10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice

I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.

What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.

There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:

1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.

2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.

3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.

4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”

Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:

  • 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.

  • 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.

  • 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.

  • 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.

  • 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

  • 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.

  • 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.

  • 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.

  • 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”

  • 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Animals Have Souls

The findings in this article are based solely on the Bible. What you and I believe about animals having souls will in no way alter the fact of their having them. One may disbelieve in the Law of Gravity but that does not render the law inoperative. At the time the Bible was written men believed that the world was flat and wrote of 'the Four Corners of the earth'. Nevertheless, the whole time the world was round regardless of their beliefs. At the time the King James version of the Bible was written men had not conceived of the possibility of animals having souls, and all translations resulted in them being referred to as creatures even though the Hebrew word translated was identically the same one that was translated as souls when it referred to mankind. I refer to the word nephesh (Strong's number 5315). Examine the verses given below. They each contain the word nephesh. "God said "Let the earth bring forth every living nepheshaccording to his own nature, cattle, and crawling things, and animals." Genesis 1:24"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living nephesh." Genesis 2:7

"And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living nephesh that was the name thereof." Genesis 2:19

Man was formed from the dust of the ground and out of the ground was formed every beast of the field. They both received the breath of life and it was the same 'breath of life'.

"For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place, all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:19-21

According to the Bible, God talked both to and with the animals. Otherwise it would have been impossible to establish a covenant with them. A covenant is an agreement between two parties and usually it is written down. In the case of God's promise to mankind and the animals He gave His rainbow as the seal of commitment. Nevertheless, the animals must have been communed with in order for them to understand it. Otherwise it would be simply a document and not a covenant. Examples of God's covenants with animals are given below:

"And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living nephesh that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.." Genesis 9: 9-10

"And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely." Hosea 2:18

A few years ago I saw a huge billboard that said, "Just what part of Thou shalt not kill don't you understand? __God". One might protest that the killing and eating of animals was under God's authorization. Some scriptures show otherwise:

"For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." Jeremiah 7:22-23

"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." Psalms: 40:6 (see also Isaiah 1:11-15, Hosea 6:6, 8:13, Amos 5:21-25, Micah 6:7-8)

The following verse declares that God regards the killing of an ox as if one had killed a man:

"He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck, he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations." Isaiah 66:3

Reader, we all have to deal with the matter of whether or not animals have souls. Did our parents or grandparents believe that they had souls? Does your preacher believe it? The answer is probably no, but their ignorance cannot be the basis for our own value systems. If indeed they do have souls, then we are forced to rethink the matter of killing them for sport, caging them in zoos to look at them, experimenting on them to enhance our own health, and even killing them for food. I will not clutter up this article with statistics regarding inhumane and cruel practices at slaughterhouses but such information abounds on the Internet. It would be safe to say, though, that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarians.

The predator and prey food chain cycle has been in effect a long time, but one can elect to no longer be participant in it. One can elect to no longer support the killing of animals by no longer eating beef, pork, poultry, fish, lobsters, crawfish, oysters, or the flesh of any living creature. Additionally one can carry it a step further and withdraw from the consumption of eggs, milk, cheese, etc. In this day and age there is an abundance of nutritious foods that make all of this both feasible and beneficial. I made such a decision and experienced a great peace as though I had suddenly bonded with all living creatures in both love, respect and caring.

Whatever one decides to do is an individual matter. The intent of this article is to give disclosure. If one elected to discontinue eating animal flesh and hated that they were now deprived of such foods, no doubt the animals not slaughtered would benefit, but the abstainer would be missing much. Like all of God's commandments and admonitions, if a man delights in keeping the commandments, then keeping them is fun. If a man keeps commandments from a sense of duty then it's work, distasteful, and frankly disgusting.

We can consider Jesus' statement:

"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:13

This is an article written by Harry Hebert which is now in the collection of Bible Cocoons found at http://www.mossypooh.com Harry makes free articles available for download on his site in an attempt to help any who are encumbered with unnecessary spiritual baggage.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Buddhism culture week in Hue

VietNamNet Bridge – Buddhism Culture Week will take place at Tu Dam pagoda, in the central city of Hue from March 1-7, with presentations by famous scholars and scientists, a photo exhibition, and meetings between senior monks and local young people.

On this occasion, 108 photos captured by Thich Minh Hien in nearly ten years will be introduced at an exhibition named “Japanese and Tibet land and people”.

Hue residents will also have a chance to meet and listen to presentations made by famous scholars, for example a presentation about conflicts between civilizations by Professor Cao Huy Thuan on March 2, Zen and health by doctor Do Hong Ngoc, Buddhism in a multi-cultural context by Dr. Thai Kim Lan on March 3, Hue characteristics in Vietnamese culture by Professor Buu y, Indian identity by writer Ho Anh Thai.

Taste of Cherry, a film by Abbas Kiarostami which won the Golden Palm award of the Cannes Film Festival 2007, will be screened.

Artists from the Hue Conservatory of Music will have a special concert with music pieces by Pham Duy, Trinh Cong Son and famous western classical music works.

The event is held to celebrate the UN Vesak Day celebration, which will be held in Vietnam from May 13-17, 2008.

(Source: Tuoi Tre)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What's Your Dream?

Everyone has a dream. Dreams are not reserved for super-achievers or those who have plenty of money and time to pursue them. Everyone has a dream. How can you tell? Listen to you heart - it's there. It's speaking to you all the time. It wants you to make It come true. It stays in the back of your mind when you're thinking about the next thing on your list of must-do's. It haunts your daydreams and mystifies your night dreams. It catches your eye when you hear It in a song, see It in a headline, or feel It whispered in the longing of your heart.

What is It? It is your Dream - your personal, heartfelt wish that you long to do, accomplish, or acquire. It can be anything under the sun. But you may have made excuses for not pursuing It. Why? Maybe you think It takes too much money, you don't have enough time, no one will believe in It for or with you. But you know what? The Truth of the matter is that You CAN make your Dream come true! You will never be satisfied unless you're pursuing your Dream in some way, shape, or form. Just look at those around you who seem to be living the perfect life. You know why? It's because they are living their Dreams, pursuing that "It" that speaks to their hearts in the still of the night. You can, too. You can start right now, today, going after that secret desire of your heart. Here are a few tips for claiming your right to your Dreams:

1. Believe in yourself. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND AND HEART ON! Yes, you can! Do not allow anyone to tell you no when pursuing the Dreams of your heart. Think you're not smart enough? Get an education! Read up on the subject - learn all you can! You don't have to go to school to start learning about something special to you. Listen to your Self Talk. What is that? It's what you say to yourself over and over all day every day. Do you limit yourself? Or do you encourage yourself? Talk to yourself every day and tell yourself, "Yes! I claim this day to be a day of growth and change for me! I can do anything I set my mind on! I am smart enough and deserving enough to go after my dreams! I begin today to takes the steps needed to make my Dream a reality!"

2. Don't know exactly what your Dream is? Start identifying It now! Perhaps It's vague, hiding in the shadows of your heart because you have not allowed It to reveal Itself. Daily stresses and self-doubt make it easy for our Dreams to be reclusive, but they are still there, and if you take the time to start listening, feeling, observing, It will start to reveal Itself. Start keeping a journal just for yourself. Find a few minutes a day to enjoy quiet reflection (yes, you can find ten minutes - just turn off the radio, TV, or spend a few extra moments in the shower, or utilize those minutes waiting in traffic or lines at the grocery store). Carry a small notebook with you to write down ideas as they occur - you think you may remember them later, but sometimes they go back into hiding! Give yourself permission to think about your Dream.

