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The Harmony thesis

By W.J.Darlington

God of Heavenly Punishment

God of Heavenly Punishment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is my whole-hearted belief that out there, in that vast cosmos, is a grand puppet master

a creature born from stone, forged amongst the blazing stars, pulling all the strings. Twisting the will of man.

This deity seeks balance and order, so it manipulates mortals to carry out his will.

Why it seeks balance? we may never know

is there some reward? perhaps

does this creature hold all the answers, or does it give us the questions?

I know this theory sounds insane and inexplicable. Especially since, to the unobservant one, the world is not balanced.

There is war and strife. Hate and rage. Children are dying, and innocent blood is spilt everyday

but at the same time. Children are born, homes are built and half the world is at peace, while the other half rages.

There can be no light without darkness.

A world of light will always have the rebellious, the hateful and the dark hidden away in it’s corners.

The same can be said of a world of darkness.

A world of dark will always have hope, determination; a candle in the night

Do humans really have free will? It is in our nature to wage war, to fight. It runs throughout all of nature, yet we believe in peace loving deities that believe in imaginary worlds with no strife.

Is it so crazy to believe that something out there doesn’t want peace? That something doesn’t want the western indulgence?

Image via Tumblr

If the gods wished humans to be peaceful, then why did they program us to instinctively wage war amongst each other?

If a god wants the decadent west to fall, then why did it create it in the first place?

Why should a king need to prove itself to it’s subjects with some prophet and a handful of miracles?

Every religion has some guideline. A book, a scripture, writing on the wall, Something! But why? Why are these guidelines not deeply imprinted in our minds? Why do they need to be drilled into us from birth?Perhaps the true guidelines are already within us. The will to fight for dominance, to balance the world may be our guidelines.

What if the gods we bow to are simply creations, meant to cause strife and peace amongst man, in the pursuit of true harmonic balance.

Believe my theories, or don’t. The choice is yours, but you cannot deny my theory is sound in many aspects.

Thank you for reading

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/the-harmony-thesis-6992851.html

About the Author

A well-read scholar who has studied human behaviour, religion and Balance for several years


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Silence of the heart

Image via Tumblr

By chakravarthy

Silence usually is understood to be something negative, something empty, an absence of sound, of noises. This misunderstanding is prevalent because few people have ever experienced silence — all they have experienced is noiselessness. But silence is a totally different phenomenon. It is utterly positive. It is existential, it is not empty. It overflows with a music that you have never heard before, with a fragrance that is unfamiliar to you, with a light that can only be seen by inner eyes. It is not something fictitious; it is a reality that is already present in everyone–we just never look in.

All our senses are extrovert. Our eyes open outside as do our ears; our hands move outside, so too our legs..all our senses are meant to explore the outside world. But there is a sixth sense which is asleep because we have never used it. And no society, culture or educational system helps people to make the sixth sense active.

In the East, the sixth sense is called ‘the third eye’. It looks inward. And just as there is a way of hearing in, and of smelling the fragrance within. Just as there are five senses moving outward, there are five counter-senses moving inward. In all, we have 10 senses, but the first sense that starts the inner journey is the third eye, and then other senses start opening up.

Your inner world has its own taste, fragrance and light. It is utterly, immensely, eternally silent. The mind cannot reach there, but you can reach because you are not the mind. The function of the mind is to be a bridge between you and the objective world, and the function of the heart is to be a bridge between you and yourself.

The silence is the silence of the heart. It is a wordless song without sound. Out of this silence flowers of love grow. Here you can find the Garden of Eden. Meditation is the key to open the doors of your own being.

The body knows its owns silence–that is its own well-being, overflowing health and joy. The mind also knows its silence, when all thoughts disappear and the sky is cloud free, just pure space. But the silence I am talking about is far deeper. I am talking about the silence of your being.

Other silences can be disturbed. Sickness can disturb the silence of your body, and death is certainly going to disturb it. A single thought can disturb the silence of your mind, the way a small pebble thrown into a silent lake creates thousands of ripples, and the lake is no longer silent. The silences of body and mind are fragile and superficial, but in themselves they are good. To experience them is helpful, because it indicates that there may be deeper silences of the heart, it will be again an arrow of longing, moving you even deeper.

Your centre of being is the centre of a cyclone. Whatever happens around it does not affect it; it is eternal silence. Whatever happens and whenever, the eternal silence of your being remains exactly the same — the same soundless music, fragrance of godliness and transcendence from all that is mortal and momentary.

Article Source: http:www.articlesbase.comreligion-articlessilence-of-the-heart-5564389.html

About the Author

C.S. Chakravarthy – H. No. 12-13-301, St. No. 9, Lane. No. 1, Flat. No. 203, Satya Classic, Tarnaka, Secunderabad-500017


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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 5)

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation ...

The Holy Spirit as a dove in the Annunciation by Rubens, 1628 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Final Word on Violence

In Christian mysticism, peaceful living and spiritual growth go hand in hand. As the believer increases in perfection and becomes closer to God the soul usually experiences an overall increase in heavenly graces.

The ideal Christian washes not just the outside but the inside of the proverbial cup to receive the pure waters of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 23:26). In this metaphor the cup represents the self, the soul, and the person who ultimately is bound for heaven.

So Christian mysticism never justifies violence but rather, gentleness and humility.

One might object to this claim by citing Joan of Arc, her inner voices apparently coming from God and urging her to lead the French army into battle. But it was the Catholic Church which eventually canonized St. Joan. The New Testament Gospels, themselves, never condone violence.

God or no God?

As noted earlier, religion can get complicated. Whenever one forwards a given assertion, an exception usually arises. On the issue of violence, we might point out the notion of the Just War and, for the matter, the bellicose Old Testament which Catholics embrace as originating in God. Having said that, the New Testament and Buddhist ideals about non-violence clearly differ in the sense that Buddhists do not believe in an ultimate, omnipotent, omniscient and eternal God, while Christians obviously do.

To repeat, Buddhists do not believe in God. Instead, Buddhists normally contextualize the idea of God saying “God” is just another cultural idea to surpass on the road to Nirvana, a journey involving the belief in reincarnation.

In Christianity, however, an unselfish love of one’s enemies arises from inviting the living presence of God to dwell in one’s heart. Happiness isn’t just inside, as so many non-Christians (and even some Christian pop singers) say. Rather, happiness is having a good relationship with God, who ultimately exists beyond the self but also immanent.

Unlike Buddhism, Christian salvation cannot entirely rely on one’s own contemplative efforts because God, and not oneself, is seen as the source of all goodness and being. Some see this ultimate dependence on God as a weakness but from a Christian perspective it’s just the way things are. One can only go so far through one’s own initiative. And that, for many Christians, is a significant limitation for Buddhists and for any New Age thinker who thinks they can reach the highest high through their own efforts.

To complicate things, Buddhism does speak of compassionate and intervening bodhisattvas who dispense graces to seekers along the way. But these exalted beings are not regarded as God. A monotheistic God is never present in Buddhism and at some point even bodhisattvas must be surpassed to enter into the nothingness/fullness of Nirvana, a place where the apparently illusory idea of individuality also vanishes.

Granted, some Christian mystics do talk about losing the self in a boundless ocean of God’s love, but God never disappears from the picture. And it’s doubtful that Christian mystics are advocating a complete loss of individuality. Instead, their metaphors seem more like happy fish in a boundless, beautiful ocean instead of the more Asian notion of drops of water dissolving in the sea.

Heaven and Hell

The Buddhist perception of heaven and hell is related to a discussion about violence and non-violence. Hell isn’t eternal for Buddhists. It’s more like a stopover in a lousy hotel room where one eventually checks out. Likewise with heaven. Heaven is described as a sort of ‘spiritual health spa’ enjoyed between lifetimes. So the reincarnating soul eventually departs from heaven to become fully enlightened. In fact, in Buddhism one encounters numerous heavens and hells before attaining full enlightenment.

Upon attaining enlightenment, Buddhists say the soul realizes it, itself, doesn’t exist. And at this point, even the idea of past lives becomes illusory. After all, how can you have a past life if you never existed?

These are interesting philosophical ideas but a Christian hoping to reach everlasting heaven might wonder if the Buddhist heavens could be astral realms and not heaven as understood within Christianity.

Since Buddhist hells are not eternal, they perhaps would be closer to the Catholic notion of purgatory because for Christians hell is eternal. Nor is the Christian hell a mere way-station or, for that matter, trendy or humorous Hollywood fantasy as portrayed in movies and video games. “See you in hell!“¹

For the vast majority of Christians, hell is just hell, forever and ever. And when it comes to the opposite, namely paradise, the Christian understanding of grace as a living presence that guides believers to everlasting heaven is relativized and absent in Buddhism. True, different Buddhist schools speak of emptiness, fullness and enlightenment. And they mention transitional grace and temporary heavens and hells. But Buddhist do not believe in everlasting heaven and hell as articulated within Christianity. So it stands to reason that the graces that Buddhists speak of are not the same thing that Christians talk about.

Conclusion

This brief comparison indicates that the scriptures and beliefs emerging from Krishna, Buddha and Christ have points of similarity but are not equivalent. As we’ve seen, the Mahabharata speaks of peace but in the Gita Krishna emphasizes holy warfare. By way of contrast, Christ, as part of the Holy Trinity is said to be co-equal with God and the Holy Spirit and, rather than engage in violence, is willing to sacrifice himself on a cross. While non-Christians may see this as misguided and some Buddhists (like D. T. Suzuki) say it’s “distasteful,” for Christians it is the ultimate point. This world is not it, and fighting and killing for material gain is not the way to get to eternal happiness.

We’ve also seen in the above that the Buddha doesn’t believe in God, and Buddhists say that the Buddhist nirvana surpasses the Christian understanding of heaven and hell.

The Hindu Krishna and the Buddha each speak of many lifetimes and associated opportunities for salvation through reincarnation, whereas the Christ of the Gospels entreats disciples to get it right the first time because (presumably) there is no such thing as reincarnation.

To overlook these and other differences may be well-intentioned but it’s also imprecise. And it’s doubtful that a fuzzy, misinformed belief in religious homogeneity will contribute to meaningful dialogue and genuine interfaith harmony. Promising commonalities can be discerned among today’s faith groups, but it will take clear and honest thinking for humanity to walk peacefully into the 21st century and beyond.

¹ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SeeYouInHell

© Michael Clark

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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 4)

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

War and Peace

When interpreted literally, the Gita says Arjuna shouldn’t be upset because his killing is in accord with God’s will. If Arjuna detaches himself from his feelings bad karma will not arise from his violence.

Most Hindus would probably say Arjuna’s not angry on the battlefield. If anything, he’s initially reluctant, almost like a Hamlet who just can’t muster up the gumption to act.

Ultimately, Arjuna does his duty for God, fulfilling his dharma as a kshatriya, a member of the warrior caste. That is, he kills, making the Gita and the New Testament present two remarkably different pictures.

God (as Krishna) in the Gita exhorts Arjuna to engage in violence while God (as Jesus) in the New Testament says that merely thinking murderous thoughts is tantamount to being a murderer worthy of hellfire. In other words, Jesus says don’t even consider violence (1 John 3:15).

But the New Testament goes even further. It calls upon believers to love their enemies, turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute them.

Because the New Testament doesn’t subscribe to the belief in reincarnation, Christians ideally should try their best to lead good lives, here and now—and not in ten, twenty or a hundred lifetimes down the road.

There’s a difference in both emphasis and direction between these two texts that’s hard to overlook. The Gita affords violence a sort of mythic grandeur, obscuring the harsh realities of blood, guts, pain and death with lofty prose and untenable metaphysical rationalizations, while the New Testament clearly directs believers away from violence.

For Jesus Christ — at least, the Jesus of the New Testament — violence among human beings is unacceptable.

Copyright © Michael Clark.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5




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Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 3)

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Another Inconvenient Truth

Although the religions of Krishna, Buddha and Christ each allow for the idea of the Just War, they arguably differ.

Let’s look at Christianity first. Christians generally put more stock in the New Testament (NT) than the Old Testament (OT). The NT advocates turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies while the often spiteful and bellicose OT speaks of gaining “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Christian theologians say that the OT and NT inform one another. And Jesus Christ is often said to be present in the OT. But the NT is also taken as the fulfillment of the somewhat imperfect OT, as embodied in the person, teachings and living example of Jesus.

True, the Christian Bible consists of both the OT and NT, and, as mentioned, the OT has its fair share of nasty bits. But from the OT to the NT there’s a clear and definite movement away from violence to peace, from tribal retribution to the global message of selfless service.

This worldwide message of “peace above all” is universal. Christians unanimously agree that anyone can convert to Christianity. By way of contrast, some Hindus maintain that one must be born a Hindu—that is, for some Hindus true conversion for non-Hindus is not possible, a stance that seems tantamount to racism and hardly a universal message for mankind to unite in peace.

While some public figures like to gloss over this obvious difference between Christianity and some Hindu fundamentalists, it cannot be denied. And mere platitudes that obscure the issue aren’t going to change this inconvenient truth.

© Michael Clark

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Is Conflict an Inherent Factor of Religion?

Asokan pillar at Vaishali, Bihar, India. Build...

Asokan pillar at Vaishali, Bihar, India. Build by Emperor Asoka in about 250 BC, and still standing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Anagarika Eddie Rock

One of the most difficult areas to get past in human relations is the idea that “my” religion or ideal is Truth and yours isn’t. When someone says to you that your beliefs are all wet compared to his or hers, how does that make you feel? Historically, it has made people feel so bad that they have killed each other. This is not good.

If only there was a way where we could sincerely say to those who are not of our faith, “You’re okay, even if you do not believe our way.” Unless we find a way to honestly and openly do that, unless we as a nation find a way to say to other countries that they are okay just as they are developing, (as if we didn’t have our problems as a young nation), then we will be in constant conflict.

If, for a moment, we can leave aside threatening and incendiary remarks, such as, “If you don’t become enlightened, you will be reborn into suffering forever,” “Unless you accept Jesus as your savior, you will go to hell,” and “Allah is the only God, accept him or else,” along with all the other claims of various religions (and the numerous branches of the various religions that separate us further, i.e., Catholic and Baptist in the Christian faith), what is there left to talk about?

If we have nothing left to talk about, then of course religion can justifiably be termed a vehicle of separation; something that has caused violence in the past and continues to be a destructive force in the present.

Some might say that their beliefs and principles are more important than any conflict, and that they are ready and willing to die for them. Okay, passion is an important factor, and if their religion or ideal sanctifies conversion by force, then one would be justified in their mind. I posit, however, that in the deep tentacles of all religions lies a universal love for all mankind, regardless of beliefs, and that conversion by force comes from man‘s ego.

In reality, we usually tolerate beliefs other than our own and generally smile and make nice to people of other faiths. But down deep, if we think that they are misguided and that we should save them, or resent the fact that they can’t see the light and consider them inferior to ourselves, then we are two-faced.

Perhaps better than becoming two-faced is having it out with them; arguing about our religions until we are blue in the face, totally exhausted, and ready to strangle each other. At least we would be honest.

In my articles, I try to promote principles that apply to all religions regardless of beliefs. I do this in order to advance past narrow opinions and toward more universal love and respect for each other. I’m not always successful.

I try to see the end product of what a particular religion produces regarding the type of people that result. Are they only nice in a playacting way, closet bigots, or are they genuinely interested in others well being, regardless of the others beliefs?

I can’t say that one way or the other is right or Truth, but I can say, as I look back at history, that one way promotes peace and the other conflict. Again, if conflict is your cup of tea, then I can’t say that you are wrong, but I can say that conflict will create suffering for yourself and others. Also, I can safely, I believe, say that peace promotes ease and joy for yourself and others. Just look at a family in conflict compared to a family in peace. To playact peace is to pretend to be peaceful around your peers but scream at your kids or husband in Wal-Mart! This is also being two-faced.

What it all boils down to is whether or not strong beliefs are worth conflict. If you say yes, then your life will be in conflict. You can’t have conflict with those outside of your immediate group without eventually having conflict within your group. It’s never an outside influence that brings up conflict, conflict is already planted in your mind just looking for a target, and when the outside targets aren’t there, the sharks eat themselves.

The question is; do you want to change your mind from one of conflict to one of peace? Don’t answer too quickly; many people prefer conflict. Conflict, win or lose, boosts the ego and makes one feel that they are alive. Peace, on the other hand does not increase ego or support the notion of a person separate from everyone else.

In my articles, I mention ego or self all the time, because ego, not religion or ideals per se, is the central reason for our internal and external conflicts. The idea of “me.”

So how can you change your state of mind of conflict? Can you keep your strong beliefs and resolve the conflict in yourself? That would be the best of both worlds.

I believe that we can do that, it‘s just a matter of calming down an ego that we have created and now must constantly shore up. This creates the fundamental conflict within ourselves, and has nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs, but everything to do with how we get along with ourselves, our group, and fellow human beings.

If ever there would be a universal religion, it would work toward resolving this problem of conflict within ourselves. Regardless of what we believe or what books we follow, until we understand ourselves and how we interact with that little person inside our heads, all of our actions and ideas will be skewed.

But once we know ourselves and how we operate, we can then believe as we choose, while at the same time understanding and accepting the rest of humanity regardless of their beliefs, because we will know that we are all fundamentally the same.

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of A Year to Enlightenment. His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.

Article Source: Amazines.com


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The Good Shepherd and The End of the World

By Fr. Thomas R. Harding, Th.D.

This homily has been posted with the direct and generous permission of the late Fr. Thomas Harding, Th.D. (1918-2005).

There are some great quotations in the readings today. In the First Reading, Isaiah 25:9-10:

This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in His Salvation.

In the Responsorial Psalm, Psalm XX111, the most familiar of all the 150 Psalms:

The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul.

In the Second Reading, the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians 4:19:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

In the Gospel of Matthew 22:

when the invited guests did not come to the Wedding Feast of the King’s son, the King told his slaves to go out and invite everyone whom they met so the wedding hall was filled with guests” “And so it will be when Christ the King will invite everyone into the Kingdom.

Thank God we have the Good Shepherd, Christ the King as Our Saviour.

His Second Coming will mark the end of the world, as we know it. For some time now we have been threatened by terrorism and world-wide conflict. We can’t help but wonder if the “end of the world” is near. How and when will the world end?

There are many eventualities. We generally think of the end of the world as a Sidereal Cataclysm, a doomsday,¹ a day of wrath and so we do not look forward to it.

There are so many stars hurtling about and brushing past. There are so many exploding worlds on the horizon, so surely by the implacable laws of chance, our turn will come, and we shall be stricken and killed or at least we shall be left to face a slow and lingering death in our earth-bound prison.

Meanwhile, apart from this possibility, we are ever more threatened by internal dangers, by biological or chemical warfare, by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of evil people, by onslaughts of microbes, by organic counter-evolutions. Sterility, wars, revolutions, pollution of the earth and water, the atmosphere, the stratosphere; there are so many ways of coming to an end.

So to sum up, there are eventualities. We have turned them over in our minds. We have read descriptions of them in the novels of the Goncourts, Robert Hugh Benson, the works of H. G. Wells, modern science fiction,² Star Wars, or in the scientific treatises of famous men and women.

Each of them is perfectly feasible. We could at any moment be crushed by a gigantic comet, and equally true, tomorrow the earth might quake and collapse beneath our feet. Or some individual or group could trigger a nuclear war to annihilate us all. Or we could be the victim of global warming, of gas emissions or the toxic poisons of industry, while leaders of businesses and governments could drag their feet in facing up to the warning of Kyoto Protocols and postpone their action until the year 2010 or 2020 for the sake of profits. That may be too late.

However, we have higher reasons to be sure that these things will not happen. Surely the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the Mighty Watch Man will intervene and come rattling His keys to rescue us all. Surely this is in the hands of God and His plan for the end of the world will be fulfilled.

As a matter of fact, the End of the World will be a Triumph of Christ as it is identified with His Second Coming. Christ has already put His plan into place. The last days come in two stages.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the first stage. By these saving acts, Christ introduced into the world and into human history the final order of things. The new creation has begun. We already have eternal life.

The second stage will be the second coming of Christ. But I have good news for you. Before that there will be the “Golden Age of Peace”. Evil will have been reduced to a minimum and disease and hunger will have been conquered; the war on poverty will have been won and people will be living by the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount and there will be unanimity, love and peace among men, women and children on earth.

Then Christ will come on the clouds of heaven, accompanied by all the Angels in great power and majesty to judge the living and the dead.

For as lightning comes from the east and shines even to the west so will also the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:27).

By the way you can read the prophecy of the Golden Age of Peace in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11:6-9 and in Chapter 65. It is described metaphorically as follows:

Wolves and sheep will be together and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lion cubs will feed together and little children will take care of them. Cows and bears will eat together and their calves and cubs will live in peace Lions will eat straw as cattle do. Even a baby will not be harmed if he or she plays near a poisonous snake. On Zion, God’s Holy Hill there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water.

So cheer up. The Golden Age of Peace lies ahead. As Pope Paul VI said on one occasion: “No more war. War no more.” Everything is in the hands of God.

May George W. Bush, Tony Blair, the United Nations, Saddam Hussein and people of all nations join together in praying to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for the “Golden Age of Peace” to come Amen! So Be It!


References in Sacred Scripture to the Golden Age of Peace

Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25
Joel 3:10
Mica 4
Zechariah 3:10
Revelation 20:6
2 Corinthian 12:2-6
Revelation 9
Isaiah 4
Matthew
Ezechiel

Notes

¹ In the original manuscript: dooms day

² In the original manuscript: scientific fiction

This homily is not to be copied, duplicated, modified nor distributed in any way


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Making Smaller Footprints

Buddhist Meditation by drinksmachine

Buddhist Meditation by drinksmachine

by Anagarika Eddie Rock

On my way up the mountain carrying some roofing materials I stopped to catch my breath, and as I unconsciously gazed at a scrub cedar tree that I had trimmed a month before to make the trail, an insight popped up. They happen at random like this, and seldom have anything to do with the thinking mind, they just come from another place.

If I happened to die at the foot of this tree, the 70 % water that this body consists of and the remaining ash that’s left over would quickly sink into the soil at the base of this tree and disappear. This being the case, why would I want to make a fuss about my life? In many ways, after all is said and done, this little scrub cedar tree is as important or more so than I ever was or ever will be.

I have made my way through this experience called a lifetime for 68 years now, making lots of waves for myself and everyone else, and realize in hindsight, in the wake of those waves that can toss your ship about, that the really important things in life leave few footprints on the earth.

My footprints are still huge but I am doing what I can to lessen them. I live in a 52 Square foot cabin that I built for $1500. 7 ½ feet by 7 ½ feet, no water, no plumbing, but I do have a small electric heater for the wintertime and a lamp. Three luxuries – a land line, a DSL line, and a laptop are available to me in the little office trailer at the main center, as is the bathroom with hot showers. So I am not exactly living a life of Robinson Crusoe! But I feel privileged that I can live this way in an out of the way Texas ranch on eighty-five acres in the hill country.

Because of the remote location and rough dirt roads, (a 3 1/2 hour round trip to Lowe’s and Home Depot), my Silverado four-wheel drive V-8 is a necessity for getting through muddy roads and hauling building materials (I build small meditation cabins up on the mountain), but I try to go into town only once a week in order to save on gas and truck maintenance. My social security check actually doesn’t allow for much more!

There seems to be a knack for keeping footprints small, even in the midst of a busy life. If your wants are small, if you can get by with little and still be happy, then the footprints begin to shrink. Wanting and craving for things and experiences so that we don’t become bored is what causes “Big Foot” footprints! Whatever you buy, gasoline or big screen TVs, they set into motion a string of footprints, from industrial pollution to financing terrorism.

As a nation, we are largely unaware, I believe, of just how large our footprints have been. Consumerism (to keep the economy strong, even if we have to borrow heavily!), international adventurism, all kinds of manic activity has been unconsciously encouraged to keep things going and exciting. But yet, surveys show that Americans are not as happy as people in many countries, including some fairly poor third world countries. Why is this? If you read some of the articles here, you can feel the increasing unhappiness. Could it be that happiness comes from a different place than from consuming, adventurism, and how much money we can accumulate?

How can you get by in life with little and still be happy? If you presently rely on outside stimulation for your happiness, feeling that you are not complete within yourself and need outside stimulation, be it consumer goods, cars, TVs, houses, relationships, even religion; then your happiness depends upon something outside of yourself, something that you can think up. As such, it is a drug so to speak, and the fix needs to be repeated often. Otherwise you might fall into loneliness and despair. This requires an endless struggle to provide yourself constantly with these outside stimulations, again, no different from any addiction.

But when our minds are unattached, non-dependent, when we can frame an entire cabin with no thinking whatsoever except for which board comes next, then there is a certain peace that comes with that, a contentment that requires nothing outside our ourselves. There is just “that” in front if us, and this is a satisfaction that requires nothing, and is unchanging regardless of the physical circumstances.

This kind of contentment is 180 degrees away from the constant stimulation that depletes our body and minds so much. It not only relieves the mind of it’s many contrived burdens, but brings up a certain kind of deep courage where even the fear of death becomes as nothing. And if we look closely, it is this fear of death, as a subconscious basis, that instills all the little fears in our hearts daily.

Working up on a mountain by myself with power tools and ladders, and at least two hours from a hospital or EMS service, doesn’t bother me in the least. (I am, however, naturally mindful and not distracted when I work because of my meditation practice). Plus being 68 years old I could have the massive stroke or chest pains at any time, but that doesn’t bother me either, even though the body only lasts so long. But again my meditation practice over thirty years has been good for my immune system, stress relief, and my health, and the only “medications” I take are vitamins. (Sorry Pharma industry!)

Emergencies in a remote area don’t bother me because meditation, in some ways, is a practice for dying. Once you practice dying, and face it head on, the fear dissolves, the concept of death changes, and dying becomes not an emergency at all, just a change of clothes. Meditation also relieves the impulsive urges so that the mind can relax and enjoy life without necessarily doing something to keep the mind busy. This is a big stress reliever when you learn how to do this.

All in all, if you can find a way to relax into smaller footprints for yourself, I believe that not only will you be happier, but you will have a good feeling that you are helping your fellow human beings by taking it easy on this fragile earth.

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of A Year to Enlightenment. His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk. He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.

Article Source: amazines.com


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Gandhi in vogue among American celebrities

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Gandhi Memorial by Steve Fernie

Special to Earthpages.org

Peace icon Mahatma Gandhi appears to be back in vogue among Hollywood and other celebrities.

Saturn award winner actress Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) was spotted in New York City streets wearing V-neck T-shirt displaying Gandhi’s large picture.

Actress-supermodel Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl), Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Golden Globe nominated Jessica Alba (Dark Angel), Grammy nominated Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad), etc., also reportedly carry Gandhi T-shirts. DJ I-Dee (Isaac DeLima), scratch music prodigy and winner of DMC USA, was seen in a Miami (USA) club wearing neon Gandhi T-shirt.

A prestigious fashion themed exhibition titled “Italian knots: Evolution, language and style of the tie”, organized by Associazione Culturale Colosseum Roma, showing at Embassy of Italy in Washington DC (USA) till July two, displays Gandhi’s picture prominently along with the pictures of the likes of Oscar winner George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck).

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcoming Gandhi’s rediscovery by American celebrities, urged them also to look deeper into Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, his commitment to world peace, and his work for the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Rajan Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, further said that although Gandhi never set foot on America, yet he was on Time magazine covers in 1930, 1931, and 1947; Time Person of the Year in 1930; and was runner-up for Time Person of the Century. Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts.


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Earth poised for breakthrough event?

Rotation of the Earth by Ian T Edwards

Rotation of the Earth by Ian T Edwards

By Steve Hammons

Many of us wonder about special sensitive military, intelligence and research activities.

When we think about unusual missions and special operations, we realize that personnel involved must be flexible and ready to innovate and respond to changing circumstances at times.

We watch, often with troubled hearts, about activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember the difficulties and pain of the Vietnam War era. And we wonder about future bloodshed and suffering.

Many people hope for some kind of breakthrough into a new world, where the human race can make progress and discover greater peace and prosperity.

Some people hope for and believe that a miracle of some kind might happen.

They wonder if physics, such as the sought-after “unified field” of Einstein’s theories, might be relevant. Will the natural world change in some way? Might we become more aware of other hidden dimensions around us?

Could spiritual beliefs and views of Heaven and Earth actually prove to be based on scientific realities?

What part do UFOs and other unusual phenomena play? Do incidents like the Stephenville, Texas, sightings and the 1997 “Phoenix lights” case result in greater awareness by people that something is going on? Is human consciousness changing, as we discover more about ESP and things like “remote viewing?”

We know that many people are researching and working on questions like this. What have they found? And what might it mean to all of us?

Some of us are hopeful. Some of us are cynical. Some of us hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

In my novels, MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND, a special joint-service team of ten women and men are brought together in a sensitive and classified intelligence research project.

From their base in San Diego, they conduct research on several interesting areas, some seemingly unrelated.

But, they keep getting indications that something may happen. A “breakthrough event” of some kind. They suspect that the paths of research they are following will lead them to some kind of success. Success for their fellow Americans, for the human race and for planet Earth.

What follows is an account of the breakthrough event that occurs toward the end of the second novel.

Read full article at the author’s website »  JOINT RECON STUDY GROUP

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