Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dalai Lama Discusses Human Values

Talking to Bihari Students & Inaugurating the Wat Pa Buddhagaya Vanaram Temple

Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - A cheer went up from an estimated 7000 local Bihari students when His Holiness the Dalai Lama stepped onto the stage at the Kalachakra Maidan this morning. He had been invited to address them by the Alice Project, an educational foundation set up by an Italian,

After offerings of welcome had been made, His Holiness was requested to release Giacomin’s latest book, ‘Universal Ethics’. Giacomin then gave a welcoming speech in which he explained how he had met His Holiness in Dharamsala more than 30 years ago. His Holiness told him then that it would be excellent if he could continue to work with education in India. Consequently, the Alice Project, focused on sustainable education and a culture of peace in an intercultural and interreligious school, was launched in Sarnath in 1994 with branches established later in Bodhgaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

He said that a major aim of the project was to find a solution to the current crisis in education that results in students showing a lack of discipline, poor attention and a general fall in academic performance. One reason for this is that modern education tends to have materialistic goals with too little time given to inner values. The Alice Project schools make a point of providing opportunities for meditation and exploring ways to lead a happy life.

“We have to know our own minds and reach beyond the limits of selfishness,” Giacomin asserted, “and we have to realise there are no barriers between ourselves and others. We focus on the inner change from which discipline and altruism are born, which also provides for improved academic performance. It is possible, as His Holiness has urged, to revive the ancient knowledge of India and combine it with modern education. On behalf of the students and staff of our schools, I’d like to thank His Holiness for meeting us here in this sacred place.”

“Good morning everybody, did you all sleep well last night?” His Holiness asked from the podium, “I hope everyone’s mind is fresh and alert.

“It’s a great honour for me to be here and I’m happy to meet so many members of the younger generation, as well as my old friend from Italy who has been trying to fulfil our educational goals.

“Time is always moving on; it never stands still. The past has gone. Only a memory remains, and the future has not yet come, which gives us an opportunity to create a better world. Young people like you represent the future. It rests on your shoulders and in your hands.

“Basically, in order to be happy, every living thing, even these flowers, despite their having no mind, wants to survive. For human beings and animals trying to survive is a part of trying to be happy. All of us want to lead a happy life. Since we human beings have such marvellous brains we have the ability to think over the past, to learn from it and to plan for the future. We’re also able to look at reality from different angles. So, we need to use our brains to explore what brings us unhappiness and suffering and what makes us happy.

“Education is a key factor because education increases our ability to think and analyse how things come about. Although none of us wants problems we face a host of them, many of which are of our own creation. Our existing modern education is inadequate for ensuring that as individuals, families and communities we are happy. This is something we need to think seriously about. One of the reasons is that our existing education tends to have materialistic goals, whereas for humanity to be happy depends on peace of mind. We have to give serious thought to how to incorporate inner values into our education on a secular basis.

“These days I am committed to trying to revive ancient Indian knowledge about the workings of the mind and emotions. We need to understand better how to tackle our negative emotions through reason and analysis from a strictly secular point of view.

“There is a long tradition of karuna and ahimsa in this country and one of the ways they are expressed is in the thriving of religious harmony. At the same time India’s secular stance of showing equal respect to all religious or spiritual traditions makes it a model for others to follow.

“You young students shouldn’t just accept what you’re taught. You should think about it, analyse it, examine the reasons behind it, and compare it to other points of view. This was the spirit of Nalanda, the great University that flourished in Bihar. Think about how everything is dependent on other factors.

“As I said, the future is in your hands. You young people have the opportunity to make a better world, but you’ll have to make an effort. I may not live to see it, but if you make the attempt, in 20 to 30 years the world could become a much more peaceful place. Education is one factor, but within that we need to pay more attention to tackling our disturbing emotions. This will entail adopting a sense of emotional hygiene corresponding to the hygiene with which we protect our physical health.”

