Tag Archives: pantheism

Five common realities – introduction


The quest for “Who are you” in the form of a “survey into our existence” is a contemporary Odyssey with 17 stages. At the end, we will look back on our journey. We will notice that everything is fulfilled in one sigh.

Before we resume our Odyssey by entering the world of everyday life, we will give a brief summary of the journey so far.

At the first stage you and I have experienced the perfect oneness from where we travelled via “Solipsism”, “The universe is but a dream”, “Pantheism” and “Indra’s net” to the second stage.

indras-net2[1]

At the second stage the perfect oneness is disintegrated after the initial division of air and earth [2] in innumerable particles. Also you and I were completely disintegrated in an awful lot minimal particles. After a first organisation within these particles we – the main characters Carla Drift, Man Leben and Narrator – returned in human form on our earth after an immense long time.

Atomen[3]

At the third stage, we saw how mutual trust and reciprocal connectedness between people was realised and perpetuated by placing “people, objects, offerings and the word in the middle” between people and/or between the mutual uncertainty and people.

kroning van karel de grote[4]

As preparation for the continuation of our Odyssey – in which we will enter everyday life – there followed an interlude and afterwards the three main characters described each other’s biography. The report of the first part of our Odyssey and the three biographies are available on the website of the Publisher.

carla drift VK

VK1Carla Drift - een buitenbeentje voorkantNarrator-Nordic1

Narrator_one_way

During the second part of our Odyssey we will visit the following five common realities as stages for everyday life, because these points of view provide a good impression of human daily experience:

o Facts and logic

o Intensities and associations

o Void

o Change

o Interconnectedness

Do these five common realities offer everything we need on our quest for “Who are you?” [5]. We once read that:

“If you use the five common realities in a correct way, then you are completely included in the perfect universe. Do you use this accesses in a wrong way, then you will stay a mortal being.” [6]

At the end of these common realities we will look back to see if we still are normal mortals and/or if we are included in the perfect universe.

[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[2] According to Genesis 1:1 – the first book of Old Testament – God created/separated the sky and earth at the beginning of time. The Hebrew verb core “bara” in the Hebrew version of Genesis 1:1 has four meanings: “creation”, “cleave”, “selection” and “feed”.  Source: http://www.qbible.com/hebrew-old-testament/genesis/1.html

In the Western translations of the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, the word “shamayim” is translated as “Heaven”. Probably “sky” or “firmament” is a better translation for the Hebrew word “shamayim”. See also: http://www.qbible.com/hebrew-old-testament/genesis/1.html and http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/35_home.html and Benner, Jeff A.A Mechanical Translation of the Book of Genesis – The Hebrew text literally translated word for word. 2007

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom

[4] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne

[5] According Buddhism, the five skandhas provide everything that we need for our spiritual development. See also: Origo, Jan van, Who are you – a survey into our existence –part 1. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012 p. 172 – 183

[6] Source: The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra. San Francisco: Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2002, p. 381 – 382. Remark: “Buddha–use” and “Store enveloping consciousness” are rendered by your Narrator as “perfect universe”.

Man Leben – interview 4


The previous interview was about love in your life. In this post I continue with some questions about the last surprise in your life.

“In the last part of your life you are involved in Oriental wisdom. In the description of your life you refer indirectly to a form of enlightenment. Aren’t you enlightened? “, I ask.

“Everything is enlightened. Nothing, not even the tiniest particle is excluded. Everything in all its natural forms is perfectly enlightened”, you say.

“Also all greed, all crimes, all murders, all illusions, all nonsense and vanity?”, I ask.

“Enlightenment is as natural as inhaling and exhaling whereby inhaling and exhaling are manifestations of enlightenment. We have experienced a glimpse of the complete enlightenment on our Odyssey when we have arrived on the peninsula at the end of the afternoon at the stage “Two – night at the beginning of the spring” [1] after a long day walking. The following morning at six o’clock we have seen the sunrise in the East at the beginning of spring. That afternoon we have washed ourselves in the water at the peninsula, we dried ourselves and put on clean clothes and then we have gathered wood for a small fire in an old tin. This is free rendering of the summary of the Diamond Sutra that directly reflects enlightenment [2]. The real summary is “evam” [3] – the first word of this sutra in Sanskrit – or in English “thus”. Every action, every word and every breath is completely enlightenment. The photo of the sunflowers in the header of this weblog “Who are you” is quite  appropriate. Every sunflower seed on this picture includes the entire universe perfectly and completely”, you say.

