When old and young are systematically rounded up and shot. When women are gang raped and their babies thrown into waterways to drown. When their homes and businesses are burned. When all the atrocities of ethnic cleansing are plain to see, international law leaps into action. Global bodies and their constituent states work to simultaneously put an end to the atrocities, provide refuge for survivors and bring perpetrators to book, no matter the identity of the offender or the victim. Or so we are told. For as the on-going slaughter and displacement of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims reveals, international law is not so blind.
Since their citizenship rights have been progressively revoked between the 1940s and ‘80s, thousands of Rohingya men, women and children have been subjected to murder and rape, their villages have been raised to the ground and more than a million have fled to neighboring countries without much protest from the world beyond. Even the UN’s late attempts to investigate the most recent barbarities have fallen short of constituting a full Commission of Inquiry and independent investigators have been blocked from entering Myanmar by the Buddhist-led government of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi. “Just imagine, for a minute,” Columbia University’s Hamid Dabashi urges in a recent article, “if it were Jews or Christians, or else the ‘peaceful Buddhists,’ who were the subjects of Muslim persecutions.” Given the attention Muslim violence ceaselessly garners, the reason behind the apparent lack of outrage to protect the Rohingya is clear to him: “Something in the liberal fabric of Euro-American imagination is cancerously callous. It does not see Muslims as complete human beings.”
Even when one acknowledges that Muslim Bangladesh (where about 500,000 Rohingya have sought refuge) has long sought to prevent their “infiltration,” Dabashi’s point hits home. According to the UNHCR, ordinary Bangladeshis have opened their villages and towns to the latest influx of Rohingya refugees, providing food, clothing and shelter. And even the state’s seemingly cold-hearted actions only reflect Bangladesh’s inability to accommodate its Rohingya co-religionists without international support, which is clearly not forthcoming. Furthermore, various Muslim-majority governments, as well as the Organization of Islamic Conference, have begun pledging funds and voicing the deep concerns expressed by their constituencies. But is it just the dehumanization of Muslims in the Euro-American imagination that seems to be at play in their voices falling on deaf ears beyond? What of the contrasting image of ‘peaceful Buddhists’?
Academia is in fact rife with examples of scholarship that touts the tolerance and inclusiveness of Buddhists and the general argument is nothing new. According to Thomas A. Tweed, Professor of History at Notre Dame University, increasing awareness of religious diversity due to colonial expansion and Christian missionizing led Euro-American Enlightenment intellectuals repelled by Christian sectarianism to consider Buddhism to fit the bill of the “natural religion” (or “perennial philosophy”) they sought, one that exuded “tolerance” toward people of different faiths and was amenable to scientific progress. So convinced were they that some, such as the nineteenth century German-American scholar Paul Carus, even chastised Asian Buddhists when they launched polemical assaults on Christian missionaries, accusing the Asians of using language the “Buddha certainly would not…” So was born the pervasive myth, characteristically articulated by the early twentieth century Swedish-American Theosophist Herman Vetterling, that Buddhism is “a religion of noble tolerance, of universal brotherhood, of righteousness and justice,” and that in its growth as the religion of a global community it had not “caused the spilling of a drop of blood.”
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Michael Jerryson, picks up where Tweed signs off to show that the tendency to associate Buddhism with tolerance did not die in the early twentieth century or remain bound in an ivory tower. In the wake of World War II, it found its way into the writings of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, marching further forward in time with such works as Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and by the 1980s assumed political dimensions in the form of the Free Tibet Movement. And finally, who can forget (even if you want to) Keanu Reeves in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Little Buddha.
