25 December 2007
Christianity argues that the soul is uniquely created at conception, whereas Buddhism posits that the stream of consciousness within a person is a continuation from pre-birth times.
Christianity argues that bodies and souls will be re-united after the Final Judgement, and humans will spend eternity in resurrected bodies; whereas Buddhism posits that eternity is realized in nirvana.
Both the Christian and the Buddhist position are viable, and they stress different aspects of the very same reality.
For the Christian, the "soul" is considered to be the innermost aspect of a human, and the creation of a new body at conception means that the "soul" is also created, because a new human is created. The stream of consciousness in Buddhism is the rapid appearance-existence-disappearance process of mental states. This stream of consciousness appears at conception associated with the newly conceived human -- thus, one can speak of the stream of consciousness as being "created" (by causes and conditions) at conception. Speaking thusly would not negate the reality that the stream of consciousness is karmically related to earlier parts of the stream.
As an analogy, consider a flame on candle A to be the stream of consciousness of a particular person. The flame of candle A is used to light candle B, and the candle A flame is extinguished. The flame of candle B is karmically related (literally "related by action") to the flame of candle A, and yet the flame of candle B is a new "creation" as well: the flame of candle B is both the same and yet not the same, as the flame of candle A. The flame of candle B is the new soul, newly created; and yet the flame of candle B can also be seen as the continuation of the "stream of flame" that was part of candle A.
Regarding death, the Christian vision is that you die, and then after time spent in the realm of the dead, you are resurrected bodily, and spend eternity in the body. In the Buddhist vision, you die, then you spend however long it takes in different bodies, until finally nirvana is realized, which frees you from being limited to any one body. But look closely: to be free from being limited to any one body, is to be free to be associated with all bodies. In Buddhism, the realization of nirvana means that the realizer now realizes no-difference from any body; the realizer realizes non-difference from "this one", and "that one", and "those over there". So, eternity is indeed spent "in the body", once nirvana is realized, but this "body" is not one, but infinite. Buddhism envisions an "unbounded resurrection body". In other words, ultimately, the universe, the cosmos, as a whole is one great body, and realization of nirvana also means the realization of no-difference in relation to the great universe-body. So the Christian idea of the resurrection of the body, signifies the larger process of one's bodily resurrection as the universe-body.
Thus, hidden within Christianity, is Buddhism; and hidden within Buddhism, is Christianity.
A Buddha is Born! Svaha!
The Lord is Come! Maranatha!
24 December 2007
The first atma to realize the Heart and the Beloved is the Adi-Buddha, the Primal Buddha.
The Adi-Buddha is the Adi-Guru, the Primal Guru.
The source of all religions is the Adi-Buddha.
The source of Dharma is the Adi-Buddha.
All dharmas, all religions, come from Dharma, and all dharmas, all religions, come from the Adi-Buddha.
Buddha Dharma is the Adi-Dharma, the Primal Dharma.
The Buddha Siddhartha Gautama spoke primarily about the truth of dukkha, the truth of dissatisfaction. But the truth of dukkha is not the Primal Dharma.
The Primal Dharma is Nameless, Wordless.
The Primal Dharma birthed the truth of dukkha, but the Primal Dharma also birthed the truth of rasa, the truth of infinitely deep enjoyment. The truth of rasa was also spoken by Siddhartha Gautama, but secretly. The time was not yet right for the revelation of rasa.
Only recently has the Rasa Sutra been revealed:
Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Savatthi, in the Jeta Wood, at Anathapindika's monastery. There the Buddha addressed the monks, "Friends!"
"Blessed One," the monks replied.
"Now this, friends, is the Noble Truth of Rasa: Rasa is the recognition of all that arises, exists, and disappears, as the very Heart of Reality. When one lives in the Truth of Rasa, birth is Rasa, maturity is Rasa, death is Rasa; contentment and discontentment, praise and blame, wholeness and partiality, the wanted and the unwanted, and a sense of adventure and a sense of fear, are Rasa; association with the beloved and with the unloved is Rasa; in short, all conditioned processes are Rasa.
And this, friends, is the Noble Truth of the Origination of Rasa: Rasa originates in the acts of compassion, energy, wisdom, and persistence that make for richer life, acts accompanied by passion and delight, acts not discouraged by pain and suffering. In short, living compassionately, acting energetically, cultivating wisdom, and integrating body and mind originate Rasa.
