No Mud, No Lotus

Considering the difficult few months that life has presented, I found this particular teaching incredibly relevant. I’ve been a fan of Tara’s for a few months but this one really hit home.

I’m often traveling, so it’s convenient for me to download the audio versions to my iPhone. With this specific episode, there was a full emotional breakthrough – on a Greyhound bus headed to DC.

I related, cried – sobbed even, understood & evolved. Surely the other passengers on the bus were wondering what psychological trauma I was experiencing.   Nonetheless, Tara’s prior teachings, together with this specific dharma talk brought about real truth, understanding & awareness.  No one else mattered.

The lotus needs mud – and through this … well listen to Tara explain it.  You can check out here other teachings here.

– Kyle Quandel

Buddhist Wish of Noble Sympathy

In trying to find the words to express my deep sympathy for a friend’s loss, I came across this piece. There no more nobler truth or wish & a mantra to live by.

May I be happy, may I maintain my happiness & live without any enmity.
May all beings be successful and happy: May they be of joyful mind, all beings that breathe & have life.

Let all beings enjoy safety, contentment, ease & bliss.
Let no one deceive another, let no one be harsh in speech.
Let no one by anger or hatred wish ill to his neighbor.

Even as a mother, at the risk of her own life, guards and protects her only child, so with a boundless heart of compassion, I venerate all living beings by permeating the entire universe with sympathy, above, beneath & all around without limit— compassion for the sorrows of others, immeasurable joy in their joys.

Thus I cultivate an infinite Goodwill toward this whole world.

During all my waking hours I treasure this thought that this very way of caring is indeed the truly noblest behavior in this whole wide world.

Thus shall I, by stilling pointless discussions & controversies, by acting blamelessly, be gifted with tranquility & true insight.

Thus shall I subdue sense-pleasure urge & never again know involuntary rebirth.

May this inspire all beings to fulfill the conditions leading to Nirvana.
May all beings be thus utterly liberated & released from suffering.
May all beings thus escape the dangers of ageing, disease and death.

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A Green And Humane Society – Be Kind To Animals And Your Body

There has to be a conscious and deliberate effort to establish and promote an animal friendly and humane society as this ultimate goal complement other major variables that are critical to our own survival. It is directly linked to other key issues like environmental protection, poverty alleviation and food security.

A solid and sustainable future for our survival will always dovetail to green advocacies and promotion of animal welfare. This is the mantra adopted by most environment and animal protection groups. It sponsors and coalesces with key institutions and other advocacy groups in order to promote animal welfare and green-based livelihood and enterprises and help protect the fragile environment.

The prevailing conditions during these modern times necessitate the need for us to adopt practices that are beneficial to animals and harmless to the environment. Sustainable development must be the focus of modern society. We have to create an environment where economic, environmental and social issues are taken into account in our effort to promote animal welfare.

Take Care of the Herd and Your Health

We need to take into account the tangible benefits that are obtaining when we adopt humane treatment of animals and advocate animal welfare. Thus, we must learn to observe the best practices which ensure positive results that are linked to sustainable animal friendly enterprises and businesses.

By doing so, we are able to enjoy its health and economic benefits. Some sectors go to the extent of becoming a vegetarian to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of animal welfare. Of course, these individuals would readily attribute the low incidence of cardiac arrest and other diseases to their meatless diet. You need to fully understand the core value of such practice – you take care of the herd and the herd will take good care of you.

Why We Need to Promote Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is one of the important pillars of our green advocacy. Nearly a quarter of the world population relies heavily on animals for their economic survival. Suffice it to say, all sectors of the society must do their share in protecting the welfare of animals as they are important in supporting the main livelihoods of people. You achieve stability and promote productivity if you focus at improving animal welfare and health.

Responsible animal care and management have significant impact on climate change, land use, pollution, biodiversity, habitat conservation and water conservation. Thus, our green advocacy must always be anchored on the best practices that support animal welfare and protection.

Good animal care and management minimize the risk of cardiac arrest and other lifestyle diseases. These include diseases triggered by pathogenic microorganisms that are transferred from animals to human. You maintain food supplies and prevent hunger and malnutrition if you have healthy animals.

Learn about the key parameters of modern-day green advocacy that aim to establish a more humane society. Go beyond the issues like being a vegetarian, cardiac arrest and other health concerns and understand the major reasons why we have to promote animal welfare and be kinder to our planet.

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Kyle Quandel is a student of Buddhism and spirituality, as well as life long vegetarian. Read more articles and publications of Kyle.

Spirituality & Your Plate

How do you feel spiritually when you eat a meal that contains meat? You’ve probably never given it any thought, but that may because spiritually you feel nothing after eating a meal of meat except tired and sluggish. A diet of meat makes our bodies less functional, and we think of nourishing our bodies in terms of our organs and blood, but we don’t often think about how what we eat can impact the most important organ in our body, the brain.

When you eat a vegetarian diet, you begin to feel physically lighter and fit. When your body is fit, your mind is also lightened. Most cultures that focus more on spirituality and enlightenment are also vegetarian cultures. From the beginning of recorded history we can see that vegetables have been the natural food of human beings. Early Greek and Hebrew myths all spoke of people originally eating fruit. Ancient Egyptian priests never ate meat. Many great Greek philosophers such as Plato, Diogenes, and Socrates all advocated vegetarianism.

In India, Shakyamuni Buddha emphasized the importance of Ahimsa, the principle of not harming any living things. He warned His disciples not to eat meat, or else other living beings would become frightened of them. Buddha made the following observations: “Meat eating is just an acquired habit. In the beginning we were not born with a desire for it.” “Flesh eating people cut off their inner seed of Great Mercy.” “Flesh eating people kill each other and eat each other … this life I eat you, and next life you eat me … and it always continues in this way. How can they ever get out of the Three Realms (of illusion)?”

These are cultures that are considered more enlightened and focused more on spirituality than is Western culture. If we are to evolve into more spiritual beings, then we must begin to manage our physical lives in a way that will enhance our spirituality, and this means taking the path of vegetarianism as a path to enlightenment.

Growing Spiritually During Difficult Times

Spiritual growth in a world dominated by money, power and influence is a monumental undertaking. Our physical wants and needs attract the lion’s share of our attention due to conveniences such as electronic gizmos, television, and the Internet. Meaning and self worth are confused as a result. What is needed so that we may have a balance between spiritual and material things in our lives?

Look Within Yourself

Looking inward is more than thinking about the things that happened to you in the past. Closely inspect and then ponder your beliefs, feelings, motivations and thoughts. TO discover the positive and negative aspects of your self you must examine your relationships, decisions and experiences to gain insight into your goals. In addition, this will guide you in how to act and react in any given situation. Willingness and courage to confront yourself are all that is necessary to learn introspection. These are some hints when you decide to introspect: look for areas to improve in, forgive yourself and try to be objective.

Grow Your Capacity

The human spirit is viewed differently by science and religion. The religious view is that humans are spiritual beings with a temporary existence in Life, whereas scientific views are that the spirit is one aspect of a person. Self control and mastery is an aspect of both Eastern teaching such as Islam as well as Christian, Western teachings. The spirit’s needs are positioned higher than the body’s need, though they are not ignored. The road map to spiritual growth is defined by values, beliefs, morality, experiences, rules, and positive actions.

Self actualization is the psychological term for coming into your full potential. Maslow discovered many different human needs: security, esteem, aesthetic, self transcendence, physiological, belonging, cognitive and self actualization. Earlier James provided three categories of these: emotional, material and spiritual. Once your most basic physical and emotional needs are met, then your existential and spiritual needs will come into play. Overall growth is achieved by satisfying each need for the individual. Psychology views self development as an end unto itself, while religion views self development as a method for serving God, which is the biggest difference in the two.

Find the Deeper Meaning

Serving the Creator is the highest purpose for religions such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There are multiple psychological theories that suggest that we need meaning in our lives. No matter if we believe in destiny or free will, spiritual growth allows us to understand that life is more than existence. We are born without purpose or meaning and through our journey in life, our relationships and the situations we get though, we gain wisdom and knowledge. As meaning is discovered we confirm and reject some of our existing values and beliefs. We can find a purpose in our lives. This allows us to put our mental, emotional and physical potential to use, give us strength during difficult times and provides a light at the end of the tunnel to strive for. A life without purpose is like a ship set adrift in the ocean, without a sail or an oar.

Spot the Connections Between Everything

How we are connected to all living and non living things are the cornerstone of certain religions. Even without family relations, we can refer to others as our sisters and brothers. The relationship between humans and higher powers is discussed in monotheistic religions such as Islam and Christianity. Alternatively, evolutionary theory is a scientific link between all living things. This relationship is demonstrated by the ecological web, where all living and non living things interact. One of Maslow’s highest needs is self transcendence and connectedness is one part of that. Recognition of your place within the interconnected of all things will allow your humility and respect for all things to grow. It will help you to appreciate all the things that surround you. It behooves you to extend yourself outside your area of comfort and connect with others, and to become a guardian of the things that surround you.

Growth is not a one time event, therefore everyday is an opportunity for spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is accomplished whether we win, lose or draw, so long as we continue to learn.

The Point & Click Protest; Masses Rise

Perhaps you remember Sandra Bullock in a movie called The Net, back in 1995? No one believed that the technological age would make it possible to do everything from the comfort of your home, even then. But now, you don’t even have to leave your living room to write your congressman, boycott a company or sign a petition. Everyone with a computer and internet access can protest and even set off some serious fire storms just by posting on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, et al.

In the past year alone, we have seen civil unrest around the world, initiated and largely marketed in the social media. The movement, as it has become, is so powerful that today Time Magazine named “The Protestor” as their Person of the Year 2011. The truth is, without social media, and the interconnectedness it affords us, none of us might have ever have known what uprisings, along with atrocities, were occurring all over the world. The television media picked up on the movement only after it became apparent that it was a force in the social media; a serious shift from prior times.

You can ban a video on Youtube if you feel it is offensive or politically incorrect. That, in and of itself, is a form of protest. People are using their ability to connect with others via the internet to build momentum for causes and issues that they deem most important.

Occupy Wall Street (perhaps more commonly known as its hash tag #OWS) is rooted all over the United States largely due to point and click protesting. Even the major banks cannot deny the power of point and click protest having had to rescind plans to increase fees after many of their customers withdrew all of their money and transferred it to community banks and credit unions in protest. For weeks, Bank of America was inundated with emails, calls and petitions against their proposed monthly debit card fees. One woman, Molly Katchopole, began a petition on Change.org and within a short time, over 300,000 people had signed, emailed instantly sent their complaint to BOA top-brass, effectively having them withdraw the fee (with other banks quickly following suit).

There are several places on the world wide web that give step-by-step instructions on how to initiate and successfully mount a protest campaign. One such site www.theonlineactivist.org, will give you a look into what works, and what has not been so successful in other protests.

Let’s face it. We live in a time where almost everyone is dissatisfied about one thing or another. In 2011, we have the forum and the following to successful change whatever we will with the click of a mouse. It is about knowing what your rights are, knowing how to assert yourself legally and having the gumption to get up and do it. You don’t even have to work hard, just smart.

: Kyle Quandel

About me

My name is Kyle Quandel – I’m a lover, not a fighter. I’m a people connector, idealist, O-neg, INFP, veg/eco-advocate, philanthropist & Buddhist student. I dream huge, live simple & often flawed.

Astrology: Western, Leo Sun, Sag Moon, Aries Ascendant (triple fire) Eastern: Year of the Tiger. I’m left-handed.