Going Home Again – To Tibet and Beyond

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GOING HOME AGAIN

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Prior to all Buddhas and sentient beings
When even their names do not exist
Is ancestral wholeness, mind-nature.

Know thyself advises the oracle at Delphi. I am a frustrated nomad. No matter where I happen to live at the moment, I do not feel completely at home alone, all-one, at-one with myself, in the womb, where everything was done for me. Cast out into the challenging world, between life and death, I am unable to be still, to settle down for good, as I am always in between something or the other, between the past and the future, in the present, where I am compelled against my will.

The one we ultimately want to know is within, the very god one would worship yet casts without lest his peers crucify him for arrogance. He does not have to seek far afoot for clues to what he might find within himself nowadays if a great library is nearby, and then there is always Google Books. There I discovered curious old books about a Hungarian traveler and philologist by the name of Alexander Csoma de Koros, a name I had encountered long ago in a hardcopy of Arthur Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Idea.

During his Asian studies, Schopenhauer came across a story in the Tibetan Buddhism canon, the Kangyur (“Translation of the Word”) about a conversation the dying Buddha had with Brahma, wherein Buddha asked him if he had made the world. Brahma denied he had done so, and then asked Buddha if he knew who created the world. Buddha said the world is unreal, an illusion, empty, nothing. “Brahma, being instructed in his doctrine, becomes his follower.” Wherefore it would seem from that revolutionary moment that we are not of this world, that we must seek our origin elsewhere.

We learn from our virtual exploration that Csoma, born on the 4th of April 1784 in the village of Koros in Transylvania, “belongs to the rank of those noble minds who devote their lives unselfishly to a worthy, though apparently thankless object, yet in the pursuit of which nothing but death will stop their efforts.” He took up liberal studies, his favorite subjects being philology, geography, and history. He began in 1799 at Bethlen College at Nagyenyed (Aiud) in Transylvania, Romania, well known at the time for those courses, and remained for fifteen years. Besides the regular curriculum, his courses included Latin, Roman Literature, Greek and Logic, and he earned English, German, Romanian, and French as well, and some Turkish.

From 1816 to 1818, he studied at the University of Gottingen in Hanover, renowned for its lectures in public law, history, and the sciences. Its famed students would eventually include the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck among others. Csoma loved, most of all, the enormous library at Gottingen. Nationalism was in vogue at the time, wherefore the international students were enthusiastic about their respective nations. Besides, German scholars were exceedingly curious about the history, religions, and languages of Asia. Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Gottingen’s Professor of Oriental Languages, so-called founder of modern Old Testament criticism, whetted Csoma’s curiosity as to the origins of the Hungarian people, proposing they were from Western Turkey, beside the Caspian Sea, in what is now Turkmenistan.

Csoma found a goal at university. He could have had a comfortable ecclesiastical career in Hungary, but he determined to know the origin of his Szekler tribe of Hungarians settled in Transylvania. Many ethnic groups wanting an identity secured by their faraway roots were curious about their native origins with the rise of nationalism and the recent French Revolution, but Csoma’s curiosity was insatiable.

“As my parents were dead,” Csoma recounts, “and my only brother did not want my assistance, I resolved to leave my native country and to come towards the East, and by some means or other procuring subsistence, to devote my whole life to researches which may be afterwards useful to the learned world of Europe in general, and, in particular, may illustrate some obscure facts in our own history.”

He planned on traversing Persia and eventually going up the northern route of the old Silk Road to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, and on to Turkestan towards Mongolia. He set out from Bucharest, Romania, to Sofia, Bulgaria, and ventured to Constantinople, went down from there to Alexandria, Egypt, shipped up to Beirut, Lebanon, then headed to Aleppo and Mosul, Baghdad and Tehran, where he finally changed into Persian garb before proceeding to Baghdad and Kabul. He did not write much about his journey, as if it were a matter of course, except to mention his study of languages.

Instead of continuing north to Bukhara, fearing Russian troops in the northern area, he took the southern route of the Silk Road, and travelled with two Frenchmen he had met in Kabul. They paused at Lahore, India, before going to Kashmir, and on to Leh, the capital of Ladak, from whence he would have continued to Yarkant County in Xinjiang (Sin Kiang), China, bordering Mongolia, but he intended instead to return to Lahore because he believed to go on to China was too expensive and fraught with danger for a Christian. Along the way he met an English explorer and prominent East India official by the name William Moorcroft, who ventured to Leh with him. Moorcroft, by the way, was the first Englishman qualified as a veterinarian; what he coveted in his exploration was the hardy Turcoman horses made famous by Marco Polo five centuries prior. He found none, and died 1825 in Turkestan of a fever.

It was in Leh that Csoma diverged fatally from his original goal of travelling to the geographic origin of his presumably Hun tribe somewhere in China, Siberia or Mongolia. He had picked up a few languages that he expected would help him achieve his original goal of knowing more about where he believed his folk had come from: Slavonic, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Mogul, and Tibetan. He did not think of himself, however, as a mere linguist, but as a cosmopolitan who could fit in anywhere.

“I beg leave to confess that I am not merely a linguist—I have learnt several languages to learn polite literature, to enter into the cabinet of curiosity of remote ages, to acquire useful knowledge, and to live in every age and with every celebrated nation, as I do now with the British.”

Moorcroft was impressed with Csoma’s linguistic skills, particularly with his knowledge of Tibetan. Great Britain was naturally interested in civilizing remote parts of the world for economic exploitation, and there was Tibet just north to India, and to that end a dictionary of Tibetan would be more than useful, for Tibetan was the lingua franca of the educated in Buddhist countries and therefore learning Tibetan was a means of “penetrating” them.

The Tibetan language, however, is not directly related to the Hungarian, which is controversially said to be a ‘Finno-Ugric’ member of the ‘Uralic’ family of languages, a linguistic theory that denies the traditional Hungarian history of a Sumerian via Carpathian-Central Asia origin, the controversy being over whether or not ethnic Hungarians are basically barbarians instead of civilized Europeans due to their origin. Sino-Tibetan, in any case, is a primary language in its own right. The written Tibetan alphabet is derived from Sanskrit.

There is no evidence suggesting that Csoma himself found a relationship between the Tibetan language and the Hungarian language other than a word or two. An ancient Greek historian, Theophylaktes Simocatta, claimed that the Turks conquered the Ugar nation in 597 AD. Hungarian authors naturally noticed a similarity between “Ugar” and “Hungary,” not to mention “Hun.” The word “Hun” became, as we know, a foul epithet for “German” in the mouths of Churchill and Roosevelt during war against the Nazis. German researchers at one time proposed the Nordic origin of Hungarians and Germans, while the Hungarians looked towards Turkey and beyond, and the word “Turk” was a word for a wild robber or barbarian warrior wearing a helmet reminiscent of their view of a high mound or mountain in their original country, presumably in Mongolia or Siberia if not the Tibetan plateau. Csoma, as we know, had in mind the ancient nation of Kiang, i.e. Sin Kiang or Xinjiang in far Western China north of Tibet.

Suffice it to say that different folk have different strokes and that peoples believe they will know themselves better in comparison to other peoples, especially if the others are enemies with whom combat is waged to improve the moral fiber. That is, the human being may not need a particular identity but wants one anyway. No less than Hitler confessed in his talks that he did not really believe in the Nordic superhuman race, but it was convenient to propagate for popular consumption for people to identify with. Sympathetic anthropologists who went along with the myth also admitted that human beings are mongrels; there is no such thing as a pure race. Humans probably came out of Africa; some of them went to Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, and China, and some came back. DNA analysis of Hungarians indicates a mixture of origins including Uralic and Turkic and others.

