Monday, September 28, 2015

Temple visit to see the supermoon eclipse

Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Associated Press ( via scitech/, Sept. 28, 2015
Phases of the Moon, Chandra or Luna, time lapse collage (Elmast Kozloyan/

Earth's shadow obscures the view of the so-called "supermoon" during a full lunar eclipse as steam near oil refineries rises in Edmonton, Alberta, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. It was the first time since 1982; not visible again until 2033 (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP).
Ha and Tha, Sun and Moon = Yoga.
LOS ANGELES, California - Stargazers were being treated to a rare astronomical phenomenon when a total lunar eclipse combined with a so-called supermoon.

Those in the United States, Europe, Africa, and western Asia can view the coupling, weather permitting, Sunday night or early Monday. It was the first time the events have made a twin appearance since 1982, and they won't again until 2033.
Blood moon over Asia, America (
When a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth, it appears slightly bigger and brighter than usual and has a reddish hue. That coincides with a full lunar eclipse where the moon, Earth and sun will be lined up, with Earth's shadow totally obscuring the moon.
The event occurred on the U.S. East Coast at 10:11 pm EDT (0211 GMT) and last about an hour. In Europe, the action will unfold before dawn Monday. In Los Angeles, a large crowd filled the lawn of Griffith Observatory [above Hollywood] to watch the celestial show while listening to Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" played by 14-year-old pianist Ray Ushikubo.
LA's massive Mid-Autumn Festival
"You always want to see the eclipse because they're always very different," said astronomer Edwin Krupp, the director of the hilltop landmark [that has its own wild lions roaming about like P-22]. Krupp said the additional component of the Earth's atmosphere adds "all kinds of twists and turns to the experience."
"What we see tonight will be different from the last event: how dark it is, how red it is. It's always interesting to see," he said. More

Biggest myths for the "Supermoon" total lunar eclipse (
Guru, why do we have eclipses?
Full moon over Boudhnath Stupa, Kathmandu, Buddhist Nepal (~anup dreamynomad/flickr)

Akasha deva, space light being (
Of course, as everyone knows, the reason we have lunar and solar eclipses is, according to Hindu astrology and the ancient Vedas, because the titan Rahu swallows Chandra (Moon) or Surya (Sun) and then lets go. We can see this happening with our own eyes! And seeing is believing. But people think it has something to do with some kind of predictable movement of heavenly bodies and a completely fortuitous size differential between the Earth (Bhumi, Gaia, Tierra) and its satellite such that the Moon (Chandra, Luna) completely eclipsing the Sun (Surya, Sol), and sometimes the Earth completely overshadows the Moon sometimes.
Revered Rahu, an asura, in Thailand (wiki)
(Wiki) RAHU the titan (asura) is mentioned explicitly in a pair of Buddhist texts in the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali canon. In the Candima Sutra and the Suriya Sutta, Rahu attacks the Sun deity Surya and the Moon deity Chandra before being compelled to release them because they recite a brief stanza conveying their reverence for the Buddha.
The Buddha responds to the recitations by enjoining Rahu to release them, which Rahu does to avoid his head splitting into seven pieces (a common idiom in ancient India).

Yggdrasil tree and nine home worlds: solar sytem
The verses recited by the two celestial bodies or deities and the Buddha have since been incorporated into Buddhist liturgy as protective (paritta) verses recited by monks as protective chants.
In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Rahu is said to have been subjugated by Padmasambhava, becoming one of the principle protectors of the Dzogchen teachings, particularly the Longchen Nyingthik. Rahu is usually depicted with nine heads and a thousand eyes all over his dark-colored body.

In his four arms Rahu holds a bow and arrow, often also a lasso and victory banner. He is wrathful in appearance, ablaze with fire, and his lower body has the form of a snake [like a streaming celestial body, possibly a comet formerly visible in the night sky, also an explanation for Quetzalcoatl fame in ancient Mesoamerica]. Rahula is a sa, a class of deities associated with heavenly bodies. Rahu is one of the krodha-asuras. More
  • Who is the titan Rāhu in Buddhism? Elsewhere (A.ii.17) Rāhu is spoken of as the chief [celestial body] of those possessing personality (attabhāva). The Commentaries (e.g., AA.ii.474; DA.ii.487f.; MA.ii.790; SA.i.86 contains more details and differs slightly) explain that Rahu [must be a celestial body because it] 4,800 leagues in height, and that the breadth of its "chest" is 1,200 yojanas (a yojan is approximately 7 miles). Its "hands" and "feet" are 200 leagues long, each finger joint measuring 50 leagues, the space between its "eyebrows" also measuring 50 leagues. Its "forehead" is 50 leagues broad, and its "head" 900 leagues in height. Its "face" measures 100 leagues, its "nose" 300, and the depth of its mouth 100. It ("he") is jealous of the gods of the Sun and the Moon and stands in their paths with wide open mouth [which leads to phenomenon we call an eclipse].
Harvest Moon: Mid-Autumn Festival, LA
Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Teri Mei, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly
As in the previous two years, the Mid-Autumn or Harvest Moon Festival sees the Hsi Lai courtyard flooded in light, tea and moon cakes served, and mixing with the kind nuns (WQ).
Another "Moon goddess," a Chandra devi.
We traveled east into the San Gabriel Valley and south toward Orange County where the hills rise out of the valley. Before one would get to Anaheim and Disneyland, there is a Buddhist temple that is so big it is hard to believe.

It is impossible to take a single picture of it that gives a sense of the size unless, perhaps, one had a camera drone. It is expansive and, from a helicopter's eye view, shaped like a bodhi tree leaf, a teardrop heart.

There are halls, a museum, a giant cafeteria, meditation rooms, a spacious traditional Chinese courtyard, classrooms, and more. It is a functioning nunnery or abbey and monastery. The abbot is a monk, but the other monastics were females, most of them Taiwanese.

A fraction of Hsi Lai temple (dinewithdonna)
Lotus SoCal volunteers brought us delicious "poor man's tea." Others gave out specially made egg-free moon cakes. A band played upbeat folk music with an Eastern flavor. The moon rose to the southeast of the courtyard, slowly, drenched in blood red gloom. We looked all around using our new Star Trekker Android app (iPhones) -- which allows one to point a smartphone to the sky at any star and get its name, even pointing toward the ground to get the names of stars and constellations on the other side of the planet!

India: Buddhist circuit by train
Aerosol dispersants (chemtrails) had been laid out all over the valley all day long in a ridiculously obvious attempt to either obscure the lunar show, conceal unidentified flying object in the ongoing "war in heaven" visible with a good set of night vision goggles, or geoengineer the weather with a synthetic haze.
But enough of it blew away in the direction we were looking. Where two planes sprayed crisscrossing trails, a "V" shaped was formed that everyone started photographing straight overhead putting out hands in the peace sign mudra not realizing why the "V" had magically appeared.

The highlight of the night came when the question was answered, What does the Moon have to do with Buddhism and practice? In Theravada Buddhism, the form most popular in Southeast Asia, the literal Moon is very important in demarcating the observance days (uposatha) for intensive lay practice.
Devotees offer candles to the Buddha (WQ).
In Mahayana Buddhism, the Moon seems to be used more metaphorically. The nun at our tea table, as we sat on meditation cushion-blocks in the courtyard, regaled us with example after example of how the Buddha (which buddha is not clear but, from a Theravada perspective, almost certainly not the historical Buddha Gautama) talked about the Moon as a metaphor for our "Buddha nature," our innate potential to realize either an arhat's enlightenment or buddhahood, in Tibetan/Bhutanese/Russian Vajrayana terms, our "basic goodness."

Dalai Lama cancels US visit after pope's.
It remains in spite of how it looks to us from Earth. It is not waning and waxing, shrinking and growing, the way it appears to be. That is just a matter of our perspective. It is always up there in full, even if we cannot see it because it is low in the sky or obscured by clouds or at an angle that we cannot see it all. If, for example, there sticks seen from the side, we would see lines. But those same lines, looked at straight on, would appear as dots. (Try it with chopsticks, holding them at arm's length then turning them to face you).
First Buddhist Nuns
"Three things cannot remain hidden: the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth," the Buddha taught. But the nun did not mention that. Instead, she repeatedly asked us which we preferred, the Moon or the Sun? "The Moon!" half of us said. Then the abbot got on stage and led us in meditation. We asked the nun in whispers, Which is the right answer? She could not reply because the abbot had already started. But we know and love the Moon because of the sunlight it reflects. If it made its own light then, all right, the Moon!

Salt water discovered on Mars!;; AP
These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks (recurring slope lineae) are flowing downhill on Mars. They are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought to be unrelated, instead resulting from the presence of the mineral pyroxene (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona via

Mars appears to have flowing streams of salty water, at least in the summer, scientists reported today in a finding that could have major implications for the possibility of life on the red planet.
Of course there's salty water on Mars. This photo shows Martian sea or lake.
Scientists in 2008 confirmed the existence of frozen water on Mars. But the latest observations from an instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter strongly support the longtime theory that salt water in liquid form flows down certain Martian slopes each summer, according to the researchers.
"Mars just got more interesting," NASA said via Twitter before holding a news conference at its Washington headquarters. The space agency called the results "a major science finding." More

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