Monthly Archives: May 2012
Paul flubs the lines once, and they have to keep cutting to Yoko in the audience (sigh), but still worthwhile.
No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice. … No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.
–Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors “The Chance for Peace” (16 April 1953)
Avalokita, the Holy Lord and Bodhisattva, was moving in the deep course of the Wisdom which has gone beyond.
He looked down from on high, He beheld but five heaps, and He saw that in their own-being they were empty.
Here, O Sariputra,
form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form ;
emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form,
the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness.
Here, O Sariputra,
all dharmas are marked with emptiness ;
they are not produced or stopped, not defiled or immaculate, not deficient or complete.
Therefore, O Sariputra,
in emptiness there is no form nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness ;
No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind ; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind ; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to :
No mind-consciousness element ; There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to : There is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path.
There is no cognition, no attainment and no non-attainment.
Therefore, O Sariputra,
it is because of his non-attainmentness that a Bodhisattva, through having relied on the Perfection of Wisdom, dwells without thought-coverings. In the absence of thought-coverings he has not been made to tremble,
he has overcome what can upset, and in the end he attains to Nirvana.
All those who appear as Buddhas in the three periods of time fully awake to the utmost, right and perfect Enlightenment because they have relied on the Perfection of Wisdom.
Therefore one should know the prajnaparamita as the great spell, the spell of great knowledge, the utmost spell, the unequalled spell, allayer of all suffering, in truth — for what could go wrong ? By the prajnaparamita has this spell been delivered. It runs like this :
Gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.
( Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all-hail !)
This completes the Heart of perfect Wisdom.
–translated by Edward Conze
This is tweaked very slightly in that I put in the version of the mantra with all the correct diacritics, which Conze left out to make things typographically easier (that was the pre-computer days, you know).
This is actually relevant to some points I’m going to make in upcoming posts, believe it or not. Meanwhile, it’s one of my favorite Buddhist scriptures, and I hope you enjoy it, too.
Avalokita–the bodhisattva of infinite compassion.
Bodhisattva–a being that is highly advanced on the path to enlightenment but has decided to postpone enlightenment to aid the suffering beings of the world. Broadly equivalent to a saint or a demi-god.
Heap–translation of the Sanskrit skandha, often translated “aggregate”; the characteristic properties of which sentient beings are formed: form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness.
Dharma–in this context, “characteristic” or “property”.
Prajñāpāramitā–the perfection of transcendent wisdom.
Part of the series Legends of the Fall.
The Brahms Requiem is a bit long, so this is another piece for the departed, in keeping with the theme of the weekend, which is both short and very beautiful. If you’ve never heard Orthodox chant before, then give it a listen. Be patient–there’s a long sequence of bells before the chant begins.
Eternal rest grant all the departed, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them, and may they rest in peace. Amen.
I was actually working on what’s going to end up being the next post when it occurred to me that there was one issue I hadn’t touched on. I don’t think it’s as important to the discussion here as some of the other issues. Still, I think it does need to be addressed–the issue of monegenesis vs. polygenesis of humanity.
The literal meaning of these terms is “one origin” and “many origins”, but the way in which they’re used is subtly different in different contexts. In anthropology “monogenesis” means that modern humans–Homo sapiens–evolved once only, probably in Africa, and that all humans descend from that original population, the different races having evolved after the original humans left Africa and dispersed around the world. This is sometimes known as the “Out of Africa” theory.
Polygenism, also known as the “multiregional origin theory”, holds that H. sapiens evolved more than once, separately, from separate populations of more archaic hominids that had moved out of Africa at an earlier date. Thus, Homo erectus or some such similar species diffused out of Africa, and different populations evolved into anatomically modern humans in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. These groups are close enough genetically to be considered the same species, and they have obviously interbred since then, but they are originally of separate origin. Read the rest of this entry
It’s not exactly the beginning of the week any more, and I don’t usually post music until the weekend. Still, Beethoven’s 6th is nice and perky and seems to me a good way to start (or continue) the week. Interesting, given what I could find, not all movements are from the same performance. Should make it even more interesting–enjoy!