Quotes – Zen Mind, Beginner Mind

Posted: October 10, 2016 in spiritual, zen

“As long as you are concerned about what you do, that is dualistic. If you are not concerned about what you do, you will not say so. When you sit, you will sit. When you eat, you will eat. That is all. If you say, “It doesn’t matter,” it means that you are making some excuse to do something in your own way with your small mind. It means you are attached to some particular thing or way. That is not what we mean when we say, “Just to sit is enough,” or “Whatever you do is zazen.” Of course whatever we do is zazen, but if so, there is no need to say it.”

“Knowing that your life is short, to enjoy it day after day, moment after moment, is the life of “form is form, and emptiness emptiness.” When Buddha comes, you will welcome him; when the devil comes, you will welcome him”

“You must be true to your own way until at last you actually come to the point where you see it is necessary to forget all about yourself. Until you come to this point, it is completely mistaken to think that whatever you do is Zen or that it does not matter whether you practice or not. But if you make your best effort just to continue your practice with your whole mind and body, without gaining ideas, then whatever you do will be true practice. Just to continue should be your purpose. When you do something, just to do it should be your purpose”

“Usually to bow means to pay our respects to something which is more worthy of respect than ourselves. But when you bow to Buddha you should have no idea of Buddha, you just become one with Buddha, you are already Buddha himself. When you become one with Buddha, one with everything that exists, you find the true meaning of being. When you forget all your dualistic ideas, everything becomes your teacher, and everything can be the object of worship”

“When everything exists within your big mind, all dualistic relationships drop away. There is no distinction between heaven and earth, man and woman, teacher and disciple. Sometimes a man bows to a woman; sometimes a woman bows to a man. Sometimes the disciple bows to the master; sometimes the master bows to the disciple. A master who cannot bow to his disciple cannot bow to Buddha. Sometimes the master and disciple bow together to Buddha. Sometimes we may bow to cats and dogs.”

“Bowing is a very serious practice. You should be prepared to bow even in your last moment; when you cannot do anything except bow, you should do it. This kind of conviction is necessary. Bow with this spirit and all the precepts, all the teachings are yours, and you will possess everything within your big mind”

“Each bow expresses one of the four Buddhist vows. These vows are: “Although sentient beings are innumerable, we vow to save them. Although our evil desires are limitless, we vow to be rid of them. Although the teaching is limitless, we vow to learn it all. Although Buddhism is unattainable, we vow to attain it.” If it is unattainable, how can we attain it? But we should! That is Buddhism”

“To think, “Because it is possible we will do it,” is not Buddhism. Even though it is impossible, we have to do it because our true nature wants us to. But actually, whether or not it is possible is not the point. If it is our inmost desire to get rid of our self-centered ideas, we have to do it. When we make this effort, our inmost desire is appeased and Nirvana is there. Before you determine to do it, you have difficulty, but once you start to do it, you have none. Your effort appeases your inmost desire. There is no other way to attain calmness. Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself. We say, “It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.”

“Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, “Oh, this pace is terrible!” But actually it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress. It is like studying a foreign language; you cannot do it all of a sudden, but by repeating it over and over you will master it. This is the Soto way of practice. We can say either that we make progress little by little, or that we do not even expect to make progress. Just to be sincere and make our full effort in each moment is enough. There is no Nirvana outside our practice”

“Of course, whatever we do is the expression of our true nature, but without this practice it is difficult to realize. It is our human nature to be active and the nature of every existence. As long as we are alive, we are always doing something. But as long as you think, “I am doing this,” or “I have to do this,” or “I must attain something special,” you are actually not doing anything. When you give up, when you no longer want something, or when you do not try to do anything special, then you do something”

“But as long as you think you are practicing zazen for the sake of something, that is not true practice.”

“If you continue this simple practice every day you will obtain a wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is something wonderful, but after you obtain it, it is nothing special”

“So to be a human being is to be a Buddha. Buddha nature is just another name for human nature, our true human nature. Thus even though you do not do anything, you are actually doing something. You are expressing yourself. You are expressing your true nature. Your eyes will express; your voice will express; your demeanor will express. The most important thing is to express your true nature in the simplest, most adequate way and to appreciate it in the smallest existence”

“The most important thing is to forget all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas. In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture. Do not think about anything. Just remain on your cushion without expecting anything. Then eventually you will resume your own true nature. That is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.”

“We say railway track, but actually there is no such thing. Sincerity itself is the railway track. The sights we see from the train will change, but we are always running on the same track. And there is no beginning or end to the track: beginning-less and endless track. There is no starting point nor goal, nothing to attain. Just to run on the track is our way. This is the nature of our Zen practice.”

“They thought that the physical side of man bound the spiritual side, and so their religious practice was aimed at making the physical element weaker in order to free and strengthen the spirit. Thus the practice Buddha found in India emphasized asceticism. But Buddha found when he practiced asceticism that there was no limit to the attempt to purge ourselves physically, and that it made religious practice very idealistic. This kind of war with our body can only end when we die”

“this idea of asceticism is in the back of their minds. But practicing in this way will not result in any progress”

“Anyway, we cannot keep still; we have to do something. So if you do something, you should be very observant, and careful, and alert. Our way is to put the dough in the oven and watch it carefully. Once you know how the dough becomes bread, you will understand enlightenment. So how this physical body becomes a sage is our main interest. We are not so concerned about what flour is, or what dough is, or what a sage is. A sage is a sage. Metaphysical explanations of human nature are not the point. So the kind of practice we stress thus cannot become too idealistic. If an artist becomes too idealistic, he will commit suicide, because between his ideal and his actual ability there is a great gap”

“Because there is no bridge long enough to go across the gap, he will begin to despair. That is the usual spiritual way. But our spiritual way is not so idealistic. In some sense we should be idealistic; at least we should be interested in making bread which tastes and looks good! Actual practice is repeating over and over again until you find out how to become bread. There is no secret in our way. Just to practice zazen and put ourselves into the oven is our way.”

“It is necessary for us to keep the constant way. Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine. If you become too busy and too excited, your mind becomes rough and ragged. This is not good. If possible, try to be always calm and joyful and keep yourself from excitement. Usually we become busier and busier, day by day, year by year, especially in our modern world. If we revisit old, familiar places after a long time, we are astonished by the changes. It cannot be helped. But if we become interested in some excitement, or in our own change, we will become completely involved in our busy life, and we will be lost. But if your mind is calm and constant, you can keep yourself away from the noisy world even though you are in the midst of it. In the midst of noise and change, your mind will be quiet and stable”

“Just continue in your calm, ordinary practice and your character will be built up. If your mind is always busy, there will be no time to build, and you will not be successful, particularly if you work too hard on it. Building character is like making bread-you have to mix it little by little, step by step, and moderate temperature is needed. You know yourself quite well, and you know how much temperature you need. You know exactly what you need. But if you get too excited, you will forget how much temperature is good for you, and you will lose your own way. This is very dangerous”

“On the other hand it may seem as if I am speaking about gradual attainment. This is not so either. In fact, this is the sudden way, because when your practice is calm and ordinary, everyday life itself is enlightenment”

“The most important point in our practice is to have right or perfect effort. Right effort directed in the right direction is necessary. If your effort is headed in the wrong direction, especially if you are not aware of this, it is deluded effort. Our effort in our practice should be directed from achievement to non-achievement.”

“Usually when you do something, you want to achieve something, you attach to some result. From achievement to non-achievement means to be rid of the unnecessary and bad results of effort. If you do something in the spirit of non-achievement, there is a good quality in it. So just to do something without any particular effort is enough. When you make some special effort to achieve something, some excessive quality, some extra element is involved in it. You should get rid of excessive things. If your practice is good, without being aware of it you will become proud of your practice. That pride is extra. What you do is good, but something more is added to it. So you should get rid of that something which is extra. This point is very, very important, but usually we are not subtle enough to realize it, and we go in the wrong direction.”

“If you think you will get something from practicing zazen, already you are involved in impure practice. It is all right to say there is practice, and there is enlightenment, but we should not be caught by the statement. You should not be tainted by it. When you practice zazen, just practice zazen. If enlightenment comes, it just comes”

“We say, “To hear the sound of one hand clapping.” Usually the sound of clapping is made with two hands, and we think that clapping with one hand makes no sound at all. But actually, one hand is sound. Even though you do not hear it, there is sound. If you clap with two hands, you can hear the sound. But if sound did not already exist before you clapped, you could not make the sound. Before you make it there is sound. Because there is sound, you can make it, and you can hear it. Sound is everywhere. If you just practice it, there is sound. Do not try to listen to it. If you do not listen to it, the sound is all over. Because you try to hear it, sometimes there is sound, and sometimes there is no sound. Do you understand? Even though you do not do anything, you have the quality of zazen always. But if you try to find it, if you try to see the quality, you have no quality.”

“You are living in this world as one individual, but before you take the form of a human being, you are already there, always there. We are always here. Do you understand? You think before you were born you were not here. But how is it possible for you to appear in this world, when there is no you? Because you are already there, you can appear in the world. Also, it is not possible for something to vanish which does not exist. Because something is there, something can vanish. You may think that when you die, you disappear, you no longer exist. But even though you vanish, something which is existent cannot be non-existent. That is the magic. We ourselves cannot put any magic spells on this world”

“The world is its own magic. If we are looking at something, it can vanish from our sight, but if we do not try to see it, that something cannot vanish. Because you are watching it, it can disappear, but if no one is watching, how is it possible for anything to disappear? If someone is watching you, you can escape from him, but if no one is watching, you cannot escape from yourself.”

“So try not to see something in particular; try not to achieve anything special. You already have everything in your own pure quality. If you understand this ultimate fact, there is no fear. There may be some difficulty, of course, but there is no fear”

“So try not to see something in particular; try not to achieve anything special. You already have everything in your own pure quality. If you understand this ultimate fact, there is no fear. There may be some difficulty, of course, but there is no fear”

“If people have difficulty without being aware of the difficulty, that is true difficulty. They may appear very confident, they may think they are making a big effort in the right direction, but without knowing it, what they do comes out of fear. Something may vanish for them. But if your effort is in the right direction, then there is no fear of losing anything. Even if it is in the wrong direction, if you are aware of that, you will not be deluded. There is nothing to lose. There is only the constant pure quality of right practice.”

“When we practice zazen our mind is calm and quite simple. But usually our mind is very busy and complicated, and it is difficult to be concentrated on what we are doing. This is because before we act we think, and this thinking leaves some trace. Our activity is shadowed by some preconceived idea”

“The thinking not only leaves some trace or shadow, but also gives us many other notions about other activities and things. These traces and notions make our minds very complicated. When we do something with a quite simple, clear mind, we have no notion or shadows, and our activity is strong and straightforward. But when we do something with a complicated mind, in relation to other things or people, or society, our activity becomes very complex.”

“Most people have a double or triple notion in one activity. There is a saying, “To catch two birds with one stone.” That is what people usually try to do. Because they want to catch too many birds they find it difficult to be concentrated on one activity, and they may end up not catching any birds at all! That kind of thinking always leaves its shadow on their activity. The shadow is not actually the thinking itself. Of course it is often necessary to think or prepare before we act. But right thinking does not leave any shadow. Thinking which leaves traces comes out of your relative confused mind. Relative mind is the mind which sets itself in relation to other things, thus limiting itself. It is this small mind which creates gaining ideas and leaves traces of itself”

“If you leave a trace of your thinking on your activity, you will be attached to the trace. For instance, you may say, “This is what I have done!” But actually it is not so. In your recollection you may say, “I did such and such a thing in some certain way,” but actually that is never exactly what happened. When you think in this way you limit the actual experience of what you have done. So if you attach to the idea of what you have done, you are involved in selfish ideas.”

“Often we think what we have done is good, but it may not actually be so. When we become old, we are often very proud of what we have done. When others listen to someone proudly telling something which he has done, they will feel funny, because they know his recollection is one-sided. They know that what he has told them is not exactly what he did. Moreover, if he is proud of what he did, that pride will create some problem for him”

“Repeating his recollections in this way, his personality will be twisted more and more, until he becomes quite a disagreeable, stubborn fellow. This is an example of leaving a trace of one’s thinking. We should not forget what we did, but it should be without an extra trace”

“To leave a trace is not the same as to remember something. It is necessary to remember what we have done, but we should not become attached to what we have done in some special sense. What we call “attachment” is just these traces of our thought and activity.”

“In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do. You will have something remaining which is not completely burned out”

“Usually when it is so simple we say, “Oh, I know that! It is quite simple. Everyone knows that.” But if we do not find its value, it means nothing. It is the same as not knowing. The more you understand culture, the more you will understand how true and how necessary this teaching is. Instead of only criticizing your culture, you should devote your mind and body to practicing this simple way.”

“Then society and culture will grow out of you. It may be all right for the people who are too attached to their culture to be critical. Their critical attitude means they are coming back to the simple truth left by Buddha. But our approach is just to be concentrated on a simple basic practice and a simple basic understanding of life. There should be no traces in our activity. We should not attach to some fancy ideas or to some beautiful things. We should not seek for something good. The truth is always near at hand, within your reach”

“Every existence in nature, every existence in the human world, every cultural work that we create, is something which was given, or is being given to us, relatively speaking. But as everything is originally one, we are, in actuality, giving out everything. Moment after moment we are creating something, and this is the joy of our life. But this “l” which is creating and always giving out something is not the “small I “; it is the “big I.” Even though you do not realize the oneness of this “big I” with everything, when you give something you feel good, because at that time you feel at one with what you are giving. This is why it feels better to give than to take.”

“According to Christianity, every existence in nature is something which was created for or given to us by God. That is the perfect idea of giving. But if you think that God created man, and that you are somehow separate from God, you are liable to think you have the ability to create something separate, something not given by Him, For instance, we create airplanes and highways. And when we repeat, “I -create, I create, I create,” soon we forget who is actually the “I” which creates the various things; we soon forget about God. This is the danger of human culture”

“Even though something has no material or relative value to any “small I,” it has absolute value in itself. Not to be attached to something is to be aware of its absolute value. Everything you do should be based on such an awareness, and not on material or self-centered ideas of value. Then whatever you do is true giving, is ” dana prajna paramita.”

“When we sit we are nothing, we do not even realize what we are; we just sit. But when we stand up, we are there! That is the first step in creation. When you are there, everything else is there; everything is created all at once. When we emerge from nothing, when everything emerges from nothing, we see it all as a fresh new creation. This is non-attachment. The second kind of creation is when you act, or produce or prepare something like food or tea. The third kind is to create something within yourself, such as education, or culture, or art, or some system for our society. So there are three kinds of creation. But if you forget the first, the most important one, the other two will be like children who have lost their parents; their creation will mean nothing”

“Everything creates some problems. But usually people think that when they die, everything is over, the problems disappear. But your death may create problems too! Actually, our problems should be solved or dissolved in this life. But if we are aware that what we do or what we create is really the gift of the “big I,” then we will not be attached to it, and we will not create problems for ourselves or for others.”

“And we should forget, day by day, what we have done; this is true non-attachment. And we should do something new. To do something new, of course we must know our past, and this is all right. But we should not keep holding onto anything we have done; we should only reflect on it. And we must have some idea of what we should do in the future. But the future is the future, the past is the past; now we should work on something new. This is our attitude, and how we should live in this world”

“When you are idealistic, you have some gaining idea within yourself; by the time you attain your ideal or goal, your gaining idea will create another ideal. So as long as your practice is based on a gaining idea, and you practice zazen in an idealistic way, you will have no time actually to attain your ideal. Moreover, you will be sacrificing the meat of your practice. Because your attainment is always ahead, you will always be sacrificing yourself now for some ideal in the future. You end up with nothing. This is absurd; it is not adequate practice at all”

“When you are tired of sitting, or when you are disgusted with your practice, you should recognize this as a warning signal. You become discouraged with your practice when your practice has been idealistic. You have some gaining idea in your practice, and it is not pure enough. It is when your practice is rather greedy that you become discouraged with it. So you should be grateful that you have a sign or warning signal to show you the weak point in your practice. At that time, forgetting all about your mistake and renewing your way, you can resume your original practice. This is a very important point.”

“If you find some difficulty in your practice, that is the warning that you have some wrong idea, so you have to be careful. But do not give up your practice; continue it, knowing your weakness. Here there is no gaining idea. Here there is no fixed idea of attainment. You do not say, “This is enlightenment,” or “That is not right practice.” Even in wrong practice, when you realize it and continue, there is right practice. Our practice cannot be perfect, but without being discouraged by this, we should continue it. This is the secret of practice.”

“And if you want to find some encouragement in your discouragement, getting tired of practice is itself the encouragement. You encourage yourself when you get tired of it. When you do not want to do it, that is the warning signal”

“If you understand the cause of conflict as some fixed or one-sided idea, you can find meaning in various practices without being caught by any of them. If you do not realize this point you will be easily caught by some particular way, and you will say, “This is enlightenment! This is perfect practice. This is our way. The rest of the ways are not perfect. This is the best way.” This is a big mistake. There is no particular way in true practice. You should find your own way, and you should know what kind of practice you have right now”

“toward some particular object, such as a clay, a bronze, or a wooden Buddha, it will not always work. So as long as you have some particular goal in your practice, that practice will not help you completely. It may help as long as you are directed towards that goal, but when you resume your everyday life, it will not work.”

“When we hear the sound of the pine trees on a windy day, perhaps the wind is just blowing, and the pine tree is just standing in the wind. That is all that they are doing. But the people who listen to the wind in the tree will write a poem, or will feel something unusual. That is, I think, the way everything is”

“So which do you hit, the cart or the horse? Which do you hit, yourself or your problems? If you start questioning which you should hit, that means you have already started to wander about. But when you actually hit the horse, the cart will go. In truth, the cart and the horse are not different. When you are you, there is no problem of whether you should hit the cart or the horse. When you are you, zazen becomes true zazen. So when you practice zazen, your problem will practice zazen, and everything else will practice zazen too”

“Even though your spouse is in bed, he or she is also practicing zazen -when jou practice zazen! But when you do not practice true zazen, then there is your spouse, and there is yourself, each quite different, quite separate from the other. So if you yourself have true practice, then everything else is practicing our way at the same time”

“Actually, just to work on the problem, if you do it with single-minded effort, is enough. You should just polish the tile; that is our practice. The puipose of practice is not to make a tile a jewel. Just continue sitting; that is practice in its true sense. It is not a matter of whether or not it is possible to attain Buddhahood, whether or not it is possible to make a tile a jewel. Just to work and live in this world with this understanding is the most important point”

“It is quite usual for us to gather pieces of information from various sources, thinking in this way to increase our knowledge. Actually, following this way we end up not knowing anything at all. Our understanding of Buddhism should not be just gathering many pieces of information, seeking to gain knowledge. Instead of gathering knowledge, you should clear your mind. If your mind is clear, true knowledge is already yours. When you listen to our teaching with a pure, clear mind, you can accept it as if you were hearing something which you already knew. This is called emptiness, or omnipotent self, or knowing everything”

“When you know everything, you are like a dark sky. Sometimes a flashing will come through the dark sky. After it passes, you forget all about it, and there is nothing left but the dark sky. The sky is never surprised when all of a sudden a thunderbolt breaks through. And when the lightning does flash, a wonderful sight may be seen. When we have emptiness we are always prepared for watching the flashing”

“So you should accept knowledge as if you were hearing something you already knew. But this does not mean to receive various pieces of information merely as an echo of your own opinions. It means that you should not be surprised at whatever you see or hear”

“But if a Japanese Buddhist comes to the United States, he is no longer a Japanese, i am living in your cultural background. I am eating nearly the same food as you eat, and I am communicating with you in your language. Even though you do not understand me completely, I want to understand you. And I may understand you better than anyone who can speak and understand English. This is true. Even if I could not understand English at all, I think I could communicate with people. There is always a possibility of understanding as long as we exist in the utter darkness of the sky, as long as we live in emptiness”

“Even though clouds and lightning come, the sky is not disturbed. Even if the flashing of enlightenment comes, our practice forgets all about it. Then it is ready for another enlightenment. It is necessary for us to have enlightenments one after another, if possible, moment after moment. This is what is called enlightenment before you attain it and after you attain it.”

“When we say something, our subjective intention or situation is always involved. So there is no perfect word; some distortion is always present in a statement. But nevertheless, through our master’s statement we have to understand objective fact itself-the ultimate fact. By ultimate fact we do not mean something eternal or something constant, we mean things as they are in each moment. You may call it “being” or “reality.”

“the natural expression of yourself. We emphasize straightforwardness. You should be true to your feelings, and to your mind, expressing yourself without any reservations. This helps the listener to understand more easily.”

“When you listen to someone, you should give up all your preconceived ideas and your subjective opinions; you should just listen to him, just observe what his way is. We put very little emphasis on right and wrong or good and bad. We just see things as they are with him, and accept them. This is how we communicate with each other. Usually when you listen to some statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself.”

“You are actually listening to your own opinion. If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not, you will reject it or you may not even really hear it. That is one danger when you listen to someone. The other danger is to be caught by the statement. If you do not understand your master’s statement in its true sense, you will easily be caught by something which is involved in your subjective opinion, or by some particular way the statement is expressed. You will take what he says only as a statement, withhout understanding the spirit behind the words. This kind of danger is always there.”

“A mind full of preconceived ideas, subjective intentions, or habits is not open to things as they are. That is why we practice zazen; to clear our mind of what is related to something else.”

“To be quite natural to ourselves, and also to follow what others say or do in the most appropriate way, is quite difficult. If we try to adjust ourselves intentionally in some way, it is impossible to be natural. If you try to adjust yourself in a certain way, you will lose yourself. So without any intentional, fancy way of adjusting yourself, to express yourself freely as you are is the most important thing to make yourself happy, and to make others happy”

“Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way. In an exact sense, the only thing we actually can study in our life is that on which we are working in each moment”

“When we talk about our way, there is apt to be some misunderstanding, because the true way always has at least two sides, the negative and the positive. When we talk about the negative side, the positive side is missing, and when we talk about the positive side, the negative side is missing. We cannot speak in a positive and a negative way at the same time. So we do not know what to say. It is almost impossible to talk”

“Dogen-zenji said, “When you say something to someone, he may not accept it, but do not try to make him understand it intellectually. Do not argue with him; just listen to his objections until he himself finds something wrong with them.” This is very interesting. Try not to force your idea on someone, but rather think about it with him. If you feel you have won the discussion, that also is the wrong attitude. Try not to win in the argument; just listen to it; but it is also wrong to behave as if you had lost. Usually vv’hen we say something, we are apt to try to sell our teaching or force our idea. But between Zen students there is no special purpose in speaking or in listening. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we talk; that is all. It is like a greeting: “Good morning!” Through this kind of communication we can develop our way.”

“And I thought it must be a very difficult experience for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. It is as if the water does not have any feeling when it is one whole river”


The spirit of Service

Posted: October 10, 2016 in self, spiritual


The Spirit of Service

–by Nipun Mehta, Mar 07, 2014[Below is a transcript of a talk delivered in February 2000, at an event hosted by AHIMSA in Berkeley.]

As I was coming today, I was trying to think of an introduction, and I realized that my voice is sort of gone (as you can probably tell) — we had an orientation meeting over the meeting and I probably talked too much. [laughs] So, I thought of an episode in my life where I was really sick.

A few years back, I was down with 104 degree fever. I mean, I was sitting down on my sofa somewhere and that was it — I was just sitting down since I couldn’t move or do anything else. Everyone in my house happened to be out at that time and I was all by myself, stationed comfortably on the sofa. Usually, I tend not to distract myself with TV, etc. when I am sick, so I was just observing, watching myself. And all of a sudden, my mind shifted into an experience that I had, oh, a couple years before that.

Four of us, including my parents and younger brother, were taking a trip to India and were visiting a religious place of some sort. There were a bunch of temples, street merchants, fakirs and the whole bit. My parents had to buy something quickly so they left us in the car. Right as we were there, this monk appears, as if out of nowhere! And this wasn’t just an ordinary looking monk; he had his own sort of makeup to give him a mystical look — you know, a garland, white-colored powder on his face, alms-bowl in his hands, and so on. To top it all off, though, he had a little golden-colored spider on his right cheek and it was moving!

Being kids whose parents had given instructions about not talking to strangers, my brother and I looked at the monk with surprise, as if to ask, “Who is this guy?” He slowly approaches us and asks, “Can you give me some food or perhaps some money so I can buy the food?” These monks have to beg; that’s how they get their food. Having been instructed by parents, we said, “No, sorry, we can’t give you anything.” He asked a couple times but we responded similarly. But we still chatted for a bit about what town we were from and so on and right when he was about to leave, he says, “Here, put this in your prayers, and you’ll get what you want.”  Of course, when my parents heard about this hoky sounding episode, we chucked the packet out the window.

But there I was … sitting on my sofa, with 104 degree temperature, and I’m thinking about this seemingly random episode … and all of a sudden, I started crying.  It wasn’t just crying; I was gushing as if there was no tomorrow. And I said to myself, “Why was I holding back?” And I said, “What do I have that I don’t want to give to the guy? Here is a person, a monk, who is in the search of truth. And I had three rupees. Why didn’t I give it to him?” I just had this feeling, as if he is my brother and I could give him everything. “Here, I’ll give you myself. What else can I give you?” And I was replaying this whole episode in my mind. And I said, “Here it is. Everything you want, take it. You know what? Let’s call all the monks in the neighborhood, and let’s have a big party at the restaurant next door.” There was this overwhelming feeling of giving. There is no way that any description can do it justice.

It’s like smelling an orange. I always use that metaphor. You smell an orange and you know exactly what an orange smells like. Yet if I ask you, “Tell your neighbor what an orange smells like,” you can’t do it. I mean you can say, “Well, it looks like a lemon,” and you can make all sorts of metaphors, but you can’t describe an orange, even when you know exactly what it is. Similarly with this. I know exactly what it is, but I can’t describe it. I’m not even going to attempt to describe it. But it’s there. And it’s something for which you can’t say, “Oh, well, it’s sorta there, sorta not there.” It’s definitely there. You know when you’ve smelled the orange.

A bunch of us run a non-profit, ServiceSpace, and we empower other non-profits with websites. It’s fully volunteer run and we do everything for free, so there’s a lot of work. Many times, I’ll be working at 1:00 a.m. I’m doing work, and all of a sudden, OK, 1:00 a.m. I’m tired and I could really use some sleep. So I’m thinking, all right, I want to go to sleep. Then I tell myself, you know, it’s really easy to give leftovers. You take care of yourself, you take care of your surroundings, and you take care of all of your comforts, and after that comfort you say, “OK, I have everything I need,” and then you give something. That’s good — it’s not bad but it’s still giving leftovers, right? You’re not giving of yourself.

I was telling myself, “Here is your opportunity to give of yourself. You’re here. Your body wants this. These are very selfish desires — if you really want to give yourself, this is the time. Do it. This is not leftovers, because I could be sleeping, I could be comforting myself.” The choices I had were either breakdown or breakthrough. And I say, “All right, that’s it. I’m going to buckle down and do it.” So I do it, I do it, and I go to 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. … I would’ve otherwise thought that I’d be tired but no! I’m feeling like Rocky, you know, 12th round, he’s fighting all over the place, and there I am, after 12 rounds, there’s something – it’s intangible. It’s something that’s not there, yet it’s there. You can’t describe it, yet it’s there. It’s that whole concept of the orange metaphor. You smell the orange but you can’t describe it.

So my talk was titled “Spirit of Service” and I just said that you can’t describe the spirit of service, so what am I going to talk about for the next 40 minutes? [laughs] What I’m going to talk about is not the spirit of service, because you can’t describe that, but what I am going to say is why are we not in the spirit of service. Why are we not in the spirit of service in this very moment? Right now. That is the question before us.

So why am I not serving others at this very instance? In other words, why am I selfish right now? I can really answer that because I have so many selfish moments and I know exactly what it is because I experience it. Take a general example: Many times I go in to work on holidays because I have to do some extra work to catch up. So one particular three-day weekend, I was at work and all of a sudden it dawned upon me that I was the only one at work. I’m here at work, and I’m saying, “What are you doing? You’re doing all this stuff, and you’re not getting anything in return. Why are you doing this? Are you just obsessed? Is there something wrong with you? Do you really want to be doing this? You could be out there hanging out with your friends. You could be out doing so many other things. You could watch a movie, you could do something fun, or you could even do nothing! Whatever you want.” But I wasn’t doing any of this. I was at work doing all this other stuff, and I realized that it was hard. I watched myself and asked, “Why is it hard?”

Why is it so hard to give? What I came up with is that you always want something in return. You want something in return for everything you do. And when you don’t get that something in return, then it hits you. Oh, yeah. Oh, this is not such a good thing. And that’s hard. Even when you try to do a selfless action–by the very definition, when you’re trying to do a selfless action, it’s not selfless because there’s effort. But there’s a certain percentage of action which is selfless. Let’s say even just 10 percent. So when you do a selfless action, you realize this dichotomy between selfish and selfless. It’s very clear. It’s in front of you. It’s staring at you. You say, “Oh, yeah, OK, I can either do something which is selfish or on the other hand, do something which is selfless.” These are two different things. And they’re right there in front of you. This dichotomy is very clear. Whether it’s just a smile or something really extravagant, a selfless action feels distinctively different from a selfish one.

So the question still is why is it so hard? And why do I always want to go after these outcomes? Why am I not content just staying here doing the things I’m doing – why do I want something in return and why do I always want to pursue something? Can I give up this pursuit? Because there are so many negative effects of it. You can see it in your daily life – when you want all these ends, you lose the beauty of the moment. Let’s say you want fifty ends to happen in one particular “right” way, then all of a sudden the ten steps to each one of those ends start cluttering up your life, because then you’re very busy and oh, very stressed. “I have so many things to do, such little time.”

About nine months ago I was in the back room actually, talking to Ajahn Amaro and Reverend Heng Sure, and this lady comes in. Naturally, we move our attention to her and ask how she’s doing. The lady doctor says, “Oh God. So busy. So many things. Oh, man, this is a really stressful time in my life.” Perhaps just out of courtesy, she asks Ajahn Amaro, “So how are you doing? How is your life? You seem to be doing a lot of things.” He said, “I’m active, not busy.” That really struck me. He had the same amount of things, but he didn’t care about the end. He was right there, right then, and there were hundreds of those moments, and there were hundreds of those things to do. And he was doing them. So he was active, he was not busy. That really struck me.

So why do people get busy? We know that you get busy and then you get stressed, and these are all negative things, so why do we do it? And why do we care so much for the outcome? Now, if you ask this question to a layman on the street, he will usually say, “Well, if you don’t do it for the outcome, there’s no progress.” Well, OK. Is that really so? The layman typically would say, “Yeah. You wouldn’t be motivated to do anything. Why would you care to do? Technology — great. Why build websites? Just let them be. I don’t need to do anything.” That’s the typical response, but is that really so?

Is that really true, that if we had no conflict of interest, we would not do 100 percent? If my mom, for instance, comes in in the middle of the night and she says, 2:00 o’clock, “Nipun, wake up, wake up. I know you do ServiceSpace work at this time, and today you didn’t do your dishes, so go downstairs and do the dishes.” If my mom told me that and let’s say I even went down, I’d say “It’s all living in the moment. OK, live with what you got and just enjoy doing the dishes in the middle of the night.” [laughs] That’s not gonna happen … I’m not going to be living in the moment. I’m going to be thinking, “I need to go to my bed. Now.” So, I do my job haphazardly, by saying, “Let me just get this done so I can go and sleep in that nice comfortable bed that I have!”

So I had this conflict of interest, so that’s why I did this. Now, what if I didn’t have a conflict of interest? What reason would I have not to put in 110 percent in everything I do, wherever I go, whatever I do. I’m here and now, and that’s it. This is the only reality. Right? It doesn’t matter what car you drove in, because that doesn’t have anything to do with this moment. This is the only reality. The past is gone. The future is a fantasy. None of it’s there. This is it right here, right now. So why am I not able to enjoy the journey right? Why am I am not able to fully live in each moment?

Many of you might have heard that story about Thich Nhat Hanh; he has his monastery called Plum Village in France. One time when he was a young student, his teacher called him in to talk to him. When they were done, he walks out and as he was leaving, he leaves the door half-open, in his rush to go out. So his teacher calls him in and says, “Why didn’t you close the door? I asked you to close the door when you left.” And all of a sudden it hit him that when he was closing the door, he was not closing the door. He wanted to get to some other place and that is why he was not fully there. To this day, he hasn’t forgotten that lesson. In fact, even to this day, people go to France just to watch him open and close the door, because he does it so completely. For him, the door is it. He is there. All his life comes down to that one point, when he’s closing and opening that door. He is just closing and opening that door. That is it. He has that detachment with outcome which lets him fully experience the present.

But then everyone can ask all sorts of cynical questions about it, right? Well, if you don’t care for the outcomes, how can you really get anywhere? What if you had a business and you did all this? How are you going to get anywhere? You’re not going to do anything. And that’s a legitimate response. But I’ve experienced quite to the contrary with ServiceSpace. We have nowhere to go, we have no end to pursue. We’re all volunteers and we just want to give. ServiceSpace is simply our instrument of giving. But all of a sudden we realize that when we just care to enjoy the journey, when we’re just doing what is in front of us, then that is it. We don’t care what happens at the end. All we’re living is the present moment and you end up doing 110 percent. In just nine, ten months we’ve done amazing things! Three hundred and fifty volunteers, two hundred non-profits served. All sorts of things. But how can you do this when you don’t care for the end? [laughs]So my question is how can you not? When you don’t care for the end, you’re doing 110 percent, and that is the only time when you can do something really worthwhile. But this is still hard. Right? Everyone can rationally say all these things. Yeah, well, don’t worry about the end. This is not about the end, just enjoy the journey. But it’s hard to do. We all want to go out and get results.

I can remember an episode where a particular volunteer team was helping a nonprofit in making a website. The nonprofit representative was very demanding but the volunteer continued to serve to the best of their abilities. The lady at the nonprofit thought that her cause was it and had all sorts of complications. But the team worked hard and finally finished the project.Then, all of a sudden [sound] after the project was over, the very next day, she chucked the site. She threw everything away!

Now, these guys, if they were truly enjoying the journey, they’d simply say, “Oh, OK, I guess our services weren’t useful,” because they’ve already gotten their reward. The reward was in the journey. But if they hadn’t done that, if they said, “Yeah, I want that end. I want that particular thing to happen. I want them to benefit in this way. I want to give this type of good – I want them to have these sorts of results in the end.” If you had all those expectations, then all of a sudden, oh, yeah, it’s very stressful and it’ll hit you for five, ten days as you try to figure out what’s wrong with the lady. So this detachment has a lot of practical benefits. The detachment – it’s not so much detachment – is more about fully living. That full living has a lot of benefits. First of all, you won’t have all this stresses and worries. You’re just living, just sort of floating through the water like a little log of wood in the sea — rising up with the wave and coming down with the ebbs. You’re just going through wherever it takes you. There’s something magical about that.

So then we still have this question. Why is all this hard? Why is this very hard? Everyone can say all this stuff rationally, right? But it’s very hard to implement it into our everyday actions. I asked myself the same question when I was younger [laughs]. I said, “Yeah, OK. I’ve read all these philosophy books. I’ve read all these scriptures and beliefs and dogmas. And I have everything inside of me.” If someone asked me, “Yeah, why are we this?”, I would sort of vomit all the stuff. “Oh, yeah, I know all the answers here. This is what the scripture says and this is what this person say and … you floss ten times a day and do this and do that and you won’t be selfish anymore.” I was vomiting this information – it was a very rational understanding of it. I said, “Oh, yeah, this is what the book says, so this must be it.” So I’d tell myself, “Yeah, I know all this stuff.” But, in reality, a rational level understanding is nothing. Everyone knows that anger, fear, depression, jealousy, and all such things are all very negative things. Everyone knows that rationally. No doctor’s going to come in and tell me, “OK, Nipun, you’re a little too pumped-up. Make sure you get angry three times tomorrow.” No one’s going to say that. There are no good benefits of anger, and there are no benefits of all these negativities. But you still have these negativities, right? Even when we understand that rationally it’s no good, but when it comes down to putting it in practice, this is just another thing. It’s very hard. So what to do about it?

What we understand at a rational level is very limited. I can tell you all this stuff and you can listen to everything. But it’s very limited. You need some sort of an experiential understanding, something where you realize what is wrong. It’s as if you hit your head against the wall and you know — ok, that hurts and I’m not going to do that again. In the same way we need an experiential understanding about this.

That means we need to understand the selfishness that’s in us. Right? Consider this moment right now. We’re acting. Every moment is of action, right? If we’re selfish, maybe we’re selfish right now too. So I’m talking, you’re listening. Let’s take my example. I’m talking. Now, before a talk, if you get nervous, what does that mean? That means you have an image in your head, and when you give a talk, you’re worried about protecting, preserving, and projecting that image. You want to make sure everyone thinks of you in the same way that you think of yourself. You want to make sure that everyone gets some ideas that they have of you. And you’re not sure that that will happen. That uncertainty creates this tension and nervousness. And it’s a very self-centered issue. You might’ve heard this story about Gandhi … he was traveling to address the whole nation of India and on his way to make the speech, an English gentleman stops him and asks, “Mr. Gandhi, what are you going to speak of today?” I can’t do an English accent, but [laughs] I try. “What are you going to speak of today?” was the question. Do you know what Gandhi’s response was? He says, “I don’t know. I’m not there yet.” He was five minutes from the talk. He didn’t know because he wasn’t there. His experience of reality was very spontaneous. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t some things which go in a certain order. He was just saying things as they were, as they manifested themselves in this present moment.

So that was about talking. Now, let’s take listening — all of you are listening. So what does listening imply? I’m saying all these things, but you’re not listening to a word of what I’m saying! You’re hearing these sound waves that I’m emitting but you’re not listening to any of it. To your processing system these are sounds like blaup blap blaa. It’s like that, right? Now, you take those sounds and you process it and translate it and that’s what it means to you. You’re only listening to your own selves! You’re hearing what I’m saying, but you’re only listening to your own self. If I said blaup blap blaa — what does that mean? If I forced everybody to come up with an answer, everyone would come up with different responses. It’s the same sound waves. You heard the same sound waves, but its translation is very different for everyone. So I’m saying all these things, but they mean something totally different to every individual in this room.

So we’re back to our original question, right? We said why are we selfish? We really have to look at that question really deeply to understand it, not just come up with rational jargon. Why are we selfish? You can just ask somebody, “Hey, why do you go rock climbing?” “Well, it’s fun. I just kinda like it.” “Why do you like to read?” “Well, I just sorta kinda like.” Why do you go to the movies? Why do you do drugs? Why do you draw? Why do you play music? Why do you do so many things? Right? Why do you all these things? You can ask, they will all say, “Well, I just sorta like it.” If you really break it down, initially they’re fun, but why are they fun? Why do we do all these things? We do them for that inner kick. We do everything for that inner kick.

Everything in our life comes down to that inner kick. “Oh, I like this ’cause it gives me this kick, and I don’t like this because it does not give me that kick.” Right? So all of a sudden now we start to have this good and bad, based on that kick that we get from these things. All our moods are in the same way — I’m in a good mood if I get this inner kick from things and if I don’t get it for a while, I’m in a bad mood. Or if someone gives me a negative kick, I’m in a bad mood. So all our lives, we become puppets to this inner kick. Everything we do is a reaction to all these things that are happening to us.

So this kick – why do we have this kick? I had a meeting with a CEO of a company that processes online donations last week (we were trying to build an alliance with them to help nonprofits) and he told me a very interesting thing. He says, “You have this pledge line where the donor has to check ten dollar line, twenty, thirty, fifty and then a blank line for any other amount. You know what we found in our research? People give the lowest amount.” So if you say 25 as the lowest one, people will pick that one. “You know why? This is the feel-good principle,” he told me. “Feel good principle? Oh?” He said, “People give that minimum amount so that they can feel good.” So he says, “It’s never a good idea to put that. Just have a little box, open-ended, so it’s up to them to decide, because otherwise they’re going to pick the lowest one.” That somehow made sense to me too. Even with giving – a lot of people – you can give for that inner kick. Oh, yeah, let me give $100,000 to something. OK, now I feel really good. My life is worth it, and all this, other stuff that I’ve collected and done, it’s all OK because I do this. Or if you don’t have money, you go out and help the homeless. Yeah, I’m going to go out and help the homeless. Oh, that’s really cool. Yeah, you know, I can go to bed today without any guilt feeling. So you go out and do this for that inner kick. You don’t have to do it for that inner kick, but a lot of times we tend to do it for that inner kick. Even giving? So what’s going on here?

There’s another cool story actually. There’s lots of cool stories. But this is a story about a monkey and a fish. A monkey is watching a river and notice a fish flowing down in the stream. Suddenly, the the monkey says, “Oh, I feel really compassionate. I think I need to go and help someone.” So he decides to help the fish and says, “All right, this fish looks like it is really struggling. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to help the fish.” The monkey picks up the fish and bring it to land. [laughs] Fish dies. A lot of times we think, oh, we can help, and we can do all these things – but who are you to help? You don’t even know who you are. How are you going to help? You don’t necessarily know.

And there’s no question of ego. When you do all these things, the ego doesn’t arise because you’re thankful for the opportunities that come to you. If the fish comes and says, “Hey, monkey. Hey, can you hear me? Can you throw me some food?” So then the monkey doesn’t say, “Oh, yeah, I’m going to help this fish.” The monkey instead says, “Oh, thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve, because I’m already lost, and you’re giving me this opportunity to serve.” That’s something great, right? For instance, with ServiceSpace, the word has spread all over the nation that we’re doing free stuff.  This is tens of thousands of dollars worth of services, so we get a lot of requests. It’s definitely a lot of work. But the perspective is this: Oh, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve. You’re serving because you got that opportunity. You got that chance to purify yourself, to see what’s going on, to see that dichotomy between selfishness and selflessness.

One of the other things we see when we see this dichotomy is the goggles. The goggles factor – I think that’s what I’m going to call it – we have goggles every time we see people, we do things, we interpret ideas, we listen to talks, and we hear all these things. We have put on our goggles. We filter everything through our own biases and make judgments based on those. Now, if I don’t know what those goggles are – even more basic than that, if I have green goggles on and I look at the sky, and the guy next to me says, “Hey, you know what? The sky’s blue.” I’m gonna say “No, I see it. The sky is green. It looks green to me. You can’t tell me otherwise.” The first guy says, “No, you got goggles on. You don’t understand. You’re not looking at it right.” I’ll still say, “No. The sky is green. I know it. That’s how it is. That’s how I see it. It can’t be another way because I see it that way.” But, of course, you’re in this illusion. You have these goggles on and you can’t see. You can’t see right.

So then how do you become aware of these goggles. That’s the next question, right? How do you become aware of those goggles? A very simple question with a simple answer: it’s observation. You just observe and you’ll see it. You say, “Oh, OK, things are great.” You watch. And this tool of observation is very powerful.

At every instance – right now, later when you go to your car, before when you were coming here – we’re all acting. Action — we can’t escape action. Action is there; we’re doing all these actions. But instead of going after that inner kick. If we just watch it – if we’re here and we’re now, and we say, “OK, how is this happening?” I’m dumping all these sound waves on you, and every one of you hearing these waves and interpreting it. But as soon as you become aware of it, it means something entirely different.

Then the whole cycle stops, right? Then we’ve realized that, oh yeah, I – you know, I’m hitting my head against the wall. I make up these desires and then I have cravings for them. Then I build up attachments. When I have these attachments and cravings, I have expectations. And when those expectations aren’t met, I generate negativity. I feel depressed. I feel this, and I feel that. Right? So why do we do all this? I mean that’s the real question. And it’s simple – when you see it in front of you, you say, “Yeah, hey, I shouldn’t be doing any of this. It doesn’t make any sense.” You say, “OK, I’ll stop then,” because it’s no longer a rational understanding. It’s no longer someone telling you rationally that, oh yeah, well, anger’s all bad because this book says so. You see it yourself. You’re banging your head against the wall, and it hurts. You’re banging your head against the wall, it hurts. You bang it again, and it hurts. You bang it again, and it hurts. This is how it is. As soon as you see that, you say, “OK, I’m not going to bang my head against the wall because if I do, I’ll be hurting.” So that choice is up to you, right?

Now, right now, you know, as I already said, I’m dumping all these sound waves on you. Let’s say I’m telling you something and you get really inspired, or you’re listening to another talk and you get really inspired. And you’re all pumped-up. I’m going to go and observe myself for the next 18 hours. I’m going to do something about this. And I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that. OK, so that’s great. You do all that. And what happens the next day? Nothing. You don’t have that inspiration so you go out hunting for those sound waves again. And, you know, if you’ve seen a movie that inspires you, you can’t see it 20 times and have the same effect. The first time it’s just something – so you look for different variations. You’re always hunting, hunting, hunting, and it just never ends. And then there’s money. People always criticize others chasing money. But you can start chasing inspiration. You can have this spiritual currency. Oh, well, I want tobe in this state. I want to feel this way. I want to feel this. I want to have this and that. And it’s all the same thing. Right? You’re just hunting.

How many people ever say, “I have arrived. This is a moment I’ve been waiting for all my life,” or “This is a moment that’s a culmination of all my life, all my experiences and this is it. I am here.” This Berkeley Buddhist monastery isn’t a pit stop from doing x, y, z — coming here and then going and doing something else. This is it. You have arrived. This is all there is to it. You have arrived. There’s nowhere to go. But this is all hard to do, right?

You have to have that sense of observation. And that observation – as soon as you start to observe this process, as soon as you observe selfishness, it disappears because there’s no solid foundation holding it down. So you watch it and you say, “OK, that’s just stupid. I’m not going to do it anymore.” As soon as you do that, that is the start of inspiration. It’s not dependent on anything I’m saying. It’s not dependent on anything you saw. It’s nothing external. It’s nothing related to any of these things. It’s internal. You are there. You are living that inspiration. Wherever you go, wherever you are, whether you’re in a car, you know, or you’re doing ServiceSpace stuff, or you’re doing something else, or you’re shaking hands with a stranger, that inspiration is with you, and it does not go away from you.

It’s not something that’s induced. You know, “Oh, yeah, give me this drug. I’ll feel this way.” It’s there. It’s permanent. It’s solid. That is true inspiration. And that inspiration has nothing to do with going on a hundred-day meditation retreat. Or going to the Himalayas and meditating. Or going this place or that place. There’s nothing wrong with those things; they’re there and they may work for a lot of people, and they may inspire a lot of people in different ways. And that’s fine. But the thing is you can never escape action. Whethere you’re meditating and doing nothing, so to say, or going out or doing all these complex activities, you’re still acting. It’s all action. You can’t escape action. And with each action is an opportunity to learn, to observe, to come out of this process of selfishness. And as soon as you observe, the selfishness drops away, and inspiration starts to take birth. And that inspiration is something very, very simple. It’s something very pure, something very genuine. And that is the spirit of service.

There’s no way I can describe it. The only thing I can do is tell you why I, myself am not in that state. And that’s it. Why am I not? Because I’m selfish. I have that chance for that pure, simple spirit of service in this moment, and that’s all there is to it. That opportunity of inspiration lies in each action and each action can manifest the purest spirit of service. Starting right here, right now.

Nipun Mehta delivered this talk at the age of 25, at the Institute of World Religions, in Berkeley.  It was set in the context of Silicon Valley’s dot-com gold rush; a month earlier, SF Weekly had just done this story to explore that stark contrast. Today, more than fourteen years later, Nipun continues to dedicate his life to small acts of service and volunteers full time with ServiceSpace.

Hindi Poetry

Posted: April 25, 2015 in poetry
Tags: ,
Bhula saka na wo silsala jo tha hi nahin
Wo ek khayal jo awaz tak gaya hi nahin
Wo ek baat jo main kah nahin saka tumse
Wo ek rabt jo humme kabhi raha hi nahin
Mujhe  to yaad hai wo sab jo kabhi hua hi nahin.
Kyun darein zindagi mein kya hoga
Kuch na hoga to tajruba hoga

Hasti aankhon mein jhaank kar dekho
Koi aansoo kahiin chupa hoga

~ Javed Akhtar


Urdu – Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Posted: April 25, 2015 in poetry
Tags: , ,
  1. Raaz-e-ulfat

    1. Raaz-e-ulfat chupa ke dekh liya
      Dil bahut kuch jalaa ke dekh liya
    2. Woh mere ho ke bhi mere na huwe
      Un ko apna bana ke dekh liya
    3. Aur kya dekhne ko baaki hai
      Aap se dil laga ke dekh liya
    4. Faiz, taqmeel-e-gham bhi ho na sake
      Ishk ko aazma ke dekh liya

      [Taqmeel means to complete. So taqmeel-e-gham means the end of my sorrows.]

    Abr aur sharaab

    1. Aaye kuch abr, kuch sharaab aaye
      Is ke baad aaye, jo azaab aaye.
    2. Kar raha tha gam-e-jahaaN ka hisaab
      Aaj tum yaad be-hisaab aaye.
    3. Faiz, thi raah sar-ba-sar manzil
      Hum jahaa pohche, kaamyaab aaye
  1. Ilzaam

    1. Hum par tumhaari chaah ka ilzaam hi to hai
      Dush-naam (abuse, insult) to nahi hai, yeh ikraam (respect) hi to hai.
    2. Karte hai jis pe ta’an, koi jurm to nahi
      Shauk-e-fazool-o-ulfat-e-nakaam hi to hai.
    3. Dil na-umeed to nahi, na-kaam hi to hai
      Lambi hai gham ki shaam, magar shaam hi to hai.
    4. Dast-e-falak mein, gardish-e-taqdeer to nahi
      Dast-e-falak mein, gardish-e-ayaam hi to hai.

    Dono jahaan har kar

    1. Dono jahaan teri mohabbat mein haar ke
      Woh jaa raha hai koi shab-e-gam guzaar ke.
    2. ViraaN hai maikadah kham-o-saagar udaas hai
      Tum kya gaye ke rooth gaye din bahaar ke.
    3. Ek fursat-e-gunaah mili, woh bhi chaar din
      Dekhe hai hum ne hoNsle parwar-digaar ke
    4. Dunya ne teri yaad se baigana kar diya
      Tujh se bhi dil-faraib hai gam-rozgaar ke.
    5. Bhoole se muskaraa to diye the woh aaj Faiz.
      Mat pooch val-vale (ecstasy) dil-e-na-kirdahkaar (useless) ke

      [Na-kirdakaar means something or someone that has no work to do. A good
      for nothing.]

    Aaj Phir Hareef-e-bahar

    1. Aaj phir hareef-e-bahar ho baithe
      Jaaney kis kis ko aaj ro baithey
    2. Thee, magar itni raigaan bhi na thi
      Aaj zindagi sey kuch kho baithey
    3. Na gayi teri be-rukhi, na gayi
      Hum teri aarzoo bhi kho baithey

Hindi Poetry

Posted: April 25, 2015 in poetry
Tags: , ,
Tum meri baate samajh paogi kaise, mai JAZBAAT likhta hu aur tum ALFAAZ padhte ho !!
मोहब्बत और मौत की पसंद तो देखो ,
एक को दिल चाहिए और दूसरे को धड़कन
“कामयाब लोग ” अपने फेसले ” से दुनिया बदल देते हे
!! और
नाकामयाब लोग दुनिया के डर से “अपने फेसले ” बदल लेते हे !!”

Good Poems – Part 2

Posted: April 25, 2015 in poetry
Tags: ,

Sometimes in life
We feel so blue;
But someone, somewhere
Is not as happy as you.

Somewhere far at the border
When a soldier sleeps,
Missing his loved ones
He silently weeps.

Somewhere a mother
Painfully sighs,
‘Cause her new born baby
Didn’t open her eyes.

Somewhere a poor dad
Silently cries,
When he sees his son begging
For a bowl of rice.

Somewhere in an orphanage
A little girl’s sad,
When she misses her
mom n dad.

So at times a reason to smile
U may not have any,
Say to yourself that
You’re happier than many.


Life is beautiful and
Its not always blue,
And someone, somewhere
Is not as happy as you.


The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
Without moving
To hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
With yourself,
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.

Absorbed in this world, you’ve made it your burden.
Rise above this world. There is another vision.
All your life you’ve paid attention to your experiences, but never to your Self.
Are you searching for your Soul? Then come out of your prison.
Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the Ocean.
It will not lead you astray.
Let the beauty you seek be what you do.

Good Poems -Poetry

Posted: April 25, 2015 in poetry
Tags: ,
It might take a year,
It might take a day.
But what’s meant to be will,
always finds its way.
She Killed me thrice.

First, when she looked at me;
second, when she smiled.
And third when I saw…
Somebody else in her eyes.

As a rule, man is a fool,
When it’s hot, he wants it cool;
When it’s cool, he wants it hot,
Always wanting what is not.
Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children to strive for extra ordinary lives
While such striving might seem admirable
But its a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
And marvel of ordinary life
Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes apples and pears.
Show them how to cry when
People and pets die
Show them the infinite pleasure
Of the touch of a hand
And make the ordinary come alive for them
The extraordinary will take care of its self.
Little bird flying in the sky, dropping shit into your eye,
You don’t worry, you don’t cry, just thank god that cows don’t fly.
“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you– – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
The Indispensable Man

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego ‘s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

by saxon white kessinger


A Psalm of Life

TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real !   Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o’erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Do sad people have in
It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and
What is the beginning of
It is to stop being
So religious
Like That.