In a world where art manifests itself in countless forms, there are rare instances when we stumble upon something truly extraordinary—a concealed treasure that enthralls our senses and moves us on a deep level. Such a remarkable encounter occurred one fateful day as I explored the gift shop at The International Art Museum of America (IAMA), nestled in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Amidst the vast array of artistic wonders, my gaze became fixated on an exquisitely crafted wood carving—a masterpiece that exuded an ethereal essence of spirituality and profound significance.
This awe-inspiring sculpture, meticulously chiseled from a single tree, originated from China and was skillfully brought to life by gifted folk artists. It portrayed an enchanting realm of spiritual growth and profound accomplishments in Buddhism. Towering at an impressive height of approximately three and a half meters and spanning one meter in width, this artwork was a testament to the dedication and artistry of its creators. Every intricate detail, meticulously carved figures, and delicate embellishments, painted a vivid tableau illustrating the virtues of compassion, enlightenment, and the transformative journey towards Nirvana.
The intricately carved sculpture was a masterpiece that depicted the journey of practitioners from being ordinary to mastering the higher levels of Buddhahood. The figures in the relief were so vividly carved that it was easy to see their progression towards enlightenment and Nirvana. Every detail, from the facial expressions to the flowing cloth, the delicate flowers, and the instruments, was so meticulously presented that it was impossible not to be impressed.
The beauty of this piece lay not just in its stunning visual presentation but also in the message it conveyed. It illustrated the importance of practicing compassion in thoughts, words, and deeds to achieve spiritual growth. It reminded us that every act of kindness, every gesture of love, and every moment of selflessness is a step towards enlightenment and Nirvana.
The sculpture had a calming effect on me. It was a tangible reminder of the power of art to transcend language, culture, and time. It spoke to me in a language that was universal, one that transcended borders and connected people across the world.
As an art lover, I have seen many beautiful pieces over the years, but this wood carving sculpture stood out as a true masterpiece. It was a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the folk artists who created it, and it served as a reminder of the timeless beauty of art.
The Yungang Buddhist grottoes, a massive complex comprising 252 caves and niches with 51,000 statues carved into an area of 18,000 square meters, are a remarkable achievement of Buddhist cave art in China. Constructed from the mid-5th to early-6th century AD, the grottoes were influenced by Buddhist cave art from South and Central Asia but also incorporated distinct Chinese elements and local spirit. They played a crucial role among early Oriental Buddhist grottoes and had a far-reaching impact on Buddhist cave art in China and East Asia.
The five caves of Tanyao and their imperial patronage
The construction of Yungang began with five cave-temples, known today as caves 16 to 20, at the west end of the cliff. These caves were imperial commissions of the Northern Wei dynasty in around 460 C.E. The Northern Wei rulers, who belonged to the Tuoba clan from northern China, had recently unified northern China after centuries of political turmoil and established Buddhism as the state religion. The dynasty’s capital, Pingcheng, became a significant center for Buddhist religious and artistic expression.
The five caves of Tanyao, created by Tan Yao, are classical masterpieces of the first peak of Chinese art, displaying a strict unity of layout and design. These caves each contain a colossal Buddha as the central icon, with Cave 20 housing a gigantic seated Buddha in a meditation posture and a standing attendant Buddha on one side. Another attendant Buddha likely existed on the other side, but it has been lost along with the cave’s exterior wall. The imperial patronage of these caves reflects the Northern Wei dynasty’s fusion of state power and religious devotion.
The main Buddha measures roughly 13 meters in height. He has plump cheeks, a thick neck, elongated eyes, a sharply cut nose, slightly smiling lips, and broad shoulders, all of which produce a solemn appearance.
The well-preserved halo behind the main Buddha is composed of an outer band of flame patterns and two inner bands decorated with seven seated Buddhas of miniature size. The robe features zigzag patterns on the edge. The right shoulder of the main Buddha is left exposed, whereas the standing attendant Buddha on the east wall wears a robe that covers both shoulders with a high neckline.
Historical records recount that Tanyao, a renowned monk cleric with official ranks, advised Emperor Wencheng to undertake construction of five cave-temples (Caves 16–20) to commemorate the five founding emperors of the Northern Wei dynasty. Claiming that the emperor of Northern Wei was the living Buddha, this project declared the emperor’s political and spiritual legitimacy, and strengthened the rule of the imperial family.
Buddha (left) and attendant Buddha (right), Cave 20 at Yungang (photo: xiquinhosilva, CC BY 2.0)
The statues housed in the caves and niches are in good condition and all of the caves and statues have not suffered major damage from vandalism and/or natural disasters. Restoration and repair had been made on deficient parts of some statues in the past. All the necessary attributes demonstrating the Outstanding Universal Value of Yungang Grottoes are contained within the boundary of the property area. The buffer zone provides a necessary safe area for the conservation of the Grottoes, the setting and the historic environment. These measures have enabled the Yungang Grottoes to serve as one of the greatest ancient stone carving art treasure houses in the world.
