Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Jesus and His Religion (or the religion about Him) [1st of 3 Parts] by Alan Watts

Some years ago I had just given a talk on television in Canada when one of the announcers came up to me and said "You know, if one can believe that this universe is in charge of an intelligent and beneficent God, don't you think he would naturally have provided us with an infallible guide to behavior and to the truth about the universe?" ...Because in this country in particular [the USA] there are an enormous number of people who seem to believe that the Bible descended from Heaven with an angel in the year sixteen-hundred and eleven, which was when the so-called King James – or more correctly Authorized – version of the Bible was translated into English....Now, the question of "authority" needs to be understood, because I am not going to claim any authority in what I say to you, except the authority – such as it is – of history. ...And we've made such a mess of things with ordinary technics that Heaven only knows what we might do if we got hold of psycho-technics and started raising people from the dead, and prolonging life insufferably, and doing everything we wished....And as a matter of fact when you read the writings of the early fathers of the church – the great theologians like Saint Clement, Gregory of Nissa, Saint John of Damascus, even Thomas Aquinas – they're not interested in the historicity of the Bible. ...So I regard the Four Gospels as on the whole as good a historical document as anything else we have from that period, including the Gospel of Saint John. ...Now, as a matter of fact, in the text of the Gospel of Saint John the local color, his knowledge of the topography of Jerusalem, and his knowledge of the Jewish calendar is more accurate than that of the other three writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. ...The books to be included in the New Testament were not finally decided upon until the year three hundred and eighty-two – A.D. again – at the Synod of Rome under Pope Damasus. So it was the church – the Catholic Church – that promulgated the Bible and said "we are giving you these scriptures on our authority and the authority of the informal tradition that has existed among us from the beginning, inspired by the Holy Spirit."...If we are going to argue about this – as to which version of the Truth is the correct one – we will always end up in an argument in which the judge and the advocate are the same person. ... Because if I say that, "Well, thinking it all over I find that Jesus Christ is the greatest being who ever came onto this Earth," by what standards do I judge?
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"Becoming Christian Mystics Again" by Matthew Fox

This is a significant confession, coming as it does from one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, a man who moved beyond the modern science of Newton and ushered in a postmodern science and consciousness....This launching into the depths -- into the deep ocean of the unconscious and of the Great Self, which is connected to all things and to the Creator -- often gets stymied by Western religious dogma, guilt trips and institutional churchiness. ...The West remains so out of touch with its own mystical tradition that many Westerners seeking mysticism still feel they have to go East to find it. ... Carl Jung warned us that "we westerners cannot be pirates thieving wisdom from foreign shores that it has taken them centuries to develop as if our own culture was an error outlived."...Or is there wisdom deep within our roots that can be accessed anew and that can give us strength and understanding at this critical time when so much is falling apart the world over, when climate change and destruction of the earth accelerates and so many species are disappearing, while our banking systems and economic belief systems, our forms of education and forms of worship, are failing?I believe that there is great wisdom in our species and in Western spiritual traditions, but that this needs a new birth and a fresh beginning. ... We in the West must take these insights into our hearts on a regular basis, allow them to play in the heart, and then take them into our work and citizenship and family and community. ...Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British empire; and Martin Luther King Jr. shook up his tradition and America's segregationist society. ...For instance, this being the season of Earth Day, we might listen to the 12th century Abbess Hildegard of Bingen who was an amazing musician, painter, healer, writer (she wrote 10 books), scientist and poet. ...It is there that the West need to learn form the East the sense of the 'holy,' of a transcendent mystery which is immanent in everything and which gives an ultimate meaning to life..."...A student of world religions and of contemporary science, he was a great ecological prophet as is clear in his books, The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work, where he warns of the work we must do to reinvent our educational, economic, political and religious systems if we are to be a sustainable species on this endangered planet.
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"The First Agreement: Be Impeccable With Your Word" (excerpt from THE FOUR AGREEMENTS) by Miguel Ruiz

The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor: Be Impeccable with your word. ...The word is the most powerful tool you have, but like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. ...Being impeccable with your word means using your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I’m using the word against you. But really I’m using my word against myself, because you’re going to hate me, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself.If I love myself, I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction. ...In the same way, one little piece of misinformation can break down communication between people; causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others.If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison within you. When you follow this agreement, you begin to see all the changes that can happen in your life - first in the way you deal with yourself, and later in the way you deal with other people, especially those you love the most.Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all fear and transform it into joy and love.
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"The Eternal Tao of the Transcendent Mystery" (excerpt) THE TAO OF ABUNDANCE) by Laurence Boldt

We could say that the Eternal Tao exists, quite apart from existence, that It lives beyond life and death, or that It is and yet, both is and is not. Yet statements such as this communicate nothing unless one has experience of the transcendent, and if one has the experience, what point is there in talking about it?Many are familiar with the saying attributed to Lao Tzu that "those who know do not speak, and those who speak do not know." ...They were simply enlightened individuals around whom students gathered and whose sayings were in some way preserved.5 It was only much later that they were classified as belonging to the "Tao Chia," or Taoist school of philosophy.While there are elements unique to Chinese culture and history within the teachings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, these texts are better understood as representations of what has been termed "the perennial philosophy" than as the scriptures of a particular religion or culture. In many of the world's great spiritual traditions, we find alongside the popular religion an esoteric or mystic teaching, reserved for a rather more dedicated few. (For example, within Taoism, the "Tao Chiao," or what might be termed "popular Taoist religion and magic" developed alongside the esoteric Tao Chia, or Contemplative School of Taoist philosophy.)The striking parallels and correspondences within the world's esoteric teachings—across cultures and historical eras—has led some scholars to view these teachings as local representations of a single universal, or perennial, philosophy. ... We could, for example, quite easily confuse the description of the Eternal, given by Jesus in the Gnostic text, The Secret Book of John, with Lao Tzu discoursing on the Tao:...There are Greek philosophers, Christian and Jewish mystics, and Islamic Sufis, who speak of God in ways not unlike those Lao Tzu might use to refer to the Tao. ... Like the Tao, Brahman is recognized as transcendent and immanent, that is, as both prior to, or beyond, the realm of time and space, and manifest in it.
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“Part 2 - Aching for Wholeness: Men and the Feminine Consciousness” (Excerpt from THE MEN WE NEVER KNEW) by Daphne Rose Kingma

When men begin the work of incorporating the feminine dimension, it will move us all in the direction of androgyny—the emotional state in which a person has fully incorporated all his or her masculine and feminine aspects and, in which, therefore, none are projected onto the opposite sex. ... Whether we like it or not, the transposition of attributes once deemed solely the property of either sex is already well underway, the move toward androgyny is already shaping the future of both male and female psychosexual identities....They point to the spiritual cosmos and represent not only what we can newly expect our relationships to be—union, communion, healing, and transformation—but embody the highest truth, that in its essence and ours there is no division or separation, no opposite or antithesis, no male or female. ...We feel safer living in the illusion that things will continue as they are, than we do entertaining the possibility that our boundaries will be jiggled, expanded, or violated to a degree that will ask us to change more than we feel we can.For, although in a subtle sense, the androgynous has already begun to be incorporated into our culture—unisex fashion, women with chopped-off hair and men with hair to their waistlines were early clues; women in every kind of job at every level and men at home pushing babies in strollers are no longer weird exceptions. ... The excessive reactions to the whole cafeteria of sex role blurrings—coed dorms, shaved heads for women, the abolition of clubs for men only, women in the workplace, the marketplace, and the state legislature, and, above all, to male and female homosexuality—all reveal our fears, our deep internal need to keep things psychosexually "in place."...In spite of the fact that both men and women would immediately gain greater access to themselves and one another in the further dissolving of gender boundaries, and that we would open a gateway to the spiritual level, on a psychological level we still fear it....When people are at ease with the full range of their emotions, embarrassed by neither the masculine nor the feminine in themselves, they approach life with a much greater sense of excitement, fulfillment, and possibility; they are more able to have an ecstatic experience of themselves and of others....For it is precisely to the extent that we relax gender boundaries, that men will be able to approach women through their sensitivity and meet women in the place of real emotional exchange. ...For, when a man can se feminine in himself, no matter how it expresses itself—whether in creativity, in the verbal expression of his emotions, ii compassion for his wife, in his tenderness with his children in his awareness of his fear of death—he can far more re honor these sensitivities in a woman....For, so long as we view one another as opposites, representatives of totally antithetical camps, we will all keep facing each other off across the emotional barbed wire barriers that keep us prisoners in a brutal sexist cold war.
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