Tag Archive: God


I just noticed my last post, A Recollection of Five Thanksgivings and Lessons Learned.  My last changes were edited at 9:16 AM Eastern. In turn, there are thanks which went unmentioned.

I am thankful for my family, for all they given, for all the effort in which they’ve loved me. Surely, there has been countless times I challenged them otherwise. If not for their love, I would not have overcome my own inadequacies and fallacies.

I am thankful to have been a child under my father’s home. By all accounts, his childhood was extremely difficult and nearly lost his mind. Yet he lived to prosper in his own way, married and gave birth to both me and my brother. I don’t believe I would have made it through my own challenges under another. Then again, maybe I was meant to have been born by him for that very reason.

I am thankful for friends who, regardless of my faith, prayed for my father. I remain quite unsure of prayer’s power, but I saw a sight of Christ never previously experienced. It was the truest form of agape prayer rarely seen, one that has shaken my soul and breathed a power of support I will need. To that experience, I thank my friends and Christ.

I am thankful for Apple FaceTime. Everyday, for the last five years, I was able to connect to my mother and father. Whether it was five minutes or hours, FaceTime provided moments I couldn’t otherwise experience. Just as the song Seasons of Love captured, our days were filled with daylights, sunsets, midnights, and cups of coffee; there were inches, there were miles, there was laughter, there was strife. There was hope, there was reconciliation, there was heart, but most of all, there was love. If not for Apple designers, technicians project managers and leaders managers, my father and I would not have gotten one more hour.

I say all these thanks for one more hour. For an hour after my last post, I potentially witnessed the last moments of my father’s life – via an iPad, through Apple FaceTime. Mid-sentence, my father straightened and fell over. At once, I became the ultimate Buddhist, a witness, a ghost who could see, but could not alter the events on screen. I could see my father and I witnessed the horror of my mother’s futile attempts to assist.

I am thankful for all the countless medical clinicians in a Tucson, AZ hospital who’ve cared for my mother and father. Tests remain – MRI’s, blood tests, physical assessment and so on. But these medical clinicians are direct hands of Christ, God, Buddha or whomever. They are God’s love, given to all.

After 86 years of life, I presume my father’s stroke prepares him for an exit from this life. As I await this final moment, I will no doubt give many more thanks to countless people that I should, but will never remember. I will thank them all for that extra hour.

If my father were able to speak here tonight, he would ask all of you to reach out, hug those you love and tell them how much them mean. So I will ask all you, for him. I know it’s late. But do it. You may get nary an hour more.

God, I am thankful for one more hour.

Bless you all.

Buddha BeerSince leaving the hospital, I’ve had nary a drink. Strange, attempting to sip whiskey made me crawl in pain while partaking beer has produced negligible issues. This leads me to precept 5 – abstention from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.

Of the five great gifts — those original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, principles — the last one has been tough to nip in the bud. Oftentimes, I theoretically banter, “Can I partake of a beer or two if my drink does not cause heedlessness? Or must one abstain completely?

From a true Buddhist perspective, by abandoning the use of intoxicants, one receives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. So yeah, I get all that. However, if Christ turned water into wine, are we to presume Christ accepted liquor? Or did Christ simply perform the miracle, but abstained? Tough call. Still, as a Buddhist living a simple life, there are many times when I concur with Chesterton, “Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.” Additionally, beer is a required accruement for any Cubs fan, for one couldn’t survive a game without symbolically leaping from Wrigley’s upper deck.

Having lived in Alabama, I remember passing through Clay County, infamously known for being the last ‘dry county.’ Technically, it’s illegal to have any form of alcohol within county borders … period. I thought you couldn’t be a real county unless you have at least beer. One could have a minor-league baseball team, maybe some hidden ICBM nuclear weapon launch sites or the world’s largest annual county fair. But at the very least, you need beer. Clay County affords none. But the point being, many residents, religious or otherwise, bootleg alcohol weekly. And amazingly, the sun continues to rise in the east and set in the west.

