Sunday, October 31, 2010

Buddhist Halloween (Monster Month)

October was "Monster Month" on Wisdom Quarterly
Can Buddhists celebrate Halloween? Buddhists can do anything -- in terms of holidays, skepticism, scientific beliefs, and social functions. No one is saying "Thou shalt not." Buddhists seek guidance from the Buddha through the Dharma and well taught disciples (Sangha).

That guidance (mistranslated as refuge) along with observing at least a basic sense of humanity, the Five Precepts, makes one a Buddhist. No one said anything about not trick or treating, eating candy, or partying like Lady Gaga costumes are going out of style. You don't even have to eat like a monk or pull a Lisa Simpson.

Yes, it's true, guard your mind/heart, guard your senses; what you think and crave determines how you behave. And remember to have fun. Happy Buddhist Halloween from Wisdom Quarterly. We conclude "Monster Month" with the most terrifying story of all: Ogres (yakkhas) and Reptilians (nagas) underneath Malta and Europe.

Malta: underground beings demand humans

October is "Monster Month" on Wisdom Quarterly
This unbelievable story is corroborated by Alex Collier and Philip Schneider at the military base in Dulce. "Mythological" creatures really exist. Governments around the world have long known. They are fed humans just as told in Buddhist accounts of the king and the Yakkha Alavaka.

Malta's Temples and Tombs
Graham Stuart

Just beneath the southern tip of Italy, in the extreme western part of the Mediterranean sea, lies the island of Malta. In the past Malta has been the possession of many nationalities, and has been considered to be one of the most strategic areas on Earth, being a port and an intersecting point between Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, and so on. This 9-mile-long island was an ancient center of civilization when the Phoenicians from Carthage invaded and began their rule.

Chambers and catacombs beneath the Island of Malta (

A group of ancient priests who worshipped the god Moloch (another name for Baal, Osiris, and Nimrod, whom the ancients considered the "sun god") visited the island in Old Testament times. The islanders readily accepted their teachings, including that of offering up human sacrifices to appease Moloch, for the ancient Maltese themselves practiced human blood sacrifice to the "gods" of the underworld -- literally, underground -- beneath the island and elsewhere.

These so-called deities were often identified with serpents [nagas or reptilians and hairy yakkhas]. When the Apostle Paul, a Christian Biblical figure, visited the island, as recorded in the Book of Acts Chapter 28, he learned of their superstitious beliefs. He had been bitten by one on the island (at the time called Melita) and survived by the power of another "god," Jesus, a popular New Testament figure, whom the Maltese knew nothing about until Paul got through with them.

Since the time of the Carthagians, Malta had had many rulers -- Romans, Arabs, Normans, Argonese, Castillians, the Hospitalers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, later known as the Knights of Rhodes, and still later as the Knights of Malta, who remain there to this day, having dual headquarters in Rome.

A few miles south of the Maltese town of Valletta is the small village of Casal Paula. In 1902, workmen digging a well fell into the earth. What they discovered was a series of ancient caves, mostly excavated out of solid rock. The caves descended into three lower tiers. These multi-leveled catacombs became known as the "Hypogeum of Hal Saflienti" after the street overhead. A hypogeum is Latin for an underground structure.

Near the floor of the last chamber, within the third and last (officially recognized) sub-level of the ancient catacombs, there are a few so-called "burial chambers." They are only a few feet square, situated next to the floor, and one must get on hands and knees to look into them.

These chambers are just large enough to crawl through. There have for years been rumors that one does not end but continues into deeper, unexplored caverns beyond.

This was the subterranean passage and chamber referred to years ago in an article that appeared in the August, 1940 issue of the National Geographic magazine. The article states the following concerning several people who disappeared without a trace:

"Many subterranean passageways, including ancient catacombs, now are a part of the island’s fortifications and defense system. Supplies are kept in many tunnels; others are bomb shelters. Beneath Valletta some of the underground areas served as homes for the poor. Prehistoric men built temples and chambers in these vaults. In a pit beside one sacrificial altar lie thousands of human skeletons. Years ago one could walk underground from one end of Malta to the other. The Government closed the entrances to these tunnels after school children and their teachers became lost in the labyrinth while on a study tour and never returned."

