Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt

Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt Cover

Book: Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt by Jester Raiin

The one word per card approach makes this especially handy. Using imagination, the so called minds eye, to contemplate the meaning of a situation or person by imagining the most suiting tarot card. Helpful when one has lost the deck once again, too. Customers never actually steal the decks in some rush of superstitious greed...

I will wait for some more feedback and contributions from other people, before advancing. As state of affairs is: I won't improve much here, before 15.09.2008 anyway. This is under the assumption, that the person nicknamed
“Jester Raiin” survives the trip to Tunisia and returns, instead of building his own “Sufiesque” cult with harem in the desert. ;)

Like with sports, I won't lose overweight by someone else doing workouts – I have to do my own. I indulge my own, even when I know and often admit that poverty and my limitations do not make me the superior solution. Without trying not even my slightest improvements would be real either.

Download Jester Raiin's eBook: Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt

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Jester Raiin - Major Arcana 2nd Update And 1st Typohunt

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Afghan Buddha Reconstruction

Afghan Buddha Reconstruction Image
Afghans herd sheep in the city of Bamiyan [quite possibly the Buddha's real birthplace], near the ruins of the ancient Buddha statues and monastic cave complex that once stood in the city, in central Afghanistan in 2010 (AFP file/Shah Marai).

GERMAN SCIENTISTS EYE AFGHAN BUDDHA RECONSTRUCTION


AFP South Asian EditionGerman scientists said Friday they believed it possible to reconstruct one of the world-famous Bamiyan Buddhas dynamited by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, prompting worldwide condemnation.

Scientists from the University of Munich, in southern Germany, have examined fragments of the statues -- the world's largest Buddhas -- and concluded that the smaller one could be pieced together.

The two sculptures, 173 feet and 114 feet tall, had stood sentinel for 1,500 years in Bamiyan province before they were blown up by Islamists who believed them to be idolatrous.

Erwin Emmerling, the leader of the team sifting through hundreds of fragments, "considers a reconstruction of the smaller Buddha to be fundamentally possible," the university said in a statement.

"As far as the larger Buddha is concerned, in view of its depth (thickness) of around 12 meters, Professor Emmerling is more sceptical," it said.

Nevertheless, the university cited "political and practical" obstacles to rebuilding the precious statues.

Either a small factory would have to be built in the Bamiyan valley or some 1,400 rocks weighing up to two tonnes each would have to be transported to Germany. Japanese funding could reportedly be used to rebuild the sculptures.

They were once painted a variety of colors, the scientists said, including dark blue, pink, orange, red, and white. "The Buddhas once had an intensely colorful appearance," Emmerling said.

Based on their investigation, the scientists also dated the smaller Buddha to between 544 and 595 AD. The bigger Buddha was built between 591 and 644, they said.

A conference in Paris to debate the future of the Buddhas is expected to take place next week, the statement said. The niches where they once stood overlooking Bamiyan city, the eponymous capital of the province, are being restored as a UN World Heritage site.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Focus Of Life

The Focus Of Life Cover

Book: The Focus Of Life by Austin Osman Spare

The Focus of Life, The Mutterings of AOS is a comprehensive treatise written and illustrated by Austin Osman Spare on key occult concepts he introduced in his previous writings. The book first published in 1921 by the Morland Press and edited by Fredrick Carter with an introduction by Francis Marsden. The book contains 11 full page illustrations. The first edition was quarter vellum with buckram sides, lettered in gold on the spine "The Focus of Life". Released in 50 copies, numbered and signed on the half-title. The book contains three "Aphorisms" along with various accounts of Spare's dreams. The "Aphorisms" section in this book is the sole comprehensive reference to three central ideas of Kia, Ikkah and ZOS. In this book, Spare also introduces another important central concept of his teachings, the 'great duality': 'Belief and desire are the great duality which engender all illusions that entangle the senses [i.e. sexuality] and prevent free will.'

Buy Austin Osman Spare's book: The Focus Of Life

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Tuesday Lobsang Rampa - Chapters Of Life
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Austin Osman Spare - The Focus Of Life

Aspects Of Tantra

Aspects Of Tantra Cover

Book: Aspects Of Tantra by Phil Hine

Aspects of Tantra Five essays exploring modern Tantra by Phil Hine. Mention Tantra to most people, and they will invariably think of sex-magic. Only the other day I was chatting over the phone to a friend in America, and happened to mention that I was currently involved with a Tantric magic study group. My friend became very animated, and in tones of some envy said that he’d always wanted to find a group where people were willing to do Tantric magic with each other. It was at this point that an alarm bell began to ring in my head. “Look,” I said, “I mean Tantric magic, not group sex.” “Oh,” my friend replied, “I wasn’t aware that there was anything more to Tantra than group sex.” Now this kind of reaction isn’t untypical, even among otherwise experienced occultists. Over the last few years, whenever I’ve mentioned my interest in Tantra, I’ve often watched people’s mental gears grinding away as they visualise contorted sexual postures and perhaps, unusual combinations. To think of Tantra only in terms of sexual rites is a gross oversimplification. In fact, Tantrism is a complete magical system in itself, incorporating a wide variety of magical methods and metaphysics.

