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I was reminded of the debate around - and the deeper meaning behind - the notion that Jesus Christ as the son of God and the way of the Bodhisattva in effect reflect the same principle (a Divine being who compassionately chooses to help others on earth achieve enlightenment, Nirvana), reading this post from the Joseph Campbell Foundation:—“Jesus, for example, can be regarded as a man who by dint of austerities and meditation attained wisdom; or on the other hand, one may believe that a god descended and took upon himself the enactment of a human career. The first view would lead one to imitate the master literally, in order to break through, in the same way as he, to the transcendent, redemptive experience. But the second states that the hero is rather a symbol to be contemplated rather than an example to be literally followed. [My emphasis]. The divine being is a revelation of the omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all. The contemplation of the life thus should be undertaken as a meditation on one’s own immanent divinity, not as a prelude to precise imitation, the lesson being not ‘Do thus and be good,’ but ‘Know this and be God.’” (From Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.) Which in turn reminded me of Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva, which is inspiring beyond words. What struck me about this book is that it’s a form of instruction for individuals to become Bodhisattvas, to walk on the path to enlightenment. (If you read it, this edition’s Introduction is enormously helpful in navigating and understanding the text.)That is, an individual may not merely imitate the Christ figure, but also become divine, to “know this and be God,” to become aware of and achieve, if you will, the “omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all.”
Further, and to wit, about the similarities between Jesus and the Bodhisattva way: — “Jesus left his mortal body on the cross, the sign of the earth, to go to the Father with whom he was one. We, similarly, are to identify with the eternal life that is within us. The symbol at the same time tells us of God’s willing acceptance of the cross - that is to say, of participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world. So that He is here within us - not by way of a fall or a mistake, but with rapture and joy. Thus the cross has a dual sense - one, our going to the divine, and the other, of the divine coming to us. It is a true cross-ing.” (From Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That.)
The above is so beautiful as to be painful to read. It reflects the divine compassion of the Bodhisattva way (“participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world.”) And it wonderfully elucidates the wisdom and example of Jesus. And, the God is not merely “out there” but within you, and everywhere. (See the panentheism post for more on that.)

I was reminded of the debate around - and the deeper meaning behind - the notion that Jesus Christ as the son of God and the way of the Bodhisattva in effect reflect the same principle (a Divine being who compassionately chooses to help others on earth achieve enlightenment, Nirvana), reading this post from the Joseph Campbell Foundation:

—“Jesus, for example, can be regarded as a man who by dint of austerities and meditation attained wisdom; or on the other hand, one may believe that a god descended and took upon himself the enactment of a human career. The first view would lead one to imitate the master literally, in order to break through, in the same way as he, to the transcendent, redemptive experience. But the second states that the hero is rather a symbol to be contemplated rather than an example to be literally followed. [My emphasis]. The divine being is a revelation of the omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all. The contemplation of the life thus should be undertaken as a meditation on one’s own immanent divinity, not as a prelude to precise imitation, the lesson being not ‘Do thus and be good,’ but ‘Know this and be God.’” (From Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.)

Which in turn reminded me of Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva, which is inspiring beyond words. What struck me about this book is that it’s a form of instruction for individuals to become Bodhisattvas, to walk on the path to enlightenment. (If you read it, this edition’s Introduction is enormously helpful in navigating and understanding the text.)

That is, an individual may not merely imitate the Christ figure, but also become divine, to “know this and be God,” to become aware of and achieve, if you will, the “omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all.”

Further, and to wit, about the similarities between Jesus and the Bodhisattva way:

— “Jesus left his mortal body on the cross, the sign of the earth, to go to the Father with whom he was one. We, similarly, are to identify with the eternal life that is within us. The symbol at the same time tells us of God’s willing acceptance of the cross - that is to say, of participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world. So that He is here within us - not by way of a fall or a mistake, but with rapture and joy. Thus the cross has a dual sense - one, our going to the divine, and the other, of the divine coming to us. It is a true cross-ing.” (From Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That.)

The above is so beautiful as to be painful to read. It reflects the divine compassion of the Bodhisattva way (“participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world.”) And it wonderfully elucidates the wisdom and example of Jesus. And, the God is not merely “out there” but within you, and everywhere. (See the panentheism post for more on that.)