The story, however, goes much deeper than the National Geographic article indicates. Other sources say that about 30 children vanished in these catacombs on the study tour. Moreover when the hypogeum was first discovered, nearly 30,000 human skeletons of men, women, and children (victims of ancient sacrifice to the underworld gods, performed by an old neolithic race) were discovered as well.

One article written by a Miss Lois Jessup, at the time an employee of the British embassy, [who entered and saw the monsters that were fed humans] states: Out of this lower tunnel on the far side of the chasm, she claims, emerged in single file several very large creatures of humanoid form but completely covered with hair from head to foot. Noticing her, they raised their arms in her direction, palms out, at which point a violent "wind" began to blow through the cavern, snuffing out her candle. Then, some "thing" wet and slippery (apparently a creature of a different sort) brushed past her. Read full account

Actually, Jessup found the giants of the cave hard to describe because of their covering, which seemed to be like long white hair, combed downward and shaggy looking. Their heads were unusually elongated at chin and top with large features, and the hair on their heads fell about the shoulders like a draped monk's cowl. Lois found the Heindel drawings exciting because "the currents in the desire body" sketches were the first to resemble in any way the cave dwellers she saw on Malta. Nor does her description of them correspond to Shaver's Deros, hideous dwarfs or trolls who might very well have carved that portion of Hal Salfini now open to the public. This conflict in sizes and types very well illustrates the point I made earlier, that the underworld is peopled with beings of many sizes, shapes, and varying degrees of density, from the completely physical to the completely invisible. (

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Colbert-Stewart rally (video), Miss World

"Sanity" rally skewers pundits, politicians
Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart delivered a mix of easy comedy and serious commentary. Faulting media - Photos - Estimating crowd

US teen wins Miss World Beauty Contest

World Vegetarian Month ends

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World Vegetarian Day

Pledge Online and Win!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Study: Superstitions very common in US

October is "Monster Month" on Wisdom Quarterly

Full moon in Kansas City, MO (AP/Charlie Riedel)
  • Believing in the paranormal is actually more normal than you might think and may be growing more common.
  • Contrary to common stereotypes, there is no single profile of a person who accepts the paranormal.
  • It might be in our nature to look for patterns and meaning in strange and random events.

(Discovery News) It's that time of year again. Ghosts [Buddhist petas, narakas, rakshasas], goblins [yakkhas, kumbhandhas, nagas], and other spooky characters come out from the shadows and into our everyday lives.

For most people, the thrill lasts for a few weeks each October. But for true believers, the paranormal is an everyday fact, not just a holiday joke.

To understand what drives some people to truly believe, two sociologists visited psychic fairs, spent nights in haunted houses, trekked with Bigfoot hunters, sat in on support groups for people who had been abducted by aliens, and conducted two nationwide surveys.

Contrary to common stereotypes, the research revealed no single profile of a person who accepts the paranormal. Believers ranged from free-spirited types with low incomes and little education to high-powered businessmen. Some were drifters; others were brain surgeons.

Why people believed also varied, the researchers report in a new book, called Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture.

For some, the paranormal served as just another way of explaining the world. For others, extraordinary phenomena offered opportunities to chase mysteries, experience thrills and even achieve celebrity status, if they could actually find proof.

"It's almost like an adult way to get that kidlike need for adventure and exploration," said co-author Christopher Bader, of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. "Other people are sitting at home and renting videos, but you're sitting in a haunted house that is infested with demons."

"These guys who are hunting Bigfoot are out chasing a monster," he added. "I could see the real appeal in going out for weekend and never knowing what you might find."

