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Thread: Just another perspective

  1. #1

    Just another perspective

    Lovely, lovely little text I found in the issue 14 of Prairie Wind of Rev Nonin:

    by Koshin Bob Schenck
    There are a minimum of fifty billion galaxies in the known universe and a minimum of two hundred million stars in each galaxy. That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. The total is actually much greater, since some galaxies contain as many as a trillion stars.1 I trim the wet green stem of a white carnation. From an isolated spot in rural Nebraska on a clear dark night less than 1500 stars are visible to the naked eye. These 1500 stars are a tiny fraction of the 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, a giant spiral galaxy with a diameter of 100,000 light years or 9,939,096,000,000,000,000 miles. One of the stars in the Milky Way is our Sun, a relatively small star. I light a white candle. Orbiting the Sun are the nine planets of our solar system and their moons. The third planet from the Sun is Earth. There are about 6,260,000,000 human beings alive on Earth. Each day about 178,000 human beings are born, and each day about 177,000 human beings die. I shovel cold white snow. About 282,000,000 of the more than six billion people alive on Earth live in the United States of America, six percent of the world’s population. One of them is me. One day, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps today, I will be one of the day's 177,000 dead. I gaze at the cold, white, dead full moon. Measured at its equator, the Earth spins on its axis at 1,035 miles per hour. In its elliptical orbit around the Sun, the Earth revolves at 68,000 miles per hour. The Sun and its solar system speed within the spiral arm of the Milky Way at 43,200 miles per hour. The spiral arm of the Milky Way revolves around its center at 650,000 miles per hour. The Milky Way speeds outward toward the limit of the known universe at 1,300,000 miles per hour.2 I sleep. At 4:00 a.m. my alarm sounds, a clock radio tuned to white noise. It says, “Shhhhhhhhh!” I wake. I rise. I brush my teeth and hair. In my mirror I see me. I dress. I bow. I sit. I breathe.
    1According to recent estimates by astronomers and scientists associated with the Hubble Space Telescope. 2David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace, The People’s Almanac #3 (New York: Bantam, 1982), pp. 354-355.
    Worth remembering next time you are upset by the neigbour or worried about fixing the car.



  2. #2
    Thank you. Hope you are well.
    求道芸化 Kyūdō Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  3. #3
    That is lovely T.

    Another simultaneously valid reason not to fight with the neighbor or be upset by the car is that the neighbor and car are the very center of the universe ... and so is each and all (and you too) in Indras' Net ...

    One Buddhist perspective to see is that the whole of reality, all time and space ... is manifested in a grain of sand ... and all of the universe is held on the tip of each blade of grass.

    So. do not be so quick to judge either a grain as "big" or "small" ... a blade as "tall" or "short" or finite ... or the universe as vast and distant ... for to do so is perhaps as a value judgment in saying how "small and insignificant" we must be, not much different from ancient man's subjective judgment in asserting how "grand" we are, that we are at the heart of it all, the universe spinning around us, the "center of creation".

    In fact, we are at the heart of all, the center, for where in the universe is the heart, the center of all? Better said, where in the center of reality, all emerging, is not the center? Where in the heart is not found the heart? Every point in the universe spins around every point in the universe.


    A frequently cited expression of this vision of reality is the simile of Indra’s Net from the Avatamsaka Sutra, which was further elaborated by the Huayan teachers. The whole universe is seen as a multidimensional net. At every point where the strands of the net meet, jewels are set. Each jewel reflects the light reflected in the jewels around it, and each of those jewels in turn reflects the light from all the jewels around them, and so on, forever. In this way, each jewel, or each particular entity or event, including each person, ultimately reflects and expresses the radiance of the entire universe. All of totality can be seen in each of its parts.

    You see, it used to be thought that mankind was the center of the cosmos, thus very important. Then, Copernicus, Hubble and others showed that we are just fleas on a speck of dust in one galaxy among countless galaxies ... so apparently unimportant in our relative smallness. However we Mahayana Buddhists (and many modern physicists!) tend to see the cosmos as more like the surface of a sphere, like the surface of this ball or balloon ...

    For the surface of a sphere, no matter the size of the sphere, EVERY point on the surface is as much the center of the surface as every other point. In a sense. every point is just as important or unimportant as any other ... and is as much the ball or balloon as any other. We are all the ball, and playing ball, in the most radical sense. In our universe, every point can also lay claim to being a center as much as any other too. In fact, each point of the ball's surface supports all the rest of the surface ... ala Indra's Net.

    Remove one atom from the surface, and one changes the whole ... maybe "pops" the whole balloon.
    Since all was a singularity that held the makings of everything and all possibility, the Big Bang happened not just far away and long ago ... but right here where you stand, and as every atom that makes you too. A little more here, when we were talking about Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot ...

    I am also a big fan of the Big History Project ... which points out that we are each and all the beneficiaries in this universe of every right turn and left turn of physics, chemistry, planetary and social history, at every instant's crossroads along the way, having turned left and right precisely as and when we needed to be here ... as evidenced by the fact of our being here to think about it when, seemingly, it appears to have been much more likely that we not be at all. I do not think it mere happenstance, given that every happening through all history happened to stance just right ...

    The man behind the project was recently interviewed on Colbert Report ...

    Gassho, A Grain of Sand
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-18-2013 at 02:06 AM.

  4. #4
    Beautiful... all of it.

    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

  5. #5
    Thank you

    Thank you for your practice

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Beautiful Taigu, thank you. Like a grain of sand in the vast ocean.


  8. #8

  9. #9
    being like a blade of grass,
    thank you Taigu

  10. #10
    Thank you Teacher. On a lighter (but not so lighter) it reminds me of Monty Python's Galaxy song:
    Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolvingAnd revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
    That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
    A sun that is the source of all our power.
    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
    Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
    It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
    It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
    But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
    We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
    We go 'round every two hundred million years,
    And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe.

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whizz
    As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
    Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
    So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
    'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth. [/

    Of course to see and hear it is funnier!

  11. #11
    Here you are Taikyo.

    Always look on the bright side!Gassho.
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  12. #12
    Thank you.


  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Like a grain of sand in the vast ocean.

    The drop or grain of sand is the ocean itself. I always resonate with this by the great Indian mystic and poet Kabir ...

    'All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.'

    Gassho, J

  14. #14
    Thank you.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    The drop or grain of sand is the ocean itself. I always resonate with this by the great Indian mystic and poet Kabir ...

    'All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.'

    Gassho, J
    Ah yes Jundo, beautiful!


  16. #16
    Wonderful, thank you and yeah the galaxy song is spot on!

  17. #17
    Beautiful, the whole thread, thank you for posting everyone.


  18. #18

    This reminds me of a fact that I recently read:

    "Hold up a grain of sand to the night-time sky. Within the space of that grain, exists 10,000 galaxies."

    Deep Gassho,

    Shinjin datsuraku, datsuraku shinjin..Body-mind drop off, mind-body drop off..

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