Your Truth, Their Truth

Today’s Affirmation:

I am transforming judgment into understanding. I am the source of change in my life, in my group, and in this world.

intolerance_collageHow you see the world is really a matter of perspective. Your absolute conviction in the truth as you see it, can be absolutely rejected by the next person with the same absolute conviction. When these views collide conflict often ensues. That is, when we insist upon our way or no way.

The fact is that we are beings living in a world that none of us completely understands. We can hide that fact beneath layers of belief in some ideology, religion, or even scientific certainty. The fact remains; we never have all the facts to pass the judgment we are often too ready to pass upon others.

In a world being shrunk by technology and proliferating civilization ending weapons, we might be wise to take stock. Given our permanent state of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, we should think about giving the other guy a break.

This can be as simple as, “live and let live.” You don’t have to agree with the other person. You don’t have to endorse their behavior. You simply have to understand that you can never completely understand his or her perspective and he or she can never completely understand yours.

Narrow-mindedness and tribal group-think were luxuries humanity has lived with, despite the brutal consequences, throughout its history. We have reached the point now where it is about to the break budget for our survival on this planet.

Saddest of all, there are forces on this planet who have powerful control over information outlets and government who thrive and profit by stirring the conflict that generates wars and foments hatred. They have played the masses like a fiddle to keep us divided and powerless. For our world to take the next steps, the people must see the manipulators for who they are and negate their ability to lead us around by our collective noses.

The alternative, should we persist in our unwillingness to take this approach in world affairs, is the destruction of us all. Who will be right then?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” We are a world in desperate need of a new level of thinking. We need a level of thinking that is not so sure of our group’s perfection and the other group’s evil. We need a level of thinking that sees people as the human beings they are and not subhumans summed up by the term “them”.

We have the power to change our perspective and mend our ways. We can and we must! We have it within us to say, “enough”. It all begins with “live and let live”. Until we are willing to do it, we walk on dangerous precipices.

Back in 2003, I wrote the following simple dialogue between a student and his teacher to illustrate this point to a friend during a discussion. I used a non-human thing to take the emotion out of it and help focus on the concept.

Student: Master, why do people not seek truth?

Master: People do seek truth, but they confuse personal truth with universal truth.

Student: Master, what is the difference?

Master: Do you see the rock over there?

Student: Yes, Master, I see the rock.

Master: How are you different from the rock?

Student: Master, I have intelligence and wisdom. I can change and grow. I offer more value to the world than the rock.

Master: So you are more important than the rock?

Student: Yes, Master, I believe I am.

Master: What do you think the rock thinks of you? Do you think the rock sees its place in the universe as more important than yours?

Student: Perhaps, Master, but that is the rock’s point of view.

Master: Ahh, your truth puts you at the center of the universe. The rock’s truth puts it at the center of the universe. WHOSE TRUTH IS CORRECT?

Student: Master, I know not.

Master: When you have attained universal truth you will no longer be concerned with my question. You and the rock will live in harmony rather than conflict; he with his truth and you with yours.

Stay inspired! Live your truth and allow others to live theirs.

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorHe is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. This trilogy takes Ancient Aliens out of the past and into the present. An interstellar, interdimensional journey ensues with humanity’s future hanging in the balance.

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Dhammapada Twin Verses – The Affirmation Spot for Friday July 11, 2008

The world we live in is full of promise, threat, and opportunity. As you look beneath the surface, you begin to understand that none of us is safe unless all of us are safe. None of us is free until each of us is free.

The challenges we face are of our own making and the solutions are within us. As Albert Einstein once said, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”

This is true on both the micro and macro levels. We need new thinking, better thinking. We need to empower ourselves and move in the direction of a bottom up world promoting individuality and decentralization. Top down and centralization approaches are not working. Violence is not working. Hatred is not working. Division is not working.

Interestingly, one of the most masterful expressions of this point of view is over 2500 years old.

The Buddhist Dhammapada is a book of collected sayings attributed to Buddha. The first chapter usually called Twin Verses says, in part, the following.

  1. We are the result of our thoughts. Our present thoughts create our future life. Our life is created by our mind. If a person speaks or acts with a mind grounded in fear suffering will follow him as surely as summer follows spring.
  2. We are the result of our thoughts. Our present thoughts create our future life. Our life is created by our mind. If a person speaks or acts with a mind grounded in love happiness will follow him as surely as his shadow never leaves him.
  3. ‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hate or find peace within.
  4. ‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell not on such thoughts shall be free from hate and find peace within.
  5. For hate only feeds on itself; but love overcomes hate. This is an Eternal Law.
  6. Few know that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony. Those who become aware of this cease their quarrels immediately.

We need a fresh reality. It begins with our thoughts. We need to think about what our thoughts create when they ripple out into the larger pond that is our world. To do otherwise, leaves us more susceptible to the threatening aspects of our world and less able to access the promise and the opportunity.

The good news is we get to choose.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Dictionary of Human Behavior – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday March 13, 2008

Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. What do you think? Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgDownload 2 Affirmations, Get 1 Free!

Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free.There are no limits! Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a peaceful place to be.”
Download an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


I hesitated greatly before deciding to post today’s article. The dictionary is a bit – but only a bit – tongue-in-cheek. My analysis is dire, but hopeful. I try to keep this blog positive. I want people to find in it place they can come every day to be inspired, englightened, or reminded how special they are.

Sometimes, however, light comes along with heat. Satire is a tool for awakening. And so, I present a dictionary of words that might differ slightly from the definitions you’ll find in Webster’s or at Dictionary.com. Unfortunately, these definitions are,  all too often, closer to the truth.

You may find yourself chuckling because it describes someone you know or even you at times. Actually, it describes all of us sometimes.

What I’d ask you, make that implore you, to think about as you read these is whether a world in our current situation can long survive while so many still embody these definitions? The weapons of mass destruction genie is out of the bottle. The choices we continue to make in our own self-interests on this planet are very soon to have consequences, if we do not mend our ways and our fences.Omar Bradley

General Omar Bradley
once said,

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.”

We need to be quickly about the business of reversing that trend. So, read, laugh, enjoy, and think today.









Dictionary of Human Behavior

  • Evidence – a set of facts neatly arranged and carefully worded to support your  point of view.
  • Proof – “independent” verification of  your evidence by those who share your point of view.
  • Truth – the set of evidence and proof you are not willing to part with no matter how much evidence and proof others presents to counter it.
  • Lies – the label given to any evidence or proof contradicts or disagrees with your point of view.
  • Traitor – the label given to others who present legitimate reasons why your point of view may not be valid. The label is a last resort to silence them.
  • Peace – a beautiful, but ultimately, impossible dream shared by children and the naive.
  • Naive – people who just can’t understand why we must kill all of them because they are a threat to the world. 
  • Hypocrisy – a word used to describe how they don’t live up to their principles without requiring a careful evaluation of how closely you live up to yours.
  • Sinner – the practicioners of any system (political, religious, or otherwise) that does not precisely conform to your point of view.
  • Evil – a label used to describe the practicioners of other systems used to rally support among us for attacking them.
  • Nuclear war – 1) a war making use of highly destructive devices designed with the extinction of your opponent in mind. 2) The unthinking person’s answer to every world problem as in, “We should just nuke’em.” 
  • Enemy – see Them.
  • Me – the center of the universe where all truth resides. An individual ego structure that gives  you the unalienable right to believe that your nation, religion, political system, culture, family, needs, wants, or dreams are of more value than those of others on the planet simply because they are yours.
  • Us – we (as opposed to them) those who look, think, believe, and were, by fate, born in the same place as you. A group ego structure confident of its complete and eternal superiority to them. A group thus blessed because of its good fortune to have had you born in it or join it.
  • Them – see Enemy. Those who look, think, believe, and were, by fate, born some place different than you. They are lesser than us and should conform to our world view of the world or face the destruction they deserve.
  • Religion – an institution invoking God as the final arbiter to prove the superiority of everything about you and us over the inferiority of everything about them.
  • Politics – an instrument used for implementing your point of view as the official policy of a political entity up to and including the entire world.
  • Justice – the justified act of exacting revenge upon them by us as redress for a real or perceived wrong.
  • Murder – the unjustified act of exacting revenge upon us by them as redress for a real or perceived wrong.

Now, I can already sense fingers starting to rise and point at the opposition and the words, “BUT, THEY…” forming on your lips. Fine. That is working well for us. Let’s keep it up. In another generation or two (maybe sooner), that should have us and them nose to nose ready to unleash nuclear, biological, or chemical war on each other.

General Bradley has another famous quote that is applicable here, “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the sermon on the mount.” Was he right or was he wrong?

There are four camps that allow this situation to persist and put all of us in peril. Keep in mind that both them and us have all of these factions.

  1. Profiteers – those who profit from the global war economy and see profit as superior to an end to human suffering.
  2. Partisans – those who really, honestly believe that our problems will be solved by killing all of them.
  3. Moral High Grounders – by far the largest group, these are the enablers of the first two groups. It usually derives some benefit from the status quo (economic, political, or spiritual).  This group recognizes the problem I’m describing but sees no options. This group doesn’t really think peace is possible. It has really bought into the idea that they get up in the morning with nothing more on their minds than to hurt us. We have no option but defend ourselves. However, this group sticks to the moral high ground that, “We will put our weapons down and stop killing them right after they put their weapons down and stop killing us.”
  4. Activists this is the small group of people in every society who recognize the precipice we dance upon.  This group speaks and acts to wake the other three groups. This group goes by names like reformer, protestor, social commentator, poet, prophet, sage, writer, radical. Generally, they are people ridiculed by the status quo for daring to challenge it. Others are discouraged from joining or thinking such blaphemous thoughts about the established order.

Albert EinsteinAlbert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”

The U.S., China, or Russia cannot solve these problems by adding another $100 billion to their “defense” budgets and engage in a “surge” to solve these problems. This problem is not just caused by “Muslim extremists”, “American imperialism”, or “UN inaction”.

It is a crisis, as it has been from the beginning, of the human heart. It is a crisis created because our fears are bigger than our dreams. It is a crisis driven by the belief that killing each other is simpler than co-existing and respecting. It is a crisis that will only be solved by thinking at a level beyond the thinking that created it.

The stakes for the planet and for our species are huge! We are facing change or extinction – plain and simple. The problems are large, but the promise that lies within each human heart dwarfs them. The cumulitive promise of 6 billion human hearts is incalculable.

I know only this, in closing, if 6 billion people decided today that we wanted a different world. We would have it in an instant. Why shouldn’t we?

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose – An Update

Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. What do you think? Please click here to comment on today’s blog.


Big March MP3 Affirmation Sale!

Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free. There are no limits! You can download 20 and get 10 free. Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“Achievement. It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”
Download the audio version of this affirmation set to music from The Affirmation Spot.



213frkycoul__aa_sl110_.jpgAs many of you have probably noticed the past couple of weeks, my wife and I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s new book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

The book is the latest Oprah’s Book Club selection. She thought so much of this book that she put together a 10-week global interactive webinar to share it with the world. The live webinar takes place each Monday night at 9 p.m. eastern, 8 p.m. central. In between classes, people can work on personalized workbooks and discuss the class online. 

April and I registered for the class that started last night. We’ve been reading the book together. Right now we’re on chapter 3. Based on what I’ve read so far, I heartily recommend this book. If you are far along on your spiritual path, this book is going to remind you of some very important things that you may have forgotten or overlooked. If your journey is just beginning, this book provides a great foundation.

Last night during the live webcast there were a lot of questions from Oprah’s Christian fans about whether this book is “new agey” and fits with their Christian outlook. Several Christians gave testimonials as to how the book was strengthening and deepening their faith.

Eckhart Tolle, the author, provided some fantastic insight into the issue for Christians or others concerned about how the book meshes with their faith. Obviously, these are decisions that each believer must make for himself or herself.

The book is outstanding. Week one of the webcast was wonderful (with the exception of some technical issues). This morning the report on Oprah’s website was that 500,000 people were logged in simultaneously last night making it the largest single event in the history of the Internet. Oprah reported on her show yesterday that people from 139 countries had registered for the course.

The bandwidth (for those of you not familiar with how the Internet works, this is huge) was pushing 242 Gbps. That caused some technical issues. They are working to get the issue corrected for next Monday night’s session.

 It’s Not Too Late

It’s not too late to become part of this historic global webinar and get the benefits of the author’s insights as you read the book. Last night’s  first session can be downloaded to day from either Oprah.com or iTunes.

You can also still register for the webinar at on the registration page at Oprah.com.

Be peaceful Be positive!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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Truth: A Matter of Perspective – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 25, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)




Download a free mp3 affirmation from The Affirmation Spot.com.



Today’s affirmation is:

“I am transforming judgment into understanding. I am the source of change in my life, in my group, and in this world.”

mushroom_cloud.jpgHow you see the world is really a matter of perspective.  Your absolute conviction in the truth as you see it, can be absolutely rejected by the next person with the same absolute conviction. When these views collide conflict often ensues. That is, when we insist upon our way or no way.

The fact is that we are beings living in a world that none of us completely understands. We can hide that fact beneath layers of belief in some ideology, religion, or even scientific certainty. The fact remains; we never have all the facts to pass the judgment we are often too ready to pass upon others.

In a world being shrunk by technology and proliferating civilization ending weapons, we might be wise to take stock. Given our permanent state of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, we should think about giving the other guy a break.

This can be as simple as, “live and let live.” You don’t have to agree with the other person. You don’t have to endorse their behavior. You simply have to understand that you can never completely understand his or her perspective and he or she can never completely understand yours.

The world watched this week as Slavic nationalism was stoked by the declaration of independence in Kosovo. Turkey has become emboldened to start a low-grade war with the Kurds in Iraq. We have the ever-present monotheistic struggle for dominance in the middle east. The problem shows itself everywhere.

Narrow-mindedness and tribal group-think were luxuries humanity has lived with, despite the brutal consequences, throughout its history. We have reached the point now where it is about to the break budget for our survival on this planet.

Saddest of all, there are forces on this planet who have powerful control over information outlets and government who thrive and profit by stirring the conflict that generates wars and foments hatred. They have played the masses like a fiddle to keep us divided and powerless. For our world to take the next steps, the people must see the manipulators for who they are and negate their ability to lead us around by our collective noses.

The alternative, should we persist in our unwillingness to take this approach in world affairs, is the destruction of us all. Who will be right then?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” We are a world in desperate need of a new level of thinking. We need a level of thinking that is not so sure of our group’s perfection and the other group’s evil. We need a level of thinking that sees people as the human beings they are and not subhumans summed up by the term “them”.

We have the power to change our perspective and mend our ways. We can and we must! We have it within us to say, “enough”. It all begins with “live and let live”. Until we are willing to do it, we walk on dangerous precipices.

Back in 2003, I wrote the following simple dialogue between a student and his teacher to illustrate this point to a friend during a discussion. I used a non-human thing to take the emotion out of it and help focus on the concept.

Student: Master, why do people not seek truth?

Master: People do seek truth, but they confuse personal truth with universal truth.

Student: Master, what is the difference?

Master: Do you see the rock over there?

Student: Yes, Master, I see the rock.

Master: How are you different from the rock?

Student: Master, I have intelligence and wisdom. I can change and grow. I offer more value to the world than the rock.

Master: So you are more important than the rock?

Student: Yes, Master, I believe I am.

Master: What do you think the rock thinks of you? Do you think the rock sees its place in the universe as more important than yours?

Student: Perhaps, Master, but that is the rock’s point of view.

Master: Ahh, your truth puts you at the center of the universe. The rock’s truth puts it at the center of the universe. WHOSE TRUTH IS CORRECT?

Student: Master, I know not.

Master: When you have attained universal truth you will no longer be concerned with my question. You and the rock will live in harmony rather than conflict; he with his truth and you with yours.

Be Peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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The Prophet: “Freedom” by Kahlil Gibran – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday February 21, 2008

Today’s Thought:

Our world needs vision; it needs visionaries. Why not you and yours?

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kahlil_gibran.jpg

Truly, Kahlil Gibran stands among the most intriguing voices ever to scratch words onto a page. His mystically beautiful and profoundly poetic prose burns to the very root of what it means to be human. He masterfully tackles issues we are all warned not to talk about and gently illuminates the darkness that separates the sides.

Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883. In 1912, he moved to New York where he pursued his writing and art. Most consider The Prophet, published in 1923, to be his crowning achievement.  The work is a series of 28 short essays depicting an unnamed prophet answering the peoples’ questions about important issues in life.

Gibran’s writings are noted for their intricate wording that invites the reader to ponder their deeper meaning and link the ideas to his or her own life. He died an untimely death in 1931, but his work remains popular and relevant in a modern world seeking answers.

Freedom is one of the 28 essays from The Prophet. Few concepts resonate as resolutely in our 21st century world as freedom. Peoples the world over living under dictators, theocracies, and other repressive regimes still fight for their freedom. Meanwhile, the people in “free nations” struggle against the onslaught of intrusive technologies and power hungry governments to keep their freedom from being swallowed whole.

Internally, we are constantly fighting our own personal battle against the impediments to freedom that we construct in our own lives.

Gibran offers gems that set you on the road to freedom. Read his writing through a couple of times as it always yields more than the first reading. Recognizing the chains, within and without, is the first step on the road to true freedom.

“Freedom”

And an orator said, “Speak to us of Freedom.”

And he (the prophet) answered: At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Aye, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free? If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them. And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride? And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling. And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

Copyright @ Kahlil Gibran.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

If We Want Change, We Must First Question – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday January 15, 2008



Today’s affirmation is:

“I question assumptions and long-held beliefs to discover new and beneficial ways to live.”
 

If we are to have change in the world or in our lives, we must learn to question. Questioning is difficult. The group does not like to be questioned. So much so, that in many instances the questioner is ostracized or even put to death. Jesus, Martin Luther King,  and Gandhi are all examples of those who challenged the status quo and felt its wrath.

The ego is not much more forgiving. When we challenge its dominance the ego can be nearly as viscious as the group. Stress, depression, and self-destructive behavior are defense mechanisms used by the ego to maintain its control.So, questioning is scary. Nonetheless, a failure to question is an invitation to slavery, tyranny, and unhappiness. We must question so that fresh ideas can be aired and new possibilities created.

Questioning is not the same as not believing. In fact, questioning is really an empowered type of believing that takes belief to a whole new level by verifying it and testing it against reality.Today we have three very short stories. The first two illustrate the trap of failing to question. The final story offers one way to test the validity of our beliefs and assumptions and come out stronger because of it.

The Ham  ham.jpgThere is a story of a woman who was preparing a ham to be baked. Before placing it in the oven, she sliced an inch off the end of the ham.

Her daughter was watching her bake a ham for the first time. She asked, “mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before you placed it in the oven?”

“I don’t know,” replied the mother, “my mother always cut an inch off a ham before she put it in the oven.”

Curious, the mother picked up the phone and called the grandmother to ask why she cut the end off a ham before baking it.

The grandmother answered that she had no idea why she cut the end off hams before baking them. “My mother always did it,” she said.

Finally, the mother and the grandmother got the great-grandmother on the phone. The grandmother asked, “Mom, why did you cut an inch off the end of the ham before placing it in the oven?”

The great-grandmother replied, “I cut the end off the ham because my oven was too small to fit a full ham.”

We learn by watching and absorbing the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of those around us. Often we don’t even stop to question them. Two generations of this family always cut off the end of the ham. They never quetioned it. They did it because they had seen their mothers do it.

Nothing changed until the great-grandaughter finally asked, “Why?”

Blind Leading the Blind 

buddha_teaching2.jpgWe have generational blindness leaning on generational blindness.

The Buddha once spoke to a group of young Brahmins (priests) about their “belief” in Brahma (God). “Who among you has personally seen or spoke to Brahma,” asked The Buddha?

The Brahmins answered, “None of us has seen or spoken to Brahma.”

Buddha continued, “Well then, which of your teachers has seen or spoken to Brahma?” Again, the youths answered that none of their teachers had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

Finally, Buddha asked, “Who in your lineage going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma?” The young Brahmins admitted that no one even going back seven generations had actually seen or spoken to Brahma.

“Then,” said Buddha, “If not you, nor your teachers, nor their teachers going back seven generations has seen or spoken to Brahma, you are but the blind leading the blind.

Buddha was not attacking their beliefs. He was trying to get them to examine their beliefs and ideas and to become a fully awake and responsible human beings. 

Challenge Beliefs and Put Them to the Test

buddha_teaching.jpgDuring a visit to the town of the Kalamas, the Buddha was asked a crucial question.

“Reverend Gautama, many teachers enter our midst teaching that their way and their way alone is the path to salvation. They extol the virtues of their own doctrines while tearing down the doctrines of other teachers. This creates doubt in our minds about all their teachings. For how are we to know which speaks the truth and which speaks falsehood?”

Buddha replied, “Kalamas, you have doubt in circumstances where doubt is understandable. Where doubt thrives uncertainty is born.” The Buddha proposed a test against which to measure any teaching including his own.

  • Do not believe something because it has been passed down and believed for many generations.
  • Do not believe something merely because it is a traditional practice.
  • Do not believe something because everyone believes it.
  • Do not believe something because it is written in a book and has been recited over and over.
  • Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning.
  • Do not believe something because it fits your preconceived notions.
  • Do not believe something because you trust who is saying it.
  • Do not believe something only because your teacher says it is so.

“Kalamas, when you yourselves know directly something is unskillful, unwholesome, blameworthy, rejected by the wise, harmful to yourselves or others, leads to poverty or unhappiness, you should give it up.”

“One the other hand, Kalamas, when you know directly that something is skilled, wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise, and leads to well-being, prosperity, and happiness, you should accept it and practice it.”

We all need to examine the beliefs that are driving our actions in this world. When we look at the state of the world we must conclude that there is more each of us can do to make a difference. It all begins with questioning age-old beliefs. Even beliefs based in truth can become clouded by generations of unexamined hatreds, fears, and prejudices.

Every change, personal or global, begins with the courage to question.



 Be peaceful Be prosperous!


Ray

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