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A beautiful old mansion set in nature along the river Amstel on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Netherlands, hosted – from 15th September till 1st October – an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Abhilasha van Ness, Pathika Schuilenga and Meera Stenfert Kroese.
The three artists met in summer 2015 at a painting workshop with Meera Hashimoto in Bilbao, Spain. Their exhibition, together, was also an homage to Meera and a celebration of the inspiration they have received from her.
The artists have been inspired by nature, expressed in the “beingness of the trees” in the paintings by Pathika (watercolours, acrylics, charcoal) and Abhilasha (watercolours, ecoline, acrylics and chalk), and in the “sensitive understanding of human nature” in Meera Kroese’s bronze sculptures, portraits and human figures, that are inspired by Egyptian mythology.
“Many visitors where touched by the authenticity and silence reflected in the work.
It was a wonderful happening in nature, with nature and for nature,” writes Pathika.
Thanks to Baul for alert
Discovered – or better said rediscovered – in 1990 by a man traveling through the jungles of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Ho Khanh was searching the area for timber and food to make money in order to survive. Little did he know that his search for food and timber would take him to uncover a magical, otherworldly place.
Ho Khanh explored the place as best as he could but eventually went back home. A few days later, when he thought about returning to the mystery cave to explore it, he couldn’t remember the exact location where he had found the entrance. Eventually, Khanh forgot about it.
Eventually, members of the British Cave Research Association (BCRA), Howard and Deb Limbert were exploring Phong Nha, conducting exploratory missions in the area. One day they spoke to Khanh who mentioned the mesmerizing cave he had come across. The British Cave explores were fascinated by what Khanh had told them and urged him to try and rediscover it once again.
Many failed attempts went by as they searched for the cave entrance, and just when they thought they would never rediscover it, in 2008 Ho Khanh found its ‘otherworldly portal’, a supermassive cave hidden for centuries far from mankind’s reach.
Eventually, Khanh led the British cave explorers to the cave in 2009 as they performed the first-ever expedition to enter what would later become known as the Hang Son Doong cave, or the ‘Mountain River Cave’.
The cave is massive. It’s humongous. It’s so big that many claim a Boeing 747 could easily fly through its largest cavern.
The interior of the cave is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Its ‘alien-like’ landscapes are most likely exclusive to the cave, as many who have entered it have said that they’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else in the world. The cave is one massive ecosystem, so big that it’s as if you’ve entered the ‘inner world’. In fact, it’s so mesmerizing that entire jungles emerge from inside the cave, a landscape so magical that you cannot appreciate its true beauty until you are actually there.
Australian photographer John Spies, who spent a week living inside the cave describes it in an interview with the New York Post:
“The cave is a humbling and belittling experience. “It is amazing to be [five miles] inside the cave and have daylight illuminate the cave formations. The dimensions of the cave are incredible. … To camp for five nights in the biggest cave in the world is not something most of us get to do in our lifetime.”
“The entrance is quite small and mist from the cave, caused by the cooler air inside meeting the hot air outside, rises into the surrounding forest,” Spies said.
“The cave is harder to get into than the Batcave. To enter it, visitors must scale a 260-foot wall, using a harness and rope. They must then cross massive boulder piles and pass under chunks of limestone the size of small houses.”
All photos credit John Spies
Watch a 46-minute documentary on YouTube
I love autumn. As the seasons shift from summer to winter, leaves turn multi-colored and gracefully fall from deciduous trees to make way for snow. Each type of tree has it’s own autumn colour that varies from red to orange, brown and yellow, also depending on what part of the country you happen to be in. The air is fresh with smell of decaying leaves; the sound of crunching under my feet.
As a child I used to love to jump into a pile of leaves that had just been raked. Now, as I will soon be turning seventy, my arthritic body reminds me of the stiffness of a leaf that is about to fall. Now I prefer to jump into the abyss of my being while I silently walk through the forest with camera in hand watching autumn unfold before my curious eyes.
How symbolic autumn is of our bodies changing with age – I relax within that flow. I love the story Osho told of how Lao Tzu became enlightened watching a leaf fall from a tree. It is that time of year for watching leaves fall and letting go as we gaze with wonder recognizing who we are. So many leaves falling, we just have to notice the one.
And the mushrooms that pop up in autumn; they are everywhere within the forest. Some are tasty while others… you just want to look at them and admire their delicate attractive nature, as poisonous as they are. Then others, well what to say except they are magical! Down on my knees I set the camera on the forest floor for an eye-level view. I can almost see tiny elves scurrying about. How delightful!
Allan Forest has been a photographer since 1971 when he graduated from the school of photography at Ryerson University, Toronto. Initially he focused on commercial studio photography and specialized in advertising and catalogue photography. He took sannyas in 1979 and frequently visited the commune in Pune. A few years ago he moved to the Sunshine Coast and currently freelances and takes landscape photographs. 24 of his photographs were published in the picture book, The Sunshine Coast. expressionsofphotography.com
More photographs and articles by Allan in Osho News
He rolls over and looks at his clock, and it’s 3:30 in the morning. He thinks, “I’m not getting out of bed at this time,” and rolls over.
Then a louder knock follows. “Aren’t you going to answer that?” says his wife Linda.
So he drags himself out of bed and goes downstairs. He opens the door and there is a man standing on the porch. It doesn’t take Darrell long to realize the man is drunk.
“Hi there,” slurs the stranger. “Can you give me a push?”
“No, get lost! It’s half past three! I was in bed,” shouts Darrell and slams the door. He goes back up to bed and tells Linda what happened.
She says, “That wasn’t very nice of you. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to pick the kids up from the babysitter and you had to knock on that man’s house to get us started again? What would have happened if he’d told us to get lost?”
“But the guy is drunk,” says Darrell.
“It doesn’t matter,” says the wife. “He needs our help and it would be the Christian thing to help him.”
So Darrell gets out of bed again, gets dressed, and goes downstairs. He opens the front door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere he shouts, “Hey, do you still want a push?”
He hears a voice cry out, “Yeah, please!”
Still being unable to see the stranger Darrell shouts, “Where are you?”
The drunk replies, “Over here, on the swing.”
When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us – have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals… Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming…
20 years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other’s eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, we decided to carry out a simple experiment, during which refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other’s eyes. Clearly, it is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other. The experiment was conducted in Berlin: the city, which – first of all – is a symbol of overcoming the divisions, and secondly, seems to be the centre of contemporary Europe.
We wanted the movie created on the basis of the experiment to be as symbolic as possible – and to touch upon the general divisions between people. The experiment participants were ordinary people. The situations were not staged; we wanted to get natural, spontaneous reactions. The people sitting opposite each other had not known each other before and saw each other for the first time during the experiment. What is important, the refugees mostly came from Syria and had not been living in Europe for longer than a year.
Thanks to Sneha
Any woman who has ever delivered a child vaginally knows the gap between pant and push. It is called Transition. The hard work of simply allowing the cervix to open to its full 10cm is paused as the body gathers itself for the next phase which will be actively pushing the baby out.
Women who have experienced a natural childbirth know firsthand the tumult of this whole process. We know how hard it is to be gentle in the face of great pain, to not contract against it, not panic in the face of it, to allow the body, the brilliant body to do its thing without too much interference. It is a deliberate non-action, in contrast to what happens next which is a dedicated focused action, encouraging your baby down the birth canal into the light of a new life.
I remember being warned by my most amazing English midwife that some women find the gap of about 20 minutes between these two distinct phases of birthing to be the most difficult time of all. I was one of those. My body/mind was in confusion, not knowing whether to push or pause. The opposing messages became all jumbled up with no clear directive. Not my favorite state at the best of times.
The capacity to hold steady when we really do not know our way forward, when we find ourselves betwixt and between, with no certain outcome appears to have its own arc and be its own art. The poet John Keats had some pointed words for this, he called it “negative capability”. Trust a poet to name the uncomfortable. He defined this as “being capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”.
It seems imperative that we build our ‘negative capabilities’ in order to have any chance of being resilient and flexible folks. But, it is so tempting to grab onto something when the tension of not knowing becomes too strong, too uncomfortable. Something, anything, rather than not knowing.
What most intrigues me is why it is so hard, and appears harder with years, when really the reverse ought be true, since with some life under our belts, folding our skin, we surely get that it’s all rather uncertain. And what is certain is the degree to which so much is actually out of our control.
Two years after the completion of my last big creative outpouring, I sit with my empty notebook that is blatantly ignoring me, even as I gaze sweetly, even longingly at it. It is so counter-intuitive for me to simply wait, without closing down, pushing or grabbing or forcing.
There appears to be a natural ebb and flow between the active and the passive elements that have to be negotiated and respected in every creative project, whether a poem, a painting, a community initiative, having a baby, taking a breath or sitting in gap-land. I know how much harm occurs if we ever try to push when we need to be quiet, and how energy falters if we stay passive when the requirement is to go forth and conquer.
After all that busyness of summer, of tending the land, and being out in the sunshine to capture the goodness of long days and picnics, or parties, of peach and fig, blue and black berry harvests, of calm seas and whales, of watering and dealing with parched earth, smoke from forest fires, it all turns on a dime.
We built a fire yesterday as the rain pounded down, pooling on the hardened baked ground, heralding the shortening days that are precipitously colder. There is a relief, an out-breath and a confusion. It is so sudden. A transitional season too for those of us of a certain age geared up to the habit of action but find themselves as I do, turning the corner into a different chapter of life, where the finish line is death, winking at me from an indeterminate place just around the corner or down the long straightaway.
Yet here I am, wriggling around ungraciously in the many current crossroad transitions of my present. I sit with an inherent judgment about this, even through I know better, not knowing if there is another chapter, another poem, another creative engagement, even through quietude looms as the most compelling attractor on the horizon, as distant yet as desirable as winning the lottery. I sit in the pause between two life chapters with the possibility of a new rhythm beckoning.
My very smart daughter-in-law, Manda, who often speaks to the truth of the matter, pointed out that if you visit a place for two weeks, you can write a book about that place. After a year, maybe a short story, and after a lifetime, you have nothing to say at all or maybe at most a very short poem. I took comfort in that notion. The inverse relationship of time and content.
I’d love to trust that quietude arises as content dissipates. That stillness is its own language that speaks all the colors of the rainbow, calls the sounds of every living creature unto itself. I’d love to tell you that beyond the words, there is a current that is strong and enduring, that needs no words yet heralds an unfolding beyond this particular transition.
Maybe joy arises as the push of ambition melts, That is what I’d love to be able to say, that some new life arises as content dissipates and one distinct chapter of life completes itself. That is what I’d love to say.
Who knew that at this point, the muscle that needs to be strengthened is the very one that inhibits action and tolerates not knowing. Who knew that as an elder I would be cultivating ‘negative capability’. May it grow deep for all of us who need it.Leaf
on the stock still tree
who knows on what
fine filament it
it is brown, dry, spent
it will flutter to ground
and be absorbed
I cannot help but
how must I live
so when my
I too may
Priya Huffman – author of ‘The Territory of Home’ and of ‘Bone and Breath’. priyahuffman.com
More articles and poems by this author on Osho News
Performances by drum bands have been part of an old tradition at various ceremonies, but it’s a profession almost completely dominated by men. These courageous women live in a small village in the north-eastern state Bihar where they labour alongside men on the farm.
BBC’s Divya Arya met with them as part of the 100 Women season *) to find out how drumming has changed their life.
…we didn’t back down.
We said that even if people complain, we’ll do it.
(Filmed by Deepak Jasrotia, edited by Prem Boominathan)
BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year. In 2017, BBC challenges them to tackle four of the biggest problems facing women today – the glass ceiling, female illiteracy, harassment in public spaces and sexism in sport.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital and peppered with questions.
“Do you smoke?” asked the attending doctor.
“No,” Kenneth whispered. “I quit.”
“That’s good,” said the doctor approvingly.
“When did you quit?”
“Around 9:30 this morning.”
On one hand we have evolved great doctrines on humanity, and on the other hand we have thrown atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On one side we clamour for justice and humanity and on the other side we involve a weaker country in endless wars. It is those who talk loudest about humanity who wage those wars. If we have become so conscious of humanity, wars should have stopped long ago. But this is not so.
We are so conscious of justice, and there is no end to injustice anywhere. Whenever we make new changes in order to ensure greater justice, a new arrangement of injustice is created – with the result that there is no change for the better. Our whole revolution in the field of medicine does not destroy disease; it only helps new diseases to be created. All the improvements we bring about merely increase our hopes, without bearing results.
Rather, we find the results to be the contrary of our expectations. We think that if we increase our laws and the number of courts, we shall be able to bring down the incidence of crime. But the figures of crime tell a different story: the number of criminals has increased equally. If we look at the history of crime over the last two thousand years, we shall find that crime has increased in the same ratio as the institutions of law. When crime increases, the government feels there are not enough laws. So they add more laws.
Man’s mind revolves around some illusory logic. When crime increases we bring in more laws. This seems to prove a deep relationship between the judge and the criminal. The thief and the policeman seem to be two sides of the same coin. They are not two separate things; rather, they are interlocked somewhere within. When one increases, the other also increases. When the growth of one implies the growth of another, the root must be the same. Therefore the same sap that feeds one feeds the other, the same energy flows through one as the other.
Lao Tzu’s viewpoint is entirely different. He says that it is the evil within you that is the root of all your moral codes and moral concepts. Humanity and justice emerged only on the decline of Tao. […]
America is the most educated country in the world today. We look upon it as the custodian of man’s future. If all countries are thus educated, they will become like America. But what has been the outcome of all this education? Crime has not decreased, it has increased. Dishonesty is rampant. All this has increased in the same ratio as education. What does this mean? This means we cannot wipe out the opposite. By increasing the one, we cannot decrease the other, much less destroy it. We can only increase it. Let us see this from different aspects.
Today we have innumerable cures for all kinds of illnesses – but illnesses have not lessened. Rather, they have increased. The fact is that many new illnesses have come into being which were never there before. Not only have we invented new medicines; we have also invented new diseases. What is the reason behind this? If medicines have increased, diseases should be less – this is simple logic. But cures have increased and so have illnesses! What is this! What law is working?
Actually, as cures increase, your ability to fall ill also increases. You no longer have faith in yourself; you have faith in the medicine. You do not have to fight the illness; that work is now taken over by the medicine. You are now out of it. When the medicine fights the disease, your resistance, your body’s ability to fight the illness, goes down. As you depend more and more on medicines, your resistance gets less and less and you get weaker and weaker.
And as you get weaker and weaker, you need more and more medicines. This shows how weak your body has become. Then you find yourself confronted by a very major illness. And this goes on – the fight between illnesses and medicines. You are not even a part of it. You are merely the battleground, the Kurukshetra where the Pandavas and the Kauravas fight. The germs of the medicines fight the germs of the disease. You get knocked around in the process. The medicines, however, keep you sufficiently alive so that the fight goes on. There is all interconnection between the cure and the illness somewhere.
If we question Lao Tzu on this, he will say that illness will end the day medicines are no more. This however, is beyond our understanding. His logic is this: when there is no medicine, you yourself will have to fight the illness. Your strength of resistance can only develop then. To rely on medicines is not to rely on oneself. We can see for ourselves how we have filled ourselves with medicines.
But there is no way out because our whole logic is based on this kind of thinking. It is like this: The more we try to protect ourselves, the more insecure we become. The more insecure we become, the more means for security we contrive. What is the meaning of this riddle? It means that the more we are protected the weaker we become.
You are sitting in an air-conditioned room. You watch a worker walking in the burning sun and you say to yourself. “Poor man, to walk in all this heat!” But you do not know that this man may be totally oblivious to the heat. This thought of the burning sun is yours. But it is true that if you were to step outside to walk with him, the heat would be overbearing for you.
The heat is not the same for every person on the road. Each person experiences it differently. The heat does not depend entirely on the sun; it also depends on you. When you walk on the road and sweat profusely, you think, “The poor worker!” but the worker is almost unaware of it, because in order to experience the heat of the sun, air-conditioning is absolutely necessary.
The more air-conditioning there is, the greater will be the heat. The more we try to cool the world, the hotter it will become. This seems contrary, but there is a deep-seated connection. The more you remain in an air-conditioned room, the less will become your power to fight the heat.
It is only natural that that energy which we do not put to use should get less and less. The air-conditioner does for you what normally your body should be doing – fighting the heat. Therefore, when you suddenly stand in the sun, your body becomes totally unprotected. It will not be able to bear the heat and you will feel very very uncomfortable. This discomfort did not exist before air-conditioning was discovered.
Now Russia is thinking of air-conditioning the whole continent. But when people are born and die in air-conditioned places all mankind will have to go underground. There are stories about cultures reaching to the peak. But those that reached the ultimate height eventually had to go underground.
There is a lake named Titicaca in South America. It is a unique lake. It has puzzled scientists, because a river falls into this lake. Millions of gallons of water fall daily into this lake and there is no way for it to flow out of the lake. Yet not an inch of water rises in the lake. Scientists are confounded. Where does all this water go? The lake has been observed for hundreds of years. It is said that beneath the lake there are the ruins of the ancient civilisation of the Incas. This lake is supposed to have been its reservoir. The Incas are no more, but their arrangement for collecting water still remains. Scientists now think that this was the water supply of a people who lived beneath the lake. A lot of research is going on to discover this lost civilisation.
The more developed a society becomes, the more it goes underground. In Mohenjodaro and Harappa, there are seven tiers of townships. This cannot be because of earthquakes or any other calamity. The greater possibility is that the civilisation had moved underground. Scientists and archaeologists have maintained up to now that Mohenjodaro was built seven times and destroyed seven times by earthquakes. This does not seem plausible: that seven cultures could disappear in the same place, one after the other. It seems more plausible that the culture must have reached such a peak where it became absolutely necessary to go more and more underground. Man must have lost all his power to bear the conditions above the ground.
If air-conditioning is spread all over the world, man will have to go underground within the next two hundred years. Then, to step outside in the light of the sun may become fatal. A child born and brought up in an air-conditioned place will not be able to bear sunlight. Up till now the sun has been the source of life; tomorrow, it may be the cause of death.
The more we increase our means of protection, the more vulnerable we become. The more we arrange to protect ourselves, the more we expose ourselves to danger.
Osho, The Way of Tao Vol 2, Ch 18 (excerpt, translation from Hindi)
Death is something most of us don’t want to think about. It frightens us. But I’m suggesting you take the time now to learn that you have more choices about the end of your life than you may be aware of. If you do this, you may have more joy and peace in your life today.
Phyllis Shacter began making unconventional lifestyle decisions when she attended U.C. Berkeley at 16 years old, during the Free Speech Movement. After college, she made pioneering choices, including living in an intentional community for much of her 20s and 30s. Her careers include 10 years as a teacher and school manager, 12 years as the founder and owner of a business and technology firm, and 10 years as a personal life and business coach. Phyllis is a teacher of living creatively and boldly, and is committed to educating people about more conscious ways of living and dying.
You can read the transcript of Phyllis Shacter’s talk on her website: www.phyllisshacter.com
With thanks to Yatro via FB
At first, I wondered if it was just a mistake that Sheela made when introducing us to them, but later I found discourses in which Osho referred to them in the order that was presented to us.
Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami
– I take refuge in the Awakened One
Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami
– I take refuge in the Community of the Awakened One
Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami
– I take refuge in the Ultimate Teaching of the Awakened One
Traditionally they are said with Dhammam preceding Sangham. Each of us will have our own insights as to why he changed them, but regardless as to why, this is the order that his work has operated on me.
First it was I bow down to the Buddha, to the Master. This is the easiest. Who cannot but bow down to the Master once the Master is met? For me this is what took place in what we refer to as Poona One. It was all Him. He gave us meditations. He gave us daily discourses. He guided us through our personal issues during darshan. He then began working on us in energy darshans; and finally introduced us to Satsang.
Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami was more difficult; and for some almost impossible. To surrender to the commune is much more arduous, because often it means saying yes to stupidity. But it is that saying yes to stupidity that is intelligence because one understands that it is transformative. It is surrender. Surrender means putting aside the conditioning and saying yes. This then lessens the grip that the conditioning has on oneself. In fact, it lessens the grip of oneself. One can let go of conditioning only with awareness. Not saying yes because of a need for appreciation or because of a hunger for position or power but in the understanding that it is here that the transformation takes hold. It is here that awareness is strengthened and the ego begins to lose its grip.
When I saw Osho take off in the plane from the runway at Rajneeshpuram, I knew at that moment I would never see him again. This was the beginning of Dhamma, the ultimate truth of the awakened one. What does it mean to surrender to the ultimate truth? It is when one starts being the teaching. One starts living the understanding in one’s own light.
The beginning of living the understanding didn’t immediately start at that moment of watching the plane take off, it took a little time. I was still involved with the distribution of Osho’s books. We had to move the books to Colorado and set up distribution anew. And then because of conflict with the organization I moved further and further away until finally I was standing on my own. The call of the inner guru was heard.
For the first time the spark of inquiry was lit. Up to that point I had meditated but it was witnessing phenomena, be it sensations, thoughts or feelings. Now the consciousness was seeking its source. This is what I believe to be conversion. It is here that surrender to Dhamma begins. To me this means Self-Inquiry. It is the movement from seeking to inquiring. It is the movement from the outer guru to the inner guru. Up to this point one is living on borrowed bliss. From this point on, one is relying on one’s own light of understanding that has been lit by Buddha, strengthened by Sangha and is now being stabilized in Dhamma.
This does not mean that one is no longer open to the understanding being expressed through the Masters; on the contrary one is more open than ever. And once the contact with the inner guru is established, there is no fear whether some teaching is valid or not because it is seen from one’s own understanding and there is clarity. The understanding is experienced for oneself, it is acted upon, even more accurately it can be said that the understanding itself, the seeing itself is the acting, is the transformation. It is in the fire of this Being Understanding that the “me” is consumed, impression by impression, Gathe, gathe, para gathe parasam gathe. Bodhi svaha. Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. O what an awakening all-hail!
Everyone passes through The Three Jewels at their own pace but what is important is that we don’t linger too long on the way and that we continue until finally we are living the Dhamma, being a light unto oneself.
PostScript – It occurs to me that there are many who reading “Be a light unto ourselves” will think that it is ironic for those of us who have lived with a master, who have lived as part of a commune to place importance on being a light unto ourselves.
To those, I would say that is precisely what drew us to the flame. We had become aware that until we were capable of separating ourselves from this conditioning, we would not be that light. We had already discovered that our minds had been filled with conditioning – by our parents, the society, the churches, the politicians and the schools.
We could also see that anyone who has not managed to extricate themselves from that conditioning is simply not capable of being their own light because it is through that conditioning, that mind, which one sees the world, acts and reacts. Is it any wonder that we live in a world in conflict? And we found that meditation is the means of brain washing (de-conditioning).
Meditation is not a learning, rather an unlearning which in the end uncovers the original face.
In fact, it’s 25 inches long and he can’t get any women to have sex with him.
After examining him, the doctor says there’s nothing he can do medically, but recommends a witch doctor that he thinks might be able to help.
When Earl turns up at the witch doctor’s, he takes a look at the problem and tells him to go to a particular pond, deep in the forest, and talk to a frog that lives there.
“Ask the frog to marry you and each time the frog says no, your member will be 5 inches shorter.”
Earl thinks that this is worth a try and dashes off into the forest. He finds the pond and sees the frog on the other side, sitting on a rock.
He shouts over, “Frog, will you marry me?”
The frog looks at him, disinterested at best, and croaks, “No!”
The guy looks down and sure enough, his member is 5 inches shorter.
He is excited and thinks, let’s try that again. He shouts over to the frog, “Will you marry me?”
The frog rolls his eyes, and shouts back again, “No!”
Zappo! – Earl’s member is down to 15 inches. He looks at it and thinks it is still a bit excessive. Down another 5 would be perfect. So he calls across again, “Frog, will you marry me?”
The by now very irritated frog yells back, “Look, how many times do I have to tell you? No, No, NO!”
There is a beautiful Buddhist story in China.
In a certain town a very beautiful young lady suddenly arrived out of the blue. Nobody knew from where she came; her whereabouts were completely unknown. But she was so beautiful, so enchantingly beautiful, that nobody even thought about where she had come from. People gathered together, the whole town gathered – and all the young men almost three hundred young men, wanted to get married to the woman.
The woman said, ‘Look, I am one and you are three hundred. I can be married only to one, so you do one thing. I will come again tomorrow; I give you twenty-four hours. If one of you can repeat Buddha’s Lotus Sutra, I will marry him.’
All the young men rushed to their homes; they didn’t eat, they didn’t sleep, they recited the sutra the whole night, they tried to cram it in. Ten succeeded. The next morning the woman came and those ten people offered to recite. The woman listened. They had succeeded.
She said, ‘Right, but I am one. How can I marry ten? I will give you twenty-four hours again. The one who can also explain the meaning of the Lotus Sutra I will marry. So you try to understand – because reciting is a simple thing, you are mechanically repeating something and you don’t understand its meaning.’
There was no time at all – only one night – and the Lotus Sutra is a long sutra. But when you are infatuated you can do anything. They rushed back, they tried hard. The next day three persons appeared. They had understood the meaning.
And the woman said, ‘Again the trouble remains. The number is reduced, but the trouble remains. From three hundred to three is a great improvement, but again I cannot marry three persons, I can marry only one. So, twenty-four hours more. The one who has not only understood it but tasted it too, that person I will marry. So in twenty-four hours try to taste the meaning of it.
You are explaining, but this explanation is intellectual. Good, better than yesterday’s, you have some comprehension, but the comprehension is intellectual. I would like to see some meditative taste, some fragrance. I would like to see that the lotus has entered into your presence, that you have become something of the lotus. I would like to smell the fragrance of it. So tomorrow I come again.’
Only one person came, and certainly he had achieved. The woman took him to her house outside the town. The man had never seen the house; it was very beautiful, almost a dreamland. And the parents of the woman were standing at the gate. They received the young man and said, ‘We are very happy.’
The woman went in and he chit-chatted a little with the parents. Then the parents said, ‘You go. She must be waiting for you. This is her room.’ They showed him.
He went, he opened the door, but there was nobody there. It was an empty room. But there was a door entering into the garden. So he looked – maybe she has gone into the garden. Yes, she must have gone because on the path there were footprints. So he followed the footprints. He walked almost a mile. The garden ended and now he was standing on the bank of a beautiful river – but the woman was not there. The footprints also disappeared. There were only two shoes, golden shoes, belonging to the woman.
Now he was puzzled. What has happened? He looked back – there was no garden, no house, no parents, nothing. All had disappeared. He looked again. The shoes were gone, the river was gone. All that there was emptiness – and a great laughter.
And he laughed too. He got married.
This is a beautiful Buddhist story. He got married to emptiness, got married to nothingness. This is the marriage for which all the great saints have been searching. This is the moment when you become a bride of Christ or a gopi of Krishna.
But everything disappears – the path, the garden, the house, the woman, even the footprints. Everything disappears. There is just a laughter, a laughter that arises from the very belly of the universe.
But when it happens for the first time, if you have not been led slowly, slowly, you will go mad.
This Buddhist story says that he was led slowly, slowly. The woman was the Master. The woman is symbolic of the Master. She led him slowly, slowly. First, recite the sutra; second, understand intellectually; third, give a sign that you have lived it. These are the three stages. Then she led him into nothingness.
The Master leads you slowly, slowly; makes you by and by ready.
Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path – Talks on extracts from ‘The Book of Lieh Tzu’, Vol 2, Ch 9 (excerpt)
Hearing with surprise that my friend Leela has died reminds me of a bizarre and amusing moment that we shared while on the Ranch in Oregon. It was a moment that changed how I perceived myself.
I was working as a truck driver and she also had some kind of down-to-earth function in the American commune. We were both wearing jeans, T-shirts and jackets. It was a far cry from her previous work with people’s subtle energies and from mine as a journalist.
We were acquaintances, not friends. A few years earlier, I’d interviewed her in Pune for the ashram’s Press Office, when she and her partner, Prasad (Wadud), arrived from the United States and were initiated into sannyas by Osho.
To me, in my ignorant arrogance, their new names, Wadud and Waduda, seemed like one of Osho’s little jokes and their psychic gifts and interest in esoteric realms seemed almost ridiculous in a therapy-oriented community like ours, where emotional catharsis, sexual liberation and deep tissue bodywork were being emphasised.
I was, however, impressed when I learned about Wadud’s personal courage in defying his father, a successful businessman, in order to lead his own life, and walking away from an inheritance of many millions of dollars.
Waduda impressed me, too, with her story about how she and Wadud had helped Native Americans during the Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota, in 1973, when a group of about 200 Oglala Sioux defied the US government in a stand-off lasting 71 days.
For the next few years, I didn’t see much of Wadud and Waduda, except to note they had become part of our community and in the early 1980s shifted, like the rest of us, from a lush, jungle-like ashram in India to a windswept, barren cattle ranch in Central Oregon.
We had to leave our flowing orange robes behind and instead donned jeans and cowboy boots.
On the day of our encounter, it was dinnertime and along with everyone else I’d made my way to Magdalena Canteen, taking my meal from the buffet-style line of pots and then sitting down to eat at one of the long, white-topped tables.
Waduda came and sat on the seat beside me. We didn’t say hello. She was busy talking with a female friend and I was busy eating. I had a vague idea they were gossiping about something, but didn’t pay much attention.
At a certain point, however, Waduda must have decided that what she was about to say was confidential, because she lowered her voice and leaned forward to whisper across the table to her friend.
The moment she lowered her voice, I became interested and wanted to listen, too. Nothing very unusual in that, one might think. After all, we are all interested in juicy gossip, especially when we’re not supposed to hear it.
I was careful not to look in her direction, nor to interrupt my eating, so that she wouldn’t guess I was eavesdropping on her conversation.
But, at that very moment, with no volition of my own, I became aware that I was growing a giant ear on my left side, where Waduda was seated. It was an extraordinary experience. Of course, on a physical level, there was no such ear. It remained the size it has always been. But energetically, it had become enormous, like a giant listening device.
Equally extraordinary was Waduda’s reaction. She stopped talking to her friend, turned to her right and looked at me, or, rather, she looked at the massive ear that was somehow hovering in the air between us.
She didn’t say anything. I was embarrassed, but also said nothing.
What could I say? “Please excuse my giant ear?”
It didn’t make sense. I was in denial of the phenomenon, even to myself.
I went on eating and she tactfully changed the subject with her friend. The giant ear shrank and disappeared as quickly as it had come.
Much water went down the Ganges; Osho was deported from America, the Ranch disintegrated and there came a time when we all found ourselves back in the Pune ashram. This was the moment when Osho chose to open his door to all kinds of new therapies and growth methods, including a whole range of esoteric and psychic work – energy reading, aura cleaning, psychic surgery and so on.
At around the same time, the ashram’s group department was divided into specialized schools and the esoteric work was given to the School of Mysticism, run by a gifted American woman called Kaveesha. Needless to say, Wadud and Waduda were part of it and, when Kaveesha left India a short while later, they became the school’s directors.
In the early 1990s, after Osho had died, Wadud and Waduda wanted to write a book to share their esoteric knowledge – a kind of training manual for others. Since I’d already gained a reputation as a ghost writer, having written a best-selling Tantra manual with Margot Anand, they asked me to help.
At first, I was reluctant.
“I know nothing about the esoteric world,” I told them.
Waduda smiled and nodded. “That’s what I thought, too, until you grew that giant ear in Magdalena Canteen!”
I laughed. “Okay, you got me!” I replied and promptly agreed to help them write the book.
As part of the deal, they invited me to participate in the School of Mysticism’s Esoteric Science Training, personally led by Wadud and Waduda, which was a kind of beginners’ course for wannabe psychics.
I signed up, not really expecting to experience anything unusual, and was pleasantly surprised to pass through a whole range of fascinating phenomena, including being able to give accurate heart-readings, diving into a black and bottomless well of energy in my hara centre, and watching with detachment as I effortlessly grew an erection during a naked partner exercise, when a female participant shone a strong red light on my sex centre.
It became obvious to me, as Waduda already knew, that I had some psychic abilities, some kind of talent to explore the esoteric world.
We finished the book, but I never developed my talent further – at least not in terms of more trainings and possible session-giving. But, in another way, I did. I abandoned my arrogant attitude of dismissing the world of energy and psychic phenomena. I became more sensitive to subtle feelings, both in myself and in others. I learned to listen to my intuition and my hunches.
This was particularly useful when giving Tarot Card readings, which was something I really enjoyed – and still do. It has also helped me when leading workshops and trainings in the Enneagram system of Nine Personality Types, Inner Man Inner Woman, and Past Life Reading.
I don’t regard any of this work as esoteric, but in a way, of course, that’s what it is. There is no real boundary line between the physical, material world and the invisible world of energy. They overlap continuously in a thousand different ways.
I last saw Waduda, or Leela as she renamed herself, about two years ago, when she came to Osho Risk to lead the Women’s Liberation Group and was delighted to be invited to play several male stereotype characters in the psychodrama section of that amazing process.
I was very surprised to learn of her death. I knew she had health issues, but had no idea there was anything seriously wrong.
I’m deeply grateful to both her and Wadud for welcoming me into their world, in spite of my scepticism, and I feel particularly touched by Waduda’s attitude of supportive and warm-hearted encouragement, which she extended to everyone she met.
She was a beautiful woman and continues, no doubt, to be a beautiful soul.
The following anecdote indicates her integrity as a teacher and practitioner of the psychic arts. I don’t know if it’s really true. I suspect it is. In any case, it’s a fun story.
Sometime around 1984, on the Oregon Ranch, when Sheela, Osho’s secretary, was at the height of her confrontation with the local population, she approached Waduda, asking if she could direct some destructive psychic energy towards the Ranch’s enemies. Waduda smiled and shook her head, explaining that she had learned all about the black arts in previous lives, passing through many hard lessons, and was not about to make the same mistake again.
Oh, and one more anecdote: back in 1988, when I was flat broke and desperate for a job, I’d heard that Margot Anand was looking for help with her Tantra book, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy.
Margot had already gone through a couple of ghost writers and was rumoured to be looking for me. I wrote to Margot, but didn’t hear back for some time and came to the conclusion it wasn’t going to happen. But Waduda felt otherwise. “Don’t worry, Subhuti, I’m working for you on other planes,” she assured me, with a mischievous smile.
I got the job.
Tribute page on Osho News: Leela (aka Waduda)
Subhuti is a regular contributor
More articles by this author on Osho News
Ma Prema Leela Lovegarden (formerly Deva Waduda) had been a disciple of Osho since 1977. She was co-director of the Osho School of Mysticism in Pune and of the Osho Institute of Esoteric Science in Sedona, Arizona, USA. With over 20 years experience as a therapist and meditator, she created the Osho tarots and invented the method of experiential astrology. She is co-author, together with Prasad, of the book The Alchemy of Transformation.
Text based on the bio on her website oshocircleschool.com/leela – photo credit Osho Miasto, Tuscany where she ran groups regularly – alert thanks to Mega
Yesterday, Sunday afternoon 1st October, Osho Miasto organised a celebration for her, where friends came together to meditate.Tributes
You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (please add ‘Leela’ in the subject field)
Award winning photographer Amit Madheshiya began chronicling India’s famous travelling cinemas in 2008.
Often travelling as a part of religious and entertainment fairs, they bring the big screen magic to millions. Huge tents are hitched to the back of gigantic trucks and films are screened using hand-cranked projectors. However, with advancing technologies and widespread connectivity these touring cinemas have started losing audiences who prefer watching films on DVDs and mobile phones.
Here’s a selection of Amit Madheshiya’s pictures and an account of the project, in his words:
I began working on the travelling cinemas project in early 2008.
This was the time when many single screen theatres were shutting down, giving way to malls and multiplexes.
Watching these temples of cinema razed to the ground, my collaborator Shirley Abraham and I began to travel the length and breadth of the country.
We did not know what we were seeking.
But we found a taste of it as we sat bunched up with excited children under a neem tree, where an old man was showing scraps of film on a hand cranked projector.
Then, like a distant mirage, huge tents hitched to the back of gigantic trucks appeared. Age-old cinema projectors began whirring away.
Outside, thousands sat crouched by the beam of the projector, soaking in the magic of movies. It was like being transported back in time.
Travelling cinemas are believed to have become a part of the mythology of cinema.
It was a reminder that although the technologies with which audiences experience cinema may have changed, the wonder of movies remains unchanged.
We soon realised this was a largely untold story.
For about seven decades now, travelling cinemas have brought the magic of the movies to audiences living far from permanent theatres in rural areas of the western state of Maharashtra.
An enchanting world of fairgrounds, bulbous tents, stately projectors and film cans, these travelling cinemas are now trying hard to lure patrons who have moved to slicker and more individualised modes of watching movies like DVDs and mobile phones.
One of the last stops of travelling cinemas in the world, this ancient yet unique cinema culture faces being lost to history
This inspired me to make my film, The Cinema Travellers.
It premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2016 to a standing ovation and won the Special Jury Prize for L’Oeil d’or: Le Prix du documentaire.
Through these years I learnt that cinema is the most profound form of human expression, and the immersion it commands unites us across language and borders.
I believe these portraits of audiences – immersed in their movies, will bind readers across the world in a magical experience that only cinema can create.
In collaboration with Galleryske, Delhi-based gallery PHOTOINK is holding a show Cinema Travellers, an exhibition of colour portraits by Amit Madheshiya.
All photographs credit Amit Madheshiya
Credit to Astrid
Human Design is a method that shows – in a visual image called a ‘Chart’ – the way we came into this world. We could also say that it is our ‘genetic blueprint’.
To visualize the energy flow, the system uses nine centers, instead of the seven centers we know from the eastern chakra map. This, because humanity has evolved since the days of the Vedic seers. When we compare these two maps, we can see where the changes are: in the area between the 2nd and the 5th chakra (in the image the names of the ‘new’ centers are colored in purple).
The Emotional Center is the triangle on the lower right-hand side.
Physically, the Emotional Center is located in the solar plexus area; in Human Design it is the home of our feelings. We can experience feeling sensations in other Centers too, especially in the Spleen, which responds to the input of our senses. However, only the Emotional Center is both a Motor Center – a center with pure energy that provides a drive – and an Awareness Center – a place that has the potential of becoming a seat of awareness. We can make Charts of animals; they have a Spleen Center like we do. The Emotional Center, however, is exclusively human.
When people connect with each other, the Emotional Center is almost always defined, which means that it becomes active even in people whose Chart has an undefined Emotional Center. Considering that statistically about 50% of the population has a defined Emotional Center and the remaining 50% are affected by them, this means that we live in an emotional field that we share, and create together. And as the mechanics of Human Design causes defined Emotions to take precedence over all other centers, this turns humanity into an emotional species.
Let us have a closer look at the different ways the Emotional Center works in an individual Chart.
You can get your free Human Design Chart for instance from my website. All you need is your birth data and your Chart is mailed back to you. Once you have that image before you, you want to look at the lower right-hand corner. The inward pointing triangle is your Emotional Center. It will have one of three possible states: Defined, Undefined or Open.The Defined Emotional Center
The Emotional Center is the triangle on the right-hand side when you look at your Chart. When it is connected via one or more colored lines – called Channels – with at least one other center, it becomes defined. To show which centers in a Chart are defined they are colored in.
A flow of feelings is part of your life and you broadcast your feelings to everyone around you, even if you think you have everything under control.
Feelings are wild, but we are living in a world that tries to be civilized. This leads to a dilemma: to suppress your feelings goes against your nature, while letting them spill out all over the place creates upsets. The wildness of your feelings is a living connection to what happens in the world around you. Your emotional waves can create tremendous richness when you master the art of riding them.
How to do that?
The answer lies in the awareness quality of the Emotions, which allows you to welcome feelings as they arise in you, without the need to repress or feel compelled to throw them out.
Here are some tips how to increase awareness of your feeling world:
– Take full responsibility. The stimulus may come from the outside, yet every feeling is your own. With this comes a certain consideration for the people around you. It may or may not be a good idea to share your feeling journey with them. Sometimes it is more appropriate to experience the full range of your feelings when alone.
– When emotions overwhelm you, you have some allies. One is art, either active – paint, dance, sculpt, sing – or passive. Listening to music is especially helpful. Remember that when you express your feelings e.g. through painting, you do not need to create a masterpiece; it is more about finding an outlet for something greater than you, and a way to come to a place of stillness. Osho’s active meditations are a great help, too.
If you have a Defined Emotional Center then you will have an Emotional Authority. You can therefore follow the process described below – in the chapter ‘Authority’ – to find out the best way for your decision-making.The Undefined Emotional Center
If you have an undefined Emotional Center, the triangle on the right-hand side of your Chart is white, with one or more colored numbers (Gates) and short lines attached to them. These Gates are passages where energy can go in and out of the Emotional Center.
Energy between centers flows when there is an uninterrupted connection between two Gates, then we have a Channel that is defined (i.e. colored in) from end to end.
A defined Gate is one half of a Channel; but when the corresponding Gate in someone else’s center is defined (or if that person has already both Gates defined) your half Channel is completed and your Emotional Center becomes defined. You can imagine that your Chart and that of your friend was printed on a transparent foil. When you superimpose the two Charts you might discover that one, or half, of your Channels is completed by a full, or half, Channel of your friend, completing so the Channel and consequently defining that Center in you when you meet this particular person. The energy of this combination will express itself through the qualities of that particular Channel and Gates.
This means that you have two basic emotional modes. Without outer influences, your
Emotions are not defined. Generally, you will not be subject to waves of feelings and you may observe the dramas of others with some wonder. But when you are together with people, your Emotional Center most probably becomes defined, and functions in the way described earlier for the Defined Emotional Center.
Sometimes it may feel as if you were two people, and it can be challenging to remember – when being among others – how you would feel if you were alone. Because you are not naturally emotionally defined, it can be easier to practice the art of awareness while feelings are present. Meditation is helpful too as it nourishes awareness in general, and can help you to remember your inner emotional state also when you are in company.The Open Emotional Center
When you have an Open Emotional Center, the triangle on the right-hand side of your Chart is white, without any colored Gates or Channels attached to it. You have a rare chart; only a very small percentage of humanity has an Open Emotional Center.
Any open center is like a white board, everyone can – and will – write something on it. It may feel as if people painted their feelings all over you. You are an emotional chameleon; your feeling world changes color according to your environment. While internally you may wonder what the fuss is all about, you still need to position yourself within the communities around you. It is tempting to assume a persona, a role that fits a particular circle you find yourself in.
Various famous actors have an Open Emotional Center. It is easy for them to embody roles the scripts ask for. Just as these actors know that they are not their roles, you can also come to understand that you are not the roles you play. Your flexibility is an asset, as long as you remember that none of the roles you are playing is the real you. When you remember that, you become a mirror to the ones around you. Their paint will no longer stick to you and – miraculously – they will begin to feel seen in a way they do not experience with others. Because of your openness you can sense the emotional field of people, and locations, in a way others cannot.
The emotional intensity of the collective may be overwhelming at times, so take time for yourself, meditate or spend time in nature. People might perceive a certain coolness about you; that is your natural quality – you have the right to enjoy it.Authority
One of the most important principles in Human Design is called Authority. It is the inner faculty which lets us make decisions in accordance to our unique life force. When we decide according to our Authority, the choices we make will work: we will say yes to the people, to career opportunities and living situations that fit our energy.
There are six types of Authority, each residing in a different center. Which Authority we have depends on our Chart, but Emotional Authority is the most common one.
As we discussed in the section for the Undefined Emotional Center, when people meet, everybody’s Emotional Centers most likely become defined. In that case the individual Authority shifts and our collective decisions become emotionally driven. PR-agencies and politicians make use of this, and we can witness it also in our personal lives. To bring clarity to decision-making as a group, i.e. when decisions need to be taken where other people are involved, it is helpful to explore how emotional Authority works.
Emotions come in waves, from deep despair to the heights of ecstasy. Imagine you have a new job proposal or someone has asked you out for a date. One moment you feel great about it – ‘the best thing that has ever happened to me’, while a few hours later you do not even want to think about it – ‘it can only become a disaster’. Of course, these are expectations about the future, but your feelings are real, here and now. Give them time and space, the moment to decide has not arrived yet.
Howsoever these emotional waves are in constant movement, a moment comes when the water is still and your feelings become clear. It is important to wait for these moments of clarity; it is not good to take a quick decision when you are still riding on a wave. If necessary, tell the other party you need time to come to a decision.
These moments of clarity show you which way to go. Clarity is when it feels right, when there is no emotional attachment, when the awareness quality of the center is shining through. This is Emotional Authority in action. Once you get the hang of it, you will see that clarity is always present under the surface. With practice, it is possible to shift your attention from the waves of feeling to the clarity underneath, thereby potentially shortening your decision-making process.
It is important to note that the decision process needs an emotional input to start with: this activates the Motor energy of the Emotional Center. The steps described above also help you to give a voice to the Awareness aspect of the center before taking a decision. In a group (or couple) situation, when each one is capable of honoring both their feeling response and their awareness of it, they can express their emotional response to the matter at hand without overbearing the others. It is a way to tap the communal intelligence of the group (or couple) and bringing it to a decision which is good, or at least acceptable, for all.
Shantamo grew up in the Netherlands and studied at the Film Academy in Amsterdam. In 1980 he came to Pune where Osho gave him his new name. He became part of the Amsterdam center (on a houseboat, later in a disused prison). In the Pune 2 commune he worked as a cook, and later in the Mystery School and as meditation leader. Since 2005 he lives in Switzerland where he gives sessions as a Certified Human Design Reader. Now he shares his time between Switzerland and Italy, teaching Human Design and giving sessions there and in other places of the world. yourhumandesign.ch/en
You can get a free chart from yourhumandesign.ch/get-your-chart
More articles on Osho News about Human Design: oshonews.com/tag/human-design
More articles by Shantamo on Osho News
The U.S. Standard railroad gauge – the distance between the rails – is 4 feet, 8.5 inches (that’s 143.51 centimetres).
That’s an exceedingly odd number.
Why was that gauge used?
Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the U.S. Railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.
Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Why did the wagons have that particular Odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.
So, who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.
Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
In other words, bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’ you may be exactly right.
Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:
When the Space Shuttle was sitting on its launch pad, you may have noticed that there were two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank.
Those were the solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs were made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.
The railroad line from the factory happened to run through a tunnel in the mountains and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel.
The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what was arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.
And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important! Now you know, Horses’ Asses control almost everything.
Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn’t it?
Thanks to Amari