3. As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day. And most likely, your Dream won't be manifested in one day. This means you start taking steps toward your Dream, no matter how small they are. Every step is important and every step is a learning process for you to be able to accept and live your Dream when it is revealed. Maybe your Dream is not one thing that can be contained, but rather a way of living or thinking that is ongoing. Start NOW to be the person who has made her Dreams come true! Think like It's coming true! Act like It's coming true! Breathe It! See It! Smell It! Taste It! Touch It! Make It so real in your mind that It has no choice but to come true! Yes! Your Dream can come true! You have to believe in It as much as It believes in You!

4. Action required! You have identified your Dream. You wonder where It is. When will It come true? It is important, once you have identified your Dream and begun to give mental attention to It, that you put Action behind your thoughts. Do something every day that will help your Dream move closer to your reality. Read about It, research the Internet about It. Network It. Find someone who has It or is doing It and talk to them about It. Pursue your Dream with gusto and It will meet you halfway!

5. Best Intentions, Please! "With the highest good for all concerned" is a tagline often added to prayers or affirmations when seeking to align with our Greater Good. To be happiest, realizing real Dreams will not require you to treat anyone badly or purposely hurt another in your pursuit. You can still fulfill your daily obligations and go after your Dreams without too much sacrifice (unless you're unwilling to sacrifice those two hours of TV at night in lieu of reading or taking a class that will help you get closer to your Dream). When you are on track, you will also be helping others achieve their Dreams, resulting in a Win-Win result.

6. Adequate supply? Is there enough to go around? Absolutely! The Universe is an Abundant place overflowing with supply! If you think differently, then you will need to look at your thinking in that regard - limit your thinking and you limit your supply. Expand your thinking and know that you are deserving to receive, and your avenues of supply will open up, making it even easier for your Dream to come into Reality.

A few steps a day can help you go a long way on the road to realizing your Dreams. You know they are real when they won't go away, won't stop speaking to your Heart, when you ache to make them come true. These kinds of Dreams are put into us by our Creator and are meant to come true if we will but follow our own Star of Grace, and open ourselves up to all the goodness there is here for us right now! You can do It! I know you can! Go for it!

(Note: these concepts are included in the process of "Blessings by Divine Design"© (formerly known as "Mental Mapping"©), created by the author. This is a three-part process that will help you identify and manifest your heart's desires. All that's needed is your Will, Determination, Commitment, and focused Action, and your Dreams can come true! For more information, please contact the author.)

Barbara Callahan Quin writes about spiritual and inspirational topics; she provides a thought for the day through Encourage Today! e-mail subscription. Her goal is to help others realize their direct connection to and relationship with Spirit and that their dreams are possible! You are invited to visit her at: http://www.heartlandprayer.blogspot.com and at http://www.geocities.com/spiritheartcreations

Any woman has right to reach Nirvana

Children death was usually the main reason why a woman left her family duties and devoted herself being to cenobitical life. Kisagatami`s son died and this shook her so much that she decided to join commune of nuns. Woman status depended straight on male descendants. According to the traditional commentary to “Therigatha”, there was a big nun group that entered sangha because of their children death. Patachara was the head of this group; she lost her husband and two children. A rich courtesan Ambapaly explains her conversion to Buddhism by old age and withering away her beautiful body. Among authors of “Therigatha” were other courtesans- Vymala, Addhakasy. The status of courtesans was rather unstable, in spite of the visible wealth. A true story of Sona, she was mother of 10 children, in some way reminds us the story of King Lear. Her husband took the monastic vow being already in elderly age and left her all his riches. Sona decided to share this heritage among children on condition that they would support her and then she could devote herself to religious life. But sooner mother became a burden to her children and they began to treat her with disrespect. (Thankful people as well completely Enlightened ones come to this world very seldom.) Finally, Sona joined the Buddhist sangha, in spite of the fact that it was not harmonious; she achieved the state of nirvana.

This story attracts us by one exciting moment. There were not any cases like this in the history of Indian society. This is a specific woman status when her husband took the vow. The woman turned into a widow while her husband was alive- and this was the worst thing that might happen to a woman in the Indian society. Perhaps, that is why there were many mentions in canon when both: husband and wife led monkish existence. This can be treated as examples of
mutual consent and faithfulness. Or, probably it was the only way out for a woman at that time?
In certain cases, when a woman was really rich and respected by society, then her taking the veil was the logical result of her life. Another example- is a life story of Chanda nun; her verses are also stored in “Therigatha”. This woman lost her husband and all her relatives, for 7 years she was living by begging. She suffered from cold, heat and starvation. Once she saw a nun, the last was given alms, food and drink. Chanda asked to become her disciple. After Chanda sorted her want and need, she did her best to understand Buddhism teaching. Note, that Buddha did not have any objection of entering sangha people like these. He hoped that it would help these people to develop their spirituality and reach a certain state of nirvana. So that Chanda achieved lucid moment and became one of the respectable nuns.

Buddhism - The Noble Truths and The Eight-Fold Path

Buddhism has been the dominant religion of the Eastern world for centuries, including China, Japan, Korea, and most of Southeast Asia.

In addition, the growth of the Asian population in the U.S., has served to increase the interest in Buddhism in the United States. Statistics have shown that currently, there are well over 300,000 Buddhists in the U.S.

Founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, went on a spiritual quest to determine the cause of pain and suffering, holding to the Hindu belief in reincarnation, in that one returns to earthly life in a higher or lower form, according to one's good or bad deeds.

The above belief prompted the question of how to break the rebirth cycle. Basic teachings of Buddhism focus on what Siddhartha believed to be the answer to those questions.

The basic tenants of Buddhism are found in the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path.

The Noble Truths

  1. The First Noble Truth: is the acknowledgment that pain and suffering exists in the world in all of nature and human life, as realized and taught by Siddhartha. It is inevitable that sickness and old age generally becomes painful, and all living things experience suffering.
  2. The Second Noble Truth: concerns the cause of suffering, with Siddhartha believing that the root cause of suffering is desire. Through his meditations, he realized that suffering is ultimately caused by wealth and selfish enjoyment, the cravings of which are rooted in ignorance, and can therefore, never be satisfied.
  3. The Third Noble Truth: pertains to the cessation of all suffering, which occurs when a person is able to rid him or herself of all desires.
  4. The Fourth Noble Truth: relates to the extinguishing of all desire by following the eight-fold path, a system designed to develop habits that will release people from the restrictions caused by ignorance and craving.

The Eight-Fold Path

There are eight steps to following the eight-fold path:

  1. Right Views. accepting the four noble truths.
  2. Right Resolve: renouncing all desires and any thoughts related to lust, bitterness, and cruelty. No living creatures may be harmed.
  3. Right Speech: speaking only the truth. There may be no lying, slander, or vain speech.
  4. Right Behavior: abstaining from sexual immorality, stealing, and all killing.
  5. Right Occupation: benefiting others and harm no one with the work chosen.
  6. Right Effort: seeking to eliminate any evil qualities within and prevent any new ones from arising. One should seek to attain good and moral qualities and develop those already possessed. Seek to grow in maturity and perfection until universal love is attained.
  7. Right Contemplation. being observant, contemplative, and free of desire and sorrow.
  8. Right Meditation: once freed from all desires and evil, a person must concentrate on meditation to overcome any sensation of pleasure or pain and enter a state of transcending consciousness to attain a state of perfection.

