Thursday, September 20, 2018

Getting UNstuck with Pema Chodron (audio)

American Tibetan Shambhala nun Pema Chodron ( via SoundsTrue and Roy of Hollywood (KPFK); CC Liu, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The Buddhist Contemplative TraditionBuddhist teacher, author, mother, and nun Pema Chodron has inspired millions of people from around the world.
They have been touched by her example and message of practicing peace in these turbulent times (When Things Fall Apart).
The Pema Chodron Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing Pema Chodron’s inspiration and teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom and compassion in ourselves and the world around us. 

On the website ( learn more about her work, teachings, and publications as well as the vision of the Pema Chodron Foundation, which supports... More

The Place of Pot in my Practice (Sept. 20)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly

Dharma Meditation Initiative, Los Angeles
Do entheogens (substances that bring out the divine within) like cannabis (the entheogenic use of cannabis), magic mushrooms, Amazonian Ayahuasca brews -- which seem to stimulate our endogenous DMT, di-methyl-tryptamine, The Spirit Molecule and pineal glands -- have any place in meditation or spiritual experiences?

Talk is cheap, so we'll talk about the possibility of organizing a plant ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 20, 7:00-8:30 PM at Los Angeles' Dharma Meditation Initiative, Neighborhood Church Room 23, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena 91103, two blocks north of Colorado Blvd.
These plants CURE addiction, research is showing (e.g., Dr. Charles S Grob, UCLA). Psyche-delic means "mind-making" (reality-creating, matrix-imagining), and the plant world has much to teach us. Wait, what does the Dalai Lama have to say about this?

Dear Dalai Lama: What about psychedelics in spiritual practice?

The new science of psychedelics (Michael Pollan)

How to Meditate: Yongey Mingyur (video)

Yongey Mingyur; Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative); Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

Mind Vast as Space, Going Beyond: A Secular Perspective
It's easy!
This public talk from April 19, 2018 was given at the London School of Economics Old Theatre in London, England. To view Yongey Mingyur's teaching schedule, visit For nearby classes and workshops, visit To learn more about meditation or about Mingyur Rinpoche and his Tibetan Buddhist teachings, visit the Tergar Meditation Community online at

Sakka and "Big Blackie" (Maha Kanha Jataka)

Dhr. Seven, Eliza Darcey (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly, Jataka 469 ("Stories of the Buddha’s Former Rebirths"), Book 12, Francis via; Sentinel Beast, "Dogs of War"
Sakka: I will look after the human world when a buddha's teaching begins to decline.

469. Maha Kanha Jataka
“A black, black hound” and so on -- this story was told by the Buddha while dwelling at Jetavana, about living for the benefit of the world.

One day, they say, the monastics were sitting in the Hall of Truth (Dharma Hall) talking. “Venerables,” one would say, “the Teacher, ever practicing friendship towards the multitudes of people, has given up an agreeable residence and lives just for the good of the world.

"Moreover, he has attained supreme wisdom yet of his own accord takes bowl and robe and goes on a journey of 18 or more leagues.
  • To the Five Ascetics he set a rolling the Wheel of the Dharma [the Teaching that leads to complete freedom from all rebirth and suffering];
  • on the fifth day of the half-month he recited the "Discourse on the Impersonal Nature of All Things" (Anattalakkhana Sutra), and guided them to full enlightenment;
  • he went to Uruvela and there, to the wandering ascetics with long matted hair, he displayed miracles -- three thousand and half a thousand -- and persuaded them to become [Buddhist] monastics practicing for enlightenment;
  • at Gayasisa he recited the Fire Sermon and guided a thousand of those wandering ascetics to full enlightenment;
  • to Maha Kassapa, when he had gone forward three miles to meet him, after three sutras he gave the higher ordination;
  • all alone, after the noon-day meal, he went a journey of 45 leagues and then established in the fruit of the third path Pukkusa (a youth of very good birth);
  • to meet Maha Kappina he went forward a space of 2,000 leagues and guided him to full enlightenment;
  • alone in the afternoon he went on a journey of 30 leagues and established in full enlightenment that cruel and harsh man Angulimala [the serial killer and mass murderer];
  • thirty leagues also he traversed and established the Ogre Alavaka in the fruit of the first path and saved the prince;
  • in the Celestial Realm of the Thirty-Three he visited three months and taught full comprehension of the Dharma to 800 million devas;
  • to [Baka] Brahma’s world he went and destroyed that [deva's] false views and guided 10,000 brahmas;
  • every year he goes on pilgrimage in three districts and to such people as are capable of receiving, he gives the Three Guiding Gems, the Virtues, and the fruits of the different stages;
  • he even acts for the good of naga reptilians and garuda avians and the like, in many ways.”
In such words they praised the goodness and worth of the One of the Ten Power’s life for the good of the world.

The Teacher came in and asked what they were talking about as they sat there. They answered him. “And no wonder, monastics,” he said. “One who now in perfected wisdom would live for the world’s good did so even in the past [when striving for supreme wisdom of buddhahood], in those days of suffering, lived for the good of the world.”

Story of a Past Life
O, Kassapa Buddha, there goes the Dharma!
So saying the Buddha told this story of the past: Once upon a time, in the days of [a previous teaching] Buddha Kassapa, there reigned a king named Usinara.

It was a long time after the Buddha Kassapa had declared the Four Noble Truths and guided multitudes of people from bondage to final liberation and had helped awaken large numbers of those to realize nirvana that that the dispensation (the Dharma/Buddhism of that buddha) fell into decay.

The male monastics gained their livelihood in 21 unlawful ways (modes of wrong livelihood). They "associated" with the nuns, and sons and daughters were born to them.

Monks forsook the duties of the Male Monastic Order, and nuns forsook the duties of Female Monastic Order, lay men and women their duties [see the Sigalovada Sutra], Brahmins no longer performed the duties of Brahmins:

Humans for the most part followed the Ten Courses of Unwholesome Conduct, and as they died they filled the ranks of all the states of suffering.

Then Sakka King of the Devas [of that time], observing that no new devas came into being (were reborn in the celestial worlds), looked abroad upon the world, and perceived how humans were reborn into states of suffering, and that the dispensation of Kassapa Buddha had decayed.

“What shall I do now?” Sakka wondered. “Ah, I have it!” he thought: “I will scare and terrify humankind, and when I see that they are terrified, I will console them, I will declare the Dharma, I will restore the dispensation that has decayed, and I will make it last for another thousand years!”

"Big Blackie"
Maha Kanha, "Big Blackie," the sentinel beast
With this resolve he transformed the deva Matali [his charioteer/vimana pilot] into the shape of a huge black hound with four [hog] tusks as big as plantains, horrible to look upon, with a hideous shape and a fat belly, as of a woman ready to give birth.

He fastened him with a fivefold chain and put on him a red wreath led by a cord.

Sakka put on a pair of yellow garments and bound his hair behind his head and donned a red wreath. Taking a huge bow fitted with bowstring the color of coral and twirling in his fingers a javelin tipped with adamant, he assumed the aspect of a forester and descended at a spot one league [one hour's walk] away from the city.

“This world is doomed to destruction! Doomed to destruction! Doomed to destruction!” he called out three times with a loud voice that terrified the people. And when he reached and entered the city, he repeated that terrible cry.

The people seeing the hound were frightened and ran into the city and told the ruler what had happened.

Sakka in disguise
Sakka (St. Michael in Catholicism), King of the Devas
The ruler quickly caused the city gates to be closed. But Sakka leaped over the wall, 18 cubits in height, and with his hound stood within the city.

The people in terror ran away into houses and locked the doors. Big Blackie gave chase to every human he saw and scared them and finally entered the ruler’s palace.

The people, who in their fright had taken refuge in the courtyard, ran into the palace and shut the door. And as for the ruler, he with the ladies of his household went up onto the terrace.

Big Blackie raised his forepaws and putting them in through the window roared a great roar. The sound of this roaring reached from [the lowest] realm to the highest realm: the whole world-system was one great roar.

The three great roars that were the loudest ever heard in "India" [Bharat or Jambudvipa] are these: the cry of King Punnaka in the Punnaka Jataka, the cry of the naga King Sudassana in the Bhuridatta Jataka, and this roar in the Maha Kanha Jataka [lit., the "Great-Black Birth Tale"], or the story of "Big Blackie." The people were terrified, filled with horror, and not a person could say a word to Sakka.

The ruler steeled his nerve and, approaching the window, cried out to Sakka: “Ho, huntsman! Why did your hound roar?”

Sakka answered, “The hound is hungry.”

“Well,” said the ruler, “I will order some food to be given to him.” He ordered his food and the food of all the household to be given to him. The hound seemed to make one mouthful of the whole thing then roared again.

Again the ruler asked and Sakka answered, “My hound is still hungry!” The ruler then had all the food of his elephants, horses, and so forth brought and given to Big Blackie. He also finished this off in one bite. Then the king had all the food in the city given to him.

Big Blackie swallowed all of this in like manner and roared again. The ruler said, “This is no hound. Beyond all doubt this is a goblin. I'll ask him where he has come from.” Terrified with fear he asked his question with this stanza:
“A black, black hound, with five cords bound, with fangs all white of hue,
Majestic, awful—mighty one, what makes he here with you?”
On hearing this Sakka uttered this stanza in return:
“Not to hunt game the Black Hound came, but he shall be of use
To punish humans, Usinara, when I shall let him loose.”
Then the ruler said, “What, huntsman, will the hound devour the flesh of all men, or of your enemies only?”

“Only my enemies, great king.”

“And who are your enemies?”

“Those, O king, who love unrighteousness and walk doing harm.”

“Describe them to us,” he asked. And Sakka, the King of the Devas, described them in these stanzas:
“When the false monks, bowls in hand, in one robe clad, shall choose
Tonsured the plough to follow, then the Black Hound I will loose.
“When nuns of the Order shall in single robe be found,
Tonsured, yet walking in the world, I will let loose the Hound.
“What time wandering ascetics, usurers, protruding the upper lip,
Foul-toothed and filthy-haired shall be -- the Black Hound I’ll let slip.
“When Brahmins, skilled in sacred texts and holy rites, shall use
Their skill to sacrifice for pelf, the Black Hound shall go loose.
“Whoso, parents now grown old, their youth now come to an end,
Would not maintain, although one might, against that person the Hound I’ll send.
“Who to parents now grown old, their youth now come to an end,
Cries, 'Fools are ye!' against such the Black Hound I'll send.
“When men go after others’ wives, of teacher, or of friend,
Sister of father, uncle’s wife, the Black Hound will I send.
“When shield on shoulder, sword in hand, full-armed as highway men
They take the road to kill and rob, I’ll loose the Black Hound then.
“When widows’ sons, with skin groomed white, in skill all useless found,
Strong-armed, shall quarrel and shall fight, then I will loose the Hound.
“When humans with hearts of evil full, false and deceitful men,
Walk in and out the world about, I’ll loose the Black Hound then.”
When Sakka, King of the Devas, had spoken thus, “These,” he explained, “are my 'enemies,' O king!” And he made as though he would let the hound leap forth and devour all those who did the deeds of enemies.

But as all the multitude was struck with terror, he held the hound by its leash and seemed, as it were, to tie him to that spot. Then taking off the disguise of a hunter, by his psychic power he rose and poised himself midair, all blazing as it appeared, and said:

“O great king, I am Sakka, King of the Devas! Seeing that the world was about to be destroyed, I came here. Now, indeed, humans as they die are filling the states of suffering because their deeds are unwholesome, and the celestial world has grown empty.

From here on in I will know how to deal with those who do harm, but be vigilant.” Then having in four stanzas, which were well worth remembering, declared the Dharma, he established the people in the virtues of generosity, strengthened the waning power of the dispensation so that it lasted for another thousand years, and with Matali returned to his own realm.

When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he added: “Therefore, monastics, in former times as now I have lived for the good of the world.”

Then [the Buddha] identified that rebirth: “At that time Ananda was Matali, and I was Sakka.” Source

What meditation can/can't do for health

Carolyn L. Todd (Self); Ananda M. (DMI), Crystal Q, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Meditation for people who find it hard to meditate, is there such a thing? (DMI)
Brain and vein, an artist's interpretation (CSA Plastock/Getty Images)
[Buddhist] mindfulness meditation [altered by psychology and stripped of its spiritual element] is one wellness trend that shows no signs of disappearing. And what does the science say?
[We know science should not "should" all over us, but here it goes:] We know we "should" meditate. We’ve probably had plenty of friends tell us so and seen plenty of headlines about the benefits of meditation.

It makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more glowing, smarter, more youthful, nicer -- a generally better human, or so we’ve heard.

Maybe we've even dipped our toe into [our version of what we thought was] meditating once or twice, downloading Headspace after a stressful day, and couldn't really motivate ourselves to make it stick. Or, hey, maybe we are those people who actually sets aside 30 minutes a day to meditate. [Yeah, right.]
I thought I knew what meditation was.
Considering society's fleeting attention span when it comes to wellness advice, it's impressive that meditation -- which has roots in a variety of ancient Eastern traditions like Buddhism [and its fellow "wandering ascetic" or shramanic tradition] -- has achieved this status as a pillar of well-being [but its objective was, of course, much more significant than "stress reduction" or feeling better. The goal is a spiritual and transformative experience of personal liberation, evolution, and awakening].
But is meditation’s ubiquity based on rock-solid scientific research? [Because if it's not, Science being the only thing worth two s-its, then why are we wasting our time? We must be wasting it, and time must not be "wasted"; we must instead obey Science and its white clad priesthood of University Church brethren.]

Or are there other factors to thank for its staying power? What exactly is meditation capable of, and "should" we all be doing it? Several "experts" behind the growing body of research on the health effects of meditation talk about what the Science tells us -- and what we have yet to learn.

What is meditation?
“Meditation is generally used as a broad umbrella term that covers a wide array of contemplative practices, many of which are drawn from Buddhist traditions but have often been adapted and secularized for application in Western society,” neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp, Ph.D., science director at the Mind & Life Institute and visiting professor of contemplative sciences at the University of Virginia, tells SELF.

“[It is] a broad set of practices that seek to use the mind in specific, intentional ways.” More

Sutra on the Not-self Characteristic

Ven. Ñanamoli Thera (trans.), Anatta-Lakkhana Sutra: "The Discourse on the Not-Self Characteristic (SN 22.59); Eliza Darcey, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Benares, in the Deer Park at Isipatana (the "Resort of Seers"). There he addressed the meditators called the group of five [wandering ascetics]:


— "Venerable sir," they replied. Then the Blessed One said this:
  1. "Meditators, form [the physical, the material, the tangible, body] is not self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could command of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form not be thus.' Since form is not self, it leads to affliction, and no one can command form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form not be thus.'
  2. "Feeling is not self...
  3. "Perception is not self...
  4. "Determinations are not self...
  5. "Consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could command consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.' Since consciousness is not self, it leads to affliction, and no one can command consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.'
"Meditators, how is one to conceive it: Is form permanent or impermanent?"

— "Impermanent, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent -- and painful because it is subject to change -- fit to be regarded in this way: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"?

— "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

— "Impermanent, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?"

— "Painful, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent -- and painful since it is subject to change -- fit to be regarded in this way: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"?

— "No, venerable sir."
"Therefore, meditators, any kind of form whatsoever -- whether past, future, or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether internal (of oneself) or external (of another), whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding of how it truly is, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'
"Any kind of feeling whatsoever...

"Any kind of perception whatsoever...
"Any kind of determination whatsoever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatsoever -- whether past, future, or presently arisen -- whether gross or subtle, whether internal or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding of how it truly is, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Meditators, when a noble [i.e., enlightened] follower who has heard (the truth, the Dharma) sees things [namely, the Five Aggregates Clung to as Self, as they truly are] in this way,
  1. one finds estrangement in form,
  2. one finds estrangement in feeling,
  3. one finds estrangement in perception,
  4. one finds estrangement in determinations,
  5. one finds estrangement in consciousness.
"When one finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, one is liberated. When liberated, there is direct knowledge that one is liberated. One understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the pure life has been lived, what can be done has been done, of this [suffering in birth] there is no more beyond.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. The meditators were glad, and they approved of his words.

Now during this utterance, the hearts of the meditators of the group of five were liberated from taints through utterly letting go and clinging no more.

AfterBurn: Free Burning Man event (Sept. 22)

Thomas (20s/30s Just Social Club); Ananda M. (DMI), Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Don't look now. There's an orgy going on in that dome. That's Burning Man for ya.
This is so hot, so very red hot.
Dust off your Burner outfits and come get a little weird at the Venice AFTERBURN Saturday in Venice Beach. This is an official Regional Burning Man event.

So if you couldn't make it to Black Rock last week, here's a chance to taste the Burning Man ethos. Hang out and celebrate art and community with big scale installations, interactive art, music, performances, mutant vehicles, and everything else that's big about Burning Man, Venice Beach, Los Angeles. FREE!

Everyone's invited, y'all!
Everyone's invited, Burner or not. Self-expression is embraced as well as radical inclusion in an effort to extend the Burning Man spirit and culture beyond the playa and back to the "default world."

PLAN: Meet, hang out, walk around, watch the sun set behind the ocean, and look at cool stuff. Hey, it's (sort of) Burning Man -- so there's no super rigid schedule here. Afterward, if people wish, we might...or just hang out on the beach. Location and to RSVP
  • What? Art Cars, Art Installations, Performance Art, Hooping, Music, Poi, Weird Stuff

Ready for Enlightenment? The Ready Ones

Ananda Pereira (Buddhist Publication Society,, Escape to Reality: Buddhist Essays (Wheel #45/46); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The Ready Ones
You yourselves must make the effort,
Wayfarers (buddhas) are only teachers.
Meditative ones who enter the Way
Escape the bonds of Māra (Death).

In the previous essay we said that Buddhism is a practice for mental adults. It does not sugarcoat the bitter pills of life or pretend that death is the gateway to everlasting happiness in heaven.
It does not promise easy salvation in exchange for unquestioning blind faith in some supreme deity. It teaches self-reliance and the importance of personal responsibility.

No teacher, however wise and kind, can help those who refuse to learn. By fulfilling the Ten Perfections (dasa pāramī), a being who aspires to be a buddha [a fully enlightened being, whether a personal-buddha, a non-teaching buddha, or a teaching buddha] develops the qualities necessary to become an unrivalled teacher of devas and humans.

One is not thereby “atoning” for the foolishness or wickedness of others, although one sacrifices life itself, again and again, during this long period of preparation.

Nobody, however noble-minded, can atone for the faults of others. One can only improve oneself. In the case of a being striving for buddhahood, this process of self-improvement goes far beyond the level sufficient for purely personal liberation.

One wishes to help others as well. But one can only do so by teaching them how to help themselves. There is no "salvation" by proxy. This may sound like a harsh or heartless teaching, but it is a reasonable one full of heart.

And it fits into the pattern of life as we know it: One cannot eat for another or learn swimming for another or keep healthy for another. Nor can one “atone” for the foolishness or wickedness of another. Each must pay his or her own debts and shape the destiny one wishes for. Even supremely enlightened teaching buddhas can only show the way. They point; they do not walk the path for us.

A buddha ("awakened one"), also called a "wayfarer" (tathāgata), is a teacher in the truest and highest sense of the word. One cannot place a limit on the value of such a remarkable teacher.

Life after life, through countless lives and aeons (kalpas), beings live in darkness. They cling to this false belief or to that. They live, die and live again, on and on, now in states of pleasure, now in states of agony. But they do not know how to gain freedom from it all.

Then, like the dawning of a brilliant day, a buddha appears. He teaches the Way to Freedom. Some leap to this Teaching (Dharma) and profit from practice by it immediately. They are the ready ones, like the great arhats of the Buddha’s day.

For them, a single stanza or phrase may suffice. Others may take a little longer to learn. Still others do not learn at all. They are as unprepared for the Buddha-Dharma as a kindergartner is unprepared for the theory of relativity.

Who are those ready ones who profit immediately by the appearance of a buddha? According to the Buddha they are those who are meditative.

Already, on their own, perhaps in many past lives, they have trained themselves to think clearly. They have developed their minds/hearts. To them, the “effort” of following the Buddha’s Teaching is a glad one. They do not yearn after the so-called prizes of life, the wealth, the power, the worldly advancement that others find so alluring.

They see much greater worth in such things as peace of mind, contentment, and freedom. They take easily to the Way and are delivered from the bonds of Māra, the personification of Death -- the bonds of craving, ill-will, and ignorance. They win freedom. 
Greatness higher than rulership over all the earth,
Higher than sojourning in heavens supreme,
Higher than empire over all the realms,
Is fruit of entry to the Dharma stream.
We worldlings see greatness in worldly success. To us a reigning sovereign is great, a millionaire is great, a famous actor, or artist is great. We measure greatness by the yardstick of worldly power or fame.

To the Buddha greatness was something entirely different. He saw beings dying and getting reborn according to their karma.

He knew that an emperor can be reborn as a termite. He saw that, in this world of everlasting change, there is no security in worldly power, no stability in worldly fame. Death comes to the powerful and the famous just as surely as it comes to the weak and unknown. And with death there is a shedding of worldly power, wealth, and fame. Again and again it happens.
Seen against the background of eternal change, there is nothing real in worldly greatness. Even we worldlings can see things in this way if we take the Buddha’s Teaching to heart and use our intelligence. But few of us do so. That is why the Buddha said, “Blind is this world. Few are they who truly see.”

If, seeing things as they truly are, we refuse to grant that greatness is an attribute of worldly power, fame or success, must we conclude, that there is no such thing as greatness? The Buddha’s answer was to point to the stream-winner (sotāpanna), the being who has attained the first stage of full enlightenment, as that term is understood in Buddhism.

“There” said the Buddha, “is one who is greater than any reigning sovereign, than any celestial being, be he even a Brahmā.”

And be it remembered there are three higher stages of enlightenment (beyond the first stage, which is called stream-entry), culminating in the attainment of final emancipation as an arhat or fully enlightened person. Why is this? A stream enterer... More

DMT: Portal to the Spirit World (video)

Cosmic Consciousness with Jonas; Pat Macpherson, Ananda M., Wisdom Quarterly

Welcome to the strange and fascinating topic of DMT. Beyond all limitations of space and time, DMT is a deep dive down a rabbit hole into the unknown, into the infinite mysteries of life itself.

"DMT seems to argue, convincingly I might add, that the world is entirely made of something, for want of a better world, that we would have to call magic."
- Terence McKenna
This video was made for educational and harm-reduction purposes. We are NOT advocating for the general use of DMT. This is an incredibly powerful substance, and the experience of using it can be downright terrifying, destabilizing, and even traumatizing. This is a sacred substance that demands being treated with respect and extreme caution. Use of third party images protected under the Fair Use Act. Gratitude to: DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule documentary (2010), "Ayahuasca: Journey into Infinity" by Gaia (2018). Music credit: Four Tet- Plastic People.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Karma Class: Five Precepts, Eightfold Path

Shwe Zan Aung, Mrs. Caroline A.F. Rhys Davids (trans.) via, Kathavatthu 22.7, "Of Correlation by Repetition"; edited by Dhr. Seven, Eliza Darcey, Wisdom Quarterly

Doggie karma (Dan Piraro)
Theravada Buddhist: But was this not said by the Exalted One [regarding the Five Precepts Buddhists undertake to observe]?

The Five Precepts
The Buddha: “Meditators, the (1) taking of life -- when habitually practiced and multiplied -- is conducive to rebirth in the purgatories (the long but impermanent Buddhist "hells"), among animals, and/or hungry ghosts. In its slightest form it results in and is conducive to a shortened life on the [precious and rare] human plane.”

And again: “Meditators, (2) theft, (3) sexual misconduct, (4) perjury, slander, uttering harsh words, useless talk [the four of which are collectively called "false speech"], and (5) intoxication leading to heedlessness -- habitually practiced and multiplied -- are each and all conducive to rebirth in the purgatories (among naraka beings/denizens/hellions), among animals, or hungry ghosts.
  • The slightest theft results in and conduces to the destruction of one's property;
  • the slightest sexual misconduct gives rise to retaliatory measures among humans (i.e., in the human world, on the human plane of existence, which is NOT limited to earth);
  • the lightest form of perjury exposes the perjurer to false accusation among humans;
  • the mildest offense in slander leads to a rupture of friendships among humans;
  • the lightest result of harsh words creates sounds jarring on the human ear;
  • the slightest result of useless talk is speech commanding no respect among humans;
  • the mildest (heedlessness/harm due to) intoxication conduces to want of sanity among humans.”
The Noble Eightfold Path
We adhere to the Five Precepts, sir. That's enough. Why do you follow the Noble Eightfold Path when the Five Precepts are enough? - I do it to realize nirvana and make an end of ALL suffering.

And again: “Meditators, wrong view, wrong intention (thought, aspiration, motivation, purpose), wrong effort, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong mindfulness, and wrong concentration each and all -- if habitually practiced, developed, and multiplied -- conduce to rebirth in the purgatories, among animals, among hungry ghosts.”

And again: “Meditators, right views, right intention, [and so on for all of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path] -- habitually practiced, developed, and multiplied -- have their base and their goal and their culmination in the Deathless [amata, (i.e., nirvana)].”
  • *Kathavatthu: "Points of Controversy," another odd inclusion in the Abhidharma, this book contains questions and answers that were compiled by Ven. Moggaliputta Tissa in the 3rd century BCE in order to help clarify points of controversy that existed between the various Hinayana or "Lesser Vehicle" schools (like the Sarvastivada but not the Theravada, which had not yet come into existence] of Buddhism at the time. English translation: Points of Controversy, translated from Pali by S.Z. Aung and C.A.F. Rhys Davids (Oxford, Pali Text Society, 1915).

This world is a simulation: Maya

Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Alan Watts (

This is all unreal in more than one sense: Plato's cave allegory, the Buddha's maya.
I'm not a fraud. I'm rich, baby! Who paid you?
CON: How can anybody seriously say that this world -- solid as it is and totally real -- is a "simulation"? Elon Musk is a tool who lies about his adventures with Space X and calls a detractor he's mad at a "pedo" (molester).

The Wheel to Freedom
PRO: But Musk is not the only one who says this life, this world around us, is a "simulation." Doesn't everyone have the sense that there's something unreal going on here? What is the "proof" we're dreaming?

We wake up. So if we were to wake up from a dream-within-a-dream we would say, "Aha! We were just dreaming!" But we would still be dreaming.

What does the "Awakened One," the Buddha, say will happen when we awaken from this illusion, this maya? He says that in retrospect this will all seem like a dream to us. It was all unreal, insubstantial, painful and misleading. This is a dream, this is an illusion, this is maya -- not at all what it seems to be.

What does it seem to be?
  1. It seems to be permanent when it's not.
  2. It seems to be able to satisfy us when it cannot.
  3. It seems to be personal when it is not. It is all changing, unsatisfactory (disappointing), and impersonal (devoid of an inside-self experiencing an outside-world).
What is it actually?
O, Elon, exhale and BE at peace.
  • This simulation, this unreal we call real, has Three Universal Characteristics. Seeing them causes one to "wake up." The alternating "painful nightmare-pleasant dream" (called samsara) is thereby dispelled, and all is well. That awakened state is enlightenment (bodhi) that leads to peace (nirvana).

MAYA: The Physics of Deception (video)

NeuralSurfer, June 5, 2012; Rupert Spira; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

In this film Professor David Christopher Lane (Mt. San Antonio College, CSULB) explains how the ancient Indian philosophical concept of maya (lit. "not that" or more popularly understood as "illusion") permeates our everyday life and world.

By focusing on how neuroscience intersects with physics, we can begin to appreciate that the world we see around us BETRAYS its real origin in unexpected twists and turns.

(Rupert Spira) Maya stays, ignorance goes = Enlightenment
Science is perhaps the second most successful method (behind direct intuition) to reorient ourselves to stop grasping illusory concepts of the universe. Instead, it can help us in ways that defy our normal "common sense" expectations to see things as they really are.

How are they? Buddhism ("Awakenism") points out The Way to wake up and directly see the world, the universe, and ourselves for the way these things really are. It's "empty."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Are we in a simulation? Evidence (video)

Real Spirit Dynamics;; Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Are we in a simulation? Overwhelming evidence
Is life maya, a grand illusion, like the sages from India have been saying all along? Ryan Rogers talks about his views on the Simulation Hypothesis and the possibilities of who or what could have created this reality.

Is there evidence to support the Simulation Hypothesis? The Simulation Hypothesis proposes that all reality, including our earth and universe, is in fact an artificial simulation, most likely residing on a computer. Some versions rely on the development of a simulated reality, a proposed technology that would seem so realistic as to convince its inhabitants that the simulation were real. The hypothesis is a central plot device in many science fiction stories.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Native American Climate Justice (video), 9/14/18; Xochitl, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
What have these European invaders done to our land and skies?

Sarah's sexting and Yom Kippur (video)

Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman; Sheldon S., Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

(Unlearn the lies) Let's get hardcore. Let us "afflict our souls/appetites"

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement
(UNLEARN the lies, Sept. 29, 2017) Yom Kippur, aka the "Day of Atonement," is the holiest day of the year regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths." The day's focus is atonement and repentance, observed with prayer, fasting, and giving charity to the needy. It takes place on the tenth day of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. It is the only day on which the high priest is allowed to enter the most holy place in the temple. It's a day of intercession on which the high priest makes atonement for the people. Should Christians observe Yom Kippur? Most Christians seem to think that Jesus Christ (Rabbi Y'Shua) put an end to the feasts or that the biblical feasts were only for Jews. But let's listen to what the Christian Bible has to say about it. Visit and support on Patreon.

(Bim Bam PR) What's Yom Kippur? Extreme ASCETICISM for purification

The Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur
(BimBam, Sept. 12, 2017) What are the basics of the "Day of Atonement" or Yom Kippur in 3 minutes? This is the most holy day of the Jewish calendar. and it is full of spiritual opportunity if you open yourself up to its customs, prayers and melodies. This short video is a basic primer on what it is and explains what this high holiday is about, where it comes from, who it's for, what to expect at a service, and how to break the fast [like a good Muslim would during the month-long Ramadan]! This is a great introduction for Jews and non-Jews alike. This [public relations] video was made possible with lots of financial "support" from The Koret Foundation as part of a Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood [Palestinian Nonpeoplehood?]. Facebook