There is no hard data on how common it is to believe in the paranormal, which Bader and co-author Carson Mencken define as beliefs or experiences that are not fully accepted by science or religion. More>>

Brain Takes Less Than Second to Fall in Love
Patenting Death: Slide Show
Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions: Slide Show
Are We Living in a Hologram?
Spectacular New Species Found in Amazon: Slide Show
Is There a Liberal Gene?
Keyboard Claims To Revolutionize Typing
Dinosaur Skull Found in Church
Grandmother of All Sauropods Unearthed
Mars Rover Spirit Finds Evidence of Water

China does everything better (even Bigfoot)

October is "Monster Month" on Wisdom Quarterly

China's Yiren, "Wild Man," in Buddhist lore a Yakkha, "ogre," like the Himalayan Yeti

There's an expression about "giving the devil his due." China may be the devil in this case -- atrocities in Tibet and other ethnic provinces and getting ready to consume the consumer world -- and it deserves its due. It does everything better nowadays. It crushes the US economy (by our unpayable debt), rules exports, builds staggering supercomputers, dams, bullet trains, space programs, railroads in the Himalayas, and even accepts WalMart's penny pinching prices.

Now it undertakes a fame-making, legend-busting breakthrough -- proving that Bigfoot exists once and for all. Except in China Bigfoot is known as the Wild Man. [We maintain these creatures found around the world are yakkhas, ogres in Buddhist cosmology, a kind of intelligent ape, gorilla, simian somewhere between a human and a bonobo.] Recent discoveries of a new kind of monkey in Burma and a langur in Indonesia may be news to science, but it isn't news to the locals.

Inhabitants of mountains and forests know abominable Bigfoot creatures exist as guardians of the natural environment and possess intuition or a sixth sense that has allowed them to evade confirmed detection. Not that any proof short of many corpses and endless DNA samples, acceptance by "experts" and officials, will really convince anyone at this point. We don't really want to believe. And when we're forced to, we'll say we knew all along.

China to search for elusive "Bigfoot"

(Fox News) North America has its Sasquatch "Bigfoot," [Nepal has its Yeti, "Abominable Snowman"], and China has its [Yiren] "Wild Man."

A group of Chinese scientists are on the hunt for the Yeren, the Chinese equivalent of our Bigfoot. Scientists and international researchers refer to the Yeren as "Wild Man" and are on a renewed quest to find him.

Thirty years ago, China's Academy of Science sent three teams of researchers looking for the mysterious creature. Those teams turned up surprising results: hair, excrement, footprints, and a possible "Wild Man" sleeping nest. Alas, those findings weren't conclusive, so they areat it again.

This time around the members of the Hubei Wild Man Research Association are hoping to collect donations to help catch the legendary creature. They need $1.5 million to kick off the project.

This research is not without its merits. Over the years people have reported400 sightings of a reddish hair ape-like man that looks a lot like an Orangutan but stands nearly 7ft tall. Nicholas Redfern, one of the world's leading cryptozoologists, thinks this newest expedition in China is worthwhile because of the fossil record.

"A lot of monster stories can be traced back to myth and folk lore. What people don't know is that in this instance we actually have the fossil record of a large ape-like creature that lived in that area over 300,000 years ago," Redfern told

In fact, primatologists have jaw bones, teeth and other bones from a creature found in that area known as Gigantopithecus that would've measured nearly 9ft tall (but probably hunched like an ape). More>>

UFOs: Real "SciFi" on Earth (video)

Alex Collier at Project Camelot conference on government secrecy, NAZI/CIA abuses, he economic crisis, ET contact, the real Moon, and our Naga rulers on Earth

Alex Collier speaks powerfully at Project Camelot's Aware and Awake Conference in Los Angeles (Sept. 20, 2009). He was asked to speak by extraterrestrials and use the conference to communicate this vital message; for security reasons Collier asked that his name be withheld from the speakers' list until the conference had begun. He speaks in depth and with passion about the challenges we all face looking towards the future. With help from some alien groups, Collier introduces an intriguing new concept: mentoring in cooperation with ET allies.

ET aliens have been visiting Earth for...

Accusing world famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking of spreading misinformation about threats from aliens, former Canadian defence minister Paul Hellyer claimed Sunday that extraterrestrials have actually been visiting Earth for decades.

Rather than harm mankind, he said, their (aliens') spaceships have provided us information for triggering today's microchip and IT revolution on our planet.

Hawking has recently warned humanity against contacting aliens. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,'' the British astrophysicist has said.

According to Hawking, if human beings tried to contact aliens, they could invade us and take away our most important resources. "If they (aliens) wanted to use our solar system, for some super project, our complaints would be like an ant colony protesting the laying of a parking lot,'' Hawking has said in a new documentary.

