Archive for the God(s) Category

Baseless

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, Fighting, genius, God(s), karma, martial arts, Monasticism, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Religion, society, tai chi, taijiquan, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by wizardsmoke

So, the big question on everyone’s my mind is whether or not martial arts teachers, yoga instructors, and their religious gurus are “enlightened”. In stuff like Tibetan guru yoga, you are supposed to view your teacher as enlightened — sometimes even if they aren’t. It’s part of the practice. I don’t do it, but it makes sense as a practice, in order to discover your belief is malleable and useful to that end. There is no god(s) if you don’t believe in them, and vice versa.

Although Taijiquan is my big psycho-physical investment at the moment, I am willing to believe it’s not the same spiritual ace-in-the-hole for other people. How could it be so? People need to be unique, independent. But at the same time, the big problem of human existence is social friction. How do we deal with other people? This is a big portion of Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy: the existence of another creates a new perception of oneself and one’s surroundings. They are no longer a portion of selfless existence, but exist in contrast to oneself.

Amidst others, we seek to validate our own views, yet for what reason? There is opposition to all views, and human reason and rationale is endless. It is supremely difficult to co-exist with others in peace. And peace is a difficult subject to address, because the moment it is broached and given our conscious attention, it ceases to exist. It is simply the absence of conflict, and the absence of selfish views. But that’s too often misconstrued as being a doormat.

The other strange thing is that, although Taijiquan or dream yoga or Alexander technique or Zen or Sufi or Benedictine chant or whatever else may work for some people, these practices are not guarantors of ability or insight. They are more like rocket boosters that can change one’s mental, physical or spiritual trajectory, but the original trajectory for real insight has to be there in the first place. Those are prior causes, the manifestation of which is natural genius. But then for some reason, hard work seems way more important.

Astral Adams

Posted in God(s), Magick, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Paganism, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on August 23, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I am as sick as you are of hearing “present moment awareness” paraded around as some tepid mantra. But the reason is that maintaining “present-moment awareness” leads to something deeper, where you’re perceiving the present moment before it physically happens — before it is reflected in the mind. Like, deep present awareness dissolves the sensory and physical boundaries of time-space perception.

The place where demons and other astral beings dwell is often in those gaps between our present-moment awareness. Every time we have a distraction or are manipulated by something, we become prey to outside entities or influences. When we project our own illusions or desires somewhere else, outside of the present moment, external forces can work their way through our actions and willpower. And many religions identify external beings and individuals which surround our sphere of existence.

But it seems when you achieve some sort of awareness and dissolution of the self, there is not that concrete division between oneself and others. However, “others” can still think there is such a thing, even though this unaware other is another reflection of the interconnected cosmic self. These kinds of avenues of perception can be of benefit in regards to knowing how things work in the astral (simply that deeper awareness is able to evade the chaotic attentions of malicious beings).

The big mystery to me, is how there are cosmic beings of all kinds (real or imaginary — it doesn’t matter what you think) but they’re all just the same material. They’re all another manifestation of the self. So even if your god of choice is real, it’s just another manifestation of the cosmic self that you are. Which makes me consider the veneration of divinities within a different light than mere subservience. We’re just praying to ourselves, no matter what (and yeah, I know monotheistic religions are supposed to bypass that, but I don’t buy it).

‘Smoke signals…

Posted in Buddhism, God(s), Mysticism, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions on August 19, 2009 by wizardsmoke

This blog is all over the place! And if anything, that’s what makes it kind of “emo” and hard to maintain when I’m focusing on more specific projects. But whatever, on with the show. I know you care, right? Haha!

I used to sit down at my computer and just roll with the ideas that flowed out of my jazzy fingertips. But nowadays, I think of something to write and I consider it to be stupid and pointless. Because there is no overarching “point” to it. Blogs should have a theme, a purpose, a reason to follow them. Not just meandering internal chatter.

What’s my novelty? Ah — wizardry! Of course. Everyone hitting up this blogspace is looking for magical discussion (or fake marijuana — seriously, google it). And magic is interesting to everyone. In fact, everyone wants to learn magic but won’t admit it or agree to a general definition of it. But everyone wants a leg up on other people — everyone wants X-ray goggles, eye-lasers, levitation, invisibility, etc. Or they want inner peace, to heal people, to be enlightened, and so on.

Thing is, magic isn’t physically tangible to people who have a pre-conceived notion of what they think it should be. Skeptics, athiests, or whatever — they have preconceived notions or definitions. But magic is about the pregnancy of ideas, and those who straight-up refuse to consider mind-manipulation of the various spheres of existence are in fact, ripe for manipulation (UNLIKE PEOPLE WHO BLINDLY BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF OTHERWORLDLY PHENOMENA, AMIRITE?).

All goals and objectives in life make us miserable when we consider their totality, because there’s no actual point to existence. But believing in a purpose to life, a reasoning or burning drive that makes us “correct” in contrast to others — it functions under the premise that there is a tangible point to life by reaching for — or creating, one. And why not? It’s more fun to play the game, to run the gambit or the spiral towards “meaning”. Even though meaning or purpose is like the eye of the spiral, whirlpool and black-hole. It’s mesmerizing, but ultimately you are destroyed by it (there is nothing on the other side — wah!!!).

I was talking to a neurotic friend, who mentioned that the “point” of life is basically like “rigpa” in Tibetan Buddhism — attaining and maintaining “the state”. Although it sounds really cheesy and dumb, I basically do agree with this — there is no point beyond maintaining a “pure” state of awareness where we don’t really identify with positive or negative definitions or illusions of purpose. And it’s not that we don’t care about the consequences of events; it’s just that everything from the cosmic egg ebbs and flows and never permanently settles, so why should we attach our karmic fate to things which are not spiritually permanent investments (including expressions of self)?

Anyway, this mental state is the only thing that does not bring eventual suffering, dissatisfaction, ordukkha. So any talking about it just complicates the issue more; it’s like the traditional Chan/Zen idea that you cannot tell by interacting with a person whether they are enlightened or not, because they know not to attach much romance to ambitious spiritual ideas — they just do the work. So enlightened people just look like any person interested in the random stuff they happen to be doing at the moment; the day’s work, and so on, except their “mind” or spirit or whatever is not emotionally attaching to it.

So no matter if this world was hand-crafted by God or Satan, or self-manifested by idiots or angelic spirits, or whatever you think happened that put it together — from the ultimate perspective our suffering is sort of unaccounted for in the equation, because it’s a subtle choice (yes, obviously physical pain is a little different, but it’s like getting confronted with a gun: try to avoid it before it happens). But when activated, suffering actually spurs people to expel energy and intent into the world without control.  Presumably, if you maintain “the state” then existence is a beautiful pearl, not an endless trail of tears, because you aren’t identifying with it. But that’s just sick, sick, sick!

Firmly grounded in the…

Posted in Buddhism, death, God(s), Happiness, health, History, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Philosophy, Religion, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by wizardsmoke

As other more astute and accomplished individuals have pointed out on their blogs, it seems that religious scenes and groups are more frequently populated by middle-aged and elderly folks. Sure — why not, right?

In angsty youth (and in angsty adulthood too, sometimes), many deride the religious for being fearful of the afterlife. But I think what is equally true is that people become fearful of the past as they age, athiests or not. If, supposing there is nothing after death, our life is all we did, why wouldn’t we want to reflect on living the best life possible? Errors are inevitable, but not necessary. If this life is all there is, well then what is the point of living a miserable nihilistic one? (Not to mention, only young people have the consistent energy to resist and deny feelings of remorse, regret, or guilt: denial leads to mental illness in older folks!)

The interesting thing is that this kind of thinking, where one questions the point of cruelty or despair when it has no purpose or punishment, actually leads toward a sense of compassionate martyrdom — later Greek philosophy and eventually Christianity.

However, basic ignorance does pervade all of this, for all concerned. The power of denial is undeniably strong with too many of us. And it’s a very fine line to cross at certain times in our lives between becoming total subconsciously self-loathing scumbags and people of integrity. Often it’s because we’re afraid of what we might lose: our family, our friends or social acceptance, our money or property, our rights, our anonymity, and so forth.

Compassionate acts are interesting, because in the wrong hands they easily become catalysts to vain behavior. I’ve had friends who did not believe in selfless charity (nor have I, at times in my life). In the early 20th century, after both World War I and World War II had ended, there were serious debates in the United States media and art communities over how best to honor fallen servicemen in the war effort. The big stand-off was between “Traditional Memorials” and “Living Memorials”. Traditional ones are like plaques and art pieces; living ones are like parks and dedicated buildings or facilities. The big debate commonly came down to which one better left a stoic message that all would respect and remember.

But who cares about that? A person who is proud of their legacy shouldn’t care about their personal data. Who cares if you are worshiped forever? None of this leads to anyone’s happiness or satisfaction. It is far better to leave something that improves the world (how exactly, I have no idea whatsoever). This is the preachy message Kurosawa’s film Ikiru is hammering into the viewer’s brain over it’s insanely long runtime.

Since everything fades from memory, and memory is such a transient and unreliable device (history is forgotten or unknown by most of the public, anyway), what does a concrete, identifiable legacy matter? That’s why I like the idea of gods of compassion, or virtuous people, or totally enlightened Buddhas and their badass retinues — everything such an individual would do would be selfless compassion. Not giving oneself up to others, but giving up the notion of one-self, individualism altogether — compassionate activity with no regard as to individuals whatsoever. A total generator of compassion.

Such generators do exist, but I suspect they are beyond identification and not worth discussing much more. And there are similar generators for every possible cosmic experience. So I don’t know if any particular experience “wins” or whatever, but if it’s a matter of looking back on one’s life in the future and being satisfied with how you lived it, it’s worth considering.

Local Energy Source

Posted in Feng Shui, Folklore, God(s), Mysticism, Paganism, Qi, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Anytime I go to a new geographical spatial location, I feel tired. I don’t mean I get exhausted when I go to the grocery store or the movie theater (god forbid), but when I travel a decent distance — to another state, country, continent, environmental region or ecosystem, and sometimes merely a different city. But I don’t think it’s “jet-lag”; I don’t think it’s merely that my biological clock is out of sync with the changing sunrise. No, I think it’s mainly that I am not acclimated to the flavor or “energy” that the particular region gives off. It sounds insane, but this is what I believe (momentarily).

There seems to be an acclimation period which takes a week or so to really get settled into the vibes of the locale. Sounds like baloney, but I don’t think there’s another explanation. Every time I show up at a new location, I am dead tired. And the usual things don’t stave it off: sleep, food, whatever. The hidden funk of a geographical location, the causeways of energy or whatever which give it it’s particular feeling or character are too strong for the greenhorn to get used to right off the boat. So it takes some period of adjustment in which you’re exhausted.

And where is the strongest emanation of local energy to be found? From water bodies (duh!) — particularly rivers. If there’s one useful thing I learned from reading books on feng shui, it’s that rivers carry energy through locations like veins carry blood through the body. Actually, I think this is the specific feng-shui definition. So, if you go down to the river of any place, you’ll find the river feels more like the place than the rest of the location. I.e. the Hudson feels like New York, the Potomac like Maryland and Virginia, etc. The spirit(s) of any place can be found in its rivers. And visiting rivers, you’d think it would make a person less tired when they’re trying to acclimate to a location, but I don’t know if it does (probably because I’m a dumb cowardly blogger LOLOLOL!).

In thinking about the different flavors of locations, I figure “pagan ideals” worship such a specific flavor of a location and not the energetic feedback (if you can even separate the two) but I’m just generalizing. But I do think the flavor of a location is a manifestation of the gods of the location. And I wonder if, even though we’re getting energy wherever we are, we’re still filtering it through our locale, through the local “gods”. So, thinking with my “New World”, post-industrial agricultural brain, is there maybe some kind of pure energy which has nothing to do with local filters? Energy that I could access?

Someone should really make an energy purification device like this and then cut me in on the deal.

Idolize That!

Posted in Buddhism, Christianity, Cults, genius, God(s), Monasticism, Mysticism, Reality Bites, Religion, Tantra, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Disclaimer: the following is the author’s opinion (©) and no one else’s!

What is William Blake’s term poetic genius referring to? My definition is: An individual, whose manifestation possesses the ability to exaggerate the deep, layered, subconscious through a communicative medium of time-space expression. In other words, a true artist. Art is a wondrous thing, isn’t it? It is the ability of one individual to give others a vibrant taste of their experience of the cosmic fabric.

In Buddhism, there are two kinds of Buddhas, or awakened beings. Now, I’ve always wondered what the difference is. I’ve seen it written in various places that a Paccateka Buddha does not or cannot teach others; they are self-realized beings — “silent ones”. On the other hand, a Sammasamyaka Buddha is a fully realized being who can teach others the way to enlightenment.

But that still doesn’t explain much. Or it leaves so much out that it’s almost a ridiculous manner of defining these subjects. Lots of folks in Mahayana Buddhism (North Indian-Tibetan-Chinese-Korean-Japanese branches) take things called “Bodhisattva vows” where they vow to be reborn until they achieve total perfect enlightenment (Sammasamyaka Buddhas). This apparently takes years beyond comprehension (it is even described that way). And these perfect Buddhas are the ones who create Buddhism on other planets/world systems/universes etc. So, Shakyamuni Buddha was a full Buddha and was supposedly the only one in our world system.

I understand that (paraphrased) textbook explanation. But the end result is that the full Buddha becomes something that is untouchable and beyond this life; we can’t become Buddha in this life, we’re fallen from grace, blah blah blah. It also paints a tearful, valiant, romantic picture of existence — things having a specific purpose, there being a specific goal to it all, and so forth. When really, enlightenment is totally boring (or so I’ve heard).

Thus I have my own (probably heretical) interpretation of this whole “perfect Buddha” system. Bear in mind I’m going out on a limb here. I don’t wanna get you kicked out of your peace-club or whatever because you quoted my stupid ass at your weekly sesshin.

Creative genius is very rare, right? And so are Buddhas. I tend to have my own belief, that a fully realized Buddha is an enlightened person whom also possesses the creative genius. In other words, they are a creatively gifted individual whom has also attained so-called “enlightenment.” Because, a creative genius can potently share — transmit — their intimate perceptions of the world with others. Maybe a perfect Buddha does this with enlightenment itself.

I bring this up because surely there are enlightened people with no creative talent. I mean, it seems foolish to assume that only people with creative genius are enlightened, doesn’t it? And I am not saying that every creative genius is enlightened. Far from it! But the point is: a fully enlightened Buddha (in my opinion) is one that has attained enlightenment and possesses a poetic genius!

‘Course, from a religious perspective, there are flaws in my, uh… “logic”. The first thing is: a fully realized Buddha only appears once per world-system according to Buddhist cosmology. So… Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Prince Siddhartha, is the only fully realized Buddha in our world-system. Everyone else, Buddhas may they be, are inferior in their accumulation of wisdom or merit or whatever else. And there are technical terms for these accumulations (It’s funny how the whole system of “full enlightenment” can only be undertaken by people who partake of the Buddhist agenda).

But that’s a little religio-centric for me. That sounds a lot like having Christ as our sole savior. I wish it were so easy. Because that’s one of the hard things for me to accept: that one person has the goods and I can just tag along with them and figure it all out. You know, just relax, hit the cruise button and put the ship on auto-pilot. But the people who incubate themselves in their teacher’s shadow their whole lives do not become completely self-realized. No way. Think you can be like Hatsumi by following Hatsumi? I wonder.

Do our teachers love us with pity — as children? Who knows. But they probably respect peers more. And I doubt those of us who pray to icons can be respected mutually. I mean, duh. This is, I think, one of the true criticisms of idolatry. I don’t know if this is an actual criticism from the Old Testament — it’s been a while since I looked through that one — but believing in an idol, idolizing, makes one pitiful.

Anyway, funny how the Christians and Buddhists and Muslims and god-only-knows-who-else believe in reincarnation on some level. That either their soul or their savior will be reborn at some point (although Buddhism acknowledges that it is not the same actual person). But if anyone comes back, they would be rejected immediately. I mean, what a threat to the established power structure of the religion!

Which doesn’t mean I hate iconography or statues or Buddhas or Christs or kami or trickster ravens. It just means, in the words of Musashi, “I do not rely on gods or buddhas, but I respect them”. Isn’t that how a person of true creative integrity is? They don’t worship their influences, but respect and acknowledge their influence and importance.

Keys in the Dark

Posted in Beauty, genius, God(s), Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, society, The Arts, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by wizardsmoke

A genius is their own reward, eh? What of it??! Does that mean they’re supposed to be poor or something? You could say that geniuses are the pinnacle of nature (at least that’s what Spare would say — that humble soul!), that they carry the lead melodies of humanity.

In the totally amazing, gory and tragic Japanese manga/anime Berserk, one of the characters espouses the potent view that there are a select number of people who are like the “keys to the world”, existing outside of the common divisions of class, ethnicity and culture. They are responsible for the mass movements of mankind and culture, though they are not always celebrated openly. Their influence stretches deeply, through all the veins of human experience.

Yah, okay, I follow that. It’s fairly factual. Of course, a genius is exaggerated by their interaction with non-genii, ‘coz every single thing exists in contrast to something else. If a genius is like the lead melody in a song, it is remarkable in contrast to the chordal movements progressing underneath it. Without those, the melody might be beautiful, but it loses a lot of its color and character.

Yet still — those mass chordal movements, they are not as distinguished, beautiful or pristine. They are not as initially noticeable because they are slightly rugged and blend together. Isn’t that true when you hear a song? I mean, the average person, the first thing they notice — maybe the only thing — is the lead melody or the vocal melody. A lot of people do not hear anything else, such as the production, chord changes, compositional sense of pacing, etc. Even though the rhythmic properties are the necessary footsteps to realizing the pinnacle of the song.

The melodies, they are what we worship. Nobody venerates the simplest mundane tasks in a song. We approve and acknowledge and give credit where credit’s due, but that’s about it. Because the rhythm isn’t so glorious. And isn’t that the case with history and the gods? The melodies of humanity — the notable faces, stories and figures — we remember the glorious moments, the ones that stick out to us vibrantly, even though they can merely be cases of “standing on the shoulder(s) of giants”.

Perhaps it is as Einstein originally said, in a discussion with Rabindranath Tagore: line is older than color. And melody is older than harmony. Aren’t the oldest dreams of humanity, those tales of the gods — aren’t they the tales of heroic and mischievous deeds rather than tales of democracy and community? In other words, don’t we remember the old melodies instead of the old chord progressions?

The thing is, an insightful person can see the chord changes by the direction of the melody, or at least have a hint as to how it goes/went. “A fool sees not the same tree a wise man sees.”