Monday, February 19, 2018

Reincarnation

Reincarnation has nothing to do with religion. Reincarnation is a natural law in operation, a penetration into the laws of cause and effect. Science has taught us (in the physical world) that nothing can die, for nothing is ever totally extinguished. When one form of animation leaves the body, another is switched on. The body which is alive in all its cells begin to function in another direction. It fertilizes life, which life in turn fertilizes other life. - Gervee Baronte

The extent of the logical evidence for reincarnation is amazing. It is found to explain justly many of the problems of daily life... it reasonably accounts for such psychological problems as sudden friendships, awakening memories of past associations, certain strange actions of children, the nature of genius, obsession, and dual personality.... By this doctrine the world becomes a huge training school, guided by law, and ruled by Divine Justice, instead of being a bewildering maze of chaotic and chance accidents. - R. F. Goudey

The object of our sojourns on earth, as apart from the gaining of experience, is but one. The loosing of ourselves from the coil of reincarnation, which, over and over again, brings us back to earth as on a coiled spring, until, having learned the last lesson of matter, leaped the last barrier, we are freed for ever from earth. - Shaw Desmond

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Awareness

To be aware means to feel what is happening in the moment; to live in the present. The more fully we feel, the more aware we are. Awareness implies two seemingly mutually exclusive forces: involvement and detachment. The involvement is expressed by our willingness to feel whatever arises, the detachment by the fact that we take the stance of a mere witness, only noticing what is happening and letting it dissolve of its own accord, by our actually feeling it fully. Thus, awareness implies that we are open, alive and ready, without adding to or subtracting from what presents itself – and ultimately liberates itself.

Because everything only exists when noticed, awareness is the base of everything. For us, however, the journey of awareness begins very simply, by paying attention, with what the Buddha called proper mindfulness of body, breath and thoughts. In other words, awareness means that we feel and notice what is happening in the moment, and this includes attention to every detail in our day to day activities.

Paula Horan

Friday, February 16, 2018

Enough is Enough

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. - Orson Scott Card


A long time ago, there was an Emperor who told his knight that if he could ride on his horse across as much land as possible, then the Emperor would give him the area of land he had covered.

Sure enough, the horseman quickly jumped onto his horse and rode as fast as possible to cover as much land area as he could. He kept on riding and riding, whipping the horse to go faster and faster.

When he was hungry or tired, he did not stop because he wanted to cover as much area as he could. It came to a point where he had covered a substantial area but he was exhausted and was dying. Then he asked himself, “Why did I push myself so hard to cover so much land area? Now I am dying and I only need a very small area to bury myself.” 

Moral of the story:

We push very hard every day to make more money, to gain power and recognition. We neglect our health, time with our family and to appreciate the surrounding beauty and the hobbies we love to do.

One day when we look back, we will realize that we don’t really need that much, but by then, it is too late. We cannot turn back time for what we have missed.

Want to read more inspirational, motivational and educational parables? Get a copy of Parables on Amazon or join Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, and read it for free.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Incense

Most of man’s customs and habits have had their origin in his physiological and psychological nature. This is especially true in regard to that which either gratified man or which he experienced as unpleasant. Man’s sentient experiences were the fundamental guide in his primitive state. Though we can well presume that primitive man had no concept of the nature of good and its opposite, yet those sensations that were pleasing to his senses were the preferred state, and those contrary, he avoided. Man came to select his foods by their succulence and sweetness; and that which pleased his sense of smell was likewise categorized as having a special agreement.

With the advance of polytheism and anthropomorphism, human-like qualities were attributed to the gods that man conceived. Therefore, the gods likewise desired those substances and materials which gratified man, and were thought to be irritated by that which man found offensive. It was then incumbent upon man to placate the gods if he wished them to be propitious in their relations with him.

Special foods, herbs, barks and plants having an agreeable odour were offered to the gods in sacrificial rites. Such a practice was the beginning of magic and primitive religion. If certain areas were consecrated to the worship of the gods, such as the natural elements, the sky, earth, and stars, which were apotheosized as supernatural beings, fragrant flowers were strewn upon the ground or placed on altars. This, it was thought, made the gods conducive to the appeal of the worshippers.

