Saturday, January 28, 2006

Judaism Defined

Judaism Defined Cover The religion of the Jews is inseparable from their history as a people. Much of the Torah traces the ancestry of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and finally to Moses, the foremost of God's prophets in Hebrew history. It was Moses who conveyed to Judaism the Ten Commandments given by God and established the religious laws and traditions.

The Torah (literally, "Doctrine," "Teaching," "Law") consists primarily of the written Torah, i.e. the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament; and secondarily of oral Torah, ultimately codified as Talmud (literally, "instruction"), in two redactions, Jerusalem Talmud and the more authoritative Babylonian Talmud. In the narrower sense, Torah denotes only the Pentateuch, i.e., the first Five Books of the Old Testament. But in extended usage, Torah as scripture is somewhat analogous to the Hindu Veda, which beyond the four Samhitas may also apply to their extensions, the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. As a term for moral and religious principles, Jewish Torah has as comprehensive an application as Hindu Dharma.

By far the most profound characteristic of Judaism is its strict monotheism. The Jews hold an unshakable belief in one God and one God only, known as Yahweh, "whose name cannot be taken in vain," and from whom all creation flows. The Jewish people consider themselves a chosen people, apart from all the other peoples of the Earth, by virtue of their covenant with Yahweh.

Much stress is placed on the hallowing of daily existence, worship in the synagogue, prayer and reading of the scriptures. Few religions can boast of such a close-knit family tradition as Judaism, making the home a great strength to the religion and a constant refuge to the faithful. Each day, morning and evening, every devout Jew affirms his faith by repeating Moses' prayer: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

FOUNDED: Judaism began about 3,700 years ago in the Near East (chiefly Canaan, now Israel; and Egypt).
FOUNDERS: Abraham, who started the lineage, and Moses, who emancipated the enslaved Jewish tribes from Egypt.
MAJOR SCRIPTURE: The Torah (the Old Testament and the Talmud).
ADHERENTS: About 12 million worldwide, over half in the United States.
SECTS: Jews are divided into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform sects, With Other regional and ethnic divisions.

Man has two impulses: good and evil. He can either follow God's law or rebel and be influenced by Satan, who caused God's creation to go astray. Following God's law is the highest morality, possible through obedience to the Torah, which pleases God. One must follow justice, charity, ethics and honesty, being true to the one true God, Yahweh.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

The Mystical Qabalah

The Mystical Qabalah Cover

Book: The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune

The Tree of Life forms the ground-plan of the Western Esoteric Tradition and is the system upon which pupils are trained in the Fraternity of the Inner Light. The transliteration of Hebrew words into English is the subject of much diversity of opinion, every scholar appearing to have his own system. In these pages I have availed myself of the alphabetical table given by MacGregor Mathers in The Kabbalah Unveiled because this book is the one generally used by esoteric students. He himself does not adhere to his own table systematically, however, and even uses different spellings for the same words. This is very confusing for anyone who wishes to use the gematric method of elucidation, in which letters are turned into numbers. When, therefore, Mathers gives alternative transliterations, I have followed the one which coincides with that given in his own table.

The capitalisation employed in these pages may also appear unusual, but it is the one traditionally used among students of the Western Esoteric Tradition. In this system, common words, such as earth or path, are used in a technical sense to denote spiritual principles. When this is done, a capital is used to indicate the fact. When a capital is not used, it may be taken that the word is to be understood in its ordinary sense.

As I have frequently referred to the authority of MacGregor Mathers and aleister crowley in matters of Qabalistic mysticism, it may be as well to explain my position in relation to these two writers. I was at one time a member of the organisation founded by the former, but have never been associated with the latter. I have never known either of these gentlemen personally, MacGregor Mathers having died before I joined his organisation, and aleister crowley having then ceased to be associated with it.

The Society of the Inner Light, founded by the late Dion Fortune, has courses for those who wish seriously to pursue the study of the Western Esoteric Tradition. Information about the society may be obtained by writing to the address below. Please enclose British stamps or international postal coupons in your letter if you wish a response. The Secretary The Society of the Inner Light 38 Stelle’s Road London NW3 4RG, England

Download Dion Fortune's eBook: The Mystical Qabalah

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Influence Of Buddhism Over The Life Of Chinese

Influence Of Buddhism Over The Life Of Chinese Cover Over its long history, Buddhism has left an indelible impact on Chinese civilization. Many words and phrases have root in a Buddhist origin. Take a colloquial phrase as an example, 'to hold the foot of Buddha at the moment" means "to make a last minute effort". This reveals in a sense the true attitude of the Chinese toward the utilitarian aspects of belief. Many people kowtow to whatever gods they encounter and will burn incense in any temple.

In literature traces of Buddhism and Zen are obvious. Quite a few famous poets in Tang Dynasty like Bai Juyi were lay Buddhists but this did not prevent them from indulging in a little from time to time. Just as today's white collar classes go to bars, the Tang scholars went to restaurants to drink and flirt with the almahs.

In today's China, Buddhist temples, Buddhist caves and grottoes and Buddhist Holy Mountains, especially the ones listed in the national or provincial historical and cultural relics, have become the hot spots for tourism. It is not uncommon for the income of a temple to cover the expenses of a whole county or district.

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Sunday, January 8, 2006

Life Of Confucius

Life Of Confucius Cover Confucius has proved to be the greatest influence over the Chinese character. Besides being a great educationist, thinker and unsuccessful politician, he was first of all an intellect with a noble morality. He pursued truth, kindness and perfection throughout his life and his success and failure were largely due to his character, which had an everlasting impact on Chinese intellect.

Confucius was born in 551B.C in the State of Lu which is known today as Qufu in Shandong Province.. In Chinese, his name was Kong Qiu. Kong was the family name while Qiu was his given name. This was because his parents had prayed for a son at Niqiu Hill and 'Qiu' was an appropriate token of their thanks and joy at having their prayers answered. Sadly, his father died when Confucius was very young but despite a hard life, he dedicated himself to study at the age of 15.

Patriotism was the driving force for the young Confucius and he set his sights on an official career as a means to apply his political ideals. He had gained some fame by the time he was 30 but it was not until he was 51 that his official life really assumed great importance. This eventful career was to last for only four years as he was forced to resign when he found it impossible to agree with the authorities. Such was the opposition to his ideas that he was obliged to leave his country and to travel around the states. During these 14 years, he was in danger on many occasions and even risked his life. At the age of 68 he was welcomed back to Lu but he was set up as a respected gentleman without any authority. He died of illness at the age of 73. A brilliant star fell into silence. His students treated him as father and wore the willow for three years. Zigong, one of the famous disciples, set up a cabinet near his tomb and stayed there for six years to mourn his beloved teacher. Confucius could never have dreamed that his lonely tomb would develop into the large Cemetery of Confucius (Kong Lin) and that his ideological system would become the norm for Chinese society.

Confucius took great delight in studying and was modest enough to learn from anyone. He never tired of teaching his disciples while diligence, his unremitting pursuit of truth, ideas and perfect personality, his integrity, kindness, modesty and courteousness inspired his disciples and the intellects of subsequent generations. Uniquely, only he is qualified to be called "the teacher of ten thousand generations". It is said that among 3000 of Confucius' disciples, there were 72 who were brilliant and who succeeded in morality, literature, language, and especially politics. These politicians contributed much to the spreading, formation and Development of Confucianism.

Influenced by Confucianism, in Chinese culture, an Intellectual is not limited in study alone. He should be successful in being a human and in his bearing of himself. A key objective of an intellectual should be to make full use of his ability, personality and intelligence to do good for the state, society and the world at large. This idea is so precious that we cannot help asking why the products of today's education system are far from satisfactory! Why do not we pay attention to our ancestor's core values instead of wasting so much of our time and energy in word puzzles!

