Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ancient Egypt The Light Of The World

Ancient Egypt The Light Of The World Cover

Book: Ancient Egypt The Light Of The World by Gerald Massey

I have written other books, but this I look on as the exceptional labour which has made my life worth living. Comparatively speaking, “A Book of the Beginnings” (London, 1881) was written in the dark, “The Natural Genesis” (London, 1883) was written in the twilight, whereas “Ancient Egypt” has been written in the light of day. The earlier books were met in England with the truly orthodox conspiracy of silence. Nevertheless, four thousand volumes have got into circulation somewhere or other up and down the reading world, where they are slowly working in their unacknowledged way. Probably the present book will be appraised at home in proportion as it comes back piecemeal from abroad, from Germany, or France, or maybe from the Country of the Rising Sun. To all dear lovers of the truth the writer now commends the verifiable truths that wait for recognition in these pages.

Truth is all-potent with its silent power
If only whispered, never heard aloud,
But working secretly, almost unseen,
Save in some excommunicated Book;
’Tis as the lightning with its errand done
Before you hear the thunder.

For myself, it is enough to know that in despite of many hindrances from straitened circumstances, chronic ailments, and the deepening shadows of encroaching age, my book is printed, and the subject-matter that I cared for most is now entrusted safely to the keeping of John Gutenberg, on this my nine-and-seventieth birthday.

Find Gerald Massey's book in
Ancient Egypt The Light Of The World

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The Buddha On Miracles

The Buddha On Miracles Image
The Buddha was once staying in the City of Nalanda, in Pavarika Grove. Kevaddha came, bowed respectfully, and said: "Bhagwan, Nalanda is a successful city. The people living in Nalanda are prosperous. They have confidence in the Blessed One. Lord, it would be good if the Blessed One appointed a noble disciple to work a miracle. In that way, the people of Nalanda might become even more confident and place greater faith in the Blessed One."

The Buddha replied, "Kevaddha, I do not teach the DHARMA to my disciples in that way." Kevaddha repeated his entreaty up to a third time as the Buddha gave the same reply. Thereupon, the Buddha explained that there are three kinds of miracles:

* The marvel of paranormal displays -- to be one and appear as many, to pass through walls unhindered, to walk on water as if on land, or to fly through the air, and so on. These are all things many ascetics are able to perform
* The marvel of reading minds
* The supernatural power to guide people, according to their development, for their own good, using suitable methods of instruction to fit their abilities

The first two powers, if displayed for their own sake merely to impress people, are no different than the performances of tricksters and magicians. A disciple who practices such worldly marvels is a source of shame, fear, and humiliation. Such actions may well impress and win over converts. But they in no way bring about enlightenment that puts an end to suffering.

The third kind, however, is indeed an invaluable power in that it helps people overcome suffering once and for all.

These, then, are the only miracles fit to be practiced:

* When you see someone full of passion, craving, and greed, use your powers to teach that person to be free of passion, craving, and greed.
* When you see someone who is a slave to hatred and anger, use your powers to help that person control that hatred and anger.
* When you come across a person who is ignorant and unable to see the true nature of things (that everything is radically impermanent, vulnerable to suffering, and impersonal; in other words, that things are deceptive because, while seeming otherwise, they are in fact passing, unsatisfactory, and void), use your marvellous powers to help that person overcome ignorance.

These, indeed, are worthy miracles, fitting marvels, appropriate magic to perform and display.

This advice to Kevaddha was added to the Code of self-discipline (Vinaya). It rules out for monastics the performance of miracles to gain converts or impress people without helping them become enlightened. This became very clear in the case of Ven. Pindola, an enlightened disciple of the Buddha.

The arhat Pindola Bharadvaja was famous for his miraculous psychic powers. On one occasion, a rich man wanted this bhikkhu to prove he had such abilities. So he placed a beautiful bowl [monks bowls at that time were commonly made of clay, and the "Vinaya" has many rules regarding their care so that they do not accidentally break] at the top of a high pole. He challenged any holy man to get it. If he could, his reward would be to keep the prized bowl.

Pindola Bharadvaja, rather than trying to bring the bowl down, flew up and easily took it from its perch. He did this not so much for the bowl but to prove to the rich man that there are in fact saints ("arhats") in the world, which the rich man did not believe.

When the Buddha came to know of this incident, he called for Pindola Bharadvaja. And there in front of a large assembly of "bhikkhus", he broke the clay bowl to pieces saying: "It is not fitting that one should demonstrate psychic abilities. One must never show off with miraculous displays simply to impress people.

* Who was Pindola Bharadvaja?
* About Bharadvaja (SN XXXV.127)
* Wayward thoughts on the Way:

MODERN BUDDHIST MIRACLE: Local villagers crowd around an amazing image of a revered Buddhist monk that survived a devastating blaze at Paknam Temple in Thailand's Rayong Province. The fire destroyed the 100 year-old sermon hall but left this image untouched and still beautiful (Thai Rath).

The Pindola Sutra("Inspired Utterances", Udana, IV.6)

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Buddha was residing near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, in Anathapindika's monastery. At that time Ven. Pindola Bharadvaja was sitting not far off, his legs crossed, his body erect -- a forest dweller, an alms seeker, a rag-robe wearer, an possessor of only one set of robes, of few wishes, content, solitary, unentangled with the world, persistence aroused, advocating the ascetic practices, devoted to the higher mind.