The earliest of these odoriferous substances used in this manner were frankincense and certain gum resins extracted from trees and plants.

Aside from its practical uses as a mean of dispelling offensive odours or for religious rite, incense perpetuates a mystical and esoteric symbolism. To the mystical adherent, the symbolism becomes an objective form of his subjective idealism and sentiment. The burning, the scent, the smoke has no import in themselves; they simply portray the spirit of the thoughts and emotions of the user.

The glow of the fire symbolically depicts the zeal and devotion of the adherent to his cause. The fragrance, the agreeable scent, is symbolic of the harmony of transcendent pleasure. Finally, the smoke represents the ascension of the consciousness, the projection of the finite nature of man to the infinity of the Cosmic.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Christianity

You see, we're all born sinful except for Jesus who was perfect, of course. And he was sent to save us. But how could he save us unless we're sinning? So, we have to go on sinning in order to be saved and go to Heaven. That's how Christianity works. That's why it suits so many people. - Charlie McManus

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. - James Madison

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity ... it produces only atheists and fanatics. - Thomas Paine

Monday, February 12, 2018

Suffering - Quotes

All the suffering that humanity ever knew can be traced to the one fact that no man in the history of the Galaxy ... could really understand one another. Every human being lived behind an impenetrable wall of choking mist within which no other but he existed. - Isaac Asimov

As in labour, the more one doth exercise, the more one is enabled to do, strength growing upon work; so with the use of suffering, men's minds get the habit of suffering, and all fears and terrors are not to them but as a summons to battle, whereof they know beforehand they shall come off victorious. - Sir Philip Sidney

Affliction is a spiritual physic for the soul, and is compared to a furnace, for as gold is tried and purified therein, so men are proved and either purified from their dross, and fitted for good uses, or else entirely burnt up and undone forever. - Wellins Calcott

I marvel now that it was not obvious how inextricable suffering and fear are. It was not until fear left that I noticed, slowly, how it seemed to have taken suffering with it. It took a while to figure out that (for me, anyhow) suffering is mostly caused by fear – not by the circumstances themselves, but by my response to them. - Jan Frazier

The beginning of hardship is like the first taste of bitter food – it seems for a moment unbearable; yet, if there is nothing else to satisfy our hunger, we take another bite and find it possible to go on. - George Eliot

If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. - Eckhart Tolle

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Buddha Rising

“Life can be likened to a circle. It has neither end nor beginning. Our short journey in life begins and ends at some point in the circle, but Life continues on, and on ...”


The following article, Buddha Rising by Perry Garfinkel was from the December 2005 issue of National Geographic Magazine

Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be known as the Buddha, was born around 500 B.C. near the foothills of the Himalayan, the son of a local king. In the centuries after his death, as his reputation grew, fact intertwined with myth, and a legendary Buddha was born as well. In one version the Buddha toddled out of his mother’s side at birth and took seven steps in each cardinal direction, with lotuses appearing under his feet.

Most versions agree, however, that at age 29, the married prince, disillusioned with his opulence, ventured out of his palace and for the first time encountered old age, sickness, and death. So moved was he by this brush with the painful realities of life that he left his comfortable home to search for an end to human suffering. For six years he withstood all the deprivations of his fellow seekers – he fasted, he observed silence, he lived alone in a cave – until he realized he had not found what he sought.

There must be another way, he thought, a “middle way” between indulgence and asceticism. He decided to sit in mediation under one of the broad papal trees that dotted the plain of the Ganges River until he found his answer. He examined his thoughts to discover how and why human beings often create their own mental suffering. He emerged from under the shade of the tree as the Buddha, which simply means “enlightened one.” (The tree, Ficus religiosa, is now known as the bodhi tree.) until his death at 80, the Buddha traveled the corridor of what are now India’s Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, sharing his insights with all who would listen.

His ideas were based not on faith, as in other religions, but on empirical observation, starting with his own outside the palace. He arrived at Four Noble Truths: 1. There is suffering in the world, whether mental or physical.
2. Suffering occurs because of too great an attachment to one’s desires.
3. By eliminating the cause – attachment – you can eliminate suffering.
4. There is a method to eliminating the cause, called the Eightfold Path, a guide to ‘right’ behaviour and thoughts. The Eightfold Path is a moral compass leading to a life of wisdom (right views, right intent), virtue (right speech, conduct, livelihood), and mental discipline (effort, mindfulness, concentration).