Hawking has also said that though most extraterrestrial life could be only in the form of small animals, but there could also be "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize'' other planets.

Taking issue with Hawking Sunday, the former Canadian defence minister, who himself is an expert on the subject and has has been speaking about aliens for years, said aliens have already visited Earth and contributed to our technological advancement. More>>

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recollection of Death

October is "Monster Month" on Wisdom Quarterly
Bhante G, (Meditation on Death, Maranussati)

Like a flame blown out by the wind, this life-continuum goes to destruction. Recognizing one's similarities to others, one should develop mindfulness of death.

Just as people who have achieved great success in the world have died, so too I must certainly die. Death is harassing me.

Death always come along together with birth, searching for an opportunity, like a murderer out to kill. Not the least bit stoppable, always going forward, life rushes towards its end, like the rising sun to its setting.

Like lightning, a bubble, dew drops, or a line drawn in the water, life cannot last. Death is like a murderer after a foe, completely unrestrainable.

Death slays those great in glory, in strength, merit, powers, and wisdom, and even the two kinds of conquerors. No need to speak about one like me.

Due to a lack of the supports of life or to some inner or outer misfortune, I who am dying moment after moment can die in the blink of an eye.

The life of mortals is signless; its length cannot be known in advance. It is difficult and limited and tied up with suffering. There is no possibility that mortals shall not die. Having reached old age they die. Such is the nature of living beings.

As fruit, when ripe, has to fall, so all beings live constantly in the fear that they will die. As a potter’s earthen jars eventually must all break up, so too does the life of mortals eventually come to an end. [And just as certain as death, one will be reborn -- again, and again, and again.]

The young and the old, the foolish and the wise, all move in the grip of death; all finally end in death. More>>

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Heart Sutra (Sanskrit and English)

Wisdom Quarterly translation (standing on the shoulders of Edward Conze)

Om namo Bhagavatyai Arya-Prajnaparamitayai.
Honor to the sublime, noble perfection of wisdom!

Arya-Avalokitesvaro bodhisattvo gambhiram prajnaparamitacaryam caramano vyavalokayati sma: panca-skandhas tams ca svabhavasunyan pasyati sma.
[Compassionate] Avalokiteshvara, the noble being-bent-on-perfect-enlightenment, was moving in the deep course of transcendent wisdom which has gone beyond. He looked down from on high and [knowing-and-seeing] beheld nothing more than these Five Aggregates. And he saw that they were empty [devoid of "self"].

Iha Sariputra rupam sunyata sunyataiva rupam, rupan na prithak sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam, yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata tad rupam; evam eva vedana-samjna-samskara-vijnanam.
Here, O [wise] Shariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, and form does not differ from emptiness. Whatever is form, that is emptiness, and whatever is emptiness, that is form. The same is true of [the other four aggregates:] feelings [sensations], perceptions, volitions, and consciousness.

Iha Sariputra sarva-dharmah sunyata-laksana, anutpanna aniruddha, amala aviamala, anuna aparipurnah.
Here, O Shariputra, all phenomena bear this universal mark of emptiness. They are neither produced nor annihilated, neither defiled nor pure, neither deficient nor complete. [That is to say, there is no duality, no opposites.]

Vulture's Peak, in Rajgir India, the setting for the Heart Sutra (Wonderlane/

Tasmac Sariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskarah na vijnanam. Na caksuh-srotra-ghranajihva-kaya-manam si. Na rupa-sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavaya-dharmah. Na caksur-dhatur yavan na manovjnana-dhatuh. Na-avidya na-avidya-ksayo yavan na jara-maranam na jara-marana-ksayo. Na duhkha-samudaya-nirodha-marga. Na jnanam, na praptir, na-apraptih.
Therefore, O Shariputra, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, perception, volition, or consciousness. There is no [contact as a consfequence of three things coming together to form what in brief is called] eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind. There are no [external] forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, or objects of mind. There is no [sense-base consisting of] sight-organ element, and so mind-consciousness element. There is no ignorance, no cessation of ignorance, and so forth... There is no decay and death, no cessation of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no cessation, no path. There is no knowing, no attaining, and no non-attaining.