In responding to students questions His Holiness pointed out that consciousness has no beginning and that our experience of happiness and suffering is due to our own karma. He confirmed that anger is the factor that most often disturbs our peace of mind, whereas karuna or compassion is its polar opposite. With regard to religious practice he said it’s fine for individuals to think in terms of ‘one faith and one truth’. However, as far as the wider community is concerned we need to accept that there are several faiths and many aspects of the truth. He reminded his audience of his admiration for India as the only country where all the world’s major religious live together in harmony.

The practice of concentration and insight—shamatha and vipashyana—common to many of India’s indigenous spiritual traditions has given rise to experience in transforming the mind. It is understood that suffering results from mental afflictions like anger and hatred. Their source is ignorance and to counter that we need to cultivate wisdom.

His Holiness left the stage to the students’ fulsome applause. He then drove the short distance to the Thai Bharat Society’s Wat Pa Buddhagaya Vanaram Temple behind the Mahabodhi Stupa compound. He was received on arrival by Phra Bhodhinandhamunee and Dr. Ratneswar Chakma and paused to watch graceful Thai dancers reminiscent of offering goddesses giving a welcoming performance.

His Holiness turned down the offer of a ride in an e-rickshaw and circumambulated the temple on his own feet along with his hosts. He blessed the Sangharaja Kuti on the way. Inside the richly decorated new temple with its gilded statues of Buddhas and Arhats and scenes from the Buddha’s life painted on the walls, His Holiness sat with the senior monks. Verses of refuge and the Mangala Sutta were recited as the dancers performed once more.

Dr. Ratneswar Chakma formally welcomed His Holiness, who he described as a model of compassion. Phra Bhodhinandhamunee declared the Thai Bharat Society’s intention to provide opportunities for all comers to learn and practise meditation in the new temple.

When it came to His Holiness’s turn to speak, he acknowledged that historically the Pali Tradition derives directly from the Buddha’s first teachings, which make its followers the most senior disciples. Followers of the Sanskrit Tradition also rely on the Perfection of Wisdom teachings that came about as part of the second turning of the wheel of dharma.

“I have great respect for all our Dharma transmissions, just as I respect both theistic and non-theistic religious traditions, because humanity benefits from them. Today, even scientists are showing interest in what Buddhism has to say about the mind and emotions. The knowledge we’ve kept alive remains relevant because it can help reduce our negative emotions and the power they have over us.

“Discussions I’ve had with scientists have been mutually helpful. One of the few casualties has been my belief in traditional Buddhist cosmology. However, it’s clear to me that the Buddha came to teach the Four Noble Truths not to map or measure the universe. He introduced a realistic approach to suffering, an approach that is also scientific. I’d like to see scholars, scientists and practitioners gather here and sit in a circle to discuss the content of the Tripitaka, the three collections of scriptures.

“We have to study if we are to understand what the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are, what the cessation of suffering is, how to achieve it and what the path implies. Of course, we also need to understand selflessness.

“In the 70s, some of our monks went to Bangkok where they learned Thai as well as participating in various aspects of practice. They’re old now, but we could send young monks again and welcome Thai monks to our monasteries. Tibetans could learn Thai and Thais could learn Tibetan. There are some Buddhist teachings only available in Pali and others only available in the Sanskrit tradition. We should engage in research and an exchange of experience. We need closer relations and a common effort to present Buddhism in the 21st century.

“The essence of Buddhism is compassion or karuna. Since the world needs more compassion we should look into how we Buddhists can contribute to it. It’s not a question of converting others to Buddhism, but of seeing how we can contribute to human peace of mind, by, for example, showing how to tackle our negative emotions. That would really benefit humanity.”

Following a vote of thanks and a presentation of gifts, everyone present was invited to partake in a sumptuous lunch which offered a choice of delicious Thai and Indian food. When that was over and a series of commemorative photographs had been taken, His Holiness returned to the Tibetan Temple. Tomorrow, he plans to offer Bhikshu ordination to 60 monks.

original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/talking-to-bihari-students-inaugurating-the-wat-pa-buddhagaya-vanaram-temple

Friday, February 9, 2018

An Open Letter to Christian Paranormal Investigators (with signatures)

laura maxwell mark hunnemann dana emmanuel
Click to enlarge image

An Open Letter to Christian Paranormal Investigators (with signatures)

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

Preface:

This is a humble and heartfelt plea to Christian Paranormal Investigators from Mark Hunnemann (who initiated and drafted this communication) and Laura Maxwell (Former Spiritualist) and Dana Emanuel (Former Ghost Hunter) who support this statement and added invaluable insights, as well as the 60 signatures at the bottom.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
“Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
“If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not professing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace, if he flinches at that point.” (attributed to Martin Luther).

In our day, ‘that little point’ is our obedience to the inerrant Word of God in response to the onslaught of the pagan/occult worldview and techniques which have infiltrated the church. As Dr. Peter Jones has clearly shown (The Other Worldview, etc), the pagan worldview is THE dominant enemy of the biblical worldview today, and as such, it is that ‘little point where the devil is most fiercely attacking’. The question is: will we be faithful, loyal soldiers for Christ, in OUR generation, or will we flee due to accommodating it—or worse, practicing it ourselves (i.e. through occult methods)? Fascination with the paranormal has mushroomed and has demonized the spiritual landscape of America and Europe. And if we don’t respond quickly and appropriately, then our children and grandchildren will not be ready for the difficult days ahead.

Today, the Church and the world are being besieged; indeed there is an unprecedented disaster unfolding before our very eyes, and sadly, it involves Christians in the paranormal community. Hence, this letter is lovingly addressed to you.

Many of us (see signatures below) are former paranormal investigators, and all of three of us are actively involved in helping people with demonic issues, so this is not ‘ivory tower reflections’. We see it as our timely duty to write this declaration in light of the current lapses into occultic beliefs and practices amongst our fellow believers, and in the world at large. We offer this in a spirit of humility and love, with the hopes that it will stir further dialogue and change. We are all sinners, saved by grace—faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, plus nothing (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3-4). This is not us vs. them/you—it is all of US together. With a similar motivation that caused Martin Luther King, Jr. to write his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to fellow Christians, we offer this letter of our beliefs and concerns to you, our dearest brothers and sisters in Christ.

With tears, we must insist that Christians engaged in paranormal investigating are especially surrendering at this ‘one little point’, by the adoption of occultic beliefs and practices, which are opposed to the Lordship of Christ over the full spectrum of life (1 Cor. 10:31), and the clear teaching of God’s Word, which has absolute authority over us, and demands implicit obedience. The use of occultic/pagan techniques in virtually all paranormal investigations is distressing to God, and to us. Indeed, the solicitation of EVP’s (or other electronic equivalents) has become the backbone of investigations.

“The end justifies the means” ..."We are trying to help people" is an unbiblical form of ethical reasoning that has infiltrated the paranormal community, as a former investigator, Dana Emanuel, has affirmed from her own experience. You can never truly help someone by disobeying God. Instead you will hurt them and yourselves. God’s curses/discipline is still in place just as His blessings are. (See Acts 5; 1 Cor. 10-11; Heb. 12)

God’s Truth and the work of Christ’s church both insist that truth demands loving confrontation of both evil and error. What good is it for you to profess Christ ever so loudly, and yet surrender at this point where the devil is attacking? What good is it for you to affirm the full inerrancy of the bible, and a host of other biblical teaching, if you are not living under the Lordship of Christ over the full spectrum of your lives, especially when it comes to the occult, and how we interact with the spirit realm? It is this lack of obedience to Christ in a crucial area which we are lovingly confronting, and asking you to repent of.

Highlighted points:
The singular honor and dignity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His all-sufficient and perfect atonement, is our focus and passion. Certain beliefs and practices in the paranormal community, either implicitly or explicitly, deny the perfection of the Person and Work of Christ.
1. When Laura Maxwell realized she was deceived some years ago, by a group of Christians who all believed in, the now popular global Christian trend, that they were receiving revelation from alleged 'holy angels,' she left that group and sought a deliverance minister. She repented and had demons cast out of her! Even after her many years in healing and deliverance ministry, she, too, had been deceived but sought help! She shared this in a radio interview on angels we did together last year. Nobody is above being deceived!

2. Occult practices are so thoroughly and consistentlke an explicit command in the NT to abolish them. Instead, the NT continues to express God’s unchanging, implacable hatred of all occult beliefs/techniques. (E.g. see Acts and Revelation) The best book on biblical ethics (law and gospel, law and grace, and the place of OT moral law in the NT, etc, is John Frame’s book “The Doctrine of the Christian Life”, P&R).

3. The clients don’t need validation of something they already know is true; they need deliverance/conversion. If you are truly called by God, then you may consider deliverance as a vocation.

4. TESTING THE SPIRITS in Jesus's name, along with praying for protection, will often be ineffective because God does not listen to us if we are engaged in heinous sins or cherish sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18).

5. Basing beliefs primarily on non-biblical books (e.g. Enoch) has become common, but it must be avoided, as it detracts from the sufficiency of Scripture, and has led to much unedifying speculation. For example, some take issue with our claim that all alleged ghosts are demons, and they frequently base their beliefs on extra-biblical texts, myths, folklore, and their own experience...none of which are infallible. Actually, they are all very fallible...

Dana Emanuel used to be the team leader of a highly proficient paranormal investigation team, and experienced severe oppression as a result, as are many of you. She is a vital part of drafting this letter, and here is the link to her testimony and articles, which we HIGHLY RECOMMEND.www.xposingtheenemy.com

To view dozens of articles by Mark Hunnemann on the paranormal, which we don’t have time to elaborate on, click on.....http://archive.aweber.com/paraworld

Many excellent articles and interviews by Laura Maxwell, a former Spiritualist and daughter of a Medium, and according to Mark and others, one of the worlds’s leading experts on all things
supernatural. https://ourspiritualquest.com/

We know that you like we, ache and agonize over the spiritually hostile situations many people today are experiencing. Further, we know that many of you have given so much of your heart, time, energy, and finances to help folks in distress. We know many of you personally and we love you, and are in awe of your desire to help people. That is not the issue. The issue is this: are the means by which you are attempting to help people honoring or dishonoring to God?

There are no morally neutral acts. 1 Cor. 10:31 is crucial to our view of this situation. 31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “ (1 Cor. 10:31) Scripture has all the divine Words we need for every situation we face, including helping spiritually oppressed people. Every thought, word, and deed is either done to God’s glory or to the glory of an idol. So, how can we help people in spiritually hostile situations in a way that brings glory to God and not to an idol?

Sadly, we know that you are not glorifying God with your actions, regardless of your motives. How can we be certain of that? God’s Word is clear…very clear, as we shall see. Because God’s Word is certain, it is possible to be certain and not arrogant. We despise and despair of any self-righteous judgementalism; but we speak the truth in love, with a collective broken heart.

Wanting to help people cannot be the sole judge of whether an action is morally right: our actions have to conform to God’s Word and glorify Him. (1 Cor. 10:31) Whether it makes us feel good certainly cannot be the determining factor of an action’s propriety in God’s eyes. Due to distressing life circumstances, some of you find your purpose or significance in helping others with paranormal problems, and that makes it all the more difficult for you to imagine life without it. It is all you have that gives your life meaning, and so you cling to it. However, as new creations in Christ (Gal: 2:20), you have to realize that such thinking is idolatrous. (See Jer. 2:13) Christ, and Christ alone, can give us security and significance.

Perhaps the greatest need in the church today is a keener grasp of God’s burning holiness; a deficient understanding of God’s holiness has led to moral laxness and deficient views of both law and grace. God Himself is our ultimate ethical Norm; and He is unchanging. (Malachi 3:6) We meet the Incarnate Word as we read His Inscripturated Word (bible); both are equally, The Word.