From another perspective, there are ten Demeritorious Deeds (Dasa Akusala Kamma). All of them occur through some form of bodily action:

  1. Killing
  2. Stealing
  3. Sexual Misconduct
  4. Lying
  5. Slandering
  6. Harsh Speech
  7. Frivolous Talk
  8. Coverousness
  9. Ill-Will (hatred)
  10. Wrong Views

On a comedic note, a fellow blogger noted that by violating Precept 5, he violated almost every Demeritorious Deed noted.

But for a person living on borrowed time, I try not getting into guilt trips. Living in precepts and vows is part of a long journey of purification and clearing the mind. Thich Nhat Hahn mades an interesting comment in For a Future to Be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life, in that if one lives fully in one precept, they actually live fully in all five. If one takes only 1 precept but they live fully in it, according to Hanh, they’ll eventually keep all five.

Hahn may be right. Basically, going to the extreme either way is awful. Drinking to excess and trying to drive, play sports or negotiate a multimillion-dollar contract would be unwise. So be wise. Be respectful.

And all wisdom aside, if I’m close to death’s door, I’m requesting a shot of Blanton’s Bourbon.

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 5.36.22 PMFor the few I’ve told of spiritual experience, I am often queried about the grand design of the universe, even of the maker himself and the spiritual design of life.

From a space perspective, is it likely that extraterrestrial intelligences or multidimensional beings traveled across interstellar space to leave a crop circle in Jim Bob’s cornfield in nowhere Kansas? Why haven’t these interstellar life forms landed in downtown New York? I have no clue. Maybe these distant travelers wanted to save the city a huge traffic jam.

The more plausible explanation is that traveling the universe is not for the faint of heart. The real universe you see at night is 250 times bigger than Hubble Telescope’s visual capability, spanning some 14.0 billion parsecs (about 45.7 billion light years). Some stars you’ll see tonight require about 45 billion light years to get here. Thus, what you see tonight is actually a snapshot of life an infinity long ago.

For someone to say I was personally created by an all-loving God seems hard to understand, for certainly, I am not one whose life seems all that valuable. Evolutionist Neil deGrasse Tyson indicated that any notions of creationism and intelligent design ignore a fundamental and important problem—the fact that the universe, and most of the things in it, would never have been designed. No engineer would design things this way. As Tyson explains:

“Star formation is completely inefficient. Most places in the universe will kill life instantly—instantly! People say “Oh, the forces of nature are just right for life.” Excuse me. Just look at the volume of the universe where you can’t live. You will die instantly. That is not what I call the Garden of Eden, alright. … We’re on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy—gone is this beautiful spiral that we have. And of course we’re on a one-way, expanding universe as we wind down to oblivion, as the temperature of the universe approaches absolute zero.”

The inner solar system is a shooting gallery. Multi-cellular life evolved over 3.5 billion years! Empirically, that design strategy sucks. 99% of all life that ever lived is now extinct. The earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and one of Darwin’s favorites, lightning strikes has taken its toll. “None of this,” Tyson explains, “is any sign that there is a benevolent anything out there.”

If you somehow can explain that, then consider all the natural diseases, including leukemia, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ALS and etc., etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Taken as a whole, the universe is against mankind.

But can there be a spiritual force?

If you are into an apparition only mentality, in 1996 a Tennessee baker charged five bucks a head to come see the “nun bun” till he got a cease-and-desist from Mother Teresa’s lawyer. Mother Mary has appeared on tree bark, the side of a glass window in San Paulo, a cheese sandwich, a building in Clearwater, Florida and countless other places.

As a Buddhist, Buddhism begins and ends in practice, not belief and doctrine. To practice Buddhist spirituality, one need not subscribe to a particular set of creedal statements. It is not necessary to believe in God or to deny the God’s existence. Buddhism does not ask those who would take its path to reject prior faith commitments or to adopt new ones. For living the holy life, says Buddhism, holding particular beliefs is not paramount. Clearly, noble persons have held all sorts of beliefs; saints have been Christian and Jewish, Muslim and Hindu, atheist and humanist. Buddhists, therefore, have no quarrel with other religions and philosophies on doctrinal and creedal issues. Because they understand the goal of the holy life to be freedom from suffering and the cultivation of compassion, Buddhists acknowledge that other perspectives and practices can genuinely mediate salvation.