Download Phil Hine's eBook: Aspects Of Tantra

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Buddha Funeral

The Buddha Funeral Image

THE "FINAL PASSING"

Nirvana is not death, for death entails rebirth. Nor is it annihilation, which entails a being or essence to annihilate. Just as enlightenment expels all ignorance, so nirvana entails the end of all suffering. Suffering is intimately connected to birth, old age, sickness, and death of all kinds. Nirvana is a literal [there is no equivalent word for it as it is neither thing, nor place, nor state]. It is not merely the absence of suffering. Nirvana is to be experienced. Interestingly, it is not a noun (person, place, or thing) at all. Rather it is a verb inasmuch as one is "nirvanered" (nibbuti, cooled, calmed, quenched, cleansed). Just as there are phenomena in the world of daily experience, nirvana is the "unconditioned" and "deathless" element.

This is a deep and profound statement not amenable to "intellectual" investigation. Fortunately, it will admit of direct experience. Those nevertheless wishing to approach the matter through intellect will find Bhikkhu Bodhi's exhaustive treatment of the subject of nirvana in "The Buddha's Teaching: As It Is" very helpful. (Bhikkhu Bodhi is the greatest Buddhist scholar alive today; the audio CD may be purchased or is available free from BAUS.org).

* "THE BUDDHA\'S TEACHING AS IT IS" by Bhikkhu Bodhi (MP3)

(BuddhaNet) Ten audio lectures on the fundamentals of the Buddha's Teaching by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American Buddhist scholar-monk. Lecture 6: "Nibbana (Nirvana)."

Nirvana is a reality that may be seen and touched. To glimpse it is to attain stream-entry, the first stage of enlightenment. The consummation is full enlightenment, but that takes two forms. The first is "with remainder"; the second, "without remainder." That is, one attains nirvana and the Five Aggregates continue. One is alive as before, experiencing the results and fruits ("vipaka" and "phala") of karma without clinging to experience or identifying with it. Eventually, karma is exhausted, then at that point there is "parinirvana", or liberation without remainder, without aggregates, without any further coming to be. English hardly has words for it. But it may be understood by many positive analogies given by the Buddha, which are not applicable to death. For example, nirvana is the unsurpassable:

* peace
* happiness
* bliss
* refuge ("sarana")
* safety

WHEN THE BUDDHA PASSED AWAY


Susan Elbaum Jootla (excerpts from "Teacher of the Devas," BPS)

"Devas" and "brahmas" were active at several phases of the Great Passing - the Buddha's final entrance into nirvana away at Kusinara (modern Kushinagar, India) - as recorded in the "Maha Parinibbana Sutta" (DN 16). This event was not just the demise of a greatly revered being but it also represented the personal consummation of his teachings. It was the utter, permanent cessation of the aggregates of the one who discovered and taught the way to the end of suffering.

A short while before the Buddha attained final nirvana, he lay down to rest between two sal-trees. They began flowering profusely, out of season. After some time, the Buddha dismissed the monk who had been fanning. Then the Venerable Ananda, his devoted attendant [and cousin], asked him why he asked the monk to go. The Buddha replied:

"Ananda, the "devas" from ten world-spheres have gathered to see the Tathagata. For a distance of twelve yojanas around the Mallas' sal-grove near Kusinara there is not a space you could touch with the point of a hair that is not filled with mighty "devas", and they are grumbling, 'We have come a long way to see the Tathagata. It is rare for a Tathagata, a fully enlightened Buddha, to arise in the world, and tonight in the last watch the Tathagata will attain final nirvana, and this mighty monk is standing in front of the Venerable One, preventing us from getting a last glimpse of the Tathagata!'" (DN 16.5.5)

Ananda, who had standing permission to ask the Buddha anything, next wanted to know what kinds of "devas" were around them. The Buddha said he saw lower "devas" who are "weeping and tearing their hair" in distress, moaning, "All too soon the Blessed One is passing away, all too soon the Well-Farer is passing away, all too soon the Eye of the World is disappearing!" But there were also "devas free from craving" (i.e., enlightened) who endured this patiently, saying. "All compounded things are impermanent - what is the use of this?" (DN 16.5.6).

After passing through the eight meditative absorptions (jhanas), the Buddha finally expired, attaining "parinirvana", the immutable cessation of rebirth. At that moment the Earth quaked, as it does whenever "buddhas" pass away. The "brahma" Sahampati, who had entreated the Buddha to teach forty-five years earlier, spoke a verse as a short eulogy:

"All beings in the world, all bodies must break up:

Even the Teacher, peerless in the human world,

The mighty Venerable and perfect Buddha has expired.
"

Sakka repeated a verse of the Buddha's on the theme of impermanence. While Sahampati used conventional speech in adoration of the deceased Buddha, Sakka spoke in impersonal and universal terms. His verse makes an excellent theme for meditation and is often chanted at Buddhist funerals:

"Impermanent are compounded things, prone to rise and fall,

Having risen, they're destroyed, their passing is truest bliss
" (DN 16.6.10).