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Panentheism is a belief system which posits that the divine (be it a monotheistic God, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force) interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it. Panentheism differentiates itself from pantheism, which holds that the divine is synonymous with the universe…

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Mary Morris as the “toy”, a.k.a.. the “Silver Maid” from Thief of Bagdad (sic). I love this image/portrayal so much. In the film this being is a “toy,” a gift to an old king, which amazes him with its beauty, its movement, and “dance.” (Her expression, the makeup, the movements are indeed wonderful - it truly does seem this being is doing a grand, cosmic dance.) Yet the movie’s villain, the dark-robed man, injects corruption into the “toy” by placing a knife into its hand, which ends up killing the old king when he goes to embrace her as she dances.

It strikes me that this is the way with some aspects human affairs; literally and metaphorically, the dark male energy (animus/shadow) corrupts through a form of dominating, negative control the bright and vital feminine energy (anima), and tragedy ensues. Maybe I’m taking Carl Jung down the wrong path here, but this scene has inspired and haunted me since I first saw this movie maybe 10-15 years ago.

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Discovering supreme reality…

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What is supreme reality? Said another way, what is the mystery of this vast, seemingly unknowable universe, which is the physical manifestation, the “setting” of how we as humans perceive and experience reality?

We are born into this universe, made of the very stuff of the universe, so if we are all part of this great unified creation, this great “Self” (universe), all that is seen and unseen as they say, AND, as Joseph Campbell once said, one way of thinking about God is that God is the mystery of the Universe, it arguably FOLLOWS THAT…

If we are indeed made of the stuff of the universe, we are, logically speaking, manifestations of the mystery of the Universe, or God. And so, if one accepts the theory of evolution on the one hand, and on the other agrees with Carl Jung, and psychologists/writers like Robert Johnson who said of Jung:

"Jung believed that God and all of creation labored through time to bring conscious awareness into the universe, and that it is the role of human beings to carry that evolution forward… [and] Each of us is a microcosm in which the universal process actualized itself." IT FOLLOWS THAT…

We contain within ourselves the MYSTERY (or mysteries) OF THE UNIVERSE, of God, with the possibility for discovery if we only look! Through plumbing our own depths, seeking self-knowledge, delving deep into one’s own unconscious (whether through meditation, dream analysis, prayer, etc.) we may able to to glimpse, to realize, supreme reality.

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The self, the Self, and the Universe

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Who am I?

I am made of the stuff of the universe. I breathe the air of this planet, which orbits through space around our sun, inhabiting our galaxy, a tiny speck in the totality of the universe.

As a creature of this universe, I observe that I create and I destroy. To wit, I procreate as an organism, and I even make art and music, I can write words and phrases conveying concepts, bringing all these things tangible and intangible into being that didn’t exist before. I also destroy, consuming living or once-living things, and cause harm directly and directly in so many ways.

Hindus would say my “self” is part of the universal Self, or Atman, the universal spirit or one reality. So, am I an avatar of the Universe, or an avatar of God (the Universe?) If, as Tibetan Buddhists may say, we are all one, does that mean, in effect, we are all children of God, the universe, because we are part of God/the Universe?

Thinking this through, perhaps the moral imperative - indeed, tied to our biological imperative - is for us is to live to “create” and to perpetuate life, the universe - and any destructive acts that cause harm to “the universe” or its constituent parts are morally (and I dare say, biologically) wrong, these harmful acts constitute “sin” in the sense that by harming one another, we harm God, we harm the fabric of the universe, from whence we were born, where we live, and into which we will dissolve when we die. 

This could raise some very serious ethical questions, of course, without easy answers.

Who are you?

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Faith and desire - a question for you

Does faith rest solely on desire? (The desire for life or consciousness after death, universal justice, the eternal well-being of loved ones, etc.?)

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There is One Source, everywhere, always.

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The notion that someday robots will rise up and take over from their human masters is unfounded, I think; it’s also a non-starter to posit that humans can program emotions and instinct into anything with artificial intelligence, whether you’re talking about a humanoid robot or a really sophisticated espresso machine. Why? Because the brains of sentient, organic creatures possess a subconscious or unconscious, which is comprised of the stuff of life: wonderful energies like the survival instinct, the drive to perpetuate the species, and all manner of creative potentialities. Assuming Charles Darwin was right, species are here to continuously evolve, for whatever purpose (or maybe just… because.) And speaking of the unconscious and perhaps in line with Darwin, Carl Jung was on the money when he noted that humanity’s objective is to constantly evolve - one’s psyche, one’s “being” - individually and collectively. And how do you program that?What do you think?

The notion that someday robots will rise up and take over from their human masters is unfounded, I think; it’s also a non-starter to posit that humans can program emotions and instinct into anything with artificial intelligence, whether you’re talking about a humanoid robot or a really sophisticated espresso machine.

Why? Because the brains of sentient, organic creatures possess a subconscious or unconscious, which is comprised of the stuff of life: wonderful energies like the survival instinct, the drive to perpetuate the species, and all manner of creative potentialities. Assuming Charles Darwin was right, species are here to continuously evolve, for whatever purpose (or maybe just… because.)

And speaking of the unconscious and perhaps in line with Darwin, Carl Jung was on the money when he noted that humanity’s objective is to constantly evolve - one’s psyche, one’s “being” - individually and collectively. And how do you program that?

What do you think?

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"The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back."

— Abigail Van Buren, aka “Dear Abby.”

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I’ve long thought time does not exist beyond the concept of it, and that eternity is simply now; that is, we live in eternity. Yet I realized today that I’ve never questioned space - does space exist? And what does this mean for what the nature of our universe is or may be?Before you scoff, I think many people consider space to be a, or very much like, a container - stuff exists in a space with defined parameters. So, water fills a glass, you and your stuff inhabit some living space, our planet resides in the Milky Way, etc. But why do we think we live in a space, a universe, with defined parameters or borders? It is reasonable, I think, to entertain the notion that “stuff” merely is called into creation - you know, subatomic particles, dark matter, stars, planets, galaxies, etc. and simply blossoms from nothing into physical existence, and that “something” isn’t space, like some container, all that stuff just is. There is no universe per se beyond the fact of a “universe” of existence. Attempting to draw this logic out, I think this fits into the Big Bang theory, and even the new theory of an infinite number Big Bangs: the “universe” (stuff) expands out, but it’s just physical matter bubbling up from nothing and expanding, not out into anything, but just expanding as more and more matter is created, stretched, and so on.And so I concluded today that quite possibly space is merely a concept, just like time is. But let’s reverse that logic: from whence did the “stuff” come into being? And drawing it all the way out, where does it go, especially living organisms? In case you think I’m way off-base here, I found this by our mutual friend Immanuel Kant, from his 1770 Inaugural Dissertation:
“Space is not something objective and real, nor a substance, nor an accident, nor a relation; instead, it is subjective and ideal, and originates from the mind’s nature in accord with a stable law as a scheme, as it were, for coordinating everything sensed externally.”
So, what do you think?- Art/image: Curvature of Space-Time by RailGun74.

I’ve long thought time does not exist beyond the concept of it, and that eternity is simply now; that is, we live in eternity. Yet I realized today that I’ve never questioned space - does space exist? And what does this mean for what the nature of our universe is or may be?

Before you scoff, I think many people consider space to be a, or very much like, a container - stuff exists in a space with defined parameters. So, water fills a glass, you and your stuff inhabit some living space, our planet resides in the Milky Way, etc.

But why do we think we live in a space, a universe, with defined parameters or borders? It is reasonable, I think, to entertain the notion that “stuff” merely is called into creation - you know, subatomic particles, dark matter, stars, planets, galaxies, etc. and simply blossoms from nothing into physical existence, and that “something” isn’t space, like some container, all that stuff just is. There is no universe per se beyond the fact of a “universe” of existence. Attempting to draw this logic out, I think this fits into the Big Bang theory, and even the new theory of an infinite number Big Bangs: the “universe” (stuff) expands out, but it’s just physical matter bubbling up from nothing and expanding, not out into anything, but just expanding as more and more matter is created, stretched, and so on.

And so I concluded today that quite possibly space is merely a concept, just like time is. But let’s reverse that logic: from whence did the “stuff” come into being? And drawing it all the way out, where does it go, especially living organisms?

In case you think I’m way off-base here, I found this by our mutual friend Immanuel Kant, from his 1770 Inaugural Dissertation:

Space is not something objective and real, nor a substance, nor an accident, nor a relation; instead, it is subjective and ideal, and originates from the mind’s nature in accord with a stable law as a scheme, as it were, for coordinating everything sensed externally.”

So, what do you think?

- Art/image: Curvature of Space-Time by RailGun74.