One of the key practices of the Eightfold Path is meditation. Though the technique may differ from sect to sect – alone or in groups, facing a wall or fellow meditators, eyes closed or slightly open, in silence or chanting phrases – many types begin by paying close attention to your own breathing. There is nothing mystical or otherworldly about it, no levitation, no out-of-body experience. With each in and out breath, your awareness becomes more refined, more focused.

The Buddha did not intend his ideas to become a religion; in fact, he discouraged following any path or advice without testing it personally. His dying words, as it’s told, were: “You must each be a lamp unto yourselves.” Nonetheless, within several hundred years of his death, the Buddha’s teachings had taken strong hold. Today, Buddhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and traditional Chinese religion.

Some people argue that the Buddha was right, that Buddhism should not be categorized as a religion but as a philosophy or form of psychology. After all, unlike other religions, there is no supreme being, and it encourages you to question – even challenge authority.

There are those who were attracted to these traits of Buddhism. It was non-dogmatic; it relied on evidence you could test with your own senses; it suggested that you, not some external force, hold the answers to your own happiness; it saw your mind as both the obstacle and the key to truly understanding yourself.

While many Europeans and Americans are drawn to the ornate and complex rituals of Tibetan and Japanese Zen Buddhism, others seem to prefer the simplicity of Southeast Asia’s Theravada Buddhism.

As Buddhism migrated out of India, it took three routes. To the south, monks brought it by land and sea to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. To the north, they spread the word across Central Asia and along the Silk Road into China, from where it eventually made its way to Korea and Japan. A later wave took Buddhism over the Himalayas to Tibet. In all the countries, local customs and cosmologies were integrated with the Buddhist basics: the magic and masks of demon-fighting lamas in Tibet, the austerity of a Zen monk sitting still as a rock in a perfectly raked Japanese garden. Over centuries Buddhism developed an inclusive style, one reason it has endured so long and in such different cultures. People sometimes compare Buddhism to water: it is still, clear, transparent, and it takes the form and colour of the vase into which it’s poured.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Universe

Every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong. - James Branch Cabell

From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician. - James Jeans

It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. - Dr. Carl Sagan

The Great Architect of the universe built it of good firm stuff. - Jules Verne

The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity. - Tony Robbins

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Spiritual - Quotes

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all result of a law which cannot err. - Unknown

We are travellers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. - Paulo Coelho

Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world. - Alan W. Watts

Few cross the river of time and are able to reach non-being. Most of them run up and down only on this side of the river. But those who when they know the law follow the path of the law, they shall reach the other shore and go beyond the realm of death. - Horatius

If the whole world is holding on to you and you are not holding on to anything, then you are free. Let everything come and hold you, but you are not holding anything. That’s how you leave the mind and enter freedom. - Mooji

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Religion

Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense. - Voltaire

Of Religion, I know nothing – at least, in its favour. - Lord Bryon

Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. - James Madison

Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. - Robert Ingersoll

Religion has caused more harm than any other idea since the beginning of time. There’s nothing good I can say about it. People use it as a crutch. - Larry Flynt

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hell

All I know is that if God loves me only half as much as my mother does, he will not send me to Hell. - Lin YuTang

Hell doesn't even exist ... It's all in our minds. We invented it as a warning to those who don't live up to our standards. - S. Kaye Saunders

Hell doesn't exist. It is a creation by traditions of men and a misunderstanding of the Scriptures. - Leif A. Werner

Hell is a state of mind. It is a remnant of ancient man's fears and an anachronism from our primitive past. I disavow it; therefore, it does not exist. - S. Kaye Saunders

I have no fear of the Hereafter. An orthodox hell could hardly be more torture than my life has been. - Robert E. Howard

If there is in fact, a heaven and a hell, all we know for sure is that hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Phoenix. - Hunter S. Thompson

If you're going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

There are materials enough in every man's mind to make a hell there. - Henry Ward Beecher