However, in the wake of my spiritual experiences, while all of the above may be rationally correct, every one of us must confront the logical fallacy of claiming that any spiritual experience is impossible. While I am unwilling to give complete credence to every report, I could never found my theology upon any one single event.

So do I believe in a spiritual side of life? As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stated:

Our concern must be to live while we’re alive…to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.

Maybe there are no mistakes in life; all events are blessings given for our edification — our learning.”

Equanimity In The End

DeathAs you may know, one can often find me meditating in the wee hours of the morning. It is here, where I often find peace and harmony with the world and with God. So, in this sense, I offer the following story occurred February 11, 2014 between 2:45 AM and 3:30 AM.

————-

Wade. Get up and meditate. I want to talk to you.

Uughhh,” looking at the clock. “2:26 AM Ms. K. I am tired today.”

…. 2:39 AM ….

W.! Get up and meditate. I have a surprise for you.

Ughh…. Ok, Ms. K..” Stumbling about. “Can I use meditation music?

No. No meditation music.

Glancing at upon my clock … 2:42 AM.
Within several moments of starting my meditation, I seemed engulfed by a powerful presence. There, standing in front of me was Ms. K., my friend who passed late last year. Standing in spirit form, she stood beautifully. While there was no physical body, her face, eyes, lips
 and hair was identifiable, but appeared gleaming by a warm soft light.

Everything about her was translucent. It was the strangest thing ever. I could see her, but see through her. She lived, but was different, beautiful, radiant and swarmed by golden light. 
While her smile was deeply moving, what captured me was this deep sense
 of love and peace. And aside from Christmas Eve 1978, this was perhaps the most powerfully
 expressive amount of love I have ever experienced. Ms. K’s touch peacefully
 penetrated my body. We embraced and our
exchange was filled with an overwhelming sense of acceptance.

Ms. K guided me through her new home. It was a world not unlike our own. At first glance, the grass was green, but each blade
 echoed a similar golden hue, a drop of dew and glistened from warmth surrounding everything. Each tree leaf was illuminated with a sense of deep purity. It was a most peaceful and accepting world where a light humming form of music I cannot adequately describe. There were no musicians, no choir, no rap, no reggae
 or jazz. It was harmonic.

W., this is the hum you hear at night. It is the music of the universe. It’s god’s
love. You, as do many others, hear the harmony of life.”

Before I could respond, we suddenly stood overlooking a city. The city seemed
 small and quaint, but it was hard to say. Every building was surrounded
 by golden aura, emanating from every wall, every roof and each window. Suddenly, without notice, a tall man stood before me. Adorned in white,
 I was embraced and a rush of ever present love streamed
through my body.

You are forgiven.”


I am forgiven?” I queried.”

You are forgiven. Whatever you have done, you are forgiven. I forgive you.

Just as quickly, Ms. K. and I were alone.

Was that God?

Yes.” K. replied as she smiled. “I told you I had a surprise for you.

…. 3:30 AM …. Meditation ended.

Everything written is an abbreviated account of my forty-five minutes in heaven (at least I can only relate it as being in heaven).  Being a meditation practitioner for years, I can honestly state I did not fall asleep, did not dream this vision, and did not enhance any part of the story.  I tried as a best as possible to accurately reflect the events.

In real life Ms. K. and I were not true friends. Outside of an occasional business meeting, we did not spend any non-work related time together. However, every since learning of her passing, I have had several “telepathic” conversations. Most of my persistent queries have surrounded what is “Heaven” like and what is God like. The other key part of my conversation centered upon many of my personal failings (adequately described herein this blog).

I can only presume after much pestering she found a way to answer my query.

I want everyone to know that this conversation has not converted me to conservative, Biblical quoting scholar.  In truth, much of my life will remain as the Buddha once described:

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

In other words, our life goes forward and each of us must life it.  Some may claim this vision is a proclamation of my impending death.  Truthfully, that could be true.  But then again, I wasn’t supposed to live this long anyway.  Yes, I have Multiple Sclerosis and my circulation system kind of really sucks at this moment.  But I hope to tarry on for another 100 or so years. Ha! Ha!

I offer only two points.