The Buddha saw Ven. Pindola Bharadvaja sitting there....Then, on realizing the significance, he exclaimed:

Not reviling, not injuring,
with the Patimokkha,
Moderation in food,
Dwelling in seclusion,
Devoted to the higher mind:
This is the Teaching
of the Awakened Ones!

NOTE: It is said that Ven. Pindola Bharadvaja, in spite of the Buddha's inspired utterance, did not in fact enter nirvana in that lifetime. That is, he was not actually an "arhat" but rather a noble disciple of a lesser degree. He was persuaded by the Buddha to stay on and teach.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Egyptian Mythology And Egyptian Christianity

Egyptian Mythology And Egyptian Christianity Cover

Book: Egyptian Mythology And Egyptian Christianity by Samuel Sharpe

This short work on Egyptian religion from the middle of the 19th Century was written at a time when the subject was just Beginning to be understood by modern scholars, due to the recent decipherment of the hieroglyphs. Although scholarly and thorough, the Information in this text should be cross-checked with later works. The best part may be the funky illustrations, all of which are in the public domain.

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Humanistic Jews Beliefs And Practices

Humanistic Jews Beliefs And Practices Cover
Beth Chai is a Humanistic Jewish congregation in Bethesda, MD. Beth Chai means "House of Life" in Hebrew. Their web site states:

Humanistic Jews affirm that:

- Human beings possess the power and responsibility to shape their own lives independent of supernatural authority. In other words, not all Humanistic Jews believe in a God: Your own beliefs are up to you.
- A Jew is a person who identifies with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people.
- Judaism is the historic culture of the Jewish people.
- Jewish history is a human saga, a testament to the significance of human power and human responsibility.
- Jewish identity is best preserved in a free, pluralistic environment.
- The freedom and dignity of the Jewish people must go hand in hand with the freedom and dignity of every human being. 6

According to Neil Gillman, professor of Jewish philosophy at the Jewish Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Humanistic Judaism "plugs into the feeling of some Jews who want to be identified as Jews but who are turned off by the religious baggage...We know that modern believers are very individualistic. They feel they have the right to do it their own way. And this is one other way." 2

Walter Hellman maintains a web site "Humanistic Judaism Homepage." He explains that "Humanistic Judaism differs from secular or cultural Judaism in that it is congregational in form and substance. Jewish education, holidays, tradition and life cycle events are the foundation of Humanistic Judaism. While the important role of the idea of God in Jewish history and tradition is recognized, and spirituality is greatly valued, Humanistic Judaism holds that supernatural authority should play no role in human affairs; the branch is non-theistic in observance and content." 3

Sheldon Hofferman is the president of Beth Chai. He said: "Our services do not consist of worship of a supreme being. We all believe that it is human beings who have the power and duty to make the world a better place. We are not looking to someone else to help us." Their part-time rabbi is Arthur Blecher, 53. He was ordained within the Conservative movement and is a member of the Washington Board of Rabbis. He regards himself as a Deist because he does not believe in a personal God "who stands apart from the world." According to the Washington Post: "Their rabbi wears a yarmulke and prayer shawl but doesn't preach about God. Their children learn Hebrew but don't read from the Torah at their coming-of-age rite. And an atheist would feel right at home in their formal gatherings...Both Beth Chai and Machar hold regular Shabbat services and celebrate Jewish high holy days in local churches of the Unitarian Universalist Association, another religious body that does not worship a supreme being. Both also have Jewish cultural schools, social action committees and newsletters. They welcome interfaith couples." [Actually, many Unitarian Universalists are theists; about one in four regards themselves as Christians.]

Some personal comments by Humanistic Jews in the Washington DC area:
- Jo-Ann Neuhaus, a member of Beth Chai said: "The service is a way to connect to your past and heritage without having to sit through dogma that for me has no meaning and also is boring. It offers people a chance to...experience themselves as Jews without being religiously observant."
- Marlene Cohen, runs a school at the Machar congregation -- another Jewish Humanistic congregation in the Washington DC area. Its name means "tomorrow" in Hebrew. She said: "God is not an important issue to this movement. What we are trying to teach is the importance of taking responsibility for your own life and the community around you."
- Michael Prival, a member at Machar, believes that Jewish Humanistic congregations will continue to appeal to Jews in this modern age. "We provide a way for them to retain their Jewish identity and their rational worldview."

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Teachings Of The Rosicrucians Of The 16th And 17th Centuries

The Teachings Of The Rosicrucians Of The 16th And 17th Centuries Cover

Book: The Teachings Of The Rosicrucians Of The 16th And 17th Centuries by Anonymous

Before entering upon an explanation of the teachings of the Rosicrucians, it may be well to say a word about them and about the place they hold in the evolution of humanity.