Buddhists believe that it is through the above self-effort, one can attain the state of peace and eternal bliss, known as "Nirvana."

Anna Barbosa is an avid sudent of Buddhism and owner of http://www.mettabuddha.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spirituality Information: Truth and Money

Defining what is true to you is not a finite spiritual axiom. Your spiritual growth allows you to change what is true to you as you experience different perspectives about life. The spirituality information that you believe as true one day can change the next day because of your experience. Your truths can only come from your experience.

All too often we discount the truth of our experience and simply accept the words of others as our own truth. Even though our experience tells us one thing we sometimes hear what other people tell us about a certain topic and believe what they tell us because they are somehow in a position of authority. We grant them a position of authority because our societal conditioning says that is what we are supposed to do. Is that your truth?

Authority figures in our society typically are recognized because of some external trait such as being rich or being the boss or an institutional title, such as a teacher or principle, or a religious leader or government official.

Let me give you an example. We hold in our value system in this country of the United States of America, as well as most of the countries of the world, that we have the right of free speech. Free speech is inherent to our system of democracy and it is one of the cornerstones of our constitution. We believe, and we hold as truth, that each and every citizen is free to speak their own truths as a demonstration that all voices and opinions have value and contribute to our overall freedom and democracy. When we define free speech within our own parameters, most of us would say that we are free to speak and write whatever we choose. That is our belief. Human beings speak and write our strongly held opinions. When we think of money, we don't usually ascribe the characteristic to money that it has the ability to speak or write. Money is an inanimate object that is used as a medium of exchange for value rendered. We know from our own experience that money, as an object, and our own opinions, expressed in form through our speech, are two entirely different concepts. That is our experience. That is what we know to be true. (Unless you don't). That is what we claim democracy is all about. Each person in the democracy has equal voice as to how the democracy is run and ultimately how it affects each and every life in the democracy. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has told us that money is the same as free speech. We have been told that the dollar bill you take out of your wallet, or the ten thousand dollar check that is written out to the politician of your choice, has the same value as your written or spoken word. Do you believe that? It is a law of the land. It has been told to us that this is true. Is that your experience of money? Is it your experience that a piece of paper with some pictures and writing on it has the same value as the words that you express that come from your innermost thoughts and aspirations? It is entirely your choice whether you believe this to be true or not. Everything that we choose to believe or not believe is a choice. The question we must ask ourselves is, Are we making our choices consciously or unconsciously?The second question we must ask is, Does this serve me? Are we making conscious decisions that affect our lives, or are we accepting the word of others as our own truths and conditioning ourselves to accept our unconscious choices that affect every facet of our lives? We have been told that money has the same voice and value, perhaps more, than your own personal opinion. These are words that we are told. Our experience is something different than that. Which is true? That is up to you to decide. Is your own experience of money and speech the truth, or are the words of the Justices of the Supreme Court true? Here is the kicker question: What serves me? Does it serve me to believe that money is speech? Does it serve me to believe that money is not speech? Only you can answer those questions for yourself.

About the Author

Richard Blackstone is an author and international speaker on Life, Love and The True Nature of How Things Work. He won the prestigious "America's Next Top Author" award from ConsciousOne.com for his book, "Nuts & Bolts Spirituality." Read his FREE report, "The 3 Simple Immutable Laws of the Universe" at: http://www.NutsandBoltsSpirituality.com

Spirituality in Children

Often discussed in the context of religion, the subject of children's spirituality is nevertheless a separate, and arguably more general, topic. In fact, according to experts, children's spirituality not only transcends the idea of particular religious denomination or tradition, but also goes beyond religion itself, as is evidenced by the spiritual concerns of children, and people in general, who are defined as "not religious." According to the noted child psychiatrist and author Robert Martin Coles , there is nothing exceptional or unusual about children's spirituality: unless suppressed through abuse, a child's spirituality naturally develops by an innate feeling of wonderment and fascination. In his numerous conversations with children about their spiritual concerns, Coles has noted that regardless of their cultural and religious background, children feel a profound desire to understand the universe and their place in it, and that desire, articulated through words, gestures, songs, and drawings, remains constant. Furthermore, children, often combining spiritual musings with ethical concerns--e.g., wondering why there is injustice in the world--often express a wish to influence the entire universe in an effort to improve the world.

Commenting on his conversations with two eight-year-old girls with different backgrounds (Hopi and Irish American), Coles noted that the girls, despite the differences in their religious backgrounds, had similar spiritual concerns and aspirations. According to Coles, both girls find in themselves a human strength, striving "every once in a while to break the confines of self, of society, of time and space, even of faith" (Coles, 1990). While Coles's young interlocutors used different sets of symbols to express their spirituality, the Catholic girl dreaming about Christ's return, and her Hopi counterpart contemplating a joyful reunion of all humankind, their reactions to reality reflected a deep desire to live in harmony with the universe.

As researchers have observed, the phenomenon of children's spirituality eludes the traditional conceptual and methodological apparatus of psychology or theology. Spiritual concerns, i.e., questions pertaining to life, death, birth, rebirth, and the universe in all its immensity do not, it seems, directly depend on cognitive and verbal development. Indeed, it is possible to trace the development of children's religious consciousness, as David Elkind has done, noting how, for example, as children mature, their prayers shift from being self-centered to altruistic. But spirituality, undefinable as a process, defies the theoretical strictures of child development. In other words, there is something timeless about children's spirituality. Thus children often wonder about God without any intellectual, or historical, understanding of the concept "God." Children have the ability to tackle difficult philosophical and theological questions almost unknowingly, focusing on the idea itself, while sidestepping the logical sequences prescribed by rational discourse. Gareth B. Matthews has criticized Jean Piaget for dismissing a nine-year-old girl's insistence that God must exist because he has a name. According to Piaget, the child shows her inability to dissociate names from objects. Matthews demonstrates that the little girl's reasoning is logically correct and in accordance with a long philosophical and theological tradition of thinking about God.

Whatever the parents' attitude toward their child's spiritual aspirations, spirituality is an unavoidable issue in every family: the question of his or her origin, which every child asks, essentially pertains to spirituality.

According to Erik Erikson, trust "born of care is, in fact, the touchstone of the actuality of a given religion." Erikson uses the term "religion," but his insight about care and trust can easily apply to spirituality in general. While there is no formula for a healthy spiritual life, caring parents will, by inspiring a fundamental sense of trust and by respecting the spiritual aspects of birth, enable their children to freely develop a sense of spirituality and manifest it through a passionate and fulfilling involvement in life. Declaring that spirituality affirms children's humanity and enhances their ability to understand life's mysteries, Robert Coles advises parents to encourage a child's natural sense of wonderment and curiosity about spiritual issues. By their nature, children ask probing questions, and this desire to know, Coles affirms, "is also part of the moral development of children--a way for them to find a set of beliefs and ideals to guide their daily lives, a way for them to gain command of their behavior."

Gale Encyclopedia of Childhood & Adolescence. Gale Research, 1998

Monday, February 25, 2008

Women in the early Buddhism- part 2

To tell you the truth, women had more regulations than men. This was reflected in number of Pratimokshi rules for nuns (331 rules for women against 227 -for men). Majority of supplementary rules were regarding some slight violations like woman ornamentation and her clothes, the rules of a woman consecration into sangha, a selection of the women guru, the rules of the woman behavior in public places etc. But the real restrictions were imposed on sexual behaviour of nuns. For example, if a man touched a woman – then this violation can be atoned, for a woman touching a man was treated as a heavy breach and was followed by an unconditional exclusion. It is wrong to think that Buddha considered a woman more inclined to sexual enjoyment than a man. Analysts paid attention on fact that Buddha described man’s sexual attraction to a woman as well as a woman to a man in one and the same terminology. To tell you the truth these strict rules pursued some internal objects. First of all, in the patriarchal Indian society Buddhist nuns that left their family duties and chose the road of liberation were reproached as for men it was allowed to go for their own way. That is why nuns should take care of themselves and behave properly because there are might be some ill-wishers around them. Secondly, a nun might become pregnant and this can provoke some substantial moral issues in the commune as well as the organizational ones. Evidently, proceeding from this point of view women must go through a trial period before becoming a nun. But there are some mentions in the canon that a woman became a nun being already pregnant.

What made a woman joining the Buddhist sangha? Ideally, the main and the only reason was searching for liberation, for nirvana. But practically, it was far from that. An interesting and striking illustration of this entering is left in “Therigatha” (“Verses of elder nuns”). This poetry draws our attention by its ingenuous feelings.

Rather a bright demonstration is verses written by a nun Mutta (free translation):

I am free!

I became so independent!

I am free from three things:

From mortar and pestle as well as bent old husband!

Torn up by the roots the craving,

That will lead to becoming,

I am free from old age and death.

Mortar, pestle and shameless husband are mentioned in other verses in “Therigatha”. Note that these feelings contradict the rules of honouring a man as God.

P.S. Do you know that seventeen women in October, 2003 got the highest ecclesiastical rank as Buddhist nuns at the Shakyamuni Buddhist Centre in Canberra, Australia?

Spirituality and Meditation

What we eventually experience as dis-ease and later as illness actually begins in the "spiritual dominion" and becomes a by-product or mirror of our relationship with our soul, our mind, body, and emotions. The body is merely a reflecting mirror of any dis-ease or illness that starts as a spiritual deficiency and later impacts the mind, body, and emotions. To reach the root causes of any dis-ease or illness we are challenged to first concentrate on how to balance the health between our spirit, our mind, body, and emotions. This is where the investigation should begin, in my opinion, because it's also here that many cycles of dis-ease and illness begin to repeat themselves. To ignore this situation is to ignore the cure.

In Part I of this Article, we'll focus on Spirituality and touch briefly on Meditation. In Part II, we'll come back and talk more in detail about the power of Meditation and why it's an essential practice for anyone who desires to grow spiritually. I hope these two Articles will give you a good foundation upon which to later understand the intricate relationship between dis-ease, illness, and spirituality.

Part I - Spirituality

Understanding "Spirituality" is really very simple. It's our relationship between our soul and God. We can call God by any name we want: Source, Creator, God, Allah, or Sat Purush, it really doesn't matter. The name doesn't change the eternal attributes of God. The fact of the matter is that we can call God by any name, but the most important question is what kind of relationship do we each have with whatever we call that power?

Since we're all spiritual beings living a human existence, we're already engaged in a very robust and powerful relationship with God. We may not be receptive to having our very existence in God, but that doesn't cancel that relationship. Unfortunately, we do not live in an enlightened society, community, or nation, so many of us have been cut-off from the "Esoteric" teachings that detail our relationship with God and lack the knowledge necessary to have a conscious contact of our soul with God. God is an unlimited being of conscious and there's no difference between God and our soul. We're the same as God and that's where "Spirituality and Meditation" begin to converge and complement each other.

The question becomes, how can we experience our soul and experience God while we're still alive in this physical body? There's two parts to this answer. But, first, I'd like to say that we can definitely experience God long before the death of our physical body. The soul never dies! Never!! It's only the physical body that dies, but none of us need wait until death to have a conscious contact with God. God has designed each and every human being to realize our soul and verify God's true existence.

The first answer is we must take clear steps to realize ourselves as the soul. That means establishing a regular meditative practice that will enable us to separate our soul from the physical body (voluntarily) and become as subtle as God then we can experience ourselves as the soul. During that experience, we're voluntarily out of the physical body. That's when we're in our subtle form and behold ourselves as the soul in its' full radiance. Moreover, we clearly and accurately experience the non-physical realities of God's existence. This meditative technique that allows us to voluntarily leave the physical body has also been called: "Dying While Living."

The second answer deals with learning to remove the heavy coverings and layers of density (mind, matter, and illusion) that surround our soul and prevent us from having this fully conscious contact of our soul with God. These layers block our ability to grow and accelerate spiritually and thus hinder our experience with God's true existence, but once these layers are removed, we soar far beyond the limitations of the physical body and have a really high super-conscious awareness of our soul with God. Removing these layers is the work we all have to do on a daily basis to grow spiritually.

All of us are fully capable of having a conscious contact of our soul with God. We just lack the "Esoteric" knowledge of how to meditate correctly and accurately in order to leave an out-of -the-physical body experience at will. We can definitely experience our soul with God long before the physical body dies. God designed us that way and someone who considers themselves to be really smart and intelligent would, I imagine, take advantage of their own inherent spiritual abilities. That's it!

Spirituality is very simple. It deals with having a conscious experience of our soul with God. That experience happens when our soul is released from the physical body and we travel through the higher spiritual regions too where God resides in its' ultimate state of subtle beauty. Since our soul is of that same essence as God, we only have to remove the layers that surround our soul and block us from growing spiritually.

In the second Article, I'll explain the different meditative levels and related techniques and explain which techniques are essential for experiencing our soul with God.

This article was written by Raymond Holmes for Breakout Betty. Breakout Betty is an interactive online magazine created specifically for Women, ages 18 and over, with acne-prone skin that discusses a holistic approach to healing acne and is psychological affects. To find out all that Breakout Betty has to offer, visit us at http://www.breakoutbetty.com

Friday, February 22, 2008

My reflection upon Spiritual World

I as well as the whole of human kind always raise eternal questions of what does it mean this thing love, where does happiness begin, what am I, what is my real nature. Here it is an endeavor to give answers. Our hearts strive to find this very paradise, the place where our spirits are in harmony with themselves and with the whole Universe.

