the road

IMG_2120POSTCARD #180: Chiang Mai: For most people in the Christian world, the Christmas festival has jingle-bells, santaclausisms and the Jesus Teachings are embedded in this but that’s okay. Somehow the essence of it got assimilated in the warmth of our Christmas-shopping and why not, it’s all-inclusive isn’t it? For a reason that seems odd and perplexing to us, somehow the two go together; spending money and generosity means exercising the purchasing muscle… and it feels like there should be more to it than that but we’re not willing to say there’s anything wrong with it because we’re all in some way compromised. A tacit approval of consumerist behavior integrated into our lives. The essential part of our spiritual Truth got shifted out of the way and consumerism came along in its place.

The Truth of the Jesus Teaching can be applied today of course in the same way as it has been for centuries. What’s missing is the gnosis (knowledge) part of the teaching. The instructions on seeing the constructed nature of appearances and the stepping-through the illusion of our world to discover the non-duality between God and ourselves:

‘His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” 
<Jesus said, > “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it (113).”’ [Nag Hammadi Manuscripts].

The Jesus Teaching is immersed in a oneness of spiritual teaching all of which say something happened, in a particular geographical location. An event (or events) took place, somewhere in the region stretching from Israel and the Mediterranean through to North India, a distance of about 3000 miles. There was an ancient highway there, a road not unlike the East/West route in the early days of the expansion by American pioneers – except of course along the way, there were already communities and townships, and here and there a populated place hundreds of years old or more. This road, formed through the necessity of trading, had become part of what was called the Old Silk Road trading route stretching all the way from the Pacific side of China to the Mediterranean Sea.

We can quite accurately imagine the people living there then – some of them traveling on the Road as a livelihood because it had always been there. Facilities were set up alongside for travelers, rooms and all kinds of industries and businesses were connected with it. There’d be talk about politics, marriages, births, deaths and there was the Mystery, whatever name it was called in one place and different in another.

Others would discern the truth, discuss and explain aspects of it and an understanding of the Mystery evolved; refined learning, study and excellent teachers instructing students: it’s not about worshipping someone else doing it on your behalf, the Truth is within, you can do it by yourself. This Truth, though, was thought to be subversive by the power structures, and in that sense there’s no difference between then and now.

It is interesting that all the world’s religions arose here in this same region: the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and those related. Also the Brahamanic religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and those related. We could quite reasonably propose that something took place here long ago that changed the world – maybe more than one event, enlightenment had become possible. All sorts of discoveries happened in the vicinity of this route… as long as the width of America coast to coast – the impact of it spread everywhere and all through time.

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Note: excerpts from an earlier post: Maya & Christmas
Image source: Dhamma from Phra Ajahn Jayasaro: ‘Teachers who have gained insights in the dhamma have confirmed that no matter what difficulties one has to endure, the results of the practice are worth the effort.’

always here, always now

IMG_1216POSTCARD #127: Delhi: Jiab sent a photo from Madurai in South India, people go to work, life goes on. Meanwhile I’m hanging out my laundry on the roof terrace here in Delhi in an immense dryness of heat, knowing I’ll have to take them in an about one hour because if not they will become crisps, weather conditions being as they are and also the leaves of the bouganvillia plants and palms all around are soaking up the moisture in the air. I water the plants too of course but every day they’re dry in the morning. Somehow, everything survives.

It’s an ordinary day. And I was starting to write about that… then there was the small earthquake in Delhi, buildings shook for a few moments, nothing compared with the 2nd quake 7.4 Richter scale in Nepal. In fact I was there in Kathmandhu in the earthquake in the early 90s The thing I rememember about it was I was in a hotel on the 4th floor and suddenly the sky was full of birds, pigeons dashing around, hovering in the air… then the building started to move. The birds felt it first.

This is when blogging becomes a kind of mind-bogglingness. The aloneness of the solitary blogger in some time-zone in the world – an aloneness, maybe that’s what motivates this reaching out. ‘The internet is an extended sense organ’, bloggers in the world scattered around the planet, but really all contained in conscious awareness – we couldn’t be connected in any other way! I can’t see you, or hear you. I can’t touch you and will never ‘meet’ you in the normal sense of the word, I just know you’re there, or here inside me, or where we all are… curious how it’s the awareness of the connection that activates it.

‘There’s no other time than now, so how could we be elsewhere? We’ve always been “here and now” ―there’s nowhere else! Whether we think we are living in the past or in the future, we’ve always been squarely in the present moment. When we “stroll down memory lane” or “boldly go where no one has gone before”, we’re still exactly wherever we are, in the same time and place. Our memories of the past and plans for the future are nothing but present mental fabrications. Wherever we are, that is “here”. Wherever we were before, that was “here” then. Wherever we go later, that will also be “here” then. We can never return to yesterday, nor can we advance to tomorrow. Yesterday was now, only then. Tomorrow will be now, only then. It’s always now.There are no geographical or temporal alternatives. It’s HOW we live “here and now” that matters: avoiding harm, doing good, purifying the mind.’ [Nying Je Ling – Jonang Buddhism]

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Update 13 May 2015 The Hindu Newspaper. Nepal again on edge as second quake kills 57. 7.3-magnitude earthquake strikes 68 km west of Namche Bazaar, close to Mount Everest. [Further update, the Himalyas dropped by three feet after the earthquake]Quake’s power a fifth of the 7.8-quake that struck Nepal on April25: US Geological Survey. 8 tremors hit Nepal in two hours, quake an aftershock of April 25 Quake: IMD.17 dead in India: 16 in Bihar, 1 in UP: MHA. More than 160 after shocks recorded since the first April 25 earthquake: Nepal Seismology Centre

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Excerpts here from an earlier post: interconnectedness. Special thanks to Michael for: “The internet is an extended sense organ”