Tags: Culture, Society, Spirituality
The Indian national flower, Lotus Nelumbo nucifera, profoundly inspires the country’s ancient and modern culture, art, and literary richness.
or those who have traveled through the heart of rural southern-India, the sights of Lotus ponds surely act as an unforgettable and beautiful reminiscent of the journey. The flower’s association with Indian culture dates back to thousands of years—thereby inspiring, shaping and, bringing out the true spirit of India as an ancient civilization.
The richness of ancient Indian literature is synonymous with its ancient language, Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, every word embodies a world of experiences.
According to K. K. Yatheendran, a Kerala based Sanskrit scholar, Lotus has many inspiring names in Sanskrit, each evocative of a different experience: Pankeyrooham (born from the mud), Sahasrapatram (thousand petaled), Kamalam (which decorates water), Shatapatram (hundered petaled), and Amboroham (that which sprouts from water) to name a few.
Yatheendran says that Lotus at many places in Sanskrit literature is used as a metaphor like the word “Vadana Amboojam,” which means a lotus like face or a lustrous face.
Lotus gets its best mention in modern Indian literature in a famous Sonnet “Lotus” by Toru Dutt, “Love came to Flora asking for a flower, That would of flowers be undisputed queen,…..”
The flower also finds itself etched on Indian art in various contexts. A very commonly seen symbol in Indian temples even now, Lotus has become synonyms with purity and goodness in art.
“It’s to be noted that generally only full blossomed flowers are offered before God in India, except for Lotus, whose buds are offered,” Yatheendran told the Epoch Times.
Lotus has been found in pre-historic murals and cave paintings in the country. The most noted is the painting, Padmapani of Cave 1 of Ajanta in Maharashtra state. In Sanskrit, Padmapani literally means the bearer of lotus.
The flower is also a popular motif in Kolams (Rangoli)—a from of decorative patterns drawn on the floor with powdered rice, chalk or synthetic powdered colors. The drawings are believed to bring prosperity to the home.
Even during the Mughal period, lotus motif was represented in architecture. In Shah-jahana-bad city, established by the king Shah Jahan (A.D. 1627–58), now known as the Red Fort, the lotus was used as a symbol of ever-renewing youth.
The exclusive female apartments (the Rang Mahal) is designed in the form of a large lotus, with delicately patterned petals laid out within a square bordered frame. In the center of the basin there is a slender stem with a silver lotus at the top from which water rushes out.
Tags: Chinese culture, classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun, Society, Spirituality, Tang Dynasty
VANCOUVER—The 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture depicted by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 13, was a moving experience for Chinese billionaire Mr. Zhu, who attended the performance with his family.
“I am shocked. Our 5,000 years of civilization is so splendid. Especially wonderful were the pieces about the Tang Dynasty and Han Dynasty. The entire performance brought Chinese culture to life,” said Mr. Zhu, adding that he was often brought to tears during the show.
New York-based Shen Yun has taken it as its mission to revive the essence of the Middle Kingdom’s ancient culture, which consisted of principles originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism such as benevolence, honour, justice, propriety, and respect for the heavens.
According to the Shen Yun website, China’s rich traditional culture and art forms have been systematically destroyed due to various campaigns waged by the Chinese communist regime—something Mr. Zhu is well aware of.
“The root of traditional Chinese culture is in China. But in today’s China, the culture has been destroyed to an unrecognizable state. During the Great Cultural Revolution, the Confucius teaching was completely eradicated. As a result, the moral standard of our nation has collapsed,” he said.
Mr. Zhu noted that Shen Yun conveys the basic values of what it takes to be a good human being.
“What Shen Yun promotes is the return of human’s true self, true beauty, and true compassion,” he said.
“Why is it that human beings get to exist and develop? The fundamental reason is that there were saints and sages guiding us so that we stay close to our values of truth, compassion, and beauty.
“Only by doing so can civilization be preserved and human society develop, regardless of whether it’s China or other countries.”
Shen Yun has three equally large companies that tour annually, each with a unique orchestra that combines the grandeur of a Western philharmonic orchestra with classical Eastern instruments leading the melodies.
Through classical Chinese dance and Chinese ethnic and folk dances, Shen Yun presents beloved legends and inspiring stories from the long history of China.
“I think Shen Yun is telling the world about traditional Chinese culture, about the past glories of the Chinese nation,” Mr. Zhu said.
“In the meantime, Shen Yun is cleansing people’s hearts and reestablishing our values.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Related Articles: Reviving and Representing True Chinese Culture (8 of 9)
Tags: Body & Mind, meditation, psychology, Spirituality
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in strange positions.)
