A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘Buddha’

Murk ~

Murky-FoggyGod does not see into the murkiness of our souls. I have held this view for many years, and every horrible thing that happens, from school shootings to genocidal events confirms this for me. I have even had debates with my fellow believers on this subject as they insist that the “Almighty” can see whatever the Holy Presence looks at. But, therein lies the rub. We were given free will. If the Ancient One interferes with that, it is not free will. But that means that in this world in which we live and move and have our being, there will be horrible atrocities that are completely unexplainable if you believe that God has set the Holy Presence as some sort of GameMaster.  That isn’t how it works, obviously, or 26 people would not have died at Newtown, many of them children under the age of 7.

Do I believe God called these children home? Well, I believe that God opened his arms to receive them when they were sent home by a  madman. Is that the same thing? I don’t think so. I, personally, believe that the only way such an atrocity, such a heinous act, could have been prevented was to restrict and enforce that restriction of the sale of such guns. I know, I will be told by those who believe in gun freedom that the law breakers will get their hands on them anyway. Maybe. Murders with firearms, are down in many countries, the only countries ahead of us on this scale are war torn, at best. We need to admit that we are not first (I know, GASP!) and look at their laws and adapt such laws to our nation.

But, getting back to this thing about the murkiness of the soul, and God’s not looking into that murk. I believe the ancient laws of Moses were given so that we could know some of the causes of murkiness andopenbible find the way to be more pure of heart and mind. Now, do I believe that list was complete? No! Do I believe that list was correct? Well, for the most part, but there were things that needed much longer explanations, or just not mention them. Do I believe the Bible was inspired? Sort of. You see, to me, Moses may have had more visionary instruction than dictated instruction. That would lead to wordiness where succinctness would have sufficed, and succinctness where more verbiage would have helped. And, I believe that all inspiration comes through our very faulty filters, in which case, no matter how much God tries to tell us what we need to know, if we are not clear enough to see it, we won’t get the lesson. I don’t care how powerful you believe God is, and I personally believe God to be more powerful than anyone is capable of imagining. If you have not gone through a clearing process, you will not see or hear any instructions you are supposed to see and hear.

Dalai LamaIf, in fact, we were all clear enough to see and hear the best instructions from the High One, there would be a world of people like Buddha and Jesus. I don’t think we’re there yet. I think we are much more inclined to be like a sieve, where some of the holes are blocked, and some are clear, where we hear, we may, indeed, hear with great clarity, but where the holes are blocked, we don’t even see that there’s a problem. And, there’s another issue. Many times what we do hear is for us, not the congregation, and we think this light we’ve just been given must surely be shared. That has lead to some incredible confusion. The only “‘sharing” of light that we are to consistently do is to be compassionate toward each other, to forgive perceived wrongs, and to be responsible for our acts and words so as not to hurt others unnecessarily in our quest for higher living.

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.

 

Jesus, real or not?

jesus1Is Jesus (Y’shua) a real figure in history, or just a tool used by the “establishment” to control the masses? I can’t answer that one for you, you have to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions. I know that I have come to some conclusions of my own, and will share them, but you must do your own. First, I do not see Y’shua as an actual Son of God, as I do not believe that God will take human form. I had already begun to question that when I did some digging into Jewish thought. You can see those thoughts on several very good websites, Jewfaq, Judaism 101, Aish.com, all are good. (Remember, there is no “pope” in the Jewish faith, so there are differing interpretations for all things God depending on the sect you question.) But, generally, Jews do not believe that God will incarnate, ever, in human form.

After I had done much research on those sites, and in questions to rabbis, I began to see Jesus as a rabbi, not God’s son. Now, to be honest, Jews do not see Y’shua as having been a particularly good rabbi, for he taught obedience to principles rather than the letter of the law. That is because Moses outlined the laws down to the very minutiae of daily living. It seems that the rabbi Y’shua was attempting to teach living by the principle of compassion. It was at the point at which I began to see this that I started to read the teachings of the Buddha. Now, I had been studying Y’shua’s words and thoughts for about 20 years, both as part of Evangelical MB1Christianity, (I was part of the fundamentalists), and outside the church, because I did not fit with the people with whom I was studying. My basic problems were that, though Y’shua taught a peaceful way of life, many from that particular sect were not inclined to Love. You can’t do that, and be faithful to Y’shua’s teachings.