The overall results remind one of today’s popular DNA analysis advertisements where a woman wears a peculiar ethnic hat because the high percentage of her DNA was associated with a particular country in Africa. Yet she may think she cannot really know herself until she actually goes to the spot where her ancestors had their being, so she makes reservations, say, for Uganda, where she will venture to the so-called cradle of humankind, Lake Victoria. What will she find—mosquitoes and old bones? Why are we so fascinated with history that we have become gravediggers? Why are we discontented? What are we looking for?

That being said, what would induce Csoma to delay his search for his origins in Turkestan, Mongolia and Siberia, and devote nearly ten productive years to the study of Tibetan? For one thing, he was a linguist, and here was an opportunity to be paid at his profession. A thorough study of Tibetan was related to his quest, for he hoped to eventually travel to Lhasa, “Place of The Gods,” and peruse the Dalai Lama’s grand library to research the history of the Huns and Mongols to find what he suspected, that his tribe of Hungarians had come down through Tibet with Attila the Hun. And, as “exceedingly indifferent” or modest as he was described by his acquaintances, he might make a name for himself assisting the advance of Western civilization; indeed, he bragged a little on his death bed in Darjeeling about the recognition of his accomplishments.

“For the first time since I had seen him,” reported Campbell, Superintendent of Darjeeling, “he this day showed how sensitive he was to the applause of the world, as a reward to his labors and privations. He went over the whole of his travels in Tibet with fluent rapidity, and in noticing each stage of the result of his studies, he mentioned the distinguished notice that had been accorded in Europe and India to the facts and doctrines brought to light by him. He seemed especially gratified with an editorial article by Prof. Wilson, in the Supplement to the Government Gazette of 9th July, 1829, which he produced, and bid me read; it related to the extreme hardships he had undergone while at the monastery of Zanskar, where with the thermometer below zero for more than four months, he was precluded by the severity of the weather from stirring out of a room nine feet square; yet in this situation he read from morning till evening without a fire, the ground forming his bed, and the walls of the building his protection against the rigors of the climate, and still he collected and arranged forty thousand words of the language of Tibet, and nearly completed his Dictionary and Grammar. Passing from this subject, he said, in a playful mood, “I will show you something very curious,” and he produced another number of Wilson’s paper of September 10th, 1827, and pointing to an editorial paragraph, desired me to read it first, and then hear the explanation….” (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol, ii, 1844)

Previous to meeting Moorcroft, Csoma had been living on a pittance as a virtual mendicant monk. Why not, thought Moorcroft after they met, contract to send Csoma to Western Tibet to compile a dictionary? Moorcroft obtained an initial funding of 200 rupees and a stipend of 50 rupees per month from the Government, arranged for an introduction to Sangye Puntsog, the Lama of Ladak. Wherefore Csoma went off with the lama to Yangla in the Zanskar District of Ladak, a part of the ancient Kingdom of Guge within what was Western Tibet, now North India. It was in Yangla that he, with the help of the lama, studied Tibetan literature in a small room in sub-zero weather without the benefit of a fire.

We doubt that the lama, whose evolved DNA would enable him to withstand cold and deprivation of oxygen, instructed Csoma in tumo, a magical technique that allows a carefully trained person to go about naked in subzero weather. Csoma’s reticence to tell traveler’s tales is regretted by occultists who wish he had recounted the paranormal events of his visit to what was then Western Tibet. If his lama, however, had in fact levitated off the floor, or had transported him to Lhasa by magical means and back, surely he would have related that in his papers. All we hear about is the painstaking, page-by-page documentation of records by candlelight in bitter cold.

“I arrived at Yangla, and from 20th June 1823 to 22d October 1824 I sojourned in Zanskar, the most south-western province of Ladak, where I applied myself to the Tibetan literature, assisted by the Lama. During my residence in Zanskar, by the able assistance of that intelligent man, I learned grammatically the language, and became acquainted with many literary treasures shut up in 320 large printed volumes, which are the basis of all Tibetan learning and religion. These volumes, divided in two classes, and each class containing other subdivisions, are all taken from Indian Sanskrit, and were translated into Tibetan. I caused to be copied the contents of these immense works.”

Among the canons he transcribed was an interesting biography of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha of the Shakya clan that is believed to have inhabited what is now Nepal, and an account of the rules followed by his male and female disciples regulating their attire, cleanliness, compassionate attitude, and the drugs they were allowed to carry and use. It is believed that Buddha himself was illiterate, so the religious canons were eventually developed by councils of learned monks after his death in memory of a charismatic man, who in reality was a rich prince sorely moved by the sight of suffering because it had been kept out of sight during his youth, resolved to find its causes to alleviate the effects, and did not intend to start a new religion, just as Luther in the West did not intend to found Protestantism.

Buddhists may protest that mundane view of Buddha, claiming that it amounts to a polite Western de-mystification by Christian missionaries of a divinely inspired being, depicting him as a humane hero in order place him beneath the divine Jesus. In any event, Europeans were keenly interested in Buddhism because its compassionate ideal and the notion that every human being has a potential savior or First-Buddha within reminded them of their Christian doctrines of love and the individual imitation of Jesus. Wherefore it was opined that Jesus visited India during the missing years of his biography, where he learned the Krishna lore and the heretical tenets of Buddhism, and that Buddhist monks had even influenced the Jews prior to the birth of Jesus the Christ, the world’s most famous Jew.

Csoma returned to Zanskar in 1826, stayed until 1831, and went on to Calcutta in 1832, where he reportedly delivered thirty volumes of Tibetan works he had collected. He settled in Calcutta for quite awhile, serving the Asiatic Society from 1837 to 1842 as librarian. Upon his death in 1842, his monetary effects included banknotes and government notes for 5,300 rupees, 224 rupees in coins, and 26 gold ducats.

Archibald Campbell, a surgeon with the Bengal Medical Service, attended to the dying Csoma. Campbell was the superintendent of Darjeeling, a sanitarium town for the British elite, at the time, and had been acquainted with him for several years. He is well known for the development of Darjeeling, including the gardens of a strain of tea he introduced, dubbed The Champagne of Teas. He had endeavored to assist Csoma with his mission before Csoma fell ill, and left within his Report of the death of Mr. Csoma de Koros, made to G. A. Bushby, Esq. Officiating Secretary, Political Department, from A. Campbell, Esq. Superintendent, Darjeeling, and communicated to the Society, an account of the virtual monk’s effects and intention.

Other than the money noted above, “His effects consisted of four boxes of books and papers, the suit of blue clothes which he always wore, and in which he died, a few shirts, and one cooking pot. His food was confined to tea, of which he was very fond, and plain boiled rice, of which he ate very little. 0n a mat on the floor, with a box of books on the four sides, he sat, ate, slept, and studied; never undressed at night, and rarely went out during the day. He never drank wine or spirits, or used tobacco or other stimulants.”

“All his hopes of attaining the object of the long and laborious search were centered in the discovery of the country of the ‘Yoogars.’ This land he believed to be to the east and north of Lassa and the province of Kham, and on the northern confines of China; to reach it was the goal of his most ardent wishes, and there he fully expected to find the tribes he had hitherto sought in vain.”

Csoma never set foot in the geographical origin of the Magyars, wherever that is, but he found some solace in life in the means or Journey to the goal of existence, the alpha and omega of things with innumerable names. Man is necessarily a goal-seeking animal. Some men are not satisfied with mundane goals. A nebulous, idealistic, unattainable goal has given many people hope for a better future if not immortality, and we witness numerous worldly achievements on the physical side roads, including several civilizations. It was either coincidence, or Jungian synchronicity, or divinely fated in the best of all possible worlds that Csoma was born a Hungarian and wound up sacrificing himself learning Tibetan culture from a lama in the vestiges of the ancient Kingdom of Guge, never making it to Lhasa, simply because in his youth he heard that Hungarians are Huns from back East.

