Monday, June 30, 2008

Blogs On Sufism And More

Blogs On Sufism And More Image
Wordpress has become a wonderful support platform for blog. There has been phenomenal increase of blogs hosted in wordpress. Notably many of the blogs are by people who are inspired by the esoteric dimension of Islam, namely sufism. Whether they are already on the path or they are aspirant - many of them are doing a great work about blogging on sufism. I am compiling a list of notable sufi blogs in wordpress here. With time i would like to update the list. If you know any good wordpress blog on sufistic theme, you are welcome to suggest as well.

Memories of Shamcher This site is dedicated to the memory of Sufi Shamcher Bryn Beorse. Forest (Vakil) Shomer and Carol Still have put together many of Shamcher's documents in an archive and presenting some of these online in this blog. Shamcer was a contemporary of Sufi Murshid Samuel Lewis.

Darvish A beautiful blog by the author of Sufi novel Master of the Jinn, Irving Karchmer. The author is also a darvish of Nimatullahi Sufi Order since 1992.

Jahane Rumi a wonderfull and refreshing contents with diverse range of topics. Local flavors and Sufism blends beautifully.

The Realm of Remembrance A very resourceful blog that focus a lot on Islam. Posts on spirituality and sufism are also featured.

Gently in the night M. Shahin's blog on poetry, often on sufi theme. A very good resource blog for those who love poetry.

AnitSniveler Michale Hawkins looking for ways to inspire to turn within for solutions to what's going on externally. Becoming like child is a favorite post of mine.

Anony Sufi Inspired to document the journey of an emerging Shadhili murid. By blogging on the process of the journey, the author hopes to benefit others who are treading the same or similar paths by sharing the experience. By uniting Seekers, we can learn from each other see how others deal with life issues while still trying to maintain a strong tie with God.

Age of Jahiliya A blog on varities of matter, including tasawwuf and islam.

Contemplating Chisti Some Guidance on Fiqh, 'Aqida, Hadith, and the Words of the Righteous mixed with some spiritual ecstasy.

Parzifal's Blog Parzifal is a seeker who wonders and wanders in the midst of the many masks of the Divine.

Tavellers on the path of knowledge a blog worth checking. also hosting Carnival of Islam in the west.

Travelling through this world blindfolded a blog that aspire to inspire

Hakkani Blogging from the Osmanli Nakshibendi Dergah.

Abdur Rahman's Corner a good resourceful blog on spirituality and more.

Allahu Alam Blog on Islam and Tasawwuf.

Aftabzz A relatively new blog

Traditionalist A very well maintained blog by Faraz Rabbani on islamic spirituality and more. He is also a contributor of Sunni Path.

Sunni Log Featuring a number of posts tagged sufism.

Poems from the Edge of the Continent A blog with inspiring poems.

Alexandalus On religion, philosophy etc.

Journey of a Travellar a variety of interests.

with time i hope to add more sufi blogs here.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jainist Beliefs And Practices

Jainist Beliefs And Practices Cover
The universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It had no beginning and will have no ending. It consists of:

- The supreme abode: This is located at the top of the universe and is where Siddha, the liberated souls, live.
- The upper world: 30 heavens where celestial beings live.
- Middle world: the earth and the rest of the universe.
- Nether world: 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments
- The Nigoda, or base: where the lowest forms of life reside
- Universe space: layers of clouds which surround the upper world
- Space beyond: an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest.

- Everyone is bound within the universe by one's karma -- the accumulated evil deeds that one has done. (The Jainist definition of karma differs from the Hindu and Buddhist meaning. To a follower of Jainism, all karma is bad. To Hindus and Buddhists, karma can result from a good or a bad deed.)

- Moksha (liberation from an endless succession of lives through reincarnation) is achieved by enlightenment, which can be attained only through asceticism.

- Jainism is based on three general principles called the three Ratnas (jewels). They are:
- Right faith.
- Right knowledge.
- Right action.

