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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Four Bodhisattva Vows

In Mahayana Buddhism, bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish and a compassionate mind to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings

At the beginning of their journey to enlightenment, anybody wishing to follow the Buddhist path takes these “Four Bodhisattva Vows”

“There are innumerable sentient beings in the universe. I vow to help them all to awaken
 My imperfections are inexhaustible. I vow to overcome them all.
The Dharma is unknowable. I vow to know it.
The way of the Awakening is unattainable. I vow to attain it.”

For the non-initiated, the vows seem paradoxical and unattainable.
The vows are a challenge to accomplish things that no human can accomplish.
The misunderstanding arises both from the limitations of language translation and the Eastern –  Western philosophical differences.

In the Western philosophy, the human is born in a state of imperfection that cannot be overcome.  Only by divine intervention can we be absolved of our sins.
In the Eastern philosophy, the human imperfection is relegated to the Ego and it can be overcome by attaining enlightenment, or the state of No-Ego.

A regular person, the “Ego” cannot and will not accomplish any of the vows.
Only by becoming a buddha can a bodhisattva overcome the paradoxical impossibilities of the vows tasks.

Attaining enlightenment is like falling in love. It cannot be done purposely but millions of people fall in love each year.
You have to look at the world and fall in love with it.
The path to impossible starts in infinite compassion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Where The Truth Lies

A long time ago I had a very nasty car accident.  
I was stopped, waiting to make a left turn at the intersection when out of the blue a car smashed into my back.

There were several motorists that witnessed the accident and stopped to help. When the police arrived and started taking testimonies from them to my surprise their stories were all different and not as I recalled the accident happening.

Furthermore, one of the witnesses even went to say that the accident was my fault. I couldn’t believe it! Why a complete stranger with no vested interest in the case would lie like that? Or maybe he wasn’t lying, he was honest but wrong.
Was he then telling the truth? Then… what is truth?

There is no universal accepted definition of truth and the subject is still out for debate. The classical definition of truth deals with how well a statement represents the actual facts or things it describes.

So a painting, let’s say, it is true to the degree it reflects the reality, hence a photography will be better but still limited to a two-dimensional representation, while a hologram will be even closer to reality, but in an absolute sense still not real. Reality is the only absolute truth.

For more than 2000 years we have been trying to bring our language closer and closer to that reality with direct, explicit, clear words. At the same time, our vocabulary has developed to reflect the social, political and economic trends, specifically the male dominance in the society.

The rise of women rights movement in the US brought those discrepancies in the limelight. The argument was that the male culture and language promotes sexism and discrimination against women and had to be changed to reflect the equality of sexes.

So mankind became humankind, stewardess became flight attendant; policeman became the officer, chairman chairperson, manmade synthetic, fireman firefighter and so on.

The changing of the wrongdoings of the past was done not as a favor to women but as justice. The new words were not a departure from the truth but rather a better reflection of the man, woman equality. And this is the most important most misunderstood and abused thing about the truth.

This misunderstanding has started a new trend in the American language to change the vocabulary not to serve the truth but to accommodate certain human sensibilities thus in the 80’s the “politically correctness” movement was born.

The crippled has become handicapped, the retarded are now mentally challenged, fat people are overweight, midgets are little people, old people are senior citizens and dead people are expired.

Why? Are those words a better reflection of reality? Do they hold a higher truth? No. Fat people are still fat, old people are not getting any younger and stupid people are not getting any smarter.

So are we really doing them a favor by pretending that we don’t see their condition? Do really deaf people say “I don’t like the sound of that word, I prefer to be called hearing impaired.”? Isn’t African American as racist word as black, since it makes the same artificial discrimination?
There is only one race, the human race; shouldn’t we all be called just human beings?

We are witnessing an ever increasing abuse of the truth, in our everyday life.
The media, the pundits, the experts, they all are stretching and abusing the limits of language in order to persuade and control public opinion.

The obvious reality is no longer the truth. Facts are no longer facts any, all that it matters is the spin, the interpretation, the opinion, the words.
 And of course, everybody is too busy to use their own brain.
After all, why do we have computers for?

Friday, May 19, 2017

IT THE TRUTH

What is IT?
What is the absolute, the indefinable IT that defines all things?
The IT that cannot be named but gives names to all?

IT, is like a black hole that collapses all in its gravity; inaccessible, unobservable and untouchable.
Like a black hole we only know of its existence by its effects.
We know IT by its many names; The Matrix, Intelligence, Consciousness, Love, Energy Flow, The Truth.

IT, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing by the truth.
Nothing exists outside the Truth. All that exists is the truth.
Reality is the ultimate Truth against all that exists is measured.

