Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bamiyan Afghanistan Buddhism

Bamiyan Afghanistan Buddhism Image
Research Dharmachari Seven (Wisdom Quarterly), travel notes Frankly1984, geopolitical history Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald (

Buddha sculpture, Gandhara style, from India's Northwest Frontier

Anybody who has been in Afghanistan and experienced this beautiful and wonder filled country will never forget the mystery surrounding this part of the world where devoted artisans built the fantastic Bamiyan Buddha statues 100 miles northwest of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

PART I: Bamiyan Buddha Statues

Afghans are beautiful, freedom-loving, mountain people. Unfortunately, they live under the influence of divisive political forces as the victims of colonial rule in the United States longest-running war. That war did not begin a decade ago but much earlier when, according to Gould and Fitzgerald ( the US destabilized the country by having criminals released in provincial Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan.

* Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of the American Empire

* Afghan Buddha province hopes to attract skiers (Himalayan Times)

Almost everything we believe about Afghan and Pashtun culture is meant to deliberately undermine our view of them -- eternally warring tribal factions, barbaric and unreasonable warlords, US-opposing, Sharia Law-loving, women-hating Taliban lunatics. In fact, Afghanistan itself has no history of this prior to anti-Soviet US intervention. But what has been created, what we have been made to believe is now indelible.

Map showing northwestern frontier of ancient Buddhist India. Until recently "Pakistan" was India. It was partitioned by the departing British as an ethnic homeland for Indian Muslims. Kashmir is still very much in dispute inflamed by China and the CIA.

I was in Kabul in 1977. From there I made the long journey to the small village of Bamiyan in the great Bamiyan Valley. I traveled there because Thesophy's famous Russian mystic H.P. Blavatsky (1883-1886) had mentioned the imposing figures in The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy. I wanted to see them with my own eyes -- and they were fantastic.

US military propaganda: the US War on Afghanistan, the longest running in our history

The colossal Buddha statues are mentioned in The Secret Doctrine (pp. 337-340, Vol. II). They are said to illustrate the hidden or occult history of the decline in stature as human form consolidated into gross physical matter. The five statues represent this decrease in size -- a decline mentioned in Buddhist texts -- of the average human frame beginning over a million years ago.

Blavatsky traces this decrease as egos were reborn into forms from the First Race on "Globe D" to our present Fifth Race. The statues would have been built by the Fourth Race.

It is also interesting to point out that the surrounding Bamiyan cave complex resembles in size the famous Allora and Ajanta (aka Ellora) caves in India. Both are said to have been built by the "builders" or initiates [Secret Doctrine, Vol. II: 221, 345]. The Buddhist art style is different and not as well preserved as that of ancient Vedic Brahminism now Hinduism.

Another interesting piece of information is found in The Secret Doctrine (Vol. II, p. 750), where it speaks of post-Atlantean initiates of the second "Aryan" sub-race traveling throughout the world to establish monuments to preserve aspects of the great and immemorial truths.

PART II: Bamiyan Buddha Statues

In Blavatsky's book "From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan" (pp. 609-610), there is more information about "Bamian" (part of the Paropamisos or Hindu Kush mountain range once called Afghania). It is said that these mountains were inhabited by "earthly gods" (devas, actually demigods, hybrid nymph-human entities, from the mating of space or heavenly and earthly beings) called Paranassus by the brahmins.

Rama and Krishna are mentioned as having lived on Mount Paranassus. The word Paranassus occurs frequently in both the ancient Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are also hints of a mysterious connection with Buddhism's Mount Meru (Sumeru) well worth further investigation.

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (Terry Gilliam honoring ancient English lore)What I discovered about the statues when I was there was that there were not five large statues visible or known, but only three. The two largest (174 feet/53 meter and 115 feet/35 meters high) are the ones most often mentioned by travelers and writers. They are situated in the same massive rock formation within walking distance of each other.

What Kapilavastu, the Buddha's home town and Shakyan capital, probably looked like. Note alcoves on left and right housing massive stone figures prior to Taliban destruction.

Bamiyan caves and colossal statue (Lament for Bamian)

It was possible to climb up alongside the head of the largest statue for a magnificent view of the valley by clambering through a labyrinth of caves [shown in next video, minute 2:55], rock chapels, and large halls. They were built on several levels accessible by steps inside the mountain where the statue was carved out of living rock protected by overhanging niches.

An early tourist trip to Bamiyan, Afghanistan staying in yurts oblivious to the tumultuous wars to later envelop the region from the USSR and US-backed Taliban aggression meant to push out the Soviets so American corporations could enjoy the spoils of war.

There are hundreds of caves in the area. Beside the head (which was already damaged) on the side walls were paintings of devas, bodhisattvas, buddhas, and a Greek Buddhist philosopher-king [Menander recorded in Indian Buddhist texts as King Milinda] placed sitting in the lines of ancient Buddhas listed by T.W. Rhys Davids (translator) in Buddhist Birth-Stories: Jataka Tales (commentary to the Nidana-Katha or "Story of the Lineage").

The "thousand Buddhas" sitting in a line is typical for Buddhist paintings, but not with a Greek dressed in a toga with a beard. These are remains in the world famous Gandhara style (early Greco-Buddhist art from Bactria and Roman-Buddhist art from Syria) or possibly a reproduction of Mahayana Buddhist art that developed later in northern Asia.

