Monday, April 25, 2011

Robert Sachs - The Buddha At War

Robert Sachs - The Buddha At War Image
Many Buddhist masters believe the present era of worldwide upheaval -- from 9/11 and the US War on Iraq, to the tsunami disaster and global warming -- is a new Dark Age (Kali Yuga) that requires powerful strategies for coping.

This book offers hope by bringing together Tibetan Buddhist teachings and contemporary politics. Presenting traditional Buddhist philosophy in a practical, accessible way, the book helps readers cultivate the inner resources necessary to meet challenge and conflict -- both in themselves and in the world.

Author Robert Sachs lays out a series of steps necessary to achieve this, including:

* taking personal responsibility for the future,
* understanding that there is no need to despair, and
* becoming "conscious, engaged activists" with a firm spiritual foundation to inform political actions.

Sachs's book is a galvanizing reminder, providing a strikingly Buddhist argument that actions can count, both to foster personal change and improve the world. Goodreads.com

* Obama to greet incoming troops he killed in Afghan chopper



Find Robert Sachs's book in amazon.com:
Robert Sachs - The Buddha At War

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ashura And The Anti Buddhist Asuras

Ashura And The Anti Buddhist Asuras Image
Celestial" Asuras" ("Titans") falling or descending from space

One may choose to see these things as unreal, only mythological. Nevertheless, it is important to understand our histories-mythologies because they are fueling very real conflicts in the world today -- American hegemony in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran (reminiscent of the Christian crusades), irrepressible Middle East tensions, deadly Indian border disputes, and so on. Where other traditions may only give lip service to the idea, Buddhism is in fact about peace.

December 27th marks the Muslim holiday "Ashura, "a day of peace to commemorate a great injustice"." In Buddhist and Indian lore, the Asuras were a type of fallen deva, expelled from a relatively low celestial world ("Tavatimsa", "the World of the Thirty Three") by Sakka. (Interestingly, suggesting that "Asuras "could not have been too different, Sakka is said to have married an "Asuran" princess). Whereas "devas" (ETs called deities) from the three space spheres immediately above the Earth plane had established contact with various human civilizations -- bringing literacy, technology, advanced masonry, as well as laws -- the "Asuras" were latecomers.

ETYMOLOGY


The word ashura simply means "tenth" in Arabic. So the name of this remembrance day, literally translated, means "the tenth day" of Muharram. The day is indeed the tenth day of the month, although some Islamic scholars offer up different etymologies. In his book "Ghuniyatut Talibin", Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani writes that the Islamic scholars have a difference of opinion as to why this day is known as Ashura. Some scholars suggest that this day is the tenth most important day that God has blessed Muslims with.

Buddhist" thangka section "depicting "Asuras" and "devas "in a war in heaven

Assur (also Ashur, Assur; written A-sur, also As-s`ur, in Neo-Assyrian often shortened to As) was the head of the Assyrian pantheon. [Interestingly, Surya is the Sun God, a visitor from space claiming to hail from the sky or Sun, in Indian and Buddhist lore. Might "Assurya" derive from anti-Surya?]. His origins are unknown, but he is one of the Mesopotamian city gods, namely of the city Assur (pronounced Ashur), once the capital of the Old Assyrian kingdom. It might therefore be that he was a personification of the city itself or be a city named in his honor. From about 1300 BC priests attempted to replace Marduk with Ashur in Enuma Elish.

* Surya [Sun] namaskar disturbs anti-Vedic [demonic] forces
* Church refuses to acknowledge its Assyrian heritage (ChristiansofIraq.com)
* Isa (Jesus) Vasya Upanishad (wisemuslim.com)
* Wars of the City States of Sumer and Akkad (Chp. VI)
* Sacred-Texts.com (Chp. XIII)

We propose that whatever temporal meaning has been ascribed to the day of Ashura, it is actually centered on the Titans ("Asuras") being worshipped as arch angels. They have come to be regarded as "demons" from the Indian point of view (whereas the Middle East may regard "devas" as "devils"). The message they brought, indeed, does not differ radically from that of angels (Tavatimsa "devas"), except that it is the other side of the story: Before being "cast out" of heavenly Tavatimsa, "Asuras" were angels. Unlike Christian teachings, they were not tossed into perdition but onto Earth (the base of Mt. Sumeru). This might make them the Annunaki of the Sumerians, upon which advanced Middle Eastern cultures were predicated.

