Tibet Monk Quotes

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In the time between the two wars, a British colonial officer said that with the invention of the airplane the world has no secrets left. However, he said, there is one last mystery. There is a large country on the Roof of the World, where strange things happen. There are monks who have the ability to separate mind from body, shamans and oracles who make government decisions, and a God-King who lives in a skyscraper-like palace in the Forbidden City of Llhasa.
Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet)
For modern people the pursuit of wisdom sounds like something you'd have to travel to Tibet for. To us, wisdom is mystical and esoteric. It conjures up images of cave-dwelling hermits, saffron-robed monks, and, well, Yoda.
J. Mark Bertrand (Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World)
Christ will never more come down to earth nor will there be any law-giver, nor will murder cease nor theft, nor rape, and yet... and yet one expects something, something terrifyingly marvellous and absurd, perhaps a cold lobster with mayonnaise served gratis, perhaps an invention, like the electric light, like television, only more devastating, more soul rending, an invention unthinkable that will bring a shattering calm and void, not the calm and void of death but of life such as the monks dreamed, such as is dreamed still in the Himalayas, in Tibet, in Lahore, in the Aleutian Islands, in Polynesia, in Easter Island, the dream of men before the flood, before the word was written, the dream of cave men and anthropophagists, of those with double sex and short tails, of those who are said to be crazy and have no way of defending themselves because they are outnumbered by those who are not crazy.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #2))
I am travelling with this mystique myself, I know. It has grown out of childhood, and adolescent reading. This looking-glass Tibet is a realm of ancient learning lost to the rest of the world, ruled by a lineage of monks who are reincarnations of divinity. Recessed beyond the greatest mountain barrier on earth, in plateaux of cold purity, it floats in its own time. It is a land forbidden to intruders not by human agency but by some mystical interdiction. So it resonates like the memory of something lost, a survival from a purer time, less a country than a region in the mind. Perhaps it holds the keys to the afterlife
Colin Thubron
Those who had seen eyes like hers before understood instantly that she was a woman who had suffered, but wore it well, with dignity and grace. Rather than dragging her down into depression, her pain had lifted her into a peaceful place. She was not a Buddhist, but shared philosophies with them, in that she didn’t fight what happened to her, but instead drifted with it, allowing life to carry her from one experience to the next. It was that depth and wisdom that shone through her work. An acceptance of life as it really was, rather than trying to force it to be what one wanted, and it never could be. She was willing to let go of what she loved, which was the hardest task of all. And the more she lived and learned and studied, the humbler she was. A monk she had met in Tibet called her a holy woman, which in fact she was, although she had no particular affinity for any formal church. If she believed in anything, she believed in life, and embraced it with a gentle touch. She was a strong reed bending in the wind, beautiful and resilient.
Danielle Steel (Matters of the Heart)
Lobsang sighed. ‘But I think I need you too, Joshua. I often think back to our days together on the Mark Twain.’ ‘Watched any old movies recently?’ ‘That’s another thing about Agnes. She won’t let me show any movies that don’t have nuns in.’ ‘Wow. That’s brutal.’ ‘Something else that’s good for me, she says. Of course there aren’t that many movies that qualify, and we watch them over and over.’ He shuddered. ‘Don’t talk to me about Two Mules for Sister Sara. But the musicals are the worst. Although Agnes says that the freezer-raiding scene in Sister Act is an authentic detail from convent life.’ ‘Well, that’s a consolation. Musicals with nuns in, huh . . .’ A voice rang out across the park, a voice Joshua remembered only too well from his own past. ‘Lobsang? Time to come in now. Your little friend will keep until tomorrow . . .’ ‘She has loudhailers everywhere.’ Lobsang shouldered his rake and sighed as they trudged across the grass. ‘You see what I’m reduced to? To think I hired forty-nine hundred monks to chant for forty-nine days on forty-nine mountain tops in stepwise Tibets, for this.’ Joshua clapped him on the shoulder. ‘It’s tough, Lobsang. She’s treating you like you’re a kid. Like you’re sixteen, going on seventeen.’ Lobsang looked at him sharply. ‘You can pack that in for a start,’ he snapped. ‘But I’ve got confidence you can overcome these difficulties, Lobsang. Just face up to every obstacle. Climb every mountain—’ Lobsang stalked off sulkily. Joshua waved cheerfully. ‘So long! Farewell!
