Human Rights


yet the crisis itself is not first of all an ecological crisis. It is not first of all a
crisis concerning our environment. It is first of all a crisis concerning the way we think. We are treating our planet in an inhuman, God-forsaken manner because we see things in an inhuman and God-forsaken way. How we see the world depends above all upon how we see ourselves. Our model of the universe – our worldview – is based upon the model we have of ourselves, upon our own self image. Unless our own evaluation of ourselves, and of what constitutes the true nature of our being, changes, the way we treat the world around us will not change either. The industrial and technological inferno we have produced around us, and by means of which we are now devastating our world, is not something that has come about accidentally. On the contrary, it is a direct consequence
of our allowing ourselves to be dominated by a certain paradigm of thought that impels us to look upon ourselves as little more than two-legged animals whose destiny and needs can best be fulfilled through the pursuit of social, political and economic self-interest. And to correspond with this self-image we have invented a worldview in which nature is seen as an impersonal commodity, a soulless source of food, raw materials, wealth,
power and so on, which we think we are entitled to abuse by means of any scientific and mechanical technique we can devise and produce, in order to satisfy our self-interest. Having in our own minds de-sanctified ourselves, we have de-sanctified nature as well.

Our contemporary secular scientific mentality goes hand-in-hand with a
corresponding and increased erosion in us of the sense of the sacred. We do not have any respect, let alone reverence, for the world of nature because we do not fundamentally have any respect, let alone reverence, for ourselves. It is because we have lost the sense of our own reality that we have lost the sense of every other reality as well. It is because we cripple and mutilate ourselves that we cripple and mutilate everything else as well. Our contemporary crisis is really our own depravity writ large.

So the only real answer to this crisis is to stop depraving ourselves. It is to
recover a sense of our true identity and dignity, of our creation in the image of God, of our self image as sacred beings. Once we repossess a sense of our own holiness, we will recover a sense of the holiness of the world about us as well and we will then act towards the world about us with the awe and humility that we should possess when we enter a sacred shrine, a temple of love and beauty in which we are to worship and adore the Creator. Without a sense of the holy – that everything that lives is holy – and without
humility towards the whole – towards man, towards nature and to God Himself Who is beyond both man and nature, their transcendent source and origin – we will simply proceed headlong along the course to self-destruction to which we are now committed and which is our own choosing and for which we are entirely responsible.

Philip Sherrard (1922-1995)
(The Rape of Man & Nature: An Inquiry Into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science)

There are practically no athiests among traditional farmers, even in England –a country whose main “intellectual” export right now is atheism. Also in a country like France, which is known for its secularism, where only 11% of people go to church and 40% of people are agnostics and atheists, if you were to go to the French countryside and talk to a farmer who produces that wonderful French cheese you eat for lunch, there are hardly any athiests among them. To do something that is close to God’s world is to participate in a sense in things which are natural, and thereby to circumvent the illusion of the absence of God which the modern world has created, an illusion upon which the modern world is based.

–Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The process of secularization of the microcosm resulted in one impoverishment after another of the human reality. First, the depletion of the angelic content of the microcosm helped transform the three dimensional traditional man into the two dimensional modern man. Since traditional psychology is closely related to angelology the transformation resulted in the disappearance of the idea of the soul from modern science wheras its reality at various ontological levels was affirmed in the traditional sciences. Not only that, the soul served as a key scientific concept in traditional sciences. For example, in Islamic science, we encounter the development of scientific concepts of plant, animal, rational and even universal souls. Second, the human reality became further reduced when two-dimensional man comprising body and mind was transformed into a living organism with a mechanistic body and mind largely determined by the brain. Mechanization of the human body was only one side of the coin of mechanization of the cosmos, the other being the better known mechanization of the macrocosm. The reduction of human reality reached its extreme end when every aspect and dimension of it, including consciousness, is visualized as being entirely determined by matter and physical processes.

–Osman Bakar (From secular science to sacred science: The need for a transformation, sacred web 33)

The traditional man is defined by its three essential components, namely body, soul and spirit. In the constitution of modern man the combined reality of soul and spirit has shrunk to what is called mind, a fused reality without a sacred meaning and significance.
image

Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge. 
  --Kahlil Gibran 
 
 
 
Only crime and the criminal, it is true, 
confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; 
but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
 
--Hannah Arendt

 

 
 
 

"Jesus said, `Blessed are those alone and chosen, for you will find

the kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will return'" (Gos.

Thom. 49).

 

In our Yahoo chat room the other day, someone asked me about this

verse, and generally what it means to talk about "the chosen"

or "the elect" in a Gnostic context. This concept has been another

of the many subjects through which Christianity has attempted to

denigrate Gnosticism, in this case by suggesting that we Gnostics

believe that only a certain (small) class of people are capable of

gnosis, creating a kind of fundamental soteriological hierarchy. In

other words, this would mean that being "chosen" would be a kind of

volitional and constitutive act, presumably by God, without which

one cannot enter through the gate of knowledge.

 

There may indeed have been some Gnostics in the past who believed

this, and who suggested that initiates into their religious groups

could only be drawn from a very small "gnosis-capable" part of the

human population, so to speak. However, the earliest articulations

of Gnosticism, and pre-Gnostic texts such as the Gospel of Thomas,

suggest in contrast a radically inclusive version of "the chosen," a

version that is flowering again today in our neo-classical Gnostic

Renaissance. I would like to take a few minutes here to suggest the

outlines of this understanding, which I hope may be helpful for you

in considering the history and theology of Gnosticism, and your own

personal spiritual outlook.

 

While the limited, exclusive theory of "the chosen" is attributed to

Gnostics by mainstream Christians, it actually is far more clearly a

part of THEIR religious traditions. The notion of predestination,

in particular, has made this idea of "divine election" profoundly

volitional in its metaphysical origins and constitutive in its

metaphysical effects on human beings. What many do not realize is

that a fairly robust form of predestination continues to be

theologically present in the belief systems of many denominations

that no longer emphasize it publicly, such as the Catholic Church –

in the case of Catholicism, as recently as the Council of Trent that

followed the Protestant Reformation, a Catholic doctrine of

predestination was solemnly affirmed. I say this only in passing to

provide you another example of the many inconsistencies in Christian

denunciations of Gnosticism – although, as I have said before, we

should not expect to find any consistency, because Christian polemic

against Gnosticism is not fundamentally concerned with being either

rational or coherent, but rather with foisting off on Gnosticism all

the difficulties, repressions, and forms of guilt that have

accumulated over the centuries in the massive social and cultural

edifice that calls itself the Christian church.

 

Now, on to the contrasting INCLUSIVE theory of "the chosen." What

in fact does it mean to be chosen or set apart? Is this setting

apart purely self-referential, or does it have an object? In other

words, are we just chosen, or are we chosen FOR something? This is

the key distinction that allows us to make sense of the whole

concept. When we embark on the path of gnosis, we are responding to

the basic call of the spirit within us, and the spirit beyond us

that ultimately is God. Because of this response, we are chosen by

God and set apart to be as it were the avatars of the spirit in the

world. As we move forward toward enlightenment, we have more and

more responsibility for the actualization of our own spirits but

also for true spiritual compassion of those all around us. We

are "the chosen" not indeed as if those around us are incapable of

gnosis, but in fact to be the instruments by which their gnosis can

come about as well! This is, of course, not at all the same as the

mainstream Christian notion of conversion, because that is about

dominating the other, about forcing the other into your own

prefabricated "truth." Being called and chosen, we are to form a

kind of sacred river, flowing through the world with what looks to

those outside to be passivity and even surrender, but gently picking

up the salt of the spirit as it were on our way to the sea.

 

So, the idea of a certain "chosen" group does not necessarily mean

in any way that other individuals are incapable of gnosis, for it

seems certain that other human beings, who share the basic

experiences of life with us, must have those experiences rooted in

the same kind of spiritual nature. Rather, being chosen, or

constituting an "elect," is in many ways a practical description,

since most of the people around us, fully capable of gnosis as they

are, are held back by many painful and frightening things from

taking those first steps that set us apart at the very beginning.

This point is made clear by another saying from the Gospel of

Thomas, which is included in the canonical New Testament as

well: "Jesus said, `The harvest is great but the laborers are few.

Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the harvest'"

(73).

 

Look around you: how great is this harvest, how ripe the fruit of

human beings standing just on the front porch of enlightenment,

ready to take that first step through the door! How late the time

is, my dear friends, and how quickly the sands of time are falling;

look at the darkness descending and the blood-red sun sinking low on

the horizon, as our world is weighed down ever more by the pain of

violence and hatred. How many sit in the lingering twilight,

yearning for the night to come – for the pain of living in this

world without joining in the life of the spirit has become

unbearable without drugs, and distractions, and addictions that ease

the pain.

