Voices from Russia

Sunday, 8 November 2015

8 November 2015. A Look Over the Fence… What is a Retreat?

00 Viktoriya Rogotneva. Lekh (India). Buddhist saying. 2015


We live in the “now”… not in the past, for that’s gone… not in the future, for it hasn’t come yet… we live NOW. If we can internalise that, we’ve gone a long way to defeat pride. However, the road to that is neither short nor easy… mistrust all “young elders”. As St John of the Ladder said, “If you see a young monk advancing by his own efforts, pull him down, for his own good!” A young priest of my acquaintance would do well to take that to heart…


Monday, 13 July 2015

13 July 2015. A Look Over the Fence… The Heart Sutra

00 Yuri Biryukov. Silence and meditation. Sikkim, India. The Heart Sutra. 12.07.15


Ani Choying Drolma sings the Heart Sūtra


Ani Choying Drolma sings the Great Compassion Mantra


Buddhism is one of the Big Three Traditional Religions in Russia (the other two are Orthodox Christianity and Islam). Judaism and the Evangelical Church (Lutherans, NOT non-Christian American Radical Sectarians) are minor traditional religions, with real Russian Protestants (not American Sectarian wannabes) being acceptable too. Buddhists make up about 1 percent of the Russian population (1.5 million), with about a third of these actively practising to some extent or other. Buddhist friends tell me that the Heart Sūtra is the most popular sūtra amongst believers, more popular than Om mani padme om (“The jewel is in the lotus”) is. I know next-to-nothing about Buddhist theology, so, I can’t comment on that. However, this is part of Russia, too. It’s all ours or none of it’s ours… simple as that…


Sunday, 12 July 2015

12 July 2015. Signs of the Times…BE A MENSCH!

00 Be a Mensch! 120715


In Russian, муж and человек are NOT synonyms. The first is any old common-garden variety male… any man will do ya, if you will. The second can only be expressed properly with the German/Yiddish mensch, “human being” (exemplar thereof). It’s praise… it fits both men and women… we can all be “human beings” in that sense… indeed, we’re all called to that, if you but thought a moment on it. Good advice, this sign… a real “sign of the times”…


Update 13.07.15

A friend sent me this:

I think that you meant “мужчина,” not “муж” which means “husband”. Otherwise, I liked the “mensch” analogy which is pretty much on the mark.

Well, dog my cat… I explained it “wrong” but got it “right”… what a world we live in! Kudos to my friend… I encourage this sort of thing… it keeps me on my toes…


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2 October 2012. A Point to Ponder… There are None So Blind as Those Who Will Not to See


Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.

Jeremiah 5.21


Be patient with some of the konvertsy, they come from sectarian and rightwing milieus where the truth isn’t only ignored, it’s discouraged. You see, the most secure fetters are those that we forge ourselves and put on our own wrists. The most binding are those made of “gold”… where one’s livelihood depends on living a lie. That’s what meant by “there are none so blind as those who will not to see”. The “truth WILL set you free”… but you must be willing to pay the cost thereof. Shall you? Even if it means losing a situation that’s remunerative and pleasing? I know the dilemma… I faced it… I decided… and I paid the cost. It’s not pleasant…


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