BBC says this: “US President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair say new policies are needed on Iraq after a damning report." I’d say that the humility will take hold soon, and the conflict will shift into a less aggressive attack. Bush’s confidence and unchanging determination to follow the previously crafted path is finally loosing its death-grip on innocent human lives. This change of mind occurred from the final acceptance of new information and aftereffects of actions some people say were horrible acts of murder and repulsive, ignorant, blind aggression. Bombs killing poor people, “Collateral damage,” the term actually being applied like a sticker to the soft, fleshy bodies of the dying people of the other side. Children burning to death because of a strategy of war and benefit. The Long War is rapidly changing like a flipbook before our very eyes.
Also in the news.
The timetable for NASA’s Moon Colony is announced.
alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5005174386645452226" />Oh, and I’m teaching the junior high school kids about Christmas now. I ask the class, “how many of you believed in Santa Claus when you were little?” and all of their hands go up. However, and interestingly, I have learned that Japanese children have no idea about the elves or what they do. (They live with Santa at the North Pole and make all the presents). Japan knows and promotes Santa, and all the reindeer, but no elves! It’s like a huge chunk of the story is missing.
(And, of course, they don't have the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, the nativity scene burned into my head. They have the tree though, for sure. No pie. But they do have a ‘Christmas Cake” which has fresh strawberries and is very delicious. Also, in Japan they sell Christmas Boots, made out of plastic and holding lots of snacks and candy…their translation of the Large Socks we use. There are no fireplaces in Japan, if you didn't know. SO they don't have the Stockings, warm and soft, left empty on Christmas Eve and then found filled with presents in the morning. They also find it fascinating that we would leave milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and the deer; offerings to some imaginary deity. ANd it is fascinating.
Of course I'm also teaching about Christmas’s pagan origins. A little info found on the internet: “The Winter Solstice was the season of a major celebration of fertility in ancient Rome called "Saturnalia," starting on December 17th. This honored the "good old days" when the god Saturn ruled a supposed "Golden Age", and there were no masters and no slaves, and everything was easy. Thus, it became a reversal-holiday, when the masters served the slaves, and a slave was chosen to temporarily rule the household. The Romans were civilized enough to not kill him afterwards, as seems to be the custom with such holidays in more primitive cultures.” (A great description of this sacrificial version is in Tom Robbins’s book Jitterbug Perfume I started reading last week).
So, it appears that we still celebrate the winter solstice, with tree worship, music worship, food, lights, and merriment, every year. And why not? I know that I still feel a warm eggnog sensation around my chest and belly when I smell mothballs, see holly and her tiny red balls, or feel my ears turn crispy red from the biting cold.
Also, I told one of my team-teachers about the origins of Easter, which, like Saturnalia, is another, more literal, fertility festival, Eggs and Bunnies, and she found that extremely interesting. And it is, isn’t it? Those symbols are pretty obvious, and are also full of many layers of meaning. We might ask ourselves though, where do the rabbits and eggs fit into the death and resurrection of Jesus? Well, if you consider the death and resurrection as a symbol for rebirth, then, yeah, (Fucking fits into the festival snug as a bug in a rug stretched out next to a fire burning in a Colorado log cabbin.
In conclusion, it appears that we, as people living in the world, chronically participate, and feel good about participating in ancient rituals and festivals. Lets not forget our roots! We can imagine our ancestors, our Roots that stretch back deep into time, into the darkness and dreamy mist of Past, way back, to when we were still young and inexperienced animals, back, following our roots like a highway Deep into the earth, into the universe, into ourselves. Where, if you reach back far enough, was none other than our bodyrock or bedrock, rocks spinning and singing around a fire.
We have been singing around trees for a long time, too. And dancing, spinning around fires. Nature is ancient.
I believe an early form of “Santa “ is a tall, skinny Austrian man who wore green robes and twinkled with jolly kindness and generosity wherever he went. (He was much like the Green Tara or Kannon Bosatsu images, baring gifts and happiness to give to each and all.)
One of my students asked me today why we say “Amen” after praying and what does it mean anyway? I told him I didn't know the original meaning, but that it now actually has no meaning, that is, no conventional meaning defined by more words in a definition.) I said it is used as a closing or concluding sound, placed at the end of a prayer or song (prayer being defined here as, and those of you who pray can please agree or disagree with this, ideally prayer is none other than the action of opening up to the very core of who we are and what is Real in every moment. The Communion with the Source).
Lets google it.
“The meaning of Amen”
Wikepedia: the word Amen (Tiberian Hebrew "So be it”) is a declaration of affirmation found in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and in the Qur'an. It has always been in use within Judaism and Islam. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding formula for prayers and hymns. In Islam, it is the standard ending to suras. Common English translations of the word amen include: "Verily", "Truly", "So be it", and "Let it be".
A declaration of affirmation, eh? That's great. But it is within this last definition (which is also, incidentally, the name of a popular song we sometimes sing together) that I am vividly reminded of the Aum, or Om, and how it is used in Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. The last definition points out one of the Aum's more “spiritual” functions, I think, where the very shape of the sound represents (and can actually generate the experience of) complete embrace or inclusion of all possible things. Beginning with the “Ah” symbolizing the beginning of the universe, and the first sounds a baby makes at the beginning of life, and then ending in “mmm”, representing the ending, and the last sound we make as we fade away from our deathbeds. Beginning and Ending, birth and death, both embraced and created out of a vibrating silence. The attitude that sings “Amen,” or “So be it!” is a kind of surrendering to the universe As It Is, not as we wish it or want it or dream it to be. “Let it be,” is to say, “Leave it as it is” or ‘So be it.” “It is truly so.” “Leave it be.” And why leave everything be as it is already? Maybe because not to would be a kind of insanity, or frustrating contradiction of logic. After all, everything is already…it, the World, the All, the Everything. And we can see that
Everything is already Clear Light Emptiness reflecting a limitless depth and clarity. With the "self-perfecting" nature of it all, leaving it be and watching in unfold is also exciting. The greatest movie in town. What more can you do or ask for than a glowing and evolving universe of infinite diversity?
So, resting in the non-seeking, already complete and universe-affirming mind, the Amen arises, carrying a sense of “let it be,” like a spider carrying silk within its belly.
And to pull this idea further out of or into the mind, lets just bring up the idea of the Enlightened “Mirror-Mind” of the Buddha. This aspect of your mind right now is said to be just like a real Mirror, which changes nothing it effortlessly reflects. It leaves everything exactly as it is, and by doing so, it completely embraces everything as it is, and everyone as they are. And this Mirror-Mind also embraces any impulse or action to change things. And It is also aware of, or is “reflecting,” any passivity or laziness occurring, too.
And yet, because it effortlessly “lets everything be” self liberating within their own reflections, exactly as they are, naked in their own existence and place in the mind-story of life, this Mirror-Mind can embrace and abide within each and every reflection. Look carefully at a mirror. The mirror surface is within each of its reflections/forms, and, paradoxically, the objects in the mirror never leave a mark or trace on the mirror’s surface. That's an important aspect of the mirror and of the mind that is worth some investigation, in my opinion.
Amen. Ahom, Very similar, no?
I was going to talk about my trip to Osaka. Let me go there now.
I took an overnight ferry to Osaka to visit my friend Ben and to meet his girlfriend visiting from Germany, Joanna, pronounced “Yohahnah”. We went to a robot and technology exhibition. The electric cars seemed stylish and beneficial/useful (check out the picture of the car above). The robot waitress (also pictured) seemed disastrous, not because it was unsafe or incapable, but because serving is really good money, I think, and a good job for people, not robots. Maybe the shallowest thing at the exhibition, and also embarrassingly probably the most interesting exhibit, was a cloths rack holding several laminated pictures of clothing that you hold up to the mirror, which is actually a TV, and see a 3-D version of the clothing dangling hauntingly from your hand. You move the laminated picture up to your chest, and the sweater moves on the screen as if you are really holding it (see pictures for further detail. Ill have a new movie out soon about my trip to Oosaka and you can see more of it then). This is the same new technology I read about on Nerdshit.com.
There were also, of course, robot-dogs that played soccer in a small field. I also got a free sample of some new super-moss that needs no care. Its super moss, for places like corporate lawns and gardens, and you need not do anything to care for it! Imagine if we developed grass that needs no cutting or watering. Another disaster, perhaps, or, the change of something big. The revolution could be said to have begun that way.
We then went to the aquarium. I felt so good looking at those living creatures. The greatest art really is nature, and when you have the most magnificent of the world’s jellyfish rhythmically pulsing and humping the water-world right in front of you, the universe seems a bit more serious and involved than before. I spent a lot of time watching the dolphins talking to each other, and playing like children with the water trickling from a pipe in the ceiling. Sharks and seals and stingrays all competing for your attention. Its like I got to go underwater, walk through underwater hallways, in a submarine body that doesn't get wet.
On Sunday in Oosaka I walked around Namba and “America Town”. Bright Yellow Gingko trees lined the streets and fresh, cold morning sunlight. Showering the air with yellow peddles, sunlight flashed me her body, and tiny yellow freckles rolled down her clear crystal stomach with a city tattoo.
Look! Light happening all around, shining across a vast space. This rainbow blanket gloves forms of the darkness. The blanket gives shape to the clear stillness—the canvas beneath this rainbow creation, and listen! The vibrations of color hum the song of winter hushed cicadas, or the shouting silence shining silver string twisting together a hammock to abandon in the blue winter forest.
This is a difficult idea to express, but I'll try. Imagine that you are feeling very bad about something. The world is awful and you are just sick of life. And then, quite surprisingly, you notice a small weed growing next to the sidewalk, and this weed is not just a weed but is some rather lovely design in nature. Or supposing you are bothered by war, and you are sitting on a bench next to a river, and you become aware of the water caressing hundreds of brown and silver pebbles. And inside you, the water running over the pebbles points to a golden river or spontaneous Beautiful Emptiness and spaciousness going on forever and ever and ever. Or, put it this way, the Simplicity of the beauty of the water, or the sunlight on leaves, opens a door to the intuition of something very simple and present issuing forth a vivid sense of the…Reliability in nature. Nature is totally safe. Its Natural, and is thus naturally perfect in its naturalness. Nature, and the things that go with it, is a kind of amazing eternal reliability that, in a very humble form, goes on and on and on forever, and whatever humans do, this everlasting Sanity persists. Chogyam Trungpa sometimes called the Enlightened Mind ”Basic Sanity.” And perhaps “Amen” is a word that is supposed to be uttered from the same basic, sane state of mind. Perhaps the honest speaking of that word, which is only truly spoken and thus true in itself if spoken from a complete state of Trust and Union with Nature or the Real. If that is so, then uttering the word in whisper above your hands is the very proof of the existence of a completely effortless state of existence or Being.
Another winter observation is that of Death. It all comes back to death, sometimes. DO you believe that everything is change, and nothing at all can be held onto or possessed forever? Let it be, open your hand, reflect it as it is, Amen, the sanest thing we do, is it not? Its at least one of the sanest things we do.
And, come on, the mental attitude “Let it be” totally comes from a sense that there is Perfection! An Eternity, A Presence or Spirit, or a very simple, basic Sanity, that existed way before we were born or thought of, way before this universe every exploded into existence. This presence can never be known by the thinking mind (in the same way the eye can never see itself), but it is felt, or intuited, isn’t it? All is Well. Let it be. Amen.
Don't you like all this Engrish I found? I'll post more later. You can also go to Engrish.com. What’s interesting about Engrish is that even though it may be grammatically wrong, some of it is trying to express very profound ideas.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
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