Tasmac Sariputra apraptitvad bodhisattvasya prajnaparamitam asritya viharaty acittavaranah. Cittavarana-nastitvad atrastro viparyasa-atikranto nishtha-nirvana-praptah.
Therefore, O Sariputra, it is because of his non-attainmentness that a being-bent-on-perfect-enlightenment, through having relied on the perfection of wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings. In the absence of thought-coverings one does not tremble, having overcome what can upset, and in the end one abides in nirvana [the unconditioned ultimate reality that is even beyond beyond].

Tryadhva-vyavasthitah sarva-buddhah prajnaparamitam-asritya-anuttaram samyaksambodhim abhisambuddhah.
All those who appear as perfectly-enlightened-beings in the past, present, and future fully awake to the utmost enlightenment because they have relied on the perfection of wisdom.

Tasmaj jnatavyam: prajnaparamita maha-mantro maha-vidya-mantro nuttara-mantro samasama-mantrah, sarva-duhkha-prasamanah, satyam amithyatvat. Prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah. Tadyatha: Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhisvaha. Iti prajnaparamita-hridayam samaptam.
Therefore, one should know the perfection of wisdom by this great mantra, the mantra of great wisdom, the utmost mantra, the unequalled mantra, the allayer of all suffering, in truth for how else could it be? By the perfection of wisdom is this mantra arrived at thus:

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, so it is!

Some say the Mahayana sutras did not really take place. They are not historical accounts like the earlier sutras (found in the Nikayas). Even if that is the case, these Sanskrit works of art are powerfully pointing at the truth.

Visionaries that came after the Buddha wanted to condense and epitomize the Dharma, focusing on and even expanding on subtle points of ultimate truth. (Buddhism's most subtle and important point is the Doctrine of Anatta). They did so through manageable stories with famous figures interacting.

Shariputra, who is touted as "foremost in wisdom" in earlier schools, is here and elsewhere treated as dense and in need of schooling. In this, the most famous of all extra-canonical works, compassion (as embodied in Avalokiteshvara a.k.a. Avalokita) gives him just that.

Northern Asia as a whole borrowed a great deal from Buddhism and made it its own. So much so that people often confuse other Asian traditions -- such as Taoism -- with the Dharma. Some readers may be shocked by such revelations. After all, Mahayana is the only kind of "Buddhism" they have ever heard of, calling it by various names: Zen, Tibetan Vajrayana, Pureland, or even messianic Christianity.

It's Art
“We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand” (Pablo Picasso).

The Tao
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The 10,000 things rise and fall while the [empty process referring to itself as] Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature. The way of nature is unchanging. Knowing constancy is insight. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. Knowing constancy, the mind is open. With an open mind, you will be openhearted. Being openhearted, you will act royally. Being royal, you will attain the divine. Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away” (Tao Te Ching).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Buddhist News of the Day


New Buddhist Nuns Ordained in Los Angeles
During the past four decades many Buddhist monks from all Theravadan countries in Asia have come to the West to propagate Buddhism, while serving their ethnic communities. It has been a very rare occasion for a male Westerner to ordain as a Theravada monk. And it has been rarer still for a female to ordain as a Theravada nun. The Bhikkhuni Order was established by the Buddha in the five years after his enlightenment. But for a variety of reasons, the order went extinct over 1,000 years ago (1017 C.E.).

The Mindful Living Alliance
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" - the Buddha. The MLA is a non-profit for those seeking true happiness through the practice of meditation. It is open to everyone without discrimination.

How to infuse happiness into relationships
Talk to those who need to feel happier in ways that help them stay calm and think straight. How many truly happy, upbeat people do you know? How many disgruntled, unhappy people? What's important to recognize is that you can personally influence a lot of people to be happier. What you say and do can affect how other people act and think. In fact, our actions and words can cause people to shake off depression, work with more passion, and stop self-destructive behaviors.

Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth
About what? About sex, lies, and true romance. That's the longwinded title of Jenny McCarthy's new book. For the first time she's revealing what went wrong with her and Jim Carrey. McCarthy says she faked a lot of likes and emotions with Jim, and she's entered her new relationship with "all of my chips laid out."

