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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cosmologically Speaking

According to prophecy Maitreya Buddha will appear in India. I have heard that there are Tibetans, devoted Buddhists and perhaps even monastics that say Maitreya Buddha will be a Tibetan. Maitreya Buddha's going to be a Tibetan and that's that.

But if Maitreya Buddha arrive during a period of advanced technology and world society is more unified than it is now, we hope that Maitreya Buddha will be a world citizen and not exclusively belonging to Tibet or to India or even to America. We don't know where Lord Buddha Maitreya will appear.

It is said that Maitreya Buddha will appear in the Southern Continent. So that brings up interesting ideas about cosmology of Buddhism, and exactly where is the Southern Continent? According to Indian Buddhism, the Southern Continent is only India, although the great minds that developed this I'm sure did not have that limited agenda.

I hesitate to really go into cosmology in the details because I'd need the text here to really be careful. However, after Buddhism went to Tibet, the Southern Continent was described as India and Tibet. And so now I'm going to say, because Buddhism is becoming strong in the West, oh-- let's just call the Southern Continent the entire earth.

Not only our earth but also other worlds are within the Southern Continent. Cosmology say that the world is flat. Copernicus and others before him who said the world was round were vilified for that belief. It was considered to be against all reason and logic because if it was round everyone would fall off it. Early peoples had a belief that the world was flat so that they wouldn't fall off of it. If sailors sailed near the edge of the world they had to be very careful because there were sea monsters waiting near the edge of the world. On the Discovery Channel not long ago I saw a computer-generated image of the Milky Way. And lo and behold if the Milky Way isn't as flat as a pancake.

Mount Meru is at the center of the Milky Way and the reflection of the light to the Southern Continent produces a certain-colored sky. I could get into trouble with scholars on this because they don't use the name of "Milky Way," but they know that there is a vast system to which we belong.

Tibetan cosmology was based on Indian system and its study gave a quasi-scientific basis. And as time goes on and as scientific instruments become more and more sensitive, some things that Eastern early sciences had but didn't have the outer instruments to verify are now known.

There are some Tibetans in the West who are making a dharmic connection between the macrocosm of the sun and the moon and the stars, the outer universe and the microcosm of one's internal energies that might seem like Tibetan cosmology but it is not – to my knowledge. Tibetan astrology is that branch and not studied at all as a monastery subject.

Cosmology is related to studies that are part of sets of knowledge. For example, music, archery, wrestling and one other were skills and sets of knowledge important at the time Lord Buddha Shakyamuni was being trained as a future king. In the Tibetan monastery some will study cosmology but just an aside, really. We don't really study mathematics. These three, and...writing is in there somewhere. Poetry. These were the traditional subjects for a king.

Astrology, cosmology...cosmology is not analyzed because it is what it is. One would memorize the facts without questioning. Through the logical process, what the original teacher said could be verified because the basis of their very being was authentic. And when authentic says this is true, this is not an extrapolation, this is not joking or a commentary – this is an authentic pronouncement. Then those pronouncements were believed.

Not too much to say about cosmology here because these things were taught as a whole subject as a series of steps that began with the earliest arisal of living beings in the universe and ended with the destruction of the universe. It was part of a series of teachings to do with...not impermanence, although that's a good idea. They were part of a set of teachings having to do with how life started...

There is some concern in modern Tibetan scholarship that we need to hold onto the traditional learnings, especially as the endangered Tibetan culture need to have world light shining on this struggle for national identity। Many refuse to learn scientific knowledge because they feel it will damage other traditional values.

However, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is front row center learning science and encouraging others to as he says keep what it valuable in Tibetan culture and other parts will need to be abandoned.

The discussion will go on…

Friday, January 30, 2009

I Hate Mondays!

A discussion arose quite recently; a friend asked us what was our favorite day of the week. Another dear Buddhist friend responded quickly “I hate Mondays!” We looked at each other and recognized something important had just occurred. Perhaps it sounds illogical from an ordinary point of view but I felt actually frightened. Not just the bursting out but it was apparent that there was depth of his considerable character that was involuntarily involved.

B casually inquired, “Did anything nice ever happen to you on a Monday?”
Enemy of Monday thought, logically impossible that no good thing ever happened on a Monday. “Yes, I agree that some nice things did happen on Mondays.”

I entered the conversation. Yes, I was filled with Buddhist disappointment that my friend felt hate and at the same time a rise in inner energy was perceived as excitement or even feeling as a kind of glee. I was in debate mode. “Ahem, among the nice things that happened, did anyone give you something special on a Mondays such as a birthday gift, or a diamond?”

Enemy of Monday smiled as he remembered unwrapping gifts, fancy paper shredded in the excitement of the moment, bow on top of his head (family tradition) and that darn tape (must be careful of the mind in this mode so only say darn), the box- the box the box is open and it is – it is a- it is a diamond in the form of a wireless mouse! Wow! Ok my friend married on a Monday and what a gift that was to me! His happiness is around here somewhere। My dad gave me my first car, I think that was a Monday -ok old and that cracked engine a year later---hey, mind- the gift was not the cracked engine in it future form. I digress- did my friends hear that funny thinking? Ok so many good things-
E of M looked up at us “Yes, that is true I was given many special gifts on a Monday”

B flamed। “What would the power of your practice do to Monday? It would fulfill you wishes. You already know that as you practice you become more powerful in ability to have your wishes fulfilled. So, as you continue to improve in your inner development, your dislike of Mondays will eventually become fulfilled in some form such as a mental removal or inner antagonism of Mondays. If your inner emerging being could accomplish it, everything, given to you on any Monday will instantly disappear and nothing good will happen on that day. Gifts would become contaminated and need to be disposed of, happy memories could only be enjoyed if separated from Monday- and so forth. It would be an energetic logical impossibility, an obstacle to development and a confusion of energies attempting to align with developed nature. My friend, if you not give up this position, you should give up practicing completely because the more you practice the more you curse yourself. The better you become in clarity practices the easier it will be to authentically damage yourself and others. In fact, my friend you cannot afford to pay the high price of hating Mondays.

E of M: “I accept”