Wednesday 28 September 2022

Religion Won't Save You Unless You Take Full Responsibility.

 Francis Berger has a good post on his blog about how being religious these days is not enough if you lack proper spiritual perception which is the ability to see underneath and beyond the doctrines to the truth within them. Often religious people completely fail to see the evil that is running riot throughout the world and sometimes those who do see this evil fail to see its supernatural origin and the spiritual motivation behind it. It seems we cannot bring ourselves to believe in supernatural evil. We are spiritual sentimentalists who will sing "All you need is love" as we are hauled off to the pit. Well, perhaps that is a bit over the top but the fact is religion's weapons, and Christianity's in particular, are being turned against itself to advance an agenda of spiritual destruction. The well-meaning but naive and emotionally self-indulgent will be left behind unless they toughen up and acquire the wisdom of serpents. They must develop some spiritual backbone and risk being thought bad, because apparently judgemental, by the world, and the world includes most religious people who have allowed themselves to be absorbed by it.

A commenter on Francis's post asked if there were any words of Christ's applicable to the present situation. What immediately sprang to mind when I read this were these words from Matthew 7 21-23.

"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

Many people think they are good Christians because they believe in Christ. That is not enough now if indeed it ever was. You have to start becoming Christ-like. You must at least allow him to be born in your heart and not simply have an exteriorised faith. What is it to practice lawlessness? It is to go against the law and the primary law is to love God which means to love truth. How many religious people really love truth even above their religion? That is what is required. Note, I do not say love truth above Christ but I do say that all Christians must love truth above their Christianity.

In the same Gospel, verse 24, chapter 24, Christ talks about even the elect being deceived in the end times, such will be the all-encompassing but subtle wickedness of those (these?) times. If the elect are deceived then the rank and file will be too. I call it subtle wickedness though it is not so very subtle. But it is not obvious like mass murder and that is why so many religious people fail to see it. They don't realise that evil has changed its modus operandi or it has done so to a degree. Now, in line with the change in human consciousness, it likes to present itself as good. But the problem is also that we are so influenced by materialism, even if we are religious, that we just cannot accept that what might appear random has a purposeful intelligence behind it.

It is good to be able to see the evil that dominates in the world but that is not the end of the story. Sometimes those who have a serpent's wisdom lack a dove's harmlessness. We must have both and not let our awareness of evil curdle our hearts. Then there is the matter of hope. Yes, evil is everywhere but God will prevail. This is the hope, or knowledge really, that we should always keep in mind, whatever the outer circumstances.

Saturday 24 September 2022

Making a Difference

 Many people who have a creative belief in God, by which I mean a belief that is not set in the stone of official religion but is able to engage creatively with the facts of spiritual existence and respond to divine reality in a personal way, might feel a little lost and alone in the face of the massive contemporary spiritual onslaught we are undergoing. We know that the world has descended into lies and we know that religion as it is now is powerless to prevent that. Should we not be doing more than we are to fight this? But what can we do? Take my case. I write a blog that gets two to three hundred page views a day which is a tiny drop in the ocean of the internet. It can hardly be said that the books I have written trouble the best seller lists either, even in the minority interest categories in which they might be placed.

But I don't think this is what matters. Years ago when I was anxious to share the good news that had been given to me by the Masters they told me that "You teach best by silence and the rays you give out." Now, this could have meant that I was in no way qualified enough to talk about spiritual matters seriously (which was very probably true) but it also means something else. Despite the New Agey feel of these words they do contain an important truth. Giving information is good but there is something else which is equally, perhaps more, important. That is grounding spiritual light in the world. Everyone who thinks of God in a genuinely spiritual sense opens the world up to God and enables him to manifest his presence in the world more fully. Such people become a channel through which spiritual force can flow, and if their thoughts engage creatively with spirit they add to the invisible but real pool of truth that exists on the mental plane so making it easier for other searching minds to open up. Anyone can serve the good cause in this way. You don't have to make a splash in the world. If you think right thoughts that potentially makes a stronger impression in spiritual terms than if you write pages of best selling text or give lectures attended by thousands. I'm not saying these activities are not helpful too. I am saying that for most of us the best spiritual work is mental and acting in your daily life wherever God has placed you according to his word.

We are all sowing seeds. It should be noted that the best plants take a while to grow while weeds may flourish quickly and abundantly. Everyone who begins to understand the reality of God wishes to serve God in some way. Human nature is such that we like to make a big impression. I don't think that is what God wants from most of us besides which for many people worldly success can be spiritually destructive. All you have to do is keep on keeping on in faith and love and anchor the word firmly within yourself. Your growing consciousness will then help to lighten the spiritual equivalent of the collective unconsciousness and in this way aid in the illumination of other souls.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Monarchy and God

No one can deny that the Queen's funeral was a magnificent spectacle of ceremony and ritual, deeply moving in its solemnity. One also has to admire the organisational skills that pulled it off so well even if plans for it will have been prepared long ago. It's the sort of event that the British like to say they still do better than anyone else and that is probably true.

But what does it all mean? On one level what it means is obvious. The monarch receives the right to rule from God. He or she derives power and authority from the creative centre of the universe which, ultimately, is the only place that power and authority reside. This is lent and must be returned as was symbolically demonstrated at the end of the ceremony in St George's Chapel when the royal crown, orb and sceptre were taken from the top of the Queen's coffin and placed on the High Altar. She then became an ordinary person and returns to God as just another soul to be judged according to her spiritual state. Her power and authority as monarch pass to her successor.

That's what it means. In the Western view of kingship as brought to a peak during the Middle Ages the king reigns because he has been chosen by God but this is not just a medieval tradition. Everywhere we see the same pattern repeated. From Egyptian Pharaohs to Chinese and Aztec Emperors the king rules because of divine right which means he reigns as God's Regent. Without God his power is maintained only by force or subterfuge or the will of the people who are notoriously fickle and easily manipulated.

Isn't that where we are now? Despite the religious ceremony being absolutely central to everything that has just taken place the great bulk of the crowds who thronged the streets of London over the last few days, and the even greater number of people who watched on television in their homes, do not believe in God except, possibly, in a vaguely sentimental manner. But they don't believe in a way that makes a fundamental difference to the manner in which they lead their lives or to their attitudes to everything else. Some of them might fit God in somewhere but for few of them is he all that really matters. But this is what the ceremony is saying. This is what the fact of a monarch means. The monarch is nothing without God.

Perhaps the people flocked to the funeral procession because they feel the absence of God. So runs a certain type of well-meaning opinion but frankly I am impatient with this line of thinking. If the people feel God's absence they don't feel it nearly enough or they wouldn't behave as they do the rest of the time, happily swallowing all the nostrums of secular materialism and turning their backs on God except when convenient. We are a society of God rejecters and indulging in a few emotions in the face of death does not change that or make us worthier people. It's no good pointing to the reaction of the crowds as proof that religious belief persists underneath it all. Something like it may come out at odd moments but it will be firmly put away again almost immediately.

The points I make here do not mean I am against monarchy, even a monarchy which, as now, has become to all practical purposes severed from its roots in God and absorbed by the System. The situation is similar to that of the Christian churches which have also lost touch with their divine source. Even if the monarchy, like the churches, has been infiltrated, if not taken over, by forces antithetical to true spiritual growth (though one might well say when was that not the case?) it is probably still better to have something that preserves an opening to higher power than one which does not which is the case with purely political forms of governance. 

That having been said, every once sacred institution in our world has  lost spiritual authority. Some survive even when their true animating principle is neglected. The British monarchy is one of these. Let all those who claim to have been moved by the life of the late Queen and the idea of monarchy over the last week look behind the spectacle to see where the roots of these things might lie. If you don't follow these roots to their source, which is in divine being, and then change your life accordingly ask yourself to what were you actually responding?

Added note: Although I do recognise the theoretical value of monarchy compared to materialistic political forms of governance it has to be said that there is no effective difference nowadays between a monarchy and a republic. How is the UK in any way different to anywhere else? It isn't. The fact is that the monarchy in Britain is simply decorative and hasn't prevented the takeover of society by materialistic, secular forces. It could even be said to enable that because it gives the pretence that it hasn't happened and that things are carrying on as they traditionally did. This may well be why the monarchy is permitted to continue in existence. 

Friday 16 September 2022

Monarchy in the 21st Century

 I sympathise with all those who are upset over the death of Queen Elizabeth II but, at the same time, look forward with optimism to the reign of the new King. The modern world has chased all magic and mystery away from life and we must take them where we can find them for the human soul is such that we need these things. They call to the essence of our being and when they are denied, as now, we feel their loss acutely even if we can't articulate just what it is that has been lost. What has really been lost is, of course, the sense of the reality of the spiritual. 

The British monarchy stretches back a thousand years into the distant past and provides a link to history and tradition in a world where nothing has deep roots or lasts long. The pageantry that defines the monarchy, its hierarchical dignity, the ceremony and ritual that surround it, all these can satisfy the soul in a world in which everything else is materialistic. Religion is meaningless for most people now and monarchy can fill the hole in the psyche that the absence of religion leaves behind. At least, it is one of the few things that might seem to do that. In truth it can only fill a tiny fraction of that hole.

So I do sympathise with the many people who express their support for the monarchy in the wake of the Queen's death. But I can't share their emotions and for two reasons. The first is that monarchy is fairly meaningless without God above it to back it up and give it its fundamental raison d'ĂȘtre. All the ritual is centred in the reality of God. Take him away and it is just theatricals. But he is not taken away, you might protest. He is right there with the altar and the archbishop and the services and the cathedrals. No, he is not there. The words are there, the outer form is there but the spirit is not there. Some of the participants in these ceremonies may be believers according to their own lights, as the Queen is said to have been, but in what do they actually believe? A tradition, an historical idea, a set of ethics, the doctrines of an official religion? Or do they believe in the living God who animates their own soul and do they demonstrate that belief in everything they say and do? Believing in God is not enough. You must love God which means love truth. I know no one can judge the state of another's soul and I do not pretend to do such but the evidence indicates that most religious people accept the world on its own terms and that to me makes them unbelievers. You cannot believe in God and accept the world. You cannot serve two masters.

The second cause for my reservations concerns the personalities of the deceased Queen and her son Charles. The Queen cannot be faulted. She served her country faithfully for 70 years. She never put a foot wrong. Her moral character cannot be questioned. This is what people say and I don't dispute it. But I would say that despite her obvious qualities she appeared to be entirely passive in the face of massive spiritual degradation. Maybe she said and did things behind the scenes but if so she was remarkably ineffective, given the spiritual situation in the UK today. Under her watch the Royal Family became all show and no substance. She went along with every change in the country including what amounts to a loss of sovereignty, the conversion of the Church of England into a branch of secular liberalism and the radical restructuring of the population. The fact that her nation and her Church are in a much worse state spiritually at her death than when she ascended the throne cannot be blamed on her personally but as far as the public is concerned she did nothing to arrest the slide downwards apart from carrying on behaving as she had been brought up to behave. On the credit side, her personal behaviour was impeccable. She did her duty to the end, acting with dignity at all times. She clearly impressed everyone who met her and not just because of her position. But how did the Queen use her role? To be brutal, as an opener of fetes. The purpose of the British Royal Family under the late Queen became simply to stay in business. It survives because most people agree that it is better than the alternative which is true enough as it does provide a link to a past rooted in God but when, in itself and as it is now, it really just seeks to be all things to all men what use is that? In reality, it has become just another arm, a traditionalist, anti-modern but really completely modernised arm, of the global elite basically used to absorb resistance to the more overt forms of globalism. King Charles claims to be a traditionalist (or even a Traditionalist) but he seems likely to go along with all the ongoing corruptions of the country and the West as a whole apart from some token opposition. Perhaps not. We shall see.

It's easy to criticise and I don't mean this as a personal attack. I recognise that the Queen had an impossible task and she was certainly a fair better monarch than her abdicating uncle would have been. But there is the sense that her main objective became to keep the family business running and if the soul of the country suffered in the meantime that was secondary. I am sure that personally she regretted many of the changes that came about during her reign but, even though she was only a constitutional monarch, she might have done a little more on the positive side to defend her nation from the depredations of the spiritual attack on it.

In 1965 on a gloomy day in January my father took my brother and me to line the streets in London for the funeral procession of Winston Churchill. I remember very little about it other than the grey clouds and the rain, both somehow fitting. My father felt this funeral marked something more than just the death of a man. It also signified the end of the British Empire and the ideals and beliefs that had governed that. This turned out to be the case. The death of Queen Elizabeth II can be taken as a similar marker of something. Despite what I say above, the Queen did at least hold the line, symbolically if in no other way. Now that she is gone we can expect, once the initial period of mourning is over, the last vestiges of the old ways to be swept away. If these were replaced by something better that would not be a problem for undoubtedly there is something better, but what these ways did at least have was a sense of the reality of something beyond this world, something to which this world should coordinate its being. The new ways are actively based on the rejection of that sense. The triumph of matter over spirit will continue and become even more entrenched in the human psyche. Whether there will eventually be a reaction to that remains to be seen but King Charles will have to go a lot further than he has if he is to be the figurehead of that reaction and not absorbed by the zeitgeist.

Sunday 11 September 2022

All Authority is Now Corrupted

There has been some debate about authority, spiritual and temporal, and whether a good Christian should submit to it at all times, acknowledging authority as justified simply by virtue of it being there in the first place. I have a few thoughts about this but they come from someone who is not a member of any official branch of religion and consequently does not acknowledge anything in this world as having full spiritual authority so you may wish to reject them on those grounds.

What I would say is that this is a fallen world. You cannot assume that just because someone or something holds power that is in line with God's will, certainly not now when God is either denied outright or effectively denied because his commandments are disregarded even though he may be given nominal allegiance. 

Obedience to external authority is not a virtue unless that authority is worthy and even then it is not a virtue as such though it may be right. Humility is a virtue and rebelliousness is a vice but obedience in itself is neither good nor bad. Besides, the whole point of obedience in a spiritual sense is so that we may reach a stage where we have learnt to think for ourselves. It's like the stabilisers on a bicycle before you can ride. This is not to say that disobedience is a virtue for it clearly is not except in particular circumstances when it may be right. But obedience is for children. Necessary if the children are to grow as they should and be guided into the proper ways of being and behaviour but stifling and infantilising if persisted in or insisted on for too long.

Jesus told us that the devil was the prince or ruler of this world. I don't imagine he was telling us to obey this prince while we were in the world. At the very least, he was surely saying that power in this world cannot be assumed to be given by God, and looking at history how can we doubt that?

Actually, I do believe in obedience but obedience to the voice of God within ourselves.  You may ask, how can you know it's the voice of God? I reply you can't be certain but if it is and you obey it you will be given greater discernment whereas if you mistake your own self-will for the voice of God your mind will darken. By their fruits you will know them.

I had teachers whom I regard as spiritual authorities. They never asked for or expected obedience. They expected me to pay attention to what they said and if I had not they would have ceased to talk to me but they never asked me to think or do anything that did not make complete sense to me. I listened to them and I tried to apply their teachings because I respected them not because they were the authorities. They were authorities but that authority was rooted in truth as proper authority must be. If it is not (and can anyone really tell me that any authority is today?) then it is not spiritually legitimate and not only need it not be obeyed. It should not be obeyed because there is a higher authority.

We all need to obey the laws of the land except in extreme circumstances. But the greatest obedience is to God. He is ultimately the only authority and the only person we should obey. Yes, God delegates authority but in this present time the situation is that we are all being called to form a personal relationship with our Maker. How can we do that effectively if we listen to other voices?

Thursday 8 September 2022

Adam's Peak

 I mentioned a couple of expeditions in the previous post about a trip to Sri Lanka. The first was to the ancient Buddhist capital of Polonnaruwa but the second was to an even more sacred site. This was Sri Pada, or Adam's Peak as it is popularly known, which is a mountain in the central highlands of the country that stands at just over 7,300 feet tall and has at its summit a footprint of the Buddha. Or theoretically so. If that is the case the Buddha must have been a big fellow as the footprint is over 5 feet long and 2 and a half feet wide. Besides which there is no record of him having visited Sri Lanka anyway. This has not stopped the mountain from being an important place of pilgrimage but then why should it? In spiritual terms imagination is more powerful than mundane fact because it points, or can point when correctly oriented, to higher truth.

The name Adam's Peak comes from an alternate belief. There is an old story that Ceylon was the location of the Garden of Eden and so this is not the Buddha's footprint but that of our original father Adam marking the first place he stood after being thrown out of Paradise. Perhaps the association with Eden comes from the fact that the area around the mountain is one in which the rubies, sapphires and emeralds that gave ancient Ceylon the name of Ratnadvipa, meaning the Island of Jewels, were to be found. The Hindus have their own version of the tale and identify the mark with Siva while Christians say that St Thomas stood there. This is actually the least unlikely story as St Thomas was the apostle who travelled to South India and might conceivably have come to Sri Lanka even if he probably didn't. Be that as it may, whoever/whatever made this mark on the mountain's peak the reality is that for members of all religions it is a place of great religious significance. 

Adam's Peak from a distance (from Wikipedia)

The idea is that you should start your climb in the early hours of the morning so that you reach the summit at sunrise for a spectacular view. We were staying at a hotel about 30 miles away and got up just after midnight to drive to a little town at the base of the mountain called Dalhousie which is where we were going to start our ascent though I believe there are other routes. It was mid May and the weather can be unpredictable then as it is the start of the monsoon season, the south-western one that is. Sri Lanka gets two monsoons, the south-western and the north east which comes in October/November. But as we started our ascent around 2am the weather was warm and pleasant. The climb was supposed to take around 3 hours and is about 2 and a half miles in length. It doesn't involve any actual climbing but parts are steep. There is a path at the beginning but, as far as I recall and this was 20 years ago so the details are a little blurred, at some point it turns into a stairway of 5,500 steps. Calling it a stairway is perhaps a little generous because it is very rough and ready and you need to be fairly fit to make the climb.

About halfway up there is a Japanese Peace Pagoda and this is where the ascent can get a bit more arduous. It is also where when I did my climb it began to rain. And rain. And continue to rain. We knew this was a possibility and my two companions had brought thin raincoat-like coverings to protect them but I only had a shirt which got soaked within 10 minutes. Having not much option, I decided to take this as one of the tests of pilgrimage and luckily it wasn't cold. There weren't many other people around either and this made the climb more enjoyable as you could imagine yourself to be fully embedded in the natural world. I have read that nowadays the climb can get very busy which, to my way of thinking, takes away the whole point of it.

What is the point? To climb a mountain is, in the religious sense, symbolic of the ascent to God. This ascent can be done with companions at the beginning  but as you progress you become more and more isolated until you are alone. This is right and proper. You cannot know God if you are distracted by anything else. As long as you are attached to any aspect of creation you will not fully encounter the Creator. The meeting with God, to be real, must be wholly personal and this means it is just you and him. Nothing else. Climbing a mountain is an outer representation of going to meet God. As you ascend you are stripped of your worldly accoutrements and so I felt the torrential rain was somehow fitting.

Unfortunately it also meant that when I got to the top I saw nothing like this.

Sunrise on Adam's Peak

We had timed it well enough and got there just before sunrise but the summit was wreathed in cloud and mist with nothing to be seen. Oh well, not all pilgrimages end in enlightenment. We saw the footprint which looked like a natural rock formation to me and you might say the end result wasn't worth the climb. But the climb itself was the reward, the sense of having made an effort to achieve something was the achievement itself and the way up the mountain certainly had its moments of beauty. The descent seemed much quicker than the climb and by the time we reached 'base camp' the rain had stopped. I, in fact, had taken my shirt off about halfway down the mountain, so sodden was it, so you might say I had indeed stripped myself down to the bare essentials as required by the rules of pilgrimage. Things don't always turn out in quite the way expected.

The mountain in good weather

Saturday 3 September 2022

A Visit to Sri Lanka

 I haven't written much recently because I was finalising the By No Means Equal book, then I went on holiday and then had other matters to deal with. But most of all because I haven't felt particularly inspired though I use the word inspired in the loosest possible sense. Normally ideas occur to me either by popping into my head or else in response to something I have read or observed but recently the well has run dry. I could write (again) about the disastrous spiritual state of the world in which people are being ushered into thought prisons which become more constricted every day or I could write about the ongoing destruction of pretty much everything, but plenty of other people do that very well and at the moment I just don't feel like it. It's not that I have no hope but I have none that the world will right itself. It's much too far gone for that. It's hit the iceberg and is going down. My hope resides in God and that is where everyone's hope should be. It's not wrong to seek to make a better world and to cry out against the falsehoods and lies. Indeed, we must do this. But this world is a bridge not a destination and that's how we should ultimately regard it.

With all that in mind, I thought I might write about a trip I made in 2001 to Sri Lanka, a country I have visited several times. I was staying in an old colonial bungalow in a district just outside Colombo called Mount Lavinia, supposedly named after a dancing girl a 19th century British Governor of Ceylon fell in love with. I have great fondness for these old bungalows, having lived in one in South India. They may not be exactly beautiful but they are very aesthetically pleasing with their orange tiled roofs and pale yellow outer walls and high ceilings that keep you cool but also give the inner structure a sense of space and even grandeur. And you can't beat a good long verandah where you can sit and have a cold beer in the evening. Although there was now mains water at this bungalow there was also a well on the property and you could drop down a bucket and have a very refreshing wash in the morning if you so chose which I occasionally did.

My hosts had arranged a couple of expeditions and the first was to visit the ancient Buddhist capital of Polonnaruwa. To be honest, modern Buddhism in Sri Lanka is not particularly interesting to the average Westerner but Polonnaruwa, which I believe dates back in its origins to the 10th century, contains what are, in my opinion, among the finest works of Buddhist art.

These are all at the Gal Vihara which is a rock temple created in the 12th century that comprises four statues of the Buddha which have been carved out of the face of an outcrop of granite. The statues go in a line and are of a large seated Buddha, a smaller Buddha sitting inside a cave, a standing Buddha and a reclining Buddha, the last of which extends to 46 feet in length and is one of the largest statues in South Asia. It shows the Buddha in parinirvana which is final nirvana entered into after death. He is lying on his right side and resting his head on a cushion supported by his hand. The beauty of this statue and the peace it exudes are profound. You feel that the craftsmen who created it must themselves have been far advanced on the path to liberation. The delicate folds of the Buddha's gown and the grace of his posture are superbly represented in a material which, in its obdurate resistance, is almost the opposite of those soft and gentle qualities. Look at the flow of his left arm as it rests on his reclining body. Observe the serenity of his face even if it does seem slightly too well-fed!

When I visited the temple it was early morning and there was no one else about. The periods just after sunrise and just before sunset are, especially in the tropics, ones in which the world seems to be holding its breath and inwardly focused, attentive to the slightest whisper from the divine. The air is still and the mind finds it relatively easy to enter into the spacious calm that is the essence of Buddhism. I sat in front of the statue and let myself be absorbed by that calm. I am not a Buddhist but I have the greatest respect for the Buddha and his path. We say that Jesus was the only person born without the stain of sin but there is an innate goodness and purity to the Buddha which inspires reverence.

The standing statue is 23 feet tall. There is some debate about whether this is the Buddha or Ananda, his favourite disciple, due to the crossed arm pose which may signify a devotional attitude. I feel that the former is more likely and that the three main statues show the Buddha in various attitudes of enlightenment, sitting, standing, lying down. Ananda is usually shown shaven headed and does not have the characteristic long ear lobes of the Buddha which this statue does have. Also, why include Ananda when all the other statues are of the Buddha? No, this is surely the Buddha too though for me it is the least spiritually impressive of the three large statues but that is only because the other two are so extraordinary.

The one I was most moved by is the first going from left to right which is the way one approaches them. Here they all are in a row carved into a 170 foot length of rock which rises to about 30 feet high in the middle.

This is the Buddha sitting in classic meditation pose. He is about 15 feet high and sits in an alcove on a throne decorated with lions and thunderbolts. These are obscured in the first picture by the brickwork but they can be clearly seen in the second picture at the bottom. The presence of the thunderbolts or Vajras is interesting because it suggests a Tantric flavour. Sri Lankan Buddhism is Theravada which is early Buddhism before the development of the Mahayana but perhaps there was some influence from the reforming schools, some of which imported non-Buddhist themes and iconography into traditional Buddhism.

I sat for a while in front of the statue like the fellow in the picture above. There was a powerful sense of the wisdom and enlightenment of the Buddha, more than I have felt with any other Buddha figure and I have seen a few. The impassive serenity of the posture and facial features carved out of the pale grey rock streaked with darker colours across the body gave a sense of eternity and the feeling that this would remain even when the universe had crumbled into dust. Maybe not literally but as a state of consciousness it represents the underlying bedrock of being that existed before the awakening of the worlds and that will endure even when all forms of life are called back to their source.

That is the Buddhist view anyway and it is one to which I am deeply sympathetic while actually believing that creation is really an ongoing process and that, though outer forms may be destroyed, it is only so that new forms may be created that better express the higher states of consciousness into which life forms, aka human and other beings, evolve. Maybe the universe does experience what in Hinduism are called Days and Nights of Brahma, periods of manifestation and non-manifestation, but the seeds of the past are always retained during the Nights so that they may grow anew and to greater heights in the next cycle of creation. Nirvana is the Night of Brahma and it is the most profound state of being. But life is not just night. It is day too and Jesus, always depicted with his eyes open as opposed to the Buddha who has his eyes closed, calls us to active life in the glorious sunshine days of Creation.