11/11/05Tapestry of One, a book on the "Axis Age," when the greatest minds in antiquity suddenly appeared together on earth: Buddha (influenced by the Upanishads), Lao Tzu and Confucius.
Copyright © 1993-2005. Mel West. All rights reserved.
The Tapestry of One (continued)
Reality of Human Life:
1. People in this world are prone to be selfish and unsympathetic; they do not know how to love and respect one another; they argue and quarrel over trifling affairs only to their own harm and suffering, and life becomes but a dreary round of unhappinesses.
Regardless of whether they are rich or poor, they worry about money; they suffer from poverty and they suffer from wealth. Because their lives are controlled by greed, they are never contented, never satisfied.
2. Now, there are five evils in the world. First, there is cruelty; every creature, even insects, strives against one another. The strong attack the weak; the weak deceive the strong; everywhere there is fighting and cruelty.
Second, there is the lack of a clear demarcation between the rights of a father and a son; between an elder brother and a younger; between a husband and a wife, between a senior relative and a younger; on every occasion each one desires to be the highest and to profit off the others. They cheat each other, there is deception and a lack of sincerity.
Third there is the lack of a clear demarcation as to the behavior between men and women. Everyone at times has impure and lascivious thoughts and desires that lead them into questionable acts and often into disputes, fighting, injustice, and wickedness.
Fourth, there is the tendency for people to disrespect the rights of others, to exaggerate their own importance at the expense of others, to set bad examples of behavior and, being unjust in their speech, to deceive, slander, and abuse others.
Fifth, there is a tendency for people to neglect their duties toward others. They think too much of their own comfort and their own desires; they forget the favors they have received and cause annoyance to others that often passes into great injustice.
3. People should have more sympathy for one another; they should respect one another for their good traits and help one another in their difficulties; but, instead, they are selfish and hard-hearted; they despise on another for their failings and dislike others for their advantages. These aversions generally grow worse with time, and after a while, become intolerable.
These feelings of dislike do not soon end in acts of violence; yet they poison life with feelings of hatred and anger that become so deeply carved into the mind that people carry the marks into the cycle of reincarnation.
...The law of cause and effect is universal; each man must carry his own burden of sin and must go along to its retribution. The same law of cause and effect controls good deeds. A life of sympathy and kindness will result in good fortune and happiness.
7....To us, fortunately, the knowledge of the Buddha's teachings has come; we should seek to believe in them and wish to be born in the Buddha's Pure Land. Knowing Buddha's teachings, we should not follow others into greedy and sinful ways, nor should we keep the Buddha's teachings to ourselves alone, but should practise the teachings and pass them on to others.
Amida Buddha's Vows:
4. Amida Buddha is not far from anyone. His Land of Purity is described as being far away to the west but it is also within the minds of those who earnestly wish to be born there....To those who have faith, He offers the opportunity to become one with Him. As this Buddha is the all-inclusive body of equality, whoever thinks of Buddha, Buddha thinks of him and enters his mind freely.
This means that, when a person thinks of Buddha, he has Buddha's mind in all its pure and happy and peaceful perfection. In other words, his mind is a Buddha-mind.
Therefore, each man in purity and sincerity of faith, should picture his own mind as being Buddha's mind.
6. Since the mind of Amida Buddha with all its boundless potentialities of love and wisdom is compassion itself, Buddha can save all....If (these) wicked men recite the holy name of Amida Buddha with singleness of mind, all the sins which would have destined them to the evil would will be cleared away.
If simply repeating the holy name can do this, how much more if one is able to concentrate his mind upon this Buddha!
Those who are thus able to recite the holy name, when they come to the end of life, will be met by Amida Buddha and the Bodhisattvas of Compassion and Wisdom and will be led by them into the Buddha's Land, where they will be born in all purity of the white lotus.
Amida Buddha's Land of Purity:
1. The Buddha of Infinite Light and boundless Life is ever living and ever radiating His truth. In His Pure Land there is no suffering and no darkness, and every hour is passed in joy; therefore, it is called the Land of bliss.
3. Why is Buddha in this land called Amida, indicating the Buddha of Infinite Light and boundless Life? It is because the splendor of His Truth radiates unimpeded to the outermost and innermost limits of the Buddha-lands; it is because the vitality of His living compassion never wanes through the incalculable lives and eons of time.
It is because the number of those who are born in His Pure Land are perfectly enlightened is incalculable and they will never again return to the world of delusions and death.
We may now take the opportunity of another rest stop. After establishing that there are criteria for good actions, as opposed to evil actions, and that one's actions in this life will affect the fate of a future life, we find that there is one who is always within us, whom, if we will just call upon, will lead us away from our evil ways and towards Enlightenment. And being led by Him we are also Promised a great Joy after death and in any future life. First we are admitted to Buddha's Land, which is a land without Suffering and eternal Joy. Secondly, as concerning reincarnation, we are Promised that our next life will be without Suffering. Apart from any confusion which may emanate as to the exact nature of reincarnation, or resurrection, we can safely say that the Buddha Savior is Promising the same Salvation which Christianity and the Old Testament promised. Buddha, here, becomes a Surrogate Savior from our point of view.
We have seen that the concerns voiced by Buddhism are those same concerns voiced by the Bible. Even the Analysis of Causes is about the same, except the Bible focuses upon the original sin of Adam and Eve which must eventually be purged through the hearkening to God's Word and the good works of Adam's Seed. In Biblical terms man is beguiled by Satan; in Buddhist terms man is beguiled by his own conditions and insatiable desires, some being affected by demons. Regardless of the causes, the Solution is the same. Know thyself is the answer. Know what the roots of your evil ways are and learn to control them. If you don't you will be thrown into Purgatory, according to formative Buddhism, and live one life after another heaped with suffering. Here, the rewards of evil works are the same as in the Bible: an Everlasting Hell. The details of Hell here become insignificant. What is important is the threat of eternal suffering, which is reason enough to be avoided. So in these aspects, removing all the chaff so to speak, Buddha and the God of Abraham appear to have common perceptions of dealing with Good and Evil. Again, describing events after death is like one sifting through a pile of chaff for one seed when there is a pile of seeds already next to you to sustain you.
In seeking Salvation there are Twenty difficulties to overcome, as outlined in the chapter, The good way of behavior :
1. It is hard for a poor man to be generous
2. It is hard for a proud man to learn the Way of Enlightenment
3. It is hard to seek Enlightenment at the cost of self-sacrifice.
4. It is hard to be born while Buddha is in the world
5. It is hard to hear the Buddha-teaching.
6. It is hard to keep the mind pure against the instincts of the body.
7. It is hard not to desire things that are beautiful and attractive.
8. It is hard for a strong man not to use his strength to satisfy his desires.
10. It is hard to remain innocent when tempted by sudden circumstances.
11. It is hard to apply oneself to study widely and thoroughly
12. It is hard not to despise a beginner.
13. It is hard to keep oneself humble.
14. It is hard to find good friends.
15. It is hard to endure the discipline that leads to Enlightenment.
16. It is hard not to be disturbed by external conditions and circumstances.
17. It is hard to teach others by knowing their abilities.
18. It is hard to maintain a peaceful mind.
19. It is hard not to argue about right and wrong.
20. It is hard to find and learn a good method.
Search For Truth:
1. In the search for truth there are certain questions that are unimportant....Suppose a man were pierced by a poisoned arrow, and his relatives and friends got together to call a surgeon to have the arrow pulled out and the wound treated.
If the wounded man objects, saying, "Wait a little. Before you pull it out, I want to know who shot this arrow. Was it a man or a woman? Was it someone of noble birth, or was it a peasant? What was the bow made of?..What feathers were used? Before you extract the arrow, I want to know all about these things." Then what will happen?
Before all this information can be secured, no doubt, the poison will have time to circulate all through the system and the man may die. The first duty is to remove the arrow, and its poison prevented from spreading.
When the fire of passion is endangering the world, the composition of the universe matters little; what is the ideal form for the human community is not so important to deal with....in the presence of lamentation, sorrow, suffering and pain, one should first search for a way to solve these problems and devote oneself to the practice of that way.
The Buddha's teaching teaches what is important to know and not what is unimportant.
The Ways of Practice:
1. For those who seek Enlightenment there are three ways of practice that must be understood and followed; First, disciplines for practical behavior; second, right concentration of mind; and third, wisdom.
2. It is difficult to advance along the path that leads to Enlightenment so long as one is covetous of comforts and luxuries and his mind disturbed by the desires of the senses. There is a wide difference between the enjoyment of life and the enjoyment of the True Path....Indeed, their three ways (keeping the precepts, practising concentration of mind and always acting wisely) are the true path to enlightenment.
3. If the three ways of practice are analyzed, they will reveal the eight-fold noble path, the four viewpoints to be considered, the four right procedures, the five faculties of power to be employed, and the perfection of six practices.
The Eightfold Path, which we mentioned earlier in our discussion of the Formative Buddhism can now be explained in more detail:
1. Right View includes: to thoroughly understand the Fourfold Truth, to believe in the law of cause and effect, and not to be deceived by appearances and desires.
2. Right Thought means the resolution not to cherish desires, not to be greedy, not to be angry, and not to do any harmful deed.
3. Right Speech means the avoidance of lying words, idle words, abusive words, and double-tongues.
4. Right Behavior means not to destroy any life, not to steal, or not to commit adultery.
5. Right Livelihood means to avoid any life that would bring shame.
6. Right Effort means to try to do one's best diligently toward the right direction.
7. Right Mindfulness means to maintain a pure and thoughtful mind.
8. Right Concentration means to keep the mind right and tranquil for its concentration, seeking to realize the mind's pure essence.
4. The four view-points to be considered are:
- First, to consider the body impure, seeking to remove all attachment to it.
- Second, to consider the senses as a source of suffering, whatever their feelings of pain or pleasure may be.
- Third, to consider the mind to be in a constant state of flux.
- Fourth, to consider everything in the world as being a consequence of causes and conditions and that nothing remains unchanged forever.
5. The four right procedures are:
- First, to prevent any evil from starting.
- Second, to remove any evil as soon as it starts.
- Third, to induce the doing of good deeds.
- Forth, to encourage the growth and continuance of good deeds that have already started.
One must endeavor to keep these four procedures.
6. The five faculties of power are:
- First, the faith to believe;
- Second, the will to make the endeavor;
- Third, the faculty of alertness;
- Fourth, the ability to concentrate one's mind;
- and fifth, the ability to maintain clear wisdom.
These five faculties are necessary powers to attain Enlightenment.
7. The perfection of six practices for reaching the other shore of Enlightenment are:
- the path of offering,
- the path of keeping precepts,
- the path of endurance,
- the path of endeavor,
- the path of concentration of mind,
- and the path of wisdom.
By following these paths, one can surely pass from the shore of delusion over to the shore of Enlightenment.
The practice of Offerings gets rid of selfishness; the practice of Precepts keeps one thoughtful of the rights and comforts of others; the practice of Endurance helps one to control a fearful or angry mind; the practice of Endeavor helps one to be diligent and faithful; the practice of Concentration helps one to control a wandering and futile mind;l and the practice of Wisdom changes a dark and confused mind into a clear and penetrating insight....If one gives away a gift only when convenient, or because it is easier to give than not to give, it is an offering, of course, but it is not a True Offering. A True Offering comes from a sympathetic heart before any request is made, and a True Offering is the one that gives not occasionally but constantly.
Neither is it a True Offering if after the act there are feelings of regret or of self-praise; a True Offering is one that is given with pleasure, forgetting oneself as the giver, the one who receives it and the gift itself.
