Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Shamanic Healing with Erika Buenaflor (video)

Erika Buenaflor (realizeyourbliss.com), Dhr. Seven, Ananda (D.M.I.), Wisdom Quarterly

Intro to Healing (Curanderismo) Online Classes with Erika Buenaflor: Learn ancient Indigenous tools for cleansing, healing, and manifestation. Class $10, four for $35. realizeyourbliss.com

Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., has two decades of practice as a healer (curanderx), mentored by shamans in the Maya Yucatecan jungle, Peru, and Los Angeles.

She studied Mesoamerican healing in academia earning a Master’s degree in religious studies with a focus on Mesoamerican shamanism and curanderismo.

ORDER: Soul Retrieval (innertraditions.com)
After healing from a catastrophic injury, she fully embraced her healing gifts, left her career as an attorney, and began to spend all of her time doing what she loves and is called to do.

She has written three books on Mesoamerican healing rites:
  1. Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo 
  2. Curanderismo Soul Retrieval
  3. third title coming in July 2020.
As a modern-day healer, she utilizes her experience and knowledge of ancient  shamanism to reveal how sacred Mesoamerican wisdom can help us heal holistically. In this way she inspires clients to realize and live their BLISS. More
 
Shamanic Ritual: Dharma Meditation Initiative, LA, Thursday, July 18, 7-8:30 PM

Are death investigations funny? (comedy)

John Oliver Last Week Tonight; Seth Auberon, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly

 
Death Investigations: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
(LastWeekTonight, May 19, 2019) North America’s system for conducting death investigations is a mess. John Oliver explains why we should all be more concerned about fixing it. Connect with Last Week Tonight online: YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens on youtube.com or facebook, and for news about jokes and jokes about news: twitter and hbo.com/lastweektonight. #8 ON TRENDING

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Life as Play: Near Death Experience (video)

NDE Accounts: Afterlife Stories, 9/17/14; Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., Ananda, Wisdom Quarterly
How can you joke about death? Life is more serious. (Buddhist comics/Pinterest)
Rebirth/Samsara (Wheel of Life and Death) is the problem. Nirvana is the solution.


Life is a Stage Play: Near Death Experience
Rich Kelley, NDE Accounts, Afterlife Stories
Rich Kelley (richkelley.com) speaks of his near-death experience (NDE). It occurred at the age of 15 in a drowning incident. He was overcome with a profound sense of calmness. Peace came over him. Kelley goes in-depth about his thoughts on what our life is really about. Is it really just a stage play we create before we come to earth? Do we choose the cast and characters who play our parents, relationships, friends, enemies, family, teachers?

► Subscribe (goo.gl/DCAehb) to hear more stories like these. ► facebook.com/NDEAccountstwitter.com/NDEAccounts

The Real Causes of Depression (TED video)

Johann Hari (How To: Academy, 2/4/18); Pat Macpherson, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
O, Mr. Grumpy Cat, rest in peace! We hardly knew ye. Why were you depressed?

 
The major TED speaker on addiction Johann Hari suggests that depression is NOT caused by any "chemical imbalance" in our brains but by crucial changes in the way we are living. Therefore, something can be done about it by ourselves. For Johann Hari this opens up seven new potential paths out of depression and anxiety -- ones that are very different to the paths we have been offered before. Filming by: Driftwood Pictures (driftwoodpictures.net).

"Enlightenment" (short Thai TV film)

EPYX via epyxsite.com; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Girl troubles. Even monks got 'em. It's not what it looks like. He's trying to help her. Really.

Enlightenment: Thai TV movie (full film)
EPYX (Thailand), July 1, 2017
I saved you. - Naff off! - Don't you know it's wrong? - How the F would I know that?
  
A wandering ascetic Buddhist monk journeys into the forest in search of enlightenment (awakening, bodhi). It's not so easy. There are roadblocks and diversions. What this celibate monastic finds is a pretty girl trying to commit suicide. Her story leads him into a deep cycle of karma (the ripening of past actions in the present). He has to fix this loop for her sake as well as his own. But ain't nobody got time for grrrl troubles. Will he ever gain the enlightenment he seeks?

How our emotions affect our minds (video)

Dr. Mate via Christine Wong, 1/7/16; Pat Macpherson, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
I can't think straight when I hurt so much and feel so bad. I need a real cure.


How emotions affect cognitive functioning
I hate it when I love too much, so sad.
For a dozen years Dr. Gabor Maté worked in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside with hardcore drug addicts -- patients suffering from depression, mental illness, HIV, and also worked at Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site.

With over 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience and extensive knowledge of leading edge research, Dr. Maté is a much sought-after speaker regularly addressing health professionals, educators, and the public all over North America.

He says our cognitive capabilities are impaired and improved by our affect, our emotions. Everyone, particularly mothers, must watch this to understand:

We first need to understand WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US then OUR CHILDREN. As we understand, we can become more aware of our own behaviors and challenges to determine if we need to seek intervention with some issue.

Prof. Franz Ruppert has an intervention method for mental, emotional, and physical issues that includes addiction and relationship issues (goo.gl/JjHNSX). In Singapore or Asia, contact Christine Foong-Wong co-founder of rhemaworks.com. For more info on Prof. Ruppert's work, email christine@rhemaworks.com.

Monday, May 20, 2019

BuddhaFest Los Angeles (May 31-June 2)



BuddhaFest LA embraces mindfulness and compassion through a unique mix of inspiring films, modern wisdom teachings, meditation, and live music. Individual events and an entire weekend of wisdom, inspiration, and community. Featuring:
  • Prof. Robert Thurman (tibethouse.us), Uma Thurman's dad
  • Accomplished practitioner Sylvia Boorstein (dharma.org)
  • Dawa Tarchin Phillips (Bodhi Path, Santa Barbara)
  • Tibetan Dr. Nida Chenagtsang
  • Norman Fischer (San Francisco Zen Center)
  • Music by Ms. Drukmo Gyal Dakini
  • Tribute to Zen Master Bernie Glassman (ZCLA)
  • Joan Halifax with the 14th Dalai Lama
    Zen Priestess Joan Halifax (upaya.org)
  • Accomplished practitioner Sharon Salzberg (sharonsalzberg.com)
  • Zen Priestess Pat O'Hara
  • Screening of Buddhist filmmaker Doris Dörrie's classic comedy Enlightenment Guaranteed (a very funny Zen comedy)
  • + MORE: BuddhaFest.org/schedule
BuddhaFest LA
It's more fun to attend with friendly meditators (Dharma Meditation Initiative)

"Enlightenment Guaranteed" (Zen comedy)

FestivalMedia; Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
Watch the 20 anniversary screening in Beverly Hills at BuddhaFest LA, June 1, 2019.
Selfish Sex and Inflated Egos: I'm pretty sure you came. Night! - I'm pretty sure I didn't.


Your move (bizarro.com).
Enlightenment Guaranteed is a 2000 German film (Erleuchtung garantiert) directed by Doris Dörrie about two brothers on a spiritual quest.

Uwe and Gustav travel to Buddhist Japan to sort out the mess of their lives. Their plan is to visit the Sojiji Zen Monastery in Monzen, near Tokyo.

On the way, in a rather literal Buddhist moment, they lose their belongings. When they finally make it to the Buddhist monastery, they find that even there, Buddhist enlightenment can be elusive.
 
It's easy to say FTW. It's hard to get out.
The first of four lessons the Buddha called the Four Noble Truths ("noble" because they are ennobling = enlightening) is that "Life is disappointing."

At the beginning of the film, we see the troubled lives of the two brothers. Each is experiencing a mid-life crisis of sorts that will ultimately bring the brothers closer together.

With four young children, Uwe and his wife Petra have their plates full. Lacking compassion for each other's burdens, they constantly bicker.

After a stressful morning of playing with the children (and waking their infant daughter, who had kept Petra up most of the night), Uwe is a jerk to his wife.

While he is at work as a real estate agent, Petra packs up and moves out. Uwe cries when he finds the goodbye note.