Lies do not exist. And even so it feels like the world is overcome by lies, that is just an illusion.
It is the illusion of the darkness taking over the earth. But darkness does not exist.
Darkness is just the absence of the light. Lies are overcoming us because the truth was silenced.

Darkness fills in every time we turn off the light. Darkness cannot be turned on or off.
Darkness doesn’t exist. Darkness exists only in our perception.
Lies exist only in our perception. Lies do not exist outside of our Ego illusion of the reality.

Stop lurking in the darkness. Turn on the light.
Seek the truth and the illusion of lies will dissipate like the morning mist under the sun’s glory.

Seek the truth and you shall be set free.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

AWAKENING

Ask anybody what they think about themselves, what are their worst qualities.
You will get a wide range of answers but one, which in many cases would be the appropriate answer, will never be given. Nobody thinks they are stupid and even when they may say “I was so stupid!” what they really mean is; “I’m such a smart person, how could I’ve done such stupid thing?”
Believe me, people will accept being not so good looking, or in not such good shape even accept or take pride, in not being educated, but nobody will admit they are mentally inferior to the average.

We are not aware of our mental limitations, actually, the more limited the person is the smarter they think they are.It takes a really smart person to realize its mental flaws.
We are limited in our thinking by both lack of facts and limited rezoning power. Actually, on the universal scale of intelligence, humans would be at the very bottom of the list, just one step above the apes.

So looking from that perspective is really easy to understand the society, the people around us and ourselves. The world is the way it is not because we are intelligent being but because we are not as intelligent as we think.

We think we are pretty smart with our technology, our science our computers and internet but biologically speaking we are not any different from our ancestors. If you could somehow bring a baby from ancient Grece and raise it in our time he or she wouldn’t be any different from any of the other kids.

As a society, we have amassed an extraordinary amount of information and that knowledge is growing every day exponentially. As individuals, we cannot be smarter than we are. We can get more educated. We can raise the quality of information we ingest but biologically we are limited by the size of our brains.

What we can do, however, is to become enlightened, to awaken, to overcome our ignorance, our Ego.
Now, I have to be very specific by what “ignorance” is because many understand ignorance as “uneducated”

Ignorance is the state of unawareness, unconsciousness and is not the same as the act of consciously ignoring a fact. For example, there are people ignorant of the fact that our trash is destroying the planet’s ecology but also there are people that know that yet continue the practice of polluting the planet usually for a profit, ignoring the consequences.

The “Ego” is our natural state of ignorance.  The ignorance comes from the fact that the “Ego” defines itself as separate from the outside world, the universe.  This creates a constant state of fear, uncertainty, lack of control, scarcity, both material and spiritual.
All that is an illusion, a creation of our reasoning mind.

To be “Enlightened” is to wake up from that illusion and recognize our true nature.
I am not my “Ego” I am not my “social identity” I am not my “experience”
I am the materialization, the manifestation of the infinite intelligence of the universe.
And that of which I am is immortal, indestructible, infinite.
It is that it is.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spirituality, Religion, Church and Politics


"I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's" 
                                                                                                                                 - Mark Twain

Is a spiritual, religious person allowed to be involved in politics?
Well, it depends on which religion and also on which spiritual person we are talking about.
If you are practicing a religion that specifically forbids the political involvement, then obviously the answer is no. If you are a person on the path of spiritual enlightenment, the answer is also, no.
But for the regular, lay person, with some spiritual, religious involvement the answer is up to each individual.

Let’s talk a bit about the people that are actively pursuing the path of enlightenment.
The Buddhist discipline specifically teaches the detachment from the material world.
That detachment goes beyond material things and involves also all aspects of mental, emotional involvement with the material world.
The Buddhist student has to rise not only above greed but also above the notions of fortune, fame, power and influence. Political involvement is absolutely out of question.

So you will say: “What about the Dalai Lama. Isn’t he a political figure and very much involved in politics?” Yes he is and he is paying for that involvement with the price of his enlightenment.
The Dalai Lama is not a Buddha. He’s not enlightened – at least not all the time J

Same goes for the people on the path of Christ-hood.
In the Christian tradition the same truth stands valid. To become a Christ (enlightened person) you have to be in this world but not of this world. In other words – no political involvement.

What about the regular Joe, the one that goes to work, pays his taxes and raises his kids?

Well, like I said, it’s up to you.  If you still have time and energy left at the end of the day and want to get involved in politics, why not, it is your right. My personal advice; don’t do it, or if you do run for some office, get involved by doing it not as a spectator / fan of politics which IMO is just a waste of time and emotional energy.