 

We have been called to be those laborers, to be those shepherds, to

live not only for ourselves, but for all. To be chosen is to be set

apart as a gift to others, not to be elevated above others. Pride

is extinguished in love, and the ultimate love leads us to the

sacrifice of the bodhisattva, to the sacrifice of Christ. While the

light is still with us, before the clock strikes the closing of the

day, let us seek love and the fruits of love. For truly "there is

light within a person of light, and that person lights up the whole

world" (Gos Thom. 24).

 

In Christ and Sophia,

 

Matthew

 

“Love is the creed I hold: wherever turns His camels,

Love is still my creed and faith.”

Ibn Arabi

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief ; I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper ; that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

–Barack Obama


God’s absolute perfection, as described from our limited human perspective, has two facets: static perfection (being perfect) and dynamic perfection (becoming perfect). Through you and me, God fulfills His desire to express and participate in a challenging and adventurous process of becoming perfect.

When you realize that you are part of God’s life and God is part of your life, you will discover your holiness, your ultimate meaning and significance. When you realize that you exist within the Endless Light of God, you will discover that God’s Endless Light is also inside of you. You will understand that an aspect of God’s absolute perfection—the dynamic perfection—is expressed through you. Your divine privilege is to be a human being who serves as a vehicle for God. When you serve the ultimate, then you’re part of the ultimate. When you realize that you’re part of the ultimate, then you experience the perfection of every moment.

Here’s the menu put simply: God is living His secret life through you.

Take a moment to contemplate, feel, and taste this delicious truth. Take a lifetime to live it and celebrate it.”


— David Aaron (The Secret Life of God: Discovering the Divine within You)

I asked him if there was anything that could be done to give people a more balanced understanding of the glow of awareness.

“Nothing,” he said. “At least, there is nothing that seers can do. Seers aim to be free, to be unbiased witnesses incapable of passing judgment; otherwise they would have to assume the responsibility for bringing about a more adjusted cycle. No one can do that. The new cycle, if it is to come, must come of itself.”

–Carlos Castaneda (Fire from Within)

“If you ardently long to attain the wondrous divine illumination
of our Savior Jesus Christ; to experience in your heart the
supercelestial fire and to be consciously reconciled with God;
to dispose yourself of the worldly things in order to find and posses
the treasure hidden in the field of your heart; to enkindle
here and now your soul’s flame and to renounce all that is only
here and now; and spiritually to know and experience the kingdom
of heaven within you: then I will impart to you the science of
eternal or heavenly life, rather, a method that will lead you, if
you apply it”

–Nikiphoros the Monk, “On Watchfullness and The Guarding of the
Heart”, Philokalia, Vol IV.

Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

The four heroes of the story, left to right: Sūn Wùkōng, Xuánzàng, Zhū Bājiè, and Shā Wùjìng. (Journey to the West)

I never did anything out of the blue, woh-o-oh
Want an axe to break the ice
Wanna come down right now

Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know major toms a junkie
Strung out in heavens high
Hitting an all-time low

My mother said to get things done
You’d better not mess with major tom

David Bowie

“When we seriously practice any authentic spiritual exercise, we sooner or later come to the recognition that we are not individuals seeking some exalted goal for ourselves, but are sparks of Oneness, the Only Being, aspects of the total embodiment of the Spirit of Guidance that leads all of creation back to the Source, the perfection of love, harmony, and beauty. In our motivation to attain the highest levels of awareness, we eventually release our personal identification and become completely connected with an inner guide, a metamagnetic urge that prods us at all times to let go into the Oneness.”

David A. Cooper (Invoking Angels forBlessings, Protection and Healing)

………………….

Striving to be absolutely right is a very common attitude among humans. When we are trying to prove to an adversary that he is totally wrong, we fantasize about a moment when the Heavens, the forces of the cosmos itself, will come to our aid. Like small children, we imagine being able to set fire to the blackboard, to call attention to an injustice on the playground. To our disappointment, the blackboard does not catch fire –or, even if it does, the reaction defies our expectations.

The reality of dissension is that when it is based on and legitimated by human experience, it is not built on right/wrong or hero/villain dichotomies. To be able to overcome it or continue in the name of Heaven, we must understand that Heaven has no power to resolve discord. This is because the dynamic of such discord is to produce something unknown to and not invented by the Heavens.

We are like children who wish that their parents would come to school one day to teach everyone, for once and for all, who we are. It is painful, but we know this is impossible. Communication can truly take place only within the reality of the school, its playground rules, its etiquette, and its own conventions. A parent’s presence in school breaks communication and prevents us from being our true selves.

It is very difficult to deal with the expectation that justice will be done. Justice does express itself, as the sages say, but in its own time. And even though time seems ungrateful, leaving many situations unresolved, these will persist for as long as they are issues for the sake of Heaven. We will always have the comfort of knowing they won’t see closure until they are resolved.

Discord that is not for the sake of Heaven will not last, and the energy spent proving who is right is wasteful, not at all constructive. Knowing when to invest in discord and when to avoid it is a question of economy and intelligence.

–Rabbi Nilton Bonder (The Kabbalah of Envy)

………………….

“Monkey,” the Bodhisattva said, “do you know who I am?” The Great Sage opened wide his fiery eyes with their golden pupils, nodded his head and shouted at the top of his voice, “Of course I recognize you. You, thank goodness, are the All−Compassionate. All−Merciful Deliverer from Suffering, the Bodhisattva Guanyin from Potaraka Island in the Southern Sea. You’re a very welcome visitor. Every day here seems like a year, and nobody I know has ever come to see me. Where have you come from?”

“I have received a mandate from the Buddha to go to the East and find the man who will fetch the scriptures,”

she replied, “and as I was passing this way I decided to come over and see you.”

“The Buddha fooled me and crushed me under this mountain−−I haven’t been able to stretch myself for five

hundred years. I desperately hope that you will be obliging enough to rescue me, Bodhisattva.”

“You wretch,” she replied, “you have such an appalling criminal record that I’m afraid you’d only make more

trouble if I got you out.”

“I have already repented,” he said, “and hope that you will show me the road I should follow. I want to

cultivate my conduct.” Indeed:

When an idea is born in a man’s mind

It is known throughout Heaven and Earth.

If good and evil are not rewarded and punished

The world is bound to go to the bad.

The Bodhisattva was delighted to hear what he had to say.

“The sacred scriptures say,” she replied, ‘”If one’s words are good, they will meet with a response from even a

thousand miles away; if they are bad, they will be opposed from the same distance.’ If this is your state of

mind, then wait while I go to the East to find the man who will fetch the scriptures; I’ll tell him to rescue you.

You can be his disciple, observe and uphold the faith, enter our Buddha’s religion, and cultivate good

retribution for yourself in the future. What do you say to that?”

“I’ll go, I’ll go,” the Great Sage repeated over and over again.

“As you have reformed,” she said, “I’ll give you a Buddhist name.”

“I’ve already got a name. It’s Sun Wukong.” The Bodhisattva, very pleased, said, “I made two converts earlier,

and their names both contained Wu (‘Awakened’). There’s no need to give you any further instructions, so I’ll

be off.” The Great Sage, now aware of his own Buddha−nature, was converted to the Buddha’s religion; and

the Bodhisattva devotedly continued her search for a saintly monk.

Journey to the West

http://www.chine-informations.com/fichiers/jourwest.pdf

The problem in my country is war and malnutrition. My parents and my brothers were killed in the war. I joined the forces when I was twelve because I was told I would have food and should take revenge on the death of my parents. Please don’t be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore. I am just a child. And what I want to say is that people fight because they think they can take revenge. But there is no revenge. You kill and you kill, but it will never stop. There is no such thing as revenge.

Ishmael Beah, Age 15 (Sierra Leone)

“To unify your life unify your desires.

To spiritualize your life, spiritualize your desires.

To spiritualize your desires, desire to be without desire.”

–Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude, p56)

……………..

“In the Jewish mystical discussion of Creation, the Creator’s act of tzimtzum—making space in the All-God Presence for the existential possibility of Other—was followed by shevirat hakelim, or the shattering of the vessels (the big bang?). As the God-Will to create filled the space formed by the vacuum of stepping back, of tzimtzum, the resulting universe became a vessel that was capable solely of receiving but not of giving. And so it became filled with so much God-Light that it exploded, and in so doing became a vessel capable of receiving as well as yielding, of containing as well as pouring forth. It is in that universe that our world was conceived. A world of give and take, of inhaling and exhaling, of to and fro, of back and forth, a universe in which there could be dance, where life could be dynamic rather than static. In such a universe there is room for receiving only when there is also the capacity to give, of feeling loved only when there is also the capacity to love.

Shevirat hakelim is experienced by the average person at least some of the time. When you are the recipient of potent dosages of loving from someone and it is coming from a place of authenticity and altruism, you may experience an ‘explosion,’ a bursting-forth transformation in your heart that leaves in its wake amoebic stages of evolving love for the Other, the very beginnings of a wholesome partzuf (countenance) process.”

– Gershon Winkler (The Place Where You Are Standing is Holy)


……..


Tat:
But now tell me this; how are the castigations of darkness, which are twelve in number, driven out by ten forces? How does this come about, Trismegistus?

Hermes : The tent dwelling which we have left, is composed from the circle of the zodiac which, in turn, consists of twelve elements; one nature, but manifold of conception, in keeping with man’s erring thoughts. Among these castigations, my son, there are some that act in combination. For instance, undue haste and thoughtlessness cannot be separated from anger. They cannot even be distinguished. That it is understandable and logical that they will disappear together when they are driven away by the ten forces. It is these ten forces, my son, that give birth to the Soul. Life and light are united. And so the number of unity is born out of the Spirit. Likewise, according to reason, the unity contains the number ten and the number ten again contains unity.

Tat: Father, I perceive both the entire All and myself in the Spirit-Soul.That is rebirth, my son – one cannot form any three dimensional concept of it. You know and experience it now thanks to this Discourse on Rebirth, which I have put in writing solely for your benefit, since we would not divulge all this to the multitude, but exclusively to those whom God has chosen.
…………

It’s not just enough to change the players. We’ve gotta change the game.

Barack Obama

………….

“Lord, those are Your best servants who wish to shape their life on Your answers rather than shape your answers on their wishes.”

Amen

–St Augustine (Confessions 10, 26)

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

–Barak Obama

What we need is the gift of God which makes us able to find in ourselves, not just ourselves but Him, and then our nothingness becomes His all. This is not possible without the liberation effected by compunction and humility. It requires not talent, not mere insight, but sorrow, pouring itself out in love and trust.

–Thomas Merton

…..

Make haste in doing good and check your mind from evil. If a man is slow in doing meritorious actions, his mind delights in evil.
Should a man commits evil, he should not do it again and again. He should not find pleasure therein, because accumulation of evil is painful.
Should a man performs a meritorious action, he should do it again and again. He should find pleasure therein because accumulation of merits is blissful.
Even one who is evil sees good as long as the evil has not developed, but when the evil has developed, one sees the evil results.
Even one who is good sees evil as long as the good has not developed, but when the good has developed, one sees the good results.
Do not disregard evil, saying “It will not come close to me”. The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water jar. Even so the fool fills himself with evil by gathering it little by little.
Do not disregard merit, saying “It will not come close to me”. The falling of drops of water will in time fill a water jar. Even so the wise man fills himself with good by gathering it little by little.
Just as a merchant, with a small escort but great wealth, avoids a dangerous route, let a man who desires to live avoid drinking poison and the dangers of evil.
If there is no wound in one’s hand, one may carry poison in it. Poison does not affect one who has no wound. There is no evil for one who does none.
If anyone offends an innocent person, the evil of that will come back to that fool, like fine dust thrown against the wind.
Some are born in a womb. Those who are evil are born in evil realms. People whose conduct is good go to heaven. People who are free from defilement enter Nirvana.
There is nowhere on earth – not in the sky, nor in the sea, nor in a mountain cave, that one may escape from the effects of one’s evil deed.
There is nowhere on earth – not in the sky, nor in the sea, nor in a mountain cave, that one will not be overcome by death.

–The Dharmapada

“As for man, when his Lord tests him by exalting him and bestowing favours on him, he says: ‘My Lord is bountiful to me.’ But when He tests him by grudging him His favours, he says: ‘My Lord despises me.’
No! But you show no kindness to the orphan, nor do you vie with each other in feeding the destitute. Greedily you lay your hands on the inheritance of the weak, and you love riches with all your hearts.”

–Qur’an

“Discipline divorced from wisdom is not true discipline,
but merely the meaningless following of custom,
which is only a disguise for stupidity.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

That’s silly talk… Talk to my wife. She’ll tell me I need to learn to just put my socks on the hamper.


–Barack Obama

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