Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Hidden Messages In the Movie Avatar

The Hidden Messages In the Movie Avatar

I wonder when people post things on the internet bulletin boards and blogs if they ever read it first or if they just spell check it on the blog page and then approve and send. Most of them don't even seem to spell check. Some people obviously write things that take a few minutes instead of thinking about their selection and then just post it. I am learning alot through any new experience that relates to my life. Last night I went to see the movie "Avatar" for the second time. I have read alot about other people's feelings towards it but my experience with the Jains made me realise that they actually feel that way and I am sure that many relgions would like their members not to watch this movie, but I realised in watching it that I was told the same thing by the Jains.

When, in the movie, the Navi walked upon the ground, rocks, trees, etc. and that portion of the surface lit up I remembered our guide at the Jain Center saying that when you walk you kill things. They respect nature so much that they try to not harm any of it AND in all Buddhist, Hindu, Siek and several other Eastern Oriental Religions they believe that every person, animal, every speck of dust is connected. If you start to understand that THOSE PEOPLE make up the majority of the world, then Americans, especially Christian Americans who think ignorance of the world around them is bliss, are completely delusional and it isn't any wonder that the rest consider them the epitomy of selfish, self-centered, uncaring lames.

I am picturing military minded socially retarded egomaniacs like the Colonel in the story and Corporate evil entity of a selfish person. I am not one of those who tries to rationalize that a corporation is a person. That is like saying a cactus is a cactus needle.

Bodhisattva Vows

I am presently beginning to understand that the people in the twelve step program whom I am also a member of are really misguided to put it kindly. I understand the concepts and they understand HOW to make this work, but don't understand even closely why. There is something spiritual in the Universe that connects us together. There is an old proverb about the bodhisattva.
"...Three men are lost in the dessert and are hungry and dying of thirst. They have become dehydrated and are trying desparately to find water. They top the crest of a hill and see a well. The first man runs to the well as soon as he can, leans way over to drink and falls into the well and drowns. The second man tries to improve on the first man's approach but eventually falls in as well. The third man goes to find others who are thirsty to help them find a way to satisfy their thirst, and continues doing so for the rest of his life. Such is the life of the Bodhisattva."
Ancient texts tell all kinds of stories and parables but this touches on and explains the basis of spiritual principle. Why would each exalted master go on a pilgrimage to share the knowlege he has gained? Because he understands the idea that the best way to learn, not intellectually or on paper but to learn deep in one's innermost self is to teach the thing you are studying to someone else. In the Alcoholics Anonymous book we call the Big Book, there is a chapter entitled "Working With Others". The first sentence says, "PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." So much for that old line about, "You can't help anyone else unless you get help first." That is ALL WRONG, I get help BY helping other people, not in order to do so. But the therapy people want you to believe that if you don't pay them first, and be on prescribed medications, then you will never recover properly. I didn't get better until I started ignoring those people and just worked the 12 steps.
Most religious people are very judgemental and insist that you must fix yourself in order to be good enough to go before your God. You must bring yourself to your God and ask him to fix you. That is the higher power I know. The one people try to go back and borrow from religion "again" (I say that since most of them weren't able to stay sober while practicing relgious beliefs previous to coming to AA. The book itself says in Chapter Five, "How It Works" that "... Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help. ..." Also, the idea that Christianity was a big part of the Big Book is a falsehood. Earlier in the book, in the part about the second step, came to believe that a power greater than yourself could restore us to sanity." and it says, "... If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.
Lack of power, that was our dilemma. we had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?
Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. ..."

You may have noticed that the word "JESUS" was not found anywhere in this reading, in fact even mentioning religion drives alcoholics out of AA. That is why in the format of every meeting of twelve step programs, it says, "... We are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation, or institution." Even though that is said some members have started a campaign of trying to say that the big book was written from the sermon on the mount and other nonsense trying to ally AA with Christianity. This is an example of mixing outside issues with the real message. That is something from the fifth and sixth traditions of AA, which read: "...5.Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6.An AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
So, my contention takes this one step further. The whole Christian Ideology of lacking responsibility by saying "The Devil Made Me Do It", (the Flip Wilson defense) is NO WHERE IN THE BIG BOOK. Although it does say we need to be responsible for our own actions and that: "...invariably we find that at some time in the past, we made decisions based on self, which later placed us in a position to be hurt." According to what I read, that sounds like Karma to me.
NOW, the whole point is that helping others is also a necessary component of the Bodhisattva vow and seems to be the main principle of any REAL spiritual action. If you don't believe me, look at the Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul's, Mother Theresa, Father John Aquinas, etc. If caring about someone else's needs above your own is a disease (condependency) then all of those saintly people needed treatment, I suppose? Or did they find a better way. Don't try to make yourself good enough to go to your higher power, take yourself to that power and let it fix you while taking the spiritual actions.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Jains

Sunday, May 02, 2010 and decending by date;
Today I went to the Jain Temple in South Phoenix and came away from the experience AWED by what seems to be people who I can't help but respect. They are so non-violent that they don't eat anything that grows in the ground because it might kill something in order to dig it up. Their whole faith is built on non-violence and they even believe if you think it, you have already done harm that is part of your karma. We compared notes on the eightfold path and their precepts and they are pretty much the same. I am trying to register as a Jain Schollar and will read everything I can about them. I will write more later, I am tired and hungry right now.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010. The idea that anyone anywhere can understand all the things in the Universe makes me hesitant to believe anyone anywhere can know all that. We as human beings have a discovery to make that each of us have to make for ourselves. I have a friend whom I love dearly and is has been a real helpful force in my life but I hear him say things that worry me. He says things while talking about others like, "Then they launch into SGI speak." But then he says things like, "...enlightenment is happiness." When I know that is SGI speak, that bothers me. If being happy were a sign of enlightenment, explain how the guy who is mentally deranged, sitting in a mental hospital, tells us that he is happy after he just chopped someone's body up? How is the homeless wino who eats other people's garbage, sleeps on garbage, and has built a life around being surrounded by garbage happy? Some would tell us that is delusional. Isn't becoming happy just becoming delusional and believing that we are having a good time despite what else happens around us? I was also raised by people who, upon their death, some of my family members said, "They set the bar high for all of us...", and some people, like myself at times, sees that as NEVER BEING HAPPY WITH ANYTHING YOU DO. Because when it came to their closest friends and relatives, then never set a bar, they were just happy with whatever that person accomplished.
Let's look at what the divinely celebrated masters, the exalted honored ones, who said to us in writing or speeches what the true meaning of enlightenment is. The early founding fathers of this country had their own idea and collected the different parts of the definition down to a science. One of them, Peter Gay said: "The philosophy of the Enlightenment insisted on man's essential autonomy: man is responsible to himself, to his own rational interests, to his self-development, and, by an inescapable extension, to the welfare of his fellow man. For the philosophes, man was not a sinner, at least not by nature; human nature -- and this argument was subversive, in fact revolutionary, in their day -- is by origin good, or at least neutral. Despite the undeniable power of man's antisocial passions, therefore, the individual may hope for improvement through his own efforts -- through education, participation in politics, activity in behalf of reform, but not through prayer." [Peter Gay] More Later, Monday, May 3rd
From WikiPedia, the definition of Bhagavad Gita:
"...The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit भगवद्गीता, Bhagavad Gītā, "Song of God"), also more simply known as Gita, is a sacred Hindu scripture, considered among the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy. The Bhagavad Gita comprises roughly 700 verses, and is a part of the Mahabharata. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna, who is revered by Hindus as a manifestation of God himself, and is referred to within as Bhagavan, the Divine One.

The content of the Gita is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu theology and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Svayam Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring vision of His divine universal form.
The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniṣad, implying its having the status of an Upanishad, i.e. a Vedantic scripture. Since the Gita is drawn from the Mahabharata, it is classified as a Smṛiti text. However, those branches of Hinduism that give it the status of an Upanishad also consider it a śruti or "revealed" text. As it is taken to represent a summary of the Upanishadic teachings, it is also called "the Upanishad of the Upanishads". Another title is mokṣaśāstra, or "Scripture of Liberation".
Fundamentally, the Bhagavad Gita proposes that true enlightenment comes from growing beyond identification with the temporal ego, the 'False Self', the ephemeral world, so that one identifies with the truth of the immortal self, the absolute soul or Atman. Through detachment from the material sense of ego, the Yogi, or follower of a particular path of Yoga, is able to transcend his/her illusory mortality and attachment to the material world and enter the realm of the Supreme.
Krishna does not propose that the physical world must be forgotten or neglected. Rather, one's life on Earth must be lived in accordance with greater laws and truths, one must embrace one's temporal duties whilst remaining mindful of timeless reality, acting for the sake of service without consideration for the results thereof. Such a life would naturally lead towards stability, happiness and, ultimately, enlightenment. ..." And so enlightenment is, once again, inside us but we need to find the way to reach the inner awakening. And as Krishna and others pointed out, happiness is a level along the path to enlightenment.
So, in the Soka Gakkai dictionary of Buddhism, the definition of enlightenment is defined in twenty six manners, stating each stage of enlightenment. Being the picky kind of guy I am, I searched through all of them until I found "unsurpassed enlightenment" to go right to the most desired form and it says:
"...unsurpassed enlightenment
[無上菩提] (Skt anuttara-sambodhi; Jpn mujo-bodai )
Also, supreme enlightenment or supreme perfect enlightenment. The enlightenment of a Buddha. The Sanskrit anuttara means "unsurpassed." A Buddha's enlightenment is so called because it is the highest and supreme among all levels of awakening gained through Buddhist practice. Bodhisattvas make four vows when they first resolve to embark upon the Buddhist practice. These four vows are known as the four universal vows, one of which is to attain unsurpassed enlightenment. ..."
So, in all these definitions there is only one path, do you get the feeling sometimes that Buddha had a weird sense of humor or that people just didn't write everything down? The four Bodhisattva vows as stated on WikiPedia about the Zen Tradition are: "...
I vow to liberate all beings, without number 眾生無邊誓願度
I vow to uproot endless blind passions 煩惱無盡誓願斷
I vow to penetrate dharma gates beyond measure 法門無量誓願學
I vow to attain the way of the Buddha 佛道無上誓願成

And iin the Brahman tradition it says that Bodhisattvas are not to do these things:
"... Not to kill any living creature
Not to steal anything
Not to engage in any form of sexual misconduct
Not to lie or use false speech
Not to consume or distribute intoxicants
Not to discuss the faults and misdeeds that occur by any Buddhist
Not to praise oneself or disparage others
Not to be stingy or abusive towards those in need
Not to harbor anger or resentment or encourage others to be angry
Not to criticise or slander the Three Jewels

And if anyoone doesn't remember the three jewels, they are the spiritual entities that we "take refuge in".
1) The Buddha
2) The Dharma
3) The Sangha (the community)