For reasons to be given later these teachings advocate the dualistic view; they hold that man is a Spirit enfolding all the powers of God as the seed enfolds the plant, and that these powers are being slowly unfolded by a series of existences in a gradually improving earthy body; also that this process of development has been performed under the guidance of exalted Beings who are yet ordering our steps, though in a decreasing measure, as we gradually acquire intellect and will. These exalted Beings, though unseen to the physical eyes, are nevertheless potent factors in all affairs of life, and give to the various groups of humanity lessons which will most efficiently promote the growth of their spiritual powers. In fact, the earth may be likened to a vast training school in which there are pupils of varying age and ability as we find it in one of our own schools. There are the savages, living and worshipping under most primitive conditions, seeing in stick or stone a God. Then, as man progresses onwards and upwards in the scale of civilization, we find a higher and higher conception of Deity, which has flowered here in our Western World in the beautiful Christian religion that now furnishes our spiritual inspiration and incentive to improve.

These various religions have been given to each group of humanity by the exalted beings whom we know in the Christian religion as the Recording Angels, whose wonderful prevision enables them to view the trend of even so unstable a quantity as the human mind, and thus they are enabled to determine what steps are necessary to lead our unfoldment along the lines congruous to the highest universal good.

When we study the history of the ancient nations we shall find that at about six hundred years B.C. a great spiritual wave had its inception on the Eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean where the great Confucian religion accelerated the progress of the Chinese nation, then also the religion of the Buddha commenced to win its millions of adherents in India, and still further West we have the lofty philosophy of Pythagoras. Each system was suited to the needs of the particular people to whom it was sent. Then came the period of the Skeptics, in Greece, and later, traveling westward the same spiritual wave is manifested as the Christian religion of the so-called "Dark Ages" when the dogma of a dominant church compelled belief from the whole of Western Europe.

It is a law in the universe that a wave of spiritual awakening is always followed by a period of doubting materialism; each phase is necessary in order that the Spirit may receive equal development of heart and intellect without being carried too far in either direction. The great Beings aforementioned, who care for our progress, always take steps to safeguard humanity against that danger, and when they foresaw the wave of materialism which commenced in the sixteenth century with the birth of our modern science, they took steps to protect the West as they had formerly safeguarded the East against the skeptics who were held in check by the Mystery Schools.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Shintoism Defined

Shintoism Defined Cover There are two main divisions. One is the thirteen ancient sects, all very similar. The second is known as State Shinto, and is a later synthesis finding its highest Expression in the worship of the Emperor and loyalty to the State and family. Shinto (from the Chinese characters Shen and Tao, signifying the "Way of the Spirits") is called Kami-no-michi in vernacular Japanese. Kami are the innumerable Gods or nature spirits. Shinto shrines are many, over 100,000 in Japan. In the shrines no images are worshiped, rather it is considered that the Kami themselves are there. Fresh foods, water, incense, etc., are offered daily upon the altar. There is an inward belief in the Sacredness of the whole of the universe, that man can be in tune with this sacredness. Stress is placed on truthfulness and purification through which man may remove the "dust" which conceals his inherently divine nature and thus receive the guidance and blessings of Kami. The Shintoist's ardent love of the motherland has found unique expression in the loyalty and devotion of the Japanese people to their state institutions.

FOUNDED: Shintoism began around 2,500 -- 3,000 years ago in Japan.
FOUNDER: Each of the thirteen ancient sects has its own founder.
MAJOR SCRIPTURES: Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things), Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan), a later work, Yengishiki (Institutes of the period of Yengi), and the Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves are the primary works, but they are not regarded as revealed scripture.
ADHERENTS: Estimated at 30 million, mostly in Japan. Most are also Buddhists.

Salvation is achieved in Shinto through observance of all taboos and the avoidance of persons and objects which might cause impurity or pollution. Prayers are made and offerings brought to the temples of the Gods and Goddesses, of which there are said to be 800 myriad in the universe. Man has no Supreme God to obey, but needs only know how to adjust to Kami in its various manifestations. A person's Kami nature survives death, and a man naturally desires to be worthy of being remembered with approbation by his descendants. Therefore, fulfillment of duty is a most important aspect of Shinto.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses

Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses Cover

Book: Dictionary Of Gods And Goddesses by Michael Jordan

In compiling a book like Encyclopedia of Gods, one is struck both by the enormous number and variety of deities that occur in different religions around the world, and also by the way patterns repeat themselves—almost every culture has its creator gods, gods concerned with a locally important aspect of the weather, goddesses of fertility, gods whose duty it is to protect the home. The same mysteries have puzzled people on every continent, the same fears have beset them and they have all attempted to explain the mysteries and allay the fears in the same way—through the worship of gods.

It is explained in the introduction to this volume that no database of deities worldwide can ever hope to be comprehensive. There are just too many regional variations amongst the larger religion blocks and, equally, a vast number of very localized cults, each with its own idiosyncratic pantheons of gods and goddesses. The intention of the first edition was to cover all the major theaters of belief as extensively as was feasible at the time, with the primary object of including most of the names of deities that the student was likely to come across while traveling to religious and archaeological sites around the world, or researching in museums and libraries. This meant that much attention was paid to the living polytheistic religions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto. It was also thought constructive to include as many names as possible from Ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Classical Roman and Greek, Norse, Celtic, and Germanic pantheons since, in recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in many of these among “alternative religion” movements.

