Archive for Buddhism

Persistence of Memory

Posted in All, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“God is Santa Claus for grown-ups.” ~ Unknown

People of faith often believe that, when we die, if we are good, we’ll get eternal happiness, and if we’re bad, we’ll get eternal punishment.  But does that sound fair to you?  Does that sound like the invention of an all-knowing, compassionate being?  Or does that sound more like a bedtime story you’d tell to kids?

Hey, kids, you know, if you’re really good, Santa Claus will bring you lots of presents, but if you’re bad, he’ll bring you an icky lump of coal instead.  And he can see when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake.  In fact, he won’t even come until after you’re in bed.

You know, there’s a reason they call it eternal rest and sleeping like the dead.

It doesn’t seem right to me that God should give you an eternity of something based on the actions of a fraction of a fraction of that time.  Given all the hype about God, I think he would have more sense than that.  I mean, even our own limited and fallible human institutions know that people change over time and that reward and punishment must be in accordance with a person’s recent behavior.  For some, it may takes moments to change, for others decades, for some maybe even a few hundred years, but that’s still nothing compared to eternity.

Based on the laws of karma, I do believe that you receive some sort of reward or punishment after you die, but I hardly think it’s eternal.

“Death is rest for the soul.  Who was it that said that?  If the body did not die, and the fears borne in the mind just continued to pile up, the world would be nothing more than an eternal prison.” ~ Ziggy, Xenosaga Episode II

The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred.  Even a cynical empiricist who worships the scientific method must admit that if consciousness is energy, then it retains some form even after the body has died.  It might not be in exactly the same state, but it still continues to exist in one state or another.  And what does that sound like from a spiritual perspective?  Reincarnation, perhaps?

Reincarnation is simply the conservation of consciousness between one lifetime and the next.  Many religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Christianity teach that this is what happens to you when you die.  The body decays and the carbon, water, and other components go back into the environment.  The mind goes offline and reawakens in some other body, like transferring documents from one computer to the next.  And the soul just remains as it’s always been, in the position of the observer.

The concept of reincarnation can be scientifically verified.  In fact, some people have already tried.  Maybe you’ve heard stories and news reports about young children being taken to certain places and having knowledge of those places and certain events relating to them that no one has mentioned to the child and which the child can’t possibly know otherwise, except through some sort of metaphysical transfer of information.  That would be a way of proving reincarnation to someone else, but there are other ways of proving it to yourself.

“‘How can I tell,’ said the man, ‘that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?'” ~ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Ever since I was young, I’d always gotten along a lot better with adults than I did people my own age.  I think a number of people can probably say they feel the same way.  Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve conversed with people much older than myself and have come to realize that there are people ten, twenty, even thirty years older than me that act like children.  I don’t really count myself particularly privileged, at least no more-so than those individuals.  So what accounts for this?

When I was in college, I took an introductory course on Psychology and learned about the various stages of development that the human mind goes through.  Among them was the concept of Generativity vs. Stagnation, more commonly known as the mid-life crisis, in which a person looks back on their life and feels that they’ve done nothing but waste time and miss opportunities.  I was only about twenty at the time, but I felt as though I’d already had several mid-life crises over the course of my lifetime.

Some months later, I began to do a great deal of soul searching and starting to become aware of the fact that this wasn’t the first time I’d been here on this planet.  All in all, I’d been here at least five or six times that I can recall (possibly even more than that), which would mean that I’m a fairly old soul.

People often ask me how I know all this, how I came to realize that I’d had past lives and that they took on the particular characteristics that I claim they did.  Well, let me put it to you like this.

I know that there is a lot of New Age emphasis on the Power of Now, as made famous by Eckhart Tolle and others, and that along with this comes the realization that there is no past or future.  But for sake of argument, let’s assume that there is a past.  Most people would think it reasonable to say there is a past.  But how do you know?  How do you know that you weren’t literally born yesterday?  How do you even know that there was a yesterday?  How do you know that, when you woke up this morning, it wasn’t the beginning of time and you simply discovered you had all these thoughts in your head from the very beginning?

When you play a video game, it’s all a programmed illusion that begins as soon as you turn the game on.  That is year zero.  Yet when you turn the game on, you are immersed into a world and a body that has history, or so it believes.  In rare cases, such as Assassin’s Creed II, you get to know the character from the time of their birth; but usually you just wake up one day to find that you are now in a situation and that you have thoughts and ideas in your head about who you are, where you are, what you do, and who your friends are.  Time began at that moment, so all the so-called past is really just an illusion.

Do you think it’s reasonable to suggest that the same could be true for us as well?  That time could just be an illusion and the past merely accounting for discrepancies between our present condition and our memories?

But let us suppose that the opposite is true.  Supposing there really is a past.  So there’s a yesterday and a last year.  Why would your birth, then, be the beginning of your consciousness?  Genetic memory and the 100th Monkey Effect can explain where behavioral instincts come from, but not memories and wisdom of things that neither you nor your ancestors experienced.  For that, you’d need reincarnation.

So how do I know that I lived a past life?  Simple.  I remember something about it, the same as I remember something that happened yesterday or last year.  How do I know it’s memory and not imagination?  Well, how does anyone know that what they experienced yesterday or last year was real and not simply made up?  You feel it in your gut that this is true and accurate and what really happened to you.  That’s how.

“Now if you’re thinking, just now, ‘Why me, oh God?’  The answer is, God has nothing to do with it.  In fact, God is never in France this time of year.” Dorleac, Count of Monte Cristo

Reincarnation is tied with karma.  What you do in the past effects your future.  Even if you get away with something in this lifetime, there are higher forces at work that will see to it that you make up for it next time.  Just like in playing a video game, if you fuck up and die, you retain the memory of what happened and that can effect future outcomes.

That’s probably also what Déjà Vu is, too.  If you feel like you’ve experienced something before, it’s probably because you have.  You just hit the restart button and decided to play over from your last checkpoint.  Like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day, when he keeps trying to find the right words to say to his coworker.

So if you find yourself thinking, “Why me, oh God?” the answer is, it’s always been on you.  Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people and to young children?  It’s probably to teach you a lesson for something you did in a past life.  For instance, in one of my past lives, I was a really shitty parent.  So God decided to grace me with a bad father.  Not as bad as I had been, but enough that I could understand what it was like from the receiving end.

In another past life, I was a cruel Templar master.  So God decided to set me in a time and place where the Templars ruled as the sort of cruel masters that I had been.  He set me on a path to learn about the New World Order from the perspective of one of their slaves.  If I am truly the observer and the creator of my universe, then it stands to reason that such things as The Da Vinci Code and Assassin’s Creed were also created by me as tools for my benefit.  The entire history of the world has been constructed and uploaded into my mind to serve as context while I progress through the game of life towards my objectives.  It’s only logical.

It’s a lot like Alice dreaming of the Red King, who’s dreaming of Alice, who’s dreaming of the Red King … From your perspective, I’m the illusion and the whole world is created for your benefit and lesson.  So life becomes a dream, a shared dream (like in Inception), in which we all create and grow and experience together.  And when we die, we simply wake up somewhere else, with only the memory remaining.

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Mindfuck #1: Nothing

Posted in All, Humor, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2010 by marushiadark

“Ha!  Brave warrior, then fight the Nothing.” ~ G’Mork

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Never Ending Story.  Ever since I was a child, I’d always enjoyed watching it.  A great story with great characters, great music, and a great message … and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that you can learn pretty much all the secrets of the universe from watching The Never Ending Story.

When I was younger, my favorite scene was the one in which Atreyu journeys with Falcor to the Southern Oracle and passes through the two Spinx-like gates.  However, more recently, I’ve come to appreciate the scene with G’Mork, mainly because I now have the awareness needed to understand exactly what G’Mork is talking about when he describes the Nothing.

Throughout my life, I have experienced a number of incredible mind-fucks in which the act of realizing what something actually is has disturbed me to my very soul.  Many of these revelations were very scary at first, but then they ceased to be shortly thereafter.  I don’t know if my mind has since adjusted to accept those realities, or if I just withdrew from them to a more stable position because I was simply incapable of handling that amount of mind-fuckery.

More than likely, I will have to experience this sort of thing again in the future.  Maybe I’ll even return to some of the ones I’ve already dealt with in an attempt to see what’s changed, if anything.  But in the pursuit of my own spiritual growth, it is imperative that I go through this type of ordeal every once in a while.

Among these revelations was when I first understood what “nothing” is.  I mean like what it actually is, and it’s nothing like anything you think it is, literally.

What exactly is “nothing”?  It’s just nothing, right?  It’s the same thing as nonexistence, and literally means “no thing.”  You can’t describe it or put a label on it, can you?  After all, it’s just nothing.

Go ahead and think about nothing.  Can you even do it?  I bet you can’t.  What are you thinking about right now?  Not nothing, I bet.  Maybe you’re thinking of a jar or a bowl without some object in it.  But is that nothing?  No.  Why not?  Because the jar may appear to be empty, but there’s still air inside it.  So it’s not really nothing, is it?

Maybe you’ll close your eyes and think of blackness or the void of space.  But that’s not nothing either.  Black is black (like the song says), which is something.  The void is an idea, which is something as well.  All ideas and conceptions are something, by definition.  A thing is a thing.  If it exists, it is something.  If it’s an illusion, it’s still something because an illusion is a thing.  It’s a fake thing, but it’s still a thing.  The word “fake” is just an adjective and an adjective is only a description of a noun, which is any person, place, or thing.  Things like blackness and the void are merely the closest we can come to associating nothing with something, because we cannot conceive of nothing.

The concept of zero implies nothing, but zero is itself a concept and a thing.  It is what we commonly use to represent nothing, but it is not actually nothing.

Even my trying to describe it right now is doing it an injustice, because I am trying to apply labels to a non-thing, which is impossible.  By its very definition, it is impossible.  All I can do is point to the idea of nothing, which isn’t even nothing, as I said before.

Those of you who’ve come to this same realization – and by that, I mean really understanding it from more than just a conceptual and intellectual level – will know what I am talking about when I say it’s a truly terrifying revelation.  Those that haven’t, it will completely fuck with your head when you finally do.

So how do we think about nothing?  How do we experience nothing?

Well, how do you have “no things”?  If you are talking about apples, you have no apples when you have no apples.  If you have apples, then you have apples.  To have no apples, you must either get rid of the apples, or redefine the space that you are talking about so that the area around the nothing does not contain any apples in it.  For instance, if I have all the apples in a bowl, I can safely say there are no apples in the cupboard.  I can’t say there is nothing in the cupboard, because there is very clearly something in the cupboard, even if it’s air.  If the inside of the cupboard was a total vacuum, absent of light, closed and isolated from the outside environment, then there might be nothing in it.  I say “might” because we’d never really be able to observe it to confirm it.  We could only ever know it from a logical point of view, one based on definitions and rules of logic.  But we can never observe it because in order to observe anything in a physical sense, there must be light hitting the optical nerves of our bodies and sending an electrical transmission to our brains, which then gets read and interpreted by the mind.  Or any other similar sensational experience, which would negate the idea of there being nothing.

To experience nothing, we would need to become aware of the fact that we are not experiencing something in that moment, and that is the truly mind-fucking part.

The familiar Buddhist concept of “empty your cup” applies here.  If you were to empty your mind of all thought entirely (something I’ve only ever been able to do once in my life, and even then for only a brief moment), then you’d be able to experience what “nothing” is like.

Once you do this, though, you will be like “Oh my God!  Holy fuck!  What the fuck!  Oh my God-damn fucking fuck!  Fucking fuck!” for a long while thereafter, as if you were that guy from District 9 saying “fuck” and “fuck” every other sentence.

If you aren’t sure whether you’ve done this before or not, then I can safely say you haven’t done it yet; because once you do, it will be like nothing you have ever experienced before … literally.

Symbols, Part 6: The Solar Cross

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by marushiadark

“The best thing about the sun … it never tells me I’m unworthy.” ~ George Carlin

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the time of year when the day is the same length as the night, and I can’t think of any more appropriate time of year (except maybe Christmas) to talk about the Solar Cross.  The solar cross is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and most universally recognized religious symbols in human history.  You’ve probably seen it all over the place without even recognizing it.  Simply stated, it is a circle with two lines through it that intersect in the center.

The Greek Cross, the Celtic Cross, the Latin Cross, the Swastika, the Chi Rho, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Egyptian Ankh, and a host of other symbols all derive from it.  It is also found in Central AmericaMesopotamia, North America, and many of other places.

In short, the solar cross is the symbol in most of the world’s religions.

Among other things, it is symbolic of the four directions, the four elements, the four root races, the four stages of life, the four humours, the four seasons, and so forth.  But perhaps most importantly, most commonly, and as its name suggests, it is a symbol of the sun.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” ~ Sitting Bull

The documentary film Zeitgeist, created by a man known only as Peter Joseph, is arguably the most popular viral video on the internet.  The first part of the video is based on the life’s work of researchers such as Jordan Maxwell and Acharya S.  It outlines very plainly the history and usage of the Solar Cross in various religions and cultures throughout the world.  Without wishing to completely rehash Zetigeist, the basic story is as follows:

The ancients believed the sun was the light of the world and the savior of mankind.  Every night, the sun would set into the underworld and rise again each morning to conquer the forces of darkness and “evil.”  At certain points throughout the year, it would undergo particular behaviors from the perspective of the earth, and these are the basis of many ancient myths.

For instance, on December 21, the Winter Solstice, the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the day is shortest while night is longest.  For the next three days, it would appear to not move at all before rising one degree higher in the sky on December 25.  To the ancients, this motion symbolized the death and rebirth of the sun and it is why Christ and many other religious figures have their date of birth on December 25.  The death and resurrection of the sun was not celebrated, however, until the Spring Equinox when the days began to become longer than the nights and light officially conquered the darkness.  The feast of Easter derives from the Feast of Ostara, the goddess of dawn, who was symbolized by rabbits and eggs.

Throughout the calendar year, the sun would pass through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac.  In Christianity, these are symbolized by the twelve apostles.  Da Vinci’s Last Supper depicts not only the twelve signs, but also Christ centered on the cross as the sun.  The number twelve appears throughout the bible for similar reasons, all being a reference to the zodiac.  The twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve prophets, the twelve kings, etc.  The twelve gods of Olympus, the twelve titans, and the twelve labors of Hercules are examples of the same, as used in Greco-Roman mythologies.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 4, verse 7, there is mention of several beings with the heads of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man.  These are the symbols of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio (which was symbolized by an eagle before it was a scorpion), and Aquarius, respectively.  This imagery can also be found in occultism, such as on the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot deck.

There is no shortage of parallels that can be drawn between the myths of majors religions, especially Christianity, and the motions of the sun as it travels through the heavens.  The Solar Cross, i.e. the Cross of the Zodiac, is a shorthand representation of this concept, which is really just an ancient pagan spiritual symbol.

Some of the earliest constructions of mankind reflect a worship of the sun.  For instance, it has recently been demonstrated by archeologists that the monoliths at Stonehenge were used as a solar shrine to mark the Winter Solstice and there is a sister site some miles away that marks the Summer Solstice as well.  The Egyptians, Mayans, and Aztecs are all well known for their worship of the sun also.  I could go on and on about this, but this is just an introduction.  The point is that, the more you begin to research into comparative religions and history, the more you begin to find sun worship everywhere.

Though its most common use is as a religious symbol, the Solar Cross is also used in a number of corporate logos as well.  Most notable are BWM, Alfa-Romeo, and Bayer.

Also keep in mind that there are many derivatives of the Solar Cross, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article.  For instance, the equal-armed cross is used prolifically in medicine, and in the logos of Chevrolet and the Red Cross.  The cross is used in national flags, such as the flag of Switzerland and many others.

The Cross of Lorraine, aka the double cross (play on words, much?), is used in the logos for BloodRayne, Holiday Inn, Nabisco, and Exxon-Mobile.  It’s also the symbol of the ruling party in V for Vendetta, with Chancellor Sutler being the dictator of a British police state.  The parallels between that and Nazi Germany, headed by Chancellor Adolf Hitler; or the Empire from Star Wars, headed by Chancellor Palpatine, should raise a number of alarming questions in your mind about just what sorts of people are using these symbols against us and why.

Symbols, Part 4: The All-Seeing Eye

Posted in All, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by marushiadark

“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own self in all beings, and all beings in his own self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.” ~ Buddha

Besides the pyramid, there is probably no better-known symbol amongst conspiracy theorists and their opponents than the all-seeing eye.  Among its names include the Eye of Ra, the Eye of Horus, the Wadjet, the Eye of God, the Eye of Providence, the Eye of the World, and many others.  It is seen prevalently in Egyptian and Buddhist art and, perhaps most notably, on the back of the one dollar bill.

But why is it there and what is the purpose of this symbol?  To understand that, we must understand a bit about the history of the symbol.

“The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun as a god.  To them, the sun was the giver of life, the creator, the one who revealed the truth, and the protector and savior of humanity.  In their art and literature, the sun was portrayed as the falcon, Horus, among others.  The right and left eyes of Horus were said to be reminiscent of the sun and moon.  In many other cultures as well, the sun and moon play a central role in mythology.  For instance, the Mesoamerican tale of the Hero Twins in the Popol Vuh is an allegory of these astral bodies, as are many Greco-Roman myths.  This is hardly surprising, given how important the sun and moon are to the systems of the natural world.

As we know, the circumpunct is a symbol of the sun.  The all-seeing eye is also a symbol of the sun.  Its different iterations derive from either the eye of the falcon (Horus), the circumpunct, and / or the vesica piscis.  Being a symbol of the sun, it represents many of the same things: power, divinity, wisdom, life, creation, enlightenment, goodness, etc.

The all-seeing eye is also symbolic of the Ajna Chakra (also called the third-eye chakra).  This is a point in the energy level of the body that sits roughly in the middle of your forehead and corresponds to the pineal gland of the endocrine system.  The Ajna is said to be the source of intuition and is what makes us aware of our connection to all things in the universe, as though we were a single root in a very big tree.

The all-seeing eye is a symbol of God, the almighty creator, and his ability to see and know all.  Unfortunately, like a great many symbols, the all-seeing eye has been hijacked for its ability to affect the psyche.

“Every messenger of Allah did warn his nation about the trials of the Dajjal … He will claim to be God and try to create doubts in your minds.  Have a firm belief, the one-eyed creature cannot be your Lord … He will claim to come with the gifts of paradise and arsenal of hell.” ~ Mohammad

Many people are familiar with the idea of the Antichrist.  Despite the fact that it’s never mentioned in Revelation, they often associate it with those events and believe that he rise of the Antichrist will precede the end of the world.

In Islam, there is a similar concept, known as the Dajjal, or great deceiver.  According to Mohammad, the Dajjal can easily be recognized by its one eye.  More specifically, its right eye (the moon, feminine, yin, compassion, submission) will be blinded and its left eye (the sun, masculine, yang, power, dominance) will be bulging.  This suggests a great deal of suffering and control that is not balanced or offset by anything.  In Revelation, we know that the Antichrist will bring war and famine and disease.  In Islam, the Dajjal will emerge in a time of falsehood, usury, corruption, and oppression to bring about more of the same.  The documentary Shadows in Motion explains a great deal about the history of the Dajjal, along with its true form.

It is important to note that, in both religions, the offending party is not just a single man or woman, but is in fact anyone who goes against truth, justice, love, and goodness.  To do harm to humanity is to serve the Dajjal, while to help your fellow man is to be on the side of goodness and light. In our modern world, the all-seeing eye has become a symbol of the forces that would seek to corrupt and destroy us for the pleasure and power of a few.

But the Antichrist / Dajjal isn’t just one, or even a few, specific people.  It’s not the President, the government, America, or money.  It is a cancer of society and the mind, and the idea that causes such persons and organizations to become corrupt and evil.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the all-seeing eye has become the banner of that idea.

The eye is most famously associated with the Illuminati – a name that has come to embody the collective forces of evil.  In Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, the shape of the oval is really meant to be the all-seeing eye.  It also appears in movies such as National Treasure and Tomb Raider.  Some other examples of its use are on the dollar bill, in Freemasonry, and logos of media groups like CBS, Lucas Arts, AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Nickelodeon.  It’s also used in Toyota, Lada, Big Brother, Information Awareness, the MI5 logo, Illuminati Online, Sagem, Endemol, and many others.  Frequently, it is used in companies responsible for the dissemination or safe-guarding of information, since the all-seeing eye is also the eye of truth that sees everything.  Those that don’t want you to know the truth can be identified, in part, by their one eye.

In both Islam and Christianity, it is believed that the Dajjal or Antichrist will be defeated with the return of Christ.  Just as the enemy is not one man, so too is the Christ not one man, but an idea.  The word “Christ” comes from Greek and means “the anointed one.”  It is not a name, but a title.  Anyone who is “baptized in fire” that is, open to and aware of the Spirit, i.e. their connection with God as a part of him, is anointed and thus is Christ.  So, in all practical terms, to defeat the forces of evil, you must become aware of who you are and stop subjugating yourself to the institutions that use these symbols and ideas against you.  You have your own all-seeing eye in the back of your head.  Start using it.