  • First, I am not unique. I am not superhuman, overly blessed or specifically chosen.  And I still have no understanding why Ms. K. has chosen to communicate to me. But I am honored by her presence.
  • Secondly, I simply offer this story to say that any one of us can be forgiven. If we live in love, breathe in love and give love to others, any one of us can have the same wonderful experience.

If my story offends anyone, I am truly sorry. But I really hope my story brings each of you some peace or hope; that my story offers each of you something positive. If I can be forgiven, any of you can be as well. The real gift Ms. K. provided me was a process. It’s a process that allows any of us to live our days and allow us a degree of equanimity towards the end, looking at that black, implacable wall of death, to allow us a degree of peace, a degree of non-fear.

And I want in.

The Search for God

pillars-of-creationWatching the Hubble Space Telescope at the planetarium gave some great and wondrous insights to our universe.  One photo pictured a small segment of space, about one 24-millionth of the whole sky. Within it, almost all of the 3,000 galaxies could be seen, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. Each of these galaxies contains over 100,000,000 stars (i.e., solar systems). Multiply all that by 24,000,000.

On face value, the chances “we” (this island earth) being the only planet supporting life seems shockingly remote. However, Hubble’s discoveries do leave questions. First, if we are products of the universe, where does the universe come from? How do we solve it? Second, where is God? Third, how do I fit into this potentially vast universe?

One could take a ‘scientific’ or ‘religious’ view of our world, dividing the world into believers and nonbelievers. From a straight scientific perspective, religion is wrong. Believing in spirituality is flawed. For those of the moralistic side of religion, one can visually conceptualize God, but simply cannot tolerate the written word as inscribed by leaders of the past. And there are those who believe every word of the Bible is verbatim, every sentence is sacred.

I believe we do this because we are guided. For instance, much of modern day life is run more from an Apple iPhone than by spirit. Think about it, we structure everything, including time. We synchronize encounters. We are a culture of repetition. Our world is an endless cycle of calendars; a way of ensuring each year repeats the same patterns, same themes, same ideas, and same messages. For instance, the Super Bowl occurs in February; NCAA holds it’s madness in March; Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December; Easter around April; businesses financially budget in either fiscal or calendar years; vacations occur around the same time of year; morning starts early, sleep starts late; seasons occur yearly, etc., etc., etc.

We forget to remember that we are not simply bodies in motion. We are spirit. And when the hand of God or the body of life teaches us lessons, it’s commonly done via the spirit. For instance, the Hubble Space Telescope cannot conceive of the idea of forgiveness, tears of the heart, falling in love, starting anew, starting afresh. You cannot immerse yourself in the water of love when only a physical action backs up a philosophical idea. God is neither.

There is nothing about space itself that offers any insight to the power of humanity or love. Hubble makes no make a room for love. There is no room for generosity. You cannot measure the fulcrum of agape love in a stellar explosion. It’s impossible to understand the mystery of faith watching two solar systems collide. How eerie our world mirrors the universe. The same violence and warfare in the universe affects everything we do – our hopes, dreams, aspirations, fantasies, relationships — and our religion.

Transcending the world of Hubble, the world of God, Nirvana, Allah or Dao lies beyond the reach of words. In our world, only our collective humanity prevents us from bringing faiths (scientific and religious) together. To do so requires a level of compassion far greater than the universe, far more powerful than even the Bible’s written word.

Our view of Santa Claus matures from a byproduct of knowledge and age, whereas our ideas of God remain at a rather infantile level. Selfishness, greed, envy, self-preoccupation and our engrained ability to make ourselves the center of the universe prevents us from the reaching the level of love necessary to create the universe or the very level of love God intended for you and I. We remain woefully ignorant of the hatred produced each and every day.

Buddha had a monk who pestered him constantly about the existence of God and the creation of the world. The Buddha told him that he was like a man who had been shot with a poisoned arrow but refused to have any medical treatment until he had discovered the name of his assailant and what village he came from: he would die before he received this perfectly useless information. One could, the Buddha said, spend many pleasant hours discussing these fascinating topics but this would distract a monk from his main objective: “Because, my disciples, they will not help you, they are not useful in the quest for holiness; they do not lead to peace and to the direct knowledge of Nirvana.”

The quest for God comes from our ability to love one another. Real love transcends everything.

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