- They are expected to follow five principles of living:
- Ahimsa: "non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical." 3 Committing an act of violence against a human, animal, or even vegetable generates negative karma which in turn adversely affects one's next life.
- Satya: speaking truth; avoiding falsehood
- Asteya: to not steal from others
- Brahma-charya: (soul conduct); remaining sexually monogamous to one's spouse only
- Aparigraha: detach from people, places and material things. Avoiding the collection of excessive material possessions, abstaining from over-indulgence, restricting one's needs, etc.

- Jains follow a vegetarian diet. (At least one information source incorrectly states that they follow a frutarian diet -- the practice of only eating that which will not kill the plant or animal from which it is taken. e.g. milk, fruit, nuts.)

- They often read their sacred texts daily.

- Jains are recommended to pass through four stages during their lifetime:
- Brahmacharya-ashrama: the life of a student
- Gruhasth-ashrama: family life
- Vanaprasth-ashrama: family and social services
- Sanyast-ashrama: life as a monk; a period of renunciation

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American Buddhist Nun Vegetarian From Afar

American Buddhist Nun Vegetarian From Afar Image

Vegetarian from Afar

Venerables Chodron, Tarpa, Semkye, and Jampel attended a monastic conference about the environment and global warming where we learned that the global meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all cars, buses, trucks, and planes combined.

The Abbey has been vegetarian since its inception and we thought it would be good to encourage others to be vegetarian as well. We want to inspire and empower each other to make a noticeable difference in the world by doing something quite simple yet important. Thus we're beginning "Vegetarian From Afar" to inspire others to reduce their meat eating.

To be a part of it, folks make a commitment not to eat meat (including fish and chicken) one day a week. There are many great reasons to participate and here are just a few:


As sentient beings, animals want to be happy and to be free of suffering just as much as we human beings do. Thus let's cherish their lives as we cherish our own.

From the viewpoint of global warming and climate change: If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. alone would save:

* 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months
* 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year
* 70 million gallons of gas - enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare
* 3 million acres of land, more than twice the size of Delaware
* 33 tons of antibiotics

"The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide... far more than transportation" (

If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:

* Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France
* 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages
* 4.5 million tons of animal excrement
* Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Covering Head Is It Only In Islam

Covering Head Is It Only In Islam Image
I remember once when I attend an interfaith forum, there's 3 speakers, represent Islam, Christian and Buddha. This forum is basically about whats approach by the religion towards a social crisis nowadays. So the three speakers gave their points. After 2 hours, it come to question and answer session. One of the student raised and threw a question about Christian nuns that wearing a scarf, why just the Christian nuns wearing the scarf and not all Christian women? He also quoted whats bible mentioned about covered head for women in Corinthians chapter 11:6; If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

So the speaker said that was because the nuns had dedicated themselves to God and they need to be modest and for the public women, why they should cover their heads? Hairs is a women's crown, its should be shown. Erk well, I am not going to discuss about that Christian's speaker statement, I just wanna say that covering head is actually not just for Muslim women but even for Christian women. A common misconception is that Muslim women are the only who cover their hair. It's obviously because Islam is the only religion in which most women follow its directive to cover the hair, but it is not the only religion to have such directives.

It is interesting to look at the case of Christianity, since Christianity is the predominant religion in the West, and it is Westerners, including observant Christians, who are often the first to criticize Islam because of the hijab (MODEST DRESS, INCLUDING HEAD COVERING). Additionally the idea behind modest dress does not only for females, but to males also. Modesty is encouraged for both genders in Islam and is seen as a sign of piety. Indeed, even Mary, the mother of Jesus wore the hijab. Also, today nuns virtually practice hijab for the same fundamental reason as the devout Muslim woman; to express piety as an individual who chooses to surrender their will to God and God's Sacred Law.

Have you ever wondered why Catholic nuns dress like they're wearing hijab (MUSLIM HIJABI WOMEN, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MISTAKEN FOR A NUN?).Have you ever wondered why Mary the mother of Jesus (PEACE BE UPON THEM BOTH) is always depicted in Christian art with her hair covered? Did you know that until the 1960s, it was obligatory for Catholic women to cover their heads in church (then they "MODERNIZED" the service)? It is true that most Christian women do not cover their heads, and many don't take other teachings of the Bible (AGAINST PRE-MARITAL SEX, ADULTERY, ETC) literally either.


:"And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their head coverings (KHIMARS) to cover their bosoms, and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (SLAVES), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (ON THE GROUND) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful." - the Holy Qur'an [24:31]

:"O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outer garments close around themselves; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle." - the Holy Qur'an [33:59]Men are also encouraged to be modest. modesty is not only a call to women, but to men too.

:"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do." - the Holy Qur'an [24:30]

So according to Matthew's account what did Prophet Jesus (PEACE BE UPON HIM) have to say about men "LOWERING THEIR GAZE" for greater purity? Let's take a look at the Bible's account of his Sermon on the Mount:

"You have heard that it was said, '"Do not commit adultery."' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. - New Testament (Matthew 5:27-28)

Jesus' statement is very clear about why men should lower their gaze. He even equates the mere act of looking in lust with committing adultery. So what does Jesus recommend to do if a man can't control himself from visually lusting after women? Well his following statement seems to really underline the importance of not committing these acts in which we often write off as minor sins.

"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. - New Testament (Matthew 5:29)

Now we don't know for certain that Prophet Jesus -peace be upon him- really recommended gouging one's eyes out but we can conclude with relative certainty that this is a warning to the believers to first save their soul, rather then succumbing to the temptations of mundane desires. Often people follow their own passions and lusts to a detriment, further straying from the straight path of understanding and guidance.

:"Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him? - Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not except like livestock. Rather, they are ["even"] more astray in ["their"] way." the Holy Qur'an [25:43-44]

:"But if they do not respond to you - then know that they only follow their ["own"] desires. And who is more astray than one who follows his desire without guidance from God ? Indeed, God does not guide the wrongdoing people." the Holy Qur'an [28:50]

Now let's be reasonable here, God knows man and woman's natural inclinations and desires. So these rules of modesty are not to take away from our individual freedom but rather they serve as loving guidance for us to avoid self destruction. Furthermore, what kind of society fosters a more conducive moral environment to avoid such sins? A society where men and women guard their modesty and lower their gaze as such in a true Islamic society or of that from which we see in many countries today where men and women walk around practically nude?

Obviously God is all loving and wouldn't make a law for man to follow without facilitating the proper environment to help him/her follow those laws with comfort. Remember, God is All-Loving and does not want to see man destroy himself. So in conclusion, the moral environment of the ideal Islamic society described in the Qur'an is the same exact model society that Jesus professed. Indeed, God knows man's nature can often be weak, therefore we are not expected to be perfect all the time. In light of this reality, God shows us an immeasurable amount of mercy towards anyone whom is willing to humbly turn to Him in sincere repentance:

"God wishes to lighten (THE BURDEN) for you; and man was created weak" the Holy Qur'an [4:28]

:"And We charge no soul except ["with that within"] its capacity, and with Us is a record which speaks with truth; and they will not be wronged." the Holy Qur'an ["4:28"].

Allahua'lam.. Allah knows best

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Choice Aphorisms From The Seven Segments Of Cardan

Choice Aphorisms From The Seven Segments Of Cardan Cover

Book: Choice Aphorisms From The Seven Segments Of Cardan by William Lilly

The book content highrated Astrological aphorisms of the 15th century astrologer classified in 7 segments, and includes comments from the wellknown 17th centurys astrologer William Lilly and includes Nativities, Revolutions, Decumbitures, Elections, Eclipses, Weather, Husbandry, Accidents etc. etc. - a small but necessary source to Understand the ancients astrology.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Christian Apology For The Crusades

Christian Apology For The Crusades Cover The mid 7th century to the mid 10th century CE saw the gradual expansion of Islam. Half of the Christian world was conquered by Arab armies; this included countries in which Christianity had been established for centuries, such as Egypt, southern France, southern Italy, Sicily, Spain, Syria, Turkey, etc.

By the late 10th century, Europe and the Middle East were divided into Christian and Muslim spheres of influence. Christian pilgrims from Europe regularly visited Muslim-controlled Jerusalem in reasonable safety. Such pilgrimages were very popular. The were believed to be one of the major acts by which a person could reduce their exposure to the tortures of purgatory after their death.

By the middle of the 11th century, Christianity had formally split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Empire: The Emperor/Bishop of Constantinople and the Bishop of Rome had mutually excommunicated each other. In 1071, the Turks defeated the latter at the Battle of Manzikert. This left Constantinople exposed to attack from Muslims. Meanwhile, Christians were being ambushed during their pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Emperor Alexius asked Pope Urban II for assistance. On 1095-NOV-27, the Pope called on Europeans to go on a crusade to liberate Jerusalem from its Muslim rulers. "The first and second wave of Crusaders murdered, raped and plundered their way up the Rhine and down the Danube as they headed for Jerusalem." 1 The "army" was primarily composed of untrained peasants with their families, with a core of trained soldiers. On the way to the Middle East, they decided that only one of their goals was to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. A secondary task was to rid the world of as many non-Christians as possible - both Muslims and Jews. The Crusaders gave the Jews two choices in their slogan: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed as the first Crusade passed through. Some Jewish writers refer to these events as the "first holocaust." Once the army reached Jerusalem and broke through the city walls, they slaughtered all the inhabitants that they could find (men, women, children, newborns). After locating about 6,000 Jews holed up in the synagogue, they set the building on fire; the Jews were burned alive. The Crusaders found that about 30,000 Muslims had fled to the al Aqsa Mosque. The Muslim were also slaughtered without mercy.

The Roman Catholic church taught that going to war against the "Infidels" was an act of Christian penance. If a believer was killed during a crusade, he would bypass purgatory, and be taken directly to heaven. By eliminating what might be many millennia of torture in Purgatory, many Christians were strongly motivated to volunteer for the crusades. "After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church."

These mass killings were repeated during each of the 8 additional crusades until the final, 9th, crusade in 1272 CE. Both Christians and Muslims believed that they were fighting on God's side against Satan; they believed that if they died on the battlefield they would be given preferential treatment in the Christian Heaven or the Muslim Paradise. Battles were fought with a terrible fierceness and a massive loss of life. Over a 200 year period, perhaps 200,000 people were killed. The Muslim warrior Salah a-Din subsequently recaptured Jerusalem from the Christians.

By the end of the crusades, most European Christians believed the unfounded blood-libel myths -- the rumor that Jews engaged in human sacrifice of Christian children. A long series of Christian persecutions of the Jews continued in Europe and Russia into the 20th century. They laid the foundation for the Nazi Holocaust.

The result of centuries of conflict among followers of the three main Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) was a "deep mutual hatred" and mistrust among the three faiths. Memories of these genocides still influence relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims to the present time.

Among many Jews and Muslims, the term crusade evokes visions of genocide, mass murder, and mass extermination of innocent people. However, among many Christians it has become a positive term, frequently used to refer to mass rallies and campaigns to win converts - as in the Billy Graham Crusades. Out of respect for the victims of the "first holocaust," we recommend that the term be only used to refer to the wars of the Middle Ages.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Recommended Reading On Taoism

Recommended Reading On Taoism Cover * The following list of printed books in English offers several good places to begin reading to obtain further information about Taoist traditions, assumptions, beliefs, and practices. If not in your local library, the listed books are likely to be available in a university library, a large bookstore in a nearby city, or online at Amazon.Com or a similar electronic bookstore.

Introductory Level: Academic and General Books
* Julia Ching, Chinese Religions (London: Macmillan; Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1993)
From a Christian missionary publisher, [but or and?] a readable introduction.
* Livia Kohn, Daoism and Chinese Culture(Cambridge, MA: Three Pines Press, 2001)
The best introductory guide and available for sale online from the publisher.
* Laurence G. Thompson, Chinese Religion: An Introduction, 5th edn (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996)

Introductory Level: Anthologies of Classical Texts
* Jordon Paper and Laurence G. Thompson, editors, Chinese Way in Religion, 2nd edn (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997)
* Livia Kohn, The Taoist Experience: An Anthology (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993)
* Deborah Sommer, editor, Chinese Religion: An Anthology of Sources (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)
* Eva Wong, editor and translator, Teachings of the Tao: Readings from the Taoist Spiritual Tradition (Boston and London: Shambhala, 1997)

Introductory Level: Basic Reference Works
* Ingrid Fischer-Schreiber, The Shambhala Dictionary of Taoism, tr. by Werner Winsche (Boston: Shambhala, 1996)
* Julian Pas, A Select Bibliography of Taoism, 2nd enlarged edition (Saskatoon: China Pavilion, 1997)
* Julian F. Pas and Man Kam Leung, Historical Dictionary of Taoism (Scarecrow Press, 1988)
* Eva Wong, The Shambhala Guide to Taoism (Boston and London: Shambhala, 1997)
* Wu Dingbo and Patrick D. Murphy, eds., Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture (Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1994)
Chapter 5 on "Religion" by Jordan Paper includes an extensive bibliography.

Intermediate Level: Academic Books
* Livia Kohn, Early Chinese Mysticism: Philosophy and Soteriology in the Taoist Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)
* John Lagerwey, Taoist Ritual in Chinese Society and History (New York: Macmillan; London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1987)
* Isabelle Robinet, Taoism: Growth of a Religion, tr. by Phyllis Brooks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997)
* Benjamin Schwartz, The World of Thought in Ancient China (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985)

Intermediate Level: Classical Texts and Commentaries
* Stephen R. Bokenkamp, Early Daoist Scriptures (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
* Livia Kohn, editor and translator, Laughing at the Tao: Debates among Buddhists and Taoists in Medieval China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995)
* Livia Kohn, Taoist Mystical Philosophy: The Scripture of the Western Ascension (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991)
* Michael LaFargue, editor and translator, The Tao of the Tao Te Ching: A Translation and Commentary (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992)
* Michael LaFargue, Tao and Method: A Reasoned Approach to the Tao Te Ching (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994)
* Ralph D. Sawyer, editor and translator, Sun-tzu The Art of War, with the collaboration of Mei-chun Lee Sawyer (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994)
* Eva Wong, editor and translator, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living (Boston and London: Shambhala, 1995)

Advanced Level: Academic Books
* Stephen Eskildsen, Asceticism in Early Taoist Religion (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998)
* Norman J. Girardot, Myth and Meaning in Early Taoism: The Theme of Chaos (Hun-tun) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983)
* A. C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1989)
* Livia Kohn and Michael LaFargue, editors, Lao-tzu and the Tao-te-ching (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998)
* Jordan D. Paper, The Spirits Are Drunk: Comparative Approaches to Chinese Religion (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995)
* Mu-Chou Poo, In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion (Albany: State Univ of New York Press, 1998)
* Isabelle Robinet, Taoist Meditation: the Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity, tr. by Julian F. Pas and Norman Girardot (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993)
* Kristofer Schipper, The Taoist Body (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buddhism Is Nontheistic Not Atheistic

Buddhism Is Nontheistic Not Atheistic Image
WQ edit of Wikipedia entry ("nontheism")God and gods do not figure prominently in the Dharma. Whether they exist or not, the Dharma remains the same: The problem (DUKKHA) remains the same. The CAUSE of the problem remains the same. The solution remains the same (NIRVANA). The PATH to nirvana remains the same. In that sense, Buddhism is nontheistic. It is entirely incorrect to say that it is atheistic or agnostic.

Although Buddhism has a vast number of scriptures and practices, the fundamental core teachings of Buddhism -- the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path -- are distinguished in the world of religion for not having any mention of God(s) or any notion of worship of any deity. These truths are not dependent on the existence or will of a higher being.

They are purely ethical and meditative guidelines based on the truths of impersonality, unsatisfactoriness, and impermanence. These are the Three Marks of Existence. Since the time of the Buddha, the refutation of the existence of a "Creator God" has been seen as a key point in distinguishing Buddhist from non-Buddhist views (Ref). There is, nevertheless, a great deal of talk about MahaBrahma (a great superior being who may boast or adopt the false view that IT -- not he or she since such beings, and there are more than one, have transcended sexual dimorphism -- is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, the alpha and the omega, and so on).

The Buddha said that many subtle beings-of-light, "godlings" or "gods" (devas), exist. But he portrayed them as mortal and deluded much like other beings. He did not center the Dharma (Teachings) around deities of any kind, but instead around the elimination of dukkha (a multivalent term encompassing ill, unsatisfactoriness, woe, or suffering) and the attaining of freedom from all suffering (nirvana).

Although the Buddha affirmed a positive belief in the "existence" of deities (devata), he encouraged people to be virtuous and thus attain the status of devas rather than encouraging the worship of them, a common practice in India to this day. They should be recalled ("deva-anussati"), brought to mind, their virtues ("kusala-"karma) emulated, and rebirths comparable to them gained. Some "devas" are earthbound nature beings, others live as extraterrestrials, and yet others are exalted and reside in high celestial worlds. Most are themselves, however, not liberated. Like other unenlightened beings, they are reborn again and again in the cycle of Samsara. A few, however, are enlightened to some degree, such as Sakka and "devas" residing in the Pure Abodes "(suddhavasa")"."

The question of an actual "Creator God," however, was answered by Buddha in the Brahmajala Sutta. The Buddha dismissed the view that there is such a being responsible for everything that happens. Such notions are related to the false view ("miccha-ditthi") of eternalism and run counter to freewill and choice. Like the 61 other views mentioned in the discourse, belief in such a being causes suffering when one is attached to it and relates to it with desire, aversion, and/or delusion. At the end of the discourse the Buddha states that he is familiar with these 62 prevalent views and he also knows the truth that surpasses them.

Elsewhere the Buddha states that he is personally acquainted with light beings more exalted than the sun and stars (MN 79.11). These "brahmas" and "devas" would surely qualify as "gods" in the Greek and popular sense of the word. However, they do not affect Buddhism. Whether they exist or not, intervene or not, boast or not, there is still SUFFERING, a CAUSE of suffering, and END OF SUFFERING, and a PATH to the end of suffering.

* God in Buddhism

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What Religion Or Beliefs Did The Vikings Have

What Religion Or Beliefs Did The Vikings Have Cover
The Vikings lived during the ending days of paganism and had multiple gods to worship. The term "evil" gods is always relative to the time they lived in, as a warrior's best death would be in battle with a sword in his hand! Many of their gods suited their way of life, looking over abundant crops, health, family and other things besides war, but, of course you only hear of the "active ones" Odin, Thor and others. Several of our weekdays are named after Viking gods. Wednesday was named after Wodin (Odin), Thursday: Thor; Friday: Freya (god of fertility).

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meditation Zen Sufi Koan

Meditation Zen Sufi Koan Image

Caderno das estrelas 14

/A tribute to Lunaryuna/

Star Book serie no 2

Originally uploaded by magic fly paula. One Instant.

One Instant is eternity;

eternity is the Now.

When you see through this one instant,

you see through the One Who Sees.

- Wu Men (1183-1260),

also known as Hui-k'ai

Translated by: Stephen Mitchell, from 'The Enlightened Heart'.

Basically a Koan is a paradoxical utterance used in Zen as a center of concentration in meditation. The paradoxical nature of Koans is essential to their function: The attempt to break down conceptual thought. Koans are constructed so that they do not succumb to conceptual analysis and thereby require a more direct response from the meditator or the reader.

It is this inability to provide a satisfactory conceptual response that constitutes the paradoxical nature of the Koan. Koans set up paradox situations in an attempt to provoke a non-conceptual response from meditators. Often it is the Zen Koan that runs very parallel to the paradoxical statements made by the Sufi Masters to hold great truths, thats often not possible to utter directly. The unspoken realities are often veiled by the mystic statements of the Sufis. Its very similar in that sense to Zen Koans. And Philosophically speaking, Zen and Sufi are almost like two brothers that readily speak and understand about the same reality.

Credit: poetseers/wu men

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Friday, June 6, 2008

The English Physitian Or An Astrologo Physical Discourse Of The Vulgar Herbs Of This Nation

The English Physitian Or An Astrologo Physical Discourse Of The Vulgar Herbs Of This Nation Cover

Book: The English Physitian Or An Astrologo Physical Discourse Of The Vulgar Herbs Of This Nation by Nich Culpeper

The Subject which I here fixed my thoughts upon is not only the Description and Nature of Herbs, which had it been all, I had authority sufficient to bear me out in it, for Solomon employed part of that wisdom he asked, and received of God in searching after them, which he wrote in Books, even of all Herbs, Plants and Trees; some say those Writings were carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; being kept in the Temple at Jerusalem for the publick view of the People, but being transported to Babylon in the Captivity, Alexander the GREAT TYRANT at the taking of Babylon gave them to his Master Aristotle, who committed them to the mercy of the fire.

