thus proved herself to be Buddha - The Enlightened One!!!


14 Comments:

    I like how this story is about choices. You can choose to focus on the negative and let it overwhelm you, or you can choose to walk a path of growth. The same events might happen in each. Only how you perceive them is different.

    That's indeed what stands out for me too in the fable. The story doesn't change anything or tell one to change in anyway. It just tells us to look differently at how things are - it tells us to look at things as they ought to be perceived for our own peace of mind. It's in a way a literary rendition of the half full versus half empty glass tale.
    Thanks for dropping by Jason! It was a nice surprise!

    You did great justice to the story, Abhinav, and I can see its influence in your attitude. Every word you write radiates positivism. That kind of outlook has a domino effect. My heart always feels a little fuller after reading your writing.

    To be awakened by a shower of flowers...I can't imagine anything lovelier. I, too, have had beheld moments of extreme beauty, due to my being in a place I should not have been in. Maybe enlightenment comes to those who are constantly hopeful, if not expectant.

    Thank you for this! :)

    Hi Abhi

    I can only expect the very best from u

    And I kinda know why u've written this

    Leaves me with nuthng tu say but thanks

    My entire life's philosophy is this

    tk and keep penning..:)

    Btw wen are we having coffee :)

    Thanks Sarah!!! Even I can't imagine anything lovelier! And thanks for 'Maybe enlightenment comes to those who are constantly hopeful, if not expectant.' It's quite the pith that I wanted to convey.
    P.S.:- I can't help but feel positive reading so much good writing on blogs such as yours and Jason's.

    That's very sweet of you sugs... I love the anguish in your writing and only wish that you would write more frequently :-)

    As for coffee, I'm as commitment-phobic as you so that is not a problem. ;-)

    But you a Delhi girl and I'm a Bombay boy. Let's do this... Whenever we sit down to read each other's blogs, let's have a hot steaming mug of coffee with us. Then we can call it bloffee. ;-)
    What do ya say! Shall we bloffee?

    I like this blog better because one, it is updated more, and two, blogsky sounds like a fat inebriated russian.

    Ah, I decided to have a look-see because you might have called for a scratch-my-back-toosies. But apparently, you write well too. Keep writing.

    Nikhil, I love Blogsky as much as I love any other word. I hardly understand the second part of your comment without its context (which I could not unearth though I remember visiting your blog, reading some good stuff - poem or a short story?? - and commenting there). Thanks for visiting my piece of the sky. :-)

    Your blogs are long, nice, thought-provoking and rich! I would love to spend some quality time :)

    Thanks a ton.
    I like your blog for the reason that I personally identify more with the person who is searching for the truth and poise in life than with the person who thinks he has found it or perhaps will never find it. I think this search is the seed of all creativity. Or else we would never ever be creative. Afterall, from dust we rise, to dust we must return. So what's the point of searching? I think your blog has the answer to this.
    I also like your blog for the reason that it pricks me sharply and makes me turn my attention to Indian issues I would rather not think about. :P
    Thanks for dropping by.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    This is a beautiful piece of writing. I agree with Jason. I like how it's about choices, and choosing to see the positives in life.

    (thanks for the link to the templates. I probably won't have time to update until a couple more weeks, but what you posted definitely looks a lot nicer. Thanks!!)

    Hey.. Your blog makes a good read. The fable you narrated was interesting. Even if Rengetsu would have chosen to walk into the jungles she would have encountered the blessings of heaven of a different form I guess. Hoping to drop by more often!

    Thanks CL.Your writer's blog is very nice and you should definitely put it in query letters. I hope you soon find time to go through with the changes. I can't wait to see your blog take the turn for a better look. :-)

    @Medhini: Thanks for pointing that out! Definitely she would have found a reason to cheer even if she had been walking through the forest. The story is just about that - smelling the roses and thanking the thorns - whichever situation we may be in. It is more important to find reasons to cheer than to look at the gloom that mostly surrounds us, and to realize that these reasons ought to be more important to us than anything that can happen to us. To use the facility of a quote, it is not what happens to us that counts, but the way we react to what happens to us. We cannot control the former but the latter is in our hands.

    Thanks for dropping by. I visited your blog and was led astray into the world of tales for some time. And thanks for introducing me to Peter Altenberg. I wandered into searching him up and reading a lot of his stuff yeaterday. He is definitely a fun poet all the way. ;-)

 

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