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Religion Belief Meaning Of Shadhdhuli And History

Religion Belief Meaning Of Shadhdhuli And History Image
the sufi lineage Shadhdhuli (pronounced as Shadh-dhu-li) takes it name from its eponymous 'founder', saint of saints, Sidi 'Ali Abu-l-Hasan (born in Morocco, 1196), may God be pleased with him.

the grand shaykh Abu-l-Hasan received his title, Shadhdhuli from God in a vision. In that state of lofty vision it was spoken from the Most Hight, "O 'Ali, you are ash-Sh^adhdhu-l^i, the one who is set apart (sh^adhdhu) for Me (l^i)". thus the meaning of the Shadhdhuli path (Shadhiliyya) is the path of the ones who is reserved for the Divine.

The Tariqa Shadhiliyya is the way of the person who forgets all things and returns back to the truth as in the beginning; a child in the Presence of God. You cannot see more than Him or hear of any other place. You cannot speak without Him. You are with God, in God, to God in the origin of all things. You do not sleep, you are not tired, you watch everything. And so you meet your love to the end which has no end. Then you are together; you are one thing only, without borders, without above or below, without right or left. You are in this station and this station is in you: fana al-mutlaq (annihilation in the freedom of God); the start which has no start; the end which has no end.

Shadhdhuli school of tasawuf is one of the major lineage which gave birth to a number of very influential philosophers, mystics, scholars and thinkers of all time including Ibn Ata Allah, Sheikh ibn Ajibah, Sidi ad-Darqawi, ibn Abbad of Ronda, Muhammad al-Jazuli, Ren'e Gu'enon etc. Ibn 'Ata Allah was the first in the Shadhuli line to write sufi discourses and books. Included in his works is an account of the life and sayings of both ash-Shadhuli and al-Mursi. He also wrote the Miftah al-Falah, "The Key to Salvation", a manual on invocation and the Kitab al-Hikam, "The Book of Aphorisms".

. History of the Shadhiliyya Tariqa

Abu-l-Hasan was born in the village of Ghumara in Morocco in 593/1196. His early education was by his mother, father and a local imam. Around puberty he went to study with Abu 'Abdallah M. b. Harazim (d. 633/1236), who himself was a pupil of Abu Madyan, one of the great medieval Sufis.

He went east in 615, where he was drawn to the Rifa'i school, accepting Abu-l-Fath al-Wasiti as his shaykh in 618. While here he became obsessed with the search for the Qutb (Pole) of the time. Abu-l-Fath told him to return to the west where he would find him. He returned and eventually found the Qutb in 'Abd as-Salam ibn Mashish of Fez who, after some trial, gave him bay'ah, marking, as Abu-l-Hasan states, "the end of my beginning".

Later, on the advice of 'Abd as-Salam, he left Morocco to go into retreat in a cave near a village of Ifriqiya called Shadhila. Although Shadhuli sounds like Shadhila, our shaykh Abu-l-Hasan received his name from Allah the blessed who told him in a vision, "O 'Ali, you are ash-Sh^adhdhu-l^i, meaning one who is set apart (sh^adhdhu) for Me (l^i)".

The final words of Ibn Mashish to Abu-l-Hasan, may Allah hallow their secrets, were, "O 'Ali, Know that Allah is Allah and people are people. The remembrance of Allah will live in your heart. The guidance of Allah will always be with you. Do not refer to people other than as Allah commands you. Refrain from dependence on them and keep your heart from inclining to them. Your spiritual sovereignty (wilaya) has been perfected by Allah".

In Ifriqiya, he periodically went out on preaching and teaching tours, thereby incurring the hostility of the Tunisian 'ulama. So bitter did the persecution become that, in spite of the support of the sultan, Abu Zakariyya al-Hafsi, he was driven to take refuge in Egypt where he spent most of his years and won great renown.

Abu-l-Hasan made a practice of going on hajj every year. He was told in 656/1258 that he would die while on hajj. Abu-l-Hasan had idea that he may die on during pilgrimage, going as far as order a shovel and shroud be packed as he and his followers were preparing to leave.

When they reached the midway point, which is a well in a place called Humaythirah, he spoke to all his students and gave them the reading of Hizb ul-Bahr (The Litany of the Sea) saying, "Teach it to your children for in it is the greatest name of Allah". He talked in private with Abu-l-'Abbas al-Mursi and told all of his students, "When I am dead look to Abu-l-'Abbas for he is the khalifa to succeed me".

That evening, Abu-l-Hasan asked one of his murids to bring him a jug of water from the well. The student said, "Sidi, it is salty". Abu-l-Hasan said, "My intention is other than what you think". So the murid brought him a jug of water from the well. Abu-l-Hasan drank some, rinsed his mouth and then spat into the jug, saying, "Put it back in the well". He put the water back and it turned sweet, fresh and abundant. To this day the water in that well is sweet.

Abu-l-Hasan spent that whole night in dhikr. Many of students heard him, and at fajr, he was still. Thinking he was asleep one of the students shook him, finding him dead. From there he was washed, wrapped in the shroud, prayed over and buried in Humaythirah. His murids continued on hajj.

The existence of a Shadhuli tariqa is mainly due to Abu-l-'Abbas al-Mursi, the successor of Abu-l-Hasan ash-Shadhuli and his successor, Taj ad-din ibn 'Ata Allah al-Iskandari, may Allah hallow their secrets 2) Another branch has among its shaykhs an American convert to Islam, Nuh Keller, who, although he is based in Jordan, has a number of disciples in the West 3) The third branch is that of the 'Alawiya Maryamiyyah, founded by Frithjof Schuon 4) The fourth branch is connected to an Algerian shaykh known as Sidi 'Alawi who in the West has a number of disciples, in particular, in Switzerland and the US.

# Shadhiliyya Sufi Center of North American and whose books are published by Sidi Muhammad Press, established in the U.S. by Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal from Jerusalem (al-Quds).

# Tariqa Burhaniya, while primarily in the Sudan, where the shaykh is Sheikh Mohamed Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Mohamed Osman, it does have centers in New York City and Montreal (Canada). The order has one central website, titled Tariqa Burhaniya Disuqiya Shadhuliya indicating that originally it is a branch of the Shadhiliya order that later branches off with the coming of the Shaykh Ibrahim al-Disuqi (circa 12th century CE). (credit)

















1. Prophet Muhammad, the praised and blessed one

2. Ali b. Abu Talib

3. Al-Hassan

4. Abu Muhammad Jabir

5. Sa'id al Ghaznawi

6. Fath as-Su'ud

7. Sa'd

8. Abu Muhammad Sa'id

9. Ahmad al-Marwani

10. Ibrahim al-Basri

11. Zayn al-din al-Qazwini

12. Muhammad Sham ad-din

13. Muhammad Tajaddin

14. Nur a-din abu'l Hassan 'Ali

15. Fakhr ad-din

16. Tuqay ad-din al-fuqayyir

17. Abd ar-Rahman al-Attar Az-Zayyat

18. Abd as-Salam b. Mashish

19. Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhuli

20. Abul-Abbas al-Mursi

21. Ahmad ibn Ata'llah

22. Dawud al-Bahhili

23. Muhammad Wafa

24. Yahya l-Qadiri

25. Ahmad b. uqba al-Hadrami

26. Ahmad Zarruq

27. Ibrahim Afaham

28. Ali as-Sanhaja al-Dawwar

29. Muhyid-din ibn al'Arabi

30. Abd ar-Rahman al-Majdhub

31. Yusuf al-Fasi

32. Abd ar-Rahman al-Fasi

33. Muhammad b. Abdullah

34. Qasim al-Khassasi

35. Ahmad b. Abdullah

36. Al-arbi b. Ahmad Abdullah

37. Ali al-Jamal

38. Abu Hamza

39. Ali Nuriddin

40. Sidi Ibrahim b. Ali Nuriddin

41. Sidi Abd ar-Rahman

42. Sidi Muhammad Said al-Jamal

. Photo Credit: the tomb of the founder Abu Hasan As-Shadhilli, Abu Hasan, Egypt 140 km from Marsa Alam, Red Sea. via flickr. Also Makam photos.

. Tariqa Shadhuliyya. Shadhdhiliyya Sufi Communities in USA[+] Please visit MysticSaint.Info For full multimedia experience and enjoy special music.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom Image
Unfortunately, theologians, clergy, and laity are notorious for using common words and phrases to mean very different things. Many believers are certain that there is only one correct meaning to these terms -- the one that they use! Two examples are the definition of who can legitimately call themselves a Christian and the definition of what a religion is.

On this web site, we define religious freedom as follows:

Religious freedom means that an individual or group can:

- Without oppression, believe, worship and witness (or practice freedom from belief, worship and witness), as they wish;
- Change their beliefs or religion at any time; and
- Associate with others to express their beliefs. 1

With the arrival of the new millennium, religious freedom seems to be gradually changing its meaning. When it is discussed in the media today, it usually refers to the freedom for an individual, clergyperson, or denomination to express condemnation, exclusion, denigration, oppression, and/or hatred towards other individuals or groups. Religious freedom used to mean freedom of belief; now its meaning is transforming to mean the freedom to hate others.

Religious tolerance is a term that it tied closely to religious freedom. If a society extends tolerance to followers of all religions -- and to followers of no religion -- then everyone will probably enjoy religious freedom. "Religious tolerance," as it is most commonly defined, means that people:
- Extend religious freedom to people of all religious traditions, even though they probably disagree with most of their beliefs and/or practices.

This definition does not require a person or group to:

- Accept all religions as equally true.
- Avoid comparing the beliefs and practices of different religions or faith groups.
- Avoid criticizing actions, statements, and policies of religious groups when they harm others.

Thomas Jefferson expressed religious tolerance when he said: ? does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.?.

A common definition used by some fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians is that to be religiously tolerant means that one must accept all religions as equally true. As a result, "religious tolerance" has a very negative connotation to many religious conservatives while it has a very positive meaning to others.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Doctrine Of Horary Questions

The Doctrine Of Horary Questions Cover

Book: The Doctrine Of Horary Questions by John Gadbury

This Publication has been reproduced in the interest of preserving and disseminating old Astrological texts and is supplied on the basis that it may not be reproduced or transmitted by any means electronic or mechanical or recorded in any form including photocopying or by any storage or retrieval system except for personal, educational use and may not be used for reselling or any other commercial purposes. To do so is in violation of copyright law. Note: The publishers and editor have taken all measures to ensure this publication is an accurate reproduction of the original but cannot guarantee it to be free of typographical errors. Certain editorial changes have been made to modernise fonts but none of the original text has been changed This text is supplied to students of Canopus Academy of Astrology free of charge on the Understanding that it is top be used to support their studies and should not be used for any other purpose.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Taoism And The Taoist Canon

Taoism And The Taoist Canon Cover In a general way, Taoism may be defined as a traditional form of thought and religion, based on some central notions, cults, and practices but never subject to systematization as a whole, and syncretic but at the same time self-contained--in the sense that while it integrates many elements from other traditions, it frequently emphasizes its distinction from them. These basic features underlie different formulations of doctrinal notions and a large variety of practices, ranging from self-cultivation to communal rituals.

The main early Taoist text is the Daode jing (Scripture of the Way and its Virtue), a short work consisting of aphorisms attributed to Laozi (the Old Master, or Old Child). Although some scholars have suggested that other sources might be slightly earlier, virtually all movements and lineages within Taoism consider this as the founding scripture of the entire tradition, even though they may venerate their own Texts and their own founders. Another early work, the Zhuangzi (Book of Master Zhuang), has provided Taoism with doctrines, notions, and technical vocabulary throughout its history. Despite differences in emphasis, the two texts present the same view of the Dao and its relation to the world.

The word dao has two main meanings, namely "way" and "method." The early Taoist texts are the first ones to use this word to mean the Absolute. For the Daode jing, the Dao has no name and is beyond any description or definition; the word dao itself is used only because one "is forced" to refer to it. The Dao is unknowable, has no form and therefore does not undergo change, is "constant," and is "invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible." The two principles of Non-being (wu) and Being (you) are contained within it. Yet the Dao, in spite of its being "indistinct and vague" (huanghu), contains an "essence" (jing) that is the seed of the world of multiplicity. Under this second aspect--which can be distinguished from the previous one only from the perspective of the domain of relativity--the Dao is the "beginning" of the world and its "mother."

The person who has "returned to the Dao" is called in the Daode jing the shengren, a term that in a Taoist context may be translated as "saint" to distinguish him from the Confucian "sage." As the highest realized human being who has achieved liberation in life, the Taoist saint has transcended the limitations of individuality and form; he continues to remain in the world of multiplicity until he has completely fulfilled his function in it, but from an absolute point of view, which is the one in which he constantly dwells, his self-identity is already null, for he is identified with absolute Principle. In the human world, he "practices the teaching without words" and "makes it possible for the ten thousand things to function, but does not start them."

To a significant extent, the history of Taoism may be seen as a continuous restatement of the principles enunciated in the early founding texts. To an equally significant extent, its development has been marked by the adaptation to varying historical circumstances, the response to the needs and demands of different social groups, and the incorporation of notions, beliefs, cults, and practices derived from other trends of thought and religion.

At the beginning of this process is the deification of Laozi, now represented not only as the sage who expounds the metaphysical doctrines of the Daode jing, but also as a messiah who embodies the Dao and reappears at different times either as a sage counselor of political rulers, or as the inspirer of religious leaders. In one of his transformations, Lord Lao appeared (in 142 CE, according to the traditional date) to a healer, Zhang Daoling, in the southwestern region of Sichuan. Lord Lao established a covenant (meng) with Zhang Daoling, revealing to him the teaching of Orthodox Unity (zhengyi) and bestowing upon him the title of Celestial Master (tianshi). This revelation is at the origin of the Way of the Celestial Masters (Tianshi dao), a priestly lineage that continues to exist in the present day.

The diaspora of the Celestial Masters' communities after the end of the Han (early third century) resulted in the expansion of the new religion to other parts of China. Its spread in Jiangnan, the region south of the lower Yangzi River, was one of the prerequisites for the formation of two other major corpora of Taoist doctrines, texts, and practices in the second half of the fourth century. The first corpus, known as Shangqing (Highest Clarity), derived from revelations that occurred from 364 to 370 and was centered on meditation practices; the second, known as Lingbao (Numinous Treasure), derived from revelations that occurred between ca. 395 and 405 and was based on communal ritual. These two codifications clearly define, for the first time, the two main poles of Taoism as a whole, namely inner, individual practices on the one hand, and collective practices for the community of the faithful, or for the dead, on the other.

The relations among these traditions were formally codified in the early fifth century in the system of the Three Caverns (sandong). Its main purpose was to hierarchically arrange the different legacies of Jiangnan, assigning the higher rank to Shangqing, the intermediate one to Lingbao, and the lower one to other local traditions. Around 500 CE, the corpora associated with the Daode jing, the Taiping jing (Scripture of Great Peace), alchemy, and the Way of the Celestial Masters were incorporated into this system and assigned to the so-called Four Supplements (sifu). The Three Caverns also provided the formal schema for other important aspects of Taoist doctrine and practice, including the ordination stages of the Taoist priests (daoshi) and the arrangement of scriptural and other writings in the collections of Taoist texts (Daozang) that began to take shape from the early fifth century.

