Tag Archives: news
A day late, Digitizing a Movement from Harvard Gazette.
To many modern Christians, words like “meditation,” “mystic,” and “mysticism” bring to mind Eastern religions, not Christianity. Certainly Eastern religions are known for their mysticism; however, mysticism is not only a vital part of the Christian heritage as well, but it is actually the core of Christian spirituality. Mysticism simply means the spirituality of the direct experience of God. It is the adventure of “the wild things of God.”
The direct experience of God is a kind of knowing, which goes beyond intellectual understanding. It is not a matter of “belief.” It is marked by love and joy, but it is not “emotional experience.” In many ways, it is better described by what it is not. To describe what it is, we must use metaphors—the marriage of the soul to Christ, the death of the “old man” and birth of the “new man,” being the “body of Christ.”
Jesus proclaimed “I and the Father are one,” (Jn. 10.30) showing the world what the union of God and man can be. Christian mysticism is about nothing else but this transforming union.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
I have spent my life. driven by an inner. undeniable need, trying to find my way closer and closer to God: it is not a trivial thing. I was from an early age full of a loneliness and desire that I could not name. I can’t live any other way. The only thing that satisfies me is to keep making the spiritual effort, Sadhana, without it I may as well not exist.
My life has been full of visions, voices, indescribable encounters with the ultimate and Un-Nameable One. And I still have no dog in the fight between the various wings of the Christian churches from the most liberal Quaker Meeting to the most Fundamentalist Church. I mat sometimes slip but I want mostly to remain open because I know only tht I don’t know. So I can’t, in good concience, argue dogma or anti-dogma. I have my feelings and the things that are closest to beliefs but I can’t say who is right or wrong, if anyone is.
I suspect that none can speak the truth because by it’s very nature, truth is unspeakable.
Who coyld resist a laser-heated cesium chamber in your pocket!
A New Hope (click if it doesn’t animate, huge file, but what do you expect when you get to see essentially the movie in just a few minutes.
Enough! from the Procrastitorian
The world’s best dad.
Cristian Mihai, On Letting Go
(From Maitripa College) H.H. Sakya Trizin, Lama Etiquette:
Maitripa wants to know your questions for His Holiness. Some will be selected for the Q&A!
In This Issue HH Sakya Trizin Lama Etiquette Summit Security In the News Ask the Dalai Lama Sold Out! Classical Tibetan Language Earn you MA or MDiv Degree
If you live in, or plan to visit, the Portland, area and have an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist scholarship, or meditation, please attend one of our events, take a class, or contact us for a tour.Maitripa College
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This Week at MaitripaJust a bit over a week until His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin arrive for the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit!
His Holiness Sakya Trizin to teach at MaitripaMaitripa College is very honored to announce that His Holiness Sakya Trizin, head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, has accepted our invitation to offer a special teaching at Maitripa College on Sunday, May 12, at 6pm. Registration and further details coming soon!
Lama Etiquette & ProtocolYangsi Rinpoche invites the community participating in the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit, including ticket holders and volunteers, to attend a presentation by Dean Namdrol Miranda Adams regarding Lama etiquette and protocol. THURSDAY, 6 – 7 pm.
Public Teaching with Yangsi RinpochePlease join public teachings with President Yangsi Rinpoche on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. Donations gratefully accepted.
Security for Dalai Lama Environmental SummitFor the safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all event participants, the following items are prohibited from the venues:Weapons
Large bags or backpacks
Outside food or drinkNo video/audio recording is allowed, and no professional camera lenses or flash photography are permittedBecause there are no storage facilities available and these prohibited items can not pass through the security screening, please leave these and similar items at home.
PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY TO ALLOW TIME TO GO THROUGH SECURITY AND TAKE YOUR SEAT. Doors will open at least two hours prior to the start time of each event/session.
In the News…We invite you to peruse the videos, articles, and updates about Maitripa and the upcoming visit by His Holiness.
Ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama!
We would like to hear from members of the Maitripa Community (and beyond!)! Submit your question for His Holiness the Dalai Lama!
A limited number of questions will be posted on the event website, and some will be selected for the Q&A sessions during public events on May 9 or May 11, 2013 in Portland, Oregon.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Events are Sold OutTickets are currently sold out for all events of the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit. We look forward to seeing you all there!(And for those who cannot join us in person, please stay tuned for information about webcasting; we are finalizing these details now.)
Classical Tibetan Language Summer CoursesSummer Tibetan language study options from beginner to advanced translation skills. Applications currently being accepted, limited spaces remain so apply now to reserve your space. Learn More & Apply Here
Where Could a Maitripa Degree Take You?
First, this news from “Verge”
“Massive Botnet Using Brute Force to Attack WordPress Sites” and this, of course, is a wordpress site. They have been good to me over the years and I have found them to host many useful and diverse blogs around the world.
Just learned of these two today- Bhardmazbhardmaz and Full of Roses Inspirational Photography and Poetry. Sometime I should just do a page of good wordpress blogs that I follow.
