Rants. raves and ramblings from celestial circles . . .

Posts tagged ‘Buddha’

RELIGION

 

 

castle in ruins

Religious choice is not an argument. Religion is not about rejecting. It is about accepting. I have seen and met many Christians and Muslims that are very devout and go to church, or pray five times a day. They all follow all the customs and traditions. Yet most of the time they treat other people like dirt.

Religion is a set of doctrines that outlines a belief system. In the end, even though religion does provide a crutch, and even though it does offer solace and charity to many around the world, it is also a major source of divisiveness, hatred and violence.

Religion is mostly a behavioral system. But you don’t need religion to abide by a valuable behavioral system. The most important behavioral values are as old as mankind and will continue to be valuable in perpetuity. They never change and they never diminish in importance, no matter what else is going on in the world.

The 12 Lakota Virtues are a very good example. Prayer is one more of the virtues. If you read these carefully, you will recognize how they are embedded in the parables and teachings of all other religions.

Religion is also a meditative philosophy. The Buddhists consider meditation a form of prayer. Christian, Muslim and Judaic prayers all strive to achieve a unity with God or a higher Divinity. Prayer is a powerful life force because it focuses energy on positive results. Which is also why unselfish prayer very often does work.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all based on the Old Testament Bible. Many of the core stories in the Old Testament Bible are based on Sumerian mythology. The Old Testament Bible was also based on the writing of at least 4 different authors, rewriting the work of other authors, and then edited and interpreted by more authors in the early Vatican. The New Testament and the Quran were both interpretations of oral or written perceptions both authored, well after the deaths of Christ and Mohammed. And then reinterpreted by the Vatican, or Imams and religious leaders over the centuries.

Ascribing to a religion is less important than ascribing to a behavioral code. Buddhism and Hinduism believe that what you do now will determine the position you will be in when you return to life on Earth. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all believe that what you do here on Earth will determine your salvation in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise’ after death. They all employ either reincarnation, heaven, or paradise, to influence how to behave while here on Earth.

How you treat others every second of every day is more important than doctrines, churches, Mosques, Synagogues, heaven, the next life, or paradise. How you treat others every second of every day is more important than religion.

Several years ago an ancient manuscript was found in two different places that claimed to be the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Although pieces of both manuscripts were missing, it revealed an amazing Truth. Mary Magdalene was very close to Christ and after Christ died she told the other Apostles that Christ had revealed to her a message that he had not revealed to the others.

Several of the Apostles did not at first believe her. It illustrates how women were often judged not equal to men in preaching the Word of the Gospel. This continued for generations, supported by the Catholic Church and up to this very day. But it also provides the most critical revelation. The importance of the teachings of Christ is not so much about the ‘resurrection’, nor is the primary importance about ‘eternal life and the abolition of original sin’. The most important revelation from the teachings of Christ is simply ‘to learn how to teach others how to teach enlightenment‘.

Religion is a personal journey. It is a personal revelation. Religion is enlightenment. Knowledge is enlightenment. Knowledge combined with wisdom is true enlightenment. Research all religions. Understand why they believe what they do. Show compassion for others and for their beliefs. Learn to develop a conscious dialog with the Divinity of existence. Treat other people with respect, kindness and compassion . . . always.

Learn to do these things and you will never need organized religion. Yet you will feel comfortable in any religious gathering, assembly, or structure you will ever visit.

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WHEN NOTHING IS EVERYTHING

‘There is Nothing in the Desert, And Every Man Needs Nothing’

 

The actual quote is from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and it reads, ‘There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing’. It was recently used in the film ‘Prometheus’, from Ridley Scott. It’s a great line and very significant in the film. Where once again we witness the dangers of technology and the humans that create it. Mary Shelley warned of us how our passion for striving to be as powerful over others as God, could lead to our own self-destruction. But we don’t have to read ‘Frankenstein’. All we have to do is look around us every day. Man’s attempt to reach that divine plateau of knowledge, mimicking our own concept of ultimate power we have perceived as God, can be both a blessing and a curse. It is only by our own cautious manipulation of those great powers we have achieved, that we will control our own fate toward advancement or destruction.

Need I remind you of this as you stare at your computer screen? Or dabble with your phone? Or sit complacent for hours in front of your television? What I can remind you of . . . is how every technology is simply a tool. And like any tool, it can be used for good or for evil. A hammer or a wrench can build or fix the greatest of challenges, but they can also be used to strike the life of another living being.  And a tool is not a human being. We can use tools to improve the lives of other beings. But tools do not have a heart. They do not feel and they do not love. We often use tools to win the love of others; a new car, a new phone, a new toy. But are we giving with the assumption that the work involved to acquire and gift that tool to win someone else’s love, is equivalent to the love we gift as fellow humans? Is the material gift we give, equivalent to the love of our smile, our compassion, or most important, of our time?

Most of us do not live in a desert. We live in a world where the illusion of abundance surrounds us. An abundant illusion so perfectly manipulated, that we feel no remorse when discarding those things we no longer deem valuable. Our abundant world immediately offers a replacement. We can always buy a newer car, a smarter phone, or another plastic container of water; all of them disposable and replaceable. Of course, only if we happen to be lucky enough or wealthy enough to afford them. But where has our disposable existence of material objects led us? It has led us to another illusion. An illusion where we do not have to face what becomes of our disposable resource once we discard them. We are allowed to wear our blinders and walk away from the refuse of our own existence. There was a time when man’s only disposable waste was his own excrements, or the bones left behind after a meal. We were equivalent with all of life around us, because we shared the same requirements, and we left behind the same by-products. We weren’t leaving our discarded by-products strategically buried for future generations. We were simply returning them to the Earth, where they would recycle into the basic elements of the Earth.

We have learned to accept the illusion of abundance, surrounded by all those material possessions that provide us with the comforts we require. And so I journeyed to the desert. And it is here I realized . . . every man needs nothing. Without a relative perspective in our existence, we have no bearing. And without bearing, we have no existence. All of the material possessions in the world cannot provide the necessary direction for existence. This is the lesson Buddha learned from self-depravation. This is how he achieved enlightenment. There are two examples I will provide (although many others exist). The first example is the child born to wealth. Unlike his parent, who may have started with nothing and achieved great wealth, the child has only known wealth. An entire life will be wasted in a pursuit of happiness through material possessions. And although this person may achieve limitless joys in hedonistic exultation, there will always be an inescapable empty hollow within their lives. Without ‘nothing’, ‘something’ is worthless.

The second example is the starving artist. A master of their Art, but impoverished. In their barren material world, they can create masterpieces of painting, music, and literature. They have the perspective of ‘nothingness’. So to them, every meager possession is a possession of wealth. Here again, their life’s fate can move in either of three different directions. They might continue broke and desolate, creating magnificent works of art. And likely die broke and desolate, but a great artist. Or they can achieve wealth, and their lives will take one of two paths. Either they will lose their creative spirits and immerse themselves in their newly found material wealth. Or, if they are wise, they will continue to create art, but maybe not as passionate or inspired as before.

There are countless examples, every day, all around us, of both the wealth born child and the starving artist. And then there are the rest of us, somewhere in-between. Without knowing ‘nothing’, we will find nothing. And without finding nothing and knowing what we have found, we will not ever find anything else. I have found nothing in the desert. And in the desert I have found everything. I can now see that although I have had everything in my life, without finding ‘nothing’ in the desert, I would not know what it was that I had. I would not know what others do not see. And I would not be able to give you ‘nothing’. Knowing that it is the only ‘something’ I could ever give you, that will keep you nurtured and without thirst, in any desert.

 

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

 

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