True Offering springs spontaneously from one's pure compassionate heart with no thought of any return, wishing to enter into a life of Enlightenment together.
9. There are Four Unlimited States of Mind that the seeker of Enlightenment should cherish. They are:
- gladness and
One can remove greed by cherishing compassion; one can remove anger by tenderness; one can remove suffering by gladness, and one can remove the habit of discrimination of enemies and friends by cherishing an equitable mind.
The Way of Faith:
1. Those who take refuge in the three treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Samgha, are called the disciples of Buddha. The disciples of Buddha observe the four norms of mind-control the precepts, faith, offering and wisdom.
The disciples of Buddha practise the five precepts:
- not to kill,
- not to steal,
- not to commit adultery,
- not to lie,
- and not to take intoxicants of any kind.
2...The Buddha is the one who attained perfect Enlightenment and used His attainment to emancipate and bless all mankind. The Dharma is the Truth, the spirit of Enlightenment and the teaching that explains it. The Samgha is the perfect brotherhood of believers in the Buddha and Dharma....We speak of Buddhahood, the Dharma and the Brotherhood as though they are three different things, but they are really only one. Buddha is manifested in His Dharma and is realized by the Brotherhood....Therefore, people are emancipated and enlightened simply by having faith in the Buddha. Buddha is the perfectly Enlightened One and He loves everyone as though each were His only child. So if anyone regards Buddha his own parent, he identifies himself with Buddha and attains Enlightenment.
3. Nothing in the world brings greater benefit than to believe in Buddha. Just hearing buddha's name, believing and being pleased even for a moment, is incomparably rewarding.
Therefore, one must please oneself by seeking the teaching of Buddha in spite of the conflagration that fills all the world.
...Faith is the encouragement when one's way is long and wearisome, and it leads to Enlightenment.
Faith makes us feel that we are in the presence of Buddha and it brings us to where Buddha's arm supports us. Faith softens our hard and selfish minds and gives us a friendly spirit and a mind of understanding sympathy.
4. To avoid any evil, to seek the good, to keep the mind pure: this is the essence of Buddha's teaching.
Duties of the Brotherhood:
1. A man who wishes to become my disciple must be willing to give up all direct relations with his family, the social life of the world and all dependence upon wealth.
A man who has given up all such relations for the sake of the Dharma and has no abiding place for either his body or his mind has become my disciple and is to be called a homeless brother.
Though his feet leave their imprints in my footsteps and his hands carry my garment, if his mind is disturbed by greed, he is far from me. Though he dresses like a monk, but does not accept the teaching, he does not see me.
2. My disciples, the homeless brothers must observe the four rules and about them build their lives.
First they wear old and cast-off garments;
- second they get their food through alms-begging;
- third, their home is where night finds them as under a tree or on a rock;
- and, fourth, they use only a special medicine made from urine laid down by the Brotherhood.
3. To believe himself to be a homeless brother and to be able to answer when he is asked about it, he must be able to say:-
"I am willing to undertake whatever is necessary to be a homeless brother..."
1. It has already been explained that to become a disciple of Buddha one must believe in the three treasures: - the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha.
To become a lay follower one must have an unshakable faith in Buddha, must believe in His Teachings, study and put precepts into practice, and must cherish the Brotherhood.
...Lay followers should not only believe in the three treasures and keep the precepts by themselves, but also they should, as far as they are able, help others observe them, especially their relatives and friends, trying to awaken in them an unshakable faith in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Samgha, so that they, too, may share in buddha's compassion.
...Lay followers should always keep in mind that sooner or later they will be obliged to part with their parents and families and pass away from this life of birth and death; therefore, they should not become attached to things of this life but should set their minds on the world of Enlightenment, wherein nothing passes away.
2....They will have no fear about their future death since they believe in the birth in Buddha's Land. Since they have faith in the truth and the holiness of the teachings, they can express their thoughts freely and without fear.
Since their minds are filled with compassion for all people, they will make no distinctions among them but will treat all alike, and since their minds are free from likes and dislikes it will be pure and equitable and happy for them to do any good deed.
Whether they live in adversity or in prosperity, it will make no difference to the increase of their faith. If they cherish humility, if they respect the Buddha's teachings, if they are consistent in speech and action, if they are guided by wisdom, if their mind is as immovable as a mountain, then they will make steady progress on the path to Enlightenment.
And though they are forced to live in a difficult situation and among people of impure minds, if they cherish faith in Buddha they can ever lead them toward better deeds.
5. Lay members of the Buddha's Samgha should study the following lessons every day:-- How to serve their parents, how to live with wife and children, how to control themselves, and how to serve Buddha. (What follows in the remainder of theBuddhist Bible are instructions on how to serve in the fellowship of family and state; all of which--without idol worship-- seem to be exceedingly good advise).
This is the encapsulation of Buddhism as best We could do. The Mahayana, the Greater Vehicle, as just experienced through the Buddhist Bible quoted is in essence the same as that which we saw in the formative religion voiced by Buddha. Where it makes a variation is in its accommodation to the questions, "What happens when you die?' and "How can we involve all men in participating in the religion?" The solution offered in the modern Buddhist Bible is a teaching on an Afterlife, the affects on that life through this life's works, and a Supreme, eternal, all-knowing Guide or Savior who will help you through your struggles towards Salvation. Just call on Him and He will be with you and help you. And with this offering the "faith" which was privy to a few hardened disciples willing to follow Buddha from town to town, and forest to forest, could now become a gift to all men of all walks of life.
We see that Buddhism followed the same essential course Christianity took. There is, perhaps, one minor difference between the two religions, in measuring this commonality of course. Both Jesus and Buddha were, for practical purposes, made into gods, each separately to be honored and followed. Failure to follow either one would mean jeopardizing one's soul to experience eternal suffering: i.e., Hell. By having faith in either one, one is guaranteed eternal life. In Buddhist precepts eternal life is described in a two fold course: reincarnating into lives rewarded with happiness and prosperity and occupation of Buddha's Land of Bliss, where there is no suffering. In this way, both Promise Salvation to all the world and each promises Salvation on an exclusive basis. Each is the Truth and the Guiding Light to Salvation.
As concerning their teachings, as to what is Right faith and Conduct to Salvation, both are pretty well in agreement. One expands a little more here than the other, but both are saying the same thing: Earthly desires promote unrighteousness; be humble, therefore, and be kind, compassionate, and generous etc. One can come up with many adjectives and explanations on how to fulfill these requirements. One can make even a substantial list of descriptions showing how to avoid evil. These things all point to the same sources of evil: greed, vanity, etc.; and they all lead to the same good: compassion for all living things and the treatment of all living things with equanimity. We realize that one can write a book paraphrasing these precepts and still create nothing new. Do good and avoid evil. All people know what good means. Anyone reading our books, since they refer to many other sources of wisdom, ought not to have any doubts about what the Universal Good has been thought to be. By the same token, it is clear that it is not necessary to go through library after library to peruse books looking for the definition of Good and its rewards; or the affects of evil. If you have gotten through one of these books, you have read them all.
Let me tell you a parable:
The Black Book
A young man was sitting beside a small pool of water, gazing at his reflection. He began to think about his life and where it was leading. As he pondered over the stillness of the water, watching his image float in changing forms, a small ripple disturbed the stillness. Then he saw something in the water which was so profound he grabbed his small bag lying next to him and reached for his little black book. He wrote down the precept that had come to him and then put the small book back in his bag. He was amazed, he was astounded beyond belief. What he had written, in just a few words, explained everything for which he had been searching. Yet, he had the urge to find its answer; to prove it so to speak. So he took off with many large bags packed on an adventure to ascertain that truth he had written in the small black book.
He travelled for years and the bags were beginning to wear him down. Besides, he found as he travelled he needed less and less. Finally, at a friend's home in some far off country, he left the large bags and set off with one small bag, carrying only a few shirts, razor, and underwear, toiletries, etc. Over his other shoulder he had slung the small bag carrying his black book.
He travelled far and wide, studying with one teacher after another, finally reaching Nepal and studying with the masters there. After many more years, he had become an erudite man himself, but was now old and somewhat crippled. And though many came to him to study under him, though he was called The Sage, it occurred to him one day that he still had not ascertained the Truth in the thing he saw as a youth in the pool. And when he thought about it, he realized he had forgotten what he had been searching for. He panicked and instantly sought the bag in his room. The book was not there. With a terrible sigh, he decided right then and there that his life was incomplete until he found his black book. He had not looked at the book since he left as a youth (he was so sure of his destination).
He decided to retrace his steps. Finally, he arrived at the place where he had left the large bags. Inspecting them thoroughly, he found the black book was not there. He concluded the small black book must be somewhere in his home by the small pool; and he returned home.
Reaching his home, few remembered him. He still could not locate the black book. Dejected, having wasted his entire life over a lark, a small note made in a small book, he found himself sitting by the pool. Then he thought to look into the small bag, which now was quite tattered and torn. Searching it carefully, perhaps for the first time, since he now had lost all need for haste, he found the book underneath a support structure in the bag. He opened the book and this is what he discovered was written in it long ago on that fateful day:
Everything is right here
The young man did not have to go anywhere to learn Wisdom. No more than I had to pour through several books quoted here and in other places to learn the same teachings I had known from a child.
A man by name of Doc told me a similar story which his "pappy" had told him. His "pappy" would sit in a chair with his feet propped up in front of the window. He said, "I work just enough to keep my feet propped us so - not too high, not too low; just so's I can see out the window, where my feet don't block the view". From the window he could see everything. Like Lao Tzu.
But we all like to struggle and learn, to learn and struggle. The more we learn, it seems the more we struggle. As for me, writing this book was a struggle, for I knew, though I addressed a different religion, of which I was barely familiar, the work would end up to be a replay of the same theme I had previously written. That can be pretty boring. Nevertheless, I had to endure the work to show you how boring it really is. This is not to pass criticism on Buddha, or even his followers, but to say, rather, that there really is nothing new under the sun. Don't let anyone tell you they have come up with a new solution to your Salvation. The Solutions have all been tried before.
But here we have to admit another concern. It has to do with Vanity, which those who have read our other works may find to be a fairly routine topic of discussion. They ought to be tired of it by now.
In reading the Buddhist Bible we kept in mind the Similitude we had made in Hidden Pavilions: that of Simulating the Messiah. We maintained the Similitude in writing this book; in which case we had to ask, "What would he think about the Buddhist Bible?"
In all truthfulness, there are very few points of contention which can be made concerning the variances between Christianity and Buddhism. The first point, which we mentioned earlier, involves the problem of both religions claiming to be the soul possessors of (God's) Salvation. They both are putting a limitation on God.
Notes to Chapter 9
1 Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism , p 47,48
2 ibid, p28,29
3 ibid, p85
4 ibid, p80
5 ibid, p78
7 ibid, p60
8 ibid, p55
9 ibid, p42,43
10 ibid, p82
11 ibid, p71
12 ibid, p58
15 ibid, p57,58
16 ibid, p48
17 ibid, p35,36
18 ibid, p178
19 ibid, p200
20 ibid, p214
21 ibid, p221
22 ibid, p237
23 ibid, p244
24 ibid, p264
25 ibid, p280
26 ibid, p285
27 ibid, p287
28 ibid, p317,318
29 ibid, p319
30 ibid, p40
31 ibid, p44
32 ibid, p73
33 ibid, p 184,185
The Unity of One
No man being the sole possessor of God's Wisdom has yet to walk this earth . We say God's Wisdom to differentiate between the Universal Wisdom and man's. The Universal Wisdom has to involve a knowledge of the infinite mechanisms of the universe and its laws: the things which drive it and the things which mirror its order. And here we can reflect on the thought that even in Chaos there is order.
While men have speculated since time immemorial on the nature of the stars and planets, somehow, to bring a Unity between man and the heavenly bodies, man had to speculate on a System bridging a gap between the heavens and earth and man. That Gap was first described as Heaven itself, being controlled by a Great Spirit, to which all living life forms eventually translated. In primitive cultures, which we can call Traditional Societies, all things contained a spirit in them. And they were all unified by the Great Spirit.
Man, in his ever growing need to define this Gap between Heaven and Man, then thought about various plans of explaining it. Whenever he looked into the Cloudy Looking Glass of Heaven, through the cloudiness, one would step forward and exclaim: "I've got it!" and then go off to explain it to others. Finally gods were invented to explain the various attributes of the things that had been perceived. And the interplay of gods, demigods, and men began to fill volumes of mythical tales explaining the nature of things and man's blessings and responsibilities to those things.
From the beginning one over-riding theme emerged. Man was not at the controls of the universe but rather suffered at the whims of that which was controlling nature. So man sought right out to appease these Spirits or, among some, the Great Spirit at the controls.
The appeasement of the Spirits took on many forms from one Society to another. Some burned incense and raised simple prayer flags on bamboo poles, which is still being done today; others decided to put their prayers on Prayer Wheels and let the wind turn them, which is still being done today; others began sacrificing animals and children. In some places, such as among the Voodoo Societies, animal sacrifice is still being done today. While in Turkey I witnessed six lambs being sacrificed right before my feet as I was waiting in the street with thousands of spectators while the President of Turkey passed in his motorcade. Wherever one goes to review a Culture's practices, some form of sacrifice to the Great Spirit or gods has appeared.
In the formulation of Sacrifice to appease the gods was embodied a System or Order of vows and pronouncements offered by the penitent to assure his and his society's well being and comfort. These things all support the law of Goodwill to man and other living things. This Law recognizes that Man is subservient to the Controller(s) of Nature; but, on the other hand, Man has control over the herds and the agriculture. This Law became a Covenant between Man and the Controller(s). As long as Man performed his duty as a Good Husbandman the Controller's Will would be favorably disposed to him. If Man should violate the Covenant, he should expect trouble. Coupled with this a sophisticated priesthood was contrived for each aspect of the Divinity to assure that all the propitiations and laws were carried out. Taboos were created and remedies were set. We can group these things into a category describing the relationship called Rites. And from this point on Man was governed, from Society to Society, by Law. The Law was Universal in nature, for it was foremost dedicated to the protection of the earth and all its living things.
Around 1500 B.C. the earth began to shake from the pounding of horsemen. Cities began to be raised to the ground, women and children carried off as captives, and men slaughtered. TheIndo-Europeans were o n the move, displacing peoples in the Near East and India. Throughout the tales of history one will find records of 50,000 slaughtered here and 100,000 slaughtered there. And for a while the entire world seemed to withdraw into protective towers shadowing darkness over the land.During this time many changes began to take place. Some say the Hysos invaded Egypt then (others suggest that the Hyksos were really the Children of Israel: Joseph and his brethren, putting them circa. 1750 B.C.) We suspect, however, that the Hysos were the wave of Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt abouty the time Troy was demolished.
In spite of the Darkness, some places which had been flowering into Civilization began to write. Summeria and Egypt began to meditate and wrote more upon the Rule of Order.
1492 seemed to be a very good year. It, of course, marks the day Columbus discovered America and a New Order. But 1492 B.C. also marks the traditional day (I Kings 6.1) when Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, beginning also a New Order. I Kings says that Moses led the people out of Egyot 480 years before Solomon began his temple. Solomon began his temple circa 1012 B.C. So for all peoples 1492 seemed to be a very good year.It seemed to be the year the Philistines also joined the Holy Land.
Soon, in the Western World, three contender Civilizations decided to divvy up their portion of the world among themselves. The Hittities, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians divided up their world. Not being content with their portions, each sought to gain dominion over the entire apportionment. Similar happenings were going on in India and China. The World was at war; and man contrived the explanation, or justification, of the War to defend his gods. Such tales as the Illiad describe the relationship of such wars, where even the wars are brought about by the gods.
Western History reached a climax with the Trojan War, around 1200 B.C. Troy was lost and the people of the land of Illium and Lydia were scattered to the isles of the western sea.
Sea Invaders, called the Sea Peoples, began to respond and Egypt had the Sea Peoples, called Hyksos, marching through her gates. In Greece, while the Sea Peoples were pillaging the isles of the sea, people went back into their towers, after a short interlude of Light, and forgot how to write. The road from Egypt to the Tigris-Euphrates became unsafe to travel; and the Hittites, squeezed between Egypt and the Akkadian Civilizations to the south and the Indo-European Greeks invading from the north, disintegrated into a thing of the past, leaving only huge blocks of stone to remember their once proud and great empire.
Some Greeks fleeing the surge of barbarism from the Indo-European floods (1500 B.C. or 1200 B.C.) reportedly fled from Crete to Palestine. They were a branch of the Sea Peoples, called the Philistines, from which the name Palestine is derived. They took root in that land at the same time another group also was taking root: The Jews who had fled from persecution and slavery from Egypt. Both invaders met head on in contention for dominion over the land of Milk and Honey. To the Jews it was the Promised Land.
By comparison to the happenings in the Middle East, India and China seemed to have been sleeping. But then the horsed invaders arrived in India and translated a rather sophisticated civilization into their own. The overlords of China still resided safely.
Around 1000 B.C. a new wave of Civilization began to emerge in the West midst the Clouds of Darkness and the high towers which grew as a result of the Barbarism begun circa. 1200 B.C. Ignoring the towers, the Phoenicians, from Lebanon, began to exploit the opportunities of trade with Africa, Iberia, and the far isles. Phoenicia established a great city in Africa, named Carthage. To keep her records of transactions she borrowed an alphabet from some scripts archaeologists have traced to old Silver Mines in Sinai. She simplified those scripts and made it easier to record things. The Jews also drew from those sources. The Etruscans in Italy emerged from the trauma of the Trojan War, from which they say they fled, and they too began to flourish near Rome in an area which is still called by their name: Tuscany. In Palestine, at the same time as the Etruscans emerged, about 1000 B.C., a king by the name of David took the throne ruling over all the land between the Egyptian River and the Tigris Ephrates. And the Spirit of David began its course in Scriptures. The time of the Prophets had begun. The world was beginning to awaken again.
600 B.C. seemed to have been a very good year for the world. Sages were beginning to formulate new doctrines leading to Peace and Goodwill. Man had suffered too much from the Winds of War. At that time the Greeks began to write; the Etruscans created their alphabet, from which we derive the English alphabet; and the Jews were consolidating their old Scriptures into a cohesive entity. The Aryans of India began to write, but still relied on the ancient methods of memorizing the Laws and scriptures. China also began to write, but still relied upon the memory of its Sages. Soon, in China, the hero would be one who knew the power of the Pen.
The legacy of Civilization in Babylon, from the Sumero-Akkadia Civilizations, continued and Babylon began to flex her muscles. Egypt continued seemingly without change. War once again loomed upon the horizon in the Western Civilizations. And a new wave of Indo-Europeans, called the Medes and the Persians, waited for their opportunity of conquest on the borders of Babylon.
Greece, Carthage, and Tuscany fought over the far Western Sea and its lands of Sicily, Italy, Southern France, and Iberia. Babylon invaded Palestine on the way to Egypt. The Jew's City, Jerusalem, was sacked and its people carried into Babylon to captivity. China began experiencing new wars between its landlords; India seemed to be at rest.
Then a wonderful, sublime tapestry seemed to fall on the world of unrest. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, following on Isaiah's heels, began to prophesy to all the world. Jeremiah said that Judah would be carried into Babylon, to captivity, and it occurred within moments of the prophesy. He and others, like Ezekiel, then turned their attention to the rest of the world and began to prophesy about them. Lao Tzu began to teach in China; Confucius also followed on his heels and Buddha rose up with his new perspective on the old light of India. Following a hundred years behind these men was Homer and then Socrates in Greece, who thought reconcile man to the Universe and himself in a more thoughtful manner.
When we measure time, looking back, we see all these great men clustered in a relatively short moment of time. And all these men set the stage for the Modern World.
This is not to discredit the Sages and prophets who preceded them. For there had been many sages and prophets laying the foundations long before them. We have Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, circa 1492 B.C., at the time the Indo-European horsemen began leaving the steppes of Russia. Moses set the Law of the One Ineffable God and foundations of prophesy for those coming after him. In India we have the Brahman sages consolidating their thesis on the Universal Self and the Sages in China teaching foundations of Taoist precepts to Lao Tzu and Confucius.
Circa. 600 B.C. the awakening of the Great Prophets and Sages mentioned above did not, therefore, represent a completely new train of thought and reconciliation. Rather, they all assimilated what had been known and applied it in their own times and circumstances, giving a new twist in perspective built upon the old foundations.
While India was beginning to recognize the Universal Ineffable Self, which is God described in their terms, the Sages leading up to Lao Tzu and Confucius had undoubtedly concluded the existence of the same Universal Ineffable Self. The Jews, from Abraham on, had already well recognized it and had been hard at work trying to make contact with it. By the time of David that Self had well described Itself to them and David began to pour out his Soul over it. That Soul began to be known as the Suffering Servant. Four hundred years later, or thereabouts, Jeremiah and Ezekiel focused upon that Suffering Servant as the answer to all the world's problems. The Suffering Servant was the Messiah created to Save the World. Actually, Two Servants, or Messiahs were created.
In China, though Confucius lived during a time of great warfare, Order ruled the day. Because of the System, the Order, Confucius concluded that all that was needed was for men to understand the Self and work within the system. Obey the Laws and the Rites, be compassionate, be responsible, do unto one another as you would have them do unto you; respect all life; be humble. These things, being fulfilled within the System and Rites, would bring Peace and Prosperity to all. Lao Tzu concluded that the System was not enough. One must turn completely to the Universal Self and renounce all material things. The Brahmans in India concluded the same; and they called the search and acquisition of the renunciation Enlightenment. One so enlightened would become One with the Universal Self. And being One, he would do unto others as he would have them do unto himself, love one another and all forms of life; be responsible, be humble. The Jews, from Moses on, were practicing the same principals. One of their most important rites was the Feast of Atonement. On that day of feast and sacrifice one is to forgive his enemies to attain the forgiveness of the One God. "Loving One Another; doing unto others as you would have them do unto you; be humble" was there supreme code of life.
All emphasized the importance of Meditating upon the Universal Self, the Oneness of Being. The meditation, or communion, between God and man took many forms. In the Western world men prostrated themselves in prayer. In India and China men sat cross-legged in contemplation, ridding themselves of all thoughts except their relationship with the Universal Self. The Jews called this Universal Self God, but were forbidden to pronounce His Name. He called Himself, "I Am", pronounced in English, Jehovah. Other adjectives were attached to the Word, Jehovah, reflecting His various attributes of Suffering, Mercy, Salvation, etc. The Jews were forbidden to cast images of Him or to recognize the existence of any competition, gods, for His Sovereignty. Through the Prophets this God Promised to bring Peace and a Kingdom of Righteousness to lead all men. It would be in a time which was called The Latter Days, which time was defined by the Restoration of the Children of Israel back to the Holy (or Promised) Land. It would be a time after the children had been scattered to every corner of the globe. Then they would be gathered and their Gathering would involve the Manifestation of a World Savior, the Messiah. The scattering started in 70 A.D. with the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans and seems to have ended, with the gathering sequence starting, after World War II.
Buddhism seems to have arrived at the same conclusion: the Need for a World Savior, and He would be Buddha resurrected or reincarnated. With the appearance of the Buddha, around 580 B.C., the world became introduced to the body, or manifestation, of a World Savior. He continued preaching what the Brahmans had already well developed prior to him: loving one another as a means to secure Peace in the world; be humble; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; forsake the material things and cling onto the Universal Truth, the Dharma, of Buddha. Do this and the world will be saved from its sin and attendant Suffering. Through the sifting of His teachings in the world the once aetheistic teaching became transformed into the Single Unity of a World Savior carrying all the attributes the World Savior had been given by other thinkers. Peace was its byword. Learn to Rest was its Way.
There is more commonality in Buddha's Thesis with the Thesis of Jehovah than most people consider. Both arrived at the description of the Way to Peace through the vehicle of Suffering. Buddha concluded that Peace can only be achieved by removing Suffering. And to remove Suffering one must first remove one's Ego, which really doesn't exist, since there is no such thing as "I" or "Mine".
Jehovah seems to have arrived at the same conclusion, with regard to stating the "nonego". First, He produced a name which is No Name. There is no way to differentiate Him by His Name. He prefers to be known only by a thing called His Word. He casts His Manifestation, His Messiah, in the same way. In Revelation that Messiah comes to the foreground in the vehicle of a man, called The Word, whose name is known only to Himself. No one can attempt to define that Manifestation through any name.
The Ineffable One Self of the Brahmans is the same type of nomenclature. Buddha, in the Buddhist Bible we quoted, became the same Thing. Yet, somewhat contradictory to these perceptions is the fact that man, in all cases, refers to the Ineffable One as a name to be honored or worshipped. One is blessed by the Sanctity of His Name. Here resides the paradox. Man, in spite of what he teaches, through the process of Enlightenment, regardless of the place on earth where it alights, persists on putting a name on His Source. In describing the Source of Goodwill and Salvation we find that when asked, "Where did you get that information?" we have to reply that it came from "God". Most men, being suspicious by nature, then have to measure whether it truly came from God and so ask, "Which god?" Rather than weighing the information they are given according to its consistency to what they have been taught, they require that the Source identify itself by a name. And once a Name is attached to the Source we then become embroiled in controversy trying to quibble over its Name. To the Jews, who are told to avoid other (nonJewish) peoples' gods, such names for gods are renounced as infidel gods. They do not look at the Source of the infidel religions, to understand what they say; they look upon the name Man attached to the source(s). The Buddhists, by example, do the same thing. Any Source which is not identified with the Name they have attached to their Enlightenment is considered false. The Paulists, above all people, seem to be the worst violators of this phenomena; for they took it upon themselves to give their own name to God, calling Him Jesus, and then condemned to Hell and Purgatory all those who would not believe in that name, as they understood it. And now, looking back through the Centuries, and at our own times, we see people all over the world trying to protect the Name which they worship, being altogether oblivious of what that Name really represents.
Thankfully, the Buddhists did something in their Theology which can be instrumental to getting rid of the problems of Naming God and making Him a personal possession of certain Chosen People. For they admit that the Universal Truth, or Source of Enlightenment, cannot be described; furthermore, they take a passive stand with regard to condemning others who have not come to their Light. The Buddha, they admit, can exist anywhere at anytime and His Light is spread equitably among all men. In this sense they see themselves as an Umbrella Religion by which all men can come to the realization of the One Universal Self, the Controller of all Being. The Brahmans take a similar stand, being tolerant of other perceptions and relying upon the view of the Universal Self eventually being perceived by man. Both religions emphasize Nonviolence as the way towards Peace and Enlightenment.
Among the major religions, we have yet to speak of the Moslems in this work. In Hidden Pavilions we discuss them in rather good detail, quoting how the Moslems believe unequivocally in both the teachings of the Bible and Jesus. Mohammed, who first put the Religion in Word, did not view himself as creating anything new. Rather, he thought of himself as a bridge by which Christianity and Judaism could be linked into a Unity of One.
We are not the first to attempt to make the link between apparently disparate Sources, or Names, and the Unity of One. This should be quite obvious in this work.
For those who would endeavor to pursue the Link, or, as is called in the Buddhist Bible, the Pearl of Enlightenment, we have some advise.
What we have attempted to show in our books, beginning with Hidden Pavilions, The Tempting, The String of Pearls, even a children's book, The Littlest Bookworm , and this work is that there has been an ever-present Tapestry thrown over the world which shows a marvellous, sublime opportunity for those who would like to gaze upon it. The opportunity of which we speak is the opportunity to gaze upon the meaning of Righteousness and the Source of that Meaning, how it appears to have spoken to many diverse peoples at many different times. And out of its Word, which we have earlier referred to as a Warp, was woven a marvellous image, like a fine tapestry threaded by many hands. Above the Tapestry of One is written: Goodwill towards all men. Below it is written: Love the earth and all things in it. The workings that went into the Tapestry of One all had the same quality of thread. The thread was woven about the Warp in the same manner in all instances. Now and then some fine weaver would add his own signature to show that he had participated in shaping the Tapestry. Imagine this Tapestry of One, if you will. How beautiful it must be, with some corners embellished with scenes of compassion and humanity to man in amazing, penetrating detail. The signatures of David, Buddha, and Jesus each flower in these areas. Near Buddha's and Jesus's signatures are wondrous lilies. Underneath them are the words, "Behold the lilies of the field; they neither seek shelter nor want and are always provided for". Near the work of Confucius's signature are assuring scenes of men working with each other to produce a System or Order in which men can live and work in peace. And near Lao Tzu's flowing streams and jagged mountains is the scene of an Old Man sitting by his window saying, "I can see the entire world from right here". And it is true. What he could see outside his window was the earth and all of its blessings. What greater Blessing is there than to realize that one is One with Nature in all of its passion and all of its glory?
Near the signature of David is a wonderful scene. In spite of the Promise and the Oneness of Being there is God crying. He is sitting beside a stream, with his hand reaching into water tainted so badly by those who had gone before Him he could not drink of it. Neither could other living things drink from it. And because of the spoiling of his water he suffers. David, seeing this Suffering, suffers with him and puts it into imagery so that we can sympathize with Him.
Throughout the Tapestry of One are wonderful old hermits. The Sages, the Brahmans, have all put in their designs showing the Unity of all things in the cognizant, Universal Tapestry. Wherever you look upon their designs, of the bountiful forests, the stags and the animals, even the tiny insects--a butterfly fluttering over a crimson field --one sees strong threads holding the fabric together, upholding the title of the field: Love all living things.
Muhammed left his signature near them, the sages and the Brahmans. And He, with Moses, threaded in a flowing stream written upon it: Obey the Law. Around the stream were sculptured many humble men doing their daily duties; everyone contributed in this effort.
On the corners of the Tapestry of One were pictured Cherubs, reminding us that we are all Children of this Tapestry and our unity in it is achieved best through the innocence of a Babe. "Be innocent and do not let yourself be beguiled" is the inscription below each Cherub.
There are other handicrafts on the Tapestry of One which number too many to mention. But the scenes from their hands, many of who remain nameless even to this day, are there. One may be a mere flower; another a field, another a Plowman and another a scribe or teacher seated beneath a Tree. Near the Plowman is written the inscription: Do not plow across the furrows. Another Plowman is seen carrying two books in his hands. In his foreground are enormous mountain peaks, covered with snow, with cascading torrents falling from the cliffs in front of him. With the books and his plow he is set to level the mountains and tame the raging streams. This is the central image of the Tapestry of One.
A man is seated, grieving for the world, the plants, the animals, and the furrows thereof. They are all singing a song of grief, crying out to the world what man has done to it. He, Job, is a man who remembers what it is like to lose everything, and what it is like to regain it: He understands what it is like to be Redeemed. Near his workings is this admonition: The furrows, the plants, and the animals will one day cry out against man.
Another man is standing before a Tree guarding the gate to a beautiful garden. The Tree carries a fiery sword. Written on that Sword is the following: To be restored to this Garden, love the earth and all that is in it. Be a good husbandman. The man, whose name is Adam, is fraught with grief. For the record has turned against him.
There is yet another man in the Tapestry of One whom we shall not mention. He kneels, touching the polluted soil, holding a small report in his hand. It is offered to Heaven and Adam moans. People are seen running from him back to their Towers....
In our reflection through the last 3500 years of history, though sketchy as it is, we note the similarities of the different faiths that have come down to us and now must make mention of their dissimilarities.
Among all of them is a thing called Rites. The Rites involve those actions of man in communion with God or his gods. They may involve the building of a temple and institution of priests and specified methods of worship of the god housed in that temple. When one walks into a Catholic Church one sees first the layout of the building in the form of a cross, symbolic of the Cross upon which the Catholic Savior died. Inside, in the center of the church, where the bars of the cross meet, is an altar. The Catholic rites revolve around what is considered righteous worship in the Service at the altar. It includes the presentation of wine and bread to the worshippers, signifying the Last Supper Mass which Christ conducted, and is translated to symbolize eating the blood and body of Christ. In the nooks and crannies of the cathedral are many statues and pictorial scenes. These things are icons raised in memory of the Saints of the church. People kneel before these icons and pray to them.
In Rome, before Christianity, the people were doing the same thing, participating in a Rite concerning a god of the temple. Around the temple were images which were prayed to and propitiated. When Christianity became the state religion of Rome the rites and the propitiations were changed; the icons were changed, but often as not the attributes of a particular god being propitiated by the pagan Romans were translated into a Christian Saint. The prayers and the oblations continued much as before. The god which might have presided over child birth was given a new name, that of a particular Saint. The prayer and the oblations given to the god then became translated towards a new name. It seems, then, that such rites are Catholic, or approved, as long as they are directed towards an approved Saint of the church.
In India the same kinds of rites continue: not to Saints of the Church, but to gods and Saints of the Hindu Religion. There, as in Catholicism, people kneel and pray to a particular name which will bring good fortune, a child, etc. And we wonder what is the difference between the Christian rites and the Hindu rites. They are directed to Names which are less than the Universal, ineffable Self, which we call God.
Even the Buddhists subscribe to this nature. They kneel before a statue or image which is less than the Universal, ineffable Self: The Godhead. We say Buddha's Image is less than the Godhead because in its manifestation, in the image of a man, that manifestation is less than what even Buddhism and other religions, such as the Brahmans, describe that Godhead to be. So at most, any effigy or icon which is made by the hands of man is less than the thing that may actually be represented. We can again refer to Krishna, The Great Spirit, for instance. Images of him could never, according to the descriptions of which we have reviewed, reflect the totality of His Being. And His Being is pretty representative of the Godhead of the Bible.
Buddhism describes the parable of the blind men touching an elephant. We shall modify it a bit to describe the direction we are heading in searching for a Unity in religion.
The Great White Elephant
Several blind men were asked to come and touch a part of a great white elephant. One man touched the tusks; another touched the foot, another the tail, another the ear, another the belly. When each blind man was asked to describe the elephant he could only describe that area which he touched. Not one of them was able to conceive of the entire elephant or its nature.
This is what all religions have done with God. Each attempts to touch God but each is no better at differentiating his form and nature than each one of the blind men touching the elephant.
Each religion likes to claim that it has received the total revelation, or enlightenment, of God. These revelations come through men, not God. Men may appear on earth, speaking of the True Way and then their Being becomes translated into a God or the Image of God. But anything named as God that is of Man, being of the flesh, would be a limitation on God. God, being like the Great White Elephant, would be offended, we should think, if one touching any part of him would conclude that he could create an image of Him based upon the area touched. At most, any manifestation of God in the flesh could be no more than the foot of the elephant.
In Hidden Pavilions we discussed a new thing: A Tent by which a manifestation of God was once experienced by the Jews. He appeared there atop a small chest, called the Mercy Seat, as a Cloud by day and a Fire by night. That manifestation, according to the reports of the entire tribe witnessing it, communed with them for over forty years. Furthermore, it is reported that when the Cloud of God decided to move to another location it would lift up from the Tabernacle, the Tent, and the people would follow it until it rested again. That Cloud was the Source of the Laws and Rites of the Jews, from which Christians received their Laws and Rites.
The Cloud and the Fire were never considered the Totality of the Being of God. Rather, it was always known as a vehicle or manifestation of His Being. The Jews were prevented from making any image of Him.
As for the Hindu, Brahman, and Buddhist images of God, we can safely say, as we have witnessed, that those religions also recognize that the Totality of God's Being is impossible to describe, let alone imitate. With this in mind, we have to ask what those gods are really thought to be, mentioned even by Buddha, which are so ardently worshipped in India.
In Hidden Pavilions, as concerning the Tabernacle, we concluded that with man endeavoring to fulfill the universal laws of God: loving all life and one another, etc. the form of man which God has desired is being fulfilled. The only hitch, moving from religion to religion, is the worship of images which are not God, being certainly far less than His Total Being. Even more, we have to acknowledge that no image fashioned by man, whether Christian or Buddhist, if it falls over can pick itself up. Digging through ancient ruins, whether the image is of Jupiter or of Jesus, the image lies where it fell. It cannot raise itself back up, it cannot speak, nor can it hear. So praying to an image is, at most, no more effective than praying to a rock in a cliff.
We admit that the worship of images is a demonstration of faith towards the Godhead; and if there is any confusion as to what the worshipper thinks he is worshipping it is not owing to God's lack of Being but rather to the ignorance of men.
Neither Jesus (See My Father is Greater than I) nor Buddha represented the Total Being of God. As guides, as prophets, as Holy Men, these men can direct man's attention to the Godhead and His Desire. In reading the Christian Bible and its Tenets of Good Behavior, in reading the Buddhist Bible and its Tenets of Good Behavior, we see very little variance between the two. Get rid of the images and their names, and the Rites, and the substance of the Desire of God is being fulfilled. For those things stripped away from the faiths leave one with very good guidance on how to develop a closer relationship with God and Serve Him on earth with greater dedication and purpose. We can also, to repeat ourselves, strip away the names and the rites from the Hindu religion and achieve the same desirable nature in man. So let us strip away the images and the names from all religions.
There are two ways of stripping away the images and the names. One way is to knock the images down by force of arms. The other is to reorient the people to recognize what they are worshipping, that at most it can only be the foot of the Great White Elephant.
With this recognition in our plan we can conclude that anyone recognizing that at most, in his communion with God, he is touching only the foot of the Great White Elephant, there can be, from our point of view, no objection to the practice. If one, thinking that the name Shiva can orient one to focus upon the Creative aspects of God, and that focus leads one to reverence all life, to the effect that it mandates a nonviolent attitude, bringing about Peace among all men, then the practice, though ignorant of the Totality of God's Being, does no harm. We wonder how God could be jealous of such an act, as long as the action keeps in mind that the Rite involves touching only but a part of God.
We can describe the point of view in terms of our own relationships between man and man. If a person leans over to touch your arm, your shoulder, or another part of your body to express a personal, touching contact with you, is your mind offended that the person thought to touch your arm and not your total being? Of course it isn't. Anyone having his body touched knows that the touching of an arm is the same as touching the whole body. It is the Touching that is important and no one ought to be offended that the contact was with less than the totality of one's being.
It is through touching one another, either through physical contact or through speech, that we commune. And no one becomes offended in the communion unless someone concludes that the Totality of One's Being can be described through a particular moment of the contact. We, for instance, have attempted to touch you. In the contact you may have been offended that we appear to be supporting Idol Worship. Nothing could be further from the truth and such a conclusion from our contact would be an injustice to our total being. This is what we are trying to describe in realizing that just as it is with man to man, the touching of God by man has limitations. If we recognize the limitations and do not attempt to describe his Being by our mere attempt to touch Him then we have the right perspective in our worship of Him. Nevertheless, we admit, whenever someone attaches an image and name to an aspect of God it promotes Confusion. It is better that the images and the names be known for what they, at most, can be: nothing more than the foot of the Great White Elephant. And we are all too blind to see the whole Thing. Neither can we, in consolidating our entire knowledge of Him, understand the Entirety of His Being. We still will be imaging no more than His Foot.
Thus, in recognition of the interplay of Rites in supporting the Desires we have clearly seen described by God, the infinite, ineffable and Holy Spirit, we concluded in Hidden Pavilions that such rites and practices could have no affect upon the Thing we wished to Illumine, namely the Tabernacle. For God Himself has pledged that He will make Himself Known to all men and all men will kneel down to Him and call upon Him by common consent. Understanding this, we decided to orient our view so that a path could be laid allowing such a Unifying Manifestation to be carried out. The only way we could conclude this Path would lead was through the Tabernacle. We say this because God proclaimed that He would appear in the Restored Tabernacle in the Latter Days. Such as it is, we concluded in Hidden Pavilions that all we need do is build the Tabernacle and allow God to do what He has pledged to do. We concluded that by focusing upon the Tabernacle we will be taking Him at His Word and focusing upon the One Thing that has been established, through actual reports, to be a True Manifestation of God. Neither Jesus nor Buddha have been able to prove that they are a True Manifestation of God. Only God Himself can Prove the excellence of any manifestation claimed by man to be God. Until that day comes, whatever rite you practice will be of no affect unless it is oriented towards the Totality of His Being. Your idol worship--be you Hindu or Christian--will not get you any closer to his being on that day.
Having seen that most of the laws governing man's relationship to man, and the earth, are consistent from one culture to another, and since they are incorporated as part of the rites, we cannot take too much objection to the Laws. They all get us to the heart of God's Desire.
Among the Laws are some things which are peculiar from faith to faith. Usually these fall into Dietary Laws. We see here that the Jews are forbidden to eat certain kinds of food, namely pork. So too are the Moslems bound by the same dietary laws. In commenting on this we can conclude that a Taoist, who is a vegetarian as Lao Tzu preferred, is fully compliant with the Jewish and Moslem Dietary Law. Many Hindus are also vegetarians: namely the Jains, who avoid killing any animal form. So these too are fully compliant with the Dietary Laws. Many Buddhists, being of the same persuasion, are compliant with the Jewish Dietary Law; even Confucius leaned towards the virtue of being a vegetarian; and we see, in fact, that those who are not compliant are the Christians and, of course, many Chinese, South East Asians, and others.
In Hidden Pavilions we noted that, in terms of the Bible, those who are Faithful to the Law are faithful to the Law. But it is also noted that one who is faithful to the Law, namely the Dietary Law, does not automatically purge himself of sin. An Adulterer, by any religion, who fulfills the Dietary Law is far removed from the Desire that God has expressed in all the religions. Such works, as Paul so aptly pointed out, do not prove one's faith. In actuality, all of your works prove your faith. In the Bible there is the commandment to Love God with all your heart and soul. If you do this you will abide by all His Law. If you flounder on any part of the Law it shows that your Love for Him is less than that which He desires in you. Again, if we strip Buddha's name away, we are left with that same Desire of God, and a Buddhist's works which do not reflect the complete Love Desired by Buddhism is no closer to God than a Christian committing adultery. But both performing their works reflecting their total love for The One Desire are on equal planes. For they fulfill the nameless, ineffable, infinite One's Desire.
As concerning Buddha's position on this matter we can conclude that if He claims to be One with that Being, and in consideration that he is that Being's Savior, leading us to Him, then it would appear that Buddha might be offended if we attempted to identify that Being by the name of Buddha.
Tracing our argument further, considering the actual circumstances of the formative Buddhist religion, we know, in fact, that Buddha had believed that he had reached, through Nirvana, his final extinction. This would include the extinction even of His Name. There is no such thing as Final Extinction when one's Name is still recited or remembered. Further, the memory of His Separate Being from the Godhead, through the differentiation of His Name, is in contradiction to His Very Spirit. For He had, at most, desired to be dissolved into the Godhead, with no way for man to differentiate his being. At most, then, he saw himself as a vehicle of the Godhead. The record suggests, even, that he may not have recognized a Godhead, though the Buddhist Bible has nevertheless introduced the Godhead into the mythology.
We conclude, no matter from which perspective we address God, whether from the rites or the laws, from one religion to another, from one Holy Man to another, they only get us in touch with a minute portion of the real Godhead. And almost any one of the religions will lead us to His Desire, urging us to touch more, to find more, in our blindness, than the foot of the Elephant: to throw off our idols--whatever form they take--and reach for the supernal, cloudy, majest of His Being.
From the beginning of these works, we wondered what the Messiah anticipated by Jews, Christians, and Moslems would say if He were here today. We knew His Mission was designed in Two Parts: Judgment and Salvation. Before Salvation of the world comes there is Judgment. We wondered how He would judge the World as it is today.
To answer this, we put on His Similitude as best we could. We dealt with the Judao-Christian and Moslem source first, using it as the framework of Judgment. The deeper we got into the Similitude, the grimmer the Judgment seemed to be. We concluded that Vanity ruled the world; and from Vanity the world became polluted and the World Suffered. We realized that all men seemed to be preaching the same Virtues, as to how to best Save the World. They preached one thing and practiced another, however. We isolated the Paulists, in The Tempting and The Son of Man, a Commentary on Immanuel and the Gospel of Truth, showing how they preached loving one another whilst condemning, with the other hand, the Jews to eventual extinction. Not by their direct hands had the Jews been condemned by extinction, but by the Paulist teachings. Men, believing the teachings, came into the World who believed that it was righteous to destroy all the Jews. Like the Paulists, who called themselves the Chosen People of God, the destroyers sent the Jews to the ovens whilst calling themselves the Chosen Race. The thought came out of a theme contrived by Vanity called the Aryan Superman, and it was blessed by the Paulist Doctrine which allowed that the Jews had lost their rights as a people Blessed by God. So tracing this theme back to Paul left us with a terrible, empty feeling in our hearts. For Vanity had done a terrible thing and no amount of righteousness, in this generation, can correct it. It will always be remembered as a sign of what Vanity can do to the world.
Under the auspices of Vanity another people took center stage, calling themselves The Chosen People. They carried a terrible, fiery sword. They applied it to Japan. The Sword became shared by contesting forces and now hangs over all the world. Japan groaned under the weight of being the Cause of that Sword.
Somehow, in the formulation of the doctrine of the Chosen People men believed that they had a right to destroy others to protect their god. We complained in Hidden Pavilions that God does not need man to protect Him. The Service contemplated by God for man was that of a Husbandman: to care for all living things on the earth. Man, in the Biblical story-line, is created only with the purpose of being God's Gardener. When Man ceases to take care of the garden, giving it to exploitation and pillage, then Man ceases to have a function in the garden. He becomes, in the scenario, disposable and can be disposed of as easily as the disposable wares and needles he, himself, contrived in the exploitation of his environment.
In the formative years of man there was a balance between man and nature. There was a respect for nature and all things in it. One can study any Traditional Society and see this theme pervading their life. Job, perhaps thirty-five hundred years ago, warned of the abrogation of this duty. For the sake of the earth and the remnant of life left in it, we then are tempted to restate this warning. As its relevance has great meaning today.
The world seems to be divided between those who teach living with the environment and those who teach dominion over the environment. Those seeking Dominion, like all other invaders, leave nothing behind but ruined cities and landscapes. They seem to be gaining more and more control. Even those who preach loving one another can be found among their ranks. There are many hypocrites in the world who seem, on the surface, to preach one thing while, through necessity, joining the ranks of the Destroyers. In Hidden Pavilions we complained about Christians preaching the maintenance of Nuclear Weapons and the justification, as the Chosen People of God, to commit suicide and take the world, its plants, and its animals with them in one glowing flameout. Nothing should shock their Messiah more than this observation.
Many Christians and Buddhists launched the world into World War II. All for the sake of Dominion. Those people should read Asoka's edict.
We now sit on the verge of extinction. Though there has come a new hope into the world, that peace can be forged between the Soviet Union and America and its allies, the threat of the sword is still ever present. Because the nations still carry The Sword and no one really trusts someone with a Sword. Those who carry the Sword preach doctrines of maintaining the Sword. The world shudders under the weight of their doctrines.
The world has in an instant of time seen Freedom flower among places where there was only persecution and intolerance. The Soviet Union, of all people, led this flowering. We pray that it will continue.
The Soviet Union holds the key to Peace in this present world. But it too is like a grand tapestry created out of the need for empire, weaving one nation on its borders, ever expanding borders, into a fabric of One. But with Democracy and Freedom ringing from the Kremlin, the fabric is beginning to fray, unwinding on the edges. Those nations on the edges want total freedom. They remember the evils the Soviet Union laid upon them. They remember how the fabric was woven: with the Sword and great expense of human suffering.
The edges of the Soviet tapestry continue to unwind. This morning's newspaper cited how the Soviet army had invaded Armenia, a country transversing the Caucus mountains, near Mt. Ararat mentioned in the Bible. The unwinding will continue and we wonder whether the inner weave will start to fray. Somehow, to save its Nationhood and Unity, which is from diverse elements, the Soviet Union must find a way to keep those in the central parts of the fabric together. For they have always had a long standing part in it. We wonder to what lengths they will resort for the Salvation of their Nation. Peace has entered the world's door with a Promise but terror and Suffering seem to be waiting by the wings. And these can inflame the entire world.
The causes of Suffering can, we see, be born out of the release from Suffering. Somehow Hope and Suffering often are carried on the same belt. From the same tears are seen both Joy and Suffering.
Buddha seems to have focused on this thing called Suffering more than any man. Whilst there are many ways of removing Suffering, particularly that waiting at the door, we recognize more often than not that sometimes a great leader is all we need to help us through the difficulty of the Causes of Suffering. And often the tried and proven techniques of the past are not sufficient for the measure. Because times have changed. Things are always changing, says Buddha. One must match the solutions to the Change. And even then these solutions are but temporary. Change will see to that.
The world is getting smaller and smaller. People are beginning to see that what they possess is at best temporary. Even tyrants are being taught that their opportunity for power is at best temporary and they are likely to be brought to account for their actions. The trials of Nuremburg at the close of World War II saw to that.
Because the world is getting smaller and being faced with problems which recognize no national boundaries or races, or kinds, times are ripe for Unity of Purpose and Law. The Unity of Purpose must outline why men are here on this planet, and what they must do for the planet to Save themselves. The belief that Men are here to exploit the planet is beginning to show its fruits; like a harmful virus which kills the host upon it feeds, this belief is now about to be tried. And it must be tried before the host has lost its ability to survive. When all men begin to see this Virus and start to administer potions against it, then, and only then, will we be able to see light in the darkness which has come upon every living soul on this planet.
Apart from the desolators, the Virus of the planet, there are those who are its servants. They like to name things for their own. We call them in our books, Vanity. Today, we think all men will agree, all things are equally owned by all men. The animals struggling to live in Africa are as much a concern and responsibility to Americans as they are to the Africans, for instance. The air over Los Angeles is as much a concern to those who live there as it is to those who live in Colorado. The air over Germany is as much a concern to those who live in the high places of Norway and Sweden and even Vermont as it ought to be to the Germans. The waters around the world are sources of water for all and a concern to all. One polluted source can pollute the entire sea, so to speak. The word is getting out: This world and all that is in it is Ours. There is no such thing as Mine and Thine. And when we use the word Ours we all must admit that Ours means the whole Life Force of the Planet, not just people. People are temporary. In Hidden Pavilions we suggested, because the earth is choking from man's polluting ways, that the earth might be a lot better off if man were removed from it altogether. We asked, If we can arrive at this conclusion, cannot God also see it? We concluded that man must now be in the category of Testing God. We hope that there are enough people in this world who believe that there is a Universal Self, ineffable and undefinable, who can interfere on the world's behalf and who can be a Savior to the world and all that is in it. We draw upon those who would call this Thing Buddha, calling forth the Savior to lead and guide, to change the world for Good. We call on the Christians who would bring forth their Savior to do the same, even in the same aspects. We call upon the Brahmans and the Taoists to bring Him forth. We call on the Jews and the Moslems to call on the name of their Savior to do the same works: all to produce Unity, and through Unity, Peace and abundance for all living things.
So to avoid a lot of confusion concerning this Savior for whom the World has cried out, even on behalf of the plants and animals, even the furrows of the fields, we have thought of a small request to make of all of you. Honor all the names who have led us to the Promise of the Unity of One: One people, though diverse and unique in several ways, all bringing forth the tapestry of Peace and Goodwill to all living things. And let us all call those names the Unity of One. And let no one claim that the Name they call upon is greater than the All. For the All is the Ultimate Good.
Laws & Rites
What does God require of man? If Man fulfills the charge given to Adam, as described in Genesis, is that not enough? Again, we refer to the charge to name the plants and animals and to take care of them, as a Husbandman. Adam was charged to love all the earth and all the living things within it.
In the story of Adam, his elder son, Cain, out of jealousy over the rites, killed the younger son, Abel. Abel had been more attentive to the rites.
The message in the Cain and Abel story seems to cover two things: Firstly, by concentrating in your worship of God upon the rites one will not be prone to violate the rights of others. Cain was not attentive to the rites and, in fact, resented having to perform them. Secondly, Crimes tend to follow the heels of those who are negligent in the duties of the rites. Modern American Culture is a good example of what can happen when the Rites are subsumed to other values. There is no respect for the Law at any level. Lying, robbery, and murder become commonplace. Adultery becomes the norm.
Those who believe there is no such thing as an after-life or God have offered the proposition that man does not need God to adjudicate his internal affairs. The laws of Man are enough to bring forth a happy and prosperous society. America is, perhaps, the best attempt, so far, of a Society to subsist upon the Laws of Man, apart from God. Though many Blessings have come about through the American Way, though many are prosperous, few can feel safe in walking their streets at night. In my travels in the world I had witnessed people walking the streets late at night, with no concern for their safety. Even in war-torn Niccocea, in Cyprus, some friends and myself were told it was safe to go about at any time of the night; and on several occasions we proved it.
When Rites are in effect there is more attention to the detail of human behavior. Certainly society is more restricted, but the results of the attentiveness pay off in the conduct of society: People take care of the old and the poor, the orphan; there is more attention given to obeying the Ten Commandments. And the Ten Commandments, we may point out, are apparent in all the Faiths we have covered in our books. We make one exception: the commandment of loving God with all your heart and soul may not be apparent in Taoism or Confucius's philosophy. But Confucius did maintain the need to obey the Rites. The Rites are Obeisance to God or the gods.
If one is faithfully performing his rites towards his god, one among many gods, one is worshipping something less than the Totality of God. This ought to be offensive to the Universal One God.
The God of the Bible admits that there is no such thing as other gods. Yet, He is extremely Jealous of one worshipping the "other gods", even though, by His Word, they do not exist. Only He exists, says He. Then He says He will prove it through Pronouncements (Prophesy) and fulfilling those pronouncements. His Pronouncements involve all of the World, not just Judah.
In the Bible God's Pronouncements, or Prophesies, establish the Basis of His Law. The Ten Commandments and the Rites have no affect if He had no ability to enforce them. So His ability to enforce His Will, as reflected in the Law, is through Prophesy. And in prophesy He explains what He will do if one--a nation or an individual--violates His Law. Ultimately, He predicts, He will burn the entire world with Fire and Brimstone to rid it of evil in the Latter Days. See Hidden Pavilions and our other works on this and the other details of His Prophesy which relate to us today.
When we see prophesy being fulfilled, we can write it off as coincidence. So even Prophesy has its handicap in sufficing as Proof of God's Existence and Supreme Sovereignty.
The Prophesy in the Bible is an escalating Prophesy. When Israel is seen restored to the map again, then certain signs and events begin to turn in gear. The turning of events grows and grows until the moment of Gog and Magog, upon which the Fire and Brimstone is conditioned.
In all Biblical Prophesy, before a major event prophesied, there generally has been the appearance of one to remind the people of that Event that they are standing before the door. Jeremiah, warning at the time Buddha was leading people to light in India, was such a man. Mohammed was another of this type. In the Final Days, there are Two Men who go forth to make the final Witness of the Apocalyptic event waiting at the door. The Two men are like the Two Men who visited Sodom and Gommorah. After they left the City of Sodom, with Lot and his family, the City had a rain of fire and brimstone fall upon it. Lot's Wife, not heeding warning, looked back upon the City and was instantly turned to a Pillar of Salt. The point of the story is that the Remedy in Prophesy is followed by a more horrifying event when the prophesy finally comes to pass.. When you see the actual event it is so horrifying anyone who gazes upon it would suffer the worst kind of fates.
In reflecting upon the prophesy of the scattering of the Jews and the moment of their gathering, we see that the Jews came through a far more terrible Furnace of Affliction, or Burning--in prophesy God says He will melt them as one refines silver and gold--than actually described in the prophesy. It is one thing to comment that Fire and Brimstone will be rained upon a city. One can visualize a Volcano pouring its wrath out upon a city. The visualization of the prophesy does not conjure up something abnormal to human experience. What is anticipated is something terrible, like a volcanic eruption, but something within the range of human experience. The same is true with regard to the Sifting and Burning of the Children of Israel. One anticipates the people being attacked, carried off into slavery, and their homes burned. This might be what the Jews long ago anticipated was involved in the fulfillment of the Scattering event in Prophesy. And, in fact, we can say that the Scattering was carried out pretty much in that manner, under Titus, the Roman Emperor's son. All the country was razed, the synagogues and temple--including Jerusalem--were put to the torch. The people were hunted down and sent off into slavery; those who escaped ran off to the nations of the world. Palestine no longer was a safe place for the Children of Israel.
The Gathering sequence, in matter of fact, actually involved the Burning of the Children of Israel. Though prophesy merely says that the Children of Israel would be Melted (see Ezekiel) as one refines silver and gold, who would have thought that they would have been hunted throughout Europe and shipped off to the Ovens of Hitler, with the intention of exterminating the entire race? We see that the term melted comes about as close as one can get to describe the actual experience of the Jews and the world. And the actual experience was far more horrifying than the prophesy could describe!
This, then, becomes a basis of God's Law--His ability to enforce His Law. And there is now an Event laying ahead of us which is far more terrifying than the experience of the Jews! In fact, it is pretty much described on the level of the experience of Sodom.
When one puts Prophesy to the Test, one Tests God. This day and age, through its neglect of His Law, has tested God. This, in sum, is what is meant by what is expected of man by God and His ability to enforce His Law: obey His Law.
What makes the Bible unique is its Prophesy. The prophesy does not apply only to events in the immediate future but into the far future as well. This is what makes it unique, for it is impossible for one to say, concerning the prophesies, that they were prophesied after the fact.
When we look at the Buddhist religion we are drawn to a particular fact. It prophesies about the birth of the Buddha but stops there. It prophesied how Buddha's mother had a dream, for instance, of a white elephant entering her side at the time Buddha was conceived. Other prophesies explain further merits of Buddha's deification. As for events far off into the future the prophesies seem to be silent.
The God of the Bible pronounces in Isaiah the fact that the thing that separates Himself from man or other gods is the fact that only He can prophesy and make things happen. He not only knows the future but has also the ability to make the things he prophesies come true. And those prophesies, we might add, are in considerable detail. The prophesy of the Suffering Messiah, who is pierced, mentioned in Isaiah, for instance, is so detailed that one need not know the actual history of the Crucifixion of Christ to know what was actually done to Jesus the Christ! This is an example of the detail in prophesy. So this is the thing which separates the God of the Bible from any possible contenders.
All men seem to agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can also observe that Beauty is easily described by all ages, from a small child to an adult. If any person were to describe all the things he had seen in his experience the list would range through all things of nature and eventually the spiritual and indescribable natures of being. If asked to prepare a list of Beautiful things we will include mountains, rivers, valleys, villages, even large cities, bridges, buildings, cars, animals, etc. Many will continue in their list and begin describing beautiful natures in people or animals they know. A man may describe his father or his mother as beautiful. The person might be beautiful on the inside as well as the outside form. So it is not difficult to describe what is beautiful and we all will come up with a never ending list. Even the most pessimistic man will compose a list of Beauty which might be an embarrassment to his very Self. Cause any scornful man to make such a list and his list will, with proper effort, be no less than the list of the Dreamer. We say this because all men know beauty when they see it. They tend to put it away in the back of their mind, when compelled to fill their desires, but all know it.
A Buddhist describing Buddha to a potential convert will present Buddha as Beautiful. A Christian doing the same will present Christ as Beautiful. And we may all ask, "How can Suffering be Beautiful?" The fact is each and every one of us can recall how Beauty emerged out of our own suffering. This is not to say that Suffering is Beautiful, but rather to suggest that Suffering can put one in touch with the important things in life. And the important things in life, as both Christ and Buddha taught, as well as others, are often nonmaterial.
Buddha concluded that Suffering is basically evil. He must have concluded this because it becomes the foundation or justification to renounce all desire.
But we know that even Desire can be Beautiful. The Desire of God is Beautiful, whether we got introduced to it by Buddha, Jesus, or Muhammed.
The Buddhist Bible speaks of the Kingdom of Righteousness. The Bible speaks of the same Kingdom! That Kingdom is something all men would recognize as Beautiful.
The Kingdom of Righteousness is described as being brought about by a Savior, another thing which is by common understanding, to be Beautiful. But here's what the Bible has to say about that Savior, who is often referred to by the name of the Deliverer; he is also called Beauty and Unity: His comliness and Beauty is such that no one will desire Him.
Here we have an expression in the Bible which is causing us to think more about what God has described Himself to be. It is a Savior who has God's Beauty but is someone who is not beautiful to man. All it is saying is that man still has not seen the Beauty of God and His Beauty is such that man would not desire it! And to put ourselves in touch with this Beauty we have to reorient ourselves and ask what it could be that we would not see in Beauty.
In the story of Jesus, for instance, we have a demonstration leading to this thing called Beauty. For he was an innocent man who was condemned to the cross. By His Words alone we can measure that He was a compassionate man, loving all things, and temperate to others. His offence, then, was not in his nature, for men should have seen His Beauty and not been offended by it.
The offence in Jesus was in his pointing out the errors of men's ways. Men are Vain and don't like being reproved for their actions. Reproof, to the Vain man, is not beautiful.
In the Bible the Savior is described as one who will reprove the world for its sins. No matter how beautiful that man is, because of his mission, or nature, he will not be seen as Beautiful. But if Vanity is removed, then he can be seen. For a man who is not vain will recognize the value in being reproved and redirected away from his evil ways. So the separation between God and Man, in terms of Beauty, is Vanity. And just as we can say that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder we can add the thought that without Vanity all of us can see the very same thing: Beauty. And we can all agree that Buddha was beautiful as was Jesus. And somehow, through the Beautiful works of these and others, perhaps, just perhaps, the Great Peace Promised in the world will come. But to achieve this we must Unify under the One and to do that we must remove the Vanity which is standing in its way. Our first step towards that goal, which we hope is an achievable goal, is to remove the names and the images which men try to attach to God. And that, my friend, will lead you to Beauty.
The Highest Good and Grumblers
The word, God, means Good. So it appears to us that the best way to close this work is to talk about the Highest Good and reconcile ourselves to a way by which we can attain to it through our various walks of life and conditions of society.
When we created the Tabernacle in Hidden Pavilions we had the forethought of providing a place where all people, regardless of belief, could go. It was created, from our point of view, as an experiment. The experiment, as mentioned earlier, was based upon taking God at His Word. We believed throughout all of our works that we would take all those whom we quoted at their Word and then measure them as to whether they lived up to the thing they preached. In pursuing this goal we found that there is a major difference between the formative precepts of all the religions and the actual form the religions took over the aeons. Some religions, like Christianity and Buddhism, in many respects became antithetical to the actual basis upon which they were formed. The Paulists deified Christ and used Him to endorse their condemning precepts against the Jews and other nonbelievers in their cause. Out of this grew great and terrible persecutions of innocent people. This is what we mean by turning a precept into an antithetical practice or belief. We believe Christ would never have condoned this condemning philosophy; we believe He would be shocked to see what had been done to his rather simple message. This account we have more thoroughly documented in our work, Son of Man, A Commentary on Immanuel and the Gospel of Truth.
By the same token the Buddhists translated Buddha from his goal of Final Extinction into a God. There is more evidence that Buddha himself did not believe in a Universal God, or even gods, than there is evidence to support the belief that He is God. He was converted from a man teaching a modified form of Brahmanism, taking God out of the picture, and replacing it with the belief that the highest good can be achieved in Life and once achieved there is no further need for existence; in fact, there is no need to even address the fundamentals of the Godhead or afterlife at all. Nirvana, the removal from the need to be reincarnated time after time to endure further suffering, was the goal that Buddha certainly had in mind. If God, or gods, had any interplay in the thesis is was nominal at best, having only to do with the blessing of being released from further suffering or condemnation to purgatory, which is living one life after another in reincarnation. How the Buddha perceived this interplay of God or gods with the goal of Nirvana is not clear. Nevertheless, it is apparent that where he was unclear in this area he was clarified into the God, the Universal, ineffable, infinite Self. We suspect that Buddha himself might be shocked to see what had been done to his rather simple and forthright message.
When we consider these things we must acknowledge that both Christ and Buddha were incomplete with regard to the Needs of Man. Man needed to make them into something more than they actually claimed for themselves. The Highest Good of which they taught, regardless of how they presented it, was confusing and not adequate in itself to hold their disciples to the degree Ordered. This is why we say they were incomplete. And man decided to complete them into a higher form which could be worshipped with less confusion.
Again, with respect to the confusion, we pointed out in Hidden Pavilions that Jesus did not fulfill all the prophesies dealing with the Messiah (actually a small number were fulfilled by Him), thus giving doubts as to His credibility as the Savior or Messiah of the world. And it is this, his incompleteness, which created confusion in Paul and his disciples who followed him. To reconcile the confusion Paul created a phony doctrine of Types and Shadows to negate all the prophesies which conflicted with Christ's legitimacy and legacy.
The Buddhists did not have a problem of reconciling Buddha to preordained prophesy. We can say this because there is no evidence that prophesy foretelling the Buddha and his members (what he would look like) existed prior to the actual Buddha's life. We have no writings preexisting Buddha on this score. So any prophesy relating to the Buddha would seem to be more to man's invention than actual credible preexistent prophesy. Again, by comparison, the prophesies of the Jewish Messiah preexist the life of Jesus. David, one of the first prophets of the Messiah, lived a thousand years earlier than Jesus. Isaiah lived about 800 years before Jesus; and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, whom we mentioned earlier, lived 600 years before Jesus. All of these prophets, and more whom we have not mentioned here but are well referenced in Hidden Pavilions, describe in amazing detail the nature of the Messiah and what we are to watch for. In terms of the Deliverer Messiah, the detail is such that only one man can uniquely fulfill the prophesies concerning Him. In Hidden Pavilions we compared this to a small fruit fly which leaves its eggs within the fruit of the Fig Tree. The hole left in the end of the Fig for the entrance of the fly is so small that only that Fruit Fly, the tiniest of insects, can enter. This is what the prophesies describe with regard to the Messiah. The gate through which he comes - meaning the prophesies which describe him and his time - is so small only one man can enter it.
Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and the Moslem religion all recognize that the Highest Good will be realized by man through the Savior of the World. The qualities of this Highest Good are pretty much agreed upon, as they are ordained for mankind. Again, we repeat ourselves mentioning them: love one another, do unto others as you would have them do unto you; be humble, etc. Anyone asked to make a list of what they would consider to be the qualities desired in man by the Highest Good can expand upon these items. Recognizing this agreement, whether it be concerning the Brahman view, Christian, that of Confucius, or the Taoist, etc., we accept the Desire that a Savior be the vehicle by which man finally comes to the Highest Good.
Among all the religions the Buddhist, Christian, Moslem, and Jewish emphasize a call for the Savior of the World. And all of them agree on the things that Savior will bring: namely Peace in the world. They also all recognize that the Savior of the World must address all men, that He will Unify all men in One Faith. Among the three, only the Buddhists (though the Hebrew Prophets show the Messiah among the nations) unequivocally are agreed that the Savior can come from any place, any people, at any time. As concerning this anticipation, we again note that the Christians seem very confused over the expectation of the Savior. And because of their confusion, as we discussed in The Tempting, The Son of Man, a Commentary... and Hidden Pavilions, they are the least likely of all people to recognize Him when He does come. We commented that among our concerns for their lack of vision was the fact that they have become the most Vain of all those expecting the Messiah. For they have claimed Him for themselves and call themselves His Chosen People; and they have made this claim at the expense of others.
The Jews are no less confused. They believe that the Savior of the World is actually Two Saviors. And they still await them, failing to address the possibility that one of the Saviors, the son of the Virgin, must have already come. See Hidden Pavilions and our other works on this, where we discuss how the Sign of the Virgin, who is the mother of the Messiah, must appear before the scattering of the Children of Israel to all the nations. The scattering is now complete, since Israel has, after two thousand years of dispersal, been restored to the map again. We concluded that either the prophesy of the Sign of the Virgin is either false (making all of the prophet's prophesy false as well) or the Sign has been fulfilled. Jesus claimed to be the son of that Virgin and He appeared on earth forty years before the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the scattering of the people by the Romans. So Jesus is a prime candidate concerning that specific Messianic Sign. We ask you to witness to this effect.
Since we believe in taking people at their word, we concluded that it would lead to the Highest Good to accept Jesus as that Messiah. For we believe that the Jews, accepting this, can now focus upon the principal event now remaining in the Bible: the Glorification of the Kingdom. This leaves one other Messiah in the Jewish Scriptures to be fulfilled. And according to the Scriptures that Messiah must appear at the time the Children of Israel are restored to the Holy Land again, which is now. He, according to the Scriptures, appears among the Gentile: the nonJews of the world. Anyone coming, claiming to be that Deliverer Messiah, cannot make the claim of being the Deliverer after the Children of Israel have been delivered to the Holy Land. So we say again that time is running out for this Messiah and He must appear, to fulfill prophesy and legitimatize Himself, before the generation of the Restoration, or Deliverance, is died out. The upper limit for this time line, if one addresses the initial people of the Restoration, is now about to pass, and by 2,000 A.D. the generation which participated in the Exodus, or Restoration, should be passed away. We conclude this because the clock of the Restoration or Deliverance began in the 1930's.
The Buddhist Savior, the Jewish Savior, the Moslem Savior, and the Christian Savior all represent the same Highest Good, they all must be the same thing and they must all do the very same work. Any Savior who comes into the World must therefore be the same Savior all of them have been expecting. He is, as Saviors go, the Unity of One. Because the Jewish Scriptures admit that the Messiah must measure out all knoweldge discovered throughout all ages, together with the precept of the age, he must undoubtedly address the Buddhist scriptures as we. Or, as Paul puts it, He must judge the Secrets of men. One of the greatest Secrets of men is that pertaining to Salvation; accordingly, as a Source of Salvation, the Deliverer Messiah must judge Buddhism as we, together with the other precepts noted herein. If he does not at least cover these things he falls short of the Messiah.
We further must agree that the Jewish Deliverer Messiah, because He can appear among any people, but must appear now, fits the criteria of the Buddhist Savior. And because of this we can say that He is our bridge of Salvation spanning between the Buddhist and Jewish faiths. He could appear to be a Buddha. Or conversely the Buddha could appear and address Jewish fundamentals, appearing to be a Jew. We ask, therefore, that all faiths consider this, that the Savior of the World has the option--more so the need-- to understand and address at the least the major faiths of the world and attempt to unify them behind the Highest Good He represents. After all, we have seen that these Sources of Truth all seem to mirror the Unity of One, One Source.
The problem the Messiah would face is the same problem we faced in this book, having come from a theme announced in Hidden Pavilions, which is based upon Judaism. Since the Old Testament is the clearest exposition of what is expected in the Savior of the World, it becomes our baseline in the formulation of the Messiah. And taking that Foundation, which thing is the easiest for the Highest Good to Prove, as concerning His Existence, we thought to present Him in the world wide reconciliation of Himself to the other faiths. We asked ourselves whether He would deny faiths which believed in the same Highest Good. Would He deny faiths which preached loving one another, etc., as we have so clearly seen in this book? To deny them would be the same as denying Himself. For He also, being of the same mold of the Highest Good, must have the same foundation of teaching people to love one another, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you; to be humble. His compassion would be the same as that seen in Buddha and Christ. His precept of the Highest Good would also be akin to the Brahman precept of the Universal, ineffable Self and He must have a sympathy for the reconciliation of man to the earth, to love all living things and cherish them. But He must agree with Confucius as well, recognizing that men have a role to play on earth, as good husbandmen, and must learn to live in a Social environment which is both attentive to the needs of Society and the life forms on earth. He, like Confucius, should desire to reconcile every class of man into an System by which they can pursue their lives with as much opportunity and joy as possible, whilst fulfilling their responsibilities to man (the System) and God.
These things ought to be easy to fulfill. But He might reach a stumbling block when He looks upon Rites which tend to confuse His Source, the Highest Good, with many gods and many names. And we suspect He will be faced with the Dilemma we faced, wondering how one can get those who are blind, touching the foot of the elephant, to recognize that they could see more of the elephant if they were to stop putting the names of gods on the part which they touch. And claiming that that part which they perceive is the whole Elephant (God), would be a continuing source of consternation to Him. He would have to find a solution to this dilemma. Earlier we named two solutions: razing the temples of the gods is one solution, which is by force of arms and bloodshed; the other solution is to reorient those worshipping the gods into recognizing that at most what they are worshipping is no more than the foot of the elephant. And to achieve this latter option He would have to persuade the worshippers to give up their Vanity.
The Buddhist Bible as well as the Old Testament happen to focus upon this criteria for the World Savior. To break through the bonds preventing Unity He is anticipated as one whose principal message will be against Vanity.
As concerning other Rites, such as Rites which mandate monasticism, He must address them as well. Certainly those who are monks would appreciate it if he were a monk as well; in like token the Christian monasteries would appreciate it if he were one of their own; and certainly the early Jewish monasteries, such as the Essenes of the Dead Sea area, anticipated that He would be one of their own. To be any of them He would have to be one who would preach renunciation of the world, advocating a monastic way of life. And this would conflict with the anticipation that He must also lead those who are living in Society, participating in the responsibilities of Society, to a way which will help them attain to the Highest Good. All this says is that He would be a fool to favor any one of them or any group which would anticipate being the group with which He could be identified. And if this were the case we can only grieve for such a Savior, because He would be alone in the task which is before Him. He would be foreign to all and because He would be foreign He would probably be desired by none of them. Thus we can reflect upon the Biblical View of Him as being one whose Comliness and Beauty is such that no one would desire Him. This, we believe, is the One Mark on the Savior which the Bible quite perceptively put upon Him. And we wonder who among you will be able to see it. We close now, having addressed all the major faiths; and without any malice towards any one of you, and with only the desire that you all seek the common thread which claims to be the Source of all our heritage, we pray only one prayer which, incidentally, comes from the name of the son of the Virgin prophesied in Isaiah, whose name is Immanuel, meaning, God is with us. We believe that this is a good name for Him, which all of you ought to be able to understand. And to those of you who have grumbled over all the other names of the Savior, because of one vain reason or another, we hope that this name will be acceptable. Let no man say, Behold He is Shiva, Behold He is Indra; behold He is Buddha, or Behold He is Jesus or some other name. For He can have no name. The Jews have agreed, the Christians have agreed, the Buddhists have agreed, the Taoists have agreed, the Moslems have agreed, and the Brahmans, among many others, have agreed that His Name is ineffable, infinite and One in All.
We lament our inability to explain this. We believe, however, that the Savior of whom the world is expecting will explain it more perfectly that we and in this we are confident He will address you all with equanimity and fair judgment, giving to no group a preferential status over another. May you all see Him as yours and the world's.
Word of God
Let us now close reflecting upon the often used phrase, The Word of God. We all like to quote it; priests and ministers of all kinds like to use it. For many it becomes the source of their livelihood. I wonder how many of you can think like Him? Let us ponder upon this thought for a moment and try to reason together concerning that which is expected of Him in Scriptures and that which men like to make of Him.
He has a simple mission: just to speak to all of you and give you some light - in hope that you will be willing to receive it. He does it not for His benefit but for yours; not for His Reward but for yours. He is a gift. Not a gift from me to you, or man to man, but from God to Man -- all men. As all Scriptures like to represent Him, He is the Personification of Love and of Peace, Goodwill to all men. These are our ground-rules by which we must come to Him.
We have repeated in our works how we like to take men at their word, just as we have taken the Scriptures at their Word. We did the same with God. We think this is fair, and we would like you, in all fairness, to do the same with God and His Savior: Take Him at His Word.
Of all the Scriptures we have discovered, only one group, that of the Old Testament, supports itself as being the Word of God through a verifiable Proof. That Verifiable Proof is Prophesy. In the exploration of our work, we concluded that the First Proof to be discovered of God is to Take Him at His Word where He has claimed that He will Prove Himself through His Prophesy. Not having any other Scriptures which offer anything coming close to this kind of verifiable proof, we thought to establish our baseline around the Old Testament Prophesies. If the Word of those Prophesies cannot be Proven, then no other Scriptures of which we have addressed can be proven. So we must begin with our foundation of Proof with the Old Testament Bible.
As one shall see in Hidden Pavilions and The Son of Man..., the prophesy of the Old Testament ultimately boils down to a time called the Latter Days when many events, all quite easily measurable, occur. The most measurable of those events is the Restoration of the Children of Israel back to the Holy Land. At that time several other manifestations occur which are also easily measurable. These include the Messiah, or Savior, and the Restoration of the Tabernacle. We mentioned earlier how the Tabernacle was a Tent which Moses erected and which held a Manifestation of God who led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and around the desert for forty years before taking them into the Holy Land.
The Manifestation of God seen in the Tabernacle was described as a Cloud by Day and a Fire by Night, appearing upon a small chest covered with a sheet of gold. At each end of the Sheet of Gold, called the Mercy Seat, was a small Cherub.
The Latter Day episode reflects upon those days and signs the end of the Latter Days with the Restoration of the Tabernacle as it was in the Days of Moses. The prophesies repeat that the experience of the Jews, seeing a Cloud by Day and a Fire by Night upon the Mercy Seat, will occur when the Tabernacle is Restored. They further reaffirm that God will appear there in Jerusalem, where the Tabernacle is Restored.
This measure of the Tabernacle, anyone can see, is a strong affirmation through prophesy that when the Tabernacle is seen all men will know that God exists. The Bible says that many nations will be joined to the God of that Tabernacle in those days. It further says that all men on earth will bow down to that God in those days; and every man will call unto Him with one language and one consent. There simply will be no doubts as to who He is and whether He exists. Speculation on God will cease on that day.
Our vehicle of Proof of God is, then, the Tabernacle. The purpose of Hidden Pavilions, stated many times, is to urge the building of that Vehicle of God. It asks that all men allow Him to Prove Himself through that device. It asks all men to take Him for His Word and build it. It is a simple request and we hope it is not an imposition on anyone. We even offered to pay for the cost of its initial construction. The cost is very little, far less than any church, temple, mosque, or synagogue.
We thought that the Tabernacle might be not only an easy way for God to Prove Himself but also an easy way for all men to see Him without having to face priests and ministers trying to proselytize for Him. The structure is so beautiful in its own intrinsic design that we believed those who would gaze upon it would desire to enter it--to see if it is true, that God is truly there. Furthermore, in our formation of the device, we thought not to limit who could go into that place, and we thought not to put any name upon it.
Although we have seen a wonderful thing laid out over the earth which reflects a common Word seen of God, which we called the Tapestry of One, we do not presume to conclude that all the separate manifestations we have reviewed are God or representative of God. Only God Himself can say one way or another which is an accurate representation of Himself and which is not. He is the Final Judge of the matter. And we thought that since He gave us His Word He would appear in the Tabernacle, in Jerusalem, any judgments as to who is right and who is wrong can be easily learned from that place. All we need do, then, to receive our Judgment, is to build the Tabernacle. If He does not appear there and Judge, then we can conclude it is likely that there is no way we will see His Proof in any other form. If you are a Hindu seeking Proof of God, a Moslem, a Buddhist, a Christian, or a Jew, then we suggest that the easiest place to seek Him is in the Tabernacle.
In taking our case to the Ministries of all kinds we found, in our request, only blank stares being returned. We wondered how such a simple precept as we have proposed could be received with blank stares. Perhaps you also are returning to me a blank stare.
We all somehow like to formulate God as we would like Him to be. We impose upon Him in this respect more than we impose upon our own loved ones. Surely we all allow our loved ones their own personalities, desires, and convictions. We ask that you allow God to show His. Let us give Him His Tabernacle and let us all claim it as our own. We began with this request in Hidden Pavilions and we end with it here.
Apart from these considerations, I shall take my rest among all the Scriptures of which we have quoted, confident that anyone who follows the Unity in them will be responding to good advise. And If I may be of any service to the Tabernacle, may I be your welcome mat.
But who am I to extend you a welcome? I am a Jew. I am a Christian --a particular kind of Jew; I am a Moslem, also a Jew and Christian by faith. I could be another Buddha, and I could be a Brahman. I love the nature of Lao Tzu, and Confucius helps me deal with you. But most of all I am a man touching you. And you are my Great White Elephant. May God touch you as I.
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Updated 7.18.98; 5.27.2000; 11.11.05
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Copyright © 1993-2005 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved.