Saturday, April 29, 2006
Be a Flower*
Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Jesus (Matthew 6:28-30)
What are these two Masters alluding to?
We are Buddha Consciousness enveloped in bodies, enshrouded in minds. To carry the metaphor further, a human is like a flower bud, humanity is like a field of budding flowers. When the mind unfurls or unfolds, the Consciousness we were born with fully blossoms. The Buddha, Jesus, Lao-tze, and countless others are just human flowers who blossomed early before the rest of the crop. Ripen and blossom all who read this.
* For those who didn't understand the earlier entry "Unfold the Petals of the Mind"
Unfold the Petals of the Mind
It is said that orgasm is the ultimate in physical Bliss. We are given a taste of Heaven and not allowed to dwell there. Yet, we seek such pleasure out time and again. It is a biological imperative to reproduce. What is the product of that need? It is usually termed a bundle of Joy! Why that description? One reason may be because a baby is pure Buddha Consciousness, newly born, not yet of this World, untainted by a mind. Babies remind us that at our core, we are Buddha Consciousness.
If we were just minds, wouldn't we be born with them. Yet, minds evolve after a time of growth. Mind evolves from body, the personality a product of genes and environment and circumstance -- a natural extension of walking and talking for a human being. No conscious thought was involved in the making of your mind, or my mind. They just happened as our brains grew and processed the World around us.
All our problems stem from the fact that we mistake our minds for who we are. Yet, our minds are just a property of our bodies. Something that came to be as we grew from infants into children. A mind is like the petals of a flower. A beautiful part, but not the whole of the flower. It wraps and protects the Consciousness within. When a mind unfolds and allows the Consciousness to emerge, the Consciousness you and I were born with, beautiful things happen. The Stillness within is able to fully express itself. (The human equivalent of a blossom.) Isn't that wonderful!
They move in utter emptiness,
Let their minds meander in the great nothingness;
They run beyond convention
And go through where there is no gateway.
They listen to the soundless
And look at the formless,
They are not constrained by society
And not bound to its customs.
Friday, April 28, 2006
"Happiness and unhappiness are in fact one. Only the illusion of time separates them."
"When you accept what is. When every moment is the best. That is Enlightenment."
My cats live completely in the Now. They live completely in the moment - no more, no less. They are completely at ease with life.
Happiness and unhappiness are one. An extreme example is intimate relationships. I meet someone, hit it off with her, am in perceived bliss for a time, then for whatever reason, we go our separate ways, and I am unhappy for a period of time getting over the relationship. If you remove time from the equation, you see that happiness and unhappiness are two sides of the same coin or experience. Review your own experiences and see if this is not true.
I have had a few satori, a few perfect moments which give me a taste of Enlightenment. Each of those moments were perfect, timeless and without interference from the mind.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The Power of the Voice
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Seek Where You Are Now
True perception and understanding for now.
If you attain real, true perception and understanding,
Birth and death don’t affect you
You are free to go or stay.
You needn’t seek wonders,
For wonders come of themselves.
Linji (d. 867)
This is true for any person of any religious persuasion. Seek what is Real, where you are Now, that is really all anyone can do anyway. This is why the Buddha, Jesus and others extort people to live in the Present moment as often as possible.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the "experience."
Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first. "Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation."
Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle.. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus."
They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape.
Rabbi Lipschitz looks up and struggles to speak to the others. "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start things out."
Monday, April 24, 2006
Is one day spent in contemplation.
Better than a hundred years of ignorance
Is one day spent in reflection.
Better than a hundred years in idleness
Is one day spent in determination.
Better to live one day wondering
How all things arise and pass away.
Buddha in the Dhammapada
First he worships anything: man, woman, money, children, earth and stones.
Then, when he has progressed a little further, he worships God.
Finally he does not say: 'I worship God'; nor: 'I do not worship God.'
He has passed from the first two stages into the last
Sunday, April 23, 2006
"You know," he said suddenly, "I think my greatest ambition has been to fly a fighter, not these trucks we go around in. It's funny," he mused, "we've been taking more and more punishment on our raids. Most of the men feel they'll never live to go home. I feel the same way."
"Yet," he turned to look at us, "I would be satisfied if there was one thing I could do."
We waited for him to continue. "I'd like to loop that truck I fly," he added. He grinned, "Can you picture that thing going around in a loop?"
One of the Zero pilots spoke up. "If I were you, I wouldn't try it," he said softly. "You'd never come out of a loop in one piece, even if you could get up and around into one."
"I suppose so," he replied. We watched him walk across the field and climb into the cockpit of a fighter, where he sat and studied the controls. At the time, we didn't know that all of us would remember this pilot for the rest of our lives.
(Two days later, the Zero pilots were escorting a group of Japanese Betty bombers on a mission.)
We saw a P-39 plunge with tremendous speed into the bomber formation, but could not move in time to disrupt the attack. One moment the sky was clear; the next the Airacobra was spitting shells into the last bomber in the flight. Then it rolled and dove beyond our range. The bomber streamed flame; the airplane seemed familiar as I closed in to watch. It was the same Mitsubishi which had landed at Lae; its pilot was the one with whom we had talked in the billet. The flames increased in fury as the bomber nosed down and skidded wildly. It lost altitude quickly, and seemed on the verge of going out of control. At 6,000 feet it was only a matter of seconds; the flames were engulfing the wings and fuselage.
Suddenly, still blazing fiercely, the nose lifted and the bomber went into a climb. I gaped at the plane in astonishment as its pilot started to draw a loop -- an impossible maneuver for the Betty. The pilot -- the same one who had told us he wished to loop in a fighter -- hauled her back and up. The bomber went up; hung on its nose in a half loop, and then burst into a seething ball of flame which blotted it out entirely.
The flaming mass fell. Just before it struck the ground a violent explosion shook the air as the fuel tanks went off.
(excerpted from Samurai! by Saburo Sakai with Martin Caidin and Fred Saito)
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Listen to the Stillness
Beheld the changing scene of autumn.
I have said enough about moonlight,
Ask no more.
Only listen to the voice
Of pines and cedars when no wind stirs.
Illness Can Still One's Mind
Interesting Commentary about "I AM" Sayings in The Gospel of John
Friday, April 21, 2006
"Blessed is he who was, before he came into being."
I knew the first saying from Jesus was a Zen-like statement (Tolle, The Power of Now, pp.104-5). Tolle explains it beautifully. The Thomas 19:1 quotation is like the Zen koan, "What was the face you had before you were born?" I didn't make the connection until I replied to a message in the Wisdom Reading Group. Haven't been in such a group since grad school back in 1989, and that was only a Bible reading group of grad students.
Glowing Radioecological Report from Chernobyl
Air Pollution Tug-of-War
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Price Gouging isn't just for Oil Companies
Lost in Translation
"You stupid Galatians..."
Every other Bible I have owned has " You foolish Galatians ..." which I think is a kinder translation of Paul's outrage at the Galatian congregation. It makes you wonder just how accurate translations of the Bible really are. People used to be burned at the stake for translating the Latin Bible into the vernacular - pretty severe punishment just to bring the word of God to the common people. Since then, do you suppose that the cultural bias of every generation results in Bibles with subtle, yet different meanings to what the authors intended? It is a shame that we don't have any original manuscripts with which to compare. I think there is an effort to use molecular biological tools for textual analysis to determine which manuscripts came first in sequence. Evolutionary trees are different DNA sequences of the same gene or genes which depict the relatedness of those genes and books or manuscripts are just sequences of letters as well. I'll have to dig through Science magazine's archive and see if I can find that article. There is a program that can reconstruct long lost genes of the last common ancestor based on the known sequences of the gene in different existing organisms. I wonder if that program can be modified to reconstruct the original manuscript once the temporal sequence of different manuscripts of the same gospel is known? What knowledge would we glean then? What biases would be removed?
How Science Survived: Medieval Manuscripts' "Demography" and Classic Texts' Extinction
John L. Cisne
Science 25 February 2005:
Vol. 307. no. 5713, pp. 1305 - 1307
Comment on "How Science Survived: Medieval Manuscripts' `Demography' and Classic Texts' Extinction"
Science 9 December 2005: 1618
Response to Comment on "How Science Survived: Medieval Manuscripts' `Demography' and Classic Texts' Extinction"
John L. Cisne
Science 9 December 2005: 1618
Treating Medieval Manuscripts as Fossils
Nicholas D. Pyenson, Lewis Pyenson;, Eltjo Buringh;, and John L. Cisne
Science 29 July 2005: 698-701
HISTORY OF SCIENCE:
Enhanced: "How Science Survived"--Medieval Manuscripts as Fossils
Sharon Larimer Gilman and Florence Eliza Glaze
Science 25 February 2005: 1208-1209
Extinct Genome Under Construction
Science 3 June 2005 308: 1401-1402 [DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5727.1401b]
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Everything is Sacred
It is a false perception to say nothing is sacred any more. In reality, everything is sacred - everyone and everything.
"I am the light that is over all. I am the All. The All came forth out of me. And to me the All has come.
Split a piece of wood - I am there.
Lift the stone and you will find me there."
"...the kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it."
"Everything that exists has Being, has God-essence, has some degree of consciousness. Even a stone has rudimentary consciousness; otherwise it would not be, and its atoms and molecules would disperse. Everything is alive. The sun, the earth, plants, animals, humans - all are expressions of consciousness in varying degrees, consciousness manifesting as form."
The Power of Now, page 99.
So Jesus and Tolle are saying that every material form is sacred and the essence within that form is sacred.
What is sacredness?
"So when you appreciate something simple - a sound, a sight, a touch - when you see beauty, when you feel loving kindness toward another, sense the inner spaciousness that is the source and background to that experience."
A New Earth, page 235.
How you interpret what you perceive is what determines how you view the world. All that is required to see the sacredness around you is a change of perception.
" Remember that your perception of the world is a reflection of your state of consciousness. You are not separate from it, and there is no objective world out there. Every moment your consciousness creates the world that you inhabit.
...But whatever you perceive is only a kind of symbol, like an image in a dream. It is how your consciousness interprets and interacts with the molecular dance of the universe.
...Every being is a focal point of consciousness, and every such focal point creates its own world, although all those worlds are interconnected. There is a human world, an ant world, a dolphin world, and so on."
The Power of Now, pages 198- 199.
The Cross as a Gateway to Enlightenment
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Google Earth is not a Security Risk
Seek Within a Moment of Awareness
And Zen masters, just don’t seek externally.
The pure light in a moment of awareness
In your mind is the Buddha’s essence within you.
The nondiscriminating light in a moment of awareness
In your mind is the Buddha’s wisdom within you.
The undifferentiated light in a moment of awareness
In your mind is the Buddha’s manifestation within you.
Story of Forgiveness
Molly the Mouser is Safe
One Man Who Changed the World
Friday, April 14, 2006
No Mind Nowhere
And then return to the Mountain of Chung.
I would like to ask the dweller in this mountain,
“Where are the clouds now?”
Clouds emerge from No mind
And then return to No mind.
No mind is nowhere to be found.
We need not seek the home of No mind.
Wang An-shih (1068-1076)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Cartoons and Truth
What to make of this Oliphant cartoon?
Here's an apt one about men.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Have We Changed at All?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Now for Something Completely Different
In a similar vein, drug companies are making up diseases to sell drugs.
Also, a neurologist is trying to explain near death experiences. Considering that medical science doesn't really know much about sleep or how it works, or what wakefulness is, he's probably going out on a limb, or he's a pioneer.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Beautiful Spring Day
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The article is correct. There are better ways to make a vaccine. The traditional method is cumbersome and likely will have to be modified since the strain is lethal to chickens. It may kill the embryos in the eggs. Thus, culturing in chicken eggs may not make enough virus for a vaccine.
As for the risk of it mutating such that human to human transmission is easier, that risk is unknown and the probability of it happening may not be easily quantifiable. It may only only need one or two mutations in one gene, but likely those mutations will have to occur in a particular order or sequence. Then you have to have a human come in contact with the infected bird carrying the mutant strain. It probably doesn't help that they are giving birds the only effective antiviral. Should the virus become resistant to it, before we have a global vaccine and it manages to become easily transmissible in humans, then likely it's game over. However, like the article said, this strain has been around for 3-5 years and it's not become human transmissible yet. WHO should probably start vaccinating people in spots where bird flu outbreaks are occurring, like they did with smallpox. But, who pays the bill for that? Can we afford not to? These are public health questions that need to be debated and answered quickly. Clearly, the people who know what the disease does and how to treat it are being ignored to an extent if the article is correct. Spot vaccination is the likeliest most cost effective solution, but it will take time to implement. Do we have that time or have we wasted it, or will this outbreak never happen in people? The best way to be certain though, is to just inoculate everyone against this particular strain.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
In Response to Bird Flu
I, for one, was happy when the Soviet Union collapsed. There was always this threat of a nuclear doomsday hanging over us and Ronald Reagan rearming America, starting a Star Wars Project - an anti-ICBM system in violation of the ABM Treaty, and calling the U.S.S.R. the "Evil Empire" didn't exactly make me feel better about any of it. In fact, I was even more scared because the Russians wouldn't hesitate to launch a strike if they thought their missiles were useless as offensive weapons. Reagan's tactic worked, but at what ultimate cost?
So, here we are spending more money on an ABM system to protect us from North Korean missiles? At least, that is the official line. This is a government that was scared of Iraq, yet, North Korea is starving their people, has blown up airliners and they have crude atomic weapons most likely. What are we doing about them? Very little it seems. We're letting our buddies, the Chinese, handle them. Somehow, that doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
We give nuclear technology with no strings to India and give nothing to Pakistan. Yet, Pakistan is helping us contain militants who actually attacked and killed 3,000 people. Gee, one country is Hindu and the other Muslim. Both Pakistan and India developed functional nuclear weapons and the CIA and DIA were caught with their pants down having utterly failed to notice underground nuclear tests by both countries. To be fair to India, they didn't sell nuclear technology to other countries and Pakistan did, but this deal can't sit well with Arabs. It shouldn't sit well with Americans because we are giving civilian nuclear technology to India without any restrictions tied to nuclear nonproliferation. Nixon is starting to look like a foreign policy genius.
That's just the real world and politics. I haven't even touched on The Rapture when supposedly, the faithful will be taken to Heaven leaving the rest to suffer on Earth. I doubt that God works that way, yet again, that is the warped thinking of Man. The really scary part is that some people actually believe that this will take place some day soon. People have been believing this almost every century. There were religious movements in the 19th Century that believed that Doomsday was approaching at the dawn of the 20th Century. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. Even if the worst happens with global warming, the human race is likely to survive unless we somehow destroy one too many natural systems which affect global climate and thereby destroy our agricultural base. Even if 99% of humanity managed to wipe itself off the face of the Earth, that would leave 40,000,000 (40 million) people to start over again, which is more than enough. Humanity went through a population bottleneck over 100,000 years ago. All of the people alive today are descended from about 100 individuals. There's more genetic diversity in two chimpanzees in West Africa then there is between me and an Eskimo. So, think about it. We've gone from 100 people in 100,000 years to 4 billion. The 4 billion only happened in the last 100 years in spite of two major World Wars. Nature abhors two things, an empty space and a full one. Nature likes things to be balanced. Man likes straight lines and growth. Nature likes cycles. Who's going to win? Actually, that is the wrong question. Nature doesn't care about winning or losing. It just wants living things to live in balance with their environment.
What's Going on with TV?
It Happens All the Time in Heaven
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth -
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
And women and women
Who give each other
Often will get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lover's hand,
With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more
The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the beautiful rowdy prisoners.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Gospel of Judas
His lips grew sweet with the praising, until a cynic said,
"So! I have heard you calling out, but have you ever gotten any response?"
