Green Time

Friday, March 22, 2013

Quotes: Confucius

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
- Confucius

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. 

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

Look at the means which a man employs, consider his motives, observe his pleasures. A man simply cannot conceal himself! 

It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. 

Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. 

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. 

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. 
 I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. 

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.

The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action. 

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

If we don’t know life, how can we know death?

To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice. 
To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short. 

 The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue. 

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.

We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.

When anger rises, think of the consequences. 

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. 

The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest; success only comes later.

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

And remember, no matter where you go, there you are. 

To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.

Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

 No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

 Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.

Heaven means to be one with God. 

Prayer Walls

Prayer walls are made of many stones of shapes and sizes engraved with Buddhist prayers.   

Some prayer walls extend for more than a hundred yards and added to the walls are Buddhist Prayer Flags.  

In respect to Buddhist ritual, these walls are passed on the left.

Seven Valleys

From Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)
"In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea."
"Split the atom’s heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun."
From the Wikipedia entry on Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)
the path of the soul on a spiritual journey passing through different stages, from this world to other realms which are closer to God, as first described by the 12th Century Sufi poet Attar in his Conference of the Birds. Bahá’u'lláh in the work explains the meanings and the significance of the seven stages.
In the introduction, Bahá’u'lláh says “Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.”
The stages are accomplished in order, and the goal of the journey is to follow “the Right Path”, “abandon the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower”, and “gaze on the Beloved”.

The Hoopoe

Attar Conference of the Birds

The poetic text of 'Attar’s Mantiq al‑Tair comprises a series of parables narrated by the hoopoe, who leads a gathering of birds on a difficult journey to find the mythic Simurgh. Perhaps the best‑known image from the manuscript, this folio illustrates the small, crested hoopoe bird addressing his companions before their departure. This charming painting is one of four added to the original manuscript in the early seventeenth century at the court of Shah 'Abbas (r. 1587–1629), and is signed by the painter Habiballah.

"The Concourse of the Birds", Folio from a Mantiq al-tair (Language of the Birds)

Painting by Habiballah of Sava  (active ca. 1590–1610)

The Concourse of the Birds painted by Habib Allah. The hoopoe, center right, instructs the other birds on the Sufi path.

 File:ABUBILLA (Upupa epops).jpg Hoopoe
The Conference of the Birds (Persian: منطق الطیر‎, Mantiqu 't-Tayr, 1177) is a book of poems in Persian by Farid ud-Din Attar of approximately 4500 lines.

In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, as they have none. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird roughly equivalent to the western Phoenix.
The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which prevents man from attaining enlightenment. When the group of thirty birds finally reach the dwelling place of the Simorgh, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflection.

Besides being one of the most celebrated examples of Persian poetry, this book relies on a clever word play between the words Simorgh – a mysterious bird in Iranian mythology which is a symbol often found in sufi literature, and similar to the Phoenix bird – and "si morgh" – meaning "thirty birds" in Persian.
It was in China, late one moonless night,
The Simorgh first appeared to mortal sight –
He let a feather float down through the air,
And rumours of its fame spread everywhere; [1]
Its most famous section is:
Come you lost Atoms to your Centre draw,
And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw:
Rays that have wander'd into Darkness wide
Return and back into your Sun subside
The story recounts the longing of a group of birds who desire to know the great Simorgh, and who, under the guidance of a leader bird, start their journey toward the land of Simorgh
One by one, they drop out of the journey, each offering an excuse and unable to endure the journey. 

Each bird has a special significance, and a corresponding didactic fault. The guiding bird is the hoopoe, while the nightingale symbolizes the lover. The parrot is seeking the fountain of immortality, not God and the peacock symbolizes the "fallen soul" who is in alliance with Satan.

The birds must cross seven valleys in order to find the Simorgh: Talab (Yearning), Eshq (Love), Marifat (Gnosis), Istighnah (Detachment), Tawheed (Unity of God), Hayrat (Bewilderment) and, finally, Fuqur and Fana (Selflessness and Oblivion in God). 

These represent the stations that a Sufi or any individual must pass through to realize the true nature of God.

Within the larger context of the story of the journey of the birds, Attar masterfully tells the reader many didactic short, sweet stories in captivating poetic style. 

Eventually only thirty birds remain as they finally arrive in the land of Simorgh – all they see there are each other and the reflection of the thirty birds in a lake – not the mythical Simorgh

It is the Sufi doctrine that God is not external or separate from the universe, rather is the totality of existence. 

The thirty birds seeking the Simorgh realise that Simorgh is nothing more than their transcendent totality. 

The idea of God within is an idea intrinsic to most interpretations of Sufism. 

As the birds realize the truth, they now reach the station of Baqa (Subsistence) which sits atop the Mountain Qaf.

For more information go to:

 Attar Conference of the Birds

 This image of this painting by Habib Allah (c.1600) “The Concourse of the Birds” is available from the Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is an illustration of the Persian mystic, Faridu’ud-Din Attar’s allegory (c.1100?) “The Conference of the Birds” which I believe is also called Mantiqu’t-Tayr Language of the Birds.

This work may have inspired   “Journey to the East” by
Herman Hesse.

It describes the seeker’s parallel journey to self-discovery, self-actualization, self-realization through the elusive search for God.

Siddhi Lakshmi Temple, Bkahtapur, Nepa

Traditional guardian figures flanking the steps of the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple on Durbar Square in Bkahtapur.

Traditional guardian figures flanking the steps of the Siddhi Lakshmi temple in Bkahtapur

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