I was lying awake the other night, listening to myself breathing and waiting for the weight of my eyelids to send me off into the black abyss of sleep. I started to observe the nature of what constitutes breathing, the constant of in-and-out, the expansion and contraction of the lungs to circulate oxygen to the body. This little observation of myself led to my brain having a spark that bolted me back up and awake. The below is my attempt to get this spark into words.
As always, I was drawn into some comment threads today. On a particularly non-religious thread – specifically, a thread discussing Uruguay’s legalization of marijuana markets – somehow a man brought up going to heaven, making some obscure and ridiculous connection between the smoking of pot and going to hell. (…Don’t ask, I still don’t know how that happened…) His comment about heaven somehow evolved into whether people in heaven can ‘look down upon us’ here on Earth. Here is his full comment on the subject:
The Bible does not specifically say whether or not people in heaven can look down on us who are still on the earth. It is highly unlikely that they can. Why? First, they would sometimes see things that would cause them grief or pain, namely, acts of sin and evil. Since there is no grief, tears, or unhappiness in heaven (Revelation 21:4), it does not seem that observing earthly events would be possible. Second, people in heaven are so preoccupied with worshipping God and enjoying the glories of heaven that it does not seem they would have significant interest in what is happening here on earth. The very fact that they are free from sin and experiencing God’s presence in heaven surely is more than enough to captivate their attention. While it is possible that God allows people in heaven to look down upon their loved ones, the Bible gives us no reason to believe this actually occurs.
It occurred to me that this specific situation is one of the things which drew me away from the Christian concept of God, and specifically the Christian concept of the afterlife. Continue reading
A very wise and kind man died yesterday, Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara. I was taken aback that Yahoo of all places included an article on his passing. Then I was reminded of the lack of empathy and respect for Eastern culture by Western people, especially those of Western religions. Almost half of the comments on this article (only 19 primary comments over the course of 7 hours) are by some denomination of Christian self-proclaimed preacher, talking of heathens and false teachings and Satan. People pitying this man for never changing his ways, acting as if it is too late for his soul and he will be damned to fire just because he didn’t have a cross around his neck.
This was a good man. He was a kind man, generous, polite, honorable. I’ve seen him speak (unfortunately only online), nothing more, and obviously that doesn’t leave much for me to say, but his words were polite and respectful toward all people, not just the Buddhists he was directly addressing. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect, no man is. But he died happily, he died content, and he deserves reverence, not pity and damnation at the mouths of pompous fools.
I don’t know what comes after this, and I won’t know until I’m there and gone. But I hope, if my hope counts for anything, that this man comes to what he was hoping to find, even if it isn’t exactly how he expected it. I wish his soul peace, however that can come to him.
Chisel, lift dirt clods,
solid over rotted wood,
molding flesh, bleached bone.
I’m left behind.
They tell me it’s for my own protection.
Of angels and demons,
demons in my view.
View of the world,
world of the living…
living and the dead.
Dead and gone
gone far away,
away and left me nothing.
Trust me, you’re worth fighting for.