The man had no answer to that. He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls, in a thick, green foliage.
"Why did you stop praising?"
"Because I’ve never heard anything back."
"This longing you express is the return message."
The grief you cry out from draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master. That whining is the connection.
There are love-dogs no one knows the names of
Give your life to be one of them.
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there's no fixing that.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
One Way Jesus Walked on Water
Harold Werbin was a good man
Fighting my Own Ignorance
At least in Basic Science, we were trying something that no one had done before, or you were manipulating an organism or a gene and you didn't know what to expect. This is applied technology and people know the answers, but they don't give them out or the answer isn't obvious from the man page. Perhaps, I lack imagination, but computers have always struck me as very brittle technology. I've found bugs in my bank's online banking software, or possibly a design flaw. I've had to support bugs in Microsoft software. Sometimes I wonder if we aren't too dependent on this technology.
Monday, April 03, 2006
A story entitled "A Pretty Good Way to Foil the NSA".
A story about scientists trying to determine how hard it will be to make a minimal bacterium.
A story that says bleach is best for killing bacteria. Hospitals may be selecting for hardier strains of germs when they use cleaners without bleach.
A story about African farmland and poor agricultural practices.
A story about the warming of Antarctica.
A story about how religion even separates the dead.
End of Pain.
End of Illusion of Birth and Death.
People are Being Distracted
Julie's entry deals with politics in the Church. Evidently, people within her Church are exhorting their fellow Christians to vote against gay marriage. Voting against gay marriage is part of a trend that the GOP has excelled at, although, the Democrats can use it was well. It's the tactic of diverting people's attention from important issues that affect their lives to values issues that either hurt a select few or no one at all. Examples of values issues are Intelligent Design and gay marriage. Few people are hurt by ID, but gays are discriminated against, or at least, inconvenienced by gay marriage bans. Values issues show a lack of critical thinking by many otherwise intelligent people. If you asked someone why they are against gay marriage, likely they will say, "Because it says so in The Bible". The Bible also tells you to love your fellow man as yourself, and that the laws were made for Man, not Man for the laws. Which hurts you more, paying high gas prices at the pump or gay marriage? It's a no brainer. right? Yet, our government gave tax cuts to Big Oil for R&D research. Those savings will not be passed on to the consumer. Will gay marriage affect any heterosexual in the least? The obvious answer is No. We have important issues to deal with, economic, environmental, political, foreign policy, et cetera. Instead of calling voter's attention to such important issues and calling for informed public debate, people's energies are distracted on values issues which are essentially nonissues. This is the fault of our elected leaders. Julie is looking at the gay marriage issue from a spiritual viewpoint. But spiritual viewpoints are generally called by another name, wisdom. Wisdom is just another form of critical thinking. Except for people like George and Julie, we seem to have a critical lack of it right now.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
All enlightenment means is that how you view life changes. Your perspective changes. You have a new view of what reality really is. You experience reality fully rather than just being lost in compulsive thought. Life goes on even though how you view Life has changed. You may be changed inside, but you still have daily chores related to living on the outside.
Women in Ancient Christianity
Principles of Christianity
2. Love others as much as yourself.
Jesus (Mark 12:29-31)
"Dilige, et quod vis fac," or "Love, and do what you will."
Instructions for LIfe
2. Memorize your favourite poem.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, "I love you", mean it.
5. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Call your mom.
16. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
17. When you lose, don't loose the lesson.
18. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
19. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
20. When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps
21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
22. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
23. Spend some time alone.
24. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
25. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
26. Read more books and watch less TV.
27. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
28. Trust in God but lock your car.
29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
31. Read between the lines.
32. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
33. Be gentle with the earth.
34. Pray. There's immeasurable power in it.
35. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.
36. Mind your own business.
37. Don't trust a man/woman who doesn't close his/her eyes when you kiss.
38. Once a year, go some place you've never been before.
39. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.
40. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
41. Learn the rules then break some.
42. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
43. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
44. Remember that your character is your destiny.
45. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.