The Tibetans themselves had a deep abiding interest in understanding the nature of human existence, why humans are born, where they come from and where they go. Csoma found some of their answers in Yangla. His room in the palace there is being restored and a solar school has been built for the children thanks to the endeavors of outside volunteers: Google Guge – The Lost Kingdom of Tibet, and Csoma’s Room Foundation, and related titles for fascinating YouTube videos.

Csoma, as mentioned, became familiar with the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism if not its tantric practices while compiling his Tibetan dictionary and living as a virtual monk with the assistance of Sangye Puntsog, whom he frequently referred to as “the lama.” The lama of Ladak was imminently qualified. He began his religious career at an early age as a novitiate in a monastery, and embarked on a six-year, 3,600 mile tour of monasteries in Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. At the palace of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa he learned the official administrative dialect. Back in Ladak, where he attended court functions, he was its highly respected chief doctor. He married the widow of the Prince of Yangla. He had a great library, and, besides medicine, was well versed in astronomy, poetry, linguistics, and the canon of Lamaism. It was said that he was an unusual lama for his breadth of education and open mindedness or lack of religious bigotry.

Some of Csoma’s essays of what had learned of Tibetan Buddhism at the time were published in the journal of Bengal Asiatic Society. We find there in his ‘Notices on Different Systems of Buddhism Extracted from Tibetan Authorities’ that the objective of the novice is Sangye, “the generic name for expressing the Supreme Being or the Supreme Intelligence in the Buddhist system. This word signifies ‘the most perfect Being,’ that is, pure and clean and free from all imperfections and abounding in all good qualities.”

“Sangye” means fully-eliminated ignorance, wisdom, i.e. buddhi, born again Buddha. This state is achieved by a compassionate bodhisattva who desires Buddha-hood, an enlightened one who would, once liberated, stay behind to free others from suffering by showing them how to eliminate its cause in attachment to desires except, it seems, except the desire for enlightenment.

Csoma quotes a verse, purportedly from a letter sent by Buddha to Ratnavali, a princess of Ceylon who begged the Buddha for wisdom, that he said sums up the entire doctrine of Tibetan Buddhism:

No vice is to be committed;

Virtue must be perfectly practiced;
Subdue entirely your desires.
This is the doctrine of Buddha.

Also included in the letter of instruction was this sloka:

Arise, commence a new course of life,
Turn to the religion of Buddha;
Conquer the host of the lord of death, the passions,
As an elephant subdues everything under his feet in a muddy lake.
Whoever has lived a pure life,
According to the precept of this law,
Shall be free from transmigration,
And shall put an end to all his miseries.

“The ten commandments (precepts) of Buddha are these:—I. Not to kill. 2. Not to steal. 3. Not to commit adultery. 4. Not to tell falsehood. 5. Not to use abusive language. 6. Not to speak nonsense. 7. Not to slander. 8. Not to be covetous. 9. Not to bear malice.10. Not to be stubborn in a wrong principle.”

He extracts sixteen rules from a work entitled Subashlta Eatna Nidhinama Shastra composed in a Tibetan monastery by Sakya Pandita, who flourished during the time of Genghis Khan and his successors. He may have suffered badly for taking the advice of a woman during that time.

“These sixteen rules should be added to the ten commandments of Buddha. 1. Reverence God; this is the first. 2. Exercise true religion; this is the second.3. Respect the learned.4. Pay honor to your parents. 5. Show respect unto superiors and to the aged. 6. Show good-heartedness to a friend.7. Be useful to your fellow-countrymen. 8. Be equitable and impartial. 9. Imitate excellent men.10. Know how to enjoy rightly your worldly goods and wealth. 11. Return kindness for kindness.12. Avoid fraud in measures and weights. 13. Be always impartial and without envy. 14. Do not listen to the advice of woman. 15. Be affable in speaking, and be prudent in discourse. 16. Be of high principles and of a generous mind.”

Csoma essays the adherents to Buddhism according to three vehicles, the three degrees of intelligence found in people.

“1. Men of a common capacity must believe that there is a God, that there is a future life, and that all will obtain, according to their deeds in this life, a reward hereafter. Those of common capacity are content with the observance of the Ten Commandments. Those of the first degree, seeing the miseries of those who, by virtue of the metempsychosis, suffer in the bad places of transmigration as beasts, &c, desire to be born again among men, or among angels, or among gods.

“2. Men of a middle degree of intellectual or moral capacity, in addition to the above doctrines, must understand that every compound thing is perishable; that there is no reality in things; that every imperfection causes suffering, and that deliverance from suffering, and eventually from bodily existence, is final beatitude. Those of the middle degree also endeavor to excel in morality, meditation, and wisdom. Those of the second class are not content with the lot of the former, and wish to be entirely delivered from all bodily existence.

3. Men of the highest capacities will know that between the body and the supreme soul nothing exists by itself, nor can we prove whether the supreme soul will continue forever, or absolutely cease; because everything exists by a casual concatenation. Those of the highest capacities practice, besides the above, the six transcendental virtues as well. The highest class, regarding existence, under whatever form, as suffering, crave for final emancipation, and by arriving at the supreme perfection, are enabled to assist others out of their miseries.”

Several devotional services are recommended:

“1. Take refuge only with Buddha. 2. Endeavor to arrive at the highest degree of perfection, and to be united with the Supreme Intelligence. 3. Adore Buddha. 4. Bring such offerings to Buddha’s image as are pleasing to any of the six senses. Such offerings are: flowers, garlands, incense, perfume, eatables and drinkables raw or prepared, cloths for garments or ornamentation, curtains, etc. 5. Practice music or singing, and to utter praises to Buddha, extolling his person, or his love and mercy towards all. 6. Confess one’s sins with a contrite heart, to ask forgiveness, and to repent sincerely. 7. Rejoice in the moral merits of all living beings. 8. Pray to those Buddhas who are now in the world, that they should teach religion, and not leave the earth but remain here for many ages, to come.”

Why does not Csoma dwell on the famous Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path? Well, numbered prescriptions for liberation were refined much later by the noble religious for popular consumption, mainly by the West, from literally hundreds of numbered truths and paths or theories and practices in Buddhist and Hindu literature, and these simple ones are enshrined in the West. The Truth is the theory, and the mundane path is the Practice or yoga of being Righteous.

Now, then, it appears that the end of existence is the end of suffering, and that “final emancipation” is a sort of virtual suicide or dissipation of egotism, yet we would like altruistic Buddhas to remain on the earth to liberate everyone else.

Of course the notion that human existence is unsatisfactory if not always suffering, and that we find its cause in our desires, not only desire for what we need to exist but the frivolities we crave and would even kill for, is nothing new, nor is the notion that the way to end the suffering is to somehow put an end to or transcend selfish desire by doing the right things or just knowing what the truth about suffering is, and maybe even becoming ascetic monks if that suits us. In sum, what we have in the Four Noble Truths is a logical formula or prescription:

We must know what the truth is, what can be done about it, and how that can be done. In other words, given the evidence that we suffer, we must to know what suffering is, what causes it, what will cure it, and what the exact remedy or process is.

To wit: 1. Suffering exists. 2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires. 3. Suffering ceases with the end of attachment to desires. 4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path of Right View, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration.

Gautama Buddha aka Siddhartha Gautama, whom some pundits count as the 28th Buddha, was reportedly counseled when young by one Arada Kalama, a follower of the atheistic Sankhya (“number”) philosophy, so-called for its numbered lists. A form of that wisdom is described as already very old in the tale of the great war of the Bharata clan occurring around 1400 BCE. The dualistic Sankhya theory is naturally based on observations of sexual reproduction and reflections thereon, the female role, which in India is active, being troublesome and even terrifying for males, the principle there being passive yet somehow enormously influential. Reasonable males have the privilege by virtue of superior strength to watch the hysterical proceedings of the female; indeed, they cannot take their eyes off her because she is beautiful hence blamed. The abstract partners, material nature and personal nature, would rather detach themselves and return to their original homes, but they are, as it were, in love with one another, and what is love of another but love for oneself? Their selfish desire causes their suffering. How can we go home to our principle, the Beginning, our Origin; our communal Cause?