So, I plan to change my password, try to make it more obscure and difficult to remember.
Computer parade, east germany:
Cuteness explosion invades [caturday]:
Not all assassins are very good at it:
I have been following the news in Syria. Like most people I have had little understanding of the forces that have been driving such extreme violence. Recently I have been coming across some references that have made me think of Syria in similar terms as the situation in Rwanda in the 1990’s.
I was reading an article, can’t recall now where it was from, in which a young Syrian Alawi was telling how he was glad that the government gave them weapons to attack the Sunnis because, “It’s only a matter of time before they try to kill us all.”
The conflict seems to involve over 1100 years of sectarian hatred and sporadic violence or even attempted genocide.
Recently the LA Times reported:
The Local Coordination Committees, another opposition group, said security forces were targeting “homes and anyone who moves in the neighborhood” with mortar, artillery and other heavy weapons fire.
“There are no words to describe the situation today,” said an activist reached in Bab Amro who did not want his name published for safety reasons. “The shelling has not stopped since 6 a.m. Whole families are being killed under the rubble of their houses. … The apartment I’m in right now had a shell dropped on the floor above us and five shells around the building.”
Violence has escalated in Syria as the government sends tanks and troops to subdue restive neighborhoods and a growing number of military defectors join the ranks of the opposition. Some civilians have also taken up arms to defend their communities, raising the chances that the country could slide into civil war.
Violence and intimidation have been Damascus’ high cards, but provoking the Sunni Islamist boogeyman has long been the option of last resort for Bashar, an Alawi president who gains most of his support from Syrian Christians, Druze and Alawis who fear a Sunni takeover of the country. The men and women who pour into the streets know this full well and have been well disciplined not to retaliate against the Alawi community, even as armed Alawi militias have entered a number of cities to shoot up the demonstrators.
Ah! Now we are getting somewhere! This sent me to Wikipedia–
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris (‘Alawīyyah Arabic: علوية, Nuṣayrī Arabic: نصيريون, andal-Anṣāriyyah) are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group who are a branch of Shia Islam centred inSyria.
It turns out that Alawis have been targeted for over a thousand years by the majority Sunnis, with various unsuccessful attempts to wipe them out. Through most of this time they have been considered, officially, apostates and therefore subject to death. Only in the past century have Alawis been considered to be Muslims at all by the majority Sunnis.
An interesting discussion of the Alawi between young Muslims will be found here.
What beliefs set Alawi apart from other Muslims? Traditionally, the group has been very secretive. They are considered to be mystical and much of their “knowledge” is not known outside of the inner circle of initiates. While in the past 30 years there has been a deliberate effort by Alawi leaders to make the group appear more “Islamic”, for over 1100 years they have diverged quite distinctly from mainstream Islam.
Orthodox Alawi do not believe in the importance of prayer, they have not (until recently) participated in the Haj, they have not believed in temples or mosques as special places of worship. They include Jesus, some apostles and the Muslim Imams up to the 3rd, Ali, as prophets, maybe even incarnations of the deity. They have embraced several Christian practices including celebration of Christmas and the Holy Sacrament.
According to some sources, Alawis have integrated doctrines from other religions (Syncretism), in particular from Ismaili Islam and Christianity. According to scholar Cyril Glasse, it is thought that “as a small, historically beleaguered ethnic group”, the Alawi “absorbed elements” from the different religions that influenced their area from Hellenistic times onward, while maintaining their own beliefs, and “pretended to adhere to the dominant religion of the age.” Alawites are reported to celebrate certain Christian festivals, “in their own way”, including Christmas, Easter, and Palm Sunday, and their religious ceremonies make use of bread and wine. According to Matti Moosa, a “leading scholar of the Nusayris”,
The Christian elements in the Alawite sect are unmistakable. They include the concept of trinity; the celebration of Christmas, the consecration of the Qurban, that is, the sacrament of the flesh and blood which Christ offered to his disciples, and, most important, the celebration of the Quddas (although Shia scholars dispute these allegations) (a lengthy prayer proclaiming the divine attributes of Ali and the personification of all the biblical patriarchs from Adam to Simon Peter, who preached the gospel sermon originating the Church (Matthew 16:18, Acts 2), who is perceived as the embodiment of true Islam).
As I mentioned- these unique beliefs seem to have become more streamlined recently-
Some sources have suggested that the non-Muslim nature of many of the historical Alawi beliefs notwithstanding, Alawi beliefs may have changed in recent decades. In the early 1970s a booklet entitledal-`Alawiyyun Shi’atu Ahl al-Bait (The Alawis are Followers of the Household of the Prophet), was issued in which doctrines of the Imami Shi’ah were described as ‘Alawi, and which was “signed by of numerous `Alawi` men of religion”. This book and Musa Sadr’s proclamation have led one scholar to wonder whether “a mass conversion from Nusairism to Shi’ah Islam” has taken place. Another scholar suggests that factors such as the high profile of Alawi in Syria, the strong aversion of the Muslim majority to apostasy, and the relative lack of importance of religious doctrine to Alawi identity may have induced Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad and his successor son to press their fellow Alawi “to behave like ‘regular Muslims’, shedding or at least concealing their distinctive aspects.”
In the 19th century, however, an Alawite named Sulaiman al-Adni converted to Christianity and in 1863, compiled a book called Al-Bakurah as-Suliamaniya fi Kashf Asrar ad-Diyanah an-Nusairiyah (The First Fruits of Sulaiman in Revealing the Secrets of the Nusairi Religion). This book was embraced immediately by the English Freemasons as a “proof” of the Eastern origin of Freemasonry.
The only copy I could find of the book was published by the Freemasons. I’ve included it below, in text format more for curiosity than any religious meaning.
In the next few posts I hope to explore some of Islam’s more distinct, mystical and less known off-spring. In the meantime, I would love to hear from any out there who have a better understanding of this topic than I do.
As a State employee I have the perk of getting tomorrow off without pay (part of the Furlough Day program to cut budget deficits). I decided to take today off as well, using a vacation day, to make a 4 day weekend.
Anyway, I have lots of stuff to do over the weekend- more than I could do in 2 days. We have a guest arriving from out of town- a long-term guest- and we’re turning part of the garage into a bedroom. There is still much to do and she arrives in a week.
Today I’ll just share some pictures, maybe another thing or two.
The pictures below are from National Geographic, they are free desktop images. You can find these and more at this place. Click for full size then right click to save.
This one makes me think the little guy is saying, “What in the heck has happened to my neighborhood?!”
For my next trick- courtesy of Goopymart–
Nature is amazing, eh? This is from the Guardian:
The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.
The gruesome hallmark of the fungus’s handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.
The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.
The fungus, which is alive and well in forests today, latches on to carpenter ants as they cross the forest floor before returning to their nests high in the canopy.
The fungus grows inside the ants and releases chemicals that affect their behaviour. Some ants leave the colony and wander off to find fresh leaves on their own, while others fall from their tree-top havens on to leaves nearer the ground.
The final stage of the parasitic death sentence is the most macabre. In their last hours, infected ants move towards the underside of the leaf they are on and lock their mandibles in a “death grip” around the central vein, immobilising themselves and locking the fungus in position.
“This can happen en masse. You can find whole graveyards with 20 or 30 ants in a square metre. Each time, they are on leaves that are a particular height off the ground and they have bitten into the main vein before dying,” said David Hughes at Harvard University.
The fungus cannot grow high up in the canopy or on the forest floor, but infected ants often die on leaves midway between the two, where the humidity and temperature suit the fungus. Once an ant has died, the fungus sprouts from its head and produces a pod of spores, which are fired at night on to the forest floor, where they can infect other ants.
Scientists led by Hughes noticed that ants infected with the fungus,Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, bit into leaves with so much force they left a lasting mark. The holes created by their mandibles either side of the leaf vein are bordered by scar tissue, producing an unmistakable dumb-bell shape.
Writing in the journal, Biology Letters, the team describes how they trawled a database of images that document leaf damage by insects, fungi and other organisms. They found one image of a 48m-year-old leaf from the Messel pit that showed the distinctive “death grip” markings of an infected ant. At the time, the Messel area was thick with subtropical forests.
“We now present it as the first example of behavioural manipulation and probably the only one which can be found. In most cases, this kind of control is spectacular but ephemeral and doesn’t leave any permanent trace,” Hughes said.
“The question now is, what are the triggers that push a parasite not just to kill its host, but to take over its brain and muscles and then kill it.”
He added: “Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host’s behaviour.
Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?”
Scientists are not clear how the fungus controls the ants it infects, but know that the parasite releases alkaloid chemicals into the insect as it consumes it from the inside.
On the subject of Zombies, Zombie nuts!
Saddest photo ever-
At the place I work they are hiring a new Superintendent. I know some people who having worked in this place for many years are on the verge of quitting. I just hope this guy lives up to the hype. I can hardly stand to lose more people who support the good things. So far, all the news is good. We meet him next week.
Bye for now,
First off, June 30th was the last work day for my supervisor at the Oregon State Hospital. He has been a supportive and wise boss, not something you find everyday. My new boss can’t fill his shoes. My co-worker and I (there is essentially just one other person here doing the same job as myself) feel like we’ve been hung out to dry.
This is something that he wrote before retiring, click for download (word doc)
Other news at work- Next week the Department of Justice comes to visit. Oregon State Hospital is under fire, in trouble, up sh*t creek (pick your metaphor) due to problems in patient care, staffing, use of seclusion & restraints, etc. Staff have been told they shouldn’t try to talk to the DOJ Team. Especially we should not mention the horrible understaffing, mandated overtime and burnout which has not improved since their last visit. Patients have to sign up with their ward/ unit staff to be put on a lsit to talk to the Team. Some wards, notorious for poor conditions, treatment, have tried to spruce up; treating patients better for the past week in hopes that everyone will forget how things really are.
Some links to articles about the visit: