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At 8:40am on June 9, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
Thank you for your comments. The message of the Buddha has certainly shaped the lives of many in our world. Following the moral principles taught, which are in many ways the same as other major world religions, can help create peace and improve the lives of people in a community. However, men with true moral principles do not create war and riots and strive to harm their fellow human beings. They either work in their community to improve it or pray for the end of war and hatred in the world. The difference is that their faith guides them and they believe a supreme being caused all this to come about and can , in some way, make life better for them and their communities. This is part of "theology" which is man made and can change with time. "Faith" is in the heart and cannot be proved as it is based on personal belief sometimes driven by upbringing in a religion and by the role models around them. I think it is possible to have an understanding of sound moral principles even if a person does not follow a God driven religion. Everyone must have something in the heart and unfortunately with some it is hatred and bad wishes that can lead to riots and wars. It takes a real inner strength to turn away when everyone around you is trying to destroy. For many their faith is the key to try and bring about change in their lives and in the way others live in their communities. I have been visited many times by people giving out religious pamphlets and have always accepted their message as part of the truth (their good intentions are certainly part of the Buddhist message even if they do not accept the Buddha and are of a different religion). Spirituality is within and is a result of our contact with good role models found in our community. It could be from within our home, within the books we read, within the programs we watch on TV, within the neighbor next door, within the church or temple or mosque or tree we sit under to meditate, within .....
I invite you to search within and I am sure you will find Spirituality and moral principles of your own. Forget about God and labels. Examine the sources of your own beliefs, of your own good, of your own dreams for yourself and your community. You may be surprised!
At 11:15am on June 7, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
"Perhaps history is a thing that would stop happening if God held His breath, or could be imagined as turning away to think of something else." ~Herbert Butterfield, Christianity and History

You sent me to the history books! Many events happened before Socrates and I was asking myself what could have happened if there were no Greece, no philosophers, no organized governments, no men with moral principles or spiritual ideas.

It appears that many of the invasions that would have destroyed all this occurred and were stopped in history. Look at Atilla the Hun who could have wiped civilization as we know it off the face of the earth and Alexander the Great, who could have stopped Western Civilization by talking out the Roman Empire, is another example.

Western civilization would have taken a different turn.

Socrates would not have existed and his questioning of truth and of government and morals would have been lost to the world. He would not have made the choice to obey the State even though he disagreed with the way his government was being run and would have gone along with his friends who offered to break him out of jail and let him live in exile away from Greece.

Darwin, whose solid scientific research was questioned by religious faith which had its own views on the working of God and creation, would never have had to opportunity to present his scientific works to the modern world. (And even today scientists are studying and finding evidence of changes in animals in that part of the world due to man's destroying of the environment.}

Terrorism might have become the LAW of the land. Take what you can like Atilla the Hun, Show no mercy and take no prisoners as has happened in many bloody battles throughout history.

Philosophers have pondered this question raised by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), "Is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's blunders?"

Voltaire (another Philosopher) remarked , "If God did not exist. It would be necessary to invent him."

So...let us assume there are no Atheists and just Humans living on our green earth. Each holds within a set of moral principles (some good and some bad) and each has a goal or path in life guided by those values. Some will be guided by scientific principle and their ideas and research will often be questioned (Darwin and those who see the value of scientific questioning and research); some will be guided from within based on the teachings and role models they have run into in their life (Socrates, men of principle and even terrorists); some will be guided by faith which can never be concretely or scientifically proven (God driven by religion and spiritual principles).

Well.... there is a lot of debate over what is Spiritual, what is or is not God, what is Theology and Religion. I don't think it will ever end!

Look within your heart and maybe you will find a new label for yourself and for your fellow man. Respect for others point of view is certainly a very good start. Respect for Socrates and the teachings he handed down to his students is noteworthy. Concern over the causes of millions of lives lost in history and where the World is headed is shared by many in today's world. Helping a community living in poverty and sharing your views shows hope still exists in your life.
Maybe you need a new word to describe yourself!

At 3:35pm on June 6, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
Your last post made me think about this poem by an English Poet, Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) which I first read in the 1950's while in Grade School.
Let us assume that there is no God and it is through the power of human imagination and the spirit within the heart of humanity that caused this poem to be created. I believe the ending of the poem would not change. It is a beautiful idea to help our fellow man.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
'What writest thou?' The vision raised its head
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered 'The names of those who love the Lord.'
'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,'
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said,'I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.'
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Do we have to give ourselves a label? Wouldn't it be better to find a path and base it on sound moral principles helping the community around us by being an example of how to live and help make the World a better community; A man can live in extreme poverty but can be immensely rich in the heart. Witness the many yogis from your country who have spread spiritual ideas (and these ideas are not always God-driven). One of our World community members gives an example of Mother Theresa when she was visiting her convent in India. You would never have guessed that the nun doing morning prayers was anyone special but the influence.......It appeared that she lived life in a very business sense. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR FIRST BLOG POST AS YOU ALSO MUST HAVE A STORY TO TELL IF YOU LOOK DEEP WITHIN YOUR HEART. As always, your comments and ideas are looked forward to. Shanti, Shanti. Peace!
At 10:30pm on June 4, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
Sat Nam! There are several views of Truth, one you hold within your heart and is a spiritual treasure. This type of truth does not bear malice or desire to harm Humanity or even lower life forms. It is the type of truth that is founded on good will and would turn the other cheek to allow another slap. Then there is the truth based on a governments views and not necessarily agreed upon by the people. For Example, is it right to build huge dams for electrical energy and drown whole villages that have lived on the land and farmed the land for generations. Where is the truth? Not all would agree with government and big business but might view progress as a necessary evil. I was just reading the end of President Obama's speech in Egypt. I think there is a great deal of truth in his statements on education and what can happen for future generations. There may even be some truth behind the causes of hatred and war in this World. Maybe it is time to set aside the causes and work toward creating a peaceful and harmonious relationship with our fellow man. I NOTICE YOU DO NOT BLOG BUT WOULD WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON YOUR BLOG POSTS IF YOU CARE TO SHARE. My newest blog post comments on a Sufi path that started with the Chisti order in India centuries ago and each year holds a large music festival to celebrate the anniversary of his death or his Urs. May your search for the truth and your ideas be an inspiration to those your life touches.
At 3:29pm on June 4, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
There are many paths , some are spiritual paths and some are not. I believe every path has some moral principle involved. For those who have not had time to sort it all out on their own, major faiths and religions offer such moral guidance. The seeker who chooses not to follow a spiritual path must have some principles and concept of ethics in his life. For me, Darwin, was a brilliant scientist and was not seeking to negate the existence of God's creation. Socrates was a Philosopher and his ideas did not agree with those in authority. We see this type of conflict over and over in World history. Some choose to continue the struggle and others give up accepting things as they are and choose not to better their life, their system of government , their educational goals, their community, etc. We just had a speaker visit our community....he was the grandson of someone from India named Ghandi and talked about his Grandfather and the changes he brought about during a life in the most difficult of times. Wouldn't it be nice to have that type of inner strength and to add to it with the World's strongest moral principles? Yes, there have been wars and people in the power of government have done terrible things. Yes, there have been conflicts and some have been as a result of disagreements over religious ideas. That is what Theology can cause so you must forget the word spiritual in this case. Faith even in oneself or in spiritual belief can cause a whole new awakening.
At 12:59am on June 1, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
There is an old saying in the English language that says "God helps those who first help themselves." I was once camping on a beach and a man from India set up a borrowed tent down the beach from me. i said "Hello" and noticed he was trying to sew part of the old tent together. He had made a needle out of bamboo and when he asked if I had a needle my mouth fell open in astonishment. i forgot I had a steel needle in my camping gear! He later made a ladder out of bamboo to climb coconut trees and pick coconuts. Some local people came by and tried to use the ladder. They fell out of the tree! The man from India was on his way to a music school in California and we went to a local music event where he played drums off to the side following the rhythm of the music. His goal in life was to eventually return to India and buy some land on the beach by the sea. That was over 20 years ago and I pray he reached his life goals. Part of my life path has been to follow the teachings of the Chisti Sufis who have their roots and beginnings in India and spread the message through Hazrat Iniat Khan and his mastery of music.
At 1:03pm on May 25, 2009, Victor Ellison said…
Thank you for your comment. I invite comments on blog posts and for suggestions on new topics. Planed blog in the future on my contacts with the Hindu faith through Yogi Bajan in the USA and 3HO network as well as contacts with Tibet and friends of Tibet.

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