And this, friends, is the Noble Truth of the Fulfillment of Rasa: Rasa is fulfilled in the indubitable increase and brightening, rising up, expansion, cultivation and engagement of those very acts of compassion, energy, wisdom, and persistence.
And this, friends, is the Noble Truth of the Way of Practice leading to the Fulfillment of Rasa: Rasa is made Full by means of precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: Full View, Full Intention, Full Speech and Full Listening, Full Action, Full Livelihood, Full Effort, Full Mindfulness, and Full Concentration.
And what is Full View? Knowledge with regard to enjoyment, knowledge with regard to the origination of enjoyment, knowledge with regard to the fulfillment of enjoyment, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the fulfillment of enjoyment: This is called Full View.
And what is Full Intention? Being resolved on clarity and simplicity, on compassion and sympathy, on devotion and persistence: This is called Full Intention.
And what is Full Speech and Full Listening? Speaking and listening truth, speaking and listening praise, speaking and listening gently, and speaking and listening with a purpose: This is called Full Speech and Full Listening.
And what is Full Action? Protecting life, giving time and energy to those in need, and being devoted to one’s spouse: This is called Full Action.
And what is Full Livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned lust and fear, does what he or she truly loves to do: This is called Full Livelihood.
And what is Full Effort?
There is the case where a person generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This is called Full Effort.
And what is Full Mindfulness?
There is the case where a person remains focused on Heart-Feeling in and of itself — ardent, aware, and mindful — putting away lust and fear with reference to the world.
He remains focused on Awareness in and of itself — ardent, aware, and mindful — putting away lust and fear with reference to the world.
He remains focused on Breathing in and of itself — ardent, aware, and mindful — putting away lust and fear with reference to the world.
He remains focused on the Well-Being of All Beings in and of itself — ardent, aware, and mindful — putting away lust and fear with reference to the world. This is called Full Mindfulness.
And what is Full Concentration?
There is the case where a person, quite engaged in compassion and wisdom, engaged in skillful qualities, enters and remains in the first concentration: rapture and pleasure born from engagement in compassion and wisdom.
With the power of directed thought and discrimination added to compassion and wisdom, he enters and remains in the second concentration: rapture and pleasure born of directed thought and discrimination, unification of awareness engaged in directed thought and discrimination.
With the culmination of the power of rapture and pleasure, he enters and remains in the third concentration: pleasurable abiding born of the culmination of rapture and pleasure. The Noble Ones declare, 'With equanimity and mindfulness, he has a pleasurable abiding.' He remains in pleasurable abiding, is mindful and alert, and senses pleasure with the body.
With the culmination of the power of pleasurable abiding, he enters and remains in the fourth concentration: neither pleasure nor pain, the culmination of equanimity and mindfulness. This is called Full Concentration.”
That is what the Buddha said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Buddha's words.
23 December 2007
(1) The physical body: the spiritual practices of physics, chemistry, and biology; and exercise, work, and karma (shani) yoga, awakening the body. The realization is that life is matter.
(2) The pranic and energic body: the spiritual practices of out-shining, brightness, the masculine yoga, and raja (shukra) yoga, awakening the will. The realization is that life is energy/power.
(3) The emotional and devotional mind: the spiritual practices of relationship, devotion, the feminine yoga, and bhakti (brihaspati) yoga, awakening the emotions. The realization is that life is selfless love.
(4) The intellectual and discriminative mind: the spiritual practices of mathematics, logic, and jnana (budha [sic]) yoga, awakening discrimination. The realization is that life is thought/mind.
(5) Life transcending the body-mind: the rising of life from the muladhara chakra to the sahasrara chakra, and radical renunciation (mangala yoga). The realization is that life is totally separate from the body-mind.
(6) Life centering the body-mind: the fall of life into the right-side of the chest and simple abiding as life (chandra yoga). The realization is that life is both separate and non-separate from the body-mind.
(7) The Divine enlivening both life and body-mind: the tantric transformation of life into the awareness of the Heart, and the meeting of the Heart and the Beloved in the tantric union of Heart-Beloved (surya yoga). The realization is that life and body-mind arise, exist, and decrease from, within, and as very Reality.
The Christian message of the Good News of Salvation is central. Jesus Christ tells us, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).In Jivanta, Jesus Christ is a particular manifestation of the Buddha. The "Way" is the Heart; the "Truth" is the Beloved; and the "Life" is the Jivanta. Each Divine Person in this Quarternity is as equally Divine as the other three Persons; and thus Jesus, as the Buddha, could speak truthfully as being equally the Heart, the Beloved, and the Jivanta.
To say that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus, refers to the spiritual progression, from Jivanta to the Heart. Each portion of Jivanta, each atma, each soul, can come to the Father, to the Beloved, only by realizing Buddhahood, and the only way to realize Buddhahood is to follow the Buddha. The Buddha is the gateway to the Beloved. And the Beloved is the gateway to the Heart.
22 December 2007
The mantra for the Beloved is sincerity, the mark of insight.
The mantra for the Buddha is science, the logic of truth.
The mantra for the Jivanta is simplicity, the integrity of life.
The Most Supreme Mantra (Paraparamantra): [Silence]
The Supreme Mantra (Paramantra): [Sincerity], in 4 variations:
1. "The Enchanting Couple" ("Radha-Krishna"): I am Love.
2. "The Liberating One" ("Christ"): I am Light.
3. "The Awakening One" ("Buddha"): I am Logic.
4. "The Holistic Deepness" ("Allah"): I am Life.
The Great Mantra (Mahamantra): [Science], in 3 variations:
1. "All this is God" ("Brahma Idam")
2. "The Universe is True" ("Vishva Sat")
3. "There is nothing but God" ("La Ilaha Il Allah")
The Noble Mantra (Aryamantra): [Simplicity], in 3 variations:
1. "All this is beautiful" ("Sundara Idam")
2. "All this is enjoyment" ("Rasa Idam")
3. "All this is luminous" ("Rocana Idam")
The practice of Jivanta is founded upon S4:
1. The practice of silence, or meditation
2. The practice of sincerity, or good company
3. The practice of science, or creativity
4. The practice of simplicity, or healing
Jivanta is the Origin, and Destiny, of all religions.
Everyone is a Jivanti, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Sanatana Dharma exemplifies the Heart.
Christianity exemplifies the Beloved.
BuddhaDhamma exemplifies the Buddhas.
Islam exemplifies the Jivanta.
The Divine Mother, the Heart, the Deepest, Simple Being
The Heavenly Father, the Beloved, the Highest, the Primal Soul
The Only Begotten Son, the Buddha, the Tantric, the Perfected Soul
The Holy Spirit, the Jivanta, the Lowest, Nature
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Commentary: The "Name" refers to the Heart; the "Father", the Primal God; the "Son", the Buddha; the "Holy Spirit", Jivanta. Thus, the "Name of the Father" refers to the Very Heart of the Primal God.)
The Jai Theotokos:
Jai Theotokos Virgin Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You.
Blessed are You among women, and
Blessed is the fruit of Your womb, Jesus Buddha.
Holy Mary, Heart of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The Jivanta Rosary:
I go for refuge in the Heart
I go for refuge in the Primal God
I venerate the Buddhas
I venerate Nature
The Jivanta Confession:
I have faith in the Heart
I have faith in the Primal God
I have faith in the Buddhas
I have faith in Nature
The First Truth: Men and women suffer.
The Second Truth: Men and women suffer from lust, anger, ignorance, and fear.
The Third Truth: Lust, anger, ignorance, and fear are caused by lack of love, light, logic, and life.
The Fourth Truth: Lust, anger, ignorance, and fear are penetrated by love, light, logic, and life.
From a doctor you get a prescription. From two doctors you get consultation. From three doctors you get your own cremation.
Even so, if you have many Gurus you will be bewildered. You will be at a loss to know what to do. One Guru will tell you: “Do Soham Japa”. Another will tell you “Do Japa of Sri Ram.” A third Guru will tell you “Hear Anahata Sounds”. You will be puzzled. Stick to one Guru and follow his instructions.
The traditional Christian emphasis upon the unique salvificity of Jesus (Jesus as the embodied root Guru of the Christian) can thus be more fully understood as a necessary part of spiritual sadhana, a part accepted by serious practitioners of all lineages and traditions. The traditional Christian emphasis reflects the divine physics of Enlightenment. All Yogas begin and end in Guru-Bhakti Yoga. Without Guru-Bhakti Yoga, there is no true religion. Swami Sivananda refers specifically to the embodied root Guru, below, but such statements can also be applied to the non-bodily bound Heart-Beloved:
52. A Guru is necessary for every aspirant in the spiritual path.
53. It is only a Guru who will be able to unveil the mystery and meaning of real life and show the way to God-realisation.
54. It is only a preceptor who can teach the disciple the secret about Sadhana.
55. An ideal Guru is one who has attained God-realisation.
56. Such a Guru is pure in thought, word and deed.
57. He has mastery over the senses and the mind.
58. He has knowledge of all the scriptures and is simple, kind and truthful.
59. Guru will be able to awaken the hidden divine power in the innermost core of disciple’s heart.
60. If a disciple has done good Karma in his previous births, if he is doing them now, and if he is sincere and longing for God, he will be sure to meet the real Guru.
61. To derive the full benefit from the Guru, disciple must have implicit faith in him and true devotion for him.
62. The disciple will achieve results in proportion to his faith in his Guru.
63. It is the spiritual teacher who will show the way and finally lead one to God.
64. Guru is none but God Himself in human form.
Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita;
I Am That; and
The Primal Scriptures of Jivanta include:
Il Combattimento Spirituale;
The Glorious Scriptures of Jivanta include both Jewish and Christian Shruti ("that which is heard") and Smriti ("that which is remembered"):
Yahadut Veda ("The Jewish Bible"):
Torah Samhita ("The Pentateuch"): examples include
Book I: Beresheit ("Genesis")
Book III: Vayiqra ("Leviticus")
Neviim Samhita ("The Prophets"): examples include
Book VI: Yehoshua ("Joshua")
Book VII: Shoftim ("Judges")
Ketuviim Samhita ("The Wisdom"): examples include
Book XIV: Tehillim ("Proverbs")
Book XXIV: Divrei Ha-Yamim ("Chronicles")
Yahadut Veda is composed of 24 (3 x 8) Books.
Christic Veda ("The New Testament"):
Euangelos Samhita ("The Gospels"): examples include
Book I: Maththaion ("Matthew")
Book II: Markon ("Mark")
Historia Samhita ("The Acts of the Apostles"): composed of Book V
Epistolai-Paulou Samhita ("The Pauline Letters"): examples include
Book VI: Romaious ("Romans")
Book VII: Korinthious A ("1st Corinthians")
Epistolai Samhita ("The General Letters"): examples include
Book XIX: Ebraious ("Hebrews")
Book XX: Yakobou ("James")
Apocalypsos Samhita ("The Book of Revelation"): composed of Book XXVII
Christic Veda is composed of 27 (3 x 9) Books.
21 December 2007
A: Amma -- "the Divine Mother"
L: vaLLabha -- "the Beloved", as in Sri Krishna's title "Radha-vallabha", the Beloved of Radha
L: Lokavid -- "the One with Perfect Understanding", one of the Ten Titles of the Buddha
A: Ayus -- Sanskrit for "Life"
H: Hu -- the Hidden Sound
18 December 2007
La ilaha il Allah wa Muhammad Rasul Allah
There is no reality but Reality and Muhammad is the Prophet of That Reality
Since Muslims recognize that the appearance of other Prophets (like Jesus, Abraham, and Buddha), one can place Jesus, Abraham, or the Buddha in the place of Muhammad, and communicate the same basic message:
La ilaha il Allah wa Buddha Rasul Allah
There is no reality but Reality and the Buddha is the Prophet, or Manifestation, of That Reality
Or, if you're Christian:
La ilaha il Allah wa Christ Rasul Allah
There is no reality but Reality and Christ is the Manifestation of That Reality
13 December 2007
χ for Krittika, the first nakshatra ruled by the Sun.
ρ for Rohini, the first nakshatra ruled by the Moon.
ι for Indra, the Liberator of the Oppressed, the Glorifier of the Blind and Handicapped.
σ for Shiksha, the science of phonetics and phonology -- in other words, of the Word.
τ for Trivikrama, whose three steps conquered Heaven, Earth, and Hell.
ο for Ojas, the spiritual energy into which sexual energy transforms.
ς for Shanti, Peace.
The speaker was Patricia Fresen, a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. The day, Nov. 11; the occasion, a jubilant ceremony at a Jewish synagogue, during which Fresen would ordain two women -- the latest of a series of such ceremonies, aimed at helping women to fulfill what they say is their calling: to serve the church as Catholic priests.
Fresen, presider and homilist at the event, is a former Dominican nun of 45 years and a former seminary professor in South Africa. As a native English-speaker, she oversees the movement’s formation program for candidates in English-speaking countries and has quickly become its best-known bishop in the United States.
Though still a small organization, Roman Catholic Womenpriests has grown exponentially since it began just five years ago with the ordination of the so-called Danube Seven -- seven women ordained on a boat on the Danube River in 2002. The growth -- its leading edge in North America -- has surprised some, met expectations of others, and is clearly worrying some members of the church hierarchy.
“We have a lot of new applicants,” Fresen said in an interview the week before the ordinations. “I now have five assistant program coordinators, and we can barely keep up. It has amazed me. We never thought it would take off like this.”
Given the international dimensions of the movement and the increasing frequency of ordinations, tracking the numbers has been a bit tricky, but Bridget Mary Meehan, U.S. spokeswoman, finds it “a nice problem to have.” By Fresen’s count, since those first ordinations in 2002, 50 people -- including six men -- have been ordained, bringing the total to 37 in the United States and Canada and 50 worldwide. Leaders report that another hundred or so have entered the movement’s formal pre-ordination training program. In the United States, the rising numbers prompted a decision last fall to divide the country into five regions to deal more effectively with the demand.
10 December 2007
"Hridaya Tvam Asi: The Heart You Art!" means that the Heart, thus, is Tat.
From the Sri Lalita Sahasranama:
425.Tat Tvam Asi: That You Art!
She who is meant by "That," the Supreme Truth, Brahman
When knowledge of Brahman arises in the intellect, Tat (that) is the word used to signify that Brahman (See mantra 363).
Tat is a pronoun - a word which is employed to refer to something that is already indicated. All known things are included in tat because behind everything is Devii, the Supreme Consciousness.
In the naamaavali form of the Sahasranaama in which Devii is invoked name by name, this mantra becomes Om Tasmai Namah. Tasmai is the dative form of the pronoun Tat.
In Jivanta, Tat Tvam Asi -- That Thou Art! -- refers to the Heart, to the Mother. Idam Tvam Asi -- This Thou Art! -- refers to the Beloved, the Father
09 December 2007
As an answer to the question of the possibility of a "dialogue" of Orthodox Christianity with the various non-Christian religions, the reader has been presented the testimony of three Orthodox Christians who confirm, on the basis of Orthodox doctrine and their own experience, what the Orthodox Church has always taught: that Orthodox Christians do not at all have the "same God" as the so-called "monotheists" who deny the Holy Trinity; that the gods of the pagans are in fact demons; and that the experiences and powers which the pagan "gods" can and do provide are satanic in nature. All this in no way contradicts the words of St. Peter, that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to Him (Acts 10:34-5); or the words of St. Paul, that God in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:16-17). Those who live in the bondage of satan, the prince of this world (John 12:31), in darkness which is unenlightened by the Christian Gospel — are judged in the light of that natural testimony of God which every man may have, despite this bondage.
Now, much can be said pro and con regarding this excerpt from Fr. Seraphim Rose. The criticisms need not detain one from learning profitably from this selection and the work from which it comes as a whole. Rose's passion is clear, as well as his honesty and directness. It is those qualities that one can imbibe from Rose's writings, regardless of one's position on issues such as inter-religious dialogue and so forth. In fact, much of evangelical writing of the conservative/fundamentalist persuasion (not that Rose would be happy with being mentioned in the same sentence with fundamentalism) provide insight into some of the common qualities found in devout practitioners of any spiritual tradition. Any real spiritual sadhana includes discrimination, the discrimination of the false and dangerous, from the true and skillful; a realistic perspective that does not assume identity where there is simply similarity; an awareness of the preciousness of human life, to the extent that misuse and abuse of human choice becomes comparable, in a very real way, with eternal existence in the hellish realms; and a radical honesty, both within oneself and with"-out" others.
For the Christian, however, who has been given God's Revelation, no "dialogue" is possible with those outside the Faith. Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord (2 Cor. 6:14-17). The Christian calling is rather to bring the light of Orthodox Christianity to them, even as St. Peter did to the God-fearing household of Cornelius the Centurian (Acts 10:34-48), in order to enlighten their darkness and join them to the chosen flock of Christ's Church.
All of this is obvious enough to Orthodox Christians who are aware of and faithful to the Truth of God's Revelation in the Church of Christ. But many who consider themselves Christians have very little awareness of the radical difference between Christianity and all other religions; and some who may have this awareness have very little discernment in the area of "spiritual experiences" — a discernment that has been practiced and handed down in Orthodox Patristic writings and Lives of Saints for nearly 2000 years.
In the absence of such awareness and discernment, the increasing presence of Eastern religious movements in the West, especially in the past decade or two, has caused great confusion in the minds of many would-be Christians. The case of Thomas Merton comes immediately to mind: a sincere convert to Roman Catholicism and Catholic monasticism some forty years ago (long before the radical reforms of Vatican II), he ended his days proclaiming the equality of Christian religious experiences and the experience of Zen Buddhism and other pagan religions. Something has "entered the air" in these past two decades or so that has eroded whatever remained of a sound Christian outlook in Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and now is attacking the Church itself, Holy Orthodoxy. The "dialogue with non-Christian religions" is a result rather than a cause of this new "spirit."
In this chapter we shall examine some of the Eastern religious movements which have been influential in the 1970's, with special emphasis on the attempts to develop a syncretism of Christianity and Eastern religions, particularly in the realm of "spiritual practices." Such attempts more often than not cite the Philokalia and the Eastern Orthodox tradition of contemplative prayer as being more kin to Eastern spiritual practices than anything that exists in the West; it is time enough, then, to point out clearly the great abyss that exists between Christian and non-Christian "spiritual experience," and why the religious philosophy that underlies this new syncretism is false and dangerous.
Beresheit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz."Elohim" is of course considered both plural and singular. Perhaps originally, it was considered plural only. In any event, the plurality of Elohim corresponds to the plurality of Buddhas, signifying that the creation of our universe was the result of cooperation among many different Buddhas. It was this cooperative effort that resulted in the creation of mankind, male and female. This cooperative effort also refers to the continuously on-going creation of different worlds, with different life-forms, in different universes. (What "creation" means in these contexts deserves further, future exploration.)
(In the beginning God created sky and earth.)
Starting in the second chapter, fourth verse of Beresheit, the Hebrew scripture now refers to "Adonai Elohim" or "Yahweh Elohim", which could be translated as "Lord Buddha", referring to a particular Buddha, rather than to many Buddhas. It was this particular Buddha who created a garden, then Adam, then Eve.
06 December 2007
Credo in unum Deum,
factórem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
(I believe in one God,The key word, the initial word, is "credo", "I believe". "Credo" is related to the English word for "heart" (which is, in Latin, "cor" or "cordis"; in Greek, "kardia"; in Sanskrit, "hridaya"). To say "credo" in Latin is to say that you take something to Heart, not simply or primarily intellectually, but to the deepest part of one's being.
maker of sky and earth,
all things in-sight and out-of-sight.)
Likewise, the English word "believe" derives from an Indo-European root "leubh", meaning "to care, to desire, to love". The intellect is a useful tool, but it isn't the medium of true care, true love. "Belief", then, is not centered on rational agreement with certain conceptual arguments. Rather, belief is the heart-felt love-care of a person, whether human, animal, plant, otherwise-organic, or otherwise-inorganic. To believe in a creed is to care from the Heart for that which the creed symbolizes.
12/6/2007 10:30:00 AM
Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) "Faith in America" SpeechRomney (who is not pictured to the right!) is simply one among a long line of presidential contenders who were/are Mormon. One may disagree with Mormon theology (and Mormon politics, for that matter), but for sheer creativity/inspiration, it has few rivals within American history. From NPR comes a short description of the speech:
Speaking from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, TX, fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) discusses religion, politics and governance. The speech by the GOP Presidential candidate is being compared to then-Sen. John Kennedy's 1960 address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Assn.
Romney did not offer a tutorial of his own faith, which shares many core beliefs with evangelical Christianity. The religion is further guided by the Book of Mormon, published by church founder Joseph Smith Jr. in 1830. Smith said he had discovered the sacred text buried near his home and proceeded to translate it.
Romney, who in recent polls was shown trailing Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – who was a Baptist minister before taking office — said there were features of other faiths that he wished were in his own, issuing a laundry list that seemed designed to be inclusive and to avoid offense.
"I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.
"It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions," he said.
05 December 2007
04 December 2007
THE TIGER IS often venerated as the protector of the forest. Indian mythology is replete with tales where the tiger is believed to have multiple powers that range from producing rain to fighting dragons, healing the sick and banishing children’s nightmares. Followers of Islam believe that Allah has dispatched the tiger to protect his devotees and punish apostates.
Maharashtra’s Warli tribe worships the tiger God, Vaghdeva above all other gods. They consider the tiger a symbol of life and regeneration and offer a part of their harvest to it. The tiger is also regarded as the harbinger of fertility and Warli couples dress in the colours of the tiger – yellow and red shawls – when visiting the temple of Palaghata, the Goddess of Marriage. According to a tale, if the goddess were pleased she would bless the couple with a child; or else the shawls would transform into tigers and consume the pair. Warli paintings depict the tiger as a part of daily life, often walking through or sitting in a village.The Nagas believe the tiger and man to be brothers since the mother of the first tiger and of the first man, are believed to have come out of the earth through the same exit, a pangolin’s burrow.
The Goddess Durga, worshipped since the time of the Indus valley civilisation, is shown riding a tiger. Durga is charged with destroying evil and the tiger was possibly chosen as a representation of strength and immortality.
Tiger dances, performed by young children, are an important part of the celebrations on Lord Krishna's birthday in Karnataka’s Udipi town.
In the northern regions of Bengal, both Hindus and Muslims revere the tiger. Local paintings depict a Muslim priest, prayer beads and a lathi in hand, astride a tiger and combating evil. In the Sunderbans, the Hindu Goddess Banobibi or the Muslim deity Dakshin Rai protect the people from demons, crocodiles and even tigers. So before they set foot in the park, people soothe Dakshin Rai with music or make offerings of sweets, rice and fruit to Banobibi.
Tigers are often painted as developing wings, giving princesses a ride, or becoming a white streak in the sky to protect the earth. Through the ages, tigers have been seen as life-givers, sentinels and saviours.
While Baptists owe much to the great doctrinal legacy of the mainline reformers, our ecclesiology most closely approximates the Anabaptist ideal in its emphasis on the church as an intentional community composed of regenerated and baptized believers who are bound to one another and their Lord by a solemn covenant. One of the most important contributions which Baptists have made to the wider life of the church is the recovery of the early church practice of baptism as an adult right of initiation signifying a committed participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In many contemporary Baptist settings, however, baptism is in danger of being divorced from the context of the decisive life commitment.The baptism of believers, so integral to Baptist practice, has several layers of meaning. As a distinctly orthodox Christian practice, baptism signifies the entrance of the believer into the Christian community. As part of Baiptiza practice (and, thus, as part of Jivanta), baptism symbolizes the realization of radical non-duality. Baptism by sprinkling or by pouring does not as fully embody this radical non-dualism as does baptism by full-immersion. In full-immersion, the non-duality is complete, utter, without remainder. To be baptized in full-bodied immersion is to participate in the foreshadowing of one's future, and yet already ever present, advaitic and full-bodied realization.
03 December 2007
A three-session course titled “They Followed a Star: Astrology and Christianity as Allies on the Journey” is being taught at St. Andrew’s Church in Seattle this month. The first session is scheduled to be held tonight.
[Western or Magian astrology is not exactly "Jyotish", but I'll label it as such anyways.]The course is being taught by Dan Keusal, a licensed counselor and astrologer in private practice in Seattle. Mr. Keusal holds a degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame and worked for years as a parish and campus minister.In a brief description of the course located on an internet website he maintains, Mr. Keusal describes his workshop as a way to “look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and women of faith.” The course was mentioned in the December issue of Episcopal Voice, the newspaper of the Diocese of Olympia and in the calendar section of the diocesan website. The course is also listed on the parish website.“Just as the Magi followed a star to find Jesus, we can look to the stars for help in discerning ‘Spirit’s’ plan for us,” Mr. Keusal writes on his website. “Drawing on biblical theology, psychology, music, poetry, and more, we’ll explore the connections between astrology and Christianity, and look at how astrology can support and deepen our journeys as men and women seeking meaning and purpose for our lives.”
02 December 2007
One of the most controversial passages in the New Testament is the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, where Jesus refers to Peter as (in Aramaic) "Kephas" and (in Greek) "Petros", both words meaning, roughly, "rock".
Matthew 16:15-18:The Orthodox, the Catholic, and the Protestant differ on the significance of this passage. Specifically, the Catholic believes that this passage conferred upon Peter an authority given to him and him alone, an authority that contained within it, in seed form, universal papal jurisdiction and papal infallibility. The Orthodox maintain, one, that the papal office is not equivalent to Peter the Apostle, and, two, that the Bishop of Rome (the "Roman" Pope, not to be confused with the Pope who is Bishop of Alexandria) is "one among equals", lacking both the power to coerce other bishops (a power that is part of universal papal jurisdiction notions) and the guarantee of papal infallibility. And Protestants side with the Orthodox, in general.
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
From the perspective of the Heart, any one of these positions can be, and are, true. In fact, each can be affirmed to be as true as any other. To say that any position can be affirmed just as well as any other, does not mean that the material implications of any one position would be the same as any other. If a bishop believes in universal papal jurisdiction, then that bishop should be prepared to encounter the exercise of papal authority. That bishop might lose his own power, authority, or wealth even.
However, the Heart is not limited, nor constrained, nor bound, by worldly authority. The Heart is not affected, if the Pope is infallible or not, or has universal jurisdiction or not. The Heart does not seek power, authority over others, or wealth. Thus, from the perspective of the Heart, any one of the three positions regarding the Pope is equal to the other two.
The Heart interprets the passage in a different way. The "rock" that Jesus referred to, was Peter's faith and trust -- in other words, to Peter's own recognition of the Heart. The Church that Jesus was to build, would be founded on this Heart-recognition, which is not limited to Peter, but belongs to all. This rock is clear, pure, and perfect. In fact, this rock can be compared to a lustrous diamond, indestructible, and adamantine. In the Tibetan tradition, this rock is known as vajra, the indestructible diamond, clear and empty, and yet reflective, of imperfections. This vajra is bodhi-citta, the Heart of Awakening. Peter recognized bodhi-citta, the mind of enlightenment, and Jesus affirmed Peter's recognition. This Awakened Heart, though dormant in many, can be awakened by many means, within many different religious-political-authority structures, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, just to limit ourselves to Christian examples. The point of Jesus' acknowledging Peter's "rockness" was not to make Peter (or a Pope) into an idol, no more so than the Father's acknowledgment of Jesus as His "Son" was meant to make Jesus into an idol. Instead, Peter was meant to be an example from which others could learn the universal truth that the Heart could manifest unexpectedly, anywhere, anytime, and to any person.
01 December 2007
1. In the beginning this was Self alone, in the shape of a person (purusha). He looking round saw nothing but his Self. He first said, 'This is I;' therefore he became I by name. Therefore even now, if a man is asked, he first says, 'This is I,' and then pronounces the other name which he may have. And because before (pûrva) all this, he (the Self) burnt down (ush) all evils, therefore he was a person (pur-usha). Verily he who knows this, burns down every one who tries to be before him.
2. He feared, and therefore any one who is lonely fears. He thought, 'As there is nothing but myself, why should I fear?' Thence his fear passed away. For what should he have feared? Verily fear arises from a second only.
3. But he felt no delight. Therefore a man who is lonely feels no delight. He wished for a second. He was so large as man and wife together. He then made this his Self to fall in two (pat), and thence arose husband (pati) and wife (patnî). Therefore Yâgñavalkya said: 'We two are thus (each of us) like half a shell.' Therefore the void which was there, is filled by the wife. He embraced her, and men were born.
4. She thought, 'How can he embrace me, after having produced me from himself? I shall hide myself.'
She then became a cow, the other became a bull and embraced her, and hence cows were born. The one became a mare, the other a stallion; the one a male ass, the other a female ass. He embraced her, and hence one-hoofed animals were born. The one became a she-goat, the other a he-goat; the one became a ewe, the other a ram. He embraced her, and hence goats and sheep were born. And thus he created everything that exists in pairs, down to the ants.
5. He knew, 'I indeed am this creation, for I created all this.' Hence he became the creation, and he who knows this lives in this his creation.