Bangkok’s blogging British monk
Phra Pandit has let go of material desires while remaining connected to the modern world [at], inspiring many other Westerners to follow suit. The image of saffron-clad monks wandering Bangkok’s streets on their early-morning alms rounds is a familiar one. But one aspect of this long tradition that still causes a double-take is when one of those monks is obviously not Thai, and not even Asian. Slowly, they are becoming a more common sight here. Phra Pandit, a Brit who was ordained as a Theravada monk in 1996, is one of the most visible Westerners in Thai Buddhist circles.

Americans Flunk Religion 101
Would you pass this quiz? America is full of religious people. But Americans know surprisingly little about religion. In fact, many atheists and agnostics know more about world faiths than do believers. So concluded a recent Pew Research Center survey on religious knowledge in America. For instance, Pew’s quiz revealed that only about half of Americans know that Martin Luther inspired the Reformation, that the Koran is the Islamic holy book, or that the Jewish...

American religion survey results inconclusive
Two weeks ago, many American media outlets gleefully reported the results of a recent Pew Research Forum Poll purporting to show that despite being “deeply religious,” Americans are “deeply ignorant of religion” (NY Times) and that atheists and agnostics are more religiously knowledgeable than their more faithful countrymen. Such results do not give a true picture of American spirituality.

Monks undertake 500-mile China journey on knees
A pair of Buddhist monks are to are to make a 500 mile journey on their knees to the religion's holiest shrines in China. Masters Zhiyuan and Hanliang will spend two months crawling to 99 temples on their way to the Putuo Mountains in eastern China until they reach a statue of Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Each night the pious pair will sleep under the stars in sleeping bags without even a tent to cover them, say helpers from their home temple in Ganlu, southern China. "They will crawl and then every third step they will stop and bow as a sign of respect to the goddess," explained one.

CIA sues former employee for publishing book
The CIA has sued a former officer who published a book highly critical of the agency without completing the CIA's lengthy review process. The lawsuit accuses the officer of breaking his secrecy agreement with the U.S. The former CIA staffer worked under deep cover before publishing the book in July 2008 under the pseudonym "Ishmael Jones." The CIA says his book, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture...

UCLA students reconnect with religion and spirituality
Bahar Moheban, a [Persian-Jewish] fourth-year psychobiology student, said she felt an increase in her spirituality since coming to UCLA. Raised in a religious family, the fourth-year psychobiology student attended Jewish faith school in preschool and kindergarten and went to after-school Hebrew classes until she was 13 years old.

US yoga enthusiasts rebut ministers' "demonic" label
(IANS) Yoga enthusiasts across faiths have debunked two ministers' call to Christians to shun the popular exercise form, with one going to the extent of suggesting it is "absolute paganism" and "demonic." The row over yoga started when in a recent essay, R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, warned Christians that yoga is contradictory to Christianity.

History of the Buddhist "Kathina" Festival

Thai Buddhist shrine room with golden Buddha (

The rains retreat period has just ended worldwide. Buddhist monastics are emerging from months of intensive practice and teaching. And with the culmination of this annual "lent" like period comes the offering of a very special robe, which the Buddha reputedly singled out as an extraordinary offering.

England's Chithurst Buddhist Monastery explains the meaning behind this celebration. (Check local Theravada temple schedules all around the country for nearby ceremonies).

In the Buddha's time, because of the rainy season in India, the Sangha were obliged to stay in one place [as was the Indian custom for all wandering ascetics]. The season lasted three months, and the period became known as the Buddhist Rains Retreat (Vassa).

Once, a group of monks were on their way to spend the Vassa with the Buddha. But they were overtaken by the season and had to stay where they were. When they reached him and told their story, the Buddha rewarded them for their joyful, patient endurance by permitting them to gather cloth for robes and to offer the finished robe to a deserving monastic among them.

The frame on which the pieces of cloth were spread and stitched was called a Kathina [sturdy, durable, strong]. This tradition of offering cloth during the month after the end of the Vassa continues.

At Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, for the past several years, cloth has been offered to the Nuns’ community as well and is formally presented to the nuns at the same time as the cloth to the monks. More>>

Friday, October 22, 2010

Masturbation: "Penthouse" pornographer dies

Bob Guccione founded Penthouse -- a magazine that was part politics (exposing 9/11), part art, and part gynecology. Before that, he studied to be a Catholic priest by attending seminary. He also spent years trying to make it as an artist.

Then he found a niche left by Hugh Hefner, of Playboy magazine fame, in the late 1960s. Even innocent Marge Simpson was not safe from the financially profitable (but karmically costly) lure of money for sexual misconduct.*

Where Hefner's Playboy tried to give its pinups an upscale image, Guccione's Penthouse aimed for something more direct. And it wasn't long before Larry Flynt (Hustler) trumped them both with shocking grit. More>>

*It is unwholesome karma to purposely and provocatively entice others. When we promote lust, we ourselves are engaged in unskillful actions that bear unpleasant results in the future. Viewers of such material are responsible for their own lustful intentions, of course. But those out to promote such sentiments are preparing that karma as their inheritance. It may be easier to understand by analogy. Lies often harm those who believe them, but they always harm those who speak them, not right away of course. And so it is with promoting lust, anger (fear), or delusion.


This invites discussion of the delicate subject of masturbation. In brief, viewing pornography that results in self-gratification stimulates lust, delusion, and (often) frustration. Those things rooted in greed, hatred, and delusion are by definition unwholesome, unprofitable, unskillful, morally blameworthy, and not praised by the wise. The results are painful. BUT until such results are met with, one regards them as self-evidently pleasurable.

Viewing pornography and masturbating are intentional actions (karma). The results and fruits (vipaka and phala) of such actions have yet to ripen. They might not in this life. Therefore, to say that there is "no harm in masturbating" is premature.An enlightened individual, or one with insight-knowledge, is in a position to know.

We do not have a means of knowing other than gaining insight-knowledge or resorting to the words of enlightened teachers like the Buddha. They can address whether or not such karma (actions) will have unwelcome, unwished for, unpleasant results. Those engaged in the activity are naturally biased and unaware of what will happen when the results come around.

Of course, on the scale of things, masturbation might not be much to worry about or experience remorse over. (Worry and remorse are themselves unwholesome and do not help the situation). The Buddha did not take up this sensitive subject directly with regard to ordinary people, so far as we at Wisdom Quarterly know.

Founders of other world religions were also wise to sidestep the issue. (Christianity's onanism is not a reference to masturbation; it's just misused that way because the Bible has so little to say on the subject).

The Buddha did, however, take it up with male and female members of the Sangha. It is an offense, not nearly so serious as sex, but an offense nonetheless. Why should it be? It should be at least a minor offense because it obstructs and impedes and acts as a hindrance and an obstacle, to serenity and insight.

The masturbating mind (or the one obsessed with thoughts of sex, lust, pornography) is not the meditating mind. It is not the mind that leads to enlightenment and liberation. It leads again and again to sense sphere (kama-loka) becoming. When it serves as the basis of sexual misconduct (acting out), its results can be tragic and catastrophic -- rebirth in the woeful realms (apaya).

Granted, nearly every single person has done it or does do it; there is no need for shame or for criticizing oneself or others. Criticism leads to hypocrisy. It is enough to know that when enlightenment is the goal, lustful-masturbation is not the path.

GhettoPhysics: Will the Real Pimps and Hos Please Stand Up

William H. Arntz ["What the Bleep Do We Know?"] and E. Raymond Brown's GhettoPhysics belabors the metaphorical implications of the pimp-prostitute relationship. The filmmakers seem to think that it had never occurred to anyone before that this relationship could be taken as symbolic of virtually all human interactions — any situation in which any individual or institution, corporation, government, religion, or nation... Brand X

He [the pimp] is feeding on a wave of prostitution that, academics and sex workers say...rights of sex workers in China, where prostitution is technically illegal but often tolerated...selling it. Lan Lan calls the Chinese prostitution market "very complicated"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exploring Past Lives (audio)


Dr. Brian Weiss,* an expert on past-life regression, explores what can happen when we unlock the doors to our past. Dr. Weiss discusses how to discover extraordinary details about past lives and release phobias from prior lifetimes. Hear from past workshop participants and learn about some of the amazing experiences they have had learning about their past lives. When we explore what happened in our past lives, we can awaken from constrictions and release anxieties and fears. We can heal physical ailments, relationships, emotions, and even release our fear of death as a result of exploring past lives.