Social history, however, tells a different tale than Orientalists and popular culture. For every instance of forbearance, history also provides examples of violent intolerance legitimated by Buddhist doctrines and conducted by practitioners. As many ancient Jain and Brahmanical texts speak of persecution at the hands of Indian Buddhists, as Buddhists accuse their South Asian competitors of the same. And consider Jerryson’s examples of the sixth century Chinese Buddhist monk Faqing, who promised his 50,000 followers that every opponent they killed would take them to a higher stage in the bodhisattva’s path. Or recall that with the advent of nationalism, Buddhist monks rallied to the cause as with Japanese Rinzai support for the military campaign against the Russians in 1904-5, or Zen and Pureland Buddhist justifications of the Japanese invasions of China, Korea and Singapore during World War II. Buddhism has been corrupted in these places, they argued, and violence is necessary to insure that ‘true’ Buddhism is restored and preserved. The same rhetoric – of some fundamental Buddhism under threat – also underwrites the more recently nationalized bigotry and violence that Buddhist monks and laypersons have unleashed on non-Buddhists in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and, last but not least, Myanmar.
“No religion has a monopoly on ‘violent people’,” Jerryson astutely concludes, “nor does any one religion have a greater propensity for violence.” All religions are vast complexes of thought and institutions and devotees of each can always find legitimacy for hostility or hospitality toward the other depending on mundane needs or wants. It is for this very reason that the apparent disconnect between historical Buddhism and the sustained Euro-American myth of its tolerance is as malignant as the perpetual dehumanization of Islam and Muslims is cancerous. These Buddhists have long been the good guys and those Muslims the bad in this lore. Each is a necessary fiber in the liberal fabric of Euro-American imagination that veils the gaze of international law when it comes to the murder and displacement of the Rohingya.
“The ego-shell in which we live is the hardest thing to outgrow.”
By Maria Popova
Alan Watts may be credited with popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West, but he owes the entire trajectory of his life and legacy to a single encounter with the Zen Buddhist sage D.T. Suzuki (October 18, 1870–July 12, 1966) — one of humanity’s greatest and most influential stewards of Zen philosophy. At the age of twenty-one, Watts attended a lecture by Suzuki in London, which so enthralled the young man that he spent the remainder of his life studying, propagating, and building upon Suzuki’s teachings. Legendary composer John Cage had a similar encounter with Suzuki, which profoundly shaped his life and music.
In the early 1920s, spurred by the concern that Zen masters are “unable to present their understanding in the light of modern thought,” Suzuki undertook “a tentative experiment to present Zen from our common-sense point of view” — a rather humble formulation of what he actually accomplished, which was nothing less than giving ancient Eastern philosophy a second life in the West and planting the seed for a new culture of secularized spirituality.
But by 1940, all of his books had gone out of print in war-torn England, and all remaining copies in Japan were destroyed in the great fire of 1945, which consumed three quarters of Tokyo. In 1946, Christmas Humphreys, president of London’s Buddhist Society, set out to undo the damage and traveled to Tokyo, where he began working with Suzuki on translating his new manuscripts and reprinting what remained of the old. The result was the timeless classic Essays in Zen Buddhism (public library), originally published in 1927 — a collection of Suzuki’s foundational texts introducing the principles of Zen into secular life as a discipline concerned first and foremost with what he called “the reconstruction of character.” As Suzuki observed, “Our ordinary life only touches the fringe of personality, it does not cause a commotion in the deepest parts of the soul.” His essays became, and remain, a moral toolkit for modern living, delivered through a grounding yet elevating perspective on secular spirituality.
Suzuki begins at the beginning, laying out the promise of Zen in our everyday lives:
Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s own being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom. By making us drink right from the fountain of life, it liberates us from all the yokes under which we finite beings are usually suffering in this world.
This body of ours is something like an electric battery in which a mysterious power latently lies. When this power is not properly brought into operation, it either grows mouldy and withers away or is warped and expresses itself abnormally. It is the object of Zen, therefore, to save us from going crazy or being crippled. This is what I mean by freedom, giving free play to all the creative and benevolent impulses inherently lying in our hearts. Generally, we are blind to this fact, that we are in possession of all the necessary faculties that will make us happy and loving towards one another. All the struggles that we see around us come from this ignorance… When the cloud of ignorance disappears… we see for the first time into the nature of our own being.