Buddhism extended northeast as Mahayana Buddhism, northwest as Christianity (BBC)

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Antoine Fabre Dolivet

Antoine Fabre Dolivet Cover Antoine Fabre d'Olivet (December 8, 1767, Ganges, Herault – March 25, 1825) was a French author, poet and composer whose Biblical and philosophical hermeneutics influenced many occultists, such as Eliphas Levi and Gerard Encausse. His best known work today is his research on the Hebrew language, Pythagoras's thirty-six Golden Verses and the sacred art of music. His interest in Pythagoras and the resulting works started a revival of Neo-Pythagoreanism that would later influence many occultists and new age spirtitualists. He attempted an alternate interpretation of Genesis, based on what he considered to be connections between the Hebrew alphabet and Hieroglyphs. The discovery of the rosetta stone and the subsequent understanding of Egyptian Hieroglyphs that followed would prove much of this particular work technically mistaken. He was declared a non-person by Napoleon I and condemned by the Pope.

An interesting story involves his healing a deaf boy of his hearing impairment, and then having Napoleon officially declare that he is never again to heal another person of deafness. He indicates that he kept the letter of notice out of amusement. Outside of esotericism, he also invented the poetic measure of eumolpique. He had an argument with Lord Byron over the British poet's publishing of a play, "Cain", which questioned a Christian view of Genesis. d'Olivet believed the play would destroy Christian beliefs and undermine the spirit of the English people at the very time they needed some faith to endure a very difficult life. Byron's response went something like, "I'm only a poet; I don't know anything about these philosophical concerns of yours!" The play was very popular in England.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Angels In Buddhism

Angels In Buddhism Image
Are there deities -- beings superior in status to humans -- in Buddhism? Yes. "Devas" (Sanskrit, Pali) in Buddhism are one of many different types of non-human entities who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and in general living more contentedly than the average human being.

Other words used in Buddhist texts to refer to these angelic beings are "devata" (deity) and "devaputra" (son of god), which simply indicates that one is reborn as a "deva." Synonyms for "devas "in other languages include Chinese "tian," Japanese "ten", Tibetan "lha", Mongolian "tenger", Khmer "tep" or "preah," Korean "cheon", Vietnamese "thi^en"..". The concept of "devas" was readily adopted in Japan partly because of its similarity to the indigenous Shinto concept of kami.

Powers of the Devas

From a human perspective, "devas" share the characteristic of generally being invisible to the physical human eye. But the presence of a "deva" can be detected by those who have opened the "divine eye" (Sanskrit, divyacakus; Pali, "dibbacakkhu"), an extrasensory power by which one can see beings on other planes. Their voices can also be heard by those who have cultivated a similar power of the ear. Most "devas" are also capable of constructing illusory forms so as to manifest themselves to beings in worlds lower than their own. Higher and lower "devas" must also do this between each other.

"Devas" do not require the same food or sustenance as humans, although the lower kinds do eat and drink. Higher "devas" shine with their own intrinsic luminosity. Indeed, the word "deva" means "shining one." They are capable of quickly moving great distances, flying, although the lower "devas" sometimes accomplish this through flying vehicles ("viman, "or spacecraft). "Bhumi" or earthbound "devas" are sprites and elementals, whereas "akasha" or spacebound "devas" would seem to be extraterrestrial aliens (celestial travelers, "gods" from the heavens) who provided a great deal of useful information and technology but also caused war here.


The term "deva" does not refer to a natural class of beings. It is defined anthropocentrically to include all beings more powerful and more blissful than humans. It includes very different types of beings, who can be ranked hierarchically. The lowest classes are closer in nature to human beings than to higher classes of "devas". For all their variety, they fall into three main classifications depending on which of the three realms ("dhatus") of a world-system they are born. * Arupa-dhatu: no physical form or location, dwelling instead in meditation on formless subjects. They achieve this by attaining advanced meditative levels in previous lives. They do not interact with the rest of the universe.
* Rupa-dhatu have fine-material or subtle physical forms transcending gender (sexless), and they are passionless. They live in a large number of celestial worlds or "heavens." These "deva"-worlds rise, layer on layer, above the Earth and can be divided into five main groups:

* "'Suddhavasa "(Pure Abode) "devas" (anagamis such as Brahma Sahampati); the highest of these worlds is called Akaniha.
* "Bhatphala devas" born as a result of attaining the fourth jhana
* "'Subhaktsna devas" resting in the bliss of the third "jhana"
* "Abhasvara devas" enjoying the delights of the second "jhana"Brahma devas" (or simply Brahmas), participating in the more active joys of the first "jhana", are more interested in and involved with the world below, so they sometimes intervene or intercede with advice and counsel.
* On the one hand, all of these "deva"-worlds contain different grades of inhabitants, and those within a single group are able to interact and communicate with each other. On the other hand, lower groups have no direct knowledge of the existence of higher types of "deva". For this reason some of the "brahmas" (divinities) have become proud: They imagine themselves as creators of their own worlds and of all the worlds below them. It is said that this delusion comes about because these beings came into existence, due to their previous karma in preceding world-cycles, before those worlds came into existence. (It is a beginningless universe with evolutionary cycles of staggering duration and equally long periods of dissolution).

* Kama-dhatu: the sensual realm or sense sphere, extending from celestial worlds to grades of beings only slightly less dense than the human plane, with sexual differentiation and many passions:

The "devas" of the sensual realm have physical forms similar to, but larger than, humans. They lead the same sort of lives as humans but are generally longer-lived and much more contented. They are often absorbed in play, pleasures, and other diversions. Mara (lit. "killer," Cupid, Eros, a kind of devil or tempter figure in Buddhism) exercises the greatest influence over this sphere.