*Brian L. Weiss, M.D., is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in Miami, Florida. He’s a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami. Dr. Weiss is the author of Many Lives, Many Masters, Only Love Is Real, Messages from the Masters, Through Time and Healing, Mirrors of Time, and Meditation. Psychometry exercises allow participants who are trying too hard to have a past life experience or to meditate successfully.

Trash bags (Getty Images) What Americans are throwing away the most
A lot of table scraps get tossed, but one product makes up a whopping 31% of trash. "All natural"? - What's a "Freegan"?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet Me in Space (Molestation, Astral Travel)

Meet me in Space
Deobroah King's Hay House Radio show is today and every Wednesday (2:00 pm PST). This week is all about astral travel -- the perfect time to invite listeners to join her in space! Not the familiar outer space, but cyber space. This is about community! A new Facebook page is up for conversations about healing, sharing traumatic childhood stories, and connecting. Download FREE audio and PDFs about psychic warfare and energy vampires: LINK
21st Century Energy Medicine Workshop - The Shamanic Shift - LIVE FEED OVER THE INTERNET! from Asilomar, California (ONLINE)
Make the shift that heals and develops innate abilities to help others heal. Join master healer and teacher Deborah King for this insightful and fun workshop to change understanding and usher in the mysterious world of energy healing. ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP FROM HOME!

First-person: Child Molestation
Dr. King's book Truth Heals is an expose of the childhood sexual abuse she experienced as a child.

This happened at the hands of her father and a member of the Catholic clergy. Each chapter deals with a chakra (energy center) and how blockages lead to common diseases.

Along with the groundbreaking work of Dr. Gabor Mate, Burton Goldberg (cure depression), Dr. Hyla Cass, Byron Katie, and Eckhart Tolle... we are seeing that thoughts are things. We have contol of them, and when we do not exercise that control, we are at the mercy of compulsive thinking and suffer the predictable health consequences.

Our society has a taboo about molestation -- not about doing it. Our taboo is about talking about it.

"Rare is the five year old who understands the meaing of the world vocation, and yet I was quite certain of mine -- to be a nun. Parading around in a makeshift habit fashioned out of sheets and a giant rosary tied around my waist, I'd slip a pebble in my shoe and put a piec of burlap against my skin for penance. Envious of the altar boys who were learning Latin, I hid in the choir loft during their lessons and mastered the language of the Mass in secret. One rainy day when I was eight, I went to my favorite hiding spot in the choir loft during lunch recess.

"I pictured the Virgin Mary before me and closed my eyes in prayer. When I heard Father Fitzgerald's footsteps on the stairs, I knew this meant trouble.

"'What are you doing up here, my child?' he asked. I darted for the stairs, but he caught me by a braid. He held me in place, one alabaster hand on each arm. He smelled like fried potatoes. His long black cassock was button all the way to the floor; his black shoes were as shiny his greasy hair. 'You little temptress,' he whispered. 'I know you've been tempting your father, bless his soul. It is my duty to straighten you out.' He [molested her].

"The Virgin Mary appeared before me. The folds of her gown rippled like waves as she came close. A bright blue light sparkled all around her. After some time, she disappeared. I was once again alone."

Eat well. Purify intentions. Focus on the Buddha (or similar figure). Meditate for a few hours. The best time for astral projecting is between 2:00 am and sunrise (which varies). Breath manipulation (prana-yama) is a great preparatory exercise. Slip into other dimensions. Then Buddhist texts dealing with other worlds can be read as literal. Shifting back to "waking consciousness" takes 10 to 15 minutes. Write down what can be remembered, meeting guides or questions asked, because memories will fade just as with dreams.

Deborah King: Psychic Attack & Energy Vampires

Sex Self-Help Resources