Tags: Body & Mind, China, Chinese culture, health, Spirituality
Sometimes the hardest tribulations help create a healthy spirit
In the Qing Dynasty, Zhao Defang, the father of three sons, enjoyed a very prosperous life. He felt especially fortunate that all his sons were married.
However, during Zhao’s 60th-birthday celebration, he confessed to his three sons that when he first set up the family business, he deliberately rigged his measuring scale to deceive his suppliers and customers. Whenever he purchased anything, the scale would show a lesser weight, and whenever he sold something to a customer, the scale would show a greater weight.
“That was why the cotton man went bankrupt after I bought thousands of kilograms of cotton from him. He tried desperately to save his business but died of typhoid 20 years ago. I still feel sorry for that cotton man today,” Zhao said.
“There was also an herbalist who died after I cheated him with my scale. There were others too, but these two were the most serious cases. Even though I now enjoy much wealth and a happy life, whenever I think of the people who died because of my actions, I feel so guilty that I cannot sleep at night.
“In order to obtain peace of mind, I have now resolved to destroy this scale in front of you all, and I swear that I will behave honestly from now on.”
His sons welcomed his decision. “Father, this is the correct way to do things. We all support your decision,” one son said joyfully. So Zhao immediately broke his wicked scale and kept his promise to behave honestly and do good deeds from then on.
However, not long after, Zhao’s family met with misfortune. First, his eldest son died of a sudden disease. Then his second son also died of a mysterious illness, and his widowed wife moved in with another man. Then his third son suddenly fell ill and died not long after. The third son’s wife was pregnant at the time.
Having gone through all these sudden misfortunes, Zhao felt very sad and confused.
“When I was cheating others, I lived a happy life with all my children around me,” he complained. “Now I’m trying my best to be a good person, yet all these misfortunes are happening one after another. It seems that the old Chinese saying ‘good will be rewarded, and evil will be met with retribution’ is completely wrong.”
Zhao’s neighbors felt sorry for him and his family.
One day, Zhao’s daughter-in-law went into labor. However, after three days of labor, the baby still did not come out. Midwives came one after another, yet they were all helpless and did not know what to do.
Zhao became increasingly worried. In the midst of it all, a monk knocked at the door seeking alms. Zhao’s housekeeper tried to send the monk away, but the monk told her that he had special medicine for the family. The monk was immediately invited inside as an honored guest.
“I am a wandering monk. I go where fate takes me,” the monk said to Zhao. Then he showed Zhao the medicine, and Zhao asked the maid to rush the medicine to his daughter-in-law. Several minutes later, the maid reported that his daughter-in-law had given birth to a son after taking the medicine.
Zhao was delighted. He expressed his gratitude to the monk and hosted a large feast in his honor that evening.
While they were having dinner, Zhao asked the monk, “Dear Master, may I trouble you with a question that has confused me for some time?” The monk nodded his head.
With a deep sigh, Zhao told the monk: “I am ashamed to say that I started my business by using a cheating scale to deceive others. I made up my mind to be a good person last year and destroyed that scale. However, soon after I destroyed the scale, I began experiencing misfortune after misfortune.
“I lost three sons in the span of six months, and two of my daughters-in-law have left us. Fortunately my third daughter-in-law gave me this grandson. Why is it that I had a happy family when I was cheating others, yet once I decided to be good, all these misfortunes knocked on our door?”
The monk laughed after hearing Zhao’s story and responded: “Don’t go off into wild flights of fancy. The heavens are actually fair to us. Your eldest son was the reincarnation of that cotton man who died after you cheated him, and your second son was the reincarnation of that herbalist.
“Your third son also came because of all the bad deeds that you accumulated, and all three sons came to this world to ruin you and your family, so that you would starve to death in your old age. However, since you have resolved to do good, the gods have shown sympathy toward you and have recalled your three sons. You were able to escape your fate.”
Upon hearing this, Zhao felt as though he had woken from a dream. He thanked the monk for explaining the situation to him but asked the monk if his grandson had also come to collect more debts from him.
“All your debts were repaid with the latest series of misfortunes,” the monk replied with a smile. “This grandson of yours is going to bring fortune and happiness to your family. He is going to enjoy fame merely because of your decision to do something good for others. This is the reward that you earned for being good.”
Zhao was very satisfied and became more determined to perform good deeds for the rest of his life.
This story supports the old Chinese saying: “If a good family has some tribulations, it may be that they are repaying the karma or debts from their ancestors. Once the debt is repaid, they will enjoy a happy life.”
Source: China Gaze
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Tags: Body & Mind, human rights, Society, Spirituality
On the day the United States celebrates civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday it was actually on Jan. 15, it’s well worth revisiting some of the most famous quotes King—arguably one of the greatest orators of the 20th century—made during his lifetime.
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” — From his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Stockhom, 1964.
“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” — From a speech in Detroit on June 23, 1963.
“…And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.” — Part of a speech in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — From “Letter from Birmingham Jail” April 16, 1963.
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” — From a sermon he delivered in 1956.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” — From his 1963 book, “Strength to Love.”
“We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. … And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. It is a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.” — From “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968.
“The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love. For more that three centuries American Negroes have been frustrated by day and bewilderment by night by unbearable injustice, and burdened with the ugly weight of discrimination. Forced to live with these shameful conditions, we are tempted to become bitter and retaliate with a corresponding hate. But if this happens, the new order we seek will be little more than a duplicate of the old order. We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.” — From “Loving Your Enemies” delivered at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama on Nov. 17, 1957.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” — From “I Have a Dream” delivered at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — From “Strength to Love,” 1963.
Tags: cultivation, quote of the day, Spirituality
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
Tags: Children, Culture, Society, today's thoughts
Actually, thought about this today. That it’s important …
Have often thought about that it’s important to give children a good foundation, a history lesson and a cultural background to stand upon that tells them about different enlightened persons who have come to earth through the ages, to guide people on how to be a good person. A good human being is the message that they have had. A person with high morals and who is thinking of others first, a person that is compassionate, merciful and good.
So play some beautiful traditional Christmas music for the kids at Christmas, talk about the birth and life of Jesus and hold a nice, harmonious and somewhat solemn atmosphere in the home for them to remember later in life
Tags: archaeology, Culture, environmental issues, Society, sustainable development, today's thoughts
There has been much speculation and even some scaremongering going on about the Mayan calendar, but it’s nothing to worry about. The biggest threat is probably ourselves and how we treat our planet …
When it’s time to move into the fifth solar cycle we’ll see what happens. I think it will be a transition to something else, something better in the long run. But if we want it to happen, man must stop destroying his habitat and raising his moral …
I’m posting some links that I think are worth reading and is explaining a bit more about the Mayan calendar. Click on the headline to get access to the article.
By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
2012 doomsday prediction? The Dec. 21, 2012 date is likely wrong for the end of the Mayan calendar, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara said.
The calendar, which was created thousands of years ago by the Mayan civilization in Central America, stops at the Gregorian date of December 21, 2012. Many people have speculated that catostrophic events could occur when the date comes, which the Roland Emmerich film detailed in 2012.
Professor Gerardo Aldana, an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara, said that the date could be inaccurate by 50 to 100 years or even more.
By Belinda McCallum
Epoch Times Staff
Ninth-century hieroglyphs painted by a Mayan scribe in Guatemala are records of lunar and perhaps planetary cycles, forming the oldest known Mayan calendar.
The city of Xultún was discovered almost a century ago in the remote rainforest of the Petén region and covers 12 square miles. It was once home to many thousands of people, and monuments were constructed from the first centuries B.C. Only 56 structures have been counted and mapped among thousands more.
Epoch Times Staff
A second reference to the Mayan December 2012 prophecy has been publicized, and is carved on a piece of brick found at Comalcalco in southern Mexico.
Previously, only one ancient glyph has been referred to on a stone tablet at nearby Tortuguero.
Known as the Comalcalco brick, the inscription is about 1,300 years old, and is thought to have been laid facing inward or concealed with stucco, implying it was not meant to be seen.
Tags: Society, today's thoughts
Tags: Body & Mind, health, meditation, psychology, Science, Spirituality
U.S. neurologists have discovered that eight weeks of compassion meditation training can produce long-term brain changes and development of positive traits.
The team found that meditation improves emotional stability and response to stress by altering the activity of the amygdala—a brain region involved in regulating emotions and attention.
“This study contributes to a growing body of evidence from scientific studies that meditation practice affects the body and brain in measurable ways,” Dr. Gaëlle Desbordes from Massachusetts General Hospital told The Epoch Times via email.
To study the effects of meditation, adult participants were trained for eight weeks in either compassion meditation or mindful-attention (to develop awareness of breathing, thought, and emotions). A third control group was given health education.
Three weeks before and after training, participants’ brains were scanned while viewing a series of images with different emotional content.
The mindful-attention group showed a reduction in amygdala activation to all emotional stimuli.
“This suggests that mindful attention training reduced emotional reactivity, which is consistent with the overarching hypothesis that mindful meditation practice reduces perceived stress and improves emotional stability,” Desbordes told The Epoch Times.
In the compassion meditation group, the positive emotional content led to similar brain scan results, but the participants who meditated more reported increased amygdala activity in response to images of people in various situations of suffering.
“We think these two forms of meditation cultivate different aspects of mind,” Desbordes said in a press release. “Since compassion meditation is designed to enhance compassionate feelings, it makes sense that it could increase amygdala response to seeing people suffer.”
“Increased amygdala activation was also correlated with decreased depression scores in the compassion meditation group, which suggests that having more compassion towards others may also be beneficial for oneself,” she added.
No effects were observed in the control group.
“Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing,” she said in the release.
The researchers concluded that meditation training impacts emotional processing in everyday life, not just during meditation, and can result in the long-term development of certain traits.
Related Articles: Meditation Enhances Mood in Only 5 Weeks
Tags: archaeology, Culture, Science, Spirituality
A 1,000-year-old Buddha statue from Tibet was carved from a rare meteorite that landed on Earth about 15 millennia ago, according to new international research.
Known as the “Iron Man,” the statue weighs 10.6 kilos (about 23 pounds) and is composed of ataxite, a class of iron meteorites with high nickel content.
“The statue was chiseled from a fragment of the Chinga meteorite which crashed into the border areas between Mongolia and Siberia about 15,000 years ago,” said research leader Elmar Buchner at the University of Stuttgart in a press release.
“While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before.”
The artifact was brought to Germany after a 1938 Nazi expedition led by zoologist Ernst Schäfer, sponsored by Nazi SS Chief Heinrich Himmler. The whole team may have been SS members, and historians believe they were in Tibet seeking the origins of the Aryans, embraced by Nazi ideology as the original and supreme race.
Thought to represent the Buddhist god Vaisravana, the Buddhist King of the North or Jambhala, the statue may have originated from the pre-Buddhist Bon culture of the 11th century.
On its chest is a large “srivatsa,” symbolizing the god’s Buddha status. The Nazi swastika bears some similarities to the srivatsa and this may have led the expedition to take it back to Germany.
It then became part of a private collection in Munich until it was auctioned in 2007, when it became available for scientific research.
“The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” Buchner said.
“Its origins alone may value it at US$20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”
In their paper, the researchers note the significance of meteorites to prehistoric human cultures. “The fall of meteorites has been interpreted as divine messages by multitudinous cultures since prehistoric times, and meteorites are still adored as heavenly bodies,” they wrote.
“… Iron meteorites are basically an inappropriate material for producing sculptures,” the researchers concluded.
“The challenging use of the ‘iron man’ meteorite as well as the (at least) partial gilding of the statue implies that the artist was certainly aware of the outstanding (extraterrestrial) nature of the object carved.”
The findings were published in the Meteoritics and Planetary Science on Sept. 14.
- Buddha Statues Stand Amid Rubble After Tsunamis
- Buddha Statues in Malaysia Seen Moving and Emitting Light
If the summer has been fine or not, we up here in the North often associate that with whether or not it has been a warm and sunny one. Unfortunately, this year many of us here in Sweden are thinking that this year’s Swedish summer has really not given us what we longed so much for, and now it has started to fade away to be replaced by the autumn.
Autumn has in fact been sensed already, occasionally with high clear air and wind even if it was only the beginning of August. But then it turned thankfully, and this year’s summer gave at last a longer period of time with heat and sun and I got my salty baths in the sea
I was also listening to a wonderful concert in the castle of Tjolöholm, where parts of Kungsbacka Piano Trio performed. I think this is really music at high level. It was a fantastic evening in a castle and in Beethoven’s spirit.
Here you can listen to a beautiful piece from the concert, but not by Kungsbacka Piano Trio with guest cellist.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Falun Gong, health, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Spirituality
My husband is ugly-looking, simple-minded, and a little stubborn. At the same time, he is honest, poised, upright, kind, and very responsible. There’s an old saying: “Being husband and wife is fate.” That is true; fate brought us together.
One Chinese New Year after he’d returned from visiting a friend, my father said, “A matchmaker wants to introduce someone to you. I turned him down since you are still young.” I didn’t think too much about it. After the Chinese New Year, the matchmaker brought it up again. I figured that I’d just go and see. I heard that he was an honest person and could cook well.
