martes, marzo 30, 2010
Time 2 chant GANESH MANTRA
just done all 2 gether
Lo que podemos hacer juntos en la web
lunes, marzo 29, 2010
Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan with BHAKTI YOGA
The Vedas tell us that God can be realized in three distinct features: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, God’s original form residing in the spiritual sky. There the Lord exists in His body which is eternal and full of bliss. Paramatma is an expansion of God. In every living entity, there exist two souls within the heart. The first soul, jivatma, represents our individual identity. The second soul, Paramatma, represents God’s expansion. In essence, God lives inside all of us as a neutral observer. Brahman is God’s third feature. Brahman is more of a classification than an expansion of God. Brahman refers to everything material and spiritual, all the way up to the brahmajyoti, which is the spiritual effulgence. Just as astronauts have to pass through various atmospheric layers when leaving the earth and going into space, there is similarly a spiritual effulgence that exists right before one enters the personal spiritual planets of Vaikunthaloka and Krishnaloka.
“…I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.27)
Though Lord Krishna clearly states that He is the source of Brahman, there are many impersonalist philosophers who take Brahman to be the beginning and end of everything. They utter the phrase, brahma-satya jagat-mithya, meaning that Brahman is the truth and that everything else in the world is false. These philosophers view the Vedanta-sutras as the authoritative Vedic scripture. The Vedanta-sutras are a collection of aphorisms that appear to describe God in an impersonal way. Written by Krishna’s literary incarnation of Vyasadeva, the Vedanta-sutras actually describe devotional service to Krishna throughout, but people have misinterpreted the meanings of the aphorisms. For example, there are many statements declaring that God has no hands or legs, and that He is nirguna, meaning He has no form. These statements are certainly true in that God has no material hands or legs. But this doesn’t mean that He is formless in the sense that He doesn’t exist. Lord Krishna repeatedly uses words like “Me” and “Mine” when discussing transcendental topics in the Bhagavad-gita. This clearly indicates that Krishna is a person.
“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 7.24)
Though it is an inferior realization of God, Brahman still exists. It is certainly a representation of the Absolute Truth. Those who want to merge into Brahman are given every opportunity to do so. However, there is a much easier and more fulfilling type of worship, which is technically known as bhakti yoga, or devotional service. Depending on your angel of vision, this method of worship is either easy or difficult. It is easy in the sense that it merely requires one to surrender unto Krishna and engage in His service. That seems simple enough, but many people don’t want to surrender. They would rather negate all activity and hope to merge into Brahman.
“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 12.5)
Krishna Himself declares that attempting to merge into Brahman is the more difficult of the two paths. This is because it is the original nature of the spirit soul to crave identity. If the soul merges into Brahman, it loses its identity. Eventually wanting to engage in activities again, the soul is prone to separating from Brahman, again returning to the material world. Bhakti yoga is the more natural self-realization process because it involves pure love of God. Many impersonalists look down at bhaktas, taking them to be less intelligent. This is because they view bhakti yoga simply as a method of self-realization. “Oh look, these people are tricking themselves into believing in a personal God so that they can more easily become detached from material nature. They are only taking to this method because they don’t understand Vedanta.”
This type of thinking represents a gross misunderstanding of bhaktas. Bhakti yoga technically cannot be compared to any other type of yoga because it is actually much more than a method of self-realization. Having a pure loving relationship with God is the original nature of the soul. Through personal interaction with Krishna or one of His Vishnu expansions, the spirit soul gains eternal bliss and knowledge. To help us understand this fact, we can look to the examples set by the great devotees of the past. Lord Hanuman is the eternal servant of Lord Rama, one of Krishna’s primary expansions. Hanuman is a great yogi, possessing tremendous powers. Yet he is not attached to any of his powers of detachment or yoga, for he engages all his time in thinking of Rama. In fact, Hanuman is not even interested in self-realization. He has no desire to be a perfect devotee or a Vedantist. Rather, he simply loves Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana, and spends all his time thinking of them and serving Their lotus feet.