To those who wish to punish others – or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters in to their own hands – the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort. - Steve Allen

We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful. - Christopher Hitchens

Heaven and Hell are, in my opinion, much like God: a feel-good idea that swims in the minds of people, but has little bearing in reality. It's also a nifty way to control people through fear. - Unknown

Monday, February 5, 2018

Reincarnation

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Only one who denies that the soul lives on can deny reincarnation. For the rest ... it must be considered. - Edward Reaugh Smith

Reincarnation involves a free choice of action constantly, and constantly an opportunity for re-making one's self and one's surroundings. - Eustace Miles

Reincarnation is essential to enable the soul to evolve to its Divine right. - R. F. Goudey

Reincarnation is, indeed, the key which unlocks all doors, the universal "combination," before which our manacles fall from our limbs – the life-line by which the crooked way is made straight. - Shaw Desmond

Reincarnation, at least as I conceive it, does not nullify what we know about evolution and genetics. It suggests, however, that there may be two streams of evolution – the biological one and a personal one – and that during terrestrial lives these streams may interact. - Ian Stevenson

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Law of Dependent Origination

The Law of Dependent Origination is one of the most important teachings of the Buddha, and it is also very profound. The basis of dependent origination is that life or the world is built on a set of relations, in which the arising and cessation of factors depend on some other factors that condition them.

On this principle of interdependence and relativity rests the arising, continuity and cessation of existence. This principle is known as the Law of Dependent Origination. This law emphasizes an important principle that all phenomena in this universe are relative, conditioned states and do not arise independently of supportive conditions. A phenomenon arises because of a combination of conditions which are present to support its arising. And the phenomenon will cease when the conditions and components supporting its arising change and no longer sustain it. The presence of these supportive conditions, in turn, depends on other factors for their arising, sustenance and disappearance.

The Law of Dependent Origination is a realistic way of understanding the universe. The fact that everything is nothing more than set of relations is consistent with the modern scientific view of the material world.

The fundamental principle at work in dependent origination is that of cause and effect. Since everything arises because of some preceding causes, there can be no first cause.

Can a First Cause be Known?

According to the Buddha, it is inconceivable to find a first cause for life or anything else. For in common experience, the cause becomes the effect and the effect, becomes the cause. In the circle of cause and effect, a first cause is incomprehensible.

As to the question how all beings came into existence without a first cause, the Buddha's reply is that there is no answer because the question itself is merely a product of man's limited comprehension. If we can understand the nature of time and relativity; we must see that there could not have been any beginning. It can only be pointed out that all the usual answers to the question are fundamentally defective.

The theory of a creator does not solve any problem, it only complicates the existing ones. Thus, Buddhism does not pay much attention to theories and beliefs about the origin of the world. Whether the world was created by a god or it came into existence by itself makes little difference to Buddhists. Whether the world is finite or infinite also makes little difference to Buddhists. Instead of following this line of theoretical speculations, the Buddha advises people not to waste our time over this unnecessary speculation and devote our time to strive for our salvation.

The Buddha was more concerned with teaching a practical understanding of the four Noble Truths that He discovered: what suffering is; what the origin of suffering is; what the cessation of Suffering is; how to overcome Suffering and realize final Salvation.

He taught the fact of suffering only so that He could show people how to overcome this suffering and move in the direction of happiness. According to the Buddha, even the worst sinner, after paying for what he has done, can attain salvation. Buddhism offers every human being the hope of attaining his salvation.

Buddhism is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Rather, Buddhism encourages us to be realistic: we must learn to see things as they truly are.

The origin of the world

The Buddha did not give any specific teaching regarding the origin of the universe or of life. The question was said to be unanswerable from the level of ordinary mundane intelligence. He taught what He deemed was absolutely essential for one's purification and was characteristically silent on questions irrelevant to His noble mission.

It is laid down, as a natural consequence of the Law of Dependent Origination, that in the ceaseless cycle of cause and effect there cannot be any link in the sequence that can be designed a First Cause, and the beginning is nowhere apparent; it is a closed circle of related conditions, each factor being dependent on the preceding ones.

