We Are The Future


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'The grief is immeasurable': Robert Redford pays tribute to his son

Actor Robert Redford has said his "grief is immeasurable" following the death of his son, James.

The Hollywood star, 84, said his son would leave a great legacy.

James "Jamie" Redford, an activist and filmmaker, died on Friday, aged 58, after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his wife Kyle said. The couple had been married for 32 years.

Cindi Berger, Robert Redford's publicist, released a statement saying: "The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child.

"Jamie was a loving son, husband and father. His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking and devoted passion to conservation and the environment."

Redford, an award-winning retired actor and director best known for films including Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Sting and The Way We Were, is in mourning with his family and has asked for privacy, the spokeswoman said.

Kyle Redford shared news of her husband's death on social media, along with pictures of the couple and their two children.

"We're heartbroken," she said. "He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many."

Kyle told the Salt Lake Tribune that James, whose documentary films included The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, discovered he had cancer in November last year, while awaiting a liver transplant.

His liver disease returned two years ago, she added.

Robert Redford has three other children, including the actress Amy Redford.

Reference: Sky News: 9 Hours ago

Guru and Empowerment

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Guru and Empowerment

In tantric practice the relationship with an experienced and qualified guru (Tib. lama) is of special importance. It is he who guides us to the correct path and serves as the pivotal point in opening our minds to the reality of ourselves and our world.

The holy lama is the embodiment of all buddhas.
His voice expresses the inexpressible.
His mind is the directionless sunlight of method and wisdom.

One who realizes that all actions
Of a (true) lama's body, speech, and mind-

Farming, stealing, even killing-are virtuous,
Who sees them in particular as a buddha's acts.
Is the best disciple for practicing the profound path.

But not every lama is a true teacher and not every student a worthy vessel for Dharma. The statement above applies only to advanced tantric students in a long-standing relationship with a guru. Even a qualified lama and a good student might find their relationship unproductive due to elements in their personal make-up. But not every lama is a true teacher and not every student a worthy vessel for Dharma. The statement above applies only to advanced tantric students in a long-standing relationship with a guru. Even a qualified lama and a good student might find their relationship unproductive due to elements in their personal make-up. The relationship must provide the situations for the initial analysis of the student's actions and motivations and be capable of inducing subtle, penetrating revelations in the course of development.

The lama must also be able to perform the rites of empowerment effectively in order to open the disciple to successful tantric practice. as Milarepa explains, " empowerment" means "conferral of ability." Empowerment only givs the initiate a glimpse of the import of the practice ; he must still cultivate skill in its performance and actual realization. The course of mila's initiation by the four tantric empowerments, and his motivation, are recounted in the second of the "Six Secret Songs":

I'm now Milarepa, but I'm certain
This body of leisure and opportunity will be spent.
This canyon of samsara is a vast abyss
And I fear the narrow track of birth and death.

When I think that this wandering in samsara
Lasts till the forces of action and effect are stilled,
I know it's time to end this illusion of ego.

And how could I bear the way these beings
Of the six realms , our kind mothers, are tormented by misery?
thus I sought the path for quickly achieving
This body of conquerors, leaders and beings.

First, by conferral of the vase empowerment.
My ordinary body was identified with deity's.
Then by the secret empowerment of the stream of speech.
Currents flowing in the right and left channels were drawn to the central.

By igniting the bliss of the third empowerment (of wisdom),
I saw the naked maiden of the egoless sphere,
And by recognition of the four bodies symbolically expressed
in the fourth empowerment (of words), i faced the unity of the three bodies.

After entering the initiatory doors, I practiced the two phases
And unified with space and awareness
The deity's body produced earlier on the path

This unification with space and awareness is Vajradhara.
For this purpose the emanation-body of Shakyamuni
(Shakyamuni) appeared.

This is victory over birth, death, and bardo.
having obtained the three bodies for myself,
i've no hope or fear about other results.

Following empowerment, when the yogi begins practice in earnest, he must observe the major and minor vows of the Tantric Vehicle as well as those involved in his particular practice. Mila gives some idea of these commitments in the third of the "Six Secret Songs":

Through the method and wisdom of my unique lama
My vision toward friends and others was purified.
All those beings are my mothers-
Blind of eye. crazed by afflictions-
Yogi, how can you bear it? Dedicate yourself in service to beings.

Woman is essentially wisdom,
Source of spontaneous gnosis and illusory-body.
Never consider her inferior:
Strive especially to see her as Vajra Varahi.

Never worship a deity with ordinary food and clothes,
As common men worship a king.
When power objects are used in ordinary ways,
It's like pouring clean milk into a dirty vessel.

(you must ) keep and never be without
Bone ornaments, vajra-bell, and so on.

The disciple is also committed to secrecy concerning the nature of his empowerments, personal deity, and tantric practice. Although the tantras are "self-secret," that is, their real import cannot be gleaned from their scriptures by a noninitiate, they can be harmful to practice and mental stability if misapplied. 

Reference: Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint: Milarepa: Translated By Lama Kunga Rinpoche & Brian Cutillo

On the Plane of Self Consciousness - VI

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On the Plane of Self Consciousness - VI

Instincts which are both human and animal, as the sexual and the maternal, undoubtedly came down to man through long lines of descent and have been in possession of himself and his ancstors for millions of years; but the human moral nature, though it is rooted in and has grown from these, is of comparatively recent origin; It not only does not go back behind the birth of self consciousness, but it is certainly very much more recent than this.

Man, that is, Self Consciousness, as has been said, must have come into being some three hundred thousand years ago when the first Alalus Homo uttered the first true word. In the individual to-day man is born when the child becomes self conscious-at the average age of, say, three years.

Among the Indo-European races not more than about one individual (so-called idiot) in a thousand grows to maturity without attaining to Self Consciousness. Self Consciousness having appeared in an individual, is only lost in great and rare crises-as in the delirium of fever and in some forms of insanity, notably mania; on the other hand the human moral nature does not appear in the individual ( on the average) until say, half-way between three years old and maturity.

Instead of one or two in a house and, several times the same number in a hundred are born, grow up and die without a moral nature. Instead of being lost in great and rare crises it is constantly being temporarily lost. All these indications go to prove that the human moral nature is a much more recent birth of time than the human intellect, and that if we suppose the former to be anything like that age.

Reference: Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke

The Kagyu lineage of Buddhist Practice

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The Kagyu lineage of Buddhist Practice

Milarepa's System of Practice, known as the Kagyu or "Lineage of the Word," was given by the trans-historical figure Vajradhara to the guru Tilopa, who in turn taught Naropa. Marpa, Milarepa's lama, received these teachings from Naropa, translated their scriptures, and established them in Tibet. Milarepa himself had two principal successors and many other accomplished disciples who continued the Kagyu tradition in a number of variant lineages. Later lamas imparted their own personal styles, so that the Kagyu practices of the present day cannot be viewed as identical to Mila's own style. However, they have remained largely similar . We'll attempt to form a picture of Milarepa's system from his explanations in the Stories and Songs from the Oral Tradition of the Great Yogi Milarepa.

The Tantric Vehicle
The practices are essentially tantric. The tantric vehicle is the same in philosophy as the Great Vehicle but differs vastly in the actual techniques of practice. Because it is equivalent to the Great Vehicle in aim but more effective in practice, Mila said," To leave the inferior path (of the Small vehicle)and (really) enter the Great Vehicle, one must enter the path of the Peerless vajra Vehicle (anuttaratantra)."

All elements of the Great Vehicle path are present in the Tantric Vehicle. The five paths and ten bodhisattva stages are condensed into two phases :production and completion. During the extensive production phase the yogi first purifies himself with guru yoga and generates the mind aimed at enlightenment. Then the currents, channels, and centers (prana, nadi, cakra) of the tantric psycho-physiological system are developed and mastery over their functions sought through the physical and mental exercises of the path of method.

The deities of the Tantric Vehicle's extensive pantheon, the male and female personifications of psychic processes as herukas and dakinis, are 2 produced" by the yogi through the practice of controlled visualization until their reality overshadows that of the superficial apparent world. This production leads the yogi to confront the processes embodied in each deity. and to transform his own environment into the divine realm of that deity.

In particular, the yogi forms a relationship with one specific deity, known as his "personal deity" (Skt. istadevatd; Tib. yidam). through practices and visualizations associated with that deity. When the yogi is able to visualize his personal deity to the point where the visualization seems to have a life of its own, and when he is able to see his environment as divine, he then practices the "divine pride" of direct identification of his own body and mind with those of his personal deity.

When the reality of the apparent world has been overshadowed by the intensity of his visualization, the yogi then enters the completion phase where the illusory nature, or voidness, of his visualization can be realised, and with it the voidness of the ordinary, apparent world. This is due to the fact that the apparent world is by nature an illusory "visualization" derived from compulsive attachment to ingrained preconceptions about the nature of things. Realization of voidness is not the only result in the completion phase, for owing to the previous production phase, the yogi is endowed with powers and method as well. In particular, at the culmination of the completion phase he has developed the three bodies, or modes of existence, of a buddha.

The dharma-body (dharmakaya) is the embodiment of his realization that all appearances-thoughts and phenomena-are inherently devoid of any independent identity. The enjoyment-body (sambhogakaya) is the means by which he communicates with advanced practitioners in their meditation. The emanation-body (nirmanakaya) appears in the world as thought it were an ordinary physical-body; but actually this physical body is not compelled by the force of past action and afflictive mental states but rather by the force or will and previous supplication for the welfare of beings (pranidhana). The latter two together are termed the form-body, and the unity of all three the essential-body.

Reference: Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs of Tibet's Beloved Saint: Milarepa: Translated By Lama Kunga Rinpoche & Brian Cutillo

On the Plane of Self Consciousness- V

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On the Plane of Self Consciousness- V

Another recently acquired faculty is the sense of fragrance .It is not mentioned in the Vedic hymns and only once in the Zend Avesta. Geiger [91. 58] tells us that the custom of offering incense with the sacrifice is not yet met with in the Rig Veda, though it is found in the more recent Yadshurveda.

Among the Biblical books the sense of fragrance of flowers first makes its appearance in the "Song of Songs."
According to the description in Genesis there were in Paradise all kinds of trees "that were pleasant to the sight and good for food," no mention being made of pleasant odors.

The Apochrypha book of Henoch ( of the first century B. C., or even later), extant in Ethiopian, likewise describes Paradise, but does not omit to extol the delightful fragrance of the Tree of Knowledge, as well as other trees, in the Garden of Eden.

Besides this evidence it is said to be capable of proof from language that n such sense as that of fragrance existed in the early times of the Indo-Europeans. And it is also worth mentioning in this connection that no animal (although many of these so greatly surpass us in recognition by scent) possesses, so far as we know or can discover, any sense of fragrance, and that children do not acquire it until they are several years old-not, indeed, for several years after they have acquired, more or less perfectly, the sense of color; thus corresponding in their mental development (as pointed out above) with the evolution of the general human mind, for the color sense probably came into existence in the race many thousand years before the sense of fragrance.

Reference: Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke





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