The greatest benefit of bhakti yoga is that it rewards us with the most sublime relationship, eternal association with God. God is meant to be viewed in only one way, pure love, for this is how He views us. We should take up the worship of the personal form of the Lord. Krishna is our eternal friend, and someone who will never let us down. He is so kind and sweet that if we simply want to be with Him, the Lord will make it happen. In this age, we can practice devotional service by regularly chanting God’s names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. Since God incarnates in the form of His holy name, chanting is our way of personally touching Him. By remaining steadfast in our devotion, slowly but surely, we will come to Him.
jueves, marzo 11, 2010
Believe it or Not
Bureaucracy of Rebirth
Tuesday March 9, 2010
Almost every time I blog about His Holiness the Dalai Lama I hear from someone who says His Holiness really is a dreadful person and that everything I write about him is a lie. This may be because I sometimes do depart from the Official Chinese Government Version of whatever happened. So, in the interest of fairness, today I will blog about an item taken from Xinhua (official Chinese government news agency) itself.
According to Xinhua -- His Holiness simply cannot reincarnate any way he wants to. This is from Padma Choling, Chinese-appointed governor of the "Tibetan Autonomous Region":
"There have been 14 Dalai Lamas... It is unreasonable to do whatever he wants (about reincarnation) when it comes to the 14th Dalai Lama. There's no way for him to do so," said Padma Choling, adding the 14th Dalai Lama himself was approved by the Nationalist Government, the then central regime of China.
I don't know what he means about His Holiness being "approved" by the Nationalist Government, unless the approval came after the Chinese invasion of 1950-1951, when His Holiness already was a teenager.
It gets better. This is later in the same article:
Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Standing Committee of Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, the regional legislature, said: "If the religion and the reincarnation issues serve separatists and politics, the Tibetan Buddhism disciples won't agree."
Qiangba Puncog said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must meet all the traditional requirements in four aspects: irreligious rituals, historical conventions passed on since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), lot drawing from the Golden Urn in the face of the Buddha Sakyamuni and the approval from the central government.
"Any claimed reincarnation that fails to meet all these requirements will be illegitimate and invalid," he added.
Got that? There will be no rebirthing without government approval. I assume they've got a bureaucrat stationed in the Bardo.
sábado, marzo 06, 2010
ALICE in WONDERLAND 2010
NYT By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: March 5, 2010
Into the dark you tumble in “Alice in Wonderland,” Tim Burton’s busy, garish and periodically amusing repo of the Lewis Carroll hallucination “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” It’s a long fall turned long haul, despite the Burtonian flourishes — the pinch of cruelty, the mordant wit — that animate the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the porker that slides under her feet with a squeal. “I love a warm pig belly for my aching feet,” the queen tells Alice. Played by Mia Wasikowska, Alice looks a touch dazed: she seems to have left her pulse above ground when she fell down the rabbit hole of Mr. Burton’s imagination.
More About This Movie
Tickets & Showtimes
New York Times Review
Cast, Credits & Awards
Trailers & Clips
Faces of Wonderland
Film: Drinking Blood: New Wonders of Alice’s World (February 28, 2010)
DVDs: Another Trippy Rabbit Hole (February 28, 2010)
ArtsBeat: Curiouser and Curiouser Cinema Adventures in 'Wonderland'
‘Mad as a Hatter’: The History of a Simile (March 7, 2010)
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Mr. Burton has done his best work with contemporary stories, so it’s curious if not curiouser that he’s turned his sights on another 19th-century tale. Perhaps after slitting all those throats in his adaptation of “Sweeney Todd,” he thought he would chop off a few heads. Whatever his inspiration, he has tackled this new story with his customary mix of torpor and frenzy. After a short glance back at Alice’s childhood and an equally brief look at her present, he sends the 19-year-old on her way, first down the hole and then into a dreamscape — unfortunately tricked out with 3-D that distracts more than it delights — where she meets a grinning cat and a lugubrious caterpillar, among other fantastical creatures.
Dark and sometimes grim, this isn’t your great-grandmother’s Alice or that of Uncle Walt, who was disappointed with the 1951 Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland.” “Alice has no character,” said a writer who worked on that project. “She merely plays straight man to a cast of screwball comics.” Of course the character of Carroll’s original Alice is evident in each outrageous creation she dreams up in “Wonderland” and in the sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass,” which means that she’s a straight man to her own imagination. (She is Wonderland.) Here she mostly serves as a foil for the top biller Johnny Depp, who (yes, yes) plays the Mad Hatter, and Mr. Burton’s bright and leaden whimsies.
