A voicehearer’s path ~

Archive for the ‘Buddha’ Category

Reality, Is there a God?

jesus_teaching_2I happen to believe that “God” is very real. I also believe that this God wants us to be happy and good to one another. Much beyond that, and it gets murky. I have had personal experiences with Spirit in my life that have convinced me of the reality of a “Higher Power” in the universe. I cannot tell you that you must believe, or even what to believe, you are responsible for your own thoughts on this.

I have come to believe that, though the scholars may be right, and the stories of a Christ may be twisted and suborned, there are kernels of truth in the gospels. Not of a human that was a God, but, rather, a human teacher that was enlightened and taught a better way for us to live. Yes, I am aware that he is quoted to have said some things that are just simply not supportable by a human. I believe those things were added into the story by those who wrote the legends many years after this rabbi lived.

In fact, it is because of all the controversy that I am going to share with you my base for the beliefset I hold. I must admit that when I first became aware that there were no notes and documents from the time in which the rabbi lived, my head was spinning. Had I put my faith in a myth? Well, possibly. So I began to search out from other faiths, what they believed, and why they believed them. One of my favorite books was Huston Smith’s work on the religions of the world. I was most impressed that Dr. Smith had done the field research that I would want to do if I had had the opportunity.

What came through to me so clearly in that research, and more of my own in reading and talking to those who practiced other faiths, was that Buddhism, stripped dalailamadown to it’s core teachings was nearly identical in principle, and many of the Buddha‘s teachings were a rephrasing of the rabbi’s, or the rabbi’s teachings were a rephrasing of the Buddha’s teachings. Either way, this gave me a basis on which to build my own practice. I had also found a woman who would teach me regarding the indigenous beliefs of the First People, so I must admit this is also part of my beliefset. In fact, my current practice has little to do with ceremony from any of the three basic foundation sets, and much to do with how I see things, and the principles I try to practice in daily life.

There are some lovely side issues when Buddhism is so similar to the Christian path. One is that I see Y’shua as another Buddha, an enlightened human, not a God. Another is that, with Buddhism, there is no need to worry whether there is a “Father” God at all, Buddhism is about relieving humanity from suffering, not about worshipping a God.  Ergo, you can be an atheist and practice Buddhism quite easily. The key, for me, has more to do with how you treat your fellow human beings, in following Buddha’s path, you are in obedience to the one I call the “Ancient of Days”. There is another gem here that should not be over-looked. With Buddhism, you are instructed right at the start that this has to do with your own journey, not about telling others how to live. You don’t have to worry about “John”, or “Suzi”, or anybody else along the way, just worry about yourself. What a wonderful release from being responsible for how others live. It isn’t yours to worry about.

8fold_pathNow, that last part, that’s been a point of contemplation for me. Y’shua taught us not to judge others, he also told us that we shouldn’t worry about the splinter in our brother’s eye when we had a log in our own. That should pretty much tell us to mind our own p’s and q’s, but, rather than telling us not to worry about others so much, Gautama Buddha went on to teach us how to travel the path toward the light, i.e. Wisdom, our own ethical conduct, where to concentrate our efforts. Though you can see the parallels in their teachings in the third link I gave you, the focus of their teachings was a bit different. Y’shua’s was almost all about conduct, Gautama was about the inner journey. Both were leading us toward spiritual growth, Buddha was teaching us how to be another Buddha. Though I believe it was Y’shua’s intent to also teach us to be like him, that has been made to look almost impossible by those who preach and teach in Christian churches, teaching us to love the messenger and forget his message. I don’t personally believe we can afford to do that. We must learn to follow the message.

 

To “Christians” ~

Jesus taught:

Love ~ “ One command I leave you, that you love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34-35

Forgiveness ~ “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:14

Minding our own business ~ “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Matt 7:3-5

Non-judgment ~ “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matt. 7:1 (same thing as minding our own business, but put a bit stronger.)

Now, I am well aware that there are those who do not believe Jesus was real, or said what was said or was many different teachers, or, or, or. There are many theories out there which are not the point of this particular post. I am speaking to those who confess that He is God incarnate. If you all truly believe this, why do you not take his teachings to heart?

So many claim Christianity as their religion, but pick and choose which of His teachings they will live by. That’s not really how it’s supposed to work. Jesus was teaching a path to walk, one that would bring you closer to the I Am, the very near, very now presence of God very God. Now I believe him to be fully human, like Buddha, an awakened being, big brother to all of us, not just a few. He is recorded to have said that we could all be like him, and do the things he did. John 14:12-14, but that is not what is taught by the churches, for to see him that way requires that we consider him enlightened rather than an incarnate of God. I myself am a seeker, not yet so enlightened that I can manifest as he did.

All I am asking is that, if you believe in his teachings, or believe in Him as God, can you Please, Please, live by what He taught. Shining a light of love onto humanity so that the compassion and forgiveness that he taught are the hallmarks of following Him. It does no good to stand in judgment of others, it does no good to make others to blame for what is happening to you. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt 6:33

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 7:12

Teach Love, not Hate!

I am saddened when a church allows foolishness to rule it’s statements to the public. I am not telling them to deny their beliefs, I am trying to point out that the most effective way to make your beliefs a part of what you stand for is to voice the truth about what is presented in the Old Testament of Christian Bibles. Now, those of you who know me, know that I do not make it my business to mind the lives of those around me that do not align with my own beliefs. I am one of those people that figures if you treat me with kindness, I will return the same behavior toward you.

That is true no matter what you do in your private life. I have people in my life who have rebellious children. I don’t advocate that they should stone them as they are instructed to do in the OT. I have people in my life who are openly gay. They are good to me, and operate in kindness and compassion toward others. This is all that I could ask of them. I have people in my life who have been raped. The OT version of how you should treat them is so unbelievably harsh that I could not go there.

What I am saying here is that if you add up the punishments proscribed in the OT, there is no one, no not anyone, whose life would be unscathed. So, what to do? Well, the Buddha, and Y’shua both taught a way of life that, no matter if you believe in an Almighty God or not, lead to peace of an everlasting sort. What, you say, could do that? Treat all, no exceptions, with kindness and compassion. It’s that simple. Actually, if you are, as you say, a believer in the New Covenant of Christ, you have no choice. His one commandment was “Love one another as I have loved you.” If all those who called themselves Christian lived by that rule, there would be no issue. All the foolishness would go away.

But, we have to start with the children. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to look at all other beings on the planet with compassion. We teach kindness and compassion by BEING kind to them. Neither abuse the children nor teach them to hate, this will only compound the problems that exist here on this planet. You cannot teach children to hate and expect love and peace to follow in the next generation. So, what do you teach? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, humility, gentleness, and self-control. that’s what you should be teaching your children. When I see this in a church, I know that it is one where the truth of God reigns, when I don’t see it, I know that The Holy Spirit is not there.

The Religious Fervor ~

Note ~ I am not speaking of spirituality here, those who follow the path of Y’shua, or of Buddha, make it a habit to be kind whenever possible, and as the Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “It is always possible”. This is NOT the group I am addressing. I am speaking to those folks who continually, deliberately, push people’s buttons just to see how far they can go. I was part of the fundamentalist  movement of the Christian Church, and stayed with it for nearly ten years, finally getting out when it became plain that there was no intention of obeying the Master, there was only the intention of filling followers with fear. Fear of what? Fear of persecution, pure and simple.

The problem, at least as I began to see it, is that, when you get in someone’s face continually, telling them that they are going to HELL for not going to your church, or that they are held accountable to God for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers, not just their own, well, eventually people do push back. They may be generally peace loving, and generally mind their own business, but when you intentionally get into their business, they cannot help but want to push you back over the boundary lines you have constantly made a practice of crossing. That’s just human nature. You all need to stop bullying people.

So, here we are, the fundies are waging war on the rights of women to control their bodies, conception being the key issue. There are many women who would choose to have a hysterectomy early on in their lives, or at least a tubal ligation, so that they were in no danger of adding more children to an already overcrowded planet. But most reputable Doctors will not perform such a procedure early if there is no overriding health issue to justify the procedure. Yet, it is becoming more apparent that fundies would like to make it harder and harder to get contraceptives, or abortions ( I prefer contraceptives, leaving abortions for when the mother or growing fetus are in danger anyway, but that’s another story.)

This isn’t the only issue that is on the table. Here is a list of the things that Republicans want to do to wage this war. Yet, those who follow this line of thinking want to scream that they are being persecuted if women fight back. I am not persecuting you. You are doing your darnedest to find ways of putting me in your own particular box. I am not going to go there, I am not going to live in a world governed by those who think they know what “God” says. I believe that God is compassionate to the utmost. I believe that what God wants of us in non-judgmental kindness, one toward another. Yes, I will fight for my right, and my sisters’ rights in this world and any other. If you leave us alone, and quit trying to force feed us your morality, you will find the persecution issue just fades away to nothing.

