Friday, March 31, 2006
Dying by Crucifixion
Our conclusion is that, at present, there is insufficient evidence to safely state exactly how people did die from crucifixion in Roman times. It is quite likely that different individuals died from different physiological causes, and we would expect that the orientation in which they were crucified would be crucial in this respect.
Joshu's Dog Koan
Meditate on the answer. I'll post it in comments.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Listening to The Power of Now
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Insane to a Degree
So, my mind alternates between past and future. Time to just accept where I am at and focus on the Now.
I'm finally back from the Ford dealer. They didn't get the part in until 1:00 P.M and I was there at 7:00 A.M.. The alternator wasn't bad. A spark plug wire and the coil assembly had to be replaced. Car runs fine now. Nothing wrong with the charging system once the ignition parts were repaired. Counterintuitive how an ignition assembly could kill a battery. Must have affected the computer as well. Finished Thud! by Terry Pratchett while at the dealership. Not as funny as Going Postal, but I enjoy Sam Vimes and the Watch.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Last words of Gotama Buddha, in Theravada tradition
Essence of Zen
but throwing away one's preconceived views
and notions and the sacred texts and all the rest,
and piercing through all the layers of coverings
over the spring of self behind them.
Monday, March 27, 2006
The Progression of Light or Truth
Thomas Jefferson, (letter to Rev. James Madison, July 19, 1788)
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.
Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.
A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
One can argue that these are extreme viewpoints. We are kinder and gentler and more accepting these days. Yet, we have a Christian convert about to be put to death in Afganistan. We have Muslims killing Muslims and Christians in the name of Islam. We have Christians killing Muslims in the name of Democracy and Liberty. We have the politicization of Science. We have Intellectual Relativism.
What is the point of all this madness? Through great suffering, great awakenings happen. Evil redeeming itself. Either that, or Evil will consume the human race.
Follow the Light or the Darkness
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5)
I am the light that is over all things. I am all, from me came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone and you'll find me there. (Gospel of Thomas 77:1-3)
There is only the Sacredness we call God. We are nothing, but tools or toys through which that Sacredness expresses itself.
There is a contest between minds going on. Tolle and others mention this. The collective conditioned human mind, the mind that builds enough thermonuclear weapons to blow us all to dust, yet is scared of powering our homes with the same energy. Then, there is the Universal Intelligence - the mind that created the Universe, that evolved Mankind, that evolved flowers and diamonds and gold and many other beautiful things, a mind we are part of and integral with. We are choosing as a race which mind to follow. Things are unfolding as we live. Interesting times. Grin.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Can't fix stupid...
Robes of Stillness
I sit on moss in Zen robes of stillness,
While through the window,
In the setting sun of late autumn,
Falling leaves whirl and drop to the stone dais.
Tesshu Tokusai (d.1366)
Life Makes One More Real
have the total picture? There have been many people for whom
limitation, failure, loss, illness, or pain in whatever form turned out
to be their greatest teacher. It taught them to let go of false self-
images and superficial ego-dictated goals and desires. It gave
them depth, humility, and compassion. It made them more real.
Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson
concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Even a
brief illness or an accident can show you what is real and unreal in
your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn't.
Seen from a higher perspective, conditions are always positive. To be
more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They are as they
are. And when you live in complete acceptance of what is which is
the only sane way to live - there is no "good" or "bad" in your life
anymore. There is only a higher good - which includes the "bad."
Seen from the perspective of the mind, however, there is good -bad,
The Power of Now
Saturday, March 25, 2006
He died a philosopher;
They made him a god.
Wings of Desire
one little part of it. That is why you must read,
that is why you must look at the skies, that is
why you must sing and dance, and write poems,
and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.
There is a Candle in Your Heart...
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?
You feel the separation
from the Beloved.
Invite Him to fill you up,
embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you otherwise that Love comes to you of its own accord,
and the yearning for it cannot be learned in any school.
From: 'Hush Don't Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi'
Translated by Sharam Shiva
Friday, March 24, 2006
but is a matter of ordering oneself. Nobility has
nothing to do with power and rank but is a matter
of self realization. Attain self-realization, and the
whole world is found in the self. Happiness has
nothing to do with wealth and status, but is a matter
Every thought in consciousness has been born into form,
a temporary form and then it dies and goes onto another
form. You could say the whole world is consciousness
having taken birth as form, manifesting as form temporarily,
and then dying which means dissolving as form. What always
remains is the "essence" of all that exists - consciousness
Unknown Sufi Scholar
Do not believe anything on the mere authority of teachers or priests. Accept as true and as the guide to your life only that which accords with your own reason and experience, after thorough investigation. Accept only that which contributes to the well-being of yourself and others.
Truth Appears Again and Again
The Truth appears again and again in human history.
From Zen Koans: One Note of Zen:
After Kakua visited the emperor he disappeared and no one knew what became of him. He was the first Japanese to study Zen in China, but since he showed nothing of it, save one note, he is not remembered for having brought Zen into his country.
Kakua visited China and accepted the true teaching. He did not travel while he was there. Meditating constantly, he lived on a remote part of a mountain. Whenever people found him and asked him to preach he would say a few words and then move to another part of the mountain where he could be found less easily.
The emperor heard about Kakua when he returned to Japan and asked him to preach Zen for his edification and that of his subjects.
Kakua stood before the emperor in silence. He then produced a flute from the folds of his robe, and blew one short note. Bowing politely, he disappeared.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is on the rise worldwide due to patients not completing their therapy or medical incompetence or ignorance by physicians.It's an LA Times article.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
One day Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him.
"We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness," the gods whispered to him.
"But I have not spoken of emptiness," said Subhuti.
"You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness," responded the gods. "This is the true emptiness."
And blossoms showered upon Subhuti as rain.
Provided he makes and wins an argument about Buddhism with those who live there, any wondering monk can remain in a Zen temple. If he is defeated, he has to move on.
In a temple in the northern part of Japan two brother monks were dwelling together. The elder one was learned, but the younger one was stupid and had but one eye.
A wandering monk came and asked for lodging, properly challenging them to a debate about the sublime teachings. The elder brother, tired that day from much studying, told the younger one to take his place. "Go and request the dialogue in silence," he cautioned.
So the young monk and the stranger went to the shrine and sat down.
Shortly afterwards the traveler rose and went in to the elder brother and said: "Your young brother is a wonderful fellow. He defeated me."
"Relate the dialogue to me," said the elder one.
"Well," explained the traveler, "first I held up one finger, representing Buddha, the enlightened one. So he held up two fingers, signifying Buddha and his teaching. I held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching, and his followers, living the harmonious life. Then he shook his clenched fist in my face, indicating that all three come from one realization. Thus he won and so I have no right to remain here." With this, the traveler left.
"Where is that fellow?" asked the younger one, running in to his elder brother.
"I understand you won the debate."
"Won nothing. I'm going to beat him up."
"Tell me the subject of the debate," asked the elder one.
"Why, the minute he saw me he held up one finger, insulting me by insinuating that I have only one eye. Since he was a stranger I thought I would be polite to him, so I held up two fingers, congratulating him that he has two eyes. Then the impolite wretch held up three fingers, suggesting that between us we only have three eyes. So I got mad and started to punch him, but he ran out and that ended it!"
The moral here I believe is that one's opinion or perspective is just that, an opinion. One monk believed that the other was enlightened and the other monk was insulted, but neither man understood what the other was trying to say. Both perspectives were flawed because of "a failure to communicate" (anyone remember Cool Hand Luke?). My perspective doesn't mean much because I am one of 6.5 billion human perspectives on this planet at the moment. One divided by 6.5 billion is essentially zero. LOL!.
