18 Rules For Living.
October 27, 2008

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

Shantideva

I’ve always been fascinated by the Dalai Lama, Tibet, Tibetan monks and the buddhist philosophy. Reading Merlin’s Keep by Madeleine Brent (I still have to try tsampa) and seeing the movie Kundun sealed my fate.

My heart also breaks for the Dalai Lama and for the trials of his country, the monks and its denizens.

Click here: Dalai Lama birth, biography and bibliography

I’m not buddhist, but I’ve long respected its principles and teachings. Buddhist thought has always reminded me of the best poetry, the kind that illuminates both the human condition and the glimmer of greatness within us all.  

But, I digress. I came across the Dalai Lama’s list, today, while searching for news on how His Holiness was recuperating from exhaustion in July, followed by gallbladder surgery in October. Issued at the start of the new millenium, his list once again reminded me of why I admire this man. 

18 Rules for Living:

 1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three Rs:

— Respect for self

— Respect for others

— Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

And, if I may be so pretentious, I would add three more:

19. Find evidence of something greater than yourself in nature and its creations.

20. Be beautiful for what you do, not for how you look.

21. Never underestimate the power of a good nap.

 

Photo by Emily Murdoch

Click here: Tsampa – the National Food of Tibet

Death’s Lovely Banquet: Please RSVP ASAP.
August 4, 2008

O soul thou pleasest me, I thee,

Sailing these seas or on the hills, or waking in the night,

Thoughts, silent thoughts, of Time and Space and Death …

Passage to India

Walt Whitman

If we really do survive after this life, I’m already making plans; I hope to throw a dinner party on my arrival. Today, as I cleaned the rescue kennels and scrubbed the splashity green stuff (algae) out of the horses’ water buckets, (that smells like spearmint), my mind went over and over the guest list like a tongue-tip over a missing tooth. Let’s see.

God, of course, and Buddha, and the Dalai Lama, (pronounced doll-eye, not doll-ee), all incarnations. (How could you really pick and choose?) Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus, who’ll bring the fish, salt and wine between them, Ranier Maria Rilke, Jelaluddin Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore, who will give a pre-dinner poetry reading that will take our breath away. (Not that we’d need it any longer). 

Anne Frank, Princess Diana, (a vision in white), and Mother Teresa, perhaps even being the same person in three different incarnations. Hemingway and Emily Dickinson, (both at the same table), Sylvia Plath, too, (perhaps it might lift her spirits), and Anne Sexton (with a designated driver, of course).

All my dead friends. All my animals, too. The dogs will eat steak, medium-rare, without one cow being harmed. The cats will catch magical fish and clean whiskers and paws on catnip carpets. The horses will run and buck for carrots, alfalfa and ginger snaps, without a tangle in their long, flowing tails, and have all the sugar cubes they desire, balancing them on their noses first, showing off. 

Cherubs eating corn on the cob, with butter dripping off their elbows like real children, St. Nick, (the original), Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, and I know this is a guest list that will continue to come to me, even as I fall asleep. Abraham Lincoln, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Beatrix Potter, Winston Churchill. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and the amazing Houdini, who could entertain everyone after dinner. Edgar Cayce, who could answer all our burning questions when Houdini was through and the night had substantially darkened, to make for that extra thrill.

Donna Reed and James Dean, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton playing through the cocktail hour, until Judy Garland takes over, belting it out from the smoking section. All the women in the finest gowns and the men in smart tuxedos. Flowers growing everywhere, and happy, shining faces.