I was not impressed with him at first, I just thought he looked ugly. However, we still went out occasionally. Perhaps it was destiny, and we eventually got married. He took very good care of me, like an older brother. He did most of the cooking since I didn’t know how. I never got up in the morning to make him breakfast. In the morning, he’d grab something simple to eat before he rushed to work. I was very spoiled. Whenever we quarreled, I’d argue—even if it was my fault—and he would always apologize until I calmed down. He was industrious and could endure hardship. Whatever chores I didn’t want to do, he’d quickly take over. He never asked me to do anything I didn’t like. If something bothered me at work or home, I told him about it. He then comforted me and guided me to quickly forget the problems. He respected and cared for his parents. He took the year-end bonus he received from work to his parents first. When my father got cancer, we brought him into our house and took care of him until he passed away.
My husband worked very hard and was kind to others. He rarely had conflicts with coworkers. He was straightforward but not good with words. He didn’t know how to say the things his boss wanted to hear, nor was he hypocritical, let alone involved in bribery. In today’s society, people like my husband are considered “not smart.” I began looking down on him, thinking that he was not only ugly, but useless, stubborn, too honest, and not as hypocritical as he needed to be. I believed that he’d never make good money and I started to pick on him. I proposed divorce many times and our marriage was in jeopardy.
Luckily, in the winter of 1997, we learned Falun Dafa together on the same day. After I meditated for the first time, that night, I found that my crooked back had straightened. My husband and I were very happy and excited. Before that, he had to massage my back every night to help me sleep.
As we continued to read Zhuan Falun and did the exercises, more miracles happened. My husband’s irregular heartbeat went away and his kidneys started to function normally. My ailments with my stomach, throat, shoulder, and nose disappeared. A Chinese medicine doctor once told me that I had a heart as weak as a 70-year-old, which caused severe fatigue. Now, my heart is strong and I can do any work I want and am full of energy.
More importantly, Falun Dafa taught us how to behave: to be considerate, kind, and selfless. I understood the real meaning of being good and kind. My perspective on life changed completely. I looked back and realized that my husband was, in fact, a very good person. He was honest, kind, and innocent, with all the traditional virtues. I realized that, as a woman, I should be gentle and virtuous; as a wife, I should care for and be considerate of my husband. I should shoulder a wife’s duties and responsibilities. I knew that I should cherish our relationship. From then on, I made him breakfast every day. I tried to do as many household chores as possible, I cared for him and looked within when there was a conflict between us. Our family became warm and peaceful.
We went to the outdoor exercise sessions daily and studied the Falun Dafa teachings every night. Our lives were happy and substantial. We knew that all we had came from Dafa. Teacher not only gave us health, but a happy family.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Dafa began on July 20, 1999. I was illegally arrested for appealing for Falun Gong. In 2000, I was fired because I refused to give up my belief. I was detained in a forced labor camp for a year. During that time, my husband supported the family alone and endured the pressure from our families and society. My father-in-law often reprimanded and scolded him, and police officers frequently harassed him at home. The second time I was arrested, my in-laws asked my husband to divorce me. He refused and said that he would wait for me for as long as it took. Due to the persecution, we rarely saw each other in those years. My husband practically lived alone. I know that he suffered tremendously having to take care of everything himself. He never complained or talked about his problems when I returned home.
Everyone who knew my husband felt sorry for him. He smiled every day. One time I joked with him, “You seemed to enjoy living by yourself. You still gained weight being so busy.” Others thought that we led a bitter life, but there was only sweetness in our hearts. We have Falun Dafa in our hearts, we are practitioners, we have Teacher to take care of us, and we are heading toward a beautiful future. The real victims are those who do not understand the facts of Falun Dafa and the persecution.
My husband is very frugal and doesn’t spend money on anything. He uses the money he saves to help and support me. Initially, his sisters wouldn’t let him give me money. He told them, “She’s my wife. If I don’t help her, who will?” With his strong support, I felt safe and at peace wherever I was. This comes from our belief in Teacher and the Falun Dafa teachings. We are fearless before tribulations and can break through all interference.
We have suffered a lot these years. We thank the selfless practitioners who’ve helped us. We are extremely happy and grateful because we know that we’re lucky enough to have obtained the Fa of the universe. We know why we are here and the true meaning of life. We know there is glory ahead of us.
[From the Call for Submissions to Commemorate the Twentieth Anniversary of Falun Dafa's Introduction]
Tags: Body & Mind, Children, health, meditation, Science
Regular meditation from a young age can significantly lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing strain on the heart.
A team of U.S. researchers studied 62 African American teenagers with high blood pressure and found those who meditated twice daily had lower left ventricular mass, which is a predictor of cardiovascular disease.
“Increased mass of the heart muscle’s left ventricle is caused by the extra workload on the heart with higher blood pressure,” said Dr. Vernon A. Barnes at the Georgia Health Sciences University in a press release.
“Some of these teens already had higher measures of left ventricular mass because of their elevated blood pressure, which they are likely to maintain into adulthood.”
To check the effects of meditation, the team randomly assigned teenagers to two different activities for four months.
Thirty teens routinely performed 15 minutes of meditation with a class and 15 minutes at home. Meanwhile, a control group of 32 adolescents did not meditate, but were educated on how to keep blood pressure within a normal range and lower risks for heart disease. The same instructor worked with both groups.
After the study, echocardiogram checkups of the participants’ left ventricular mass (LVM) showed a decrease in the teen group that meditated.
These students also showed behavioral improvements according to their school records.
According to Barnes, meditation provides a period of “deep rest” which decreases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and release of stress hormones. “As a result, the vasculature relaxes, blood pressure drops and the heart works less.”
In their paper, the researchers explained that previous studies have shown how meditation effectively reduces blood pressure in long-term practitioners and controls indicators of psycho-social stress such as anger, hostility, and depression.
“Statistics indicate that one in every 10 black youths has high blood pressure,” Barnes said. “If practiced over time, the meditation may reduce the risk of these teens developing cardiovascular disease, in addition to other added health benefits.”
This is the first study to demonstrate a decrease in LVM due to meditation. The team hopes it will act as a stepping stone for inclusion of meditation to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
The findings were published online in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Chinese Ministry of Health Breaks 13-Year Taboo on Qigong
- Study Finds Meditation Restructures Brain in 8 Weeks
Tags: CCP, China, Falun Gong, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society, Spirituality, today's thoughts
My comment: I think this is an important article. The truth must be revealed so everyone can see what has been going on and is going on in China today. And everybody has a choice that comes from knowing; a choice between to know the difference between good and evil… that can guide us according to the heavenly law and principle of karma or as Jesus said “As you sow, you reap”.
Please do not forget this important message that Buddha and Jesus left us as a guidance for us in our daily life and in our important choice between good and evil, in thought and action.
The Choice and the Crisis Facing the Chinese Regime
Shared guilt was the basis of the faction that ruled China for 13 years
At a conference organized by the 610 Office in April 2003 in Hebei Province, the torture method called “the straightjacket” was billed as an “advanced experience in transformation” and promoted for use throughout China.
The Falun Gong practitioner’s arms are bound and twisted behind the back in a specially designed jacket. The guards then pull the arms over the shoulders to the chest, tearing the shoulder ligaments. The legs are tied up, the mouth gagged, and earphones placed in the ears. A rope is tied around the practitioners’ arms, its end is looped around the bars on a high window, and the guards hoist the practitioner off the ground.
The practitioners’ shoulders, elbows, and wrists instantly fracture. Meanwhile, recordings slandering the practitioner’s beliefs are pumped through the earphones at high volume. If the practitioner is left hanging for an extended period of time, the spine fractures, and the practitioner dies in excruciating pain.
After launching the campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong in July, 1999, former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) head Jiang Zemin promoted only those people who were willing to order that hellish tortures like this be used on Falun Gong practitioners.
In China today, there are officials who no longer wish to look the other way as these horrors continue.
The crisis shaking the Chinese regime turns on whether or not CCP officials should continue persecuting Falun Gong. Underlying the heated struggle taking place behind the high red walls of the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai is a clear choice between good and evil.
When Jiang Zemin forced the decision to begin the persecution of Falun Gong through the Politburo Standing Committee, the committee’s other six members opposed him.
Once begun, the persecution was no more popular generally than it had been in the elite Standing Committee. But Jiang had ways to push his campaign forward.
Jiang had power, and with that power he could give permission. Greed, like that of the billionaire Bo Xilai, was a recommendation. A taste for rape, like that of the future domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, could be indulged. A taste for blood, like that of the police chief Wang Lijun, who reported in a speech being thrilled at the awesome sight of forced, live organ harvesting, could be smiled upon.
The buffoonish and awkward Jiang could not lead men, but he could pander to them. Those who still had scruples learned to abandon them, as they plunged into moral depths decent human beings cannot imagine exist.
Blackmail, and coercion prodded Jiang’s recruits from behind as bribery and their various vices led them onward. In this way, Jiang formed the bloody-hands faction that carried out his persecution.
At his direction, these CCP bosses used the power he gave them to slander good and innocent citizens; to steal everything Falun Gong practitioners had of value, even taking farmers’ seeds; to detain practitioners by the millions, subjecting them to slave labor, little sleep, and rotten food; to break practitioners’ wills and destroy their faith in what they believed to be good and true; to wrack practitioners’ bodies with nightmarish tortures; to abuse them sexually, rape them, and gang rape them; and, for the sake of a little profit, to strap practitioners alive and awake to a hospital table, cut them open, and tear their organs from their bodies (Detailed information at: organharvestinvestigation.net).