Critical Thinking ~

Don’t mistake ignorance for perspective.  Gather complete information.  One of the most important and most violated principles of critical thinking is thoroughness—that is, gathering all available facts on a subject under scrutiny.  Obviously thinking requires facts; erroneous conclusions often stem from inadequate factual knowledge.

Principles of Critical Thinking:

1.      Gather complete information.

2.     Understand and define all terms.

3.     Question the methods by which the facts are derived.

4.     Question the conclusions.

5.     Look for hidden assumptions and biases.

6.     Question the source of facts.

7.     Don’t expect all of the answers.

8.     Examine the big picture.

9.     Examine multiple cause and effect.

10. Watch for thought stoppers.

11.  Understand your own biases and values.

One of the reasons I have so thoroughly come to respect both Judaism and Buddhism, and adopt their views as my own, is that there is an encouragement toward Critical Thinking built into both religions. As this is the reason I drew away from Fundamental Christianity as my source of faith, you can understand that this would be a draw toward these as perspectives to both admire and to adhere to in my own walk. Question, question, question; this is my own stance toward life, and I expect to be questioned by those who walk the path beside me.

I believe Spirit is very real, as I have had that level of help in my own walk, both in making decisions and in who and what to be. I also believe that there is One, Holy and Righteous, that cares intimately for me, and all other human beings that walk the planet. I also believe the One has many helpers on many levels. I have had many mystical experiences along the way, which is why I call myself a mystic, though the path I walk could as easily be called the Questioner’s Path as any other name. In fact, one of the red flags along this path is that, when questioned regarding a particular event, any person says to me, “Don’t ask questions, just believe.” That will get my hackles rising in seconds.

I have been called a “New Ager”, and I understand the wish to label me, so I understand the desire to put this label on me, though, if you look at standard New Age belief systems, generally, I don’t fit with the norm, (when have I ever?), but just for the sake of argument, I have drawn from beliefnet.com a set of general beliefs to show where mine differ.

Belief in Deity
God is the impersonal life force, consciousness, ultimate truth and reality, the incorporeal, formless cosmic order personified within all people and matter. God is all and all are God.

God is very real, not only not impersonal, but extremely personal, with a sentience that goes well beyond our understanding. God is in all of creation, this is truth, but we are not God, we are co-creators with God, therefore gods, in a round about way, but not God the One.

Origin of Universe and Life
The universe, life, and matter were not created by God but “are” God. The universe and life emerged out of the creative power of the eternal universal life force.

This could get “tricky”. God is very real to me, as a personality and sentience that goes beyond understanding by my finite human brain, but though I believe God is made manifest in all of life, I do believe God has an existence outside our own universe, and that to presume all of life is “God” is a mistake. The idea that life emerged from the creative power of the eternal universal life force, well, there is truth in that, but only part of the truth, not a complete picture at all of what and who God is.
After Death
Some believe in continual rebirth–no death–as life is spirit. Some believe that our souls rest for a time before deciding on a new body (or bodies). Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, self-imposed, due to ignorance of God as all.
I am a reincarnationist, so there is a partial truth here, but I believe life on this planet is for learning, so there is much here that is left unsaid. And, while it is true that I believe Heaven and Hell are states of consciousness, and therefore “self-imposed”, they, Heaven and Hell, are part of the experience of living in a dense reality through which the eternal light does not necessarily shine, it is that very denseness of matter that creates the darkness into which evil presents itself as a dual reality, it is a lack of life, not another life form.
Why Evil?
No original sin, no Satan, and no evil. Most believe people make “mistakes” when they are ignorant of the power of goodness, which is God, within themselves and others. Some believe evil is perpetuated through accumulation of past-life wrongs and spiritual ignorance.
While I do not believe in original sin, I do believe there is actual evil in the world. The idea of Satan as an overseer of Hell is a bit skewed in my beliefs, as evil is chaotic and self-serving, therefore incapable of organizing on a level that would create an “Army of Darkness”. This does not, however, preclude that there are not dark forces at work, they are just not organized enough to prevail in the face of ultimate Good. As I hinted earlier, in my contemplations and meditations it has become apparent to me that evil is the result of the denseness of materiality, that it is in fact, a lack of light, the light of God, and the denser the matter, the less of God you will find in those places. This does not mean that I think of God as limited, au contraire, God is beyond such limits, I do, however, believe that God just doesn’t “go there”, in those places where the light is not.
Salvation
Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force. Awareness can be heightened through methods that induce altered states of consciousness, e.g., hypnosis, meditation, music, drugs. Spiritual “tools” include crystals, tarot cards, amulets, channeling, fortunetellers and psychics. Some believe the salvation of humanity will occur when a critical mass is reached, when people converge in experiencing their oneness with God and with each other. This will bring a New World Order or new Planetary Order, resulting in oneness of civilization and one-world government, peace, and harmony.
Ah, no. Obviously, since I believe God is a real, sentient being, and a “person” who wants each of us to be “in relationship”, this is not part of my belief system. One part of the twofold issue of Salvation is that God saves, and God saves to the uttermost, so all are “saved” in that all will eventually be “in relationship” with the One. We may have to live many lives to eventually “get there”, but we will all eventually get there. The other part of the twofold “Plan of Salvation” is that each and every one of us, when we finally reach that point of being in relationship with the One, will know that living in unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness are our “chores” in the learning process. This is what we are here for. This is what we are to learn. It is necessary for each of us to learn these functions in order to reach our own personal salvation. When we learn this, we will be able to “go home” permanently, living in the unconditional love of the Creator of all life. As for the New World Order, well, it isn’t happening in the next six hours, so the best we can do is learn our part in the plan, and see where that brings us when we have managed that.
Undeserved Suffering
Suffering is the result of greed, hatred, and spiritual ignorance in a person’s, or humanity’s, past lifetimes, which returns as suffering (karma). Suffering is sometimes viewed as occurring for a specific purpose, to further spiritual growth and learn a life lesson. Suffering is also seen as illusory, in that it results from attachment to bodily pleasure and pain, and only the universal life force within, God, truly exists.
Well, what we have here is a partial truth. Karma is very much a part of the picture, as Y’shua is quoted, “What you sow, that shall you also reap”. And, yes, I do believe that part of suffering is to learn a life lesson, but that is most definitely NOT all there is to it. Remember that I believe that there are three “lessons” that are uppermost in our learning process, unconditional love, compassion for ourselves and others, and forgiveness; when we have truly learned those lessons, suffering as such will become a non-issue, as it really is an attachment to bodily pleasure and pain that is the ultimate cause of such. What is not being said here is that this is a Buddhist teaching, and the teaching has a great depth not under discussion here. To learn the entire teaching, please refer to the Buddha’s teachings on suffering. I do want to mention here that, Buddhism is the ultimate of humanism. There is no mention of “God” in Buddhist teaching, as the point in the Buddha’s entire journey and teaching was the alleviation of suffering for the human soul. His point was to find what could lead to happiness within the heart of each and every human being. In my own journey, where I have come to believe the reality of Spirit, and the belief that God is real, is that ,most profoundly,  from a Buddhist viewpoint, one must learn to be compassionate and forgiving, and from a Judaic viewpoint one must be compassionate and forgiving. Hence, the ultimate obedience to God is to follow the same path that Buddha taught as the way to alleviate suffering: be kind.
I don’t believe that there is any religion on earth that has all of the truth. I do believe that there is a core truth in all the light serving religions, in that all teach that part of the path is to learn to be compassionate and forgiving. Will we ever see a time when there is only one religion? I hope not, as that implies that the World Order is evil finally organizing itself to destroy us all. What I hope for is a mutual respect given to all light serving religions, so that each and every person on the planet has a choice, finding the path that serves them best in their journey of growth in understanding of Spirit. May all be blessed. Namaste!

Attachment/detachment

The concept of Attachments and Detachment as a way of life is complicated, and needs much consideration before it will be clear what it’s all about. I am not even sure I can explain it clearly, but I am going to attempt it. First, you must know that there is an unhealthy detachment of the soul that is common in those who suffer psychopathy, or those who make us suffer with their sociopathy. With this form of detachment, it is often seen that the person involved cannot form the appropriate bond with other humans that allows for empathy, the putting of oneself in another’s shoes in any situation. When we lack this ability, we become completely self-centered, caring not one whit about the well being of others. These people are often cruel, even when they do not mean to be. Even when these folks have children, everything in their lives will be about themselves, not their offspring. It is eerie to see this in operation, as you may see a child badly injured where the parent is more worried about how they look than how the child is faring.

This is NOT the healthy detachment from outcomes and situations taught by the Buddha, for, in the Buddhist path, one is taught to care about all human beings, not just offspring, as though they were part of one’s inner circle. Yet, at the same time, one is taught to surrender control of others in order for them to learn from their own experiences, good or bad. Even here, there is a balance that is necessary, for to allow one’s child, or another soul for whom one is responsible to go into a dangerous situation without proper preparation, or even to go at all, if the child is small, would be tantamount to malignant neglect. That is why it is very necessary to understand that one needs to travel a path of balance, or the middle way, as the Buddha called it. By keeping to this middle way, one is able to see clearly when intervention is appropriate, and when interference is clearly without merit.

The place where this healthy detachment comes into play is when a person makes a choice, all facts presented, that is against one’s advice. Here, for one’s own sake, as well as for the others involved, a type of detachment must occur that will allow the other to make their choices and learn. This is not easy for a parent, or at least should not be, even when necessary. But it is appropriate. Here is the difficulty, when the child has reached the age where their life choices can lead to sorrow, a parent must speak to the choices, as objectively as possible, then step back and let the adult child make their own decision. This is the same anywhere you have a responsibility to make sure an individual is informed of the consequences of their actions. You must detach from the outcome, here, for your own well-being, as well as the well-being of others around you. Nor should the child or others believe that you will be available to rescue them from the situation their own choices have led them into.

This healthy detachment allows you to go on living your life without the burden of carrying the weight of decisions that are not yours to make.I am extremely aware of the difficulty of such a situation, but, so was the Buddha. To remain attached to outcomes here will naturally lead you into feelings of anger and frustration. This disturbs your peace, do not allow it to do so. You have seen to your responsibility, and as long as you have done the best you know how in the situation. I have favorite prayer that is a mantra for me in times like these. It is commonly used in AA, and is the very best attitude to have when you are in the midst of such times.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Cause and Effect ~

The Teacher spoke of this in simple terms, “What you sow, that shall you also reap.” But the principle, Cause and Effect applies to everything, everywhere. In the Principles gleaned in working with Spirit several years ago, I learned the basics of that principle, but in the teachings of the Buddha on dependent origination, one learns that this is a profoundly important principle throughout all of nature. Yes, it is important to know that what we put out in the universe we will undoubtedly get back in our daily lives, but it is important, also, to realize that this principle is completely woven into the fabric of life.

This is where we learn that all is connected, everything here depends on everything else. The flower depends on the nutrients in the soil, the temperature of the air (the amount of sunshine available in the climate of the location the flower is growing), and the moisture available for it to grow. I have been watching a fascinating series of television programming called “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman”. I started watching it simply because I like his acting. But the program itself is wonderful. In one episode the tilt of the universe was discussed, as many of the galaxies are going in a particular direction, toward a “cold spot” in the fabric of the universe. The theory is that there is another universe touching ours at that spot, pulling the galaxies in that direction, a rather large and magnificent example of “cause and effect”. So it is that we can see that this principle is woven into the very smallest things observable as well as the largest.

Thus we must ask, how do we proceed in our own lives? As the Buddha, Y’shua, and Moshe all teach, we must live consciously every moment of our lives. It isn’t just what you say, it isn’t just what you do, it’s how you live, from the moment you awaken in the morning until you lay down to sleep at night. I am well aware that this world is torn and shredded by the cruelties that are brought by life, from the child molested by her father, to the seedy trafficker in human slavery. I will not pretend that all of this will go away in an instant if we learn to be compassionate, but eventually, all human life, and all that is around us will learn to be more sensitive to the needs of those around us if we can learn to turn the sorrows into opportunities to be gentle . We are, as human beings, inclined to return kindness for kindness, even in the midst of turmoil.

I cannot tell you that it will be easy. I wish I could. I have had problems all my life in my own path. I do hear voices, I do see things that “aren’t there”. Learning to be here, and be now with my fellow humans has been a monumental task. But, it can be learned. I learned early to concentrate on my lessons so thoroughly that the voices didn’t bother me. Even that would get me into trouble, as I then had so filtered out all that was around me that I wouldn’t hear my teachers or the other students until someone either yelled or touched me. This even affected my play time, as it was also more difficult to “connect” with my playmates in a meaningful fashion. I often ended up playing alone. But, I made it through, may be not in the best way, may be not in a way that others should follow. The thing that always helped was when another soul, no matter how simply done, or how profoundly done, would touch me with that gentle hand of compassion. It has been that compassion that has brought me through. I hope that you, too, can be kind to the ones that need it, it has most assuredly been there for me, and giving it back is all I know to do! It all boils down the the Dalai Lama’s simple phrase, “Be Kind”.

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