Revisiting the social norms and expectations imposed upon us…

I grew up in Lebanon and spent most of my life there. One of the things I learned is to be hospitable.

For instance, if you are eating something, you offer others before you eat.

If you are thirsty at the same time as some one else, you let them drink first.

When we go to restaurants with a group of family or friends, we fight for the check. Everyone wants to pay for the whole group. The premise is that if someone pays today, another will pay the next time, etc.

All was good until I moved to Western Europe and then to North America. Continue reading

The holy books quadrilogy

Throughout the mankind history, 3 major Abrahamic religions arose in the world. Almost two millenniums afterwards (in the year 1830), another “religious” book emerged in the US (the Book of Mormon).

It is funny how these 4 books can be likened to a funny quadrilogy book set.

  • The Jewish adventures: old Jewish scrolls.
  • Jewish Adventures II – The return of the Jews: the old and the new testament. Basically the modern day “Holy Bible”.
  • Jewish Adventures III – The Revenge of Mohammed: That’s Holy Quran used by Muslims throughout the world.
  • Jewish Adventures IV – Jesus in Space: The Book of Mormon, written by Joseph Smith

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The Ten Paramis

I learned about the paramis when I partook my first Vipassana meditation retreat. A parami is a good mental quality that one must practice and perfect in order to attain liberation.

The 10 paramis are as follows:

  1. Generosity, giving (dana): giving for the sake of giving.
  2. Morality (sila): lead a moral life and follow the 5 precepts
  3. Renunciation (nekkhamma): drop attachment to your personal belongs and lead a generous life. Give and volunteer whenever you can.
  4. Wisdom (panna): participate in wholesome learning. The ultimate knowledge and wisdom comes from within. Hence, practicing the insight meditation helps achieving true wisdom.
  5. Energy/Effort (viriya): conserve your energy and do wholesome activities. Work hard and earn your livelihood. Help others.
  6. Patience/Tolerance (khanti): replace anger and frustration with patience, forgiveness and compassion.
  7. Truthfulness (sacca): every action should come from a place of truthfulness. Prejudice blinds you from the truth.
  8. Determination (adhitthana): success does not come easily. Stay determined and remember that success begets success.
  9. Loving-kindness (metta): or self-less love. Practice loving without expecting anything in return.
  10. Equanimity (upekkha): nothing in life is permanent. Learn to recognize the impermanence and stay equanimous

May all beings be happy!

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The meaning of the Chariot and charioteers in the Bhagavad Gita

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna imparts to Arjun various important spiritual lessons.

If you have not read the Gita, then it is a good an insightful read.

In this blog post, I want to explain to you the symbolism behind the chariot picture in which we see Arjun, Krishna and the 5 horses driving the chariot.

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Saint Elias

This is Saint Elias (or Elijah). He is celebrated in my home country, Lebanon, on the 20th of July.

According to Wikipedia:

Elijah (Hebrew: אֱלִיָּהוּ‎, Eliyahu, meaning “My God is Yahu/Jah”) or Elias (/ɪˈlaɪ.əs/; Greek: Ηλίας Elías; Syriac: ܐܸܠܝܼܵܐ‎ Elyāe; Arabic: إلياس or إليا, Ilyās or Ilyā) was a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab (9th century BC), according to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible.

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Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사) – South Korea

In July of 2017, I visited the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea.

As I was walking towards the temple, I was lured by the chanting. I stood by the temple speaker and recorded the following song:

Do you know what song this is?

 

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