Bring a book for the trip.
Meanwhile, Gustav is suffering troubles of his own. Unlike his brother, who is the type to smoke a cigarette after going jogging, Gustav is a Zen Buddhist enthusiast.

His burdens are internal: He is afraid of making mistakes. He is afraid of fear itself. He has been planning a trip to a Zen monastery to find himself.

Uwe, in a great state of distress and drunk, asks his brother to accompany him. After much hesitation, Gustav buys his brother a ticket and the adventure really begins.

This film is almost a sequel to Men..., Dörrie's landmark film starring the same actors (as different characters), with a similar existential storyline. More Now available on DVD (festivalmedia.org)

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Buddha defines "good and bad" karma

Ven. Nanamoli, Buddha's Words on Karma; WY; Dhr. Seven (ed.), Aloka, Wisdom Quarterly
Karma is a [female camel], so be careful what is willed, said, done (journaliststate.com).



INTRODUCTION
The Brahmins in this sutra are intelligent people, who are asked a question about the cause of rebirth -- why some are reborn in the states of deprivation (in the realm of animals, ghosts, hellions) while others become devas (shining ones, light beings) reborn in various heavenly realms.
  • [Brahmins are high caste wealthy people in and around ancient India, the "priestly class" (who in Hinduism can only come from this caste). Their claim to fame is that they uphold the Vedas (Knowledge Books), the Brahmanas in particular. Brahma (the "Supreme") is their God. But the Buddha redefined the term "Brahmin" (a brahmana as distinct from a sramana or wandering ascetic) to refer to those who do acts of merit in this life. Previously it referred to the caste one entered at birth, regardless of one's karma/conduct in this life. The Buddha taught that one's deeds (karma) in this life are more important. He rejected the Vedas as the supreme authority. The Buddha was a Scythian, a "noble warrior" (kshatriya), the top caste above Brahmins.]
The Buddha then defines and analyzes what kind of karma (actions, deeds, conduct) will take one to a low rebirth. Seeing our own behavior, we learn what can be done about it. If one makes any of these Ten Courses of Bad Karma strong in oneself, an unwished for result can be expected in this very life or "on the dissolution of the body after death."

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall
But the Ten Courses of Good Karma are also stated and the reasons they should be strengthened in ourselves. By repeating them frequently, they can become habit and serve a very welcome purpose of becoming the basis of high rebirths and much good fortune in this very life, though guarding against the conceit, "I am good."

The final part of this discourse deals with the aspirations one may have for rebirth at the time of death. One's previous deeds (karma) must, of course, be such as will support such aspirations. A miser might aspire to riches, but stingy, miserly, hoarding karma will lead to poverty.

If a person has kept the lunar observance days (the Eight Precepts of the uposatha or "fasting" days), and the Five Precepts in general, and been generous and honest, this is a passport to various heavenly rebirths (from the lowly devas in the Realm of the Four Great Overseers or Regents of the four cardinal directions up to the Devas that Wield Power over Others' Creations).

Beyond this it is necessary to also be proficient in the meditative absorptions (jhanas) to access realms of rebirth among the brahmas (the divinities, from Great Brahma's Retinue to the Very Fruitful Devas) in accordance with one's level of proficiency with these four meditative states (called form attainments) -- weak, middling, or strong.

For rebirth in the next five brahma-planes, the enlightened state of non-returning is required, while for the last four one must have gained the four formless attainments.

Finally, one may aspire to THE END OF REBIRTH: to full enlightenment and therefore full liberation from all suffering. But, of course, aspiration alone is insufficient. Practice and the resultant insight-wisdom are needed.

The Sutra: The Brahmins of Sala
1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One (the Buddha) was wandering in the country of Kosala with a large community (sangha) of wandering ascetics. He eventually arrived at a Kosalan Brahmin village called Sala.

2. The Brahmin householders of Sala heard: "A wandering ascetic named Gotama (Sanskrit Gautama), it seems, a son of the Scythians who went forth from a Scythian clan, has been wandering in the Kosalan country with a large community of ascetics and has come to Sala.