Often we hear: “I’ve been involved in investigating for 20, 30, and 40 years…” However, longevity in the paranormal field does not make one wiser, as many assume, because the longer you are immersed in darkness, the more your mind will be affected with a spirit of demonic delusion, confusion and obsession; and your conscience will be increasingly defiled until it is seared. (As Dana points out, it happened to her, even though she was loathe to admit it at the time).

Countless ex-investigators have confessed that they had become obsessed with the thrill of ‘the hunt’ or the collection/review of data. Obsession is often a sign of demonic oppression, or a step in that direction. There are many rationalizations and objections that folks raise against what we are saying, and we can’t address them all, but the issue is: will you have a soft, humble, teachable heart before God and bow before His absolute, sovereign authority?
Proverbs 1:7

If you read nothing else in this open letter, please read this text which was breathed out of God’s own holy Mouth (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The entire text comprises an indivisible unit in the Hebrew bible.

9 “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, [e]anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to Him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or[f]who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:9-25, ESV, emphasis added)
6 “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. (Lev.20:6-7)

God wants you to listen to HIS voice (the Good Shepherd), and not the voice of demons! “Whoring after them...” reveals the true nature of what you are doing in God’s eyes: spiritual adultery.

20 “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Cor.10: 20-21)

By communicating with the spirit realm (realm of Satan/demonic), you are participating/communing with demons; and are provoking the Lord to jealousy, and bringing unspeakable harm upon yourselves, which grieves us deeply. Your actions are affecting your children and grandchildren; your future offspring!! Generational curses are in the bible, and we have dealt with them time and again in deliverance. Some of you are suffering in various ways because of your unwitting involvement with demons.

We'd like to ask you a question: are any parts of these texts (especially verses 9-14) unclear to you? Indeed, God’s Word is so clear that it leaves us without excuse.

To make it even plainer, let us put it in the form of a syllogism, which is common in ethical literature.
Major premise: Attempting to speak to the dead is an abominable sin (10-11)
Minor premise: Investigators attempt to speak to the dead (often electronically)
Conclusion: Therefore, Investigators are committing an abominable sin.

This syllogism is both valid and sound; the conclusion follows irresistibly from the premises, and they (the premises) are true.

It doesn’t just say that the communicating with the spirit realm is abominable but that those who do it become an abomination in His sight. That is frightening, is it not?

In light of the manifest clarity of this text, why do Christian 'investigators' still attempt to speak to the dead, or use psychics/mediums? There is no excuse. None. 

However, here are several reasons why we did, until our eyes were opened.

First, we say with utmost gentleness, many of us have been drawn to seeking the paranormal due the traumatic death of a loved one. Our heart goes out to you if that happened to you, but you must resist this temptation because it will not help you, and will only compound your pain—the devil is so cruel, and often takes advantage of us when we are most emotionally broken. The strongest believers can emotionally unravel in the face of tragic loss, and some of us deal with this agony on a daily basis. Perhaps you cling to this practice as it is the only thing that gives your life meaning.

The second reason is that perhaps your conscience allows you to investigate; it doesn’t bother you, so you assume it must be okay. However, the bible doesn’t see our conscience as being infallible; it is subordinate to scripture. It is not uncommon for us to mute the voice of conscience by habitual sin.

From personal experience, we know that it is possible to sink into devastating sin (of all different kinds), and the voice of conscience becomes increasingly dim—but we cannot remain in that situation indefinitely because “He who perseveres to the end will be saved.” (Matt.10:22) Sometimes our conscience says that something is right when the bible says it is wrong, and vice versa. (E.g.Rom.14-15) We must seek to inform/educate our conscience with the content of Scripture, or it can lead us astray, as the following text shows.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”, (1 Timothy 4:1-2, ESV)

Third, many people think that Old Testament laws, like the text in Deut.18, are no longer binding under the New Covenant, and that the New Covenant gives them new freedom to contact the spirit realm.

False teachers in the church are promoting this antinomianism. We don’t have the time to adequately defend what should not need defending; namely, our comprehensive obedience to all of God’s Word.
However, God is the author of both covenants, and the covenant documents of each continue to be normative for God’s people. Jesus indicates in Matthew 5:17ff and Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that the Old Testament moral law (civil and ceremonial law has been fulfilled in Christ, but they are still normative in what they teach us) is a guide unto righteous living for New Covenant believers. In Paul’s text he is referring mostly to the Old Testament, and its abiding validity as a source for training us in godly living.

If the OT law cannot justify or save us, is it then obsolete for Christians? Do we just throw the law out? Quite otherwise. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19) we can see how very clear Jesus is on this point.

We are still obligated to obey God in the New Covenant. Indeed, we are told over and over that our love for Christ is expressed through obedience to the law/commandments. (Exodus 20:6; Deut.11:27; Daniel 9:4; John 15:4, 14; 1 Cor. 7:19; Rev.12:17 ECT,) The law commands us to love, and that love commands us to keep God’s commandments. Law requires love, and love requires law. A reckless disregard for God’s law could be a sign of an unregenerate heart. The “law of love” has no content without love of the law. Some will ‘cherry pick’ the few theologians who will support their attempts to circumvent OT moral law and indeed to circumvent the prohibition of communicating with spirits.

Occult practices are so thoroughly and consistently condemned in the OT that it would take an explicit command in the NT to abolish them. Instead, the NT continues to express God’s unchanging, implacable hatred of all occult beliefs/techniques. (E.g. see Acts and Revelation)

We say this with all humility, but if you have no qualms whatsoever about communicating with the spirit realm, then you are either: 1) abysmally ignorant of scripture, or 2) you are not a true, regenerate Christian.3) Although you are a born again Christian, you are being disobedient and grieving the Holy Spirit. Thus, this is an exceedingly serious matter.

Let us return to Deut. 18:

The entire section quoted above comprises a unity in the Hebrew text: the first half is devoted to illegitimate means of seeking spiritual guidance, which includes the abominable practices of seeking to communicate with the dead, and the use of psychics and mediums. In other words, seeking wisdom apart from God via occult methods. The second half of chapter 18 is devoted to the legitimate means of seeking God’s wisdom via His prophets. Indeed, there is a Messianic prophecy of The coming Prophet, which is quoted about Jesus three times in the New Testament (John 1:21; Acts 3:22-24; 7:37).

Hence, if you reject Deut. 18:9-14 and its prohibitions against communicating with the spirit realm, then to be consistent, you would have to throw out the Messianic prophecy of Jesus as The coming Prophet, because this text is a tight unit. Or if you object that you are not seeking illicit wisdom from the spirit realm, but confirmation of their presence, then we say that the method is as evil as the motive: contacting the spirit realm is absolutely forbidden in itself. Do not consult mediums/psychics or attempt communication with the dead. Period. God tells us what will help people or hurt them; not our misguided attempts to help people by engaging in syncretism (mixing beliefs/practices); the bane of God’s church since its inception.

Moses, who was educated in the Magick of his day in Egypt, was contrasting how we are to find divine guidance, and God’s abhorrence of pagan/occutlic rituals. (See also Lev.19:26; 1 Samuel 28; 2 Kings 17:17; Isaiah 2:6; 21:6; Micah 5:12; Rev.21-22 and all of the major prophets).

As Dana says in her testimony, it was easy for her to soft-peddle these verses by thinking that she was doing the right thing and God would understand; that the culture had changed drastically since then, and possibly God Himself had changed His mind. But then she realized that God does not change—He is immutable (Malachi 3:6) That God’s Truth is unchanged and unchanging caused Dana’s change of heart. May it change your heart as well; and ours too, as we all struggle with idolatry.

Specific Points:

1. It is out of love that we call our brothers and sisters to repent of beