Archive for the ‘Life’s value’ Category

Restoring Human Rights

The human spirit is free, unfettered and timeless.

With the manifestation of space/time/causation, a multitude of individual egocentric souls are born.

Each soul has the ability to transcend the influence of relativity and experience the bliss of true freedom. Free spirit became individualized, so that it can experience itself.

Every day a new child is born of the Earth. The forces of nature animate the new body and offer it strength, love, and the prospect of a fruitful life.

Each new life wakes to the reality of our relative world. Already overshadowed by the illusion of space/time/causation, that free spirit now begins to perceive and define itself within the confines of individual body and mind.

Parents extend their love, a gentle caress, and protective benevolence. A child comes into the world via parents, but they are independent souls. They are in the protective custody of parents for a time, but they are free and not owned by any man or women.

Additional layers of enslavement are quickly placed on the newborn youngster. Cultural, race, gender and religious values are imposed. Training based on what is perceived to be right, and what is perceived to be wrong, as defined by respective societies, takes place. Each child is taught how to act, think, and evaluate the world.

Layer upon layer of mental constructs and restrictions have taken away the newborns freedom.

The sun shines everywhere the same. It does not hold back its life giving warmth and light. It is humanity that compartmentalizes behavior and action. We create and label as good or bad. Nature makes no such distinction.

After the enslavement of the mind by its identification with concepts and sensations, other human beings in position of power – impose their will upon people.

We are not free because other people want to control us and tell us what to think. They do this out of their own insecurity, limited vision, and impending sense of loss. They are not enlightened.

Big business with its money, Religion (Church, Mosque and Temple), and the Military constantly vie for domination of the masses of people. There are also a multitude of lesser players whose aim is to subjugate and bend your will to theirs.

So today we find that there is a cost for freedom and the attainment of full Human Rights. Until the consciousness of human beings transcend the binding influence of ego; there will be strife, suffering, and the continued suppression of people.

Human Rights for all …

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The Four Freedoms as presented by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, during his State of the Union address:

1. Freedom of speech and expression
2. Freedom of worship
3. Freedom from want
4. Freedom from fear

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From the January 20, 1961, United States Presidential Address by John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

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From Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 10, 1994:

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country,the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!

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Form a speech given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, Austria, June 1993:

Human Rights and Universal Responsibility

“Our world is becoming smaller and ever more interdependent with the rapid growth in population and increasing contact between people and governments. In this light, it is important to reassess the rights and responsibilities of individuals, peoples and nations in relation to each other and to the planet as a whole. This World Conference of organizations and governments concerned about the rights and freedoms of people throughout the world reflects the appreciation of our interdependence. No matter what country or continent we come from we are all basically the same human beings. We have the common human needs and concerns. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering regardless of our race, religion, sex or political status. Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and in freedom. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the basic characteristics of a human being. It is very often the most gifted, dedicated and creative members of our society who become victims of human rights abuses. Thus the political, social, cultural and economic developments of a society are obstructed by the violations of human rights. Therefore, the protection of these rights and freedoms are of immense importance both for the individuals affected and for the development of the society as a whole.

“It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. Some people think that causing pain to others may lead to their own happiness or that their own happiness is of such importance that the pain of others is of no significance. But this is clearly short-sighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is short-lived. In the long run causing others misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear and suspicion for oneself.

“The key to creating a better and more peaceful world is the development of love and compassion for others. This naturally means we must develop concern for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we are. In this respect, the non-governmental organisations have a key role to play. You not only create awareness for the need to respect the rights of all human beings, but also give the victims of human rights violations hope for a better future. When I travelled to Europe for the first time in 1973, I talked about the increasing interdependence of the world and the need to develop a sense of universal responsibility. We need to think in global terms because the effects of one nation’s actions are felt far beyond its borders. The acceptance of universally binding standards of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants of Human Rights is essential in today’s shrinking world. Respect for fundamental human rights should not remain an ideal to be achieved but a requisite foundation for every human society

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David Cameron’s speech on the European court of human rights – Wednesday 25 January 2012

UK Commitment to Human Rights

First, I want to make something clear. Human rights is a cause that runs deep in the British heart and long in British history. In the thirteenth century, the Magna Carta set down specific rights for citizens, including the right to freedom from unlawful detention. In the seventeenth century, the Petition of Right gave new authority to Parliament; and the Bill of Rights set limits on the power of the monarchy.

By the eighteenth century it was said that: “this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our constitution, and rooted in our very soil, that a slave the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and with regard to all natural rights becomes instantly a freeman.”

It was that same spirit that led to the abolition of slavery … that drove the battle against tyranny in two World Wars … and that inspired Winston Churchill to promise that the end of the “world struggle” would see the “enthronement of human rights”.

As he put it, victory in that war was the “victory of an ideal founded on the right of the common man, on the dignity of the human being, and on the conception of the State as the servant, not the master, of its people.” These beliefs have animated the British people for centuries – and they animate us today.

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Vision of Humanity has published their 2012 Global Peace Index. Here is their ranking by country:

From most peaceful to least …

1. Iceland (the best)
2. Denmark
3. New Zealand
4 Canada
5. Japan
6. Austria
6. Ireland
8. Slovenia
9. Finland
10. Switzerland
11. Belgium
12. Qatar
13. Czech Republic
14. Sweden
15. Germany
16. Portugal
17. Hungary
18. Norway
19. Bhutan
20. Malaysia
21. Mauritius
22. Australia
23. Singapore
24. Poland
25. Spain
26. Slovakia
27. Taiwan
28. Netherlands
29. United Kingdom
30. Chile
31. Botswana
32. Romania
33. Uruguay
34. Vietnam
35. Croatia
36. Costa Rica
37. Laos
38. Italy
39. Bulgaria
40. France
41. Estonia
42. South Korea
43. Lithuania
44. Argentina
45. Latvia
46. United Arab Emirates
47. Kuwait
48. Mozambique
49. Namibia
50. Ghana
51. Zambia
52. Sierra Leone
53. Lesotho
54. Morocco
55. Tanzania
56. Burkina Faso
56. Djibouti
58. Mongolia
59. Oman
60. Malawi
61. Panama
62. Jordan
63. Indonesia
64. Serbia
65. Herzegovina
66. Albania
67. Moldova
68. Macedonia (FYR)
69. Guyana
70. Cuba
71. Ukraine
72. Tunisia
73. Cyprus
74. Gambia
75. Gabon
76. Paraguay
77. Greece
78. Senegal
79. Peru
80. Nepal
81. Montenegro
81. Nicaragua
83. Brazil
84. Bolivia
85. Ecuador
85. Swaziland
87. Equatorial Guinea
88. United States of America
89. China
90. Dominican Republic
91. Bangladesh
92. Guinea
93. Papua New Guinea
94. Trinidad and Tobago
95. Angola
95. Guinea-Bissau
97. Cameroon
98. Uganda
99. Madagascar
100. Tajikistan
101. Liberia
102. Mali
103. Sri Lanka
104. Republic of Congo
105. Kazakhstan
106. Saudi Arabia
107. Haiti
108. Cambodia
109. Belarus
110. Uzbekistan
111. Egypt
111. El Salvador
113. Jamaica
114. Benin
115. Armenia
116. Niger
117. Turkmenistan
118. Bahrain
119. Rwanda
120. Kenya
121. Algeria
122. Eritrea
123. Venezuela
124. Guatemala
125. Mauritania
126. Thailand
127. South Africa
128. Iran
129. Honduras
130. Turkey
131. Kyrgyz Republic
132. Azerbaijan
133. Philippines
134. Cote d’Ivoire
135. Mexico
136. Lebanon
137. Ethiopia
138. Burundi
139. Myanmar
140. Zimbabwe
141. Georgia
142. India
143. Yemen
144. Colombia
145. Chad
146. Nigeria
147. Libya
148. Syria
149. Pakistan
150. Israel
151. Central African Republic
152. North Korea
153. Russia
154. Democratic Republic of the Congo
155. Iraq
156. Sudan
157. Afghanistan
158. Somalia (the worst)

Reference:
www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/

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Amnesty International keeps track of Human Rights around the world. Their report by Region and Country can be found at …

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries

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United States Commission on International Religious Freedom – has found the following …

United States Commission On International Religious Freedom
Annual Report 2011

Countries of Particular Concern – CPC Recommended for CPC Designation Watch List Countries – 

Where serious violations of religious freedom are engaged in or tolerated by the government.

Burma
China
Eritrea
Iran
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Sudan
Uzbekistan
Burma
China
Eritrea
Iran
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Sudan
Uzbekistan
Egypt
Iraq
Nigeria
Pakistan
Turkmenistan
Vietnam
Afghanistan
Belarus
Cuba
India
Indonesia
Laos
Russia
Somalia
Tajikistan
Turkey
Venezuela

Reference:
http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-and-briefs/annual-report/3594-2011-annual-report.html

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Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication lists …

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Free – 89 Countries

Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Cape Verde
Chile
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica

 

Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guyana
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kiribati
Latvia
Liechtenstein

 

Lithuania
Luxembourg
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Zealand
Northern Cyprus
Norway
Palau
Panama
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico (USA)

 

Romania
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent & Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan (ROC)
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Vanuatu

 

 

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Partly Free – 64 Countries

Abkhazia (Georgia)
Albania
Armenia
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Central African Republic
Colombia
Comoros
East Timor
Ecuador
Fiji
Georgia

 

Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Honduras
Hong Kong (China)
Kashmir (India)
Kenya
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Macedonia
Madagascar

 

Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mexico
Moldova
Morocco
Mozambique
Nepal
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Philippines
Senegal

 

Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
Somaliland (Somalia)
Sri Lanka
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tonga
Tunisia
Turkey
Uganda
Ukraine
Venezuela
Zambia

 

 

Political and Civil Liberties Status
Not Free – 56 Countries

Afghanistan
Algeria
Angola
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Belarus
Brunei
Burma (Myanmar)
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chad
China (PRC)
Congo, Dem. Rep. of
Congo, Republic of

 

Côte d’Ivoire
Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Gaza Strip (PNA)
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Kashmir (Pakistan)

 

Kazakhstan
Laos
Libya
Mauritania
Nagorno-Karabakh -Armenia/Azerbaijan)
North Korea
Oman
Qatar
Russia
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
South Ossetia – (Georgia)
South Sudan

 

Sudan
Swaziland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tibet  (China)
Transnistria (Moldova)
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
West Bank (PNA)
Western Sahara – (Morocco)
Yemen
Zimbabwe

 

Reference:
http://www.freedomhouse.org/reports

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Whether born rich or poor, healthy or sick, black or white, tall or short; everyone is valued and divine.

Bowing to cause and affect we weave complex life patterns. Some are beneficial, while others are not. Guard the freedoms that you already have, and work to extend them to others.

Nothing is sacrosanct, so challenge hypocrisy and dogma. Do not be afraid to question. As a caged bird takes flight when the door is open, so to open your heart and mind to all possibilities.

Liberty, freedom and full human rights are your birthright.

Strive in this lifetime to unfold your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual freedom.

Eternal bliss consciousness is the home of all that is and is not.

Since you can think and entertain thoughts, you can meditate. Locate the source of freedom at the seat of thought.

You have always been free, but the clouds of space/time awareness shroud that realization. Meditate every day to lift the fog of unknowing, and reclaim free unbounded eternal consciousness.

Posted by on June 23rd, 2012 Comments Off on Restoring Human Rights

Human birth is rare, so spend your time wisely

Human birth is favored by nature.  We are born with intellectual astuteness and the physical warewithal to explore, ponder, and contemplate the mysteries of the universe.

While other egocentric beings are caught in the web of time/causality and are limited by their mental faculties, we have both the inclination and apparatus (the human nervous system) to understand and stretch our lives toward the infinite.

As politicians and ecologists debate the Earth’s ability to support the current (7 billion) human inhabitants, an important consideration if often missed.  At no time in the recorded history of the human race has the potential for development of consciousness been so favored, or been so great.

Every day is an opportunity to meditate, and transcend suffering and egocentric induced limitation.

Buddhist theology enumerates that there are 31 levels of creation.

The Formless Realms (arupa-loka)
31.  Sphere of Neither perception nor non-perception
30.  Sphere of Nothingness
29.  Sphere of Infinite Consciousness
28.  Sphere of Infinite Space

The Form Realms (rupa-loka)
27.  Peerless devas
26.  Clear sighted devas
25.  Beautiful devas
24.  Untroubled devas
23.  Durable devas
22.  Mindless devas
21.  Very Fruitful devas
20.  Devas of Radiant Glory
19.  Devas of Unbounded Glory
18.  Devas of Limited Glory
17.  Devas of Streaming Radiance
16.  Devas of Unbounded Radiance
15.  Devas of Limited Radiance
14.  Great Brahmas
13.  Ministers of Brahma
12.  Retinue of Brahma

The Sensual World (kama-loka)
11.  Devas Wielding Power Over the Creation of Others
10.  Devas Delighting in Creation
9. Contented devas
8.  Yama devas
7.  The Thirty Three Gods
6.  Devas of the Four Great Kings
5.  Human Beings
4.  Demons
3.  Hungry Ghosts
2.  Animals
1.  Hell

Now at first glance it’s easy to think that since Human Beings occupy the 5th of 31 planes (in the 16th percentile) we are very low on the evolutionary ladder.   However, in reality we are in the middle.  We straddle between the physical plane and all of the higher mental planes.  As such, all realms of creation are available to us.

It has been said in the scriptures (Theravada Buddhist Pali Canon and others) that the higher beings (devas) are so enthralled by the beauty and splendor of those worlds, that they do not even contemplate enlightenment.  They are just not interested.

Our unique sensitivity to pleasure and pain, and our ability to develop virtue and wisdom to the degree necessary to set ourselves free from all kingdoms (time/space/causality), make human birth rare and cherished.

After years of following the footsteps of suffering and the false hopes of finding permanent happiness in this physical realm, we learn to turn within and develop our faculties to their fullest extent.

Other theological and philosophical systems have (more or less) than 31 delineated categories of life.  Some divide that spectrum to include both the animate and inanimate expressions of nature. But in each of those systems, humanity straddles the unique position of developing the full outer value of life (physical) and the full inner value of life (bliss consciousness).

Our sense of limitation (ego) and access to all levels of mind (chit) propels us toward enlightenment.

Just looking at numbers the human race is dwarfed by our multifarious world and universe.

For example:

1) How many atoms (the building blocks of matter) are there in the Universe?
A recent calculated estimate gives the number of atoms in the observable universe to be close to 1080.

That is …

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … atoms.

2) How many stars are there in the Universe?
The observable universe contains about 1 septillion (1024 ) stars organized into more than 80 billion galaxies, which themselves form clusters and super clusters.

That is …

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … stars.

3) What is the size of the observable Universe?
The diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be about 28 billion parsecs (92 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away.

That is …

47,000,000,000 … light years OR
4,465,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … kilometers OR
2,763,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 … miles.

4) How many plants are there on the Earth today?
Scientists have found approximately 250,000 different types of plants (not including fungi, algae – seaweeds and cutivars).

Annuals
Biennials
Perennials
Shrubs
Bulbs
Creepers and Climbers
Flowering and Ornamental Tree

5) How many insects are there on the Earth today?
There are 900,000 different kinds of living insects.
At any one time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.

6) How many reptiles are there on the Earth today?
There are about 9000 species of reptiles on Earth.
The species are grouped into the following orders:
• Order Squamata Lizards and Snakes
• Order Chelonia/Testudines Tortoises and Turtles
• Order Crocodylia Crocodiles
• Order Rhyncocephalia Tuataras (of which there are only 2 species)

7) How many birds are there on the Earth today?
Estimates indicate that there are about 100 billion birds living today on the Earth (re: Cornell University).

8.) How many fish are there on the Earth today?
The first global census of marine life logged 230,000 different species.  There are billions upon billions of fish in the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers.

9) How many animals are there on the Earth today?
Scientists who study animal life are called zoologists. They have recorded 6,000 species of reptiles, 1,000 species of amphibians, and 15,000 species of mammals.

These daunting numbers do indeed highlight how rare human birth is.

10) How many human beings have ever lived on the Earth?
It is estimated that 108 billion people have lived and died on the Earth.  The human population
• around 8,000 BC was about 5-million;
• around 1 AD was about 300-million;
• around 1750 was about 795-million;
• around 1900 was around 1.6-billion;
• and in 2012 will be over 7-billion people.

(For Theosophical fans, if you subscribe to this teaching, the Earth is currently in the 4th round of 7, and humanity in the 5th stage of 7 of evolutionary development).

11) What is the current Human population on the Earth?
7 billion people and counting – 7,000,000,000

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Of all individual expressions of the divine (ego-based creatures) in the World and Universe, humanity has the most promise.

Anchored in the physical realm, with ample mental capacity to explore and become aware of all levels of consciousness, we can and do reach for enlightenment – the pinnacle of evolution.

We enjoy and suffer according to our destiny.  So set your own course for spiritual development and rise beyond fate.

For those wanting to go beyond the temporal sadness and happiness that current life may be offering you, close your eyes and meditate to break that cycle.

Human birth is rare.  Cherish every minute since it cannot be replaced.  Set yourself on the pathway toward permanent bliss consciousness and enchantment.

Posted by on March 17th, 2012 Comments Off on Human birth is rare, so spend your time wisely

Our mother, our world (Part 1, aspects of humanity)

They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea;
He wields a mighty scepter
On lower powers than he,

But mightier power & stronger
Man from his throne has hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world

From time immemorial human civilization seems to have been led by men. The predominant religions of the world were established by men, and men are the authors of religious scripture.

Hinduism:
Established by – the Hindus people of India
Major Scriptures – Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva), Upavedas, Upanishads, Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Buddhism:
Established by – Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha
Major Scriptures –Pali Canon, Sarvastivada and Dharmaguptaka texts, Taisho Tripitaka, Kangyur, Pratimoksha, Dhammapada, Udana, Sutta Nipata and others.

Christianity:
Established by – Jesus Christ
Major Scriptures – the Jewish scriptures in addition to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

Judaism:
Established by – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Aaron
Major Scriptures – the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) which consists of the Torah, Nevi’im (the Prophets, eight books), Talmud, and Ketuvim (eleven books).

Islam:
Established by – Muhammad
Major Scriptures – Qur’an, Hadith, and Sufi Texts.

Spiritual growth and Enlightenment is everyone’s birthright; regardless of age, race, social status, gender, or sexual orientation.

As human beings we have a nervous system which is capable of experiencing the unbounded eternal reality of life. We can all ask and comprehend the lofty questions concerning who we are, and what is our purpose in life.

.
The human race will not achieve its rightful stature until women are honored in society, given equal rights, full opportunity, and adored as the mother of all created beings.
.

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When the Catholic College of Cardinals contains an equal number of women and men, and a woman is elected Pope, humanity will know abundant life.

When Islam amends Sharia Law to give women true equal rights; abolish child, temporary and polygamous marriage; and end honor killings, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Jewish women rabbis are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Hindu women priests are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When many more Buddhist women lamas are ordained, humanity will know abundant life.

When all governments honor and enforce equal protection for women, humanity will know abundant life.

When Mother Earth is honored, cherished and protected, humanity will know abundant life.

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We all come into this world through our Mothers. She exemplifies undying love, untiring sacrifice, and an unfailing faith in us. She nurtures, teaches, and inspires by example.

There are far too many enlightened and saintly women to list in one post, but here are some stirring examples of human divinity.

Akkha Mahadevi:
Living in the 12 century in the south of India, she was a major personality in the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement and contributed 430 Vachanas (Kannada poetry).

She says …

“The arrow that is shot should penetrate so deeply
that even the feathers do not show.
Hug the body of the Lord so tightly
that the bones must be crushed to crumble.
Weld to the divine until the very welding disappears.”

Mother Teresa:
Born (1910) in Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and attained admiration and recognition for her life dedicated to serving the poor and destitute.

Mother Teresa

She says …

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

The Mother:
Born in Paris, France, as Mirra Alfassa on the 21st of February, 1878. By the age of twenty she had attained enlightenment.

Sri Aurobindo considered Alfassa to be an Avatar (incarnation) of the Supreme Shakti.

He wrote;
The One whom we adore as the Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.

Meerabai:
Born in 1498 and known as Meera, she composed a multitude of songs devoted to Lord Krishna.

She sings …

That dark dweller in Braj
Is my only refuge.
O my companion, worldly comfort is an illusion,
As soon you get it, it goes.
I have chosen the indestructible for my refuge,
Him whom the snake of death will not devour.
My beloved dwells in my heart all day,
I have actually seen that abode of joy.
Meera’s lord is Hari, the indestructible.
My lord, I have taken refuge with you, your maidservant

Sarada Devi:
Born in Jayrambati she was the wife of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Later in life she attained nirvikalpa samadhi and began her role as guru.

Sri Sarada Devi

Sri Anandamayi Ma:
Born in Kheora (Bangladesh) Nirmala Sundari Devi was enlightened at a very early age.

She says …

“People have various visions of gods and goddesses (in me) according to their own predilections. What I was before, I am now, and shall be hereafter. I am also whatever you or anybody may think I am……… why don’t you look at it this way: the yearnings (of seekers after Truth) have brought about this body. All of you have wanted it and so you have found it. That is all you need to know.”

“Always bear this in mind: Everything is in God’s hands, and you are His tool to be used by Him as He pleases. Try to grasp the significance of ‘all is His’. and you will immediately feel free from all burdens. What will be the result of your surrender to Him? None will seem alien, all will be your very own Self.”

“All creation is that. There is beauty in the birds and in the animals. They too eat and drink like us, mate and multiply; but there is this difference: we can realize our true nature, the Atman. Having been born as human beings, we must not waste this opportunity. At least for a few seconds every day, we must enquire as to who we are. It is no use taking a return ticket over and over again. From birth to death, and death to birth is samsara. But really we have no birth and death. We must realize that.”

“God is within everyone, but man goes out in search of Him. This is what constitutes God’s Play and God’s Creation.”

St Teresa of Avila:
Born as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada on March 28, 1515, in Avila, Spain, she was a Spanish sage and Carmelite nun in the Roman Catholic order.

She says …

“All things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted.”

“It is here, my daughters that love is to be found – not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.”

“Pain is never permanent.”

“Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God Finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things”

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

“To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

Bernadette Soubirous:
Born in 1844, Bernadette is known for her visions (starting at age 14) of the Blessed Lady (Virgin Mary) in a grotto in the outskirts of Lourdes.

Bernadette Soubirous

When asked, “Was she beautiful?”

Bernadette replied, “Oh! Oh! Yes indeed! And even more than that! So lovely that, when you have seen her once, you would willingly die to see her again!”

When asked, “How do you know if it’s really the Blessed Virgin who appeared to you, that it’s not an illusion, a trick of the devil?”

Bernadette replied, “Oh, no! I threw some holy water at her and the apparition made the sign of the cross. She told me. “I am the Immaculate Conception.” and said the rosary with me.”

Noor Inayat Khan:
Raised in mystical Sufi tradition, Noor led a life of self sacrifice and worked for the cause of freedom. Born in Russia in 1914, during World War II she served as British special agent and was executed at the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1944.

Jeanne D’Arc:
Saint Joan of Arc (born 1412) had visions of God that charged to recover France from the English occupation.

She says …

“I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

§§

To promote women’s rights the United Nations drafted the CEDAW document, which has been ratified by almost every nation in the World.

Summary: The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Preamble: Notes that the U.N. Charter “reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women” and that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “affirms the principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex.”
Also takes note of the many resolutions, declarations, and recommendations adopted by UN bodies that promote equal rights for men and women, yet expresses concern that “extensive discrimination against women continues to exist.”

Article 1: Defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Article 2: Instructs States Parties to condemn discrimination against women in all forms and pursue its elimination by all appropriate means, including changing national constitutions and enacting legislation.

Article 3: Mandates that States Parties take all appropriate measures in all fields to “ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them [equal rights].”

Article 4: Allows States Parties to adopt “temporary special measures” to promote equality for women.

Article 5: Requires that States Parties take all appropriate measures to modify social and cultural patterns of behavior to eliminate prejudices, practices and customs based on the inequality of, or prejudices against, either of the sexes and to ensure that family education provides a proper description of the social function of motherhood and the “common responsibility” of both men and women in child rearing and development.

Article 6: Mandates States Parties to prevent trafficking in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.

Article 7: Instructs States Parties to end discrimination against women in political and public life, including providing women the right to vote in all elections, to run for public office and to participate in nongovernmental organizations and associations.

Article 8: Obligates States Parties to provide women, on equal status with men, the opportunity to represent their country at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations.

Article 9: Declares that States Parties must provide women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality and that of their children.

Article 10: Mandates States Parties grant women equal rights with men in all aspects of the field of education.

Article 11: Requires States Parties to prevent discrimination against women in all aspects of employment, including employment opportunities, hiring criteria, promotion, job security, benefits, remuneration, working conditions, and to protect these rights in the event of marriage or maternity.

Article 12: Instructs States Parties to provide women equal rights with men in all aspects of health care.

Article 13: Declares that States Parties shall eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of economic and social life, including family benefits, financial transactions such as loans and mortgages, and recreational and sporting activities.

Article 14: Highlights the particular problems and contributions of rural women and instructs States Parties to ensure the provisions of the present Convention are applied to them.

Article 15: Mandates that States Parties provide women equal status with men before the law, including with respect to contracts, the administration of property, the movement of persons, and choice of residence.

Article 16: Instructs States Parties to eliminate discrimination against women in all aspects of marriage and family relations, including providing equal rights with men to enter into marriage, to choose a spouse, to dissolve a marriage, in matters of child rearing, in the number and spacing of children, in personal matters such as choosing a family name and profession, and for property ownership and management.

Article 17: Establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to evaluate, and make recommendations to further States Parties’ progress in implementing the provisions of this treaty.

Article 18: Instructs States Parties to report to the Committee on their progress within one year of becoming a party to the Convention and at least every four years thereafter, including when the Committee so requests.

Article 19: States the Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure and elect officers for two-year terms.

Article 20: Declares the Committee shall meet at U.N. Headquarters each year for no more than two weeks.

Article 21: Mandates that the Committee report annually on its activities to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, and may make “suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of reports and information received from the States Parties.”

Article 22: Allows for relevant U.N. specialized agencies to be represented at meetings of the Committee and authorizes the Committee to invite them to “submit reports on the implementation of the Convention.”

Article 23: States that nothing in the present Convention will “affect any provisions that are more conducive to the achievement of equality between men and women” that may be contained in a State Party’s legislation or in any other international treaty.

Article 24: Requires States Parties to “adopt all necessary measures at the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Convention.”

Article 25: Declares that CEDAW will be open for signature, ratification and accession by all states.

Article 26: Allows for any State Party to request a revision of the Convention at any time and states that the General Assembly “shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.”

Article 27: Declares that the Convention will enter into force thirty days after the twentieth ratification has been deposited and for countries ratifying thereafter, it will be thirty days before the treaty enters into force.

Article 28: Establishes procedures for reservations made by countries at the time of ratification or accession.

Article 29: Allows for disputes between States Parties to be submitted to arbitration.

Article 30: Instructs the Convention to be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Womens rights around the world

§§

Enlightenment is the birthright of every man, women, and child. It is equally attainable by all.

The human spirit is neither male nor female. As consciousness develops and matures men take on more feminine attributes, and women take on more masculine attributes. The human heart and disposition become more balanced.

When maya (illusion of our true nature) predominates in the awareness of people, societies are fashioned after ‘survival of the fittest” and “might makes right.” That is where we are today, and that is why societies are male dominated.

As human consciousness grows the heart is softened and everyone becomes held in the highest esteem. The fasted way to expand human awareness is through the practice of meditation. It is a royal path.

Close your eyes, begin your meditation practice, and bask in the light of eternal bliss – to promote equal rights for all.

Posted by on December 4th, 2011 Comments Off on Our mother, our world (Part 1, aspects of humanity)

Buddha’s Wheel of Life

An interesting facet of Buddhist teaching is the exposition on the different planes of existence. According to the Buddha’s Wheel of Life (aka, The Wheel of Existence or Rebirth), there are 6 levels.

Buddha's Wheel of Life

Above the Wheel is the Buddha pointing to the moon, indicating that liberation, release from the cycle of samsara, is possible.

Yama, the Lord of Death, can be observed clutching the wheel. His crown of five skulls portrays his intentions and purpose. He is driven by:

Delusion – whose source is the self (ego), promoted over the universal SELF.
Desire – whose source is the feeling of separateness from the Universe.
Hatred – whose source is the feeling that someone has taken it away from you.

In accordance with the Universal Law of Causality, beings change from one form to another; live one life after another, according to the consequences of their actions. Every process is impermanent and a particular state continues so long as the conditions which have brought it into being are still present.

———————————————————————————————————————
On the outer edge or rim of the wheel are twelve images. They symbolically refer to the factors that interact to determine the consequences of activity or karma.

•A blind person (Ignorance)
At the top (right side) is a blind man with his stick representing spiritual blindness; this is the state of ignorance in which we can easily lose our way. Sometimes we do not even know there is a way.

•A potter (Action)
At 2 o’clock is a potter at work on his own products. These are the deeds and actions we perform ~ the formations, preparations or samskaras. We are responsible for our own pots.

•A monkey holding fruits (Consciousness)
At the 3 o’clock position is a monkey playing in a tree. It depicts ordinary attention or consciousness which shifts continuously in the undisciplined mind. Meditation seeks to calm the monkey in order to gain access to the nature of consciousness.

•A person rowing a boat (Name and Form)
At the 4 o’clock position is a boat with two people in it, Name and Form. These act together as the conditioned way in which we experience the world.

•An empty house with five windows and a door (Sources)
At the 5 o’clock position is a house with six openings: five shuttered windows and a closed door. These are the five senses plus a sixth which is the faculty of mental perception by which we interpret the input of the senses.

•Sexual actions (Contact)
At the 6 o’clock position is a man and a woman embracing, demonstrating contact, the consequence of sensual perceptions.

•A person with an arrow in his eye (Feeling)
At the 7 o’clock position is a person who has been struck in the eye by an arrow. He is wounded by emotion, the subsequent feelings that can have a “fatal” effect. They create suffering.

•A person drinking alcohol (Craving)
At the 8 o’clock position is a woman offering a drink to a man. It illustrates desire that has been stimulated by perceptions and emotions which leads us to drink more from the world of appearances.

•A monkey picking fruit from a tree (Grasping)
At the 9th o’clock position is a person picking the fruit of his tree. He receives the consequence he expects.

•A pregnant woman (Becoming)
At the 10 o’clock position is a maiden about to cross the stream, one person beckoning another to go or to come back.

•A baby being born (Rebirth)
At the 11 o’clock position is a woman giving birth. The new life is determined by the fruits of the old and is attracted to the parents accordingly, in order to be born.

•An old person walking with a cane (Old age and Death)
At the top (left side) one round ends while another begins. Another new life in one of the realms, is that of two people carrying a burden on a litter. This is the body, a corpse wrapped up on its way to be disposed of.

———————————————————————————————————————
Next inward are the 6 realms of existence (samsara), or stages of life.

•Realm of Gods (Devas):
We have all been God’s and will be that once again.  But there is so much happiness here no one wants to leave or change anything.

•Realm of Humans (Manussa Loka):
The best all of realms in the middle; close enough to the lower realms to feel suffering, and high enough to the upper realms to appreciate and aspire to Enlightenment. 

We can enjoy freedom, and overcome involuntary impulses and instinctual drives. 

We can accelerate evolution, investigate and understand our world of mind (outer physical, and inner subjective).

We can become fully aware of our unconsciousness, and take steps to become fully conscious.

We can become a Buddha, free from suffering and released from the cycle of birth and rebirth – the Wheel of Life, to live life in eternal bliss. 

•Realm of Hungry Ghosts (Peta Loka):
These are creatures, embodiments of hunger and thirst.  Their condition prevents them from enjoying food or drink.

Living a human life driven by greed and consumerism will lead you here.

•Realm of Hells (Niraya):
The realms of hell.

Living a human life driven by hatred and violence will drag you to the hells.

•Realm of Animals (Tiracchana Loka):
All animals are sub-human and act based upon the natural survival instinct.  They cannot make choices or contemplate actions.  This realm spans from whales to insects.

Living a human life driven by stupidity and stupefaction will drive you here.

•Realm of Titans (Ashuras):
These are powerful beings constantly engaged in the struggle for dominance.  They consist of anti-gods, jealous gods, demigods and demons.

Living a human life driven too much by pride, anger and competitiveness will lead you here.

———————————————————————————————————————
Inward to that is the layer of Karma.

Action that is positive, negative or neutral, binds us to the 6 realms of existence.

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The Hub of the Wheel contains the images of three animals, the three Kleshas representing ignorance, aversion and attachment.

The pig – symbolizes delusion and ignorance, the root of all suffering in the world.
The snake – symbolizes aversion, hatred and aggression.
The cock – symbolizes attachment and desire.

The snake and bird are shown come out of the mouth of the pig, indicating that aversion and attachment arise from ignorance. They are also grasping the tail of the pig, indicating that they hitherto promote even greater ignorance.

———————————————————————————————————————

As humans beings we have good days and bad days. Sandwiched between heaven and hell, we experience the world in its fullest values. We are rich and poor, healthy and sick. We ride the waves of happiness and fall to the depths of depression.

Our unique position gives us the ability to question and delve into the secrets of life.

The wheel keeps spinning, the clock keeps ticking, and life is made anew with hope and inspiration. The falling of a leaf, the rising of the moon; the celestial spheres move to the beat of creation.

We are unique among all beings. Human life is rare and gives us the opportunity to reach for Buddhahood. Every minute that passes by is precious so take advantage of this gift. Close the eyes, meditate, and realize your unbounded true nature.

Posted by on March 19th, 2011 Comments Off on Buddha’s Wheel of Life

The value of human life

Sunrise

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva (Switzerland) has been making news lately. It has the capability to accelerate protons to near the speed of light, reaching energies of 7-trillion electron volts. In the coming months they will ramp up acceleration energies to twice that amount as the search continues for the elusive Higgs boson particle. Scientists hope that this will shed some light, and discover the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

From the smallest to the largest, life finds expression through progressively complex structures.

Vacuum state
Atoms
Molecules
Cells
Tissues
Organs
Organisms
Populations
Communities
Ecosystems
Earth
Solar Systems
Galaxies
Universe

As human beings we are motivated by a complex web of desires and needs. Basic to survival is food, water, shelter, and reproduction. But just as essential is the desire to grow, learn, and expand our influence in the environment. We want food for the body, education and culture for the mind, self-respect, equality, and freedom for the spirit.

Today we live across the globe in deserts, plains and mountains. Some choose to live in wooded surroundings or by the sea shore. Others live on the farm, rural settings or in large cities. We have developed many different cultures and customs; ways of life suited to the environment in which we live. We speak hundreds of different languages all used to express thought and ideas.

Animals are guided by instinct. They act and behave according to their nature. But on the other hand human beings are unique among all life forms on the earth as we have the power to reason and make choices. We have free will.

Accordingly, when people are kind and happy the earth is a beautiful place to live. When people are deceitful and selfish, life seems full of problems – tension, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The irresistible force of nature propels everyone forward. Nature wants us to learn and grow. When we violate the laws of nature we experience suffering.

A wise person once said …

“Because you’re human, God has given you power to think and decide what is good and bad. Therefore, you can do the best possible kind of action. You should never consider yourself weak or a fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn’t know. But now be careful. After gaining a human body, if you don’t reach God, then you have sold a diamond at the price of spinach.”

The human nervous system has the ability to experience the source of thought, the field of pure awareness. Some people experience this more clearly than others. But no matter where we are on life’s journey we can cultivate this essential quality moving forward.

More subtle than the atomic or sub-atomic level is the Vacuum state. It can be defined as empty space, an area devoid of physical matter. On the one hand it appears as if nothing is there, but physicists tell us that there is energy associated with the Vacuum state.

When we look at our reflection in a mirror we can see ourselves. But in reality photons of light (our image) strike the mirror, are absorbed into the Vacuum state, and newly created photons are emitted from the vacuum state back at us. If you could hold the Vacuum state in your hand and coax it correctly, all of creation would come out.

So to man’s possibilities are endless because we are grounded in the absolute value of consciousness. The same potentiality of the Vacuum state expresses through human life.

Now that you know how unique and valuable you are don’t miss this life opportunity to grow as much as possible. Break boundaries and reach for your dreams.

Posted by on June 18th, 2010 Comments Off on The value of human life