“Mind is the Matrix of all Matter“birth of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 563BC) and, for some Buddhists, his enlightenment (Nirvana) and his death. In Burma and Thailand, for instance, it is celebrated with special lanterns made of paper and wood; candles are burned continuously and houses are cleaned, decorated and made new with much joyful music and the sound of bells. In Laos it is known as the Feast of the Lanterns. In India, it is Vesak Day, or Buddha Purnima. There is a long tradition of releasing caged birds on Wesak, signifying the freeing of the soul from the body cage on reaching enlightenment — Nirvana. Many (strict) Buddhists are vegetarians, but those who are not, often pay butchers to release animals otherwise scheduled for human consumption. On this auspicious day, others forgo eating meat. Water ceremonies include bathing the Buddha’s shoulders to remind devotees to purify the mind from greed, hatred and ignorance.
Wesak is a festival we might all benefit from sharing — or at least understanding its roots. In contrast with many world religions, Buddhism is unique for its focus on personal spiritual development and striving for deep insight into the true nature of life, through the practice of morality, meditation and awareness of one’s own accessible inner wisdom.
Buddhists believe nothing is permanent: that change is always possible.
May we dedicate all positive words to the enlightenment of all sentient beings in six realms of cyclic existence.
Buddha literally means ‘one who is awake’ and has become enlightened. It is a term that denotes a person who has attained the supreme wisdom and compassion that Enlightenment brings.
The Wesak festival is unique in world religions in that it is a present-time cosmological event and not just one that commemorates a past spiritual happening–as do most holy days.
In Buddhist tradition, Wesak is a five-day festival: two days of preparation, both mental and physical; the day of the Wesak full moon itself, (this year, Tuesday 17th May) and two days after for meditation, direction of energy for good, for self-healing, and for planetary vision.
Ideally, one should approach Wesak week with discipline, clearing the mind beforehand, eliminating from our consciousness all negativity — including the influence of negative people — so that our mind and spirit are opened and ready to receive the forces of Light (love).
“If someone negative tries to complicate your life, turn and walk away from them” Caroline Myss
In the western version of the tradition, the day of the Wesak full moon is known as the Day of Safeguarding.
On the full moon of May, with the rising of the morning star, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, the enlightened one
While Siddhartha’s enlightenment happened over 2500 years ago, it is interesting to note that this year (2011) the ‘morning star’, Venus, is not only recapturing brilliance celebrated in that age-old Buddhist proclamation, but also — on May 11th — approached within one-half-degree of fellow morning planet Jupiter, alongside Mercury and Mars in the pre-dawn eastern sky. This Jupiter-Venus-conjunction is the same configuration as that heralded in 6BC as the brilliant ‘Star in the East’ which signaled the birth of Christ.
“On the Day of Safeguarding (May 17th) itself, we the human race should try to receive, contain and hold as much of that great spiritual light, (energy, love) as we possibly can within our bodies as a kind of intelligent network of conscious ‘Mind’ for the planet — as her brain, so to speak.” Wesak Souled-Out Spiritual Hierarchy.
In the West, this year’s festival has primary focus on raising planetary awareness: a rising tide of human Unity Consciousness, which has been a consistent feature of this blog and is becoming the focus of much attention in the runup to 2012. The western hub of Wesak ceremonies, festivities and deep religious rededication is Mount Shasta, Siskyou County, California.In the language of Earth-Gaia Medicine, the Earth, as a sentient being, has energy chakras, one on each continent, just as the human body has energy centers. Shasta is believed to hold the energetic focus for Mother Earth’s root or base chakra.
Her other chakra points are:
Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca: Sacral second Chakra
Uluru, Ayer’s Rock, Australia: Solar plexus third Chakra
Glastonbury, Somerset: Heart fourth Chakra
Great Pyramid, Giza: Throat fifth Chakra
No fixed location for sixth, Third Eye Chakra
Mt. Kailash, Tibet: Crown 7th Chakra and axis mundi, peak of the world axis.
California is known for its leading-edge ethos begun in the 1960s and ’70s of multi-discipline spiritual thought, an EarthFirst lifestyle and as home to many New Age groups. Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha‘ was virtually ‘required reading’ during the spiritual revolution of the ’sixties in a State which became a honeypot for spiritual entrepreneurs, gurus and devout followers of a New Age way of life. While that ‘off-the-grid’ lifestyle continues a presence in the State, it has become — like other spiritual practices — subsumed by the great unwieldy machine of human progress, population growth, and the media/internet/communications revolution.
Among a plethora of New Age spiritual frontrunners from that era, however, one guru stands tall above the rest — Ram Dass. As (former) Dr Richard Alpert, b.1931, he was the renowned Harvard professor whose experimental psych lab –alongside Prof. Timothy Leary and his (then) graduate student Dr. Ralph Metzner, founder of the Green Earth Foundation– used mind-altering techniques in the study of the transformation of human consciousness. They co-authored the volume ‘The Psychedelic Experience‘: a Manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and dedicated to Aldous Huxley. In his subsequent conversion and becoming a messenger for ‘American Buddhism’, Ram Dass was seen not only as a genuine seeker, practitioner and proponent of the simple spiritual lifestyle, but his consistency and practice of personal liberation have affected many lives.
“My life is my message” Baba Ram Dass, 1992
Author of the seminal spiritual bible of the time, ‘Be Here Now‘, 1971, he practised the art of self-discipline in maintaining one’s own unique balance and wisdom, in allowing self-liberation, and the ‘voice of the Divine’ to come through into daily life.
Ram Dass suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1997 which paralyzed his right side. It has taken him over a decade to recover all function, but he is back on the lecture-appearance circuit, his message stronger than ever. Before the stroke, he finally met and was interviewed by contemporary and fellow research/occult scientist, Terence McKenna (video conversation above). While they had taken divergent life paths — McKenna researching the biological immediacy of shamanic experience and altered states of consciousness; Ram Dass eschewing mind experimentation for spiritual ritual and meditative practice — they discovered shared truth and remarkable similarities in their need to question accepted authority and discover ‘one’s own reality’: McKenna’s ‘felt presence of direct experience’. The video series is unprecedented in its honesty and their familiarity with each other, because while they shared a youthful background of the counter-culture, this was their first encounter as seniors in the consciousness field. In that sense, the video interviews (on YouTube) are unique, unrepeated. McKenna died in 2000 of brain cancer.McKenna believed human evolution and particularly language development were triggered by apes eating hallucinogenic plants after their descent from the trees; that either Man must return to Nature before she explodes, or tout de suite launch some rocket ships to the stars. Ram Dass approaches humanity as a concept seen from the transcendental realm of Godhead, as viewed through the Third Dimension. Both men of ideas have lived long enough to be able to dissolve ego in an unprecedented open exchange. But while the duo (in their video conversation) approach the subject from apparently opposite sides, they both bring light to their shared belief in autonomous, intuitive ‘knowing’, as opposed to acceptance of concepts fostered by fear-mongered dogma of state and government attitudes.
They both believe in ‘Mind’, as the engineer of reality, consciousness.
“The Net,” says McKenna, “is an ‘oracle’ fostering an unprecedented dialogue between human beings and the sum total of human knowledge.” He believes that out of computer graphics will emerge a new form of human communication. “We are heading for a world made out of Mind.”
“Go beyond the ‘isms’ and tell me what you really think we’ll find,” says Ram Dass. While he believes in intuitive links, he concedes the need for virtual/real communication.
Dass believes in the transcendental awareness brought about by communion with one’s higher self, the Divine. It hinges on the presently-growing impetus of global consciousness. McKenna had first-hand knowledge of South American Indians who experienced the Collective Unconscious as an immediate, shamanic, reality; not just as an intellectual construct.
As our society weaves itself ever-more deeply into this colossal thinking machine, McKenna believes it may somehow be able to replicate those shaman Indians’ collective knowing. He answers:
“We’re finding a world made out of Mind instead of ‘stuff’. Mind itself is being pulled taut. We are being given that transcendental object at the End of Time”.
“So what is this transcendental object at the End of Time?” asks Dass.
“A material made from hologramatic disk: part bio, part machine, part think tank, part Mind.”
Over one million Buddhists are meditating right now, pooling consciousness. Critical mass requires only one half of one percent of the population to be ‘vibrating’ at a higher frequency for cohesion/enlightenment/ascension to occur.
This Wesak festival might be the very one which decides the fate of the Earth: the one which changes global consciousness and takes it one step farther up the ladder to the stars.
©2011 Marian Youngblood