The location, caves and statues of the Yungang Grottoes have retained their historic appearance. The eaves of wooden pavilions of the caves and the related historical remains have kept the distinctive character of the times when they were constructed. The daily maintenance and conservation intervention have been conducted following the conservation principle of minimal intervention in design, materials, methodology, techniques and craftsmanship.
The paired caves and the major development at Yungang
Beginning roughly a decade after the initial commission, the imperial projects at Yungang advanced to a second phase that lasted from c. 470s until 494 C.E. In contrast to the monumental Buddha found in Cave 20, the interior of the second-phase cave-temples are decorated with reliefs that depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other divine figures in various scales and configurations.
One of the most distinctive features developed in the second phase of construction are paired caves—two adjacent caves featuring a similar architectural plan and pictorial program. The paired cave-temple layout is understood to symbolically represent the reign of two coincident rulers: Emperor Xiaowen (471–499 C.E.) and Empress Dowager Wenming (442–490 C.E.). The use of paired cave-temples became another means to demonstrate the dynasty’s imperial power.
The paired Caves 5 and 6 are among the most lavishly decorated cave-temples at Yungang. Cave 6 has an antechamber and a square main chamber supported by a central pillar (see the full cave 6 in 3D). A square clerestory (window) is opened right above the passageway to the main chamber to let in light (although it is hard to see in photos or the 3D image).
In the main chamber of Cave 6, the east, south, and west walls are divided vertically into three main registers that include complex pictorial programs (the north wall features a large niche housing a trinity of Buddhas that are later repairs). We find seated Buddha figures and scenes from the Buddha’s life throughout the chamber. Depictions of the historical Buddha, who was believed to live in the Ganges River basin during the 6th century B.C.E., derived largely from Buddhist texts. The Buddha’s biography details the course of his life from birth to enlightenment, and eventually to nirvana, the final extinction. The life of the Buddha was among the most popular themes for artistic representation throughout the Buddhist world.
One scene from the Buddha’s life (at the southern end of the east wall) shows the First Sermon of the Buddha at Deer Park, identifiable by the depiction of a pair of deer on the Buddha’s throne. We see a canopied standing Buddha flanked by two standing bodhisattvas and a myriad of worshippers in the background. Just below the standing Buddha niche, a seated Buddha with his right hand raised (the fearless gesture) can be seen in a trapezoidal-shaped niche flanked by two five-story pagodas (just visible at the edges of the scene in the photograph). Worshippers either kneel in front of the throne or stand facing the Buddha on his two sides.
Rock-cut cave-temples first appeared in western India in the 1st century B.C.E. There are two basic types: apsidal-shaped (semicircular) chaitya (sanctuary, temple, or prayer hall in Indian religions) and vihāra caves where monks resided—both of which we find at places like the caves of Ajanta, India. Both types were transmitted eastwards to Central Asia up to the 5th century with modifications of the structures. At Yungang, the sanctuary type was further adapted into a square shape that houses a central pillar in the middle, as we find in Cave 6. At the same time, a number of architectural features find their precedents in Goguryeo tombs from present-day northeastern China and North Korea.
But what facilitated these different traditions coming together at Yungang?
Transmissions and transformations of artistic styles
Yungang was a hub where multiple artistic traditions of South Asia, Central Asia, and pre-Buddhist China synthesized into something new. This was made possible by the Silk Road, a network of ancient trade routes linking East Asia with the rest of Eurasia. Goods and ideas have been exchanged along the Silk Road since at least the second century B.C.E. Central to the economic, cultural, and religious interactions between different parts of Eurasia, the Silk Road tied the Northern Wei territory to the sacred heartland of Buddhism in South Asia, and to Central Asian kingdoms that promoted Buddhist teachings.
A primary factor facilitating the encounter of these varied traditions was the gathering of human resources and materials from different regions. In the 430s and 440s, the Northern Wei court issued decrees that relocated artisans and monks from its conquered lands to the capital city of Pingcheng. The concentration of people and craftsmanship in the capital led to the artistic flourishing of well-executed Buddhist monasteries, cave-temples, sculptures, and murals. Eminent monks who were active in Pingcheng had also engaged with religious activities in other urban centers such as Chang’an and Wuwei, and maintained close ties with Central Asian Buddhist communities.