First thought up by Carroll in a rowboat in which one of the passengers was the 10-year-old Alice Liddell, the object of his much-debated love, “Wonderland” (1865) is, among many other things, a testament to glorious nonsense as well as an inspiration for dark thoughts (about Carroll’s feelings for Liddell) and for lysergic works from the likes of David Lynch. It’s a total (head) trip, one that starts and stops and doesn’t fit easily into the mainstream narrative mold, which could explain why the screenwriter Linda Woolverton, borrowing both from “Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass,” has given Alice a back story, a dash of psychology and a battle royal if, alas, not a pool of her own tears in which to swim.
Since narrative momentum isn’t Mr. Burton’s strength, “Alice in Wonderland” probably seemed a good fit for him, and there are moments when his transparent delight in the material lifts the movie and even carries it forward. His Wonderland (here, Underland) isn’t inviting or attractive. The colors are often bilious, though the palette also turns gunmetal gray, bringing to mind “Sweeney Todd.” There’s a suggestively nightmarish aspect to Alice’s journey, as when she steps on some severed heads in the Red Queen’s moat as if they were stones. The queen herself is a horror: Bette Davis as Elizabeth I and reconfigured as a bobble-head doll. Ms. Bonham Carter makes you hear the petulant child in her barbarism and the wounded woman too. She rocks the house and the movie.
And she does, even though the character is a harridan cliché who, smitten with her knave (Crispin Glover) and clutching her power, rules with a boom. (“Off with his head!”) She eventually dukes it out with her rival and sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway, gliding like an ice dancer), who enlists Alice’s help. There’s more, including computer-generated flowers, assorted 3-D projectiles and the usual British actors earning their pay, like the “Harry Potter” alumni Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman and Imelda Staunton. Mr. Burton lavishes his attention on the little things in “Wonderland” — the perfectly drawn red heart painted on the center of the Red Queen’s mouth, for instance — perhaps because nothing else claims his attention. He’s very bad with the awkward action scenes, maybe because he’s embarrassed that they even exist.
Mr. Depp’s strenuously flamboyant turn embodies the best and worst of Mr. Burton’s filmmaking tendencies even as the actor brings his own brand of cinematic crazy to the tea party. With his Kabuki-white face, the character seems to have been calculated to invoke Heath Ledger’s Joker, though at his amusing best the Hatter brings to mind a strung-out Carrot Top. But Mr. Depp doesn’t have much to do, which he proves as he wildly flirts with the camera. The only time the character hooks you is in the shivery moment when his gaze turns predatory as he looks at Alice, who, every inch a Tim Burton Goth Girl, from her corpselike pallor to her enervated presence, presents a more convincing vision of death than of sex.
That queasy, potentially rich and frightening moment expectedly fades as fast as the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), which doesn’t leave you with much else to hold onto, Alice included. Mr. Burton’s heroine is a wan figure to hang an entire world on, and Ms. Wasikowska, who’s a livelier, truer presence in the forthcoming “The Kids Are All Right,” barely registers among Mr. Burton’s clanging and the computer-generated galumphing. This isn’t an impossible story to translate to the screen, as the Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer showed with “Alice” (1988), where the divide between reality and fantasy blurs as it does in dreams. It’s just hard to know why Mr. Burton, who doesn’t seem much interested in Alice, bothered.
“Alice in Wonderland” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It is a surprise (or not) that this movie, with its severed heads and Jabberwocky battle, is not rated PG-13, which serves as a warning for parents.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Opens on Friday nationwide.
Directed by Tim Burton; written by Linda Woolverton, based on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll; director of photography, Dariusz Wolski; edited by Chris Lebenzon; music by Danny Elfman; costumes by Colleen Atwood; senior visual effects supervisor, Ken Ralston; makeup design by Valli O’Reilly; produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd; released by Walt Disney Pictures. Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes.
WITH: Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Mia Wasikowska (Alice Kingsleigh), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), Crispin Glover (Stayne-Knave of Hearts), Matt Lucas (Tweedledee and Tweedledum), Alan Rickman (Absolem the Caterpillar), Timothy Spall (Bayard the Bloodhound) and Imelda Staunton (Tall Flower Faces).
WITH THE VOICES OF: Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Barbara Windsor (Dormouse), Christopher Lee (Jabberwocky), Michael Gough (Dodo) and Paul Whitehouse (March Hare).