What I encountered in Buddha’s teachings was so similar in principle that when you do a comparison of the two, you see many many parallels. So many that I needed to write them down, and did, in the post I have linked for you. In fact, the amount of parallels I found had me beginning to see Y’shua as another Buddha. The reason that is important to me is that you can pray to a Buddha, (essentially an enlightened human being) and recieve answers, both in advice and in help, for living a better way. In other words, if you pray in the name of Jesus, or Y’shua, his Greek and Hebrew names, the Spirit behind his enlightenment will help you.

The only reason this is important is that there are so many legitimate questions regarding the historicity of Jesus’ life, especially the way it is presented in the four gospels. There are many who question his very existence, so much so that it becomes important to see that it is what is at the core of his teachings that matters. He taught that we could become like him, he taught that we could do the things he did, and understand what was needed and that we could grow into that place he spiritualgrowthoccupied. That makes him a genuine son of man, not an offspring of God, but enlightened and willing to help us. So, when I pray, I still have Y’shua in mind, but think of him more as a Big Brother, than as God. My helper, my path teacher, if you will.

The remarkable thing in all of this is that, if you study Buddha’s teachings you will see that it doesn’t matter if there is a God or not. Buddha never taught about God, he was teaching a path that would lead humans out of suffering. He was teaching us that if we are compassionate toward all life, we will begin to find our own way out of the morrass of pain and suffering that is so much a part of the human existence. We could become a Buddha. I like that perspective so much that it no longer matters to me if you believe in God, so much as it matters to me if I am kind. It is not my business if you choose that path or not, it is my business to live my life following that path.

Cute ~

Puppies and Kittens

As that one woman in your office can tell you (or if you are her, no need), cute pictures of snuggly, doe-eyed little critters touch a soft spot in us humans. Baby schema — the set of features that make young animals appealing, like big eyes and a head too big for the body — have been shown in experiments to capture people’s attention, make them smile and even induce caregiving to others. Oh sure, the boss may seem tough, but one look at a basket full of puppies and he’ll want to rub you right on your little belly.

A study published online this week by the journal PloS ONE suggests that viewing cute images not only makes people feel better, but improves performance in completing certain tasks.

Oh my! A study to explain why might show something that the wise ones have been saying for millenia. Genuine compassion is what is needed for this world to function better. Lol, I know that seems a bit simplistic, but it’s true. When we care, we are careful. Anything evoking that caring part of our personalities will function to bring us into a state of mind that will cross our “t”s and dot our “i”s with more precision. We can be as efficient in many ways as a surgical machine, but without compassion, we are just going about our tasks on automatic drive. That’s why we cannot find a way to make a computer surpass a good Doctor’s worth when it comes to patient care.

I love the very thought of this. It so completely shows that we are in need of compassion, even in the mundane tasks of the day. The more we care, the more careful we are, even when it comes to tying our shoes. I suspect that this was marketing research for anime that simply surprised those conducting the study regarding the deeper implications of it. But how magnificent is that? A simple market study about cuteness finds that we as humans are hardwired to function better when the caring part of our personalities is tapped! I dare say that you will find with deeper study that this is why those who can harm animals easily and without purpose are inclined to become serial criminals of a violent and harmful nature.

Compassion is teachable! It is important to begin the teaching in early childhood. If we do this, we will enhance our existence beyond our wildest imaginings, and find true happiness is something that can be unleashed here on Earth.

All My Relations ~

allmyrelationsThere is a Lakotan phrase which traslates into the words of the title. It is a concept that comes back to me time and time again as I see the news, or when in conversation with others. It doesn’t just mean other humans, either. It means all of life, most especially on this planet, as that is our “neighborhood”. The concept is that all of life is from one source, therefore, all are related, all are “family”, there are really no strangers, there are just relatives to whom you have not been introduced.

I am aware that this is not always a pleasant concept if you extrapolate it completely out to it’s farthest extreme, for it means that one is related to Mother Theresa, St. Pious the pope, a grasshopper, Hitler, Y’shua, Buddha, Mohamed, a butterfly, Jeffrey Dahmer, and all of humanity and beyond. One wouldn’t mind being related to Mother cockroachTheresa, or a butterfly, but what about Dahmer or Hitler, or a cock roach. yuck! But, we must meet the pleasant with the unpleasant.

There is another factor. If I look at Hitler as a brother gone very badly awry, I may still be inclined to stop him any way I can because such horror visited upon humanity must cease, but I quake as I do this, knowing that it is my brother I condemn to death because he has gone horribly wrong in his perceptions and ways. I no longer must be punitive in what I do. I must be kind, and hope that all ends as well as possible for all concerned, for there are no good answers when a human looses their capacity for empathy if they ever had it.

And there, in the word empathy, lies the key to all that comes about. When a human being has no empathy, no capacity to stand in the place of another and experience, even for a moment, the good and the bad of being that other person, there opens an entire array of child-abusedark things that become possible for that human to do, that simply otherwise would not even be on the horizon.

So . . . . .

Can empathy be taught? Is it drummed out of a child by neglect or abuse? How do we find ways for this incredibly necessary concept to become part of all human beings? There, I believe is the place where the teachings of the Masters comes into play. Y’shua and Buddha both taught compassion for all, on a moment by moment basis. Not to just high personages of status or means, but everyone. The beggar on the corner, the child, the stranger, the neighbor, all must be treated with kindness.

And though we cannot allow the murderer access to the tools by which he might return to murder as a way of life, even here there must be compassion, albeit firm with unbending discipline, it is only as we see the wisdom of the masters, it is only as we learn to practice the concept of the Lakota people, the Tatanka Oyate, and see all as our relations that we can begin to hope that someday, somewhere on our planet, there will be a shift in consciousness, and all will understand, Mitakuye Oyasin.

All My Relations, Aha!

Balance re: attachment, detachment ~

marefoalI do sometimes wish that the English language were more diverse. There are times like this when one word does not fit all. Attachment can mean anything from an area where a plug connects with its socket to the relationship between a mother and her young.  Detachment of a type is an important concept in Buddhism, and also a sign of sever emotional dysfunction in a child. Gads! What a world! I may get quite verbose on this one, as it’s a tough nut to crack.

First, be aware that detachment in Buddhism is a type of disentanglement when one is so embroiled and enmeshed in the lives of others that the attachment causes  severe discomfort for both parties, where neither party knows a gentle way to ease out of the situation. It is not intended to dissolve one’s compassionate interaction with other humans, or even other beings. Quite to the contrary, it is intended to teach that the truest form of compassion will always be there to help, but will never interfere if the person has already bgmade up their mind the direction in which they intend to go. When that person is injured as a result, there is no recrimination, simply help with getting back on one’s feet. It is not an easy way to live or see the world. There are so many times when pure temptation would have us say “I told you that would happen.”

Only when it becomes apparent that even with the hard knocks the person hasn’t learned are we to take a further step back, even then, no recrimination, simply not allowing their need to learn the hard way to devolve us out of the path we are supposed to be walking. The concept being that once you have done everything you can, and are praying about those areas where you cannot reach out and make a difference, (the prayer that some one somewhere can.) BTW, the serenity prayer helps with that (Neibuhr), you can move on to learn the next step of your path. One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism was that there are those, (called bhodisatvas) who chose to stay on this plane to help those of us who lag behind. They reincarnate not because they must or stay in a low position on the wheel of life, but because they have “made it” and are here to show the rest of us the path of kindness that will bring us all home.

the_dalai_lamalargeRemember, Buddhism is a personal path of study and learning about mastery of self  and about personal attitudes, it is not a religion, it does not address in any way if there is a G-d in the heavens, it is about you taking responsibility for your actions and learning to live a better way. You are free to believe in God, it does not interfere with being a Buddhist also, you may be a Taoist, (pantheistic belief in compassionate living, a Christian, a belief in g-dman that “saved” you; a Jew, a monotheistic belief in compassionate living, or any other belief system you choose. It is easiest if you choose a belief system where compassion is a chief cornerstone, so that you have no conflicts between your path and basic Buddhism.

It is the need to live in balance, called the Middle Way by the Buddha, that finds itself addressed in living a “detached” life that holds neither attachment to things or people so tightly that they cannot breathe, nor detachment from things or people so lightly that one forgets to be kind to all other beings. Finding that balance is not easy, but it is possible. HH Tenzin Gyatso, the dalai lama,  is a wonderful example. I bow to his teaching and mastery.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times ~

While I applaud the concept behind much that is being done to throw down old barriers to health care {Dr.s without Boundaries} and other good works that aim at getting behind the walls that have been placed by despots for control of their people, there is an air of the extreme about today’s world that begs for the very disorder that is the Psychiatric dish of the day, i.e. Bipolarism.

This is a wonderful time for people like myself, who prefer to live alternate lifestyles. We are not pushed by society to be something we are not. I never married, it is not that I was not asked, it was that I was drawn to the bad boys. They make fun companions, lousy husbands and worse fathers. As long as you do not expect a long term commitment from them they are wonderfully fun and funny, even when it is they that ask for the commitment.

Yet, there are many in our world who do not thrive in a time where limits are the taboo, and putting boundaries on your life can make you unpopular. I have long thought that the controls of, say, the church, are fine as long as they are not mandatory for everyone. If those controls are the way a person wishes to live, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t make it law for everyone to live that way. That, however, has not been how it has worked out over the centuries.

We are not a species that easily finds its balance in life, many of us are workaholics, others are drug addicts, many have found their thrills in unprotected sexual activities.  There are many self-medicators who need a glass of wine daily; there is nothing wrong with that as long as it stays at a glass and doesn’t become a bottle daily and starts to interfere with one’s life. And therein lies the rub, eh? We allow our cravings to run our lives and then we are in trouble.

So, is there an answer?

Well, yes, but it is not easy, and I cannot say how each of us will go about doing it. For generations out of mind, society has served as an exoskeleton, bracing us up in ways that were such that we did not have to grow our own bone structure and stand on our own. That exoskeleton has weakened, and in many places crumbled. It is time to find our individual internal bones and strengthen them so that we can stand without the bracing of societal rule to tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Talk about a difficult task!

This is actually where Buddhism has an advantage over Christianity or any other “faith”. In almost all faiths, one is not taught to seek inner strength and purpose, but to look to the deity for one’s rescue. I believe in G-d, so this was not much of a problem for me, but one does not need to believe in a deity to follow the Buddha’s teachings. One needs only to desire internal and true happiness and to be willing to follow the Buddha’s recommendations toward that end.

Let me be fair, here. Christianity, as with Judaism,  the Muslims, and many others has a wide variety of groups within the whole, some of those groups do indeed teach discipline and study. Some teach discipline for all, others only teach this for the group that is part of the inner sanctum. This is also true of Buddhism. So the main difference between the Buddha’s path and Y’shua’s path is the belief in Hashem. Actually, the more I learned of Buddha’s path, the more I realized it is the only difference.

If you study the four gospels, counting Y’shua as a wise teacher from whom you wish to learn, instead of thinking of him as a magical pill you swallow that makes you “whole”, you will find that his teachings bear an uncanny resemblence to the Buddha’s teachings from 500 years before in the orient, 1000’s of miles to the East.

Essentially, Y’shua was teaching how to most sincerely and certainly please a high and holy God via release of worldy attachments, service and humility. Buddha was teaching a path toward inner joy via release of worldly attachments, service and humility. They are the same path, simply two diametrically opposite perspectives. And as the saying goes, one can have it all, as one can please God most high, while at the same time, finding true happiness. Hm, and we can even find balance from the extremes by following Buddha’s middle way.

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