Genuine self-cultivation can only be achieved after the mind has been developed through discipline. The mind is developed in two ways – by cultivating the permanent states of virtue and selflessness. Cause and effect is entirely dependent upon our own physical actions which produce either blessings or misfortune – but only the realised state of wuwei (non-action) in the mind and body is considered real. Even spirits and ghosts have their method – but their cycle of endless transformation is difficult to discern.
He was so famous that when aged 122 years old, his portrait was painted by the famous artists Rubens (see above) and Van Dyke – with one of his portraits hanging at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery carrying the inscription: ‘Thomas Parr died at the age of 152 years 9 months’ – and another at the National Portrait Gallery. It is also interesting to note that Thomas Parr attributes his longevity in part, to the following of a vegetarian diet.
The Venerable Old Master Xu Yun existed in the time of modern Buddhism and was an outstanding teacher. He was a Buddhist monk who strictly adhered to the Vinaya Discipline for over a hundred years, and cultivated the Dao in at least fifteen different temples, which included the temple of the Sixth Patriarch (Hui Neng). When the time was right, he inherited the lineages of all Five Ch’an Schools. He was a very highly respected Ch’an monk, and had tens of thousands of disciples (both ordained and lay), to whom he transmitted the genuine Ch’an Dharma.
After the Norman victory of 1066 CE in Britain, the warriors of the indigenous British kept-up a fierce resistance to the Norman presence for decades. The Normans spread-out across the land, and built very strong fortified houses and castles. These structures allowed the Norman occupiers to live in relative safety against the continuous threat of British attack. This castle building skill marked a significant evolution in the building of militarised structures in Britain, and there was very little the indigenous British warriors could do against the high and smooth stone walls, deep water-filled moats, and steep inclines.
The psychological and the material are inherently linked at source, with one influencing the other, but with human intention (as structured and directed thought) having the decisive factor for modern human beings. This is despite the fact that during the millions of years of human evolution it has been physical change that has had the upper hand. This change, premised entirely upon environmental pressure and the need to survive, has created the physical structure of the brain that eventually became aware of its own existence.
The Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre has Wallabies, Peacocks, Fallow Deer, Muntjac Deer, various species of owls, and many different types of ducks and birds roaming free. This assortment includes Giant British Rabbits, and of course, Asian and British Otters – the Asian Otters particularly make a tremendous noise and are very playful around mealtimes! Sometimes, the Fallow Deer, (which are led by a magnificent stag), wander over to visitors and are happy to be hand-fed with food available for purchase from the Centre. Obviously the nearer to opening time, the more willing the hungry Deer are to come close.