Just as the form of the rock-cut cave-temples was adapted from earlier traditions in South Asia, statues and reliefs at Yungang exhibit strong stylistic and iconographic affinities with earlier Buddhist art traditions from northwestern India and Central Asia. For instance, the main colossal Buddha images in Caves 16 to 20 feature a round face, with a gentle, calm expression that creates an impression of sanctity, and a robe style that clings tightly to the body yet is rendered with schematic patterns. All of these features echo the aesthetics found in previous traditions, especially the Buddhist sculptures in Gandhara, a Buddhist center located in present-day northwest India and Pakistan.
Yungang art exerted influence, in turn, on Central Asian cave-temples starting in the later 6th century, such as Dunhuang, indicating that a dynamic exchange took place among the major cultural centers along the Silk Road.
Sinicization reforms under the reign of Emperor Xiaowen
One of the new developments shown at Yungang that would have a long-lasting effect on Chinese Buddhist art was Sinicization, a process of adapting non-Chinese traditions into Han Chinese culture. In Cave 1, between the canopy of the central pillar and the ceiling we find intertwined dragons surrounding mountains that represent Mount Meru (the sacred mountain considered to be the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology). The design shows strong influence of the pre-Buddhist Chinese tradition in two aspects. First, the dragons are depicted with typical Chinese conventions—a snake-like curving body with four legs. Mount Meru was not related to dragons in pre-Chinese Buddhist art traditions. The incorporation of dragons in the design reveals an integration of the motif’s symbolic reference to a spiritual life force in traditional Chinese beliefs.
In Cave 6, we also see Sinicized traits in a new style of the Buddha’s monastic robe, which features loose drapery that falls around the body and clothes the Buddha entirely instead of the earlier style that clings closely to a partly exposed body. The new style finds parallel in the contemporary dress of court officials.
Overall, these new styles and motifs were a response to the political reform of Sinicization promoted by Emperor Xiaowen and Dowager Wenming during their reign in the Taihe era (477–499 C.E.). The reform aimed at legitimizing the Northern Wei regime, built by non-Chinese nomadic groups, as an imperial Chinese dynasty, and promoting a greater sense of conformity throughout the empire.
The legacy of Yungang
Despite the move of the capital to Luoyang in 494 C.E., constructions at Yungang continued for another three decades. Cave-temples of this phase are much smaller in size than at the earlier western end of the complex. Over half a millennium later in the 13th century when Yungang was the capital of the Liao Dynasty, Yungang witnessed another era of glory, with restorations of the caves and installation of wooden structures attached to their façades. Yet it was only a temporary phenomenon. The site later stayed silent for centuries until its early 20th-century rediscovery along with other major cave-temples by foreigners on expeditions.
Modern scholarship about the history and the art of Yungang Cave-temples has continued to provide new information about the site. The most recent archaeological excavations at Yungang unearthed the remains of a monastery dated to the Northern Wei dynasty above the western section of the cliff. The well-preserved foundations of courtyards, the central stupa (a sepulchral monument that refers to the Buddha), residential cells for monks, and objects continue to enrich our understanding of the site as a significant religious center from the 5th century.
Kazuo Inamori’s “Working Method” is an incredibly inspiring book that has completely transformed my perspective on my job and career. I used to view my job solely as a means to make money, which often left me feeling frustrated whenever I encountered obstacles in a project. I believed that I could only start enjoying life after I retired and had enough savings. However, the reality is that I spend one-third of my time at work, and if I’m not happy there, how can I be happy in my life?
Why we need to work?
Kazuo Inamori observed that many people have lost the correct understanding of the goals and meaning of their work, leading to more and more confused lives, especially among young people. He believed that the fundamental significance of work for individuals is to help develop their personality, sharpen their minds, and elevate their souls to become more noble and better.
Inamori’s life achievements have attracted worldwide attention. He started his own business at 27, establishing two Fortune 500 companies, Kyocera and KDDI, with his bare hands over 40 years. At the age of 65, he retired, only to be repeatedly asked by the Japanese government to serve as chairman of Japan Airlines for bankruptcy and reconstruction. Within a year, he brought JAL back to life, achieving the highest profit in its 60-year history, which is still the highest among aviation companies worldwide. With his background as a scientist, entrepreneur, and philosopher, Kazuo Inamori has become a global marvel, juggling three roles at once.
Inamori’s success did not come easily. When he entered the workforce at age 23, he lamented his fate, wondering, “Why do misfortune and suffering come to me again and again, and what will my life be like in the future?” Fortunately, he found a solution: to face up to the “view on labor” and “view on work,” and to treat work as a “good medicine for curing all diseases.” Inamori believed that work could also help overcome the hardships of life and turn fate around.