Buddhist cosmology is, of course, only regarded as mythological nowadays. Demons are a silly superstition, and the Annunaki is pure myth and science fiction. But doubtless these "mythologies" were based on something. The Buddha in countless sutras refers to these superordinate planes, their inhabitants, and their visits to Earth. The Buddha specified no fewer than 31 planes (categories) of existence. Most of these are "deva" (light being) and "brahma" (divinity) spheres.

But there are also beings who are less than "devas" in rank yet live in conditions superior to humans. The order of being starts at immaterial "devas", "brahmas", fine-material "devas", sensuous sphere "devas", Four Great Kings "devas, gandhabbas, garudas, suparnas, kinnaras, kumbandhas, nagas, bhumi-devas" (earthbound elementals), then "Asuras", then humans.

Egyptian hieroglyphs similarly record contact with alien visitors from space ("heaven").COUNTER ARGUMENTThe supposition that a dichotomy between "Ahuras"/"Asuras" and "Daevas"/"Devas" already existed in Indo-Iranian times is not supportable from either the Indian or Iranian perspectives. Not only is such a dichotomy not evident in the earliest texts of either culture, neither the Rig Veda's "Asuras" nor the Gathas' "Daevas" are demons. The demonization of the "Asuras" in India and the demonization of the "Daevas" in Iran both took place "so late that the associated terms cannot be considered a feature of Indo-Iranian religious dialectology."

The idea of a prehistorical opposition between the "Asuras"/"Devas", originally presented in the 19th century but popularized in the mid-20th century, had for some time already been largely rejected by Avesta scholars when a landmark publication (Hale, 1986) attracted considerable attention among Vedic scholars. Hale discussed, "as no one before him" (so Insler's review), the attestations of "asura" and its derivatives in chronological order of the Vedic texts, leading to new insights into how the "Asuras" came to be the demons that they are today and why the venerated Varuna, Mithra, Rudra, Agni, Aryaman, Pusan, and Parjanya are all Asuras without being demonic. Although Hale's work has raised further questions - such as how the later poets could have overlooked that the Rig Veda's "Asuras" are all exalted gods - the theory of a prehistoric opposition is today conclusively rejected.

Following Hale's discoveries, Thieme's earlier proposal of a single Indo-Iranian "Asura" began to gain widespread support. In general (particulars may vary), the idea runs as follows: Indo-Iranian "Asura" developed into Varuna in India and into Ahura Mazda in Iran. Those divinities closest related to that "Asura" [who] rules over the [g]ods" (AV 1.10.1, cf. RV II.27.10) inherit the epithet, for instance, Rudra as "Devam Asuram" (V 42.11).

"Iranian turmoil, of course, has little to do with traditional Middle Eastern celebrations and the true meaning of Ashura. The holiday coincides with 2009 political conflicts. But it is more than coincidental that the warlike Titans (Asuras") so influenced the cultures that commemorate it that they expelled all traces of Buddhism and established rule by force. Buddhists remain pacifists.

by Dharmachari



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Friday, April 22, 2011

Religion Belief Natural Healing In Islam

Religion Belief Natural Healing In Islam Image
60 min. from Mon Feb 21 00:00:00 PST 2011 Show - Did you know that a lot of the natural remedies of today have a basis in religion. All religions from around the world agree on the healing powers of things in nature like herbs, spices, honey, and even fresh water. Last year, I was searching for a natural remedy for my son's skin rash and came across Hakim Archuletta, a health expert and homeopath who happened to be visiting Bahrain at the time. What I learnt (and am still learning) from him is better than any education. Hakim has a beautiful viewpoint of natural healing and puts it all in the context of the teachings of Islam. In tough political times like these, Hakim shows you a side of Islam that the world rarely sees. People of all backgrounds can benefit from this! You'll know what I mean when you listen to this fascinating episode.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Buddha Peaceful Protest

The Buddha Peaceful Protest Image
Peaceful demonstrations, anti-war protests, sit ins, teach ins, and the like have a long history in Buddhism. The Buddha's own life holds one great example that may have been the model for Burma's Saffron Revolution as Buddhist monks rose up to defy the totalitarian Burmese regime. He repeatedly and peacefully came between two neighboring kingdoms to prevent war. He occupied a spot by the river to bring peace. Eventually, however, he realized that their karma was such that he could only put it off. He had the penetrating insight to eventually realize that. We do not. So we are wise to continue our demonstrations indefinitely.

What peace looks like, which is what NYC's Z Park can look like if the peace is won.

* Thus have I heard. At one time petty squabbles arose between the farmers on both sides of the Rohini river. The river served as the boundary between the Shakyan [where Siddhartha grew up before setting off on a spiritual quest] and the Koliyan kingdoms. Each side was trying to divert as much water as possible to their fields. Finally, these conflicts led to a major confrontation between two armies. The Buddha becoming aware of this arrived on the scene. At first just his presence forced the sides eager for war to rethink their actions. But their selfishness, anger/fear at one another, and ignorance about what was to be lost as a result of war brought them again to the verge of war.

The Buddha's "sit in" on the Rohini river to prevent war became a "teach in."

* The Buddha exhorted them on the calamitous results of war and the many advantages of arriving at a peaceful resolution and just settlement. In this way, war was averted and peace restored. It is said that the Buddha has so far been the only religious teacher to visit a battlefront in person to act as a mediator that averts war which, once triggered, never really plays itself out. People, groups, and ideologies want to retaliate even centuries later. Why? It is because the roots (greed, hate/fear, delusion) that led to war have not been addressed at all.

"The people united will never be defeated," Zuccoiti Park patriots chanted as they continued to occupy a corporate creation for peace and economic justice.

War is exhausting itself. Peace is a rest. Peace is easy. Peace is natural. War opposes peace. Peace does NOT really oppose war: It just is. Peace that "opposes" war is not peace, just more war.

Peace is a state in the absence of conflicts. Nonconflict is just a base, not a goal in itself. Beyond peace we want harmony, happiness, growth, development, opposition, cultural evolution.

Conflict is neither good or bad except that what we do with it (how we respond) makes it so. What is the cause of war and peace? Each is due to the various motives in our heart/mind.

The happy resolution (repose) of thoughts that fall under the categories of greed, hate, and/or delusion certainly lead to peace. Permanent peace will only come when one has completely eradicated these mental defilements. Wars will cease and peaceful dialogue between individuals will lead to a world of peaceful and harmonious living.

* Occupy Together: The American Autumn gets heated
* Occupy Wall Street rediscovers radical imagination

Why Occupy, why Rebel?

by Seven, Amber Dorrian, CC Liu



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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Modern Witchcraft

Modern Witchcraft Image
The modern spread of witchcraft in English-speaking nations, began during the sixteenth century, in the setting of imported cabalist and rosicrucan cults built up around Oxford and Cambridge. Francis Bacon and his secretary Thomas Hobbes were part of this movement. The endemic inculcation in Satanism which this prompted in seventeenth-century England, exploded after the accession of King George I, in the form of the Hell-fire Clubs which proliferated among degenerate English nobility during the long Liberal prime ministry of Hugh Walpole.

During the Stuart Restoration period, the pro-satanic rosicrucean and cabalist cultism around the Stuart court siezed upon the case of Robert Bruce to reorganize the cult in a newform.

Robert Bruce had been the leader of a group of Satan-worshipping (Baphomet) Templars, who had fled to Scotland, away from the angered justice of the Papacy and the King of France. What they brought with them, was the Templars' exploitation of the Cathar (Bogomil) tradition in the region of Toulouse and Albi, to build up the syncretic sort of Satanic worship the Templars had acquired in the Middle East. The Papacy had enough of this, and the King of France acted to shut down Templars by the means customary in those times. A group of Templars under Bruce fled to Scotland, and after some initial difficulties, made themselves the lords of the place.

The character of the Stuart court is illustrated by the characterization of one Stuart government of that period as the "Cabal." In his history, Macauley offers an amiable description of the affair. During this century, when the chest of Isaac Newton's laboratory papers was opened and examined, the content of Newton's acutal "scientific work" turned out to be a selection of lurid and rather insane experimetns in "black magic." The circles around Francis Bacon and Hobbes were, as we say today, "a prize collection of real kooks."

So, the Templar mish-mash of Bogomil Gnosticism blended into Hashishin Satanism, caused Bruce's Templar credentials to be viewed as suitable myth-building material for the taste of the Stuart kooks of the period. The Liberal aristocracy of Britain became a principal concentration of this filthy stuff. When the Liberals came to full power, under Walpole, this Liberal stuff came out in such form as the proliferating Hell-Fire Clubs. That tradition was cultivated under the Second Earl of Shelbourne's puppet prime minister, William Pitt the Younger, with Satanic figures such as the powerful Jeremy Bentham in the fore.

Satanism gained new ground under the protection of Liberalism and Romanticism during the nineteenth century. In England,the more virulent new forms surfaced around Oxford University'sJohn Ruksin and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Out of this came theosophy, British "guild" socialism, the Fabian Society, Bertrand Russell, H. G. Wells, and Aleister Crowley -- Satanists all.

