Starry Starry Night

art, Buddhism, Education, Health, Life Writing, Love and Compassion

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There are many, many pleasant and wonderful things about the country. One of them is that if you find yourself waking up very early in the morning, like at 2am, it is not a disturbing thing. What instantly strikes your awareness, warming your heart and calming your mind, is the blissful, peaceful serenity that pervades the air, fragrant with the sweet smell of eucalypt gums, the rich earth and the luminous, crystal clear, star studded sky all around you. Out here, there is no relentless drone of traffic humming endlessly through the night. No pollution to clog up your lungs and poison your airways, no trams, trains, buses or trucks to remind you of the frenetic pace of city life. As modern cities, lost in their directionless pursuit to become 24/7, sleepless buzz points on the globe, the country wisely says, no thanks, and continues on with its timeless embrace of the way mother earth has functioned for millions and millions of years. There is no rushing around to be found out here, just an empty, quiet road, and a people that know when the sun sets and the day is over, it is time to rest one’s weary bones and just be still.

As I sit here, sipping my soothing cup of tea, sitting in the dark next to gently crackling, golden, radiating fire, I listen to the gentle tumbling of water sliding and bubbling over river rocks, meandering it’s way slowly, gently, sometimes rapidly away from its pristine, mountain source, down through the valley, on its way through lush, green, and bountiful farmland pastures and beyond. And one can hear the blessed croaking of frogs, reminding you that out here things are still clean. When you find yourself short on sleep on a night out in the country, you are greeted instead with a harmonious and meditative zone of peace. This country is a tranquil haven that allows one to relax, reflect and to just stop thinking altogether. One is free to enjoy the expansiveness of one’s own consciousness, silent, without tension or stress, open, clear and free.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2020

Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Four

art, Buddhism, Culture, ethics, Happiness, Health, Life Writing, Love and Compassion, News, Philosophy, Wisdom

Id Is Not AH

What do you do when you are young and vulnerable, living under your parents control, when your mother has a nervous breakdown and you find her to be jealous of your attainments and ignorant of the true causes of suffering?

What do you do when you are broke, with no money, no proper foundation, and you have a father who drinks copious amounts of alcohol from the early hours of the morning until late into the night every single day, whilst trying to resolve his own psychological misery, emotional discomfort and mental pain by squandering basically all of the family fortune on mistresses, outrageously expensive annual overseas travel, alcohol and ridiculous investments?

You search for whatever aid and assistance that is close at hand.

At sixteen and seventeen, the only help that was close at hand came in the form of other sometimes even more misguided peers, whose only solution to suffering was to get as wasted as possible and blow whatever chances that study at school presented them with. School was suffering. Family life was suffering. Everyone followed the philosophy that as it was obvious we were all going down, better to do that together than to face the music and use whatever intelligence we were gifted with to try and devise a genuine escape route that would actually act as pathway to freedom from suffering.

Religion was frowned upon. Philosophy lay misunderstood in the stratosphere. Atheism was rife. Weekends were opportunities to binge drink and drown in our sorrows, serving only as breeding grounds for profound suffering.

It was in this environment that I was travelling home on a flight from Sydney with my mother and sister. Feeling dazed at the commotion that had enveloped our home life, I gazed out of the aircraft window to stare at the clouds far below. Dreams of a happy future lay in ruins. I was raised with the belief that I would always be taken care of by my parents. I was told much money had been put aside for our future; that we would be cared for by a substantial inheritance. I was told I would never have a mortgage. I would always have my own house and plenty of money to live on. I would not have a care in the world. Sad to say, these were all lies, a cunning illusion crafted by ignorant souls who chose to ignore the great truths taught by past masters and saints.

To give you an example of how crazy the behavior of my mother could be at times, as we were travelling on this flight, the quiet was broken by hysterical screams from my mother. When I drew close and tried to attend to her needs, she just abused me and told me to mind my own business. As she had recently suffered a brain aneurism, my thought was to contact her neurologist in Melbourne and ask him for some advice. When I informed my mother that he would make a special effort to meet her at the airport, I suffered further attacks – a blind rage. When we disembarked from the aircraft, as a reward for my efforts to calm and console my mother, I was abandoned at the airport with no money and forced to find my own way home.