Terry Pratchett (The Long War (The Long Earth #2))
One day the Dalai Lama received a visit from a monk arriving from Tibet after spending twenty-five years in Chinese labor camps. His torturers had brought him to the brink of death several times. The Dalai Lama talked at length with the monk, deeply moved to find him so serene after so much suffering. He asked him if he had ever been afraid. The monk answered: “I was often afraid of hating my torturers, for in so doing I would have destroyed myself.” A few months before she died at Auschwitz, Etty Hillesum wrote: “I can see no way around it. Each of us must look inside himself and excise and destroy everything he finds there which he believes should be excised and destroyed in others. We may be quite certain that the least iota of hatred that we bring into the world will make it even more inhospitable to us than it already is.
Matthieu Ricard (The Art of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill)
Much more than skeleton, it is flash, I mean the carrion flesh, which disturb and alarm us – and which alleviates us as well. The Buddhists monks gladly frequented charnel houses: where corner desire more surely and emancipate oneself from it? The horrible being a path of liberation in every period of fervor and inwardness, our remains have enjoyed great favor. In the Middle Ages, a man made a regimen of salvation, he believed energetically: the corpse was in fashion. Faith was vigorous than, invincible; it cherished the livid and the fetid, it knew the profits to be derived from corruption and gruesomeness. Today, an edulcorated religion adheres only to „nice” hallucinations, to Evolution and to Progress. It is not such a religion which might afford us the modern equivalent of the dense macabre. „Let a man who aspires to nirvana act so that nothing is dear to him”, we read in a Buddhist text. It is enough to consider these specters, to meditate on the fate of the flash which adhered to them, in order to understand the urgency of detachment. There is no ascesis in the double rumination on the flesh and on the skeleton, on the dreadful decrepitude of the one and the futile permanence of the other. It is a good exercise to sever ourselves now and then from our face, from our skin, to lay aside this deceptive sheathe, then to discard – if only for a moment – that layer of grease which keeps us from discerning what is fundamental in ourselves. Once exercise is over, we are freer and more alone, almost invulnerable. In other to vanquish attachments and the disadvantages which derive from them, we should have to contemplate the ultimate nudity of a human being, force our eyes to pierce his entrails and all the rest, wallow in the horror of his secretions, in his physiology of an imminent corpse. This vision would not be morbid but methodical, a controlled obsession, particularly salutary in ordeals. The skeleton incites us to serenity; the cadaver to renunciation. In the sermon of futility which both of them preach to us happiness is identified with the destruction of our bounds. To have scanted no detail of such a teaching and even so to come to terms with simulacra! Blessed was the age when solitaries could plumb their depths without seeming obsessed, deranged. Their imbalance was not assigned a negative coefficient, as is the case for us. They would sacrifice ten, twenty years, a whole life, for a foreboding, for a flash of the absolute. The word „depth” has a meaning only in connection with epochs when the monk was considered as the noblest human exemplar. No one will gain – say the fact that he is in the process of disappearing. For centuries, he has done no more than survive himself. To whom would he address himself, in a universe which calls him a „parasite”? In Tibet, the last country where monks still mattered, they have been ruled out. Yet is was a rare consolation to think that thousands of thousands of hermits could be meditating there, today, on the themes of the prajnaparamita. Even if it had only odious aspects, monasticism would still be worth more than any other ideal. Now more then ever, we should build monasteries … for those who believe in everything and for those who believe in nothing. Where to escape? There no longer exist a single place where we can professionally execrate this world.
Emil M. Cioran
Father Norris Clarke, S.J., my philosophy professor at Fordham, went to Tibet once, on his own, just to converse with the Buddhist monks there. After a day of delightful conversation with the Buddhist abbot about their religions, the abbot said, “Obviously, our two religions are very different. But I think they are also very similar in their root in the depths of the human heart. I would like to test this idea, with your permission. Here are four of my priests who speak good English. I will ask you and them the same question and compare your answers. I have never asked them this question before. The question is this: What is the first requirement for any religion at all?” Father Clarke thought that was an excellent experiment, so he agreed. He and the four monks wrote their answers on five pieces of paper. When the papers were unfolded and read, the very same single word was found on all five of them. The word was gratitude.
Peter Kreeft (Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic)
We might adopt the mindful practices of Buddhist monks, observing the flow of inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad at all. That’s a great goal, and I’m all for a regular mindful practice. It will, the research indicates, help improve quality of life and is worth pursuing. But getting all the way there is a tall order if we don’t want to quit our day jobs and move to Tibet. It works against the way our brains evolved, against our competitive drive.
Annie Duke (Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts)
Tibet The sage blue sky awakens before the earth which slumbers a bit longer to still the chill of her bones and dream until the sun peeks hot through her cragged peaks bestirring weary monks to the swirl of their yak butter tea. Monks meditate upon this whorl which echoes the birth of galaxies, the twist of DNA, the curlicue of hair at the back of an infant’s head, eddying clockwise like Buddha’s journey, winding like a prayer wheel, in the resonance ofinterconnection. Bells tinkle, bowls sing, incense suffuses hints of heaven, rainbows of Jingfan prayer flags clap wildly in the wind, waving me to my quest, to surge forward, to trek to higher and higher ground -- to the rarefied air that is my mind.
Beryl Dov
all laws whatsoever. Nevertheless there exists no rigid division between these two categories. Though their respective theories are always a favourite subject of controversy between the followers of the two schools, it seldom happens that one stands in the position of a harsh, pugnacious adversary towards those in the opposite camp. Even the monks attached to morality acknowledge that a virtuous life and the monastic discipline, though of great value and advisable for the many, are but a mere preparation to a higher
Alexandra David-Néel (Magic and Mystery in Tibet)
Steve loved showing off his new son. When we brought him home, all the zoo staff welcomed the new arrival. We have always had a good relationship with a group of Buddhist monks from Tibet. They had blessed Bindi when she was a newborn. As Robert celebrated his one-month birthday, we decided to hold a fund-raiser for a Buddhist nun’s convent where the well had dried up. A new well would cost forty thousand dollars. We felt that amount might be achievable in a series of fund-raising events. We invited the nuns to stay at Australia Zoo and planned to hold a fund-raiser at our brand-new Crocoseum, doing our part to help raise some money for the new well. The nuns wished to know if we wanted them to bless the animals while they were at the zoo. “Would you please bless Robert?” we asked. Bindi had been blessed along with the crocodiles when she was a month old. Now we would do the same for Robert. The nuns came into the Crocoseum for the ceremony. I brought a sleepy little Robert, adorned with his prayer flag and a scarf. We invited press to help publicize the plight of the nuns. Robert was very peaceful. The nuns sang, chanted, and gave him their special blessing. The ceremony was over, and the croc show was about to begin. Steve wanted to share Robert’s first crocodile show with everyone at the Crocoseum, as he was going to feed Murray the crocodile. Just as we had done with Bindi at this age, we brought Robert out for the show. Steve talked to the visitors about how proud he was of his son. He pointed out the crocodile to Baby Bob. Although Robert had been in with the crocodiles before, and would be again, this was an event where we could share the moment with everybody. When the croc show was over, Steve brought Robert back underneath the Crocoseum and I put him in his stroller. His eyes were big and he was waving his arms. This event would mark the beginning of a lifetime of working with his father as a wildlife warrior. Steve and Bindi were regulars during the croc shows, and now it looked as though Robert would be joining in as well.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
China’s Koreans enjoy advantages denied to other minorities, which only reinforces the sense that Yanbian is more like a mini-state than just another autonomous area. The most notable of these is the right to education in their own language at school as well as college. Unlike in Xinjiang, where the government has closed down Uighur-only schools, or Xishuangbanna and Tibet, where the only way to study Dai or Tibetan is to become a monk, the Yanbian government actually funds schools that teach in Korean.
David Eimer (The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China)
Thus, in eastern Tibet, they say that before he died one monk asked that no one touch his corpse for a week and that the door to his room remain closed. After seven days, when they went into the room, his body had completely dissolved. They found only his monastic robes; even his nails and hair had disappeared. This monk was a hermit who lived very simply, without externalizing any signs of realization during his life devoted to contemplation. He had managed, through his practice, to actualize the primordial purity of the mind. We are not all called to such an accomplishment. It is better, for our daily practice, to stay at home, keeping our professional and family life while still learning to become better from day to day and adhering to a positive mode of life that will contribute to the good of society, according to the principles of the Dharma. We should choose professions in the areas of education, health, or social services. We should avoid renouncing everything for a solitary retreat. The aim is not to devote ourselves solely to spiritual practice, to lead a life lost in the glaciers. We should progress by degrees, steadily, taking care not to have extreme views, in a spirit of steadfastness and perseverance.
Dalai Lama XIV (My Spiritual Journey: Personal Reflections, Teachings, and Talks)
The Pala period [between the eighth and the twelfth century CE], in particular, saw several monasteries emerge in what is now modern Bengal and Bihar, five of which—Vikramashila, Nalanda, Somapura Mahavihara, Odantapuri, and Jaggadala—were premier educational institutions which created a coordinated network amongst themselves under Indian rulers. Nalanda University, which enjoyed international renown when Oxford and Cambridge were not even gleams in their founders’ eyes, employed 2,000 teachers and housed 10,000 students in a remarkable campus that featured a library nine storeys tall. It is said that monks would hand-copy documents and books which would then become part of private collections of individual scholars. The university opened its doors to students from countries ranging from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, and Indonesia in the east to Persia and Turkey in the west, studying subjects which included the fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war.
Shashi Tharoor (Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India)
Sky Burial   Standing ‘mongst the dogs all squint of eye and crane of neck until I named the circling turkey buzzard speck of cumulus nimbus. Such scavengers bring me pause. Earth was lying easy on her back and breathing into blue, a thermal sigh, lifting bird and wonder to where this one might fly. The expanse so vast along the glaciered seam of plains and mountains, distance and the silence held still a dusky moment for the bird to preen in copper light on rocky moraine, preparing for its earnest work. In Tibet, whether monk or peasant, in breaching death, the empty vessel is washed in water, in prayer, carried by solemn procession into thinning air, laid prone, left alone, sacred fare, shared by vultures as spirit migrates to a new birth, born again somewhere. If we are attending to the way, we pass through many deaths. Birds can be a sign of such transitions. Yes, the buzzard had me thinking I was once a starling lost in false murmurations. Today, my name is lone hawk on bare limb.
James Scott Smith (Water, Rocks and Trees)
When you are resolving your mind, Do not hanker for the higher perceptions. There is the danger of being carried away by the maras of joy and pride. Son, rest in the state free from hope. Do you understand this, monk from Ü?*
Chögyam Trungpa (Milarepa: Lessons from the Life and Songs of Tibet's Great Yogi)
Although many women in Tibet found ways to practice spirituality, they did so in a culture which gave them mixed messages. On the one hand they were subject to religious and cultural negation of women as equal vehicles for spirituality; on the other hand they were supported by the notion of women being the essence of wisdom and the dakini principle. They had to prove themselves in ways that men and monks did not. We Western women are also conditioned by the limited examples of truly spiritual women as role models within our patriarchal society. We must seek to recover from the alienation from ourselves and articulate our experiences with very few resources from which we can draw inspiration and in which we can recognize ourselves.
Tsultrim Allione (Women of Wisdom)