Each of us begins with our human body conception and birth and each breath is a real miracle. It is a precious gift. Now I want to understand this important mission of the human kind. When I start to consider upon this, all my thoughts turn towards God as the creator; to tell you the truth I do not know who he is, but want to understand it. Orthodox and Catholics call him God, Muslims- Allah, Asia- Buddha. I see him as the Light of the Truth and Pure Energy. Also I turn to my soul or spirit as the projection of his, the Divine one. In order to perform this thinking I need absolute, deep and firm belief, based on full cognition. In addition to this faith there is a need of a meditative state. I want to calm all my vanity, so I can catch the moment in hands. Some religions call them prayers, some meditations. It is just matter of language, we hope for day to come when all people speak one and the same language- they all will call God in one and the same word. And if I calm myself, then I will have an opportunity to activate my intuition thus I can be myself. I can look inside me, into my inner, spiritual world. Thus I will hear the melody of my heart. As what is inside the same is outside, up the same is down. Close your eyes, look at your solar plexus and see what you feel there. If it is love- be all love, if it is hate- be all hate, happiness- be all happiness, anger- be all anger. Do not be ashamed to express your feelings, just become completely one with this feeling. Thus you are yourself. Thus you are free. This is a uniqueness of your being as a person on this Earth. You come into this world like tabula rasa, white sheet, nothing is written on it. You are free to do as you wish. It is your creation. Freedom is your essence, it is your spirit. If you deny your freedom, you deny all treasure and become mendicant. If you accept your freedom, your life turns into an adventure, a discovery. You discover love. When you meet love, your life regains purpose and poetry. Not knowing love, you are not able to dance, celebrate, be grateful or pray. Love is in high sky. To love means to live in the clouds.

Where is your Paradise? One wise man stated- it is right here. Do not go far away – as it is near, just open your eyes, awake from your sleep and see what surrounds you- this is your Paradise, when you know people, understand their thoughts, share your feelings – this world is called Paradise. Open your soul to the miracle, to the simple and natural miracle, just be happy when you open your eyes in the morning and see the shining Sun out of your window. Every new day is like a new start.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Women in the early Buddhism

Patriarchal Indian society pointed the advantage of a man towards a woman during the process of Pali canon establishment (4-2 B.C.). Humiliated status of woman was confirmed in Brahmanic literature. Is enough to recall a famous Manu `s saying: “Day and night a woman must depend on her men… Father guards her in the childhood, husband – during her youth, sons- in her old age. A woman is not able to be independent and self-sufficient (Manu, 9. 2-3). Religious necessities of a woman in orthodox Brahmanism were not taking into account too. Women on a level with Shudras were prohibited from listening and studying Vedas, performing rites, fasts or vows on their own. The main religious duty of the woman consisted in service to her husband. “Husband, even alien to virtue, dissipated or lacking of positive character qualities must be worshiped as God. “ (Manu, 5. 154).

Early Buddhism demonstrates rather different approach towards a woman. Buddha declared that there was no any difference between a man and a woman to achieve lucid moment provided that they take the monastic vow or take the veil. In compliance with it Buddha established female monastic society. Mahapradjapati was the head of this society, Buddha’s aunt - she was like a mother to him. However joining sangha a woman should follow several additional conditions. They are known as “Eight rules
(garu-dhamma) and are as follows:

  1. A nun being in monasticism for 100 years must show her respect to a monk even if he has just got monastic vow.

  1. Nuns are prohibited to hold “summer suspension” during rain season in the place without monks.

  1. Every two weeks nuns must visit monks commune to hold uposatha ceremony (general monk meeting) as well as get instructions and perceptions from them.

  1. Once the “summer suspension” is over – nuns should take part into a special meeting of both communes devoted to the discussions about monks as well as nuns behaviour.

  1. A nun that breached her duty (a heavy mistake) must be punished during two weeks in both communities: male community and female one. (Monk’s term of punishment lasts for 6 days and is performed only in male community.)

  1. Before taking the veil a woman has to go through the probation period for 2 years and only after that the initiation takes place in the both communities. For a monk no need in any trial period and the consecration is held only in the male community.

  1. A nun ought not to insult or reproach a monk, even indirectly.

  1. A monk has the right to teach a nun, but a nun should not give any piece of advice to a monk.

The 10th Chulavagga chapter contains this story about the foundation of the woman’s sangha as well as these 8 supplementary rules. These rules are formulated rather categorical: “these rules must be respected, followed and not broken”. Though, we must take the notice that all those rules are included in the ordinary nuns` laws (Bhikkhuni-Patimokkha). And there they are treated as slight violations that are atoned by a simple admission of guilt. Nunneries were really under the protection of male monasteries, because this patronage was necessary for defending from robbers and violators (such cases are often mentioned in the canon).

To know or not to know. The awakening.

Neale Donald Walsch given some tips.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quotes from the Awakened One.

Quotes and meditations from the Buddha.

7 steps towards forgiveness. Part two

Until you suffer from your offender –it is impossible to step on the way of forgiveness. But how to solve this unpleasant situation? The first step you can do is – to make a conscious decision on stopping your sufferings, to stop feeling pain, to end with offend or injustice. Often in these cases you need to split your relations or drift apart from each other for sometime. Because near offender (whether is Mum that was indifferent to the life of her child, or a Man that broke his word) a person feels weak. Suffering just paralyzes all body.

In some very peculiar cases, when your physical or psychic health is under danger or you are in peril of your life - then you can sue in the Court. The offender must bear responsibility for said words or done actions. Court has the right to specify guilt and fix a punishment. But only aggrieved person can forgive offender if the first will want it.

2. Admit that they treated you badly.

Your past does not disappear. Useless to forget your offend. Due to the mechanisms of psychological defence suffering, hate and bitterness are displaced into the unconscious, where they keep on ruining you with even more destructive power. We need to admit the fault of the person who did us harm. We do need this to live further. This gives us a possibility “to give the fault back to the offender and consequently to re-establish relations with yourself”. Also it will help to avoid psychosomatic diseases or behaviour models that lead to the constant fails in relations as well as work.

Forgiving, we first of all are taking care of our health.

3. Forgiveness brings relief to our soul. Plus, due to the scientist’s opinion – it is a healing for our body.

Forgiving an offender, we get spiritual and emotional power as well as physical one. A study was made by Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet, American professor in psychology. More than 70 men and women were plunged into 4 states- an active emotional experience of offend, thoughts about vengeance, sympathy to the offender and forgiveness. During this experiment being tested took the temperature, blood pressure, perspiration and muscular tonus.

Psychologists discovered steady physiological differences between states of forgiveness and not forgiveness. Only if offender was mentioned- all being tested had blood system failure. These changes became very important when they thought about vengeance. “If you are ready to make an effort to forgive- by all means you will see what benefit it will bring to your psychic and physical health”, - according to Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet words.

Buddhist Blessing

This is a Universal Buddhist Blessing offered by Ven Bhikkhuni Sudhamma, Abess, Carolina Buddhist Vihara

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The 7 Rays coming to the Earth

The Rays and their qualities

As we have seen, each of the seven rays is a divine energy or quality:
1st ray: expresses will or power
2nd ray: expresses love and wisdom
3rd ray: expresses active intelligence
4th ray: expresses beauty or harmony through conflict
5th ray: expresses concrete intelligence or science
6th ray: expresses idealism or devotion
7th ray: expresses order or ceremonial magic
All beings in the solar system "belong" to one or several of the seven rays - each individual has a personality ray, a ray of the physical body, a ray of the emotional body, a ray of the mental body, a soul ray and a monadic ray, and thus his spiritual structure is really a mixture of different ray qualities, expressing themselves through his various bodies or vehicles.

As perfected beings, we will express the qualities of one of the seven rays primarily. For instance, Hilarion is the Chohan (Master) of the 5th ray which gives him a major responsibility with inspiring scientific work on this planet, while Morya is the 1st ray Chohan, and has the task of inspiring and guiding leaders, politicians and statesmen to see and follow the right visions and make the right decisions in accordance with the Great Plan for the Earth. Maitreya and Kuthumi work on the 2nd ray - the ray of the teacher - of love and wisdom, and therefore with religion and education. The Christ spirit is the essence of all true religions on this planet.

Religions are guidelines for evolving humanity

Theosophy sees itself as a synthesis of science, religion and philosophy, and seeks to show the similarities in the world's religions, knowing that all religions are given from the Hierarchy as a teaching to humanity, adapted to humanity's culture and stage of development at any given time. The religions express the same divine truths in their core - as much as humanity is ready to assimilate at that moment. For instance, Gautama Buddha showed humanity how to gain freedom from desire by transmuting it to aspiration and desire for wisdom and understanding, while Christ taught us about the importance of love, forgiveness and compassion as a means to achieve peace in the world and to reach the Kingdom of God, i.e. the state of consciousness of an initiate, the Nirvana of Buddhism. In modern time this is being realized more and more, and there is a strong tendency towards the common understanding, that the God of all religions is the same, and the goal of all religions also the same, namely to establish love, brotherhood and right human relations on this planet, and this shows the great progress which humanity has made in the past centuries, the strong effects of the sufferings of the past 2,000 years and the strong, spiritual energies which are now flowing to the planet.

The Earth's Spiritual Hierarchy

Cosmic laws: The Law of reincarnation, the law of evolution and the law of karma
Apart from the teachings about the structure of the universe and the function of the Earth's Hierarchy, Theosophy describes in great detail a number of universal laws which govern our lives, as well as the lives of lesser and great beings. One of them is the law of reincarnation which simply says that human beings (as well as many other life forms) go through many cycles of physical incarnations in order to evolve, gain experience and grow, until a state of perfection is achieved. When we have learnt all there is to learn in the physical realm, we become a Master of wisdom and graduate from the Earth school, free to continue our service and evolution here or at another place in the universe. Connected with the law of reincarnation is the law of evolution, a basic universal law, which describes how every unit of consciousness evolves towards and strives for higher states of being, experience and self-expression. These two link with the law of Karma (or the law of cause of effect) which states that whatever any life unit sends out through its actions and thoughts, it will receive again - "as you sow you shall reap". These laws govern our personal lives as well as the life of cosmic, together with other cosmic laws such as the law of love, the law of mercy, the law of periodicity and the law of contrasts.

The Seven Rays
Another important part of theosophical teachings is the teaching about the seven rays. The Seven rays are divine intelligences or energies which permeate this solar system, emanating from the seven stars of Ursa Major (the Great Bear) and going to the seven stars in the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters). It is said that all living beings within this solar system is characterized by one or several of these rays and their qualities, for instance this solar system is a 2nd ray system (the second ray expresses the qualities of love and wisdom), while the planet Earth is a 3rd ray planet (active intelligence). Any person will have his personality on one of these 7 rays, and the personality again is a mixture of physical/etheric body, astral body and mental body, each of which has its own rays. Much can be said about a person's character, potentials and development problems from his rays, and therefore, the science of the 7 rays will form an important part of the psychology of the New Age. Within this field, a pioneer work has been done by Michael Robbins with his book "The Tapestry of the Gods", and also by Benjamin Creme who lists the ray structures of many famous people at the end of his books (Maitreya's Mission I - III).

Theosophy - a synthesis of science, religion and philosophy

A brief history of Theosophy.
Theosophy as known to the modern world was founded by the Russian initiate Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in New York in 1875 as an attempt to spread divine truth to the intellectually advanced part of humanity. However, "the Ancient Wisdom" has always existed in the world, either openly as Theosophy is taught today, or in the past, in Egypt, Greece and Atlantis where there were great temples and initiation schools run by the Earth's Hierarchy, or hidden, as in the Middle Ages amongst the alchemists, Rosicrucians and Freemasons, who were persecuted by both the clergy and the secular powers who (rightly) felt their power threatened by the truths which these hidden societies represented.

What is Theosophy?
Theosophy is "A synthesis of science, religion and philosophy", and its motto is: "There is no religion higher than Truth". Practically, Theosophy presents itself today as a vast spiritual and cosmological system which seeks to investigate and explain Cosmos and man's role herein, both on the basis of occult research (research based on extrasensory perception, be it clairvoyance, clairvoyance, visions, telepathically received messages or memories or visions retrieved through hypnotic regression, i.e. from higher states of consciousness) which is taught by a number of Theosophical groups around the world.

Leading figures in Theosophy
Some of the most important figures of Theosophy in this and the former century have been: H. P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Helena Roerich, Charles. W. Leadbeater, Geoffrey Hodson, Alice A. Bailey, Corine Heline and Dion Fortune, and currently operating we have teachers and writers such as Torkom Saraydarian, Benjamin Creme, Michael Robbins and Asger Lorentsen.

Theosophical teachings
While Theosophy is an ever-expanding science, a dynamic living teaching, which originates in the cosmic mind or the being which we call God, represented by myriads of beings on many different planes of existence and levels of consciousness and development, most Theosophical groups today base their understanding on the teachings which were given through Alice A. Bailey in the 1930's and 1940's from her Tibetan teacher, Dhjwal Khul. These books present a spiritual cosmology which describes the universe as a vast, living being, containing myriads of other living beings within it, all evolving towards higher and higher states of consciousness and experience.

The Great Plan
Theosophy explains how evolution on the planet Earth follows a certain scheme, the Great Plan, which is laid out from higher planes of consciousness. The Great Plan for this Earth is part of the plan for the evolution of the solar system, and so it continues upwards, plans within plans and cycles within cycles. On this Earth, the Great Plan is implemented by the Earth's Spiritual Hierarchy, also called the Great White Brotherhood, and it was the Hierarchy that founded the Theosophical Society through Helena Blavatsky and began releasing Theosophy to the public in 1875 as a part of their work for the enlightenment of humanity.

The Hierarchy
The Hierarchy consists of perfected men and women who have finished the cycles of reincarnation on this planet or another, and have learnt to master their human and spiritual nature and the forces of the three lower worlds - the physical, the emotional and the mental. They express perfected love and wisdom (seen with human eyes, for there is always a higher standard of perfection which can be attained), and have chosen to remain here on the Earth to serve humanity's and the Earth's growth. Some of the Hierarchy's Masters are known from their earlier incarnations: The Master Jesus from his incarnation in Palestine where he helped to anchor a vast impulse of love and founded the Christian religion, and from his later incarnation as Appolonia of Tyana. Buddha is known from his incarnation as Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism; Kuthumi from his earlier incarnations as Pythagoras, one of the great teachers of Ancient Greece, and as Francis of Assisi, one of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church, and Mary is known from her incarnation as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The work of individual members of the Hierarchy is described in many books, for instance:: C. W. Leadbeater: "The Masters and the Path"; Alice A. Bailey: "The Externalisation of the Hierarchy" and Asger Lorentsen: "Man's Inner Structure". Other well-known Masters of the Hierarchy are Hilarion (known from his incarnation as St. Paul, who helped to spread Christianity in Asia Minor), Sct. Germain (known from his incarnation as the Count of Sct. Germain in the 18th century and the inspirator behind most of the Freemason and occult lodges in Europe), Morya (who was the inspirator, together with Kuthumi and Dhjwal Khul, behind the foundation of the Theosophical Society) and finally Maitreya, known from his earlier incarnation as Krishna, and as the real inspirator behind Christianity, since it was him who overshadowed Jesus during the last three years of his life in Palestine. Maitreya is known as Maitreya Buddha in the East, and as Christ in the West, and he is the leader of the Earth's spiritual Hierarchy and embodies the heart centre of this planet.

8 Most Bizarre Religions and Cults !!!

Some really abnormal cults, It is interesting:

1. Nation of Yahweh:"Black people are the true Jews"

2. The Church of Euthanasia"Save the Planet, Kill Yourself"

3. The Church of Maradona

4.Creativity Movement"Inferior colored races are our deadly enemies"

5. The Body of ChristFounder's son was not fed and died; they were "waiting for a sign from God to feed him"

6. Aum Shinrikyo

7.Heaven's Gate:Committed suicide to take their souls to a spaceship behind Comet Hale-Bopp

8. Raëlism"Scientifically advanced humanoid extraterrestrials created humans

read more

20 Things that culturally define Australia

Ever wonder why those crazy Aussies are the way they are? Well, your education starts here. Just don't expect a game of Knifey Spooney. From well known landmarks in Australia, to what's Australian for beer, Aussie barbecue lessons, Aussie style comedy and more you'll find a unique perspective with pictures, videos and genuine Aussie commentary.

read more | digg story

Monday, February 18, 2008

The City of 10,000 Buddhas - Introduction to Buddhism

Buddhists do not believe that death is the end of life. When one dies, one's consciousness leaves and enters one of the six paths of rebirth.

• Heavenly Beings
• Humans
• Asuras are beings who have many good things in life, but still like to fight. They appear in the heavens or on earth as people or animals.
• Hungry ghosts are beings who suffer from constant hunger.
• Hell-beings

These are the six states on the wheel of life. At the top are the heavens, where everyone is happy. Below are the hells where the suffering is unbearable. Beings can rise or fall from one path to another. If one does good deeds, one will be born into the paths of gods, humans, or asuras. If one does evil deeds, one will be born into the paths of animals, hungry ghosts, or hell-beings. From one life to the next one can suddenly change from an human to an animal or from a ghost to a hell-being, according to the things one has done.
The City of 10,000 Buddhas - Introduction to Buddhism


The real Buddhism video, from India

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

The true standard of measurement for extraordinary outcomes
is that which brings extraordinary benefit and fulfillment
to me and to the lives of others. That’s success!

- Steven K Scott

Yes, I experienced it, I really did; the intense feeling of true happiness and success. Not just temporarily, but extensively for an uninterrupted period of several months. This was simply the most significant ‘achievement’ of mine: finding clarity, peace and happiness in a hectic and high-demanding life. This phase took the entire first half of 2007 and I came out the other end with much insight and understanding about myself and my purpose.

I have never felt so complete and content as I did during this period. With the most rewarding being the absolute stillness I felt within myself and the understanding that we can be truly and absolutely happy with living a simple life with very little material possession. Now, if this is your first visit here, this may sound a little mystical and hand-wavy. No, I am not a hippy, nor am I religious. I am just a girl, going through life, seeking that which we are all seeking: happiness.

What is my secret to happiness and success?

The Inspirations

The catalysts which pushed me into this phase were four books, for which I am extremely grateful. These books are:

  • The Power of Now, By Eckhart Tolle
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, By Deepak Chopra
  • Ways of the Peaceful Warrior, By Dan Millman
  • Guaranteed Solutions, By Swami Nithyananda

I have gained so much wisdom through these books and each time I read them, it wasn’t the words which I was reading, but rather the message. The words from these pages brought me to a higher level of conscious awareness.

The Lifestyle

During the 6 months, I habituated several practices which helped me move into newer levels of understanding. My daily practices included:

  • Meditation - Sitting in silent and calming my mind. 20-30 minutes a sitting. Twice a day.
  • Listening to Meditative Music - Music have the power to shift our moods and calm our minds. I was particularly fond of Stan Richardson’s Japanese Flutes. Everyone who I’ve played it for love its calming effects.
  • Vegetarianism - I was a raw vegan. You can read about Steve Pavlina’s current experiment with a raw diet. I loved the new gained energy I had. I did eat cooked food when dining out, but I refrained from eating meat.
  • Mindfulness - I made a conscious effort to put my full awareness into anything that I was doing. Walking to work, preparing meals, eating, drinking water, listening to others talk.
  • Being Inspired - I spent an hour a day reading or listening to something inspirational. I even hosted a weekly Eckhart Tolle meet-up group where we watched Tolle DVDs, meditated and connected with other people. This turned out to be a deeply enriching experience.
  • Self Dates - I spent a lot of time with myself by myself. I overcame the need to be with other people and the fear of being alone.
  • Daily Focus - From “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success“, I broke the seven laws for each day of the week and focused on one each day. (more details below)
  • Creative Expressions - photography, drawing or writing.
  • Slowed Down - I stopped rushing from place to place, task to task, and started enjoying the miracles of Life; one moment at a time.

This may sound a little extreme, and I was indeed extreme. But I felt a compelling desire to do so, I felt a strong pull towards these practices, in order to satisfy a yearning from deep inside for peace, clarity and understanding.

What Is Success?

Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness
and the progressive realization of worthy goals.
Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease.

- Deepak Chopra

Success is a topic I’ve spent many hours pondering and I’ve come to realize that it is so much more than just material wealth. Material wealth is only a small portion of your collective success potential. It is an experience as part of our journey as spiritual beings and yes, material wealth may make this journey more comfortable, but let’s not neglect the other dimensions of success: the success of sound physical health, fulfilling relationships, meaningful friendships, joy of self-expression, freedom from fear, the capacity to understand people and self-mastery.

Living The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

In Deepak Chopra’s book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success“, he gives us a spiritual look at success. You can have an extensive look at each law in his book, which goes into extensive detail. Here are the seven laws along with an example application found in the book:

1. The Law of Pure Potentiality

The source of all creation is pure
consciousness… pure potentiality seeking expression from
the unmanifest to the manifest.

And when we realize that our
true Self is one of pure potentiality,
we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.

Example Application:

  • ‘I will practice non-judgment. I will begin my day with the statement, “Today, I shall judge nothing that occurs,” and throughout the day I will remind myself not to judge.’

2. The Law of Giving

The universe operates through dynamic exchange…
giving and receiving are different aspects of
the flow of energy in the universe.

And in our willingness to give that which we seek,
we keep the abundance of
the universe circulating in our lives.

Example Application:

  • ‘Wherever I go, and whoever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.’
  • ‘I will make a commitment to keep wealth circulating in my life by giving and receiving life’s most precious gifts: the gifts of caring, affection, appreciation, and love. Each time I meet someone, I will silently wish them happiness, joy, and laughter.’

3. The Law of Cause and Effect

“Every action generates a force of energy
that returns to us in like kind . .
what we sow is what we reap.

And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others,
the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.”

Example Application:

  • ‘Whenever I make a choice, I will ask myself two questions: “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?” and “Will this choice bring fulfillment and happiness to me and also to those who are affected by this choice?”‘

4. The Law of Least Effort

Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease . . .
with carefreeness, harmony, and love.

And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love,
we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.

Example Application:

  • ‘I will practice acceptance. Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are this moment, not as I wish they were.’
  • ‘Today my awareness will remain established in Defenselessness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view. I will feel no need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them.’

5. The Law of Intention and Desire

Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment . . .
Intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality
have infinite organizing power.

And when we introduce an intention in
the fertile ground of pure potentiality,
we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.

Example Application:

  • “I will make a list of all my desires. I will carry this list with me wherever I go. I will look at this list before I go into my silence and meditation. I will look at it before I go to sleep at night. I will look at it when I wake up in the morning.”

6. The Law of Detachment

In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty . . .
in the wisdom of uncertainty list the freedom
from our past, from the known,
which is the prison of past conditioning.

And in our willingness to step into the
unknown, the field of all possibilities,
we surrender ourselves to the creative mind
that orchestrates the dance of the universe.

Example Application:

  • “Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are. I will not rigidly impose my idea of how things should be. I will not force solutions on problems, thereby creating new problems. I will participate in everything with detachment involvement.”

7. The Law of Purpose in Life

Everyone has a purpose in life . . . a unique
gift or special talent to give to others.

And when we blend this unique talent with service to others,
we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit,
which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

Example Application:

  • ‘I will make a list of my unique talents. Then I will list all the things that I love to do while expressing my unique talents. When I express my unique talents and use them in the service of humanity, I lose track of time and create abundance in my life as well in the lives of others.’
  • ‘I will ask myself daily, “How can I serve?” and “How can I help?” The answers to these questions will allow me to help and serve my fellow human beings with love.’

How to Live the Seven Spiritual Laws?

Since there are seven principles, I focussed on a different law for each day of the week. Each morning, after waking up, I would read the law for that day and go over the three applications suggested. I would go about my day with these applications in mind.

I’ve found the applications to be a powerful exercise and served as an excellent reminder for where I wanted to be. In doing so, I felt a level of calmness that cannot be expressed in words.

I used seven index cards, and wrote a law on each one, and the respective applications on the back of each card.

What is your definition of Success? What has brought you the most happiness from your experience? Talk to us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you. See you there.

Article Source: Think Simple Now

7 steps towards forgiveness

How to forgive those who betrayed us, deceived, hurt, brought sorrow?

Main points:

  • To forgetis not the way out. If someone hurt you – is useless to pretend that nothing did happen. Must not swallow an insult.

  • Forgiveness needs some time. Too fast forgiveness is illusory and might be aimed at you sooner or later.

  • Forgiveness –is your internal work. Is not easy, but finally makes you free and gives power to live.
Often we forgive someone for their words or actions, but there are cases when it is hard (really impossible) to forgive that one, who hurt us to the innermost of our heart. Cruel parents, a man that attacked you or a driver that knocked down your near relations- all these need a huge internal work to forgive them. This is a long and not easy way. For ones – is a brave deed, for another – is a frank admission of their weakness, as they would prefer to take vengeance… Forgiveness does not go without saying. However, who tried and did forgive their offenders say that this step gave them liberation, release and filled their lives with new energy.

Forgiveness really releases us from sufferings, pain, anger, scorn or spite. Does not matter whether someone begs for your forgiveness or we forgive unsolicited, this decision is always the result of complex internal work. And it is being unknown the result of this work. We may want to forgive somebody, but it does not mean that we will be able to forgive… This process is unconscious and the result does not depend on size of offend rather than on our emotional experience. For example, two abandoned children would have two different destinies. Perhaps, one child would treat life as permanent struggle; another one would take it for lost battle. And this depends whether they can forgive their parents or not.

The histories of forgiveness are unique and numerous. In spite of the fact, we tried to summarize the main stages on the way that we are going through to feel the forgiveness.

To be continued...

The Treasure Vase (Skt. nidhana kumbha; Tib. gter gyi bum pa):

The vase is a fat-bellied vessel with a short, slim neck. On top, at the opening, there is a large jewel indicating that it is a treasure vase.

Its symbolic meaning was almost always associated with the ideas of storage and the satisfaction of material desires. In the sagas and fairytales of many different cultures, for example, there is the recurring idea of an inexhaustible vessel.

Physically, the 'vase of inexhaustible treasures' is modelled on the traditional Indian clay water pot or kumbha with a flat base, round body, narrow neck and fluted upper rim. However much is removed from it, this vase remains perpetually full. Wealth vases, sealed with precious and sacred substances, are commonly placed upon altars and on mountain passes, or buried at water springs, where their presence is believed to attract wealth and bring harmony to the environment. In relation to Buddhism it specifically means the spiritual abundance of the Buddha, a treasure that did not diminish, however much of it he gave away.

The question still remains of the association of these eight symbols with the Buddha's actual physical body. An ancient text called the Heap of Good Fortune Sutra (Aryamangalakutanama-mahayanasutra), while addressing the Buddha, has this to say on the issue:

Veneration to you with your head like a protecting parasol,
With eyes like the precious golden fishes (even today a woman with beautiful eyes is known as 'minakshi,' meaning one with fish-like eyes)
With neck like a precious, adorned vase of good fortune,
With speech like a right-turning Dharma shell,
With a mind infinite with wisdom like the never ending knot,
With a tongue open like the auspicious pink lotus,
With a body proclaiming triumph over the attacking armies of Mara,
With feet that tread the path of dharma like the auspicious wheel.

Artistically, these motifs may be depicted individually, in pairs, in fours, or as a composite group of eight. Designs of these eight symbols adorn all manner of sacred and secular Buddhist objects, such as carved wooden furniture, metalwork, wall panels, carpets and silk brocades.

They are also frequently drawn on the ground in sprinkled flour or colored powders to welcome visiting religious dignitaries. Indeed, no Tibetan ceremony, be it religious or secular (for e.g. a marriage), is complete without some depiction of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism, which are believed to propitiate the environment and grant protection to the activity being undertaken.

This article by Nitin Kumar

The Victory Banner (Skt. dhvaja; Tib. rgyal mtshan):

In Sanskrit, the banner or sign of victory is known as the dhvaja, meaning standard, flag or ensign. Originally, the victory banner was a military standard carried in ancient Indian warfare, and bore the specific insignia of its champion. For example in the Mahabharata, Krishna's chariot was adorned with a banner showing the image of the monkey-god Hanuman.

The victory banner was adopted by early Buddhism as an emblem of the Buddha's enlightenment, heralding the triumph of knowledge over ignorance. It is said to have been placed on the summit of Mt. Meru by Buddha himself, symbolizing his victory over the entire universe. Again, Mount Meru here is believed to be the central axis supporting the world.

The flag of victory also denotes Buddha's triumph over Mara, who personifies hindrances on the path to spiritual realization. Specifically, there are said to be four types of Maras, each one representing an individual hurdle on the path to spiritual progress. These are:

1). The Mara of Emotional Defilement

2). Mara of Passion

3). Mara of the Fear of Death

4). Mara of Pride and Lust

It was only after conquering these four negative traits that Buddha could proclaim victory over ignorance, and achieve nirvana.

Cylindrical victory banners made of beaten copper are traditionally placed at the four corners of monastery and temple roofs. These signify the Buddha's victorious dharma radiating to the four directions and also his triumph over the four Maras mentioned above.

This article by Nitin Kumar