“Where do arise all crimes, all murders, all delusions, all greed, all nonsense and vanity?”, I ask.

“In stage One in the post on pantheism, we have encountered “Indra’s net” [4] as metaphor for the entire universe. Indra’s net [5] is in the Huayan school of Buddhism [6] a metaphor for everything, for enlightenment and also for illusions and delusions. If a glass pearl in the net represents an illusion or a delusion, this illusion or delusion is reflected by all other glass pearls in the net. If a glass pearl is enlightened, the enlightenment is reflected in all other pearls. Or if we translate this metaphor to our daily lives, if greed and crime are in our lives, then this affects everything and everyone; and if a person or thing is enlightened, then this enlightenment reflects on everything and everyone in the universe. Or practical, if we stick to possession, or sin against the ten commandments, then these actions affect the entire universe; and if we carefully share possession and perform appropriate action and non-action, then this is reflected in everything and everyone. Hence the Buddhist encouragement – work hard and show compassion with everything and everyone; exclude nothing and nobody”, you say.

[7]

“I can follow the reasoning. I will reconsider this metaphor. On our Odyssey we will encounter sufficient challenges. Many books on Buddhism describe the experience of enlightenment. Have you personally experienced enlightenment?”, I ask.

“You mean the experience to be included in everything and everyone in all its manifestations. I don’t know how, but if I look back then this has always been my basic attitude, also if I was blinded by love, anger or sadness. I can describe it clearer since I have read in a book that for an enlightened mind there is no difference between the finger pointing at the Moon and the Moon. In the same way there is no difference between the waves and the ocean [8]. Before, I have often mentioned as example in meditation meetings that the finger pointing to the moon may not be confused with the moon. After I have read this passage, it is suddenly clear that the manifestations “the finger”, “the Moon” and “the thoughts about these” are mutual perfectly connected. Everything and everyone are natural manifestations of this”, you say.

“For me, your description of “the fate of humans determines that we may sit between changing fires and ashes” and “the blossom growing from dust to dust” is pretty distressing and painful. Maybe the description of my life will clarify this beauty and distress. Do you try to live as a Buddha or as a Bodhisattva as described in the Avatamsaka sutra [9]“, I ask.

[10]

“I am not a Saint. I look forward to the description of your life and of Narrator and then the continuation of our Odyssey”, you say.

“May I bundle the posts about your life together with an introduction and a conclusion in a biography?”, I ask.

“If it will be published after my death”, you say.

In the following post I tell about the beginning of my life


[1] See post: “Two – Night at the beginning of spring” of 25 April 2011

[2] See: Red Pine (Bill Porter), The Diamond Sutra. New York: Counterpoint, 2001 p. 39.

[3] See: Lopez – The Heart Sutra explained. 1990 p 34; “The commentary Vajrapâņi has high praise for the word Evam (thus), the word with which sūtras begin. Those four letters are the source of the 84.000 doctrines taught by the Buddha and are the basis of all marvels.”

See Red Pine (Bill Porter) – The Diamond Sutra. 2001 p 41-42; “Commentaries have written volumes on the profundity of evam (thus). Does it mean “like so”, or does it mean “just so”? And what is the difference? Is this sutra the finger that points to the moon, or is it the moon itself?”

See: Holstein, Alexander- Pointing at the Moon. 1993 p 49; in the enlightened mind of a Zen master, probably, there is no distinction what the ordinary mind calls “to point at” and “the moon”. To the enlightened mind, the relation between the two is similar to the relation of an ocean to its waves.

[4] See post: “One – Pantheism – Indra’s net” of 8 April 2011

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huayan_school

[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[8] Source: Holstein, Alexander. Pointing at the Moon. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1993, p. 49

[9] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatamsaka_Sutra

[10] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi

Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Sacrifice


In the previous post, we have entered two meditation rooms. The first room is the Mark Rothko Chapel in Houston. The other meditation room is everywhere and always present.

Now you and I consider the sacrifice as “object in the middle”. For this we look at the last part of the movie “Offret” or “The Sacrifice” by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1986.

[1]

Before we start watching this part of the movie, we read first several introductions and reflections on this film. We start with “The sealed time” [2]: reflections on the cinema by Andrei Tarkovsky.

“The sealed time” is also a good name for the interior of the Mark Rothko Chapel”, you say.

