A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘Y’shua’

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.

 

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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!

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.

Blood ~

According to the OT the life of an animal is in the blood. Since this is also a physical truth, there are few who would argue this point. It would seem, then, that this is the basis for the blood sacrifices in many religions, and indeed, in Judaism before the destruction of the temple and the dispersion.

Yet, according to the prophet (I Sam 15:22), Hashem prefers obedience to sacrifice. So it behooves us to examine what that obedience is, and, if possible begin to attempt to live that way. There are 613 Mitzvot, or commandments on how to conduct one’s life if one is living under Hashem’s covenant with Moshe, or Moses. An examination of these commandments confirms Y’shua’s teaching that all of them, with few exceptions, are about living in peace and compassion with one’s fellow man. It would seem then, that obedience would mean to have compassion, at all times and in all places, for one’s fellow creatures.

So, how is it that in Christian teaching it is more important that you accept that Y’shua made of his own body a blood sacrifice for your sins, yet you do not have to live in obedience to his one commandment to love? This is the basis of why I walked away from the church as I knew it. (I have come since then to realize that not all Christian churches teach this, there are those that teach that both are necessary.)

Yet, if the prophet was correct, Hashem did not require the blood sacrifice of a g-d-man, Hashem only required we listen to the rabbi’s teachings to love. So, if indeed Y’shua’s sacrifice was for us, it was from our perspective, not the perspective of The Ancient of Days. The Holy One wants only that we learn to be compassionate with one another, for the rabbi said that the most important command was to love G-d and love your fellow man.

Yes, I know I am a broken record on this point, but it is the point. There is no other point. According to the Dalai Lama, the real point of religion is to fill our hearts with compassion for one another. I have to agree wholeheartedly, it is because of this man’s teachings, and the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, that I consider myself a Buddhist Christian. I, in fact, have come to glean those teachings of Y’shua’s about compassion and love as the only ones I count as true to his mission. I suspect the rest were added by very human individuals with agendas that were not G-d’s!

It is not Hashem who needs all the ceremony, it is humans. I suspect that the most spiritual among us may be the child that reaches out to another creature, any creature. It is here we see genuine joy and interaction that heals. Forget the blood sacrifices, go let your inner child out to play, perhaps then you will know true spirituality. (Luke 18:15-17)

My Hero ~

Y’shua is very much a hero to me. I love the teachings he brought. I love that he was a rebel and a bit of a rabble rouser, but then, I always did like the “bad boys”. I have never doubted that he had an incredible sense of humor. There is a lot of material appearing these days saying he was married. I do not know if that was true. I think it was altogether possible, I have always felt he was very male.

But, I have long since thought that he did not teach his disciples in any way that he was God incarnate. They were Ivrit, and sons of Ivrit, and could not have stayed with him if they had thought he believed that. There are a couple of places in the gospels that say, as in the garden, that the crowd picked up stones to throw at him, but I don’t believe that was in the original Gospel. I do believe he taught that he had a solid, loving relationship with Hashem, and that it was available to all mankind if they would follow the path he was teaching (which could easily be twisted by folks with less than honest intent!).

I do believe that the bishops at Istanbul (Constantinople) chose only the four Gospels they chose, out of more than 100, because these were the ones that could be altered as little as possible to reflect the God-Man Constantine felt “inspired” to present to the world.

If the Church fathers could produce just one ancient copy of one of the Gospels in Aramaic or temple Hebrew, and it said what the current gospels say, and held it’s own through all the aging and scholarly tests any skeptical expert wanted to put it through, I’d quit thinking of myself as Thomasina. But, apparently the oldest manuscripts available are Greek. That would make sense for Luke’s Gospel, he was a Greek physician writing to a Greek friend, and he was traveling with Paul, who spoke Greek better than Hebrew.

So, Paul’s letters would be in Greek. Now, I know that he said he was a Jew’s Jew, but I am not certain of that at all. First, I am fairly certain he was educated in Greece, that makes his perspectives on Hashem suspect, at least. Then, one of the things that hampered the original 12 that doesn’t seem to have stopped Paul at all is that they had been taught for a lifetime that you do not proselytize. It’s hammered so thoroughly into the Jewish mind that even in a loving relationship  with a gentile a Jew will go out of their way to convince the gentile that they may not want to become a Jew.

But, Matthew was supposed to have been a Jew, a tax-collector, to be sure, one of the despised among the despised, and probably fluent in Greek as well as Latin, but a Jew, so why write his gospel in Greek? And Mark, isn’t it thought that he grew up listening to Y’shua? One of the children of the entourage?

And John Boanerges? Now, he was a Jew’s Jew, may be not from the Sanhedrin, but then, he shows no signs of putting on airs anywhere. He was a fisherman, and so quite probably fluent enough in Greek or Latin to get by in the marketplace, but at home he would have spoken Aramaic, and as the son of righteous Jews he would have at least known how to write in Temple Hebrew.

In fact, he and Y’shua would always have communicated in Aramaic or Hebrew. Take for instance the point on Patmos when Y’shua announced himself. Now remember my stance on the I Am business, what if Y’shua said, “The I Am is the Aleph and the Tov, the beginning and the end . . .” Now, that wouldn’t be a challenge to understand at all, not at least if you knew that the Aleph was considered to have been given by Hashem to Moshe as is, sacred, and representative of the eternal creative forces that shape and mold all of life. The Tov then is the completion and joyous redemption of all creation. Furthermore, there is no reason to presume that Y’shua would have addressed John in anything but Aramaic or Hebrew, so why would John choose to write the book for us in another non circular language that cannot even begin to convey the nuances that are part and parcel to the language of their forebears?

So, you surely ask why this teacher should, after all that, still be my hero. Well, think about it. His teachings were of peace. His teachings were of compassion. His teachings are still there, in the Gospels, tainted, to be sure, but there nevertheless. When I began this journey, and had severe doubts as to what Y’shua would actually have taught, I contemplated Buddhist teaching, and I went to a Wichasha wakan of the Lakota people. I began to see a pattern in all the teachings. Compassion is an abiding concept throughout. That means that there is, somewhere in back of it all, one teacher, may be not actually Y’shua in the flesh, but the Spirit of Holy Wisdom, it would seem. So, he represented her if I am right about the “I Am” twist. And I guess I will just have to wait and see how far off I am.

BTW, I will always suspect the conversion of a man of war who, instead of putting away his sword for the sake of peace, places the cross on his standards as though to say to his enemies, “Here, I’ll show you power!” Modern Christianity began in war, and it still as often as not serves war, even to the point where accolytes are called “Soldiers of the Cross”, yeah, and the Moschiak is called the “Prince of Peace” in the Tanakh. Hm, any wonder the Hebrew scholars doubt?

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