Tag Archives | Religion

Tantra, Martial Arts, and The Metaphysics of Pain

From the the Christian image of the crucifixion to statues of a skeletal Buddha, pain and suffering, and pushing beyond them, have been perennial themes in religion and spirituality. Both in the East and West — from the samurai to Freemasonry — practitioners have contemplated their own mortality, as part of their practices, reorienting themselves away from trivial personal concerns and toward, to borrow a term from the East, the “Way.”

Yet, today, we are increasingly concerned with comfort and security. Even spirituality itself is repackaged to reassure rather than to challenge practitioners. Offering rare insight, Craig Williams, author of Tantric Physics Vol I: Cave of the Numinous, elaborates on pain and its lessons in the martial arts and Tantra:

samurai

“Pain is one of the keys to unlock man’s innermost being as well as the world,” wrote Ernst Junger. “Whenever one approaches the points where man proves himself to be equal or superior to pain, one gains access to the sources of his power and the secret hidden behind his dominion.

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The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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Death Is The Road To Awe: The Art of Joseph McVetty.

Visions Of The Reverend Mother, 35''x46'' Latex paint, gouache, and pencil on paper.

Visions Of The Reverend Mother, 35”x46” Latex paint, gouache, and pencil on paper.

Joseph McVetty is an artist and illustrator living and working in Portland, Oregon. The masked participants of these drawings are acting out communal rituals involving new age occult signifiers such as crystals, chakras, energy fields, levitation, and conjuring. Each drawing aims to evoke the feelings associated with the cultish, drop-out supernaturalism, and homespun magic.

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You Can’t Really Dust For Vomit

SFO

Thursday

5am:
I slept in.

I’m just now shuffling up all zombie-like to the bullet-proof glass window to slide my five “tip” thru the metal tray to Sammy in exchange for 137’s key and medallion. I’m still feeling the generic brand nighttime cough syrup that I’ve been abusing to put myself down at my prescribed 8pm bedtime. My head is fuzzy still.

I passed 137, my regular Prius, en route to the window and noted that her windows are all down. Bad omen. Are we talking vomit?

5:05am:
I’m done with the window and cordial niceties with Sammy, the new-ish office worker that Citizen’s Cab poached from Arrow. Sammy and I have finally gotten a groove on it seems. But he’s a little out of it this morning, complaining about some serious bruising due to a boating accident over unspecified body parts that he promises I do not want to see.

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“God Is Not A Christian. Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu” – Desmond Tutu

"Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001" by Libris Förlag - mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Desmond Tutu 2013-10-23 001” by Libris Förlag – mynewsdesk. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Via Real Leaders:

In this exclusive interview with Real Leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and social rights activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says he is not threatened by the beliefs of others. He believes the world should become more aware of our shared humanity to avoid future conflicts.

You represent a very specific world view, Christianity, yet have managed to mediate between opposing belief systems and make people aware of their common humanity. How have you managed this? 

It doesn’t matter where we worship or what we call God; there is only one, inter-dependent human family. We are born for goodness, to love – free of prejudice. All of us, without exception. There is greater commonality in our belief systems than we tend to credit, a golden thread expressed in the maxim that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. 

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Exposing Australia’s Ex-Gay Conversion “Therapy” — Survivors Speak Out

Over at news.com.au, Rohan Smith interviews three victims of ex-gay therapy treatments. Here’s Anthony Venn-Brown’s story:

ANTHONY Venn-Brown was a desperate man in 1971.

Then just 20 years old, he arrived on the doorstep of the Assemblies of God church in Auckland convinced he had found his salvation.

For the early part of his life, Venn-Brown fought off temptation. But he needed help. Unfortunately, he sought it in the misguided preachings of two men who convinced him he was harbouring the devil.

“I’d heard frightening stories about people screaming, contorting and frothing at the mouth when devils were cast out of them but whatever it took to get rid of these terrible thoughts I wanted to do it,” he said.

Venn-Brown told news.com.au he “genuinely believed the exorcism would work”.

“I wanted so desperately to feel normal that I was willing to try anything.”

For two hours, the pastors stood over him and shouted at the devil to show itself.

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Romeyn de Hooghe: Hieroglyphica — Symbols of Ancient People

hieroglyphicaofm00hoog_0013

EGYPT-CHALDEAN-HYROGLYPHIC-SYMBOL-Romeyn de Hooghe-1735 Plate 2 dealing with Egyption and Chaldean Hyroglyphics and symbols, This plate shows: A. Pilars of Seth. B. Pyramid. C. King, nimrod with the crown of the Chadeans. D. Chaldean high priest. E. Fire god. F. Wisdom, Philosophy. G. Wise men, Seres. H. The bull Amunx or the ox Apis. I. Laziness. K. Bestiality, brutality. L. Lazy owl. M. Cain, primitive stubborn.

Hieroglyphica, of, Merkbeelden der oude volkeren : namentlyk Egyptenaren, Chaldeeuwen, Feniciers, Joden, Grieken, Romeynen, enz.

Translation: Hyroglyphics or symbols of ancient people: namely Egyptians , Chaldeans , Phoenicians, Jews , Greeks, Romeynen , etc.

By Romeyn de Hooghe, edited by Arn. Henr. Westerhovius and published in Amsterdam by Joris van der Oude, 1735.

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In the Beginning there were Simple Chemicals – New Evidence on the Origins of Life

Via Phys.org:

In the beginning, there were simple chemicals. And they produced amino acids that eventually became the proteins necessary to create single cells. And the single cells became plants and animals. Recent research is revealing how the primordial soup created the amino acid building blocks, and there is widespread scientific consensus on the evolution from the first cell into plants and animals. But it’s still a mystery how the building blocks were first assembled into the proteins that formed the machinery of all cells. Now, two long-time University of North Carolina scientists – Richard Wolfenden, PhD, and Charles Carter, PhD – have shed new light on the transition from building blocks into life some 4 billion years ago.

“Our work shows that the close linkage between the of amino acids, the , and protein folding was likely essential from the beginning, long before large, sophisticated molecules arrived on the scene,” said Carter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

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Sean Kramer on Project Bring Me to Life

Selomon and Shantastic Shine interview Sean Kramer for episode #49 of the Project Bring Me to Life Podcast:

Sean lived as a monk and hermit for nearly 20 years. He teaches classes on world religions, philosophy, fairy tales, the Bible, Asian art and culture, art history.

In this episode of the podcast we get his story of how he met a monk and traveled to the monastery and eventually became a monk. He speaks about experiences, what they wore, and what it was like living as a monk.

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Morality requires a god, whether you’re religious or not

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Moral commands are the commands of a unique, external, eternal agent. Chris JL

Gerald K Harrison, Massey University

I have no religious convictions. I am, or try to be, a man of reason, not of faith. Nevertheless, I believe a few simple arguments demonstrate that morality requires a god.

Take moral commands. It is trivially true that a moral command is a command. A command is a command, right? It is also true that commands (real ones, rather than apparent or metaphorical ones) are always the commands of an agent, a mind with beliefs and desires. My chair cannot command me to sit in it. And commands cannot issue themselves. It follows that moral commands are the commands of an agent or agents.

Many philosophers maintain that moral commands are commands of reason. They are right, I think. But the point still stands. Reason’s commands are commands. Therefore, reason’s commands are the commands of an agent or agents.… Read the rest

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