The higher "devas" of the sensual sphere live in four celestial worlds leaving them free from contact with the strife of the lower world. They are:

* "Parinirmita-va'savartin devas", luxurious angels to whom Mara belongs
* "Nirmaarati devas"
* Tuita "devas", among whom the future Budda Maitreya lives
* "Yama devas"

Lower "devas" live on different parts of the axis-mundi, the mythical mountain or pole at the center of this world-system, Mt. Sumeru. These "devas" are even more passionate -- as conceived of in Indian, Greek, and Roman pantheons -- than higher "devas." In addition to sporting themselves and engaging in all kinds of diversions, they are also engaged in strife, petty jealousies, treachery, and fighting.

* Heaven of the Thirty-three (Tavasti'sa) "devas," who live on the summit of Mt. Sumeru like Olympian gods, ruled by 'Sakra (Indra, Zeus, Sakka "king of the gods")
* Heaven of the Four Great Kings of the cardinal directions (Caturmaharajikakayika) "devas", who include the rulers who guard the four directions of the sky above the Earth. Chief among them is Vai'sravaa. They all answer to 'Sakra. This group is very interesting because it also includes four types of earthbound nature-spirits: Kumbhaas, Gandharvas, Nagas, and Yakas, and possibly Garuas ("Suparnas")"."

The Buddha suggested that rather than worshipping, supplicating, or asking boons from these unseen beings, one should instead "recollect the "devas": 'There are the "devas" of the Four Great Kings, the "devas" of the Thirty-three..." [Ref] [196. Dh.]. The reason for this is that one is capable of becoming a "deva "through skillful karma. "Feeders of joy we shall be like the radiant gods ("devas")."

Sometimes included among the "devas", but often placed in a separate category, are the Asuras. They are opponents of the preceding two groups of devas. As odd as it may seem for beings superior to humans, they are said to be continually engaged in war. The "war in heaven" mentioned in many religions and mythologies is therefore not entirely metaphorical.

Interestingly, as this may all sound too amazing to believe, humans are said to have originally had many of the powers of the "devas":

* being longer-lived
* not requiring food
* able to fly
* shining by their own light (which science confirms)
* communicating by mind...

But over time as humans began to eat solid foods, their bodies became coarser and their powers diminished.

Devas vs. gods

Although the word "deva" is generally translated "god" (or even angel) in English, the Buddhist conception of "devas" differs from the gods, God, or angels of Western religions past and present.

* "Devas" are long-lived but not immortal; when they pass away, they are reborn according to their karma, which means they could end up anywhere else: another kind of "deva", human, or worse.
* They do not create, shape, or bring about the dissolution of the world. Like everyone else they come into existence based on their past deeds and are subject to the natural law (or regularity) of cause and effect.
* They are not incarnations nor mere symbols of a few archetypal deities or manifestations of an all-embracing pantheistic One. Like humans they are considered distinct individuals with their own personalities and paths in life.
* They are not omniscient. Their knowledge is inferior to a Buddha, and even some humans, especially lacking awareness of beings in worlds higher than their own.
* They are far from omnipotent. Their powers tend to be limited to their own worlds, and they rarely intervene in human affairs. When they do, it is generally by way of quiet advice rather than by physical intercession.
* They are not morally perfect. Even "devas" of the subtle form worlds, who lack human passions and desires, are capable of ignorance, prided, and arrogance. Lower "devas" of the sensual realm experience the same kind of passions as humans, including (in the lowest of these worlds), lust, jealousy, anger, and all manner of foolishness. Indeed, their imperfections have caused them to be reborn in these worlds.
* They are not guides the way the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are regarded. While some individual "devas" may commnad great moral authority and prestige and thus be deserving of a high degree of respect, no "deva" can show the way of escape from Sasara or control one's rebirth. Therefore, "devas" are frequently recorded as coming to Earth for this guidance.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Kabbalah Science And The Meaning Of Life

Kabbalah Science And The Meaning Of Life Cover

Book: Kabbalah Science And The Meaning Of Life by Rabbi Michael Laitman

The essence of human nature is its perpetually evolving desire for pleasure. To realize this desire, we feel compelled to discover, invent, and improve our reality. The gradual intensification of the desire for pleasure has been the force behind human evolution throughout our history.

In his book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), Isaac Newton (1642-1727) proposed a theory of mechanics that would let us calculate the change in the motion of any body when influenced by a given force. The success of Newton’s theory presented a whole new worldview. Newton’s deterministic viewpoint stated that in any event, regardless of its nature, a certain natural law will manifest. The presence of the Divine was of little importance because the Trajectory of all motion is fixed, and there was no intervention by the Divine.

Kabbalah, Science and the Meaning of Life presents the Fundamentals of the science that explores the aspects of reality hidden from scientists. When we discover those hidden parts, our knowledge of the world we live in will be complete. By uniting both the hidden and the revealed, we will prepare ourselves for accurate scientific research and the discovery of the genuine formulae.

By uncovering the hidden, our view of the world will become complete, liberated from the boundaries of relative perception and we will be able to unveil the existence of every part of reality, beyond time, space and motion. The Wisdom of Kabbalah grants all the above to anyone who truly seeks it. This book is based on talks given by the author and compiled by his students.

Buy Rabbi Michael Laitman's book: Kabbalah Science And The Meaning Of Life

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Witchcraft And Christianity

Witchcraft And Christianity Cover The earliest Christian document to examine witch craft was the Canon Episcopi, which appeared in round year 906, even though it may have been written centuries earlier. The canon was intended as a guide for the use of bishops in carrying out their duties.

Year 1324 in Ireland, in one of the most bizarre cases in the history of witch craft, this barrier collapsed as sorcery and rising religious concepts of the devil became inextricably entwined. The victim, Ireland’s first major witch, was neither helpless nor an aging crone, and desire for her property and power was certainly a significant motivation behind her trial. For lady Alice Kyteler was the wealthiest woman in Kilkenny when she was accused of being a witch. Her accuser, Bishop Richard de Ledrede, a Franciscan trained in France, was at the time less powerful than Lady Alice.

Among the charges brought against Lady Alice were that she denied Church allegiances, parodied religious ceremony, sacrificed animals, using the words ‘fi, fi, fi, amen’, creating powders and ointments containing worms, herbs, parts of dead men and unborn baby, and engaged in intimacies with a man who appeared as a cat and a black dog.

Even though she certainly was involved in practice of some sort of ritual magick, Lady Alice fought the charges repeatedly before finally seeking refuge in England. Unfortunately she left her maid Petronilla behind, and Petronilla was tortured until she admitted that her mistress was a sorceress of extraordinary talents and a participant in lavish nocturnal orgies.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Day Buddhism And Vegetarianism

Day Buddhism And Vegetarianism Image
In Buddhism, views on vegetarianism vary from school to school. In the schools of the Theravada and Vajrayana, the act of eating meat is not always prohibited; the larger Mahayana school recommends a vegetarian diet.

This recommendation is based on the firm insistence by the Buddha, in certain Mahayana sutras, that his followers should not eat meat or fish. [Eating often entails that someone kill, which is always condemned as harmful and bearing unwelcome results for all involved when such deeds ripen and their result is met with, which is often quite some time later.]

Interestingly, the accepted legend of the Buddha's premature passing says that he became sick after accepting an offering of tainted meat from his host Cunda the Blacksmith while traveling. (Some say pork possibly infected with trichinosis although -- as Wisdom Quarterly has gone to pains to clarify -- it was more likely food delightful to pigs, namely, tender but poisonous mushrooms).

Buddha with chief male disciples in Borobudur, Java, Indonesia on Vesak 2011 or 2555 Buddhist Era (PWBaker/Flickr).

The meaning of the relevant word to describe this tainted "food" is however contested: Mamsa is not the usual term for meat. The food was sukara-maddava, which translates as "pig's delight" and has been interpreted as meaning a kind of truffle, or mushroom delicacy, favored by pigs.

There is a divergence of views within Buddhism as to whether vegetarianism is necessary, with some schools of Buddhism rejecting it as an absolute requirement.

The first precept in Buddhism is usually translated as: I undertake the precept to refrain from taking life. Some Buddhists see this as implying that Buddhists should not eat meat (which almost always entails someone taking the life of a living being for the purpose of someone eating it, except in the case of eating roadkill or old animals that die of natural causes). Others argue that this is not necessarily the case.

Some Buddhists strongly oppose meat-eating on the basis of implicit scriptural injunctions against flesh-eating, issuing from the Buddha himself.

"Vegan" means not using any animal products and, done correctly, is the cleanest and healthiest diet of all.

In the Sukhamala Sutra (AN 3.38), the Buddha describes his family as being wealthy enough to provide non-vegetarian meals even to the servants. After becoming the Buddha, he accepted any food offered with respect as alms, including meat, which in India was very unlikely to be offered to a spiritual seeker.

But there is no reference to him ever eating meat during his seven years as an ascetic striving for enlightenment.

On one occasion, according to the texts, a general sent a servant to purchase meat specifically to offer it as a meal for the Buddha. The Buddha declined, declaring that meat should not be eaten under three circumstances:

* when one has (1) seen, (2) heard, or (3) suspects that a living being was purposely slaughtered for one to eat, it is not to be eaten. [To eat such flesh, some explain, would be to condone or implicitly approve of killing.]

[The Buddha:] "Jivaka, these are the three circumstances in which meat should not be eaten. Jivaka, I declare there are three circumstances in which meat can be eaten: when it is not seen or heard or suspected that a living being has been purposely slaughtered for one to eat."

This was laid down as an explicit rule for monastics. The question is, Who are animals in supermarkets killed for? They are killed for the purchaser/consumer, and that is not determined until one buys or consumes the slaughtered and butchered flesh.

But many lay Buddhists, particularly in the Theravada tradition, argue: "Those animals are not killed for anyone. They're just being killed. They're just there. I come by and I buy them." For whom are animals killed the next day, for certainly the butcher would stop killing if no one bought the flesh? When one person hires another person to kill someone (an animal in this case), two are guilty of one murder -- and the one who hired the other is more guilty than the killer.

Valuing life, wise and agnostic Einstein was a vegetarian.

In this particular sutra, the Buddha instructs a monk or nun to accept, without any discrimination, whatever food is offered as alms with goodwill, including meat. One would not, however, consume it.

In the Vanijja Sutra, the Buddha declares that the meat trade (ranching, butchering, dealing in meat) is a wrong means of livelihood: "Monks, lay followers should not engage in five types of business: (1) trade in weapons, (2) trade in human beings, (3) trade in meat, (4) trade in intoxicants, or (5) trade in poisons [such as pesticides]. These are the five types of business that a lay follower should not engage in."

In the Nirvana sutra, a Mahayana scripture purporting to give the Buddha's final teachings, he insists that his followers should not eat any kind of meat or fish. Even vegetarian food that has touched meat should be washed before being eaten. Also it is not permissible for a Buddhist monastic to pick out the non-meat portions of a meal and leave the rest; the whole meat-tainted meal must be rejected.

Eating meat versus killing Life is destroyed when farmers plough the ground or when food or, during cooking, when insects are caught in the fire. Consequently, some ascetic Jain sources advocate avoidance of activities that are seen to have a more direct connection to killing, including all farming and eating of food, meat, and root vegetables, which results in indirect destruction of animal and plant life. Some "enlightened" Jain monastics, most of whom are nuns, go so far as to practice "self-termination" by self-starvation.

But in Buddhism, it is recognized that existence, by nature, is the cause of direct or indirect suffering and death (samsara). One should certainly avoid gluttony and greedy consumption, which harms oneself and others, while maintaining the healthiest diet and lifestyle possible.

What is most important is leading a life conducive to attaining enlightenment or making the most good karma, which benefits one for a long, long time in the course of endless rebirths.

In the Pali canon, which all Buddhist schools generally consider to be authentic, the Buddha, when asked, refused to institute vegetarianism as an absolute monastic code. [He refused because it was proposed by a scandalous monk, Devadatta (the Buddhist Judas figure), seeking to create a schism in the monastic community by claiming greater purity than the Buddha offered. The Buddha may have had another motive to reject such a strict injunction: His followers would have already known that meat-eating is not wholesome or healthy or generally practiced by spiritual seekers, and to have prohibited would have limited the universal appeal of the Dharma, which is about a lot more than diet.]

Mahayana Buddhism argues that if one pursues the path of the bodhisattva [someone vowing to become a buddha rather than an arhat], one should avoid meat-eating to cultivate compassion for all living beings who suffer and out of compassion for one's own health.

Similarly, in the older Theravada Buddhist school, avoiding meat-eating for the purpose of cultivation of loving-kindness (metta) is also seen to be in accord with the Buddha-Dharma.

In most Buddhist schools, one may adopt vegetarianism if one wishes, but it is never considered appropriate to attack or berate someone else for eating meat.

In Chinese Mahayana, vegetarianism is seen as a prerequisite for pursuing the grand path of the bodhisattva. In this case, one is not simply intent on gaining enlightenment and liberation but on making sure others are freed.

This means one must first become a buddha to actually help "save" them. But long before one helps save them in an ultimate sense (by reaching enlightenment and nirvana), one can help by easing their suffering.

The case for vegetarianism is made more forcefully, often to the extent of accusing those who willfully or carelessly eat meat as lacking compassion.

Chinese Mahayanists do not accept the Pali sutras as definitive when they conflict with later Mahayana sutras [which were not the work of the historical Buddha but people]. Consequently, some do not accept that Gautama Buddha ever ate meat or permitted eating it. This is in accordance with the famous Mahayana Lankavatara sutra.

In the Pali canon, however, the Buddha declared that monastics living on alms accepting meat without preference and without asking or hinting that they want it is karma neutral for them. It is not karma neutral for those who kill or offer animal flesh they paid someone else to kill.

Shakyamuni Buddha Tibetan-style (

As stated, the Buddha explicitly refused to institute vegetarianism in the monastic order. Theravada commentaries explain that the Buddha was making a distinction between the direct destruction of life and eating of already dead meat. Moreover, they point out that cultivation of vegetables also involves proxy killing.

In fact, any act of buying or consuming can be to some extent a cause of some degree of proxy killing [as when a henchman-butcher kills because a Godfather pays him to. One does not kill directly but pays a butcher to kill, and both take on unprofitable karma as a result. When it comes to fruition, which may be in that life, the next life, or in any future life even thousands of years later, both suffer severely. So it is said one should neither kill nor encourage others to kill, neither break the Five Precepts nor encourage anyone to break them].

The Buddha advised his followers to avoid gluttony [a kind of kamesu-micchacara or harmful indulgence of the senses epitomized by sexual misconduct], or any other act of craving which leads to over consumption and harm to others. Meat-eating is a terrible thing for environmental reasons that go beyond the murder of animals and the ruin of ranchers, butchers, and flesh traders.

Certain Mahayana sutras do present the Buddha as very vigorously and unreservedly denouncing the eating of meat, mainly on the grounds that such an act is linked to the spreading of fear among sentient beings. (Allegedly, living animals and spirits sense the odor of death that lingers about the meat-eater and consequently fear for their own lives. Flesh-eating is a common practice of ogres or yakkhas, starving scavenger ghosts or pretas, nagas or cruel reptilians, not humans). Eating flesh violates the bodhisattva's fundamental vow to cultivate universal compassion.

Moreover according to the Buddha, in the Angulimaliya Sutra, since all beings share the same dhatu (elemental, spiritual principle, or essence) and are intimately related to one another, killing and eating other sentient creatures is tantamount to a form of self-killing and cannibalism.

The [Mahayana] sutras which inveigh against meat-eating include the Nirvana sutra, the Shurangama sutra, the Brahmajala sutra, the Angulimaliya sutra, the Mahamegha sutra, and the Lankavatara sutra, as well as the Buddha's comments on the negative karmic effects of meat consumption in the Karma sutra.

In the Mahayana version of the "Great Nirvana discourse" (Mahaparinirvana sutra), which presents itself as the final elucidating and definitive Mahayana teachings of the Buddha on the very eve of his final passing. There the Buddha states that "the eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great kindness," adding that all and every kind of meat and fish consumption (even of animals found already dead of natural causes) is prohibited by him.

He specifically rejects the idea that monastics who go out for alms and receive meat as charity from a donor should eat it: "it should be rejected... I say that even meat, fish, wild game, dried hooves, and scraps of meat left over by others constitutes an infraction... I teach the harm arising from meat-eating."

The Buddha also predicts in this sutra that later monastics will "hold spurious writings to be the authentic Dharma" and will concoct their own sutras and falsely claim that the Buddha allows the eating of meat, but he does not.