Confucius' marriage was ignored purposefully by his followers. All we know is he got married at 19 and divorced his wife at 23 and remained single for the rest of his life. As Confucianism laid down the social ethnics of the Chinese society, why Confucius divorced remained a puzzle. We cannot find out how he behaved as a husband or as a father. However, the records show that he loved his disciples as much as his own children. He was not a cold or dull old man; instead, he was affectionate, humorous and optimistic. It is something of an enigma that this humble and wise man should have been first apotheosized as a Saint then demonized only to be re-established as a Saint by succeeding generations. In Chinese, he was known as Kong Sheng Ren (Saint Kong). We hope our Introduction goes some way to show Confucius as a truly human being.

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Sunday, January 1, 2006

Atheism Beliefs

Atheism Beliefs Cover Atheism isn't necessarily a religious belief. However, it is certainly a religious issue because it deals with concepts that are found throughout many religions.

On this site, we define the term "religion" as:

"... any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview."

Atheism is not a complete religion in the sense that Christianity, Islam, and, Judaism are. Atheism is not generally perceived as offering a complete guideline for living as do most religions. However, Atheists frequently derive their own ethics and philosophy of life and worldview using their Atheism as a starting point. These factors are generally derived from secular considerations, and not from any "revealed" religious text.

Some Atheists, when asked what their religion is, will answer, simply, "Atheist." Others will say that they "have no religion, they are an Atheist." Still others will use terms like Humanist, Agnostic, Freethinker, religious skeptics, etc. This makes public opinion polls almost useless on this topic.

Note that:
- Atheism relates to a belief in the existence or non-existence of a deity, or whether the person associates any meaning to the terms "God" or "deity."

- Atheism can involve the positive assertion that there is no deity; this is sometimes referred to as "strong Atheism." It is the most common dictionary definition for the term "Atheist," and is probably the definition used by most theists.

- Atheism can be the absence of a belief that there is a deity. This is the belief promoted by the American Atheists and many individual Atheists.

- Atheists often promote the belief that all Gods and Goddesses, as well as angels, demons, ghosts, etc., are nonexistent entities created by human minds.

In one way, most North Americas are Atheists or near Atheists. About 3 in 4 adults believe in the existence of the Christian Trinity: God the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. However, when it comes to the Mayan, Hindu, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Sumerian, Sikh, and many hundreds of other Gods and Goddesses, they either:
- Regard them as something like the tooth fairy and Easter bunny: mythical entities that do not really exist but were artificially created by humans, or

- They exist as demons, supernatural entities without most of the powers of the Trinity.

Thus, the difference in beliefs about God between a typical Christian and a typical Atheist is numerically small: The strong Atheist believes that none of the many thousands of Gods and Goddesses exist; most Christians believe that one God exists as a Trinity. Whatever the other thousands of deities are, they are not Gods. Although the numerical difference is much less that 0.1%, the philosophical difference is immense.

There exists massive discrimination against Atheists in the U.S.
- Part of this may be based on the historical linkage between Communism and Atheism. Most Communists are Atheists. But many people do not realize that most Atheists in North America are not Communists.

- Another reason for this discrimination is the common belief that a person cannot be motivated to lead a moral life unless they believe in the carrot and stick system: hope for the reward of heaven, and fear the punishment of Hell. In the past, this belief had been codified into law. Conscientious objectors opposed to participating in warfare were thrown in jail if their opposition to killing other humans was not based on belief in God.

- Still another cause of discrimination is a widespread linkage between theism -- the belief in the existence of God -- American patriotism, and Christianity.

The American public exhibits high regards for Buddhists. One reason for this may be that Buddhists have been responsible for very few wars, mass murders, genocides, etc. However, a strong majority of Buddhists are Atheists in that they have no concept of God.

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Meditation With The Archangel Auriel

Meditation With The Archangel Auriel Cover

Book: Meditation With The Archangel Auriel by Order Of The Golden Dawn

For this ritual the Zelator will need a black robe, black and white striped nemyss,and the Outer Wand of Double Power. Upon the altar should be a black candle, a paten of bread and salt, and a talismanic emblem with the Archangel Name of Uriel painted white on a black background in Hebrew. The Temple is to be arranged in accordance with the Zelator Hall (as in the second part of the initiation ceremony)

Download Order Of The Golden Dawn's eBook: Meditation With The Archangel Auriel

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