To say that I was suffering my own form of mental anguish as a result of this treatment is surely an understatement. Neither of my parents appeared to have any regard or concern for the consequences of their unruly and destructive behavior. In this tumultuous and uncertain situation, I was required to excel at my studies, to retain full health, to marry a millionaire, to be on the front cover of vogue. In short, I was expected to marry Rupert Murdoch’s son and be an unquestionable success.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

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Top News Stories from 1985

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion

population by decade

Nobel Peace Prize: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

More World Statistics…

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: Ronald W. Reagan
Vice President: George Bush
Population: 237,923,795
Life expectancy: 74.7 years
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 52.1
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 46.5

More U.S. Statistics…

  • Ronald Reagan, 73, takes oath for second term as 40th President (Jan. 20).
  • General Westmoreland settles libel action against CBS (Feb. 18).
  • US Supreme Court, 5–4, bars public school teachers from parochial schools (July 1).
  • Arthur James Walker, 50, retired naval officer, convicted by federal judge of participating in Soviet spy ring operated by his brother, John Walker (Aug. 9).
  • US budget-balancing bill enacted (Dec. 12).

Economics

US GDP (1998 dollars): $4,180.70 billion
Federal spending: $946.39 billion
Federal debt $1817.5 billion
Median Household Income(current dollars): $23,618 billion
Consumer Price Index: $107.6
Unemployment: 7.2%
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.20 ($0.22 as of 2/17/1985)
Sports
Super Bowl

San Francisco d. Miami

World Series

Kansas City d. St. Louis Cardinals (4-3)

NBA Championship

LA Lakers d. Boston

Stanley Cup

Edmonton d. Philadelphia

Wimbledon

Women: Martina Navratilova d. C. Evert Lloyd (4-6 6-3 6-2)
Men: Boris Becker d. K. Curren (6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4)

Kentucky Derby Champion

Spend A Buck

NCAA Basketball Championship

Villanova d. Georgetown

NCAA Football Champions

Oklahoma (11-1-0)

Entertainment

Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes

Fiction: Foreign Affairs, Alison Lurie
Music: Symphony RiverRun, Stephen Albert
Drama: Sunday in the Park with George, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Academy Award, Best Picture: Amadeus, Saul Zaentz, producer (Orion)
Nobel Prize for Literature: Claude Simon (France)
Record of the Year: “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” Tina Turner
Album of the Year: Can’t Slow Down, Lionel Richie (Motown)
Song of the Year: “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” Graham Lyle and Terry Britten, songwriters
Miss America: Sharlene Wells (UT)

More Entertainment Awards…

Events

  • Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at age 59. He’s the first major star to fall victim to the disease.
  • Madonna launches her first road show, the Virgin Tour.
  • Dozens of top-name musicians and bands perform at the Live Aid concerts in Philadelphia and London. The shows benefit African famine victims.
  • With the availability of relatively inexpensive laser printers and computers, tools for desktop publishing begin to be commonly used.

Movies

  • Kiss of the Spider Woman, Out of Africa, Prizzi’s Honor, The Color Purple

Books

Science

Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Herbert A. Hauptman and Jerome Karle (both US), for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures
Physics: Klaus von Klitzing (Germany), for developing an exact way of measuring electrical conductivity
Physiology or Medicine: Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein (both US), for their work, which has drastically widened our understanding of the cholesterol metabolism and increased our possibilities to prevent and treat atherosclerosis and heart attacks

More Nobel Prizes in 1998…

  • British scientists report the opening of an enormous hole in the earth’s ozone layer over Antarctica. Background: Environment & Nature
  • Researchers at IBM develop the scanning tunneling microscope, which can visualize images on an atomic scale.
  • Coca-Cola attempts to change its 99-year-old formula in an effort to attract younger drinkers. “New” Coke is poorly received, and the company soon reintroduces the original, “Classic” beverage. Background: carbonated beverages

Death

A discussion on the problems within the world

Buddhism, ethics, Health, Love and Compassion

These days, and for how long now, people discuss the benefits of exercise. The only thing is what about learning how to engage in the practice of the dharma instead? What am I talking about? The benefits of engaging in all actions of body, speech and mind with a consciousness imbued with, pervaded by wisdom, the wisdom realising emptiness, a liberated, strong and positive state of mind.

Are you aware of your actions? I’d say not.

The false view of a transitory collection, the false view of a self, the false concept of an inherently existent I and mine is to blame for the discomfort one experiences whether alone or with others. I am pointing to the false view of a self of persons and of phenomena. All phenomena lack inherent existence whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing.

