Deus non alligatur. God is not bound. Nibbanam paramam sukham. Unbinding is the Highest Happiness. The Heart is Divinity. God is the primal radiance of Divinity. Nature is the primal manifestation of Divinity. The Buddha is the primal realization of Divinity. La ilaha il Allah. Allah is Complete Wholeness.

31 May 2007

Re-Introduction of Full Ordination for Women

(April 3, 2007) The Fourteenth Dalai Lama has confirmed his participation as a keynote speaker at the International Congress of Buddhist Women, to take place in Hamburg from July 18 through 20. The main topic of this pan-Buddhist conference is women’s rights to full ordination in the Tibetan Buddhist monastic order, or Sangha. A resolution to re-introduce full ordination for women in the Tibetan tradition would be groundbreaking, and would significantly strengthen women’s rights in the 21st century.

With its potentially historic impact, the event has already generated great interest from Buddhist countries around Asia. Reputed scholars, Buddhist dignitaries and practicing Buddhists from many Buddhist traditions are expected to take part in the congress. The conference will be held at the University of Hamburg, and will feature a keynote speech by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama on July 20th at the Auditorium Maximum, the university’s largest conference hall. The conference is open to the public, and registration is still open at

The question of reintroducing higher ordination for Tibetan Buddhist women has long been of great personal interest to the Dalai Lama. Indeed, this congress was organized at his personal request. The full ordination lineage was interrupted centuries ago in Tibet, and can be reintroduced with the support of existing lineages from other traditions. However, the consensus of an international monastic community, or Sangha, is required so that a formal judicial act can be prepared.

Full ordination has profound practical as well as symbolic significance for Buddhist women. In the majority Tibetan order, only ordained women are allowed to complete philosophical study courses equivalent to that of monks. Such a degree would qualify them to occupy roles of major responsibility in Buddhist communities, such as lama or teacher. It is still uncertain how the Tibetan tradition may choose to reintroduce the full ordination of nuns. Various methods are possible and under discussion.

Scholars and practicing Buddhists have been researching this topic for many years, and will present their results to the public for the first time at the congress in Hamburg. Even for the Dalai Lama, these research results stand to offer new insights and information.

The Dalai Lama’s keynote speech on the future of Buddhist women is eagerly awaited by Buddhists all over the world. His aim is to inspire women to devote themselves to a religious life, thereby improving the social status of Buddhist women in countries where Tibetan Buddhism and the Theravada tradition is practiced.


On one level, I'm what you might call a "pre-conciliar Christian Buddhist". That is, within the first three-hundred years or so after the ascension of Christ, the Christian tradition existed without a council defining what Christians had to believe in order to be Christian. Even though I am formally associated with a Baptist lineage, my Christianity finds inspiration from this ancient, and yet always new, pre-council, or pre-conciliar, era. Buddhism, however, forms a deeper basis of my cosmology, psychology, and spirituality. I understand Jesus the Christ within this Buddhist context, as either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva.

On another level, I reject all religions, and I, nevertheless, accept them all. There is nothing that anyone has said, that is actually true, but truth can be pointed to, indirectly. The different religions and spiritualities are different experimental laboratories for pointing toward truth, different existential adventures into nature and deeper-than-nature; and all of them can offer novelty, and all of them can (and will) be replaced. Both my pre-conciliar Christianity and my Buddhism are simply gate-ways to the larger field of infinity, and they arise out of a most basic, and highest, Scientific-Tantric perspective, the always-already intimate communion-union, satsang-yoga, of rejection and acceptance, skepticism and trust, compassion and wisdom, yang and yin, Adam and Eve, Christ and the Church, Shiva and Shakti, Krishna and Radha, the Creator and the UnCreated, the Beloved and the Heart, originally, continually, and finally realized in this very human form.


Everything has an inner feeling-core.
Everything has a rhythmic breath-cycle.
Everything has mere awareness.
Everything has a bodily form.

The Heart is the fullness of this feeling-core.
The Beloved is the totality of the breath-cycle.
The Buddha is the infinity of mere awareness.
The Jivanta is the cosmic bodily form.

29 May 2007

Kentucky Creationism

All Things Considered. May 28, 2007 · The $27 million Creation Museum opened it's doors in Northern Kentucky on Monday. Hundreds of people lined up to the building, which argues that the Bible is more accurate than evolutionary science.

Protesters outside the museum criticized it for trying to replace science with fiction.

The displays offer the creationists' view of how the world came to be, which differs sharply from the teachings of science.

Ham, a native Australian, breaks down the differences for Steve Inskeep:

"There is a conflict if you try to add evolution to the Bible and take Genesis as literal history," he says. "For instance, the Bible teaches man was made from dust in [the book of] Genesis … whereas evolution would teach that man came from some ape-like ancestor.

"I know there are many Christians who say they believe in evolution [over] millions of years," he says. "I would say they're being inconsistent in their approach to scripture. A literal Genesis is actually the foundational history for the rest of the Bible for all doctrine."

28 May 2007

Here and Now

“The truth of the Buddha’s teaching will be revealed to those who truly practise his teaching with diligence and an unwavering determination to discover the truth. In order to fully realise the truth about their own nature and about the nature of Dhamma, seekers of the way must strive to become spiritual warriors on the path to liberation. Their hearts need to have a firm resolve that can boldly stand up their internal enemies, finding the strength of will to fight with all their might without becoming weak or disheartened, and without retreating when the struggle becomes difficult. When this kind of fighting spirit is exhibited in the pursuit of Dhamma, then time and place are not relevant to their quest for the truth. Regardless of whether it is the Buddha’s age or our present age, Nibbana can always be attained by those who earnestly follow the way with diligence, because the true Dhamma always exists in the present moment – the timeless present, here and now.”
-- Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo

27 May 2007

The Catholic Boom: Catholic, Sort of

From 25 May 2007, New York Times Op-Ed, by David Brooks:

In fact, if you really wanted to supercharge the nation, you’d fill it with college students who constantly attend church, but who are skeptical of everything they hear there. For there are at least two things we know about flourishing in a modern society.

First, college students who attend religious services regularly do better than those that don’t. As Margarita Mooney, a Princeton sociologist, has demonstrated in her research, they work harder and are more engaged with campus life. Second, students who come from denominations that encourage dissent are more successful, on average, than students from denominations that don’t.

This embodies the social gospel annex to the quasi-religious creed: Always try to be the least believing member of one of the more observant sects. Participate in organized religion, but be a friendly dissident inside. Ensconce yourself in traditional moral practice, but champion piecemeal modernization. Submit to the wisdom of the ages, but with one eye open.

26 May 2007


Dukkha is un-wholeness, dis-ease, fragmentation, and ill-health.
Sukha is wholeness, ease, integration, and health.

24 May 2007

There is No Hindu, No Muslim, No Christian, No Buddhist

Let action be your mantra.
Let Truth be your japa.
Let creativity be your concentration.
Let Nature be your meditation.
Let wilderness be your Church.
Let simplicity be your scripture.
Let silence be your guru.
Let unboundedness be your devotion.
Let work be your prayer.
Let earth be your heaven.
Let this life be your next life.
Let the Heart be your God.
Let lack of love be your hell.
Let fear be your satan.
Let compassion be your salvation.
Let accomplishment be your liberation.
Let constant growth be your eucharist.
Let energy be your confession.
Let charity be your chanting.
Let justice be your kneeling.
Let the home be your shrine.
Let discipline be your evangelism.
Let men and women be your angels.
Let all living beings be your saints.
Let doing good be your ashram.
Let abandoning evil be your yoga.
Let the creation of beauty be your puja.
Let fighting dukkha be your renunciation.
Let outshining the darkness be your non-attachment.
Let relationship be your sadhana.

See Shiva in the Sun.
See Shakti in the Shark.
See Jesus in the Genome.
See Siddhartha in the Sequoia .
See Mahavira in the Monoceros.
See HaShem in the Himalayas.
See Allah in the Alligator.
See Krishna in the Cosmos.

[Inspired by Guru Nanak.]

22 May 2007

The Three Marks of Existence

In traditional, Theravada Buddhism, there are the tilakkhana, the three marks of existence: everything conditioned (or, "arising from causes and conditions") is anicca; everything conditioned is dukkha; everything both conditioned or unconditioned is anatta. Anicca is interpreted as "changing"; dukkha, as "suffering"; and anatta as "not-self".

Another, jivantic way to look at the tilakkhana is thus. Anicca remains as "changing".

Dukkha, though, goes beyond "suffering" or "unsatisfactory": since any one thing changes, that thing (physical or mental event) continually offers an excuse for humans to stop loving. The second mark of existence, then, is that conditioned phenomena (because they constantly change) too easily give reasons to stop loving, to stop being open, and to close off our hearts. (As seen from the posting on "dukkha" below, dukkha can refer either to (1) the actual lack of love; or (2) the potential inducing of the lack of love.)

Anatta goes beyond the simple "not-self" idea, as well. A "self" is something enclosed, limited, and bound within a circumference. That which is not-self is not-enclosed, not limited, not bounded. Thus, conditioned phenomena (because they change) are not bound: they arise-out, exist, and descend-in. Unconditioned phenomena (because they do not change) are not bound, either. Conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are both "anatta", unbound, in one way or another. But the basic mark is unboundedness. Being unbound, they cannot be captured, limited, enclosed.

Enlightenment is the acceptance of change, the refusal to stop loving, and the embodiment of unboundedness.

19 May 2007

Christ, My Bodhisattva

I'll comment later on this excerpt of the larger "Christ, My Bodhisattva" article from Christianity Today, Vol. 51, No. 5, May 2007, issue. (Find out what a Bodhisattva does!)

Multinational businessman and politician Ram Gidoomal talks about 'translating' the gospel in today's world.

The popular conception of a missionary as a pale-skinned, pith-helmeted traveler in a distant, "primitive" land is amazingly hard to dislodge. Ram Gidoomal fits none of these stereotypes. But he is certainly on a mission, if not many missions at once. Having arrived in London as a refugee from India by way of Africa, Gidoomal chose Imperial College for his undergraduate degree, because it was a short bus ride from his family's shop. Today, after building several successful businesses and running twice for Mayor of London, he has built a reputation as a tireless social entrepreneur whose activism encompasses race relations, financial opportunity, and environmental sustainability in Britain and South Asia, as well as Christian ministry among the South Asian diaspora. He spoke with the Christian Vision Project's editorial director, Andy Crouch, over lunch at his alma mater—where he is now a member of the board of governors—with the wide-ranging enthusiasm of someone who has spent his life exploring our "big question" for 2007: What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world?

You come from a Hindu religious background and attended Muslim schools in Africa, yet you became a follower of Jesus during your studies at university.

At the university, I was out of the family context, with the need for something that could make sense of the wider world in which I found myself. I started reading about Jesus. I was intrigued by the strong basis for his historical existence.

In my cultural context, the biggest religious problem is your karma: your karmic debt. What you sow, you reap. You come to this earth with a karmic account, then you die and you're reincarnated, and that depends on how you've done in this life. When I read about Jesus' death on the Cross, it wasn't so much the sacrifice for sin that struck me as the sacrifice for karma. The Christians I met spoke of sin in this life, but that was meaningless to me. Karma was what mattered. So I decided, When they talk about sin, I think of karma, and I believe Jesus died for my karma, so I am going to accept him on those terms.

As my mother and others in my family challenged my faith, I found that biblical concepts were only helpful if they were properly translated. My mother would say, "Jesus is a swear word. They use it in the shop every day. Why do you follow this man?" She had followed a guru called Ramakrishna Parmahansa from India; then she switched to a guru named Radha Soami. One of the functions of a guru is to give you a mantra, but when she went to the initiation, some people got the mantra and others didn't. She felt some of those who were refused were more deserving than her, and that troubled her.

So when she came to stay with us after our first child was born, she opened one of the Bibles that we had strewn all over the place, and she happened upon this verse, "Whoever comes to me, I will not cast out." She said, "Your Bible is very strange! 'Whoever comes to me'—define whoever!" She had a hard time believing that Jesus would never refuse anybody. But that's the case, I said, because he's the sanatan sat guru.

Sanatan is a Sanskrit word meaning "eternal"; sat guru means "true living way." You can put John 14:6 in brackets after that! He is "the way, the truth, and the life." Guru is a living way. There are lots of sat gurus, but try to find a sanatan sat guru. No guru claims to be sanatan. Then she said, "Tell me more about this guru, who will love everybody." So I said, "Not only is he a sanatan sat guru, he paid for karma. He paid our karmic debt."

There must be many perplexing things for someone who comes to faith as an outsider.

I recall my first visit to church here, my first church ever, St. Paul's Onslow Square. I went to the evening service, so none of my friends or relations would see me going. The first thing I looked for on walking in was the shoebox. I wanted to take my shoes off: This is holy ground, and you're asking me to come in with my dirty, filthy feet and go into the presence of God? This is not right; this is not holy. I must take my shoes off. But they told me there was no place for shoes. So I went to sit on the floor, in the proper position of respect, and the usher said to sit on the wooden bench. Then the organ blasted out, and I thought, Who has died? Because organ music was just for funerals in my mind. It was an alien experience. There's a whole lot of unlearning to be done in asking how we can communicate the message of Jesus with simplicity [in a way] that will take these barriers away.

In the end, I've found I've been able to use my skills in business to help start some of these translations. We've produced a series of books and cds that connect with the South Asian experience. Fortunately, I was able to pay for publication, because in the early days, not many Christian publishers were willing to take on a book that talked about Jesus as the bodhisattva who fulfilled his dharma to pay for my karma to negate samsara and achieve nirvana!

18 May 2007

New Baptist Covenant

3 prominent Republicans join Carter, Clinton, Gore on New Covenant roster

Published May 17, 2007

ATLANTA (ABP) -- Organizers for next January's New Baptist Covenant gathering announced the speakers for the historic three-day meeting -- with former President Jimmy Carter making good on a pledge to enlist prominent Republican Baptists to complement the mostly Democratic headliners.

Republican Senators Lindsay Graham (S.C.) and Charles Grassley (Iowa) join Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee as recently named participants for the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta, billed as the broadest Baptist meeting in America since Baptists divided over slavery before the Civil War. Organizers hope to attract 20,000 people to the gathering.

Carter already has enlisted former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the former vice president who came within 537 Florida votes of succeeding Clinton. They all are Democrats, as is ‘60s-era presidential adviser Bill Moyers, now a journalist and author.

Although the meeting will occur in the heat of the presidential-nomination season, Carter eschewed any political intention for the gathering. Clinton's involvement sparked criticism the event would become a campaign rally for wife Hillary, the Democratic presidential frontrunner. But the only presidential candidate on the program is Republican Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor and governor of Arkansas.

Carter acknowledged his effort was slowed initially by criticism the group was dominated by Democrats. "It may have been a mistake to single out me and Bill Clinton as two politicians," he said. But the group's effort to enlist Republican speakers was "completely successful," Carter said. "Every Republican we have invited has agreed to come."


Rather than the racial, theological and social conflict that has divided Baptists for decades, the Covenant group plans to demonstrate Baptist unity around Jesus' compassion agenda, outlined in his inaugural sermon recorded in the fourth chapter of Luke's gospel.

Those themes comprise the core of the "New Baptist Covenant," a statement drafted in April 2006 in a meeting at the Carter Center attended by some of the same Baptist leaders. The statement says the Covenant partners are "committed to promote peace with justice, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity."

This bodes well for the return of Baptists to their egalitarian, radically individualist, compassionately communitarian, and socially progressive roots.

17 May 2007

The Truth of Dukkha

One can define 'dukkha' as 'suffering', but that word 'suffering' doesn't fully capture the wide range of meanings circulating around 'dukkha'. And for lay-people, 'suffering' doesn't work as well as it could. Below is an alternative reading of the Four Noble Truths and 'dukkha':

The truth of dukkha.
The truth of the origin of dukkha.
The truth of the ending of dukkha.
The truth of the way to the ending of dukkha.

Now this is the truth of dukkha: lack of faith is dukkha, fear is dukkha, hatred is dukkha; pride, covetousness, lust, anger, greed, envy, and sloth are dukkha; repulsion of the undesired is dukkha; bondage to the desired is dukkha; frustration at not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the lack of devotion, the lack of awareness, the lack of creativity, and the lack of accomplishment are dukkha.

And this is the truth of the origination of dukkha: the lack of love that makes for further feelings of lack, and for the craving for phenomena: the craving for sensual pleasure, the craving for knowledge, and the craving for emptiness.

And this is the truth of the cessation of dukkha: the remainderless fading and cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, and letting go of that very lack of love.

And this is the truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Eightfold Path: full view, full intention, full speech, full action, full work, full effort, full concentration, and full awareness.

[Inspired by the traditional formulation of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths.]

16 May 2007

The Un-Changing

"We, therefore, both know and confess that God is without beginning, without end, eternal and everlasting, uncreate, unchangeable, invariable, simple, uncompound, incorporeal, invisible, impalpable, uncircumscribed, infinite, incognisable, indefinable, incomprehensible, good, just, maker of all things created, almighty, all-ruling, all-surveying, of all overseer, sovereign, judge; and that God is One...."

-- St. John Damascene, "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith", Book One, Chapter Two.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One [i.e., the Buddha] was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing urging, rousing, and encouraging the monks with Dhamma-talk concerned with Nibbana. The monks — receptive, attentive, focusing their entire awareness, lending ear — listened to the Dhamma.

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

"There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned."

-- Nibbana Sutta

14 May 2007

The Changing World

All things, that exist, are either created or uncreated. If, then, things are created, it follows that they are also wholly mutable. For things, whose existence originated in change, must also be subject to change, whether it be that they perish or that they become other than they are by act of wills. But if things are uncreated they must in all consistency be also wholly immutable. For things which are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the mode of their existence, that is to say, must have opposite properties: who, then, will refuse to grant that all existing things, not only such as come within the province of the senses, but even the very angels, are subject to change and transformation and movement of various kinds? For the things appertaining to the rational world, I mean angels and spirits and demons, are subject to changes of will, whether it is a progression or a retrogression in goodness, whether a struggle or a surrender; while the others suffer changes of generation and destruction, of increase and decrease, of quality and of movement in space.

-- St. John Damascene, "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith", Book I, Chapter III

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One [i.e., the Buddha] and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "'The world, the world' it is said. In what respect does the word 'world' apply?"

"Insofar as it disintegrates, monk, it is called the 'world.' Now what disintegrates? The eye disintegrates. Forms disintegrate. Consciousness at the eye disintegrates. Contact at the eye disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"The ear disintegrates. Sounds disintegrate...

"The nose disintegrates. Aromas disintegrate...

"The tongue disintegrates. Tastes disintegrate...

"The body disintegrates. Tactile sensations disintegrate...

"The intellect disintegrates. Ideas disintegrate. Consciousness at the intellect consciousness disintegrates. Contact at the intellect disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the 'world.'"

-- Loka Sutta

10 May 2007

Bodhisattva Vow

The passions of delusion are inexhaustible. I vow to extinguish them all at once.

The number of beings is endless. I vow to help save them all.

The Truth cannot be told. I vow to tell it.

The Way which cannot be followed is unattainable. I vow to attain it.

-- Bodhisattva Vow

04 May 2007


Once, while Dattatreya was roaming in a forest happily, he met king Yadu, who on seeing Dattatreya so happy, asked him the secrets of his happiness and also the name of his Guru. Dattatreya said that the Atman alone was his Guru, and yet, he had learned wisdom from twenty-four individuals and that they were, therefore, his Gurus.

Dattatreya then mentioned the names of his twenty-four Gurus and spoke of the wisdom that he had learnt from each:

“The names of my twenty-four teachers are: 1. Earth, 2. Water, 3. Air, 4. Fire, 5. Sky, 6. Moon, 7. Sun, 8. Pigeon, 9. Python, 10. Ocean, 11. Moth, 12. Bee, 13. Honey-gatherer, 14. Elephant, 15. Deer, 16. Fish, 17. Dancing-girl Pingala, 18. Raven, 19. Child, 20. Maiden, 21. Serpent, 22. An arrow-maker, 23. Spider and 24. Beetle.”


The king was highly impressed by the teachings of Dattatreya. He abandoned the world and practised constant meditation on the Self.

Dattatreya was absolutely free from intolerance or prejudice of any kind. He learnt wisdom from whatever source it came. All seekers after Wisdom should follow the example of Dattatreya.

02 May 2007

Elemental Practice

Element and Mantra

Water represents the Heart.
Fire represents Beloved.
Air represents the Buddha.
Earth represents Jivanta.

Water is devotion-awareness, bhakti yoga (feeling).
Fire is creation-accomplishment, raja yoga (breath).
Air is yama-niyama, jnana yoga (attention).
Earth is the bodhisattva vow, karma yoga (body).

01 May 2007

Happy Vesak!

Happy Vesak for you Buddhists out there. Here's a message from Shree Maa. She's not Buddhist (and the puja above isn't Buddhist, either), but you get the idea.