This model continued to perform this function even after the contours of Taoist religion were reshaped by several new revelations and codifications during the Song period (960-1279) and later, and by the creation in the early thirteenth century of Quanzhen (Complete Reality, or Complete Perfection), a monastic order that is, with the Way of the Celestial Masters, the main branch of present-day Taoism.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Key Of Masonry Philosophical Lodge Of The Knights Of The Eagle Or Sun

The Key Of Masonry Philosophical Lodge Of The Knights Of The Eagle Or Sun Cover

Book: The Key Of Masonry Philosophical Lodge Of The Knights Of The Eagle Or Sun by Henry Andrew Francken

The * Key of Masonry * explains the principal mystery of the Alchemical jargon, which is but another branch of the symbolical language. One of the most ancient works Written on the secret Sciences is the Tesoro of Alphonso X., King of Castile, who declares that he learned it from a wise Eg3rptian, who enjoined him to conceal it from the unworthy.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Religion Belief Texas Schools Teaching Kids How Lovely And Nice Islam Is

Religion Belief Texas Schools Teaching Kids How Lovely And Nice Islam Is Image
Here ya go, Texas... Thanks to potus wannabe Rick Perry, specific details, yes from Pamela Geller, about how they now teach Texas kids about the wonders of Islam! This sure sounds bad to me... America doesn't need more teaching false history of Islam in schools. This is lying. THIS IS TAQIYYA.

From the San Antonio Independent School District site:

"What is the Muslim Histories and Culture Project (MHCP)? "

"THE MUSLIM HISTORIES AND CULTURES PROJECT WAS BORN OUT OF DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KHAN AND TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY DURING THE SUMMER 2002, WHEN THE AGA KHAN WAS IN HOUSTON FOR THE DEDICATION OF A NEW ISMAILI CENTER. BOTH HIS HIGHNESS AND GOVERNOR PERRY AGREED ON THE NEED FOR TEXANS TO HAVE A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAMIC CULTURE, AND SUBSEQUENTLY BROUGHT UT-AUSTIN PRESIDENT LARRY FAULKNER INTO THE DISCUSSIONS. Located in the state capital, Faulkner's campus is well positioned to accomplish these goals. A series of meetings followed, with the project ultimately finding a home in UT-Austin's College of Liberal Arts, under the guidance of Dean Richard W. Lariviere, in association with UT Liberal Arts (UT-LA), the college's teacher preparation program.

In April 2004, the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and UT-Austin finalized a grant proposal that created the partnership that became known as the Muslim Histories and Cultures Program (MHC). Much has happened since the inception of the partnership. Creation and implementation of a model was of prime importance. MHC recruited and directly trained 80 teachers affecting approximately 15,150 students of World History and World Geography in ten key Texas districts during the two sessions conducted in 2005 and 2006. The purpose is two-fold 1) to fulfill Governor Rick Perry's desire to better educate Texas teachers on Muslim topics and 2) to train teachers to use a cultural lens approach to understanding other cultures. Governor Perry was instrumental in getting this program off the ground.

The curriculum for this project was developed at Harvard University and modified at the University of Texas at Austin.

The responsibilities of the participants are:

- to attend the 10 seminars and complete the assigned readings.

- to attend the January, April, and June meetings in Austin.

- to create lessons concerning Islamic topics with a "cultural lens" approach tied to their grade level to share with other teachers.

Click on a Link Below to Visit a Session:

- Session One: Sources of Tradition

- Session Two: Muhammad through History

- Session Three: The Qur'an

- Session Four: Thr Qur'an: Major Themes

- Session Five: Communities of Interpretation

- Session Six: Communities of Interpretation

- Session Seven: Rise and Reach of Muslim Civilizations

- Session Eight: Religion, Politics 19th Centuries

- Session Nine: Islamic Modernism

- Lesson Plans and Strategies "

Dave writes to Pam about this: "Session 1: Sources of Tradition"

"Abstract:... "The readings from Following Muhammad also examine the Sources of the Islamic tradition, providing a brief overview of the crucial role that Muhammad as Prophet of Islam and the Qur'an, as scripture of Islam, play in defining Muslim religious, social and political consciousness. We will explore each of these sources in greater detail in Sessions Two, Three and Four. The second set of readings, from Historical Atlas of Islam, after a brief summary of foundational beliefs and practices, survey the historical expansion of Arab Muslim imperial rule beyond the Arabian peninsula, covering the period between 600 to 1100 CE. Maps illustrate how the Islamic faith began in the Arabic world but spread to other areas where local culture, geography, language and ethnicity influenced beliefs and practices. The establishment of Arab rule in the Middle East led to the development of trade routes that were controlled by Muslim merchants, bringing in much wealth to the rapidly growing empires. With political and economic expansion, the Arabic language evolved into an international language of administration, culture, learning and commerce. As Arab power extended over more areas in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region, non Arab traditions, particularly the Persian and the Greco-Roman, were integrated. The result was a cosmopolitan civilization in which Arabic culture played an important part but in which also participated many different ethnic and religious groups. THE HISTORICAL SURVEY CONCLUDES WITH A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF THE CRUSADES AND THE ATTEMPTS BY KNIGHTS FROM THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOMS OF THE LATIN WEST (INCLUDING ENGLAND, SCANDINAVIA, GERMANY, ITALY AND FRANCE) TO WREST POLITICAL CONTROL OF THE HOLY LAND FROM MUSLIM RULERS, DAMAGING THE POSITIVE RELATIONS THAT HAD PREVIOUSLY EXISTED BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST."...