The thing is everyone is basically looking for an experience of happiness, wanting to avoid suffering and it’s causes, but when you go walking, the hatred emanating from people’s faces, their eyes, their attitude is palpable and ordinary. Haven’t you noticed, when you walk along the pathway, not very many people practice courtesy, selflessness of persons or correct view. A common, sensible direction cannot be found. People meander, barging into one another, refusing to get out of each others way, acting like they own the common space, refusing to acknowledge the need to benefit others.

We live in a country that walks and drives on the left side of the pathway or road. If you observe the direction of the traffic, and stay to the correct side, you can avoid a nasty confrontation or accident/injury with others. Why not watch your motivation and try to make your experience of yourself and the world a benefit not only to yourself but the community as a whole? You are mindless, self centred beings. The streets of Melbourne, or indeed any city or country town are harsh, dangerous and even violent spaces.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2017

A Captain’s Logbook – Journey into Love

Buddhism, Culture, Love and Compassion, meditation, Philosophy, Tibetan Buddhism

January 9 2017

2017-kalachakra

It’s lovely waking up early in the morning, having just enjoyed a beautiful nights sleep. How to live well. How to relax well. How to teach well the principles of the Lord Buddha. Ethics, concentration and wisdom, the six perfections, these are such awesome topics and subjects to consider and abide with. The writer sits, dressed in pretty cotton nightwear, sipping on a sparkling natural mineral water, planning her day.

Having just completed the recitation of the deity, there is just a pot of tea to consider. Spaciousness of mind here, there and indeed everywhere is essential. Devoid of true existence am I, are you? The preciousness of this human life is obvious don’t you think, so today is the turning of the wheel of dharma and the first union of Kalachakra.

His Holiness is so kind. Bodhgaya is so moving. Many people gather to listen, contemplate and to meditate. What is this love story I think about? There are many fine characters. His Holiness and his retinue lead the way, inspiring others with such brilliant examples of ethical conduct, love, compassion wisdom and joy. There is quite a bit of paper on my desk. If I were listening to my children, they might think, oh Mum, when are you going to file all that paper, or wouldn’t I have taught them to worry. Administration is a good skill to learn. I have an in-tray, and out-tray and they are looking settled enough for the time being. No point looking nervously at this paper. Bills have to be paid don’t they. You wouldn’t want to live on the streets. What a horrible place that is. Then again, a house is on the street isn’t it, or is it a mansion of the deity, to be revered, respected and taken care of.

What is my point? Each day is precious, every moment presents us with a wonderful canvas upon which to paint the most glorious of virtuous works and gift of freedom. Don’t waste it being negative, getting caught up with the confusion of ignorance, jealousy, lust, pride, hatred, attachment or wrong view. How do you make your life a work of fine art, something to be admired and treasured? It, as you might well tell me, concerns principally the subject of meditation, the familiarisation with virtue.

Time now to make that tea.

Or I could just be grateful for the mineral water.

Maybe it’s just a good opportunity to release, to meditate upon emptiness of a self of persons and of phenonmena. Don’t get caught up in the busyness of worldly attachment and concern. This is what all truly great masters dream of.

If you commit to living in the present, not worrying about the past, not delving into the non-inherently existent future, just live to enjoy and be at peace with the day and night that unfolds each twenty-four hours. Does it have time? We are discussing the Wheel of Time Kalachakra. The possum outside barks in pain, reminding me of how much better it is to be a human and not an animal, who appallingly appears to lack the eight endowments and ten freedoms necessary to complete the stages of the path to enlightenment.

Anyway, I was mentioning tea, so best go to make it, don’t you think?

2017-2-kalachakra

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2017

Goodness Me

art, Buddhism, Life Writing, Love and Compassion, Medicine

How do you prove to someone that you love them?

I guess you need to show them the way. However.

It’s a bit tricky. Mostly people think, what the fuck do you want? You’re not going to rob me, are you? What are you doing here? I’ve had enough. Go away.

Gee, from my experience, that’s not too happy, or friendly.

Dear Merlin, maybe grow up.

Yeahyah, I mean grow up. What would I be doing here without you????

No I’m not really canvassing disciples, I am trying to teach you I’m worth it. Ho hum, what does that mean?

Goodness me, I’m lost, No Vanessa isn’t lost, she is worthwhile, but you deal a mean deal. Why sack me? Apparently, the company didn’t like the romance, or was it something truly worthwhile? Either way, I win. Do I really? When are you going to come onboard? Now would be good for all of us.

A little lesson on renunciation here is to learn to give up completely. Maybe, as I have often stated, the worldly mind is always the enemy to true consultation.

Hmmm, maybe I am for real after all. So thanks, why not give me a ring?

 

 

 

 

 

The Language of Love

Buddhism, Freedom, Happiness, Health, Love and Compassion, Philosophy, Writing

Birth of the Buddha

 

The language of love does not, in any way, correspond with the language of desire[1].

When one person, or even one being, loves another, their primary concern always lies
with how to remove the suffering and pain of another. It begins, continues and ends with thinking about ways to bring pleasure and happiness to another, and will even focus upon the needs and wishes of all beings. This is not because it is trying in any way to deceive another simply to fulfill its own selfish gratifications.

Love aims to avoid creating losses for another person or being. Simply, it aims to protect
the integrity, morality and self-respect of another person. Desire attempts to do the opposite. Desire does not care if damage is created in the experience of another person. It cares nothing for the self-respect, morality or aims of another.

Love aims to protect and nurture the happiness, contentment and health of people and all
beings. It has no interest in trampling on the needs of others in order to bring about some superficial, short-lived and impermanent experience of satisfaction.

In my experience, the Buddha will think, devise and perform limitless actions aimed at protecting, nurturing and sustaining the happiness and fulfillment of another person. He has no commonality whatsoever in the mundane, selfish and destructive motivations of ordinary, self-possessed beings. An ordinary being, on the other hand, has no thought or care about the consequences of his self-centered actions. An ordinary being with no insight or love will, without hesitation, create suffering and misery in the mind and experience of another. True, deep, endless love, aims to transcend the boundaries of space, thought and time. It can move beyond the limitations of the human form and reach far into the realms of space to bring peace, contentment and joy.

May all beings identify, recognize and be conjoined with the supramundane love of a Buddha. May they transcend their sufferings and recognize without any shadow of a doubt, that a Buddha can and will free all beings from their limited, miserable lives and transport them to a state of never-ending happiness, peace and everlasting joy.


[1] Desire means thirst. Like drinking salt water. A taste that cannot be satisfied. Quote from The Buddha

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2011

The One – the Lover and the Best Friend

Freedom, Happiness, Life, Life Writing, Love and Compassion, Philosophy, Writing

#Actors Michael Pena and Yari De Leon after #T...

Image by joykennelly via Flickr

I saw a movie in this week. Three times. It’s called The Lincoln Lawyer. It struck some deep notes.

In samsara, when you meet beauty, when you meet true love, things can go awry. This is a story about a young man, a wonderful young man, not rich, but with genuine qualities who meets The One. One night in bar they meet. The sparks fly. He recognizes her beauty instantly and values it. She finds him sexy and drops her price. The chemistry is there. The future awaits.

As samsara would have it, a jealous, uncreative and corrupt man looks on. Seething with rage and hatred, he makes the determination to ruin it all. Unbeknownst to the lovers, he lies in wait, cultivating his evil motivation. In circumstances where sex and love are involved, evil watches on close by.

I suppose why this movie hit such a deep note is because I can draw so many parallels with events that have taken place in my own life. This movie focused upon a deep psychology, a psychology common to samsara, however this subject lies in a field of vision the ordinary person most often doesn’t recognize. The rich lay idly complacent, and the poor, wholesome ones unfortunately get lost in their naiveté and innocence.

When a common, uncreative and flawed ordinary being witnesses the play of true love and wisdom, their mind begins to spin out of control. Unable to contain their hatred, jealousy, fear and competitiveness, the wretched determine a plan that attempts to undermine such love and innocence and does its best to make the whole system fail. This of course will only further prolong the suffering of all concerned, but the evil mind never pays heed to that. Too ignorant to fathom the true depth of the consequences of an evil act, the uncreative mind is unrelenting in its inability to face up to the shallow nature of its own focus.

When you see others succeed, when you witness true love, don’t try to destroy it and take it away. Rejoice and recognize that by supporting such a rare event you create the causes for your own future happiness and success. Anything else is but a folly and a play of the unoriginal.

 

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2011