All that have written of Herbs either in the English or not in the English Tongue, have no waies answered my intents in this Book, for they have intermixed many, nay very many outlandish Herbs, and very many which are hard, nay not at all to be gotten, and what harm this may do I am very sensible of. Once a Student in Physick in Sussex sent up to London to me, to buy for him such and such Medicines, and send them down, which when I viewed, they were Medicines quoted by authors living in another Nation, and not to be had in London for Love nor Money, so the poor man had spent much pains and Brains in studying Medicines for a Disease that were not to be had; so a man reading Gerards or Parkinsons Herbal for the Cure of a Disease so may as like as not, light on an Herb that is not here to be had, or not without great diffuculty, if possible; but in mine, all grow neer him. Nich Culpeper, Gent. Student in Physick and Astrologie

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lucid Dreaming And Meditation

Lucid Dreaming And Meditation Cover

Book: Lucid Dreaming And Meditation by Alan Wallace

Since the era of Greek antiquity, philosophers have known of the possibility of lucid dreaming—that is, recognizing that you are dreaming while you are in the dream state—and theologians since the time of St Augustine have been aware of such dreams as well.

But it was only in the 1980s that lucid dreaming entered the domain of legitimate scientific inquiry, largely as a result of studies conducted by Stephen LaBerge and other psychologists at Stanford University. Such research has revealed much about the nature of lucid dreams and has provided many practical techniques for learning how to induce such dreams and increase their frequency, duration, and clarity.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the practice of dream yoga is pursued within the larger context of seeking to understand the mind and the true, inner causes of both suffering and genuine happiness. The overall structure of Buddhist theory and practice is the Four Noble Truths: recognizing the reality of suffering, (2) eliminating the fundamental, internal causes of suffering, which are identified as craving, hostility, and delusion, realizing the possibility of the cessation of suffering and its source, and following the path of spiritual purification and transformation that results in such freedom.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

History Of Modern Messianic Judaism

History Of Modern Messianic Judaism Cover
The recent roots of Messianic Judaism date from the mid 19th century. Many Jews in Britain who had accepted Christian beliefs questioned why they were expected to forfeit their Jewish heritage and identity in order to accept the Messiah. The Hebrew Christian Alliance and Prayer Union of Great Britain was formed in 1866 to promote the combination of Jewish heritage and Christian theology. A similar group, The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) was organized in the U.S. in 1915. 5 Additional groups were formed elsewhere in the world during subsequent decades. The International Hebrew Christian Alliance (IHCA) was organized in 1925. It has become the International Messianic Jewish Alliance (IMJA). 6 The International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues was organized in 1986 "as a fellowship of Messianic congregations or synagogues under the auspices of the MJAA." 7

"By the end of 1993 there were 165 independent Messianic Jewish congregations world-wide, and a similar number of Jewish ministries and fellowships." 8 These congregations are usually affiliated with associations such as:
- Canadian Fellowship of Messianic Congregations and Ministries
- Fellowship of Messianic Jewish Congregations, a non-charismatic group
- International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues. (IAMCS) This started as a charismatic outgrowth of the MJAA.
- Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA). This was the original American alliance.
- Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship
- Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) This is an independent charismatic group.

Some groups restrict membership to those who are children of a Jewish parent or who are married to a Jew. Some organizations admit individuals who do not qualify for full membership to join as associate members.

Although some refer to their members as Jewish Christians, their preferred term since World War II has been Messianic Jews. There are about 100,000 Messianic Jews in the United States. There are over 200 Messianic congregations in the U.S., about 50 in Israel and many others in other countries. 9 Some Christian-Jewish inter-faith couples find a Messianic Jewish congregation to be a religious environment in which both can feel comfortable.

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