All the "compounded things," which make up everyone and everything in all the world, come into being and perish. Only when they cease utterly never to re-arise ("their passing") can there be the perfect bliss, nirvana. These stanzas by the renowned "brahma" and the king of the "devas" show how a few beings existing on higher planes applied their insight into impermanence and suffering, even to the "parinirvana" of their teacher.

THE FUNERAL


After they had honored the Buddha's body for a full week, the Mallas of Kusinara decided it was time for the funeral. They began to prepare for the cremation but could not lift the body and carry it out the southern gate of the city. Puzzled, they asked the Venerable Anuruddha what was wrong.

This great elder (or "thera")"," renowned for his "divine eye," told the devotees that the "devas" had their own ideas of how to arrange the funeral. The deities, he said, planned first to pay "homage to the Buddha's body with celestial dance and song" and then take it in procession through the city of Kusinara to the cremation site. The "devas" intended the cremation to be at the Mallas' shrine known as Makuta-Bandhana. The Mallas were happy to accommodate their plans and proceeded unhindered to arrange the funeral as the "devas" wished.

Out of respect the "devas "participated in all phases of the funerary proceedings. It is said that "even the sewers and rubbish-heaps of Kusinara were covered knee-high with [celestial] coral tree flowers. And the "devas" as well as the Mallas... honored the Buddha's body with divine and human dancing and song."

They transported the body to the Makuta-Bandhana shrine and placed it there. They wrapped it many times in layers of fine muslin cloth, built the pyre of fragrant sandalwood, and placed the bier bearing the Buddha's body on top. But when the men tried to light the fire, it would not ignite. Again the reason lay with the "devas".

Anuruddha explained that the "devas" would not allow the pyre to be lit until the Venerable Maha Kassapa arrived for the cremation. Once Maha Kassapa and the group of monks traveling with him had arrived and paid their last respects, the pyre blazed up spontaneously, burning until nothing but relics remained behind (DN 16.6.22-23).

Site of the Great Passing with a "stupa" (reliquary mound) and a tubular building housing a very large reclining Buddha statue, Kushinagar, India. The Buddha chose out-of-the-way Kusinara because it had been a significant site in prehistory. Through the efforts of the worldwide Relics Tour, Tibetan Buddhists hope to make it the most important Buddhist site in the world.

by Dharmachari and Susan Elbaum Jootla



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Friday, June 1, 2007

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Cover

Book: The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell by William Blake

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a book by the English poet and printmaker William Blake, part of a series of texts written in imitation of biblical books of prophecy, but expressing Blake's own intensely personal Romantic and revolutionary beliefs. Like his other books, it was published as printed sheets from etched plates containing prose, poetry, and illustrations. The plates were then coloured by Blake and his wife Catherine.

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the period of radical ferment and political conflict immediately after the French Revolution. The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's theological work Heaven and Hell published in Latin 33 years earlier. Swedenborg is directly cited and criticized by Blake several places in the Marriage. Though Blake was influenced by his grand and mystical cosmic conception, Swedenborg's conventional moral structures and his Manichean view of good and evil led Blake to express a deliberately depolarized and unified vision of the cosmos in which the material world and physical desire are equally part of the divine order, hence, a marriage of heaven and hell. The entire book is written in prose, except for the opening "Argument" and the "song of Liberty." The book describes the poet's visit to Hell, a device adopted by Blake from Dante's Inferno and Milton's Paradise Lost.

Blake's text has been interpreted in many ways. It certainly forms part of the revolutionary culture of the period. The references to the printing house suggest the underground radical printers producing revolutionary pamphlets at the time. Ink-blackened print workers were jokingly referred to as "printing devils," and revolutionary publications were regularly denounced from the pulpits as the work of the devil. In contrast, the book has been interpreted as an anticipation of Freudian and Jungian models of the mind, illustrating a struggle between a repressive superego and an amoral id. It has also been interpreted as an anticipation of Nietzsche's theories about the difference between slave morality and master morality.

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The Goals Of Confucianism

The Goals Of Confucianism Cover The primary goal of Confucianism is to create a true nobility through proper education and the inculcation of all the virtues. It is described as the return to the way of one's ancestors, and the classics are studied to discover the ancient way of virtue. Spiritual nobility is attainable by all men; it is a moral achievement. Confucius accepted the Tao, but placed emphasis on this return to an idealized age and the cultivation of the superior man, on the pragmatic rather than the mystical. The superior man's greatest virtue is benevolent love. The other great virtues are duty, wisdom, truth and propriety. Salvation is seen as realizing and living one's natural goodness, which is endowed by heaven through education. The superior man always knows the right and follows his knowledge.

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