It's been a week and a half since she received the check. It's not been cashed yet. Figured she would have cashed it ASAP since I had to FEDEX it to her.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Everything is Best
"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
A Cup of Tea
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
I need to empty my cup first.
Monday, March 20, 2006
The field of boundless emptiness is what exists
From the very beginning.
You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away
All the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits.
Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness.
Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157)
The End of Illusion
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Lone Voice in the Wilderness
Saturday, March 18, 2006
The Killer Joke
Is Life just a Virtual Reality Computer Game and we don't know it?
One movie along these lines is The Thirteenth Floor. You have a computer simulation of a city running within another computer simulation of a city. It's basically what this whole thread is about.
The problem is with this whole gedanken experiment is Consciousness. We don't know what Consciousness is or how to model it because Consciousness can not be grasped by the mind. How can you model something that can't be modelled? Some will say, yet, it can't be modelled yet. However, artificial intelligence is still an unfulfilled dream. No one has been able to build a conscious machine intelligence. We can build simple insect intelligences and there is an attempt to build a conscious machine intelligence by the Brook's lab, but it is slow, methodical, difficult bleeding edge science.
Another way to look at it is The SIMS game. However, The SIMS pales in modelling an entire Universe and its life forms though.
The whole purpose of this entry is to shock your ideas and concepts about reality. This isn't a new idea. Some science fiction authors have written short stories about people as organic ROVs being run by what we would think of as angels. Of course, free will is ignored if you are an organic ROV being manipulated by an operator.
What if our Universe was a Reality Simulation?
"What would we expect to see if we inhabited a simulation? Well, there would probably be a discrete time step and granularity in position fixed by the time and position resolution of the simulation—check, and check: the Planck time and distance appear to behave this way in our universe. There would probably be an absolute speed limit to constrain the extent we could directly explore and impose a locality constraint on propagating updates throughout the simulation—check: speed of light. There would be a limit on the extent of the universe we could observe—check: the Hubble radius is an absolute horizon we cannot penetrate, and the last scattering surface of the cosmic background radiation limits electromagnetic observation to a still smaller radius. There would be a limit on the accuracy of physical measurements due to the finite precision of the computation in the simulation—check: Heisenberg uncertainty principle—and, as in games, randomness would be used as a fudge when precision limits were hit—check: quantum mechanics.
Might we expect surprises as we subject our simulated universe to ever more precise scrutiny, perhaps even astonishing the being which programmed it with our cunning and deviousness (as the author of any software package has experienced at the hands of real-world users)? Who knows, we might run into round-off errors which “hit us like a ton of bricks”! Suppose there were some quantity, say, that was supposed to be exactly zero but, if you went and actually measured the geometry way out there near the edge and crunched the numbers, you found out it differed from zero in the 120th decimal place. Why, you might be as shocked as the naïve Perl programmer who ran the program “printf("%.18f", 0.2)” and was aghast when it printed “0.200000000000000011” until somebody explained that with about 56 bits of mantissa in IEEE double precision floating point, you only get about 17 decimal digits (log10 256) of precision. So, what does a round-off in the 120th digit imply? Not Theory 2, with its infinite number of infinitely reproducing infinite universes, but simply that our Theory 1 intelligent designer used 400 bit numbers (log2 10120) in the simulation and didn't count on our noticing—remember you heard it here first, and if pointing this out causes the simulation to be turned off, sorry about that, folks! Surprises from future experiments which would be suggestive (though not probative) that we're in a simulated universe would include failure to find any experimental signature of quantum gravity (general relativity could be classical in the simulation, since potential conflicts with quantum mechanics would be hidden behind event horizons in the present-day universe, and extrapolating backward to the big bang would be meaningless if the simulation were started at a later stage, say at the time of big bang nucleosynthesis), and discovery of limits on the ability to superpose wave functions for quantum computation which could result from limited precision in the simulation as opposed to the continuous complex values assumed by quantum mechanics. An interesting theoretical program would be to investigate feasible experiments which, by magnifying physical effects similar to proposed searches for quantum gravity signals, would detect round-off errors of magnitude comparable to the cosmological constant. "
John Walker (Autodesk founder)
Friday, March 17, 2006
Doctor:"You think it'll last forever, the people and cars and concrete. But it won't. One day it's all gone, even the sky. My planet's gone. It's dead. It burned like the Earth. It's rocks and dust before its time."
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Fiddler on the Roof
Villager: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
Tevye: "Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless."
Rabbi blessing the Czar: "May the Lord bless and keep him... far away from here."
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Stranger in a Strange Land
I just tried to solve my loneliness the wrong way and I should have known better because this is the second time. Not learning from a mistake the first time is foolish at best and insane at worst. I thought with a new person and the fact that I'd grown a little that the circumstances would be different as well as the outcome. However, I was mistaken. I will not make this mistake ever again.
I just completed a 750 mile round trip from Dallas to Odessa, TX and back in two days. My Auntie Audrey from Peterborough, England, was in town visiting my Mother and my sister in Odessa. She asked me today what my faith was. I answered, "I am a heretic". She laughed and said, "No, you're not!" I said, "Well, I suppose you could call me a Zen Christian". She then said, "You are just like our John", referring to her and Mom's youngest brother, my Uncle John. I suppose I am his acolyte in a fashion. I did take his teachings to heart. He is a deeply spiritual man and he feels alien in this world as well, but he KNOWS why he is the way he is. I never doubted him, but I didn't start to understand what he was trying to tell me until I read Brian Weiss's "Many Lives, Many Masters" and Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". Both books point to the Truth he was trying to explain to me, but I didn't start down that path until my younger brother died. His death made me question all my beliefs in conventional Christianity. I don't know why my grief drove me to tear down my belief structures and then find a Truth I could accept. Perhaps it was my scientific training. I suppose it comes down to this question, "How small is God?" Is God so petty or vindictive that He would condemn suicides or drug overdosers to eternal Hell just because they couldn't suffer in this world any more". Intuitively, I knew that such souls could not be condemned in such a way, but I had little to go on, but what my Uncle had told me and Buddhism. I don't know what "God" is, but I know that the entity is loving, and large and sacred beyond belief, not petty and vindictive or hateful.
So, I will leave you with this:
You are a hole in a flute through which God breathes. Can you hear the musical note that you are? Can you hear the melody? Can you hear the symphony? Are you deaf?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Touched by a young wise woman
Started Crying ...
Friday, March 10, 2006
The next morning I awoke before my alarm clock, got ready and went to the airport. I nearly had an accident on the way there. Upon going through the TSA checkpoint, I noticed that my left dress sock developed a hole at the big toe. Finally, got on the first flight to Chicago Midway from DFW. About 30 minutes out we lost cabin pressurisation and the American Airlines MD-80 made an emergency landing at Tulsa. While awaiting word on the aircraft's condition, I called a Chicago florist and ordered two huge bouquets of lillies for her birthday to be delivered that afternoon to my hotel in Chicago. They couldn't fix the problem so I had to board another flight to St. Louis, wait 2 hours there and then fly into Chicago O'Hare. Got into Chicago about 1:30 PM. So, a short 2-3 hour flight became a 6 hour ordeal. Took a cab from O'Hare to the Midway hotel I was staying at. Cost $60 in cab fare.
Annie showed up at 3:00PM. I have blue Moonshadow carnations and two huge bouquets of fragrant lilly arrangements for her, lotions and bubble bath, a couple of decent DVDs, two CDs I made for her and an audiobook, and rose petals for romance. An expensive 14K Celtic Moonstone Cross and chain was the main gift as well as $300. We got a bit tipsy from Rum and Cokes and I was more tired than usual due to the stress of the flight. Took her to dinner. During dinner Annie evidently had a profound insight about me and my dead brother. It might have spooked her, I don't know, but she was very sincere and forceful about it. I believed her then, and was proud of her. I've inquired in my own way and she spoke the truth. After dinner, we went back to the hotel. We had planned to go to a movie, but then she said she was too drunk and then she said I owed her a large amount of money. I had made an assumption that turned out to be false it seems. I didn't get angry, just sad. I didn't have the cash or my checkbook, so I told her to give me an address and I'd send her a check. A fine end to a really great day it seems. Man plans and God laughs. Couldn't even get a full night's sleep. Awoke at 1:00 AM and that was that. Got home this Thursday morning without incident and called Annie on her cell phone and got voice mail. Left a message asking her to give me an address so I could send her a check. Then sent an email. Then went to bed since I have a 12 hour night shift and it was around 12:00 PM. She called me about 12:30 PM and said she'd check into getting me that address and we said goodbye.
So now, I guess the ball is in her court now. Just waiting to hear from her on where to send the check. Have been reciting the mantra about accepting her as she is and looking beyond the form. I am not angry, just confused. Why didn't she cut her losses earlier? Surely, she suspected earlier that I didn't bring a wad of cash with me other than about $460. Maybe she didn't realize it until after dinner and that's when she cut her losses. It was her birthday and she had invited me to celebrate it with her. Was I just supposed to give her money instead? I guess so. Maybe it's as simple as that. Any other day, I wouldn't have made this mistake. I was such a romantic idiot. I wanted the day to be perfect and it was anything but it seems.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
What is beauty?
Do you love me because I'm beautiful, or am I am beautiful because you love me?
Oscar Hammerstein, II
Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
Wisdom of the Day
Feeling your inner body is paramount and stills the mental thoughts whirling in your head. You can also disidentify from your emotions to an extent when you feel them. This is one way to walk the narrow path.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Transcendence of Beliefs
Why worry about what you believe or how you came to believe what you believe? As you say, it comes down to what works for you, but seen from other points of view, you can either be seen as more transparent to Consciousness, a wise man, a flake, a heretic, a great lover, a fool, some, or all of these descriptions, or none of them. Yet, ultimately, none of these descriptions capture the beauty of your essence or the evolution of your growth as a human being because each of us only sees a glimpse of the other over small periods of time. Only by going beyond time and mental labels do each of us have a chance at glimpsing the totality of another and that experience is beyond words or labels. So, the immediate mindless experience of understanding who you really are will always transcend the labels and beliefs of who you are. All those signposts aren't you, they just point to you. All those beliefs aren't you, they just get you where you need to Be. This is the case for each of us. Ultimately, it's not what we each think that matters, but how we feel and experience life and convey that experience and love to each other via loving kindness and empathy that ultimately matters. This seems to be the heart and soul of the great spiritual teachings. Yet, it is so simple people dismiss it. Universal Spirituality is probably like the Universal Equation that physicists seek, simple and elegant and beautiful - NO MAN, I AM, NO THING/NO SOUND, etc. Morong (another commentator who retorted, "Deep Silence".) said it most elegantly and two words don't make a religion. They describe an experience. They point the way. They enlighten rather than constrict and constrain. All religions constrain, even the most enlightened. Sooner or later, you must transcend your religion/belief system.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Not Sure What This Means...
Observations on New Orleans and Mardi Gras
The following link about the Global Climate Change Report due out means we are probably in trouble, yet there's plenty of denial going on.
This boy steals the family airplane, takes off and lands it safely as reported by the BBC. If I were his folks I'd be grateful that my son was such a good pilot. He soloed with very little training and no one got hurt.
People are now worried about bird flu killing their cats although the experts knew over a year ago that cats could catch bird flu from dead birds.
The funny thing is that all this is true. I made none of this up. Strange days. Best to shake one's head in wonder and laugh.