"Now a good report of Master Gotama has spread to this effect:

"'That Blessed One is such since he is an arhat, fully enlightened, perfect in true knowledge and conduct, sublime, knower of worlds, incomparable teacher of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, liberated (enlightened), and blessed.

"'He describes this world with its shining ones, inimicals, and divinities (devas, maras, and brahmas), this generation with its wandering ascetics and Brahmins, with its rulers and its people, which he has himself realized through direct knowledge.

"'He teaches a Dharma (Doctrine) that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, full of [deep] meaning and [cogent] phrasing; he affirms a spiritual life that is utterly perfect and pure.' Now it is good to see such arhats."

3. The Brahmin householders of Sala went to the Blessed One. Some bowed to the Blessed One and sat down respectfully to one side. Some exchanged greetings with him, and when the courteous and amiable talk was done, sat down to one side. Some raised their hands with palms together in salutation to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. Some announced their names and clans in the Blessed One's presence and sat down to one side. Some kept silent and sat down to one side.

4. When they were seated, they said to the Blessed One: "Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in a hell?

"And what is the reason, what is the condition, why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in a heavenly world?"

5. "Householders, it is by reason of karma (deeds) not in accordance with the Dharma, by reason of unskillful conduct, that beings here on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in a hell.
"In contrast, it is by reason of karma in accordance with the Dharma, by reason of skillful conduct, that some beings here on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in a heavenly world."

Explanation
6. "We do not understand the meaning of this utterance of Master Gotama's spoken in brief without yet expounding the detailed meaning. It would be good if Master Gotama taught us the Dharma so that we might understand the detailed meaning of his utterance spoken in brief."

"Then, householders, listen and heed well what I shall say."

"Yes, venerable sir," they replied, and the Blessed One said:

THE TEN COURSES OF UNSKILLFUL (BAD) KARMA
I didn't think/say/do nuthin
7. "Householders, there are:
  • three (3) kinds of bodily karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma.
"There are:
  • four (4) kinds of verbal karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma.
"There are:
  • three (3) kinds of mental karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma.
8. "How? Here someone is a killer of living beings: one is murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, and is merciless to all kinds of living beings.

"One is a taker of what is not given: one takes as a thief another's possessions and property in village or forest.

Sexual misconduct defined
C'mon, let's just have sex. Who cares?
One is given to sexual misconduct, misconduct with regard to sexual desires: one has sex (intercourse) with persons protected by:
  1. mother
  2. father
  3. parents (mother and father)
  4. brother
  5. sister
  6. relatives
  7. as have a spouse
  8. as entail a penalty
  9. with those who are [promised in marriage] and/or
  10. engaged with a token (e.g., garland) of betrothal.
"That is how there are three kinds of bodily conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unskillful conduct.
 
Verbal karma
Mouth correcter: Was it something I said? That's not what I meant, but it was when I said it.
.
9. "How are there four kinds of verbal karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma?

"Here someone speaks falsehood (bears false witness): when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to one's relatives' presence, or to a guild, or to the royal family's presence, and is questioned as a witness, 'So, good person, tell what you know,' then, not knowing, one says 'I know,' or knowing, one says 'I do not know,' not seeing, one says 'I see,' or seeing, one says 'I do not see.' In full awareness one speaks falsehood for one's own ends or for another's ends or for some trifling worldly end.

"One speaks maliciously (divisively): one is a repeater elsewhere of what is heard here for the purpose of causing division from these, or one is a repeater to these of what is heard elsewhere for the purpose of causing division from those, and one is thus a divider of the united, a creator of divisions, who enjoys discord, rejoices in discord, delights in discord, one is a speaker of words that create discord.

"One speaks harshly: one utters such words as are rough, hard, hurtful to others, censuring others, bordering on anger and unconducive to concentration.

"One gossips (idle chatter): as one who tells that which is unseasonable (spoken at an inappropriate or inopportune time), that which is not fact (true), that which is not good, that which is not the Dharma, that which is not the Discipline, and one speaks out of season speech not worth hearing, which is unreasoned, impertinent, and unconnected with good.

"That is how there are four kinds of verbal karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma.

Mental karma
"Mind" is not in the head but in the heart.
10. "How are there three kinds of mental karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma?

"Here someone is covetous: one is a coveter of another's possessions and property: 'Oh, that what is another's were mine!' Or one has a mind of ill-will, with the intention of a mind affected by hate: 'May these beings be slain and slaughtered, may they be cut off, perish, be annihilated!'

"Or one has wrong view, distorted understanding: 'There is nothing [to come of what is] given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed, no fruit and ripening of good and bad karma (deeds), no this world, no other world, no [special significance in what is given to] mother, no father, no spontaneously (reborn) beings,*
  • [*Note 1: beings who appear due only to the force of past deeds (karma) -- without intervention of parents -- in some states of rebirth: all devas (light beings) and brahmas (divinities), ghosts (pretas), inhabitants of the hells (narakas). See Maha Sihanada Sutra (MN 12).]
"no good and virtuous wandering ascetics and Brahmins who, having themselves realized by direct knowledge, declare this world and the other world.'**
  • [**2: For an explanation of these views held by other wandering ascetic teachers in the Buddha's time, which were a rejection of all moral values, see Ledi Sayadaw's The Eightfold Path and Its Factors Explained (Wheel #245/247, bps.lk).]
"That is how there are three kinds of mental karma, unskillful conduct, not in accordance with the Dharma.

"So, householders, it is by reason of karma, not in accordance with the Dharma, by reason of unskillful conduct, that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hells.

Ten Courses of Skillful (Good) Karma
If I were ever mindful, I would do good.
11. "Householders, there are three kinds of bodily karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

"There are four kinds of verbal karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

"There are three kinds of mental karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

12. "How are there three kinds of bodily karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma?

"Here someone, abandoning the killing of living beings, becomes one who abstains from taking life; with rod and weapon laid aside, gentle and kindly, one abides compassionate toward all living beings.

"Abandoning the taking of what is not given, one becomes one who abstains from taking what is not given; one does not take as a thief another's possessions and property in village or forest.

"Abandoning misconduct with regard to sexual desires, one becomes one who abstains from sexual misconduct: one abstains from sex (intercourse) with persons protected by mother, father, parents (father and mother), brother, sister, relatives, as have a spouse, as entail a penalty, those who [promised in marriage], and/or are engaged with a token (e.g., a garland) of betrothal.

"That is how there are three kinds of bodily karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

13. "How are there four of verbal karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma?

"Here someone, abandoning false speech, becomes one who abstains from false speech: when summoned to a court or to a meeting or to one's relatives' presence or to a guild or to the royal family's presence, and questioned as a witness, 'So, good person, tell what you know,' not knowing, one says 'I do not know,' or knowing, one says 'I know,' not seeing one says 'I do not see,' or seeing, one says 'I see.' One does not in full awareness speak falsehood for one's own ends or for another's ends or for some trifling worldly end.

"Abandoning malicious (divisive) speech, one becomes one who abstains from malicious speech: as one who is neither a repeater elsewhere of what is heard here for the purpose of causing division from these, nor a repeater to these of what is heard elsewhere for the purpose of causing division from those, who is thus a reuniter of the divided, a promoter of friendships, enjoying concord, rejoicing in concord, delighting in concord, one becomes a speaker of words that promote concord.

"Abandoning harsh speech, one becomes one who abstains from harsh speech: one becomes a speaker of such words as are innocent, pleasing to the ear and lovable, as go straight to the heart, are civil, desired by many and dear to many.

"Abandoning gossip (idle chatter), one becomes one who abstains from gossip: as one who tells that which is seasonable (appropriate and opportune), that which is factual (true), that which is good, that which is the Dharma, that which is the Discipline, one speaks in season speech worth hearing, which is reasoned, definite and connected with good. That is how there are four kinds of verbal karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

14. "How are there three kinds of mental karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma?

"Here someone is not covetous: one is not a coveter of another's possessions and property: 'Oh, that what is another's were mine!' One has no mind of ill-will [but rather one of metta, goodwill], with the intention of a mind unaffected by hate: 'May these beings be free from enmity, affliction, and anxiety, may they live happily!'

"One has right view, undistorted understanding: 'There is [a result of] what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed, and there is fruit and ripening of good and bad deeds, and there is this world and the other world and [special significance to what is done to] mother and father, and [there really are] spontaneously (reborn) beings, and good and virtuous wandering ascetics and Brahmins who, having themselves realized by direct knowledge, declare this world and the other world.'

"That is how there are three kinds of mental karma, skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma.

"So, householders, it is by reason of karma in accordance with the Dharma, by reason of skillful conduct, that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world.

The fruits of good karma
The countless worlds of the 31 Planes of Rebirth
15. "If a householder who observes karma (deeds), skillful conduct, in accordance with the Dharma should wish: 'Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the warrior-nobles of great property!' it is possible that on the dissolution of the body, after death, one may do so. Why is that? It is because one observes karma that is in accordance with the Dharma, skillful conduct.

16. "If a householder who observes karma is accordance with the Dharma, skillful conduct, should wish: 'Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the Brahmins of great property!' it is possible...

17. "If a householder who observes karma in accordance with the Dharma...' I might reappear in the company of householders of great property!' it is possible...

18. "If a householder who observes karma in accordance with the Dharma, skillful conduct, should wish: 'Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the shining ones (devas) of the Four Great Sky Kings!' it is possible that on the dissolution of the body, after death, one may do so. Why is that? It is because one observes karma in accordance with the Dharma, skillful conduct.

19. "...of the shining ones of the Realm of the Thirty-Three...***
  • [***3: The rendering of the various devas' names on the various "heavenly" planes of existence are based on the Commentary to the Hadaya-vibhanga (in the Vibhanga, second book of the Abhidhamma: See The Book of Analysis, P.T.S. Translation Series).]
20. "...of the shining ones who have Gone to Bliss...

21. "...of the Contented shining ones...

22. "...of the shining ones who Delight in Creating...

23. "...of the shining ones who Wield Power over others' Creations...

24. "...of shining ones of Brahma's Retinue...

25. "...of the Radiant shining ones...

26. "...of the shining ones of Limited Radiance...

27. "...of the shining ones of Measureless Radiance...

28. "...of the shining ones of Streaming Radiance...

29. "...of the Glorious shining ones...

30. "...of the shining ones of Limited Glory...

31. "...of the shining ones of Measureless Glory...

32. "...of the shining ones of Refulgent Glory...

33. "...of the Very Fruitful shining ones...

34. "...of the shining ones Bathed in their own Prosperity...

35. "...of the Untormenting shining ones...

36. "...of the Fair-to-see shining ones...

37. "...of the Fair-seeing shining ones...

38. "...of the shining ones who are Junior to None...
39. "...of the shining ones of the base consisting of boundless space...

40. "...of the shining ones of the base consisting of boundless consciousness...

41. "...of the shining ones of the base consisting of nothingness...

42. "If a householder who behaves in accordance with the Dharma, in skillful conduct, should wish: 'Oh, that on the dissolution of the body, after death, I might reappear in the company of the devas of the base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception!' it is possible that, on the dissolution of the body, after death, one may do so. Why is that? It is because one behaves in accordance with the Dharma, in skillful conduct.

43. "If a householder who behaves in accordance with the Dharma, in skillful conduct, should wish: 'Oh, that by realization myself with direct knowledge, I may here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of the heart and the deliverance by wisdom that are taint-free with the exhaustion of taints!' it is possible that, by realization oneself with direct knowledge, one may here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of the heart and the deliverance by wisdom that are taint-free with the exhaustion of taints. Why is that? It is because one bheaves in accordance with the Dharma, in skillful conduct."

44. When this was said, the Brahmin householders of Sala said to the Blessed One:

"Magnificent, Master Gotama, magnificent! The Dharma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama -- as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to one who were lost, holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyes to see things [as they really are].

45. "We go to Master Gotama for guidance, and to the Dharma, and to the Community [of enlightened followers of the Dharma]. From today let Master Gotama accept us as followers who have gone to him for guidance for life."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

VESAK: Buddha's Xmas Potluck (May 23)

Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

FREE event. This month, called "Vesak" in Buddhist Asia, gives us much to celebrate -- mothers (the Buddha had two), Mexico (Cinco de Mayo), and most of all Buddhist Xmas: the full moon day of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and passing into final nirvana. All three happened on the same full moon day in different years.

Washing the baby Buddha
We celebrate the Sage of the Scythians, Prince Siddhartha, with social time and heartfelt hugs then honor the Buddha, the Enlightened Teacher, in the way he said paid him the most respect -- actually practicing what he revealed.

Bring vegan snacks and drinks to share. Contact us for ideas. Think Cinco de Mayo fare and good drinks. RSVP:
Kombucha and vegan tacos with guacamole and spicy salsa

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

FREE Ecstatic Breathwork Workshop (May 30)

Ananda (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly


Keep breathing! - Is this how I do it?
Back by popular demand: Ecstatic Breathwork combines breathing and meditation to reset body and mind. Focused intentional breathing disciplines overactive thinking, clears toxic thoughts, moves energy, and releases emotional blocks.

After setting a clear intention to allow bliss, a special breathing technique is employed to tune in (to the present), turn on (the body's healing ability), and drop out (of old habits) to finally be able to meditate.
 
Pranayama is an ancient practice.
Ecstatic breathing aids in the release of unnecessary judgments, fears, and expectations to open the doors of perception and ecstasy. It re-balances the nervous system, oxygenates the body, and releases endorphins.

With the temporary experience of greater mental clarity, deeper relaxation, and bliss, meditation takes on an effortless quality. It is a fast and effective way of bringing us into a fully present state. Dress comfortably. Optional: bring towel or yoga mat and water.

Was "Shakespeare" a woman? (The Atlantic)

​The Atlantic, 5/12/19); Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly


On a spring night in 2018, I stood on a Manhattan sidewalk with friends, reading Shakespeare aloud.

We were in line to see an adaptation of Shakespeare's play Macbeth and had decided to pass the time refreshing our memories of the play’s best lines.

I pulled up Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy on my iPhone: “Come, you spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,” I read, thrilled once again by the incantatory power of the verse.

I remembered where I was when I first heard those lines: in my 10th-grade English class, startled out of my adolescent stupor by this woman rebelling magnificently and malevolently against her submissive status. “Make thick my blood,/Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse.” Six months into the #MeToo movement, her fury and frustration felt newly resonant.
 
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Pulled back into plays I’d studied in college and graduate school, I found myself mesmerized by Lady Macbeth and her sisters in the Shakespeare canon. Beatrice, in Much Ado About Nothing, raging at the limitations of her sex (“O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the marketplace”).
 
Rosalind, in As You Like It, affecting the swagger of masculine confidence to escape those limitations (“We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside,/As many other mannish cowards have/That do outface it with their semblances”).
 
Isabella, in Measure for Measure, fearing no one will believe her word against Angelo’s, rapist though he is (“To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,/Who would believe me?”)
 
Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew, refusing to be silenced by her husband (“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,/Or else my heart concealing it will break”).
 
Emilia, in one of her last speeches in Othello before Iago kills her, arguing for women’s equality (“Let husbands know/Their wives have sense like them”).
California Shakespeare (theatricum.com)
I was reminded of all the remarkable female friendships, too: Beatrice and Hero’s allegiance; Emilia’s devotion to her mistress, Desdemona; Paulina’s brave loyalty to Hermione in The Winter’s Tale; and plenty more. (“Let’s consult together against this greasy knight,” resolve the merry wives of Windsor, avenging themselves on Falstaff.)

These intimate female alliances are fresh inventions: They don’t exist in the literary sources from which many of the plays are drawn. And when the plays lean on historical sources -- Plutarch, for instance -- they feminize them, portraying legendary male figures through the eyes of mothers, wives, and lovers.

“Why was Shakespeare able to see the woman’s position, write entirely as if he were a woman, in a way that none of the other playwrights of the age were able to?” In her book about the plays’ female characters, Tina Packer, the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, asked the question very much on my mind.

Doubts about whether William Shakespeare (who is thought to have been born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and  to die in 1616) really wrote the works attributed to him are almost as old as the writing itself.

Alternative contenders -- Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and the 17th Earl of Oxford Edward de Vere [Wisdom Quarterly's working hypothesis], prominent among them -- continue to have champions, whose fervor can sometimes border on fanaticism.

In response, orthodox Shakespeare scholars have settled into dogmatism of their own: Even to dabble in authorship questions is considered a sign of bad faith, a blinkered failure to countenance genius in a [poorly educated] glover’s son.

The time had come, I felt, to tug at the blinkers of both camps and reconsider the authorship debate: Had anyone ever proposed that the creator of those extraordinary women might be a woman?

Each of the male possibilities requires an elaborate theory to explain his use of another’s name. None of the candidates has succeeded in dethroning the man from Stratford, England. Yet a simple reason would explain a playwright’s need for a pseudonym in Elizabethan England: being female [or the earl of Oxford].
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus" (documentary)

Caesar's Messiah, 9/15/18; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Pfc Sandoval (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


Seven of today's most controversial biblical scholars reveal their shocking conclusions about the true origins of Christianity.

Based on the best-selling religious studies book by Joseph Atwill, this documentary shows that:
  • Jesus is not a historical figure,
  • the events of Jesus' life were based on a Roman military campaign,
  • his supposed "second coming" refers to a historical event that already occurred,
  • the teachings of the Christ [Christós, "the Anointed One," a king, emperor or "king of kings"] came from the ancient pagan mystery schools, and
  • the Gospels were written by a family of Caesars and their supporters, who left us documents to prove it.
Coming soon: a better Jesus ("Son of Zeus")
Dissecting the history and literature of the time, these scholars show that the Gospels are a sophisticated pro-Roman multi-layered allegorical text that could not have been written by simple Jewish fishermen.

The official history provided by the Roman Catholic Church [an arm of the self-proclaimed "Holy Roman Empire"] does not hold up to rigorous scrutiny.

Scholars agree that Christianity (particularly the more popular universalist/catholic version, the biggest religion in the world) was used as a political tool to control the masses of the day.

It is still being used this way today. Much like the ancient era from which Christianity emerged, we are currently on the brink of an immense paradigm shift.

Studying this history can help us understand modern-day politics and give us a much-needed perspective for coming up with solutions to today's problems to create a better world most of us envision.

The seven featured biblical scholars are:
  1. Joseph Atwill
  2. Robert Eisenman
  3. John Hudson
  4. Kenneth Humphreys
  5. Rod Blackhirst
  6. Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
  7. Timothy Freke.
BOOK
Caesar’s Messiah is a 2005 book by researcher Joseph Atwill (author of Shakespeare's Secret Messiah, 2014) that argues that the New Testament Gospels were written as wartime propaganda by scholars connected to the Roman imperial court of the Flavian emperors ("Caesars"): Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. Their primary purpose in creating Rome's Christian religion was to control the spread of Judaism and moderate its political virulence. Jewish nationalist Zealots had been defeated in the First Jewish-Roman War of 70 AD. But Judaism remained an influential movement throughout the Mediterranean region. The book argues that the biblical character Jesus Christ is a typological representation of the Roman Emperor Titus. More
 
Produced by Nlightning workZ. Copyright 2012. Directed by Fritz Heede. Written by Nijole Sparkis and Joseph Atwill. Cinematography by Marisa Maldonado and Fritz Heede. Narrated by Nijole Sparkis. Produced by Nijole Sparkis, Fritz Heede, and Joseph Atwill. Music and editing by Fritz Heede.