One of Suzuki’s most overlooked yet essential points — and one particularly prescient in the context of what modern developmental psychology has found in the decades since — has to do with the crucial role of adolescence as a pivotal point in moral development. The teenage years, he argues, are when we begin “deeply delving into the mysteries of life” and when we are “asked to choose between the ‘Everlasting No’ and the ‘Everlasting Yea’” — a notion young Nietzsche intuited half a century earlier when he resolved, “I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!” At this fork in the road of existence, Suzuki insists, mastering the principles of Zen can make the critical difference in leading us toward a meaningful and fulfilling life. He writes:
Life is after all a form of affirmation… However insistently the blind may deny the existence of the sun, they cannot annihilate it.
Much of that blindness, he admonishes, comes from our attachment to the ego. Paradoxical as it may sound to any parent or teacher of a teenager, Suzuki suggests that adolescence is the time most fruitful for the dissolution of the ego:
We are too ego-centered. The ego-shell in which we live is the hardest thing to outgrow… We are, however, given many chances to break through this shell, and the first and greatest of them is when we reach adolescence.
And yet the “loss of the mental equilibrium” produced by the polar pull of “Everlasting No” and “Everlasting Yea,” which causes “so many cases of nervous prostration reported during adolescence,” can also derail and anguish us at any point in life. In a sentiment that once again calls to mind Nietzsche and his beliefs about the constructive role of suffering, Suzuki writes:
The more you suffer the deeper grows your character, and with the deepening of your character you read the more penetratingly into the secrets of life. All great artists, all great religious leaders, and all great social reformers have come out of the intensest struggles which they fought bravely, quite frequently in tears and with bleeding hearts.
Those ego-stripping struggles, Suzuki points out, can be of the intimate, most nonmaterial kind — the kind Rilke had articulated so beautifully two decades earlier in his letter on the burdens and blessings of love. Suzuki writes:
Love makes the ego lose itself in the object it loves, and yet at the same time it wants to have the object as its own… The greatest bulk of literature ever produced in this world is but the harping on the same string of love, and we never seem to grow weary of it. But… through the awakening of love we get a glimpse into the infinity of things… When the ego-shell is broken and the ‘other’ is taken into its own body, we can say that the ego has denied itself or that the ego has taken its first steps towards the infinite.
Although he takes care to note the invaluable role of the intellect in day-to-day life, Suzuki argues that the intellect is what keeps us from the infinite:
Zen proposes its solution by directly appealing to facts of personal experience and not to book-knowledge. The nature of one’s own being where apparently rages the struggle between the finite and the infinite is to be grasped by a higher faculty than the intellect… For the intellect has a peculiarly disquieting quality in it. Though it raises questions enough to disturb the serenity of the mind, it is too frequently unable to give satisfactory answers to them. It upsets the blissful peace of ignorance and yet it does not restore the former state of things by offering something else. Because it points out ignorance, it is often considered illuminating, whereas the fact is that it disturbs, not necessarily always bringing light on its path.
How poignant the latter remark is in the context of contemporary intellectual life. So much of our higher education is premised on the spirit of tearing things down rather than building things up — on how intelligently a student can criticize and counter an argument — which has, unsurprisingly, permeated the fabric of public discourse at large. We have a culture of criticism in which critics, professional and self-appointed, measure their merit by how intelligently they can eviscerate an idea, a work of art, or, increasingly and alarmingly, a person. We seem to have forgotten how to acquire what Bertrand Russell called, just a year before Suzuki’s essays were published, “a high degree of intellectual culture without emotional atrophy” in his magnificent meditation on why construction is more difficult yet more rewarding than destruction.
Similarly, Suzuki’s point is that the intellect is best at pointing out what doesn’t work, and as such can be a force of destruction, but when it comes to what does work, to the art of moral construction, we must rely on a wholly different faculty of the human spirit. He points to the lineage of philosophy — a discipline that continues to rely heavily on Descartes’s ultimate slogan for the intellect, cogito ergo sum — as evidence of the intellect’s insufficient powers in illuminating the path:
The history of thought proves that each new structure raised by a man of extraordinary intellect is sure to be pulled down by the succeeding ones. This constant pulling down and building up is all right as far as philosophy itself is concerned; for the inherent nature of the intellect, as I take it, demands it and we cannot put a stop to the progress of philosophical inquiries any more than to our breathing. But when it comes to the question of life itself we cannot wait for the ultimate solution to be offered by the intellect, even if it could do so. We cannot suspend even for a moment our life-activity for philosophy to unravel its mysteries. Let the mysteries remain as they are, but live we must… Zen therefore does not rely on the intellect for the solution of its deepest problems.
While the intellect may portend to fight illusion, Suzuki argues, it often does the opposite, creating different illusions that take us further from the truth of life rather than closer to it. He writes:
As nature abhors a vacuum, Zen abhors anything coming between the fact and ourselves. According to Zen there is no struggle in the fact itself such as between the finite and the infinite, between the flesh and the spirit. These are idle distinctions fictitiously designed by the intellect for its own interest. Those who take them too seriously or those who try to read them into the very fact of life are those who take the finger for the moon.
For anyone who has ever experienced the soul-squeezing sense of not-enoughness — and in a consumerist culture, most of us have, for the task of consumerism is to rob us of our sense of having enough and sell it back to us at the price of the product, over and over — Suzuki’s words resonate with particular poignancy:
Life as it is lived suffices. It is only when the disquieting intellect steps in and tries to murder it that we stop to live and imagine ourselves to be short of or in something. Let the intellect alone, it has its usefulness in its proper sphere, but let it not interfere with the flowing of the life-stream. If you are at all tempted to look into it, do so while letting it flow. The fact of flowing must under no circumstances be arrested or meddled with…
The great fact of life itself … flows altogether outside of these vain exercises of the intellect or of the imagination.
No amount of wordy explanations will ever lead us into the nature of our own selves. The more you explain, the further it runs away from you. It is like trying to get hold of your own shadow.
What Zen offers, Suzuki suggests, is a gateway into precisely that elusive nature of the self:
Zen … must be directly and personally experienced by each of us in his inner spirit. Just as two stainless mirrors reflect each other, the fact and our own spirits must stand facing each other with no intervening agents. When this is done we are able to seize upon the living, pulsating fact itself. Freedom is an empty word until then.
The ultimate standpoint of Zen, therefore, is that we have been led astray through ignorance to find a split in our own being, that there was from the very beginning no need for a struggle between the finite and the infinite, that the peace we are seeking so eagerly after has been there all the time.
We are all finite, we cannot live out of time and space; inasmuch as we are earth-created, there is no way to grasp the infinite, how can we deliver ourselves from the limitations of existence? … Salvation must be sought in the finite itself, there is nothing infinite apart from finite things; if you seek something transcendental, that will cut you off from this world of relativity, which is the same thing as the annihilation of yourself. You do not want salvation at the cost of your own existence… Whether you understand or not, just the same go on living in the finite, with the finite; for you die if you stop eating and keeping yourself warm on account of your aspiration for the infinite… Therefore the finite is the infinite, and vice versa. These are not two separate things, though we are compelled to conceive them so, intellectually.
Suzuki argues that the ultimate essence of Zen lies in its promise, both practical and profound, to “deliver us from the oppression and tyranny of these intellectual accumulations” and to offer, instead, a foundation of character at once solid and transcendent:
Zen may be considered a discipline aiming at the reconstruction of character. Our ordinary life only touches the fringe of personality, it does not cause a commotion in the deepest parts of the soul… We are … made to live on the superficiality of things. We may be clever, bright, and all that, but what we produce lacks depth, sincerity, and does not appeal to the inmost feelings… A deep spiritual experience is bound to effect a change in the moral structure of one’s personality.
And yet this “reconstruction of character”” is no cosmetic tweak:
Being so long accustomed to the oppression [of the intellect], the mental inertia becomes hard to remove. In fact it has gone down deep into the roots of our own being, and the whole structure of personality is to be overturned. The process of reconstruction is stained with tears and blood… It is no pastime but the most serious task in life; no idlers will ever dare attempt it.
Zen goes straight down to the foundations of personality.
Many ancient texts refer to ‘magical’ and ‘mythical’ lands, which is fascinating, particularly when you consider how much of the writings in ancient Buddhism, Vedic philosophy, or other Eastern traditions is being confirmed by modern day science. Quantum physics in particular has gained a lot of momentum recently. One great example is the conundrum of consciousness, which is directly correlated with quantum physics and goes hand in hand with other realms of existence. Perhaps this is why some of Nikola Tesla’s ideas were influenced by ancient Eastern philosophy. Not many people know this, but most of our pioneering scientists were also mystics, including Issac Newton, who studied alchemy, among other subjects.
“Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world. We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are.”
This is precisely why we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss other possible knowledge that remains hidden within ancient texts, especially when evidence is increasingly proving the strength of the connection between ancient wisdom and modern day knowledge.
We are surprisingly and inexplicably selective about which parts of ancient writings we hold to be true, and which we dismiss as fantasy. We might take, for example, a description of ancient Greek society written by a philosopher living at the time, such as Plato or Socrates, at face value, yet when confronted with the same philosopher’s description of an advanced ancient civilization, find some excuse to ignore it. We can take Plato’s description of things that are believable to the mind and accept them as fact, but as soon as we are confronted with something outside our known experience, our minds shut down, even in the face of mounting evidence lending credibility to many of these ‘mythical’ stories.
Several ancient texts from various traditions mention beings from ‘another world’ that exist within our own. One such world, referenced in Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu traditions, is Shambhala, which is a hidden kingdom within our own planet, a place which we do not understand and is difficult to find.
Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there. (sources)
This closely resembles descriptions of the spiritual principles that once guided Atlantis given by Plato and other scholars. According to Manly P. Hall, author, historian, and 33rd degree mason:
Before Atlantis sank, its spiritually illuminated Initiates, who realized that their land was doomed because it had departed from the Path of Light, withdrew from the ill fated continent. Carrying with them the sacred and secret doctrine, these Atlanteans established themselves in Egypt, where they became its first divine rulers. Nearly all the great cosmologic myths forming the foundation of the various sacred books of the world are based upon the Atlantean Mystery Rituals. (source)
Sambhala, however, although no erudite Orientalist has yet succeeded in locating it geographically, is an actual land or district, the seat of the greatest brotherhood of spiritual adepts and their chiefs on earth today. From Sambhala at certain times in the history of the world, or more accurately of our own fifth root-race, come forth the messengers or envoys for spiritual and intellectual work among men.
Edwin Bernbaum, Ph.D., a lecturer, author, mountaineer, and scholar of comparative religion and mythology, writes that Shambhala is round but depicted as an eight-petalled lotus blossom, which is a symbol of the heart Chakra (left). He also makes it clear in his book, The Way To Shambhala, that the way is not clear. Shambhala is a physical place existing within the human realm, but it’s also a spiritual, even supernatural place, which many also believe exists within another dimension.
Michael Wood, a BBC journalist, based on his research describes it as a lost kingdom buried somewhere in the Himalayas, and writes about how the name Shambhala first appears in a text known as the Kalachakra tantra – or Wheel of Time teaching. This Kalachakra doctrine belongs to the highest level of Buddhist Mahayana teaching.
He writes that in Shambhala, the people live in peace and harmony, and are faithful to the principles of Buddhist. In this land, war, grief and sorrow were completely unknown. According to Michael, one commentator on the Kalachakra tantra puts it like this:
The land of Shambhala lies in a valley. It is only approachable through a ring of snow peaks like the petals of a lotus … At the centre is a nine-storey crystal mountain which stands over a sacred lake, and a palace adorned with lapis, coral, gems and pearls. Shambala is a kingdom where humanity’s wisdom is spared from the destructions and corruptions of time and history, ready to save the world in its hour of need.
The prophecy of Shambala states that each of its 32 kings will rule for 100 years. As their reigns pass, conditions in the outside world will deteriorate. Men will become obsessed with war and pursue power for its own sake and materialism will triumph over all spiritual life. Eventually an evil tyrant will emerge to oppress the earth in a despotic reign of terror. But just when the world seems on the brink of total downfall and destruction, the mists will lift to reveal the icy mountains of Shambala. Then the 32nd king of Shambala, Rudra Cakrin, will lead a mighty army against the tyrant and his supporters and in a last great battle, they will be destroyed and peace restored. (source)(source)
According to Christian doctrine on the life and times of Jesus, he was the Son of God who laid his life to be crucified to expiate the sins of the world. But growing body of evidence has started to emerge showing the Christian narrative of the life and times of Jesus is misleading and inaccurate. Was he born in Bethlehem or in Nazareth? New discovery proves Jesus was a Buddhist monk who lived and died in India.
In the late 19th century, a Russian doctor named Nicolas Notovitch traveled extensively throughout India, Tibet, and Afghanistan, and chronicled his experiences and discoveries in his 1894 book The Unknown Life of Christ.
During his voyage, Notovitch broke his leg and recuperated at the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of Hemis in the city of Leh in India. At the monastery, monks showed Notovitch two large yellowed volumes of a document written in Tibetan, titled The Life of Saint Issa.
Notovitch translated the document which detailed the true story of a child named Jesus (i.e. Issa = “son of God”) born in the first century to a poor family in Israel. Jesus was referred to as “the son of God” by the Vedic scholars who tutored him in the sacred Buddhist texts from the age of 13 to 29. Notovitch translated 200 of the 224 verses from the document in 1887.
One lama [monk] explained to Notovitch the full scope and extreme level of enlightenment that Jesus had reached:
“Issa [Jesus] is a great prophet, one of the first after the twenty-two Buddhas. He is greater than any one of all the Dalai Lamas, for he constitutes part of the spirituality of our Lord. It is he who has enlightened you, who has brought back within the pale of religion the souls of the frivolous, and who has allowed each human being to distinguish between good and evil.
“His name and his acts are recorded in our sacred writings. And in reading of his wondrous existence, passed in the midst of an erring and wayward people, we weep at the horrible sin of the pagans who, after having tortured him, put him to death.”
A book titled The lost years of Jesus, authored by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, confirms Notovitch’s account that Jesus lived and died in India. In Buddhism, when a great Buddhist or a Holy Man (i.e. lama) dies, wise men consult the stars and other omens and set off to find the infant who is the reincarnation of the Lama. When the child is old enough, he is taken away from his parents and educated in the Buddhist faith.
Christians believe when Jesus was born, three wise men came to seek and honor the infant; they were named Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior. It is speculated these three wise men took Jesus to India, when he was 13, to make him the greatest Buddhist ever.
“Jesus is said to have visited our land and Kashmir to study Buddhism. He was inspired by the laws and wisdom of Buddha,” a senior lama of the Hemis monastery told the IANS news agency. The head of the Drukpa Buddhist sect, Gwalyang Drukpa, who heads the Hemis monastery, also confirms the story.
The 224 verses have since been documented by others, including Russian philosopher and scientist, Nicholas Roerich, who in 1952 recorded accounts of Jesus’s time at the monastery:
“Jesus passed his time in several ancient cities of India such as Benares or Varanasi. Everyone loved him because Issa dwelt in peace with the Vaishyas and Shudras whom he instructed and helped.”
It is claimed Jesus spent some time teaching in the ancient holy cities of Jagannath (Puri), Benares (in Uttar Pradesh), and Rajagriha (in Bihar).
German scholar, Holger Kersten, has also chronicled the early years of Jesus in India in the book Jesus Lived In India. Further, in the BBC documentary, titled Jesus Was A Buddhist Monk, experts theorized that Jesus escaped his crucifixion and lived in the Kashmir Valley until he died at 80. Locals believe Jesus is buried at the Roza Bal shrine at Srinagar.
My previous blog, which was deleted by fake poet Genie, had this post in it. I came across it from another site, Zazen Life, which had published the post back then. I am bringing it back home. Lou
I came into Zen in my late teens after being raised a catholic.
The dogma of the church just did not do it for me.
So I ex-communicated myself and went on a quest for truth. I came across the antics of the Beat writers of which Jack Kerouac became my favorite.
Say what you will about those pre-hippies but they were the closest thing to genuine creativity in the US in the late fifties.
The Beatniks opened my mind to Alan Watts (Alan Wilson Watts /January 1915 – 16 November 1973) who turned me into Zen. At the time he was instrumental in making Zen understandable in the West.
I also discovered marijuana during that time.
Now, before I go any further, I must admit that writing this post torqued my brain around.
Zen is pure Buddhism.
It is a natural consequence and part of Buddhism. Siddhartha, in all his wisdom came up with five guiding rules for us to follow in order to reach enlightenment: to abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication.
Here it is. Intoxication. What is intoxication? Ingesting poisons that will harm you physically and mentally.
You cannot get intoxicated from cannabis.
If you intake too much marijuana you are just wasting your time, money, and weed.
Once you are in the zone there is no more higher “stoned” level.
Cannabis focuses your mind by freeing it from the daily mundane. It gives you a measure of peace and calm that recharges your energy and allows you to become disciplined.
Zen and Zazen both require discipline.
It is one of the most difficult spiritual practices to get involved with, but the rewards are out of this world.
Zen changed my existence.
It has given me: Empathy, compassion, discipline, patience, an open mind, the desire not to hurt sentient beings by not eating them which in turn gave me incredible health and stamina, an understanding of life that is intertwined with death, and much more.
Zen changed my life and I arrived at Zen through off-beat counter culture readings and cannabis.
I am not advocating for everyone to get stoned like the song says.
Life should be experienced fully and soberly.
But you must admit that modern life is beyond stressful. It has become so complicated that most of us depend on legal and illegal drugs in order to cope with the insanity of it all. Roughly half the North American population is ingesting legal antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Personally, I won’t consume cannabis until the necessary daily rituals have been performed: Exercise, zazen, work, chores, etc.. At the end of the day cannabis becomes the holy grail of ceremonial and spiritual ceremonies.
The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions which believe that world events will achieve a final climax.
The Abrahamic faiths maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption.
In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age, and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous and the world to come.
Some sects of Christianity depict the world will come to an end through a series of cataclysmic events followed by resurrection of departed souls and judgment day.
According to Vedic tradition, Aditi is mother of eight Adityas or solar deities (suns). At the end of creation these eight suns will shine together in the skies.
In the following sermon, the Buddha speaks of how seven suns will appear in the sky and how the planet earth will eventually be destroyed, after many hundreds and thousands of years, through a series of cataclysmic events which are described below.
The earth will suffer from a severe drought due to lack of rains. All vegetation and life forms will disappear and vanish from the planet.
A second sun will appear in the horizon, resulting in the evaporation of many streams and ponds.
A third sun will appear resulting in the evaporation of many great rivers like the Ganges.
After a long lapse of time, a fourth sun will appear in the sky resulting in the evaporation of great lakes.
After another long lapse of time, a fifth sun will appear and the oceans will dry up slowly till they will become a finger deep.
After another long lapse of time, a sixth sun will appear. The earth crust and core will heat up to intense temperatures resulting in many volcanic explosions, scorched earth and smoke filled skies.
After another vast interval, a seventh sun will appear. The earth will become a fiery ball of flame and expand. Its flames will spread far and wide. Finally it will explode and disappear altogether.
The manner in which the Buddha predicted the end of the earth sounds very much like a modern scientific theory on the destruction of planets and the entire solar system.
The Buddha also clearly mentions that all life forms will vanish before the appearance of the second sun. Thereafter the earth will be a dead planet ready for its eventual destruction.
The seven suns mentioned in the discourse probably are various planets of the solar system that would become hot and shine like stars due to some changes in the activity of the sun or its gravitational force.
The manner in which the drying up of the planet earth is described reminds one of the greenhouse effect and the events that might have happened on planets like Mars which had once oceans and rivers and probably life forms.
The Buddha delivered this sermon to remind his disciples of the impermanent nature of the world and of our existence, which is subject to decay and renewal and from which even a god like Brahma is not free unless he overcomes it by practicing Dhamma and following the eight-fold path.