All that reason can do is to show a First Cause, in the sense in which we understand it, is not only unnecessary but impossible. The truth can only be gained by Insight in accordance with the teachings of the Exalted Buddha, which means rising above the realm of relative and conditioned factors. That point being gained, it will be found that there is no answer to the problem, but that the problem never existed save as an illusory product of Ignorance.

One might argue that life must have had a beginning in the infinite past and that Beginning or the First Cause is the Creator. In that case there is no reason why the same demand may not be made of this postulated Creator.

The beginning of this world and of life is inconceivable since they have neither beginning nor end. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts.

The Buddha did not waste His time on this issue. The reason for His silence was that this issue has no religious value for gaining spiritual wisdom. The explanation of the origin of the universe is not the concern of religion. Such theorizing is not necessary for living a righteous way of life and for shaping our future life.

In the eyes of the Buddha, the world is nothing but Samsara – the cycle of repeated births and deaths. To Him, the beginning of the world and the end of the world is within this Samsara. Since elements and energies are relative and inter-dependent, it is meaningless to single out anything as the beginning. Whatever speculation we make regarding the origin of the world, there is no absolute truth in our notion.

To Him, gaining knowledge about such matters was a waste of time because a man's task was to liberate himself from the present, not the past or the future.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Food for Thought

Think often of how swiftly all things pass away and are no more – the works of Nature and the works of man. The substance of the Universe, matter, is like unto a river that flows on forever. All things are not only in a constant state of change, but they are the cause of constant and infinite change in other things. Upon a narrow ledge, thou standouts! Behind thee, the bottomless abyss of the Past! In front of thee, the Future that will swallow up all things that are now. Over what things, then, in this present life wilt thou, O foolish man, be disquieted or exalted – making thyself wretched; seeing that they can vex thee only for a time – a brief, brief time! - Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Th Secret Knowledge

There have always been legends and traditions about secret knowledge. At the root of most religions is some form of secret knowledge, a gnosis or inner realization that can be attained and may even be promised.

In secret societies and lodges there is another kind of secret knowledge – words, signs, symbols, and lore – all of which may appear in written form, but have additional meaning that is communicated private. Teachings within these secret societies are better described as private rather than secret.

The naïve searcher for secret knowledge might expect to find some magical fact or formula, something specific and objective that can be grasped and memorized. But the prime characteristic of a gnosis is that it cannot be communicated; it is said to be ineffable. It is a realization that cannot be physically transferred from one person to another. Yet it is attainable, and verifiable, by individual discovery.

Moreover, there are methods and programs leading to this discovery. But such teachings are usually venerated and preserved in private, esoteric societies. Tradition usually includes the idea that this knowledge, and any teachings that lead to its discovery, should be guarded and withheld from unworthy persons. Worthy seekers are inducted and led step by step on the path. Initiatory degrees and rituals in such orders dramatize the steps and foster the discovery.

Yet the big secret is that there is no secret, that this knowledge is really not secret at all! It is there for eyes that can see or ears that can hear. In spite of its supposed secrecy, much of it has been spoken and published very plainly – but still goes undetected.

Consider in this light the many cryptic statements in Christian and other sacred scripture. These statements, too are for the initiated. Without the key, without the personal preliminary development, they remain undeciphered. With the key, they are stating, bold statements reflecting a radically different realization. So, it is secret only in this strange way, protected by its own arcane nature, and by our lack of development.

It is easy (as in these comments) to continue saying much about such secret knowledge, but this is like talking about water – it does not quench the thirst. It is better to be told, “Here is a path to the spring, where you must learn to drink for yourself.”

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Christianity

Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age. It serves to detach the species from the natural world, and likewise, each other. It supports blind submission to authority. - Unknown

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors. The record does not show that Adam and Eve were ever married. - Edgar Watson Howe

Fundamentalist Christianity appeals to pre-civilized, prudish tribal people who are not ready for urban feudal pleasures. - Timothy Leary

He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect of church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The greatest crime in fundamentalist Christianity is to think. - Unknown

The real difficulty with thousands in the present day is not that Christianity has been found wanting, but that it has never been seriously tried. - Henry Parry Liddon