The guilt the members of the bloody-hands faction shared for these crimes was their common surety. Jiang could trust them with power because no member of the faction could hold the others responsible for what they all had done.
In China’s 5,000-year-long history much has been experienced, but the ridiculous Jiang has brought this nation to its darkest and most degenerate era.
On Feb. 25 a Falun Gong practitioner named Wang Xiaodong was arrested after police found a Falun Gong compact disk in his home in Zhouguantun Village, Fuzhen Town, Botou City, Hebei Province, the province in northeastern China that surrounds Beijing.
After fruitlessly appealing to authorities for his release, his family walked through the village with a petition calling for Wang to be let go. In one day, 110 signatures were gathered. In a few days, 300 villagers had signed their real names and affixed their thumb prints in red wax. The local Party cadres added an official stamp.
The villagers and the local cadres all know very well that Falun Gong has been banned. They also know the consequences that can be visited on those who practice Falun Gong or those who simply help practitioners. Nonetheless, they stood up to be counted on Wang’s behalf.
The villagers’ fate reflects the strife in today’s CCP. Local security forces loyal to the bloody-hands faction are now harassing them, but, in a clear sign that the villagers have friends in high places, their petition was put before the Politburo Standing Committee.
For 13 years Falun Gong practitioners have waged the largest campaign of civil disobedience in the world. They have patiently gone to one individual after another to tell their story. They distribute fliers and compact disks and talk about their own experiences with the spiritual practice.
The practitioners tell how they live their lives according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. They explain how they have learned to think of others before they think of themselves and to take less seriously different passions and desires.
They tell of the extraordinary improvements in health they have experienced, with chronic, serious diseases completely healed. And they tell of families healed, with conflict replaced by harmony.
They patiently debunk the propaganda demonizing Falun Gong and tell of what is done to practitioners in brainwashing centers, labor camps, psychiatric hospitals, and in the often makeshift operating rooms used for organ harvesting.
Every minute of every day tens of millions of practitioners risk their lives in order to educate their fellow Chinese about what Falun Gong is and how the regime has persecuted its practitioners.
In doing this, the practitioners want to hasten the day that the persecution ends, but they also have an even more noble purpose.
The practitioners believe in the truth of the traditional Chinese saying that good deeds are rewarded with good and evil with evil.
All of those who have supported the persecution are in danger of themselves becoming the persecution’s victims. They will suffer the consequences for the evil done in carrying out the persecution.
In reaching out to the people of China, the practitioners have especially sought to help those the bloody-hands faction has deceived into doing evil.
The Zhouguantun villagers are remarkable in what they did, but this village is not alone in rejecting the persecution. In some villages in China, a bell sounds in the morning to announce the Falun Gong exercises will begin. In other villages, the local security forces have quietly let practitioners know they are no longer hunting them down.
Before the persecution began, the people of China flocked to learn Falun Gong. Now, they are once more awakening to its goodness, in spite of the tricks and threats of the bloody-hands faction.
Like the villagers of Zhouguantun, the people of China are making a choice. They no longer want to be associated with the madness Jiang has brought upon the country. The petition in Zhouguantun bears this message between its lines: The persecution is unsustainable, and its ending is only a matter of time.
This shift in the people of China has been building year after year. Jiang and his faction could see how the people were turning their backs on the campaign against Falun Gong and knew what this foretold. One day the persecution would end, and the bloody-hands faction would be brought to trial for its crimes.
In February 2011 Hong Kong’s Frontline magazine published an article that purported to report the two things Jiang will regret throughout his life. One of those was said to be the persecution of Falun Gong. The article describes the dictator Jiang as taking a flexible stance toward democracy and political freedom. The regret expressed about the persecution makes its continuation after Jiang retired in 2002 seem to have been all the responsibility of his successor, Hu Jintao.
With that magazine article, Jiang or Jiang’s faction sought to tie Hu to the persecution and make him a scapegoat. If Hu were guilty, then Hu could never allow Jiang and his faction to be held accountable.
But the ruse fell flat. The recent changes in the CCP—including the removal of Bo Xilai from his Party posts and the investigation of Zhou Yongkang—indicate that Hu and Wen want to end the bloody-hands faction.
They still have time to reverse Jiang’s policy of persecuting Falun Gong. If Hu and Wen do so, they will usher in an historic change to China.
The failure to co-opt Hu and Wen left the bloody-hands faction only one course: to continue trying to hold onto power in the CCP.
Jiang had arranged for his faction to dominate the CCP, even as he retired. At the 16th Party Congress in 2002, which marked the end of Jiang’s tenure as general secretary, Jiang went against Party custom and expanded the Politburo Standing Committee from seven to nine.
Jiang added Luo Gan and his long-time ally Zeng Qinghong and forced off the committee the highly respected Li Ruihuan. In addition, Jiang had the rule governing the Standing Committee changed. Instead of the Standing Committee obeying the general secretary, it would henceforth operate by consensus.
With these moves, Jiang assured that he would continue to call the shots in the CCP, even though Hu and Wen might hold the top offices in the Party and the government.
Luo Gan was head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC). In the 1980s the PLAC had been a small Party organ, but after the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, the PLAC took on the role of suppressing domestic dissent and began to grow in power.
The 610 Office, tasked by Jiang with eradicating Falun Gong, was part of the PLAC and used its resources to enforce the persecution or, in those places where there was no 610 Office, the PLAC enforced the persecution directly. Jiang and Luo used the persecution as an opportunity to expand the size, power, and reach of the PLAC.
In 2007, at the 17th Party Congress, Luo retired and Jiang replaced him with Zhou Yongkang, who also became director of the PLAC. Zhou continued expanding the PLAC’s power. Today’s PLAC has authority over the 1.5 million-strong People’s Armed Police, the Public Security Bureau, the courts, the procuratorate, lawyers, the jails and labor camps, and the vast network of surveillance aimed at China’s population.
With a budget greater than the military, Zhou has turned the PLAC into a second power center within the CCP, threatening the ability of Party central to rule.
Knowing that Zhou would be forced to retire at the 18th Party Congress later this year, the bloody-hands faction prepared for Bo Xilai, then the Party chief of the province-level city of Chongqing in central-western China, to take his place on the Standing Committee and as director of the PLAC.
Bo was a safe choice to carry the standard of the bloody-hands faction because he was so deeply implicated in the persecution. While Bo Xilai was in Dalian City as mayor (1999-2001) and in Shenyang City, in northeast China’s Liaoning Province as governor (2001-2004), tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from all over the country were jailed there.
Large numbers of practitioners died. Shenyang City was turned into an experimental site for organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. Bo could never hold the other members of the faction accountable for their crimes in enforcing the persecution without destroying himself.
While Jiang had hoped Bo could in fact be named as Hu’s successor, according to the usual CCP procedures, Bo was two steps below the rank of general secretary. Leapfrogging Bo into that office was not considered possible.
Jiang reluctantly accepted Xi Jinping, the former governor of Zhejiang Province and the head of the Central Party School, in the belief that he was weak and could easily be pushed aside. Xi, though, had not taken part in the persecution, and Jiang could never rest easy at the prospect of Xi assuming power.
In a desperate effort to keep the bloody-hands faction in power, the idea was born of Zhou and Bo conspiring in a plot to unseat Xi after he took power.
This coup might have gone forward, except that Bo could not trust in the guilt of Wang Lijun, his right-hand man, after all. Bo feared what might be revealed in Party central’s investigation of Wang and turned on him. On Feb. 6 Wang fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, the plot was revealed, and the CCP has since been locked in a bitter struggle.
As the harassment of the Zhouguantun villagers demonstrates, the bloody-hands faction keeps fighting. If the faction cannot avoid losing power, it can continue for a time to create chaos.
The bloody-hands faction fights on because its members are deeply afraid. The little tyrants who calmly ordered the tortures and the organ harvesting now fear a solemn tribunal may soon pass judgment on them.
As the faction continues to lash out, Hu, Wen, and Xi will remain in danger and Chinese society will be in turmoil.
This agonizing period offers everyone a precious opportunity to display righteousness, morality, and courage.
The CCP officials face urgent, life-and-death conflicts. As they fight among themselves, they may think they are fighting to preserve themselves and to hold onto power.
In fact, the fundamental choice facing the CCP officials is not about self-preservation or power. The choice is between good and evil.
The principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance are universal and constitute our humanity. In persecuting Falun Gong, the bloody-hands faction has set itself against human nature and against the moral basis of Chinese society.
To choose to continue such acts as hoisting up Falun Gong practitioners tied up in straightjackets is to choose barbarism over civilization. It is to choose to bring disaster and shame onto China.
To oppose the persecution of Falun Gong is to choose a future based on what is best in humanity.
Although the recent, dramatic events in China may be distracting, this choice is plain for all to see. Each CCP official must choose where he or she stands, as must each Chinese citizen.
In addition, each government around the world and the world’s people must make the same choice.
This moment before the persecution ends allows for all to reflect on what has been displayed in China. It is a chance to choose a good future.
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