We admit to the misogynist aspect from which equality is evolving. We would not return to two origins but to the One. Who is that One? It is the One to whom we trace back the evolution of humankind to the first being, namely Ma, or he who was drawn out of the womb. We call him Man. This philosophy is not really atheistic since Man is its unnamed god, and this original principle can be represented by totemic persons such as buddhas or enlightened ones and christs or anointed ones in whom it is incarnate, and, in fact, everyone has one within whether s/he knows it or not.

Wise men analyzed the situation, and proposed that the fact of existence is universal suffering, that emancipation would require cessation of the birthing process, which is perceived not as a transmigration of souls but as the reappearance on Earth of a fixed inventory of entities, and that, if an individual realizes the real nature of the difference between nature and persons, then interest in nature will be lost and the individual will be liberated. The ego or “I” must not stand in the way of the realization, wherefore it may be repeatedly said, “This ego is not me, it is not mine, I am not it,” until one is absolute one, or alone without qualities.

The Four Noble Truths are primary to the Theravada tradition, but secondary in the Mahayana strain of Buddhism from which the Vajray?na practices of Tibetan Buddhism is derived although not peculiar to Tibetan Buddhism. The so-called Hinayana school, purportedly a defunct element of the Theravada school, on the other hand, asserted that the self is non-existent or insubstantial hence the Truths do not apply for there is no real self to suffer. It was the so-called Voidism of the Hinayana school that caused it to fall into disrepute and even be disowned by Buddhists intent on saving a transcendent heaven as a place for immortal souls albeit indescribable because of the absurd merger of subject and object.

Yet common to Buddhism is a fundamental doctrine called pratityasamutpada i.e. dependent origination, a doctrine intimately related to the truths that all beings suffer. Everything is linked in a chain of twelve links that depend on hence suffer the rest; not one exists by itself so each is essentially nothing or empty without the others, and, besides, the chain itself is empty; break one link and the chain of suffering ends. Old age, disease and death follow birth, and birth is a becoming motivated by the will in which delusory passions abide, and wherefore covetousness and clinging to things touched because of desire, the outcome of feelings, which may be pleasant or unpleasant according to the intimacy of mind and body, and so on; wherefore to mitigate and eliminate suffering we may attend to, say, the pleasure link, to make sure we do not cling to pleasant things, nor would we shun unpleasant experiences, and so on. Furthermore, what we learn in this process we would not forget; forgetfulness is death and awareness is life.

Integral to the chain of suffering are the five skandhas, elemental bundles constituting the complex personality, which in itself is empty for the complex has no singular self or being; to wit: (1) physical form (2) feelings (3) perception (4) volitions (5) consciousness.

Priority in the Mahayana school is given to the notion of a blissful emptiness beyond description, attained by the Buddhist who becomes a compassionate Buddha, a bodhisattva who despite achieving nirvana, or liberation from suffering, self, birth and death, decides to stay around to save others from suffering because she or he is compassionate. That would be a spiritual leader, called a lama in Tibet, and we see that Tibet was a theocracy ruled by lamas with greater or less autonomy given Chinese influences until the Dalai Lama (big guru) fled and it became absolutely dominated by Communist China in 1959.

Again, the main philosophical doctrine of the Tibetan Buddhism that Csoma perused is that phenomena are inconceivably empty (sunya), that is, without substance or essence or independent existence because everything is interdependent. Just how empty or inconceivable emptiness is depends on your Tibetan school. That is, what seems to be empty of everything or nothing may not be absolute nothingness, but could be degrees of nothing made capital. Nonetheless, that the emptiness central to the religious aspects is indefinite and identifies Being with Nothing no matter how many different capitalized names are given to Nothing to glorify the emptiness, wherefore the associated rituals may appear to be apologia for nothingness, forms of nihilism or virtual suicide motivated by an instinct for death. Hopefully there “exists” an independent, transcendental realm for the salvation of immortal souls, and perhaps that realm may be populated according to imagination.

So it would seem that the essence of Buddhism, despite its cultural accretions, is atheistic, and that its relation to Hinduism, the catholic umbrella to many diverse sects, is revolutionary, notwithstanding the fact that Buddhism retains Hindu concepts and rhetoric, and that Hinduism is tolerant of personalist and impersonalists prejudices, for ‘god’ no matter its thousand names must be something or the other and not nothing at all. But perhaps this critique of the manner of dealing with the crisis of life is applicable to the theosophical world religions, that they are all, as Socrates said of philosophy as well, preparations for death, a return to our common Origin, the Home from whence we came.

The argument that we do not choose to be born into the world and then to die is denied by the doctrine of karma, which asserts that, once we are conscious of its workings, then a choice can be made to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death, and go to heaven for good unless we want to be nice and stay behind to help others meet their maker.

The idea that we have future lives to elevate ourselves excuses the miseries of the present life: hope springs eternal. Indeed, in the contemplation of death we detect the contrary to the fatal instinct, the erotic will to persist forever and ever without resistance, to be everything we can be within oneself, and, if immortality could be had without religions and gods, they would be dispensed with forthwith along with philosophies and their ethical tenets and moral codes. Tragically, no individual can exist as such without resistance to define it, so the baby would be tossed out with the bath water.

Now the Bhagavad Gita informs us that, even if this entity we call the soul is not imperishable, we should not grieve. If the “I” that seems to persevere is just a congeries, an incidental collection of habits or bundle of influences, why grieve for its disposition? Still, whatever it is, it is convenient for the time being to conceive of it as a singular entity, whatever name we use to that end in order that each one of us is responsible to our kind, and at the end of that time, or the time of times, so we shall go home again, relieved of whatever burden we may suffer. Of course there are those of us who find the very idea of the end insufferable, who love life so much they would rather be dragged out the door screaming and kicking than to go willingly into the darkness, and, if we are compassionate, we hope that in the end they will see the Light. Until then they too might heed the advice of buddhas not to cling too adamantly to what we shall lose in the final analysis.

As I said at the beginning, I am a frustrated nomad. No matter where I happen to live at the moment, I do not feel completely at home alone, all-one, at-one with myself, in the womb, where everything was done for me. Cast out into the challenging world, between life and death, I am unable to be still, to settle down for good, as I am always in between something or the other, between the past and the future, in the present, where I am compelled against my will. Yet, after making the preceding inquiry, I am not as frustrated. I no longer wonder, like Csoma, from whence my people came, for humanity is one, and what difference does it really make? I can look within myself for my home.

I wanted to go home again in and wound up in South Florida. The Dalai Lama visited South Florida in the wake of hurricanes to say that he did not know what existence is, and that he had showed up to smile and show his teeth to people who are miserable enough to want to go home again. In the wake of the destructive material whirlwinds, suffering was the Stick. Behind his smile was the Carrot.

If you find Tibetan has an exotic appeal, consider the awareness or rigpa of Dzogchen, the perfectly incorruptible, indivisible state of Being, the permanent essence without which nothing exists, in which you may lose your ephemeral personality and its delusory self-identity in relation to the objective world. That being or nothing made capital would be a version of nirvana, the Tibetan form being a griefless state. Do not be disappointed by the prevailing etymology of the word, that it means “blown out,” that your flame will be extinguished in nirvana. You may be pleased to know that nirvana may mean “not blown out,” that everything but the light itself shall be extinguished. Whether that light is singular or plural remains to be seen.

Contact the Dalai Lama or any bona fide spiritual master for more information about achieving that blissful state and what it would be like without your senses, perceptions and passions. Maybe there is no such heaven. Maybe you cannot go home again. Yet you may be happier on the road back to your beginning if you are god’s fool.

fa773-diamond

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Moving Judge Roy Moore’s Commandments Around

 
MOVING JUDGE MOORE’S TEN COMMANDMENTS
 
BY
 
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
 
 
 
Sept. 14, 2003

The scene outside the Alabama Judicial Building on August 27, 2003, as the two and one-half ton Ten Commandments shrine inside was moved to a back room pursuant to federal and state judicial decrees, was certainly moving, and any witness to it, no matter how calloused, could not help feeling some sympathy for the protestors.

Judge Roy Moore, without approval of the state authorities, had, in the middle of one night in 2001 of the Common Era, secretly inserted his mammoth shrine into the courthouse rotunda, and now the obtrusion had been almost miraculously whisked away on a hydraulic machine. Profound was the rage and grief of those who bore witness. One outraged man bawled through his cupped hands that the government was not going to take his Ten Commandments away from him; a woman sobbed and moaned hysterically as if she had just lost her best friend; several prayed silently on their knees; others laid on their bellies as flat as matzas and mumbled their prayers with lips touching the concrete pavement.

It was a sorrowful sight indeed. Your Humble Author is not a Christian but he respects Christians and he sympathizes too much with almost anyone who displays emotion. Surely something can be done to stop the flow of tears, to assuage the concerns of the children of god. Why not give each child a virtually indestructible wallet-sized replica of the Ten Commandments? That would be in keeping with the intention of the ancient prescription to post the commandments that they may be known to all. And the torah says they should be discussed every day too.

As for the courthouse display, it was definitely an intrusion of Chief Justice Moore’s ego which by constant public practice he had managed to elevate over his almighty superego. The shrine was attractive enough, but it seemed to push one religion over others. Perhaps it would not have been obscene if it had been placed around the rotunda with other religious legal accouterments, such as one of Asoka’s pillars inscribed with the Four Noble Truths – the pillar could be set on a granite elephant pedestal and have a golden Buddha sitting on its capital; a block from the Wailing Wall inscribed with the Shield of David – Moses’ Two Tablets could be hidden in an ark on top; a Koran in a glass case – a page to be turned each day; for the Vaisnava’s, a lingam inserted in a yoni – the lingam might glow in the dark; a mural of Yin and Yang generating Five Elements would be nice; a replica of the tablets found by the Mormon seekers would do; an abstract painting alluding to Nothing would suffice; – perhaps the Bill of Rights; – but enough of this, we get the picture, and we do not mean to slight anyone or leave them out, including good witches and religious atheists.

I respect Christians, and I therefore find occasion to show some respect for them here. We know who fought for religious freedom in the United States and built a wall between religious cults and secular state – Christians. Why? Because they were selfish and altruistic at the same time. Christians wanted their own cults and consciences, thank you very much, and they were reasonable enough in their spiritual foolishness to see that if each were to have their own, all must be secure from political interference as long as all abided by the same laws as every other corporation.

Take Roger Williams, for instance, who coined the phrase, “the wall of separation”, who said that there must be a “hedge of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.” There was no more opinionated man than Roger Williams, for, according to him, only his religious views were correct; nonetheless, if one is to have his views he must allow others to have theirs. That did not sit well with the Puritans of Massachusetts. In 1635 Williams was banished to England. He fled to Rhode Island instead and founded Providence. He was true to his word: he tolerated even the Quakers whom he despised. Rhode Island at the time was the most tolerable colony if you wanted a wide variety of religious liberty.

We learned about religious tolerance in grammar school some years ago, we can see where we are going with this theme: on to Madison and Jefferson. We do not want to regress to the colonial days we revolted against, the days of politically established religions with Old Testament laws: death for blasphemy; flogging for disrespecting ministers; whipping for not attending church; banishment; and much more. No, ma’am, no, sir, never. And that intolerance is what the Ten Commandments Judge reminds us of.

Everyone can have their commandments, whatever they are, inscribed on their circumcised hearts as far as this author is concerned, or referred to in context as part of our good heritage; but shoved on us under cover of night? Never. Of course many of us thank Judge Moore for making such a big scene for the individual liberty that put his individuality above all others. We need that every once in awhile so we can get a reading of what is going on behind the scenes in those chambers where judges have their conventicles. It appears that several of Judge Moore’s colleagues in Alabama are conservative Christian judges, and they just said no to him after he tore up the law. Good. But it is not over until the fat lady sings, so we should keep our eyes on those conservative judges and test them again from time to time. People have a way of getting things done without flaunting their religion.


xYx

 

 

 

 

The Gray Area Where Zarathustra’s Twins Meet

THE GRAY AREA WHERE ZARATHUSTRA’S TWINS MEET

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

We were glad for our freedom when we first heard the tidings about the difference between good and evil and about our power to choose between them.

“Hear ye all who come to inquire about the truth. We praise the wise one and we thank him for providing us a with a good mind in accord with the divine law firmly written in the heavens. Now listen to this truth and meditate upon it, that each man must decide for himself what he believes and choose accordingly. In the beginning two spirits, the best and the worst in thought, words, and deeds, proclaimed themselves. From these two, those of good knowledge chose aright, and those of evil knowledge did not. The two spirits created life and death and being and nothingness when they first came together. Certainly those who cloth themselves in the divine light of truth shall have the best life, and those who do not shall have the worst.”

Of course we knew which one we would choose – certainly not the evil one. At the very least we would avoid the appearance of impropriety and observe the first rule of rhetoric, that a speaker should never speak against himself. As Pufendorf one said, “Nay, there is no man who does not speak better than he either thinks or does.” Furthermore, Quintilian stated in his Institutes of Oratory, “Nor is there anyone so wicked that he would like to appear wicked.” But someone warned us about hypocrisy lest we deceive others or ourselves into believing we are better than we really are and lead people astray. We were adjured to tell the truth, for truth is the highest good of all; to wit: X. Then everything would fall into its right place and we would live happily ever after in harmony and peace. So far so good. But alas, although we abjured evil and avoided hypocrisy we somehow got our goods mixed up and found ourselves in a gloomy place, wandering about like dazed junkies in the gray field of asphodels. Where did we go wrong? Where are the blessed isles? Everything seemed so clear when we began, but somehow our progress was impeded and now we stand as confused as a hedged-in billy goat who cannot retreat or advance. Wherefore this confounded gray area?

It all seemed so simple at first. We saw the light at the end of the tunnel and we wanted it badly, but after we set out doubt was raised and certain questions were posed, such as “That which I ask thee tell me soon, lord, Which things are best? What, according to divine law, may enhance my district? … How can those to whom thy revelation is declared lose perfect devotion? … Who is holy or wicked among those of whom I inquire?”

Apparently the wise lord empowered us to answer these questions ourselves in order to save the world and perhaps the cosmos, so we gathered to discuss the issues and we were soon engaged in heated arguments. Perhaps we fell in with the wrong crowd, the liars and hypocrites. We would say demons, but nowadays daemons are all bad, and we do not like to demonize our colleagues. Nor do we have to. We understand that supernatural demons are to blame for our angry sessions.

“The assembled demons could not rightly choose between the two spirits, for as they were debating the Liar approached them and the demons rushed into wrath, polluting the spiritual life of mortal men.”

If the heretical truth were told about the two spirits, we might hold ourselves personally responsible for our plight and say that the two are fraternal twins fathered by mankind, and, that wherever one may be found, the other is bound to be. May heaven forbid it, for a lot of good that would do us with so many shady characters to contend with.

Forsooth we have found ourselves where heaven and hell meet, in the gray area. We feel that something is wrong as our indecisive friends (or are they foes?) pull down the shade on truth and justify their moral turpitude with turbid talk about the principles of chiaroscuro. To make matters murkier, the moment any one of us objects, he is called a hypocrite (we would say ‘she’, but we keep her pure, hoping she will save us from this depressing intercourse). Ironically, even those who insist that there is no such thing as either/or and who claim that anyone with an intolerance for ambiguity is a neurotic and a potential fanatic – they too feel there is something gravely wrong with our gray matter. If it were not for the asphodels, the absinthe, the music, the poetry, the prime numbers, and the injunction against beans, the tension would be unbearable.

Author’s Note:

I have paraphrased excerpts from Zarathustra’s Gathas.

The Great Atheism Controversy in Germany

ATHEISM resurrection of reasoning.JPG
The Resurrection of Greek Reason by Darwin Leon

 

THE GREAT ATHEISM CONTROVERSY IN GERMANY

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

German philosopher, religious thinker, and political radical, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, was accused of atheism. After being appointed professor of philosophy at Jena in 1794, he had begun a series of public lectures on Sundays, from ten to eleven o’clock, much to the consternation of the clerics. A local journal declaimed on Fichte’s revolutionary politics, accusing him of subversively substituting the worship of Reason for the worship of God.

That was a very serious charge in view of the situation over in Paris, where images of the savior and saints had been pulled down in churches renamed “Temples of Truth” and replaced with effigies of Reason and Liberty and paintings of natural objects such as flowers. Atheism was in vogue there to the extent that, if a priest bothered to even mention god in church, people openly guffawed.

Fichte, however, had no such mummery or cynicism in mind, although he was enthusiastic about some of the French Revolution’s basic principles, and he had written such tracts as “Reclamation of the Freedom of Thought from the Princes of Europe and Contributions Designed to Correct the Judgement of the Public on the French Revolution.”

The formal charge brought against Fichte, for worshiping Reason on Sunday, was resolved in his favor by the university senate of the Weimar government, with the proviso that any future lectures be given at three o’clock on Sunday afternoons instead of in the mornings. No such compromise was available however, in the matter of Atheismusstreit, the great Atheism Controversy which arose out of the publication of his 1798 essay on divine governance, “On the Basis of Our Belief in the Divine Governance of the World.”

The grand duke of Weimar had a liberal respect for scholarship, yet he wanted the whole thing hushed up; nevertheless, Fichte insisted on raising a vigorous public response to the anonymous charges against him, because, he said, the matter at hand was a vital public issue concerning the most fundamental of all freedoms. After all, a public airing of both sides of the atheism controversy would expose the stupidity of the authoritarian morons. Fichte had promised that he would resign if censured by the governing authority. As it were, he was mildly rebuked, but his offer to resign was accepted and he was dismissed from his university post. His dismissal was followed by anonymous public attacks on his character. The political authorities of various regions in Germany were embarrassed by the scandal, and they, in turn, ordered the journal publishing Fichte’s purportedly atheistic views confiscated, and they forbade students from their precincts to enroll at the university in Weimar.

What did Fichte say that outraged the anonymous religious authorities? In fine, he averred that god is the “World Moral Order.” That sufficed to outrage the theists.

Fichte thought that a person truly believes in god if he does his duty “gaily and without concern,” without fear or doubts about the consequences. A true believer is not afraid of the hateful hypocrites who go about casting anonymous aspersions on someone else’s version of faith.

As for the atheist, Fichte claimed that “the true atheist… raises his own counsel above god and thus raises himself to god’s position” by concerning himself with the consequences of doing his duty. The real atheist is a religious hypocrite who is concerned with what he can get out of his religion, the selfish person who does his duty concerned only with what is in it for him. As far as Fichte was concerned, doing one’s duty is imperative and not categorical, for duties by definition must be done regardless of the consequences. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about moral imperatives; for instance, the imperative not to lie: “You must not lie,” Fichte said, “even if the world were to go to pieces as a consequence.” So one should be willing to sign his own name to his beliefs and suffer the consequences therefor.

It may appear to the reader that, if the same good works are done, then the practical effects of selfish atheism and dutiful theism are the same, leaving the question of a person’s faith in god, which is really nobody else’s business. As long as the outward observances are dutifully observed, whether or not someone believes in god or not is between her and god. As for lying, the biggest lie of all is told by those who profess the existence of god but do not really believe god exists. If only people would start telling the truth about god, nation, party, family, and person, we would embrace our common humanity, in which pessimists believe a world war might break out.

Do not worry, advised Fichte, the truth will not cause the world go to pieces. If the truth is good for anything at all, surely it will keep the world intact. “The plan of its preservation could not possibly be based on a lie,” quoth he. Obviously, if god does exist, god is not a liar. Wherefore for Fichte, the moral world order that is god does not have to be proved; rather, it is the objective ground or presumed hypostasis necessary for certitude.

Fichte was not an atheist at all in the learned opinion of many great theologians who happened to be influenced by him. He was, one might say, an ethical pantheist who believed that god’s moral order or logos was present in every individual and available to each conscientious individual. That perspective naturally led bigoted dogmatists to charge Fichte with the mortal sin of deism, for intolerant bigots insist that deists are atheists. Deism affirms the existence of god and of rewards and punishments after death, and posits that each person aided by reason can discover the few simple truths of religion. Since god gives all normal humans reason, god’s doctrines are no secret; there are no specially anointed authorities who alone are able to understand and interpret god’s word. Conscience is a private matter. The deity winds up the universe like a clock and leaves us to do our duty or not. Finally, as to the form of worship, the deist worships god with good works. Deism, incidentally, was not unique to Europe; several founding fathers of the United States of America were democratically oriented deists.

The professors of stupidity charged Fichte with “making himself God” because of his reliance on reasoning rather than their irrational objective dogma. Fichte’s moral world order, however, was not the mundane mores of the mob or crowd, but was the real moral order of a supersensible realm where duty is not done for pleasure’s sake but for its own sake. His concept of Absolute Transcendental Idealism and the Absolute Ego or “I” smacked of heresy to bigots who wanted some godly object to idolize, a god of self-hate projected somewhere out there opposed to man and nature.

An object-god, say an imagined father-god who is out there somewhere, say in an imagined heaven, and who is opposed to man and to nature, is more of devil than a god. And it is for that reason that we should also be wary of Fichte’s absolute idealism, his apparent divorce of the subject (god and man) from the object (world and society). Furthermore, his idealistic con-fusion of god and man on the subjective side is dangerous, for an idealist who thinks his personal ideals are the one and only reality may dutifully be as intolerant as the religious bigot.

Indeed, an examination elsewhere of Fichte’s patriotic German utopia reveals a totalitarian dystopia. If he had known what we now know about the consequences of that line of thinking in World War instead of World Moral Order, he would not have been so enthusiastic about his German nationalism.

On the other hand, the wild, anarchistic hand as opposed to the totalitarian, heavy hand, we might admire Fichte for his assertion of the freedom of the will, the absolute freedom of thought and expression associated with the subjective nature of individualism.

In any event, Fichte was viciously and anonymously slandered by the professors of faith for expressing his conscience. The cowardice of the professors in remaining anonymous indicts their religion of ignorance, fear and hate. A profoundly faithful person rests secure in her faith; she is not pressed to prove the existence of her god; she certainly feels no need to make anonymous personal attacks on others. Naturally those who are insecure in forced faith fear that someone else’s reasoning might pull the rug called faith from beneath them, a rug laid on the shaky ground or shifting sands of their irrational fear, hence they respond anonymously unless they have a supporting mob; they answer with hate instead of love and would disallow any song except their own, desperately strident one.

College students conducting a recent study of hate-mongering cults were surprised by the loving friendliness the hate-cult members showed towards each other and towards new recruits. They love not the god of neighborly love piety raves about, for they condemn all to hell who do not agree with them. Surely this is not the worship of the god of love so many man-hating magpies chatter about in their assemblies, in churches, in neo-fascist meeting-places, but is rather the worship of hate itself. It is in effect hate-others-based group-love, a love based on fear.

Whether or not we like Fichte’s philosophy, the Great Atheism Controversy he was involved in, even though the atheism issue has grown increasingly moot since then, raises questions pertinent to our own time.

For instance, why would someone hide their name when expressing an opinion on an abstract subject unless they are terribly ashamed of their own existence expressed in words? Why are they so ashamed of themselves? Why do so many people hide behind false identities simply to insult people? And why do so many “religious people,” anonymously or not, resort to slander and libel, just as their forbears did about Fichte’s private life and sexual philosophy? Why, indeed, does their real god seem to be Satan, slander personified?

 

XYX

Goddess Kali in The Good Old Days

KALI Dice Ace

KALI IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Much has already been said about the long history of crimes against humanity perpetuated by the noble aristocrats sometimes referred to as ‘Aryans’. Still the nobles or “knowns” refuse to be convicted: they offer in their own defense the argument that the depredations of the barbaric oppression of mankind is of relatively recent origin.

In the Good Old Days, they say, the good old gods fought dark clouds, not dark people. Yes, they battled with primitive viciousness, not skin color. We are informed that ‘varna’ (caste) simply means distinction, not merely the distinctive colors, and that the original sources or authors did not discriminate in favor of any particular distinction of color, facial characteristic, and such, but merely explained, objectively, real differences by means of creation myths. We are rather amazed by the lack of prejudice in those Good Old Days even in comparison to our own, and in comparison to other parts of the primitive worlds where mother and child were eradicated if the newborn had some alien distinction.

Never mind that. In the Good Old Days, many races were Aryan, for the Aryan company was an equal opportunity employer. ‘Aryan’, we are informed, means ethically upright; it denotes the virtuous nobility, namely people known for their goodness, not for their slaughter of anyone who gets in the way. The term ‘Aryan’ may appertain to a language group, but it has nothing to do with race. Therefore the classical aristocratic conclusion follows any proposition that their conduct be regulated by civilized authority: oppressed peoples and races do not need better conditions or laws, they need better morals, they need family values, and so on.

As for the generally oppressed class, women, they were relatively free and certainly beloved in the Good Old Days. They had prolonged cataclysmic climaxes. Noble women, at least, had the benefit of leisure for education; they inherited property; they fought valiantly in battle with bows and arrows and they drove war chariots–one remarkable lady was provided with an iron leg after one of hers was severed in combat. Some women were even generals. Moreover, according to the ancient texts as interpreted, women were seers, poets, and priests; they chose their own husbands on the basis of love rather than wealth; and so forth.

The great black goddess Kali, wherever she appeared, was literally smeared with the bloody guilt projections of her aristocratic enemies. Although cosmic Kali shall not lose the war, she has lost many battles. For instance, her adherents were impressed by the Aryans into a caste (varna: color, distinction) that served to preserve the racial purity of the upper classes: “One occupation only the Lord prescribed for the Sudra, to meekly serve the other three castes.” (Code of Many) And, outcasts on the fringes, who had not been incorporated into the four castes yet, were the ‘Untouchables’ occupied with such duties as dung handling. Of course, the Aryan apologists proclaim their ancient respect for dung handling, noting their deep appreciation for its several virtues. For instance, they practiced scatomancy, or divination by dung: the smoke of dried dung as well as the steam from fresh dung was used to predict the weather; dung-smoke was also used to fumigate sacred precincts. But there is a dark side to scatology, as disgusting as it might seem, usually reserved to the lower classes: liquid fertilizer for the soul, the liquid strained from dung, was used as a sacred medicinal beverage; the eating of a yogi’s dung was particularly auspicious for his disciples; Krishna employed a mountain of dung called Govardhana, or Cow Prosperity, to shield people from from Indra’s wrath–Indra was angry because Krishna told them to worship the dung heaven instead of Indra.

The Good Old Days were not as golden as the Aryan apologists make them out to be as they pore over their Vedas. They have taken, for their own sake, the cosmic order out of order. The Golden Age does not precede the Dark Age; quite to the contrary: Kali Yuga precedes the Golden Age, which winds down again to another Kali Yuga. It appears to us that, following the horrible mistakes and misdeeds of the Aryan forefathers, in a count down from four legs of Truth to one (kali) leg, Divine Mother’s cyclical avenging aspect is now in effect. This is the Kali Yuga, or Black Age of manifold horrors, an age of holocausts and world wars, of ruthless competition and organized greed, culminating eventually in the virtual annihilation of the human race as we know it.

The alleged Good Old Days were actually days of Kali Yuga, thereafter continued unto our own day. Just as the lords of our fatherlands and the capitalists of our companies gamble with our lives and fortunes, so did the ancient Aryan gods play their awesome dice game for their domains, losing and winning entire kingdoms in the process, along with their friends, relatives, and their own personal freedoms. The unlucky die for the losers of the dice game was the ace in those days: the dead ‘one’, or ‘kali’, a black dot, or, depending on how the game was played, the unfortunate one left after the booty was evenly divided–the odd man out, or woman.

Alas for the hapless social person degraded to the status of a naked individual stripped of predicates; in our times, a mere statistical unit. A unit standing alone without companions in time and space is really a physical impossibility, for identity always requires relation. Personality needs a variety of relations. Personal relations during Kali Yuga are horrible, they are dissolving; therefore ‘kala’ (death) is sure to follow, A man during this age is as good as dead, reclining on the ground–in contemporary terms: a couch potato watching TV, a nerd surfacing the Internet, a corporate employees shuffling through his work like a zombie, a worm-like producer-consumer who does not know who he is, and so on.

Therefore the ‘Brahmanas’ say of the outcast ace, the unlucky die of the dice game, “Kali he becometh who lieth.” Yet all is not completely lost, for Kali has a positive face for the winner: Kali is the origin of time as well as its devourer, a mass compacted to an undifferentiated point ready to be manifested. So the Kali Yuga man, compacted by dissolving relations of the countdown of ages from four to one, can do his best to preserve his integrity during Kali Yuga by trying to reverse the cosmic order, which is a declining order. He is urged to arise on the count of two, stand on three, and get going on four, for “Evil is he who stayeth among men. Indra is the comrade of the wanderer.” In other words, “The fortune of him who sitteth also sitteth; but that of him who standeth standeth erect; that of him who reclineth lieth down; the fortune of him that moveth shall move indeed.”

Yes, perhaps conditions elsewhere might favor the person, or his chances might improve along the way, or even where he presently resides, if he can only get going. By way of example, consider the Roms, whose origin is India, often called “gypsies” because they convinced Europeans they had escaped the persecution of Christians in Egypt. They know that travel heals, and, if they are unable to travel when ill, they might sit in their parked cars for symptomatic relief. As it is today in Kali Yuga, so was it when the ‘Brahmanas’ were written: “All his sins disappear, slain by the toil of his journeying.”

Nonetheless, as much as we might accomplish in our attempt to reverse the cosmic order, it shall, in the end, prevail. For instance, where did 400,000 descendants of the true Aryan travelers, the Roms, wind up in our Kali Yuga, in our Iron Age? In Hitler’s ovens. Today only the vestiges of the wanderers’ culture survives the monstrous mechanical roller we call civilization.

Such collective misfortunes can cause an individual to curse the day he was born, to yearn for the womb, to worship death, to call upon his Divine Mother, Kali, the Black One, for eternal Peace.

-K-

Kali Yuga in The United States

Kali Wall Street Arrogance

 

KALI YUGA

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

We live in the Kali Yuga or Dark Age where Truth has only one leg to stand on. Such has been mankind’s fate for thousands of years and, according to bona fide spiritual masters, it will not end anytime soon in man-year terms. The classic conservative complaints voiced many centuries ago in India sound awfully familiar to our post-modern ears. Many of them were voiced during the Forest Exile as recorded in the MAHABHARATA.

Unfortunately, during our era of the Kali Yuga, we do not have the advantage of the forest as a viable alternative, especially now that the Central Park Service plans to prohibit hiking to save the endangered mosquito. Nevertheless, setting our own era aside for a moment, we shall paraphrase the ancient complaints.

First of all, since ladies come first in matters of courtesy if not in fact, it seems that wives no longer considered their husband to be gods, which is hardly surprising given the deplorable behavior of most husbands at the time. Indeed, women felt a definite aversion towards their husbands, whom they preferred to choose for themselves. Wives refused to obey their husbands’ commands, and verbally abused them with sharp tongues. The best of husbands were abandoned for the worst of men, even for menial servants. It appears that relations back then were based soley on sexual passion–oral sex was reportedly a favorite pastime, sex with juveniles was commonplace, and even bestiality was engaged in. Hordes of juvenile delinquents were therefore produced as a matter of promiscuous course.

Incidentally, Kali Yuga women resorted to sulking and weeping to get their way–how can men resist when severe sulking might result in the loss of wives by suicide? More generally speaking, it appears that women were addicted to lying to achieve their deviant ends. But perjury was not limited to the fair sex, nor were the dominant men to be outdone in any immoral domain. Patriarchs were addicted to lying and to illicit sex as well.

Furthermore, litigants were addicted to perjurY; perjury is most likely to succeed in Kali Yuga, so how can we moderns blame the old liars for the habit? Tax evasion ran rampant then; of course, taxes were exorbitant, so liars justified lying. Moreover, educators hid the truth under elaborate fabrications in order to maintain their false qualifications, citing ‘reason’ as their authority; nobody listened to them anyway, except to get a set of spurious credentials themselves.

In sum, Kali Yuga is an age where the right hand deceives the left and the left hand mirrors the right accordingly.

Now then, that might badly be, as vulgarity usually is, but what of the highest class of men, the holy men whose code of ethical conduct requires them to renounce ignorance and forswear addictive substances both physical and metaphysical? Well, they were too busy making a living to comply with the professed standards of their ilk, too busy pursuing wealth for themselves and their cults to attend to their essential duties. They had abandoned Truth, and Wisdom fled from them. They even neglected the required sacrifices to the Highest Good. They turned their universities of liberty into business schools. They served the most contemptible of interests under the badge of religious authority. In fact, the holy men began to serve their former servants and even to call them ‘sir’ (Arya)! Due to the degradation of the priestly class, religion become a synonym for hypocrisy.

Even worse, the lower classes were corrupted by bad example; for example, “Renouncing the gods (during Kali Yuga), men will worship bones and other relics deposited within walls.” And those dead things were replaced by other dead things such as ivory and gold. Yes, thing-worship, rather than worshipping the god represented by the thing, was the order of the day. Such a practice suits the Kali Yuga economics of unrestrained, unfair free trade. It embraces the all-consuming competition, the deceptive trade practices, the big-fish-eat-little-fish operations in the Sea of Terrors.

From the chaos of fear and greed, from growing animosity and mutual contempt, arises the organized greed of monopolies and other ghoulish corporations administered by zombies gorging themselves on the living dead. These outfits are horrible domains of violated and broken trusts, of rapaciousness responsible for the “destruction of gardens”, domains of cowardice, ignorance, unwitting slavery, and general viciousness led by gangs of Thugs.

Furthermore, according to our revered sources, in Kali Yuga people who thrive on bribery live long lives, having the best of care while honest people suffer and die for want of it. Even Soma, the nectar of the immortal Aryan gods, cannot relieve the silent suffering and quiet desperation of the dehumanized zombies. Of course, informed ‘Aryans’ insist that Soma was non-alcoholic in the good old days; however, Kali Yuga is an age of addiction to intoxicating substances. we suspect that, whatever Soma was, it better not show up today in a locker or urinalysis.

What we have thus far observed, the foregoing being merely paraphrases of the ancient texts, are symptoms of a general dissolution of society wherein moral authority is practically non-existent. Note well that friends and relatives are abused and neglected; the population is constantly shifting due to immigration and internal immobility; homelessness is widespread. Yet there is a global order to the dissolution, there is “one common order without distinctions.” Today we refer to Globalism.

Since the Kali Yuga still endures, the ancient texts serve as an indictment of our own deplorable state of bare existence devoid of spiritual inspiration. Many people are benumbed in the same bewitching Sea of Terrors. Most do their best to “adapt” and “adjust” to the “inevitable,” while the big shots throw the dice, just as their ancient Aryan precursors threw the dice, betting their kingdoms, relatives, and friends on the outcome. The small-fry gambling addicts are thrilled too, but the stakes must mount if they are to get a good fix.

A few men in positions of power, although they may not gamble much themselves, rather enjoy the view of the grand casino from their advantaged perches in the wings. For instance, on April 13, 2000, United States Senator Phil Gramm, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, testified rhapsodically that, as he strolled by Wall Street one day, he was awestruck by the sudden revelation that Wall Street is a “holy place.” He said Wall Street evoked in him a feeling of great reverence for the political-economic leadership of the United States. So let us bow our heads in humble adoration of our Great Nation as it rushes the New Economy into the New World Order, into, namely, Paradise. Indeed! Gamblers are certainly addicted to the constantly accelerating change of Kali Yuga: “change passeth over all things, and even over those who live through many yugas must change also,” declares the MAHABHARATA. Undoubtedly the good Republican senator from Texas sincerely adores the Wall Street casino where conservatives would invest the social security of their less fortunate constituents.

The Wall Street casino is a colossal amusement park with a debit-credit teeter-totter for everyone, not to mention that exhilarating roller-coaster rides. In this monstrous gambling hall everything swings grandly about the great central free-market deity who classically controls destiny with His Invisible Hand. There should be only a bare minimum of human regulation, just enough to maintain the ritual worship of the Lord’s majestic Invisible Dice-Hand, for anything more would result in “moral hazard”, the financial immorality caused by bad boys who think Big Daddy will bail them out of their losing positions.

Thus do we hysterically sail the economic Sea of Terrors. The Invisible Hand of the captains belongs to their Patriarch, the god of Chance. Unrestrained, all boats seem to rise with the mounting praise of the mammoth deity; each navigator has lost his true compass, however, and has gone stark raving mad on the ocean of false enthusiasm. Sooner or later the market bursts; the poor sailor realizes his boat is a capsized illusion as he drowns in a worthless sea of digits–the captain was the first to abandon ship. Only the house of mirrors remains standing for a while longer, yet it too is sailing into oblivion. When things are going well, the high priests will take full credit; but when fortunes fall precipitously, a fateful woman must blamed. Hail Kali!

Instead of wanting to invest the public fortune, our social security, in a ship destined to sink along with its most precious cargo, we might be better off placing our bets on Kali, Divine Mother of gods and heroes. For the paradise promised by the secular authorities is another version of Hell on Earth not only to professional pessimists, but to the masses who in quiet desperation constantly suffer under the yoke of Kali Yuga.

Honolulu 2000

 

Nothing and God by Jacob Böhme,

NOTHING Sebastian Ferreira
Art by Sebastian Ferreira

 

When you art gone forth wholly from the creature [human], and have become nothing to all that is nature and creature, then you are in that eternal one, which is God himself, and then you will perceive and feel the highest virtue of love. Also, that I said whoever findes it finds nothing and all things; that is also true, for he finds a supernatural, supersensual Abyss, having no ground, where there is no place to live in; and he finds also nothing that is like it, and therefore it may be compared to nothing, for it is deeper than anything, and is as nothing to all things, for it is not comprehensible; and because it is nothing, it is free from all things, and it is that only Good, which a man cannot express or utter what it is. But that I lastly said, he that finds it, finds all things, is also true; it has been the beginning of all things, and it rules all things. If you find it, you come into that ground from whence all things proceed, and wherein they subsist, and you are in it a king over all the works of God.
Böhme, Jakob, The Way to Christ 1623.