The “Working Method” is a work methodology based on Inamori’s life experiences, which seems to describe how to work effectively. However, Inamori’s focus is on a more profound question: why do people work, and what is the purpose of labor? He used his own experiences to deeply interpret the “concept of labor” and the “concept of work” that one should stick to. He firmly believed that if one could understand the profound meaning of “labor” and “work,” their mentality towards work would change, and the god of fate may favor them.
Inamori emphasized that the purpose of work is to improve one’s own aspirations, not just to earn money. Life is not always smooth, and the same goes for work. Only by working hard and persevering in adversity can one develop a strong character, remain steady, and not falter in life. When a person has the tenacity to work hard and persevere, even in the face of setbacks, those difficulties will eventually accumulate into experience, which may become the greatest “lucky” moment in life.
Diligence and a sincere attitude towards work are key elements of a successful career. Kazuo Inamori believes that we can derive true happiness from work itself, rather than just from hobbies or recreation. Neglecting work may provide temporary pleasure, but it won’t bring lasting satisfaction. We spend most of our lives working, so finding a sense of fulfillment in our work is crucial.
According to Kazuo Inamori, there are only two ways to have a fulfilling life: either “do what you like” or “make yourself like work.” However, the chances of finding a job that one truly likes are slim. Instead of constantly searching for a job that one loves, it’s better to give up this fantasy and fall in love with the work in front of them.
By changing their mindset, the world around them will also change. Despite countless days and nights spent in the research room, and countless failures, Inamori found that he started to enjoy his work. From infatuation to love, he fully embraced his work, and success followed as he persisted.
When we focus on our work with diligence and earnestness, we can experience unfettered happiness from accomplishing something meaningful. The best way to motivate ourselves is to love our work and put in all our effort to do it well. With each success, we gain a sense of achievement, confidence, and the desire to take on new challenges. Repeating this process reinforces our fondness for our work and helps us to achieve wonderful results.
Only when we reach this state of mind can we accomplish truly outstanding work. So, let’s strive to love our work, be diligent and sincere in our efforts, and find true happiness in our careers.
From “ordinary” to “extraordinary
When it comes to electrical products, Japanese manufacturing often overwhelms us with its sophistication. Behind each of these products lies the operator’s attitude towards achieving excellence. This is the fundamental reason for their transformation from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”.
But how much effort does it take for a person to make this transformation? Inamori Kazuo has two mantras that answer this: “Run at the speed of a 100-meter race” and “Pay no less than anyone’s efforts”. He demands these from himself and every Kyocera employee.
Kyocera’s corporate goal, according to Inamori Kazuo, is “There is never a product that Kyocera cannot develop.” This is not because of their advanced technology and equipment, but because as the last company to enter the race, their only chance to survive is by accepting products that their competitors cannot make.
Therefore, only through efforts that are no less than anyone’s, and by running at the speed of a 100-meter race, can Kyocera overcome technical difficulties and ultimately produce perfect, high-quality products to meet their customers’ demanding requirements.
Inamori Kazuo believes that success is very difficult to achieve with the same effort as ordinary people. Only through extraordinary “efforts no less than anyone else” can we achieve outstanding results in fierce competition.
According to Kazuo Inamori, it is essential to adhere to correct values and moral principles, whether in work or life. Doing so is critical to achieving success and making progress in both personal and professional endeavors. By upholding these values, one can navigate challenges more smoothly and reach greater heights in their career and life. Inamori believes that a commitment to ethical principles and values is key to building a fulfilling and meaningful life, both personally and professionally.
Have you ever wondered why some people succeed in both their work and personal lives while others struggle? Is there a set of rules to follow? In his studies of successful work and life, Kazuo Inamori uses an equation to express the results:
Results of life and work = way of thinking x passion x ability
By using the correct way of thinking and being filled with enthusiasm, you can do your best work, and the happy life you desire may not be too far away.
I wish I had read this book earlier, as it would have given me a different experience in my profession. It could have improved my performance and relationships with my co-workers.
On Saturday, February 4th, the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown were filled with the sounds and sights of the Chinese New Year parade. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the festivities.
The entire Chinatown was decorated in traditional Chinese style, adding to the already lively atmosphere. Street markets sold traditional Chinese goods and food, and the sounds of live music filled the air.
The parade, which started at 5 PM, was a highlight of the celebration. Floats, marching bands, and performers made their way through the crowded streets, bringing the excitement and energy to a whole new level. However, rain, showers and winds also joined the parade. That brought little bit uncomfortable to the crowds.
One of the highlights of the parade was the traditional lion and dragon dances, performed by skilled dancers dressed in colorful costumes. These dances are believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year, and the crowds were enthralled by the displays.
In addition to local performers, marching bands from Southern California and Oregon also made the journey to San Francisco to participate in the parade. The diversity of performers added to the already rich cultural atmosphere, and showcased the strong connection between the different Chinese communities across the United States. Despite the rain and showers, the spirit of the event was not dampened, and it was a beautiful tribute to the start of a new year.
As a proud Chinese, I was thrilled to participate in the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Living in the United States is a privilege, as this great nation has an open heart that accepts and embraces diverse cultures. I hope to see the US play a leading role in promoting peace and harmony globally.
January 1st in the Chinese lunar calendar, is chinese Spring festival, it is the biggest holiday in china. It is also the holy birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva – the next Buddha in the saha world. This is a special and joyful holiday that is celebrated by many. Hua Zang Si in San Francisco held a Dharma Assembly to celebrate this important occasion. It was the first Dharma Assembly of the year and it was held on a beautiful sunny day. Many laypersons participated in the event.
At the entrance of the temple is an oversize marvelous statue representation of a jolly, laughing Buddha: Maitreya Bodhisattva (the next Buddha in this Saha world). It is such a warm welcoming sign. The big belly not only means jolly, it also means tolerating the intolerable things in the world. So when you look at the statue, you will start to feel that learning Buddhism is happy and kind.
The Dharma Assembly was an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the teachings of Maitreya Bodhisattva. It was a time for reflection and meditation, as well as a chance to learn more about the teachings of Buddhism. The atmosphere was filled with positivity and joy, as people came together to celebrate this important holiday.
In Chinese culture, Maitreya Bodhisattva is seen as a symbol of joy and tolerance. As practitioners of Buddhism, we are encouraged to strive to be like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by cultivating a broad mind, open heart, and great tolerance.
One of the key principles of Buddhism is patience and forbearance, particularly under insult. This is seen as a key aspect of self-cultivation and it is important to remember that everything in the dharma realms can change from ordinary to holy. This means that even difficult situations can be transformed and overcome through the practice of patience and tolerance.
Patience and tolerance are not just passive qualities, but rather active ones that require effort and practice. We must actively cultivate them in our daily lives and strive to maintain them even in difficult situations. Through this practice, we can transform our own minds and hearts, becoming more like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that we strive to emulate.
At the Dharma Assembly, we chanted the Eighty-eight holy Buddha name jeweled repentance sutra, in hopes that the Buddhas will wash away all of our sins and negative karmas. After the chanting, we offered a meal to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The event concluded with a dharma talk given by Dharma Master Ruohui.
During her talk, Dharma Master Ruohui emphasized the importance of faith, vows, and actions for disciples of Buddhism. She explained that faith is the foundation of our practice, and that with strong faith, we will have the determination to follow the Buddha’s teachings and put them into action in our lives.
The Dharma Assembly was a meaningful event where participants not only had the opportunity to reflect on their own spiritual growth but also to make an impact on the world around them. During the assembly, the participants returned the merit to all living beings, holding the hope that they shall be rid of suffering, obtain happiness, and have the opportunity to listen to authentic Buddha Dharma.
The act of returning merit is an important aspect of Buddhist practice as it is believed that by dedicating the positive energy generated through our spiritual practice to the benefit of others, we can help bring about peace and prosperity in the world. By returning merit to all living beings, participants were able to contribute to the collective well-being of the world and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Furthermore, the participants also held the hope that by listening to authentic Buddha Dharma, they will be able to perfect their fortune and wisdom, leading to a more prosperous and peaceful world for all. This is the ultimate goal of Buddhism, to help all beings to find inner peace, happiness and liberation from suffering.
In the National Geographic channel’s “The Power of Miracles” episode of “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” Freeman delves into the concept of miracles and the role they play in different cultures and religions around the world. Throughout the episode, Freeman explores the various stories and accounts of miracles that have been passed down through traditional cultures and religions. These stories often involve healing, protection, and other seemingly miraculous events.
One of the main focuses of the episode is the stories of miracle in Christianity. Freeman visits the site of a Catholic pilgrimage in Lourdes, France, where thousands of people travel each year to pray for healing. Freeman also visits the site of a Marian apparition in Medjugorje, Bosnia, where six children reported seeing the Virgin Mary in 1981. Freeman also meets with people who believe they were healed as a result of the apparition, which is still ongoing. Freeman also explores other religion’s records of miracles like the Jewish Kabbalah, and the Islamic Hadith.
While some people may be skeptical of these stories, Freeman makes it clear that they hold great significance for the people who believe in them. For many, these stories of miracles provide hope, inspiration, and a sense of connection to something greater than themselves. Freeman ultimately concludes that miracles are about the power of belief, and that the belief in something larger than ourselves can have a profound impact on our lives.
Watching this episode is a miracle for me. I explored so many beautiful places, cultures and religions. It’s a must watch for people with an interest in the intersection of faith and science, and in the power of belief to shape our lives.
New Year’s resolutions have long been a way to take stock of what’s truly important in our lives, allowing us to pause and reflect on the year behind us, as well as plan for the year ahead. If living through a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take health and wellness for granted. In 2023, improving your body, mind and soul is a great way to organize your long-term goals for the new year.
Focusing on your health and well-being doesn’t have to translate to starting a new diet or workout plan, though. You can set your sights on taking charge of your mental health, finally optimizing a better sleep routine or diving headfirst into reclaiming your space (wave goodbye to messy closets and disastrous bathrooms).
Your resolutions don’t have to be big, instead of workout everyday for two hours you could just set a goal like walking 15 minutes a day. Doing small things persistently, will bring big changes.
Keep your new resolutions by using a planner to help you stay on track, checking off daily fitness goals and tackling frequent decluttering tasks. This year, it’s time to put you first!
Here are some ideas to help you to kick off the year with a stronger, well-nourished body and an enriched mind.
Do some low intensity breath focusing exercise
Each week, try to do 15 to 30 minutes of slow and mind focusing exercise, such as Yoga or Tai chi. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
Yoga is also a mind and body practice. Yoga combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being. According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss and quality sleep.
Do a short prayer
Each night, before you go to bed, do a short prayer. Praying can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, gratitude, and thankfulness. In less than 3 minutes, you can express your gratitude to your body, your family, your friends, society, and your country. In this quiet time remind yourself to admire others, to accept others, to be attentive of others, and to forgive others. Wish for everyone to have a happy, healthy and auspicious life, wish for peace and harmony of the world, and wish that tomorrow will be better.
Build a better budget
If there’s one New Year’s resolution that will help you the most in the long run, it’s making a vow to save more money.
Before you head back to the office in January, outline a rough budget that works for you — and make a plan for how you’ll stick to it. Budgeting apps can help you do this as painlessly as possible. And supercharge your shopping habits by rethinking when and how you buy things for your home and family; often, there are savings you’re leaving on the table.
Photo from pexels.com
Anxiety can nag at anyone during any season, in all parts of life — and it can be easy to let the idea of the future or past experiences inform your reality of the present. Practicing mindfulness means doing everything you can to be grateful for what you have in the moment, where you are in life, and who you are right now. Some leading psychological experts say committing to mindfulness can help you become a better person in less than a year’s time.
Read more books
January is the perfect time of year to snuggle up with a new book. Some of us like to unwind with a great fiction book that transports us to places we’ve never been, into lives that differ from our own. Others love the shiver that goes up your spine when you crack open a creepy ghost story that makes you think twice before turning off the light to go to bed. And who among us can resist a juicy romance novel that reminds us that chivalry isn’t dead? Of course, the best nonfiction books can also open our eyes to lived experiences far beyond our own perspective. Needless to say: books can change lives, whether they’re intended to be inspirational or just come to us at the moment we need them most.
Commit to a healthier sleep routine.
So many issues can be traced back to a poor night’s sleep. And yet, there is so much more that we can aim to improve beyond a reasonable bedtime. Creating a plan to improve your sleep hygiene — the habits you maintain to get good sleep every night — may look different for everyone, as it depends on when you need to be active and working throughout the day. Your brain actually relies on cues to regulate your internal circadian rhythm, and the choices you make throughout the day can interfere with these. Start taking charge of your sleep by mastering these 10 to-dos as the year progresses.
ANNA BLAZHUKGETTY IMAGES
Research shows that pitching in regularly can lead to less stress and lower blood pressure. Try to schedule an outreach mission of your own on a day of service; many recognize Martin Luther King Day as a prime opportunity, or even Veteran’s Day in November. So use this day to jumpstart a longer-term personal commitment — and consider working on this goal with loved ones all year round.
Explore new hobbies.
Another sleepy Sunday? Today’s the day you try Ethiopian food, attend a ballet, or take a painting class — whatever feels fun. When researchers followed 7,500 people for 25 years, they found that those who complained of major boredom were roughly twice as likely to die from heart disease.
Start walking more
Even if you can’t keep track of a new fitness routine, keeping yourself moving on a simple walk around the neighborhood is a must. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains that adults should spend as much time moving each day as possible — and some physical activity (even just walking!) is better than none.
Do one thing at a time.
Multitasking doesn’t make you more efficient, but it does stress you out, says mindfulness expert Pedram Shojai, author of Focus: Bringing Time, Energy, and Money Into Flow. “If your focus is fragmented, you’ll likely find yourself getting anxious as new items come up when old ones are still incomplete,” he says.
Instead, he suggests, organize your activities into chunks of time, such as kid time and cooking time, and then “commit to being focused in those allotted minutes and see what happens.” It’ll help stop you from overthinking everything.
Give yourself more compliments.
Repeat after us: “Today is my day. I’m thankful for me.” Positive self-talk can help you focus on what’s good in your life, says psychologist Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D.
Research shows that a little vitamin G (for gratitude) can make you feel happier and more satisfied and even improve your sleep. “If you repeat an affirmation related to gratitude in the morning, you’re likely to show and feel more of it throughout that day,” Bradford says. You’re so welcome!
Head outside without your phone
In a previous GH survey, 83% of people told us they lost track of how long they spent on their devices. But short of deleting all social apps, it can be hard to trade screen time for more productive pastimes like walking the dog and coffee with friends. Whether you’re Team iPhone or Team Android, download the latest software to access built-in tools that help you track your personal app usage. Set screen downtime is also very helpful to remind you need to stop.
Add more citrus to your grocery cart.
When you see all those gorgeous in-season grapefruits, oranges, clementines, and pomelos in the produce aisle, grab an armful.
Winter citrus can help keep skin looking healthy thanks to vitamin C, which aids in collagen production. In fact, an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that people who ate foods high in C had fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who didn’t. Try clementine sections sprinkled with pistachios or sweet grapefruit dipped in Greek yogurt for a snack.
The lucky door in life is always inadvertently opened. Maybe it’s the blessings from the Buddha and Boddhisatva.
I remember that day, a critical turning pointin my life.I was exercising in the community that day, a surnamed Meng dharma sister asked me to worship the Buddha in the Buddhist Hall nearby. I agreed with her as soon as I heard the invitation. The dharma brothers and sisters made me feel at home. It’s totally different from the people I met in my life, most of whom treated me courteously but without sincerity. So I decided to chant sutras and listen to the recorded discourses expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III with dharma brothers and sisters. I felt like it’s the place that I should come. Then I couldn’t help crying when chanting sutras, and I would repent. Every time after listening the recorded Buddha dharma discourses, I was filled with endless power.
To my shame, I never settle down to study, but hurry to come and leave the Buddhist Hall owing to busy work. With my diligence for listening the dharma discourses, I make progress and schedule time for study in the Buddhist Hall. Undoubtedly, we want to lead a good life, but learning Buddhism is more important, we can and we have to plan enough time for study.
On the National Day in 2016, I gave up travelling with my family but took part in the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Great Compassion Empowerment Dharma Assembly, from which, I truly knew the great Buddha Dharma is true and real. The next day I converted to Buddhism. I was earnest and pious in studying Buddhism after conversion.
The Buddha taught us to conduct cultivation and introspection, to conduct three introspections in the course of a day. I found myself did many things that I should not do in the past, including killing other living beings. When I realized the retribution of killing, I decided not to kill, while turned to vegan at dinner, and on the first day and the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar.
I’ve been doing prostrations since the dharma assembly. Now I have a fit body and my wine tummy is gone. My blood pressure used to be a little bit high, but now it’s stable. I don’t feel panic or worried if travelling by plane or driving. I sleep well all night after chanting H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III.
Some people think that it takes time to learn Buddhism and it will affect the business and work. However, my business is more prosperous since I’ve taken Buddhism. Numerous long-term orders come for me. Several days ago, the municipal government called me for delivery. I was surprised, because I didn’t have the resource superiority. I focused on social engagement and seldom stayed at home in the past. Now I cherish and care about my family. My son usually asks me to spend time with him. Taking Buddhism makes me healthier and my family relationships more harmonious.
I truly know that Buddhism brings me happiness, so I am determined to do my best to make offerings to Buddha Halls. With the help from dharma brothers and sisters, I set up a Buddha Hall at home. My family also join me to study Buddhism.
All above is my own experience. I hope everyone has the karmic affinity to study the true Dharma of Tathagata. We all eager for a happy life, but making money is only a part of it. The health and happiness we have on this side is temporary, while attaining the accomplishment and liberation on the other side is the truth.
How would you define a “spiritual entrepreneur?” Would you cite yoga teachers or therapists as examples? Well, spiritual entrepreneurs are not any different from other entrepreneurs in terms of the services they provide. What makes a regular entrepreneur a spiritual one is their sense of purpose. These are the business people driven by their desire to help, not by a love for money.
How does one maximize business success as a spiritual entrepreneur?
Law of Attraction and Divine Transmission expert Divina Caballo introduces a new way of spiritual entrepreneurship – where profits meet the purpose. Wanting both financial gains and spiritual entrepreneurship might seem counterintuitive, but they are not. Caballo lists three ways by which every spiritual entrepreneur can enjoy a wealth of both – profits and purpose.
Clearly Define Your Measures of Success
Business success means different things to different people. So what does it mean to you? Before you begin working on ways to maximize something, Caballo recommends spending some time defining the metrics of measurement.
She says, “Running blindly, goalless like a headless chicken, will not do you any good. Sit down. Take a minute. Think. And note down the end goal.”
From the number of clients you need to the brand image you have in mind, make a note of all the vital cornerstones of your business. Making concrete financial plans, along with cementing other actionable goals, goes a long way.
Be A ‘Work in Progress’
The shift to a spiritual entrepreneur begins with a mindset change. Every day will be a new learning experience, but as long as your mind remains closed off to them, no experience could succeed in teaching you something new.
Divina Caballo advises, “Before you commence your journey of being of service to others, make a commitment to yourself to embrace learning for a lifetime. Discovering self-expression is where it all begins, and you build from there on.”
This might seem not very clear at first. You might be wondering what your innermost self has got anything to do with helping other people. And according to Caballo, you do not need to look too far for the answer. “There are many different types of spiritual entrepreneurs, and each type differs greatly from the next. But there is one thing that they all have in common: they are all working towards a goal that lies closest to their hearts.”
Find People Who Click with You
Business is all about community, and that rings truer than ever when it comes to spiritual business. So find your community and build your audience.
“Realistically speaking, one can use social media as a reliable medium to gather like-minded individuals united by a shared cause greater than any one of them that binds them together in service for eternity,” says Caballo.
Not unlike most other businesses today, social media also proves to be an excellent channel to promote one’s business. As an entrepreneur, you can not only attract potential clients there, but you can also find inspiration and ideas from other people.
Don’t let everyday stresses and problems get you down to the point where you think the only relief is heavily drinking or some other drug-related solution. Not only will your so-called relief be temporary, it can also be harmful to your health, contribute to possible addiction, and leave you more incapable of dealing with stresses on your own the next time they occur.
HERE ARE 8 WAYS TO SELF-SOOTH WITHOUT USING A MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCE
READ Develop a reading habit and you will find that you look forward to your time with your latest book. While you are reading, let this be your time for yourself. Set aside whatever amount of time you can and devote it wholeheartedly to reading.
MEDITATION Meditation has been practiced for countless centuries to relieve stress, anxiety, depression, to treat a variety of illnesses, to help during treatment for addictive behaviors, reduce high blood pressure, and alleviate pain and to relax. Practice meditating every day at a regular time, for a regular duration. Ultimately, your perspective will start to evolve and you will grow more able to choose your moods and reactions instead of them choosing you.
YOGA No need to be a master practitioner or a contortionist to reap the benefits from yoga. Yoga can be described as a collection of spiritual techniques and practices that seek to integrate mind, body and spirit in the quest to achieve enlightenment or oneness with the universe.
TAKE A HOT BATH AH, the satisfaction of soaking in a hot bubble bath, one of the best natural ways to relax and unwind. Give it a try! Light a candle, dim the lights and bring your awareness to the breath. Deep inhales through the noise, exhales out the mouth. Try this for sets of 5. You’ll absolutely feel less anxiety and much more able to cope with the challenges of day to day life.
VOLUNTEER There’s no question there are many deserving charities and organizations that can use help. Volunteer to help serve meals at homeless shelters, or give of your time to visit with senior citizens at assisted living centers. When you look outside yourself and your own problems and give of yourself, it’s a selfless form of generosity that rewards you with a sense of inner peace.
WALK IN NATURE Walking in nature helps you to decompress, as it magically increases the bodies natural feel-good chemicals. Breathing in the fresh air, noticing the beauty, and listening to the sounds around you will no doubt elevate your mood, leaving you with a feeling of completion and relaxation.
BECOME MORE SPIRITUAL Spirituality is something that is actively pursued, cultivated, and nourished. You don’t need to be religious to reap the rewards of a heightened spirituality. You can develop your spirituality by looking inward and trying to improve your outlook on life. Becoming more spiritual will give you a new appreciation for life and how precious it is. You will be able to give more of yourself to others, and gain richness beyond measure in return.
MAKE A GRATITUDE LIST Get into the habit of writing down 5 things you are grateful for every morning. Goodness has a way of spreading its way around. When you are positive in your outlook, and act in a manner that inspires others to do likewise, you are helping to lift others out of themselves and into a better appreciation of life.
Life is all about living. Let’s make this life the best we can for as long as we have. You won’t need drugs to help you relax. Living life to the fullest will be your gift — to you and to those you love. Namaste.