In these reflections Andrei Tarkovsky writes: “The protagonist of the film” Offret ” is meant as a weak personality. No hero, but a thinker and an honest person who is able to sacrifice for a higher ideal. If the situation requires, he does not back and tries to leave the act of sacrifice to someone else. He faces not being understood by others and to be seen as destructive and desperate. He exceeds the permissible limit of normal behavior by which he is seen as insane, because he feels bound to the fate of all mankind. He only responds to the call of his heart. He is not master of fate, but only servant. His efforts remain unnoticed and misunderstood, but do contribute to the harmony of the world.[3]

“Do you recognize yourself in this description?” I ask.

“With shame. I often follow my own way and I have neglected other people unnecessarily”, you say.

“Who does not?” I say.

“Saints?”, you say

“We both aren’t,” I say.

In the afterword to these considerations Andrei Tarkovsky writes: “Throughout history ideologues and politicians have shown people “the only right way” that can save the world. To partake in this salvation the individual should – according to ideologues, politicians and/or society – give up all own ideas in order to channel all energy to the proposed rescue. For this progress, that has to safeguard the future of humanity, the individual sacrifices his inner life. His personality is lost in following this ideal. Because mankind thinks of the interests of all, it forgets its own personal interest as Christ preaches: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This means: “Love yourself so much that you respect the divine principle in yourself, the suprapersonal that prohibits selfishness and obliges you to give yourself to others unconditionally, loyalty to yourself from the I as a personal centre of life.” [4] [5]

“This requires a major balancing act between self-interest – in which the world is reflected – and sacrifices for others – whereby each sacrifice for another is a sacrifice to yourself”, you say.

“Somewhere I read that a beggar and a benefactor show compassion for each other by an offering. The beggar gives the benefactor the opportunity to demonstrate compassion and the benefactor shows compassion with another expression of his own life”, I say.

“To give offerings in an unconditional manner, we still have a long way to go. Andrei Tarkovsky describes a first step towards a Buddhist bodhisattva [6]. The ideal of salvation and the unconditional offerings to others is present. Only the efforts and the ways to achieve one’s own perfection before the bodhisattva encourages others to prepare for enlightenment, lacks”, you say.

“Within mahâyâna [7] Buddhism enlightenment is only possible for everyone at the same time. The metaphor of Indra’s Net shows this. First one’s own glass bead has to be prepares for enlightenment. Thereafter, all other glass beads have to be able to enter enlightenment. If one glass bead is illuminated, all other pearls are also lit: no jewel within Indra’s Net is left behind, because otherwise the dust on one non-enlightened jewel reflects on all”, I say.

“Absolutely. Because the protagonist is not clear in his mind, he cannot save the world. If he does so, he remains behind with his faults and is at least one small part of the world that is not saved. Hereby the protagonist is not a bodhisattva, but a tragic hero”, you say.

“He cannot be a classic tragic hero, because he believes in a God who may grant him salvation,” I say.

“Later on our Odyssey, we will encounter enlightenment again. You and I share the same shortcomings as the protagonist in the film. I hope we are able to see a glimpse of the enlightenment. Odysseus has been tied to the mast of his ship in the vicinity of the Sirens. The ears of his crew were filled with wax to prevent noticing the seductive sounds. This reasoning is not sound, anyway”, you say.

“Let us watch the movie”, I say.

The last film of Andrei Tarkovsky – finished shortly before his death – begins with the monologue by the father – Alexander – to his son who will not speak during the entire movie due to a throat disease: “A long ago, an old monk named Pamve was in an Orthodox monastery. He has planted a dead tree. His pupil – named Ivan Kolvo – may give water to the tree every day. Every morning he climbs with a full bucket of water uphill and gives water to the dead trunk. On one day after three years, the tree blooms with full blossom [8]. Every action has its consequence. If you perform undisturbed at the same time every day the same ritual, the world will change irrevocably. [9]

“My mother once put a dead stick on the ground outside to the wall. After several months, the stick has rooted”, you say.

[10]

During the film a threat of a war develops that will destroy everything and everyone. Under this pressure, the main character – Alexander – goes to his study. He kneels on the ground and does something he never has done before. He prays: “Lord, save us in this fearful hour. Do not let my children and friends die, my wife, everyone who loves and believes in you. And those who do not believe in you because they are blind and have not given thoughts to you because they have not really been unhappy. Anyone who will lose his hopes now, his future his life and the opportunity to be guided by your word. Those who are filled with fear and feel the end is nearing. Who do not fear for themselves but for their neighbours. For those who nobody else can save but you. Because this war is the last, a terrible war. After this there will be no victors and vanquished any more. No towns and villages, trees and grass. No water in the springs or birds in the sky. I give you everything I own. I leave my family that I love. I destroy my house and take away my son. I will remain silent and talk to nobody. I renounce all that binds me to this life. If you only ensure that everything is as it was. And I am freed from that deadly, unbearable, animal fear. Lord, help me. I will do what I promised.”

The next morning, the threat is disappeared. Alexander sticks to his word and lures all the residents to the seaside before putting the house on fire. All his possessions are on fire. He sacrifices his soul for his neighbours and the world. He is retrieved by an ambulance for admission to a mental institution.

[11]

“This sacrifice is not only a sacrifice of the protagonist. It is also a sacrifice made by his family and friends. Without any direct say, they lose Alexander, their house and possessions. Can a sacrifice be a real sacrifice when innocent people involved “[12], you ask.

While the ambulance passes, the son is ready to water the dead tree with full buckets of water. The Aria “Erbarme dich“ from St. Matthew Passion begins.

“Erbarme dich,
Mein Gott,
Um meiner want Zahren
Schaue here
Herz und Auge weint vor dir
Bitterlich.”
[13]

The son looks at the crown of the tree and says his only words during the film: “In the beginning is the word [14]. Why Father? “.

At the appearance of the text mentioning that the film is dedicated to the son of Andrei Tarkovsky – with hope and consolation, the crown of the tree seems to bloom.

“The son makes three sacrifices. He loses his father because his father sticks to his word and to God’s word. He makes his second sacrifice by continuously giving water to the tree and bringing this tree back to life. By the third sacrifice he remain silent throughout the film. Fully justified the son asks his father – and God – why his father must keep his word”, you say.

“For me this is a film of hope, because the last film by Andrei Tarkovsky is dedicated to his son with hope and consolation. At the end of this film, the light gives bloom to the tree of life. The life of his father – now a dry tree, because he has stopped acting – becomes a tree of life for the son by means of water. The son does not need any words for his sacrifices; his life, his actions and his knowledge precedes all words”, I say.

“A great enhancement of my impressions. Tarkovsky transcends “the sealed time” with this end of his last film”, you say.

[15]

The next post is about the Lamb of God as sacrifice.


[1] Source image: front of DVD-cover of the Swedish version of the film “Offret”.

[2] Tarkovski, Andrei, Sculpting in Time – Reflections on the Cinema. 1989

[3] Tarkovski, Andrei, De verzegelde tijd – Beschouwingen over de filmkunst. Pagina 203.

[4] Tarkovski, Andrei, De verzegelde tijd – Beschouwingen over de filmkunst. Pagina 207 – 208.

[5] For consideration: Indra’s Net as metaphor; see also: “Indra’s net” in post “Introduction: One – Pantheism – Indra’s net” of 8th April 2011

[6] The word bodhisattva consists of two words “bodhi” and “sattva” meaning “perfect knowledge, wisdom” and “being, conscience, living being” in Sanskrit. The school of mahâyâna buddhism knows the bodhisattva ideal. According to this ideal a human who is on the verge of enlightenment – named bodhisattva, will refrain of entering until the complete universe and every particle is capable to enter enlightment. In the meantime a bodhisattva will prepare everyone and everything for enlightenment.

[7] Mahâyâna means “large vehicle”. All and everyone is enclosed in this large vehicle, no particle is excluded.

[8] See also the post of 2nd of April 2011 “Introduction One – Blossom.”

[9] See also the posts of 24th en 27th March 2011 on rituels.

[10] Source image: http://www.jaapnoordzij.nl/credo/2010/09/offret-het-offer.html

[11] Source image: http://www.discordance.fr/top-5-les-meilleurs-epilogues-du-cinema-27740/1_offret

[12] Source: Fanu, Mark Le, The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky. London: BFI Publishing, 1987, page 125

[13] Aria from the St. Matthew Passion by the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Translation: “Have mercy, my God, regarding my tears, look at me, heart and eyes weep for you bitterly.”

[14] See also: Opening of the Gospel of St. John from the New Testament.

[15] Source image: http://www.elitisti.net/artikkeli/2005/02/004308/offret_1986_uhri.html

Introduction: One – Pantheism – Indra’s net


On our way to the movie “Powers of Ten” by Charles and Ray Eames, you and I encounter a beautiful world. It looks like a beautiful glass palace where everything – as tiny glass jewels – reflects in each other and with each other. The image below shows an enlargement of a tiny part of this world.

[1]

Suddenly we recognize this glass palace from descriptions in books: this looks like “Indra’s Net” [2]. We are fully enclosed in this world; you and I and this world are one and perfectly reflected in each other[3]. But we arrive at the outer skirt “One”. Although everything is reflected in everything, independency is emerging between the particles. You and I will give an impression of Indra’s net.

Indra’s net is an infinite grid, which is very finely woven. It is transparent – empty – full of infinite and transparent and reflective glass beads that shine into each other. Each glass pearl or jewel is infinitely small and shines its  divine [4] beauty. This splendid world appears – by its dazzling jewels – the pinnacle of pantheism. But by the complete consistency of the net, this world completely transcends pantheism.

First, a static description of the net. The jewels are in constant connection with each other, as each jewel is reflected in all the other jewels. All other jewels are also reflected in one jewel. One jewel is the entire network because the entire network is reflected in this single jewel, and this single jewel is seen by all other jewels. One single jewel is the network, and all the other jewels are shaping this single juwel.

Now comes the magic: the net just starts to move. If one jewel starts moving, the complete net is moving and changing. If the entire net vibrates, the single jewel vibrates accordingly. Because each individual jewel twinkles with all other jewels, change is a constant perfection. The whole network vibrates in and with itself. Each jewel is playing its game and it shapes the net. All jewels are playing their game and they shape every single jewel. Each jewel constitutes all and all jewels form each single jewel. “One” is the entire network and “One” is every single glass pearl in the net. Between one glass jewel and the whole network is still no distinction.

We continue through this beautiful world and approach stage “Two” on our Odyssey. A forerunner of initial clustering of the glass jewels is gradually unfolding. You and I and everything around us, start to cluster. The image below shows a schematic and static display of this clustering. In chapter two we will encounter the first primal rupture and the further divisions that will disintegrate everything as crackled.

[5]

In the next post we will – as promised – look at the 10 minute film of Charles and Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten “of 1968.


[1] Source image: http://www.lawsofbrahman.com/myphotogallery/index.php/Pictures-of-the-Angelic-Knowledge-Volume-1/Indras-Net

[2] See also: Cook, Francis, Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra

[3] See also: Cleary, Thomas, The Flower Ornament Scripture, a Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Boston: Shambhala, 1993 p 363. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, particles within Indra’s net have compassion, feelings and needs. They are aware of anger, joy, knowledge and ignorance. They can make everything within their reach happy. Indra’s net can be healthy and ill.

[4] The word “Deus” for God is derived from the root “div”, meaning “shine, increase, rejoice” in Sanskrit. Source: elektronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[5] Source image: http://www.calresco.org/wp/indra.jpg

Introduction: One – Pantheism


You and I will make a detour to the third classic named “Pantheism”. Pantheism is quite similar to Polytheism, because both forms of religion recognize and acknowledge many gods . The major difference between the two religions is, that in Polytheism there is a separation between the believers – in our case mankind – and the gods, whereas in Pantheism the believer – or the subject of religion – coincides with the gods or the divine. A pantheist sees himself and everything around him as a god, or as a part of god; or any item – thing or living being – is seen as divine. Retrieval of the god or gods is not necessary, even as coming to terms with the god or gods, as the reality – and therefore also individual – is identical with God. Making a covenant with God and seeking the favours of God are also superfluous.

Do you and I regard ourselves as a god or gods? Currently not, pride comes before a fall and we still have a long journey to go. On our Odyssey you and I will probably encounter various forms of Pantheism. An example of this is the hubris of rulers who allow themselves to be worshipped by believers/people, e.g.:

  • the Pharaohs or
  • the Chinese emperors who have portrayed themselves around 500 AD Chr. as Buddhas[1].

[2]

Other (secondary) forms of pantheism are ancient stones or special places in the landscape that are honoured. By the Catholic Church, these places are often adapted and incorporated into the Christian faith as field crosses[3].

[4]

This concludes our detour along the three classics.

The next post is a transition between “One” and the next stage “Two” on our Odyssey. We will watch the 10-minutes movie “Powers of Ten” made by Ray and Charles Eames in 1968, which will place you and me on a picnic place. We will travel to the borders of the universe, where-from we will return to the smallest particle and again return to the picnic place.


[1] See also: Porter, Bill, Zen Baggage, Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009, p. 39

[3] See also: Robb, Graham, The discovery of France. London: Picador, 2007

[4] Source photo: Marieke Grijpink