A long passage in the Lankavatara sutra shows the Buddha speaking out very forcefully against meat consumption, unequivocally in favor of vegetarianism, since the eating of the flesh of fellow sentient beings is said by him to be incompatible with the compassion that a bodhisattva should be striving to cultivate.

In several other Mahayana scriptures (e.g., the Mahayana Rebirth Tale or Jatakas), the Buddha is seen clearly to indicate that meat-eating is undesirable and karmically unwholesome.

In Tibetan Buddhism, a strong emphasis was placed on the number of esoteric sutras that were transmitted from Northern India. In these sutras, it is clearly stated that the practice of Vajrayana [Tibetan Mahayana, the lightning vehicle] would make vegetarianism unnecessary.

A number of tantric texts frequently recommend alcohol and meat, though not all take such passages literally. Many traditions of the Ganachakra, which is a type of Pancha-makara Puja [Five M's Ritual: meat is mas, fish is matsaya, wine is mada, sex is matihun, and shunning bad company is mudra] prescribe the offering and ingestion of meat and alcohol.

Buddhist views today

In the modern world, attitudes toward vegetarianism vary by location. In Theravada countries of Southeast Asia and the island of Sri Lanka, monastics are allowed by the Disciplinary Rules (vinaya) to accept almost any food that is offered to them including cooked meat -- unless they suspect that animal corpse was slaughtered specifically for them. (There are prohibited animals, such as tigers and bears and elephants, and prohibitions against accepting uncooked foods, along with other minor rules that are interpreted differently).

In China, Korea, and Vietnam, monastics are expected to give up meat-eating. In Taiwan, Buddhist monks, nuns, and most lay followers eat no animal products or fetid (strong smelling) vegetables -- traditionally garlic, asafoetida, shallots, leeks, and mountain onions -- although in modern times this rule is often interpreted to include other vegetables of the onion genus as well as coriander.

This is called Su vegetarianism. In Japan, some clergy practice vegetarianism, and most will do so at least when training at a monastery. But otherwise they typically do eat meat. In Tibet, where vegetables have historically been very scarce, the adopted Disciplinary Rules come from the defunct Sarvastivada school, vegetarianism is very rare.

But the Dalai Lama and other esteemed lamas invite their audiences to adopt vegetarianism when they can. Chatral Rinpoche in particular has stated that anyone who wishes to be his student must be vegetarian.

In the end, what can be collectively said is that it should be left to the sensibilities, aesthetics, environment, and thinking of the individual. Karma means one is responsible for one's own actions and choices. So readers should use their own conscience as a guide and do what they wish to do.

The attempt of and Wisdom Quarterly is to provide information in general and specifically from a Buddhist perspective.

by Soul Curry Magazine

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Idea Of Jainism Karma

The Idea Of Jainism Karma Cover The idea of Karma is very complicated. I have told you something so it in my former lectures. The one chief point is that that theory is not the theory of fatalism, not a theory in which the human being is tied down to some, one, bound down by the force of something outside itself. In one sense only will there be fatalism; if we are free to do many things we are also not free to do other things, and we cannot be freed from and results of our acts. Some results may be manifested in great strength, others very weakly; some may take a very long time and others a very short time; some are of such a nature that they take a long time to work out, while the influence of others may be removed by simply washing with water and that will be the case in the matter of acts done incidentally without any settled purpose or any fixed desire. In such a case with reference to many acts we may counteract their effects by willing to do so. So the theory of karma is not in any sense a theory of fatalism, but we say that all of us are not going to one goal without any desire on our part, not that we are to reach that state without any effort on our part, but that our present condition is the effect of our acts, thoughts and words in the past state.12 To say that all will reach the prefect state merely because some one has died that they might be saved, merely from a belief in this person, would be a theory of fatalism, because those who have lived a pure and virtuous state and have not accepted a certain theory will not reach the perfected state simply for that reason and no other the faith in saviors is simply this, that by following out the divine principle which is in our selves when this is fully developed we also shall become Christ's, by the crucifixion of the lower nature on the altar of the higher. We also use the cross as a symbol. All living beings have to pass through or evolve from the lowest, the monadic, condition to the highest state of existence and cannot reach this unless they obtain possession of the three things necessary; right belief, right knowledge and right conduct. The right, belief, really speaking, is not that there is no passing through forms after death, but the soul keeps progressing always in its own nature without any backward direction at all13. We have expressed this in clear language without any parables or metaphors, but when we preach these truths to the ignorant masses some story or picture might be necessary for them and after that the explanation of the real meaning; as well have all allegory in the Pilgrim's Progress. It is just like reaching the Celestial City in that book, but we must all understand that these things are parables. Others may need music to assist their religion, but when we understand the esoteric meaning which underlies all religion there will be no quarrelling and no need of names or of forms; and this is really the object of all religions.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dark Night Early Dawn Steps To A Deep Ecology Of Mind

Dark Night Early Dawn Steps To A Deep Ecology Of Mind Cover

Book: Dark Night Early Dawn Steps To A Deep Ecology Of Mind by Christopher Bache

The intelligence that brought our universe into existence is enormously sophisticated, and the Workings of this intelligence are far beyond our human capacities of comprehension. If you want access to its knowledge, this intelligence has to teach you how to receive it. Since this intelligence is nothing other than our own being, it's a matter of Learning how to become conscious at Deeper and deeper levels of our being, or Being Itself. The "Council of Elders" seemed to be a training exercise in developing the necessary awareness for this task.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Wedding Night

The Wedding Night Cover

Book: The Wedding Night by Ida Craddock

Oh, crowning time of lovers' raptures veiled in mystic splendor, sanctified by priestly blessing and by the benediction of all who love the lovers! How shall we chant thy praise? Of thy joys even the poets dare not sing, save in words that suggest but do not reveal. At thy threshold, the most daring of the realistic novelists is fain to pause, and, with farewells to the lovers who are entering thy portals, let fall the curtain of silence betwixt them and the outside world forevermore. What art thou, oh, night of mystery and passion? Why shouldst thou be thus enshrouded in an impenetrable veil of secrecy? Are thy joys so pure, so dazzling, so ecstatic, that no outside mortal can look upon thy face and live? Or art thou a Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, and, under thy covering of silver light, a fiend, a loathsome monster, a distorted and perverted semblance of what thou dost profess thyself to the world?

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Kalama Sutta

Kalama Sutta Cover
The so-called Kalama Sutta (Sanskrit: Kalama Sutra), or Kesamutti Sutta (Pali: Kesamuttisutta?, Burmese: Kethamotti thoke), is a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Anguttara Nikaya of the Tipitaka. It is often cited by those of the Theravada and Mahayana traditions alike as the Buddha's "charter of free inquiry."

The sutta starts off by describing how the Buddha passes through the village of Kesaputta and is greeted by its inhabitants, the Kalamas of the title. They ask for his advice: they say that many wandering holy men and ascetics pass through, expounding their teachings and criticizing the teachings of others. So whose teachings should they follow? He delivers in response a sermon that serves as an entry point to the Buddhadhamma for those unconvinced by mere spectacular revelation.

The people of Kalama asked the Buddha who to believe out of all the ascetics, sages, venerables, and holy ones who, like himself, passed through their town. They complained that they were confused by the many contradictions they discovered in what they heard. The Kalama Sutta is the Buddha's reply.

The Buddha proceeds to list the criteria by which any sensible person can decide which teachings to accept as true. Do not believe religious teachings, he tells the Kalamas, just because they are claimed to be true, or even through the application of various methods or techniques. Direct knowledge grounded in one's own experience can be called upon. He advises that the words of the wise should be heeded and taken into account. Not, in other words, passive acceptance but, rather, constant questioning and personal testing to identify those truths which you are able to demonstrate to yourself actually reduce your own stress or misery:

- Do not believe anything on mere hearsay.
- Do not believe in traditions merely because they are old and have been handed down for many generations and in many places.
- Do not believe anything on account of rumors or because people talk a a great deal about it.
- Do not believe anything because you are shown the written testimony of some ancient sage.
- Do not believe in what you have fancied, thinking that, because it is extraordinary, it must have been inspired by a god or other wonderful being.
- Do not believe anything merely because presumption is in its favor, or because the custom of many years inclines you to take it as true.
- Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and priests.
- But, whatever, after thorough investigation and reflection, you find to agree with reason and experience, as conducive to the good and benefit of one and all and of the world at large, accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it.

The same text, said the Buddha, must be applied to his own teachings.

- Do not accept any doctrine from reverence, but first try it as gold is tried by fire.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Buddhism Christianity Offer Different Paths

Buddhism Christianity Offer Different Paths Image
The Buddha and Jesus as friends without conflict. Their followers, that's another story.

Fox News commentator Brit Hume created quite a stir recently when he suggested that the only hope for Tiger Woods is to convert from his mother's Buddhism to Christianity. "He's said to be a Buddhist," Hume observed.

"I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'" It's not clear to what extent Tiger Woods actually sees himself as a Buddhist. But assuming for the moment that Tiger is a fully committed Buddhist, how accurate is Hume in his comparative analysis?

This cultural clash resembles the old "apples and oranges" problem. Hume's recommendation to Tiger is analogous to Peyton Manning telling Kobe Bryant that he must switch sports because basketball doesn't offer the potential to score touchdowns. In short, Buddhism may not offer "redemption and forgiveness"...

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Monday, January 7, 2008

What Is The God Of The Jainas

What Is The God Of The Jainas Cover `What is the God of the Jainas?' you will ask. I have only told you what he is not. I will now tell you what it is. We know that there is something besides matter; we know that the body exhibits many qualities and powers not to be found in ordinary material substances, and that the some thing which causes this, departs from the body at death. We do not know where it goes; we know that when it lives in the body the powers of the body are different from what they are when it is not there. The powers of nature can be assimilated to the body at death. We do not know where it goes; we know that when it lives in the body the powers of the body are different from what they are when it is not there. The powers of nature can be assimilated to the body when that some thing is there. That entity is considered by us the highest and it is the same inherently in all living beings. This principle common to us all is called divinity. It is not fully developed in any of us, as it was in the saviors of the world, and therefore we can them divine beings. So the collective idea derived from Observations of the divine character inherent in all beings is by us called God. While there are so many energies in the material world and in the spiritual and putting those two energies together we give them the name of nature we separate the material energies and put them together; but the spiritual energies we put together and call them collectively God. We make a distinction and worship only the spiritual energies. Why should we do so? A Jaina verse says, " I bow down to that spiritual power or energy which is the cause of leading us to the path of salvation, which is supreme, which is omniscient; I bow down to the power because I with to become like that power." So where the form of the Jaina prayer is given the object is not a receive anything from that entity or from that spiritual nature, but to become like that power." So where the form of the Jaina prayer is given the object is not to receive any thing from that entity or from that spiritual nature, but to become one like that; not that spiritual entity will make us, by a magic power, become like itself, but by following out the ideal which is before our eyes, we shall be able to change our own personality; it will be regretted, as it were, and will be changed into a being which will have the same character s the divinity which is our idea of God. So we worship God, not as being who is going to give up something, not because it is going to do something or please us, not because it is profitable in way; there is not any idea of selfishness; it is like Practicing virtue for the sake of virtue and without any other motive.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Buddhist Jokes Do Dalai Lamas Laugh

Buddhist Jokes Do Dalai Lamas Laugh Image
Humor is vital to living, now more so than ever. Buddhism has a sense of humor (i.e., AJAHN BRAHM, "THE BUDDHIST SEINFELD," A NOBLE BRITISH THERAVADA MONK AND AUTHOR WHO TRAINED IN THE JUNGLES OF THAILAND AND IS NOW THE ABBOT OF A LARGE MONASTERY AND SEPARATE NUNNERY IN AUSTRALIA). American Buddhists in particular, many of them with Jewish roots (e.g., Nes Wisker), are funny. And BUDDHIST MONKS are often themost lighthearted of all (in our experience).

So it's odd that the Dalai Lama had never heard the most popular of a handful of ubiquitous "Buddhist jokes." One could travel in Buddhist circles or converse during post-meditation social hours and not have heard them.

But if "he" of all people hasn't, maybe readers haven't either. So here are some, starting with the one that WENT OVER THE DALAI LAMA\'S HEAD. It happened on live TV when it was told to him with the assistance of interpreters by an Australian interviewer.

It took him a while, but I bet he finally got it (

The DALAI LAMA walks into a pizza parlor, looks over the menu, and announces, "Make me One with everything!"

A lot is lost in translation. But how could it be that neither he nor his Buddhist interpreters -- who are fluent in both English and Tibetan -- had never heard it? It's got his name right in it.

* "Did you hear about the DHARMA-VAC?"
* "No, what's that?"
* "The "Buddhist vacuum cleaner". Millions were spent on its development, millions more on advertising it, yet there are about a million sitting unsold in a warehouse."
* "Why, what was the problem?"
* "Well, it turns out no one is interested in a vacuum cleaner with no attachments."

There are many variations in the telling, but the punch line is inexorable.

" Park spots in front of Potala Palace, Lhasa, capital of Tibet

* Hundreds of monastics were called POTALA PALACE in Tibet's capital for a worldwide council of Buddhists. The Southern Buddhists came up from the subcontinent, the Northern Buddhists came down from China, and Mountain Buddhists came from all around the Himalayas -- all in fancy chauffeured cars.
* But where to park?
* The HINA-YANA ["Smaller Vehicle"] got their first, but there were more MAHA-YANA ["Great Vehicle"], and after all the VAJRA-YANA ["Thunderbolt Vehicle"] drove the fastest.
* They were all honking and arguing for the best spots, disturbing the Dalai Lama who was waiting inside for them to convene the council.
* They continued to honk, they continued to argue.
* Finally the Dalai Lama came out and called them to order, pointing at the red and white signs closest to the palace and shouting: "Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana" -- ALL vehicles will be towed!"

It doesn't matter what "vehicle" or means we choose (or mix and match), the camps and categories that divide us all fall away. We all agree there is enlightenment, and this is not it. That enlightenment is not far very away. Either we need to practice or simply realize our interconnectedness in an instant so that this "samsara" will be our nirvana. We all agree MEDITATION PRACTICE of some sort or another (breathing, recollecting, studying-and-reflecting, chanting, surrendering and accepting the moment, or hearing a sutra as the eye of wisdom arises) is decisive.


* A Buddhist monk, unfamiliar with American fast food habits, is surprised to see a hot dog cart in mid city Manhattan.
* "What's that?"
* "That's a hot dog stand, venerable sir," his friend answers.
* They approach, and the monk in his loftiest voice with Zen-like confidence, "Make me one with everything!"
* The hot dog maker looks him up and down, hands him the [vegetarian tofu] hot dog piled high, and announces, "That'll be five bucks."
* The monk hands him a twenty dollar bill and waits.
* The man goes about his business.
* And after a long time, the monk says, "Hey, what about my change?"
* The vendor looks him up and down again, "You should know better than anyone, change comes from within."
* The monk experiences satori".

The hot dog vendor said, "That will be $2.50." The Dalai Lama handed him a five and waited.

Then the Dalai Lama said, "Hey where's my change?"

The hot dog vendor answered, "Change must come from within!" (Jessamyn)

* I hear the Dalai Lama recently fired his gardener, who had a degree in carnations but didn't dig reincarnations. (Weapons-grade pandemonium)

* The vendor said, "Change must come from within."
* The Dalai Lama admitted this was true, ate his hot dog, which gave him terrible breath and bothered his sore tooth.
* So he walked on over to the dentist's office.
* Although old and frail he often walked barefoot, as evidenced by the thickness of the soles of his feet.
* It is for this reason that he is sometimes known as the "super-calloused fragile mystic exhibiting halitosis."

The dentist inspected the tooth and said he could fill the cavity right away. But when he offered him NOVACAINE, the Dalai Lama declined, explaining that it was his practice to "transcend dental medication." (Wet Spot)

I can't help remembering the "Family Guy" episode where Peter sees a "Free Tibet" button, rushes to a pay phone, and says, "Hello, China? Yes, ALL the tea." (Spaceman spiff)

"Hellooooo Dalai!" (Mattbucher)

* The hot dog vendor asks the Buddhist, "You want mustard, onion, chili, ketchup, or pickles with that dog?
* "Make me one with everything" he replies. (Essexjan)

If the Dalai Lama were a redneck, he'd believe in reintarnation. (Mr. Gunn)

* I once knew someone who was so dumb he thought a "dalai lama" was a Peruvian stuffed animal. (Pyramid termite)

"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? "Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga." So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.' So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

by Caddyshack

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