Say what.....HUH? I call bullshite... This is just re-writing history to show Islam as good guys! (barf)

American schools should teach AMERICAN history. Teach kids real history. Teach kids what jihad is. America needs to FIGHT ISLAM not teach it in false light.


Islam needs to be stopped not taught in schools. It is not a "religion", it is an evil ideology. Flipping heck, teaching "peaceful" Islam in public schools Texas...? The one thing Islam ISN'T is peaceful.

This ain't cool... WHAT SAY YOU TEXAS?... Perry still your guy?

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Boomer Buddhism Then And Now

Boomer Buddhism Then And Now Image
American Buddhism is booming. The 1990s saw three Buddhist movies and a gaggle of celebrity Buddhist pitchmen, including Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and actor Richard Gere.

The United States is now home to at least a million not-so-famous Buddhists as well, most of them new immigrants from Asia. But Buddhism is also popular among hip Americans who have never attended a Zen center or visualized a Tibetan mandala.

Typically these sympathizers get their Buddhism, as beat author Jack Kerouac did, from books. Buddhist bestsellers used to come along once a decade: Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" in the '50s, Philip Kapleau's "Three Pillars of Zen" in the '60s, and Shunryu Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" in the '70s.

American Buddhism is far more practical (meditative) and cerebral (study) than Asia's devotional and ceremonial customs. But even Asia has seen a great upsurge in lay meditation practice (Wisdom Quarterly).

Today they materialize monthly, along with more evanescent titles like "Zen and the Art of Screenwriting" (really). Demand for Buddhist books has turned many teachers into stand-alone brands with remarkable marketing muscle.

The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are the Coke and Pepsi of this Buddhist generation. But homegrown brands such as Jack Kornfield and Lama Surya Das can also move 100,000 tomes without getting off their "zafus".

James William Coleman is not a major brand, and his "The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition" is not destined for the bestseller list. It does shed light, however, on today's oddly bookish Buddhist vogue.

Coleman is a sociologist and a Buddhist, so it's not surprising that he supports his sympathy for American Buddhism with a survey. His book focuses on a small minority of American-born converts and sympathizers rather than the immigrants and their children who make up three-quarters of American Buddhists.

These "new Buddhists," as he calls them, patronize four types of Buddhist groups:

* Zen centers [Japanese Mahayana]
* Tibetan Buddhist centers [Vajrayana]
* "Vipassana" ("insight meditation") centers [Theravada]
* unaffiliated, nonsectarian centers

Most are baby boomers, almost all are white, and all practice meditation, which sets them apart from the members of Sokka Gakkai International-USA (a group that prefers chanting ["Nam-myoho-renge-kyo"] to meditation), the largest Buddhist organization in the United States and the only Buddhist group that attracts significant numbers of blacks and Hispanics.


Dhr. Seven (Wisdom Quarterly, 2011)

A decade later, Buddhism in America continues to grow. Even if many Western practitioners are reluctant to label themselves "Buddhist" (or much of anything else), they have adopted the Dharma and tried to make the Buddha's teachings their own.

Meditation is on everyone's mind (although not necessarily on everyone's Day Planner). Brain research, yoga regimens, breathing lessons, workshops, CDs, and the "Zen" of everything motivates us to undertake The Quest in earnest.

What do we hope to achieve in our quest? Enlightenment, of course! But not so fast. The largest Buddhist movements are MAHAYANA (devotional Chinese, stripped down Japanese, ceremonial Tibetan). And their messianic message, awaiting the Maitreya, often discourage enlightenment and stress salvation -- saving "others "that is. We have socially engaged Buddhism, the cultivation of perfections

This is most poignantly seen in the Heart Sutra ("Perfection of Wisdom") and its continuing popularity. Next to no one studies the profound DOCTRINE OF ANATTA and the FIVE AGGREGATES to understand the meaning of the words most regard as just a mantra to chant).

That is not the self-sufficiency the historical Buddha emphasized (being a lamp unto oneself and seeking guidance not from teachers but from the Dharma directly). Even these oldest existing Buddhist school, THERAVADA, does little to promote lay meditation, presumably reserving it for monastics and retreatants.

Enormous lay-practitioner movements (GOENKA AND U BA KHIN in Burma and India, DHAMMAKAYA and BUDDHADASA in Thailand, and AYYA KHEMA and BHIKKHU BODHI in Sri Lanka, etc.) have pushed meditation out of the abbeys and into people's living rooms and centers.

America's greatest contribution to the Dharma has not only been to continue the pioneering work of Western translators and publishers (like the PALI TEXT SOCIETY, BUDDHIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, WISDOM PUBLICATIONS, and PARIYATTI PRESS) but to restore women to their rightful position within the tradition. The Buddha included women early on and stated that his Dispensation would not be complete until WOMEN WERE ORDAINED and practicing on par with men.

by Stephen Prothero

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