This spilled over into the United States, notably in the circles of putative "Great Awakening" evangelist Johnathan Edwards, and his protege, Princeton Hell-Fire Club activist Aaron Burr. During the late nineteenth century, the sort of spoon-bending kookery associated with such figures as Oliver Lodge and A. Conan Doyle spilled generously among the wealthy anglophile liberals of the United States.

In short, this sort of witchery has been endemic over the centuries. The difference is, that what was endemic has become epidemic.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

83 Problems A Buddhist Sutraparable

83 Problems A Buddhist Sutraparable Image
A sutra is a thread -- stringing together ideas with an overarching message. It's the Dharma all stitched up, suture-style. There is no need of new sutras unless they encapsulate old messages in novel ways. Frank remembers hearing a spellbinding albeit apocryphal discourse. We had heard it put so eloquently:

THUS HAVE I NOT HEARD. Once while the Buddha was staying near the fields, a farmer came to him, paid his respects, sat to one side, and said:

"O, great teacher, I am but a simple farmer. I love farming. But sometimes there is drought, at other times flooding. I am a husband. I love being married. But sometimes my spouse is indifferent, at other times smothering. I am a father. I love being a parent. But sometimes my children are dull [incorrigible], at other times unruly. What am I to do?

The Buddha looked at the farmer with great compassion, extended both hands, and said: "Sorry, I can't help you with those kinds of worldly problems."

The farmer was dumbstruck for a moment. When he regained his composure, he argued: "Wait a minute. People speak in praise of you from all quarters. They come to you seeking advice for all things. And they go away enlightened. You're famous!"

"Sorry," the Buddha repeated, "there's nothing I can do to help you. Every person has 83 problems. And I can't help them with that."

"Well, tell me," the farmer asked calmly hoping to make the best of his visit, "what can you help me with?"

"I can help you with the 84th problem."

"O, and what's that?" the farmer leaned in.

"The 84th problem is the desire not to have any problems.

The farmer was overjoyed. And the Buddha taught him how to overcome suffering.

(COMMENTARY)

The Dharma never ceases to amaze. Sitting at a Buddhist 12-step recovery meeting in Los Angeles (Shambhala's "Heart of Recovery" utilizing Kevin Griffin's One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps (Rodale Press 2004), I heard an amazing insight on problems:

* This is happening to me.
* That is happening to me.
* And I don't [expletive] want it!

The world has no problems. Nothing is wrong. It is the way it is. Why? According to Robert Fripp (quoting Joanna Walton*): It is that way, because that is the way it is.

"Problems" are created the instant we say, "And I don't want it to be that way!"

Let the world be just as it is. Turn around and look within, where the problem gets created. This is the great liberating insight of modern New Age masters like Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle. The problem is nonacceptance of what is. Imagine being at war with what is. It's miserable.

Acceptance does not mean leaving it that way. Why in the world does Wisdom Quarterly talk so much about social justice, our n'er-do-well civil-rights-opposing shadowy government, and geopolitics instead of just telling nice "Buddhist" stories? We aren't ignoring the world or ignorant of what is afoot. And yet we have no problem.

Many of us are engaged Buddhists. We're passionate about causes, contemplative about issues, and convinced the world can be a better place if we save it. But we have no problem. And we don't stop smiling -- no matter what seems to be happening. That's because there's no problem. "Let it be, let it be," the Beatle said, repeating Kwan Yin/Mother Mary.

* Why, why, why?

"That is the way it is because it is that way. It is that way in that it is the way it is. In the way that it is that way that is the way it is. In the way that that is the way that is the way it is that is it is the way. Or that it is that way is the way it is..." (Joanna Walton).

It's like a koan. So long as one thinks and rationalizes, bent on hammering out a solution by mere reasoning, there is no solution. The answer is already clear to the right brain and its consciousness, while the left hemisphere worries and throbs and aches.

The Parable of the 83 Problems


Patricia C. Smith (facebook.com)

A rich farmer at wit's end seeks relief.

"Oh Buddha, the drought drags into a seventh year! My beans become dust. Again. And my wife's cooking is scarcely fit for consumption, yet she waxes horribly stout. Huge! And my six stocky children -- lazy, every one. Rats pilfer my eggs, termites chew my timbers, and thieves and mendicants swarm my town...."

The Buddha says, "I cannot help you."

The farmer's eyes pop -- all this way he came! For nothing!

The Buddha says, "Everyone has 83 problems. If you work out one problem, another will surely take its place. And some problems, like death, have no solution."

The farmer splutters.

The Buddha says, "It may be I can assist with your 84th problem?"

"What...?"

"Your desire to have no problems."

by Dharma Bum Frank



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