A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘slavery’

Morality ~

I find myself contemplating the Eightfold Path often, and wondering why it is that the faiths that believe in God very God should find it necessary to place commands for right living rather than principles. Buddha said all that was needed, by putting forth 8 well written principles to live by, rather than 100’s of laws that basically say the same thing, but get into the minutiae of how to shake hands on Sunday, if you will. I, personally, have not found ritual to be that helpful, other than in my times of meditation, when I am settling into “that” space, which is what I think it’s all about. Unfortunately, I also think that much of the ritual is intended to entrain one toward the thinking of the leaders rather than enlighten one about one’s own truth.

That being said, I do believe that each of the prophets and teachers was intent upon leading us closer to what was, to them, the desires of a Holy God. Look at Moses, he was nearly right on a lot of things, most of the mitzvot of the Hebrew faith leading his people toward compassion and forgiveness. You can’t ask much more of a leader, until you look at Buddha, who put all those laws into a set of principles that are timeless in nature. Then came Jesus, a rabbi, whose original words have been so coated with other men’s thinking that it is hard to sort through the teachings and come out on the other side truly enlightened. His goal, of course, was to make faith a more personal thing, while still retaining compassion and forgiveness as the center of all that he said and did. Add Mohamed into the mix, and you have compassion mixed with militarism. Eh, not my cuppa tea, but it calls to many.

However, there seems to be a lack of understanding regarding just how far we were to go with compassion. I am not saying they were wrong. I am saying they simply did not go far enough. None of them said war was wrong. None of them said anything about slavery that would make you recognize it as something deeply wrong. Child marriage was still allowed in all that, girls as young as 9 years old. Child labor still remained right up until the 19th century, as legal, and “under the table” it still exists. Rape didn’t even get a nod as the horror it truly is. So, we have a long way to grow in awareness of right and wrong. Pedophilia was never recognized as a sin, but sends shudders up and down my spine every time I think of a child being forced into adult sexual activity!

Many of those faiths and others not listed still consider homosexuality wrong on the whole, even though where it is addressed in both Old and New testament it was being held up as an example of wrong worship (not brought out so that you could see it that way, but when we dig that’s what it was about.) In fact, when you look at Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire question had more to do with people being taken, and harmed, against their will. That isn’t what homosexuality in this era is even about, so there is no connection to that from a modern view.

In fact, it looks to me to be that the Buddha had it closest to right when he said that all sexual contact needed to be consensual, and that one could not even consider it if the person with whom one had it was basically unable to give consent. To Buddha, that meant a child, a slave, a married person. The child because they were not old enough to resist, the slave because they were owned, the married person because they had made promises to another. Buddha thought it was best to remain celibate. but if celibacy was beyond you, at least make sure of the playing field.

In fact, if you are going to quote ancient teachers to me regarding what should and shouldn’t be allowed, quote Buddha. One must strip away most of what is extant in the New Testament in order to get to Jesus actual words, and one must consider that Moses didn’t even know that war, rape, and child molestation were wrong. And don’t quote Mohamed because, as long as it is woman’s fault that men cannot control themselves, (consider the Burka) then something else is going on. It looks to me as though our laws have moved into the realm of what is considered consensual, that’s a major plus. But otherwise, we need to reconsider and revamp our views of what is moral by law. In fact, I am beginning to like the Dalai Lama more and more. It’s time to take this out of the realm of religion altogether, and come to terms with what is compassionate, what is forgiving, and what is right.

Against all odds ~

queryThe young seeker asks “Why are we here?” almost before he or she is in school. Who are we, what are we here for, what is the reason behind everything we see? Pretty heavy duty questions to be asking, and most of the time there are no quality answers to give for such questions.

I feel I have stumbled on the answer to that one, however. It’s not an answer I particularly like, but it is an answer that makes sense even out of the most horrid circumstances that can exist on this planet. I believe that we are here to learn, against all odds, to love. I know, it sounds too simple, but then, remember Occam’s razor; and it straightrazorwould seem to fit, wouldn’t it? We humans have found that our species can be guilty of some pretty horrible and nasty things, many of which have been committed against each other. Truth is, many of those horrors make it pretty difficult to love the perpetrator.  And then there’s that “platitude” love the person, not the crime. Well, yes, but the person is usually so darned intimately attached to the crime, how do you do that?

135cat-dogI am still learning this one, and I will not try to tell you that I can love all the time. There are crimes that just beg for an expedient end to the perpetrator, I will not argue the logic of that. I am simply stating that I believe that we as a species need to learn to love, deeply, truly, completely, and against all odds.

It was Peter who told us that love covers a multitude of sins, see lPeter 4:8. I am not sure he understood the entire ramifications of that statement, though he very well might have. If each of us learns to carry within our hearts that deep compassion for all souls, the compassion asked of us by the Master, the injuries will quietly stop that create many of the “monsters” that come from abusive environments. In that level of compassion we will also learn how to treat the diseases of the mind that leave a soul broken and unable to account for their own actions.

It is only as we learn this depth of love that things like modern slavery, very much an existing plague, can be stopped. (see, Free the Slaves) I cannot defend the perpetrators of all of the crimes against humanity that occur every day in our frightening world, I can only say that until we learn to love at a deep level, all the time, all of us, we will still see this level of degradation in our society.


The Fourth Principle ~

4) Everything in the Universe has resonance. Nothing is truly dead. Everything has a vibration. Everything.

I have difficulty thinking of even the prettiest plastic object, i.e. our little puff in the picture, as having resonance, and therefore life. However, there are a couple of things that need considered.

A. The puff has a color; that will give it a resonance on the color scale, and

B. it has molecules as it is a “solid” object. molecules, as anyone who has studied basic high school science knows, move, and at a quite infinitesimally small level, there would then be a resonance, so I give, everything has resonance, and is therefore not “dead”.

However, does that say it has a consciousness. I don’t know, though the quantum physicists would probably say it does have energy, as there seem to have been some experiments that say that things observed change just because of the act of being observed. Now that goes a little more heavily into the quantum stuff than I can explain, but it does apparently mean that energy, which exists in all of the universe, {remember E=MC²?} has a sort of sentience of it’s own. Dang, that means when I fuss at a piece of plastic it may fuss back? I doubt it, but it may record it. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing if someone were able to tap into private conversations that had been held around a piece of plastic? Yikes! Watch where you leave your cell phones!

Perhaps, if we thought of every thing as having a sort of life of it’s own, we would treat things better than we do? Probably not, if we respect ourselves, we respect the things around us, if we do not, nothing is sacred. Yet, if we could think of even all humans as sacred beings we would live better lives than we do currently. I am not speaking of those who fuss about the rights of the unborn, I have yet to figure out why the rights of an unborn means more to some than the rights of the born. There are too many living in slavery, starvation and just plain poor conditions; when we get to the point where their lives are lived in a world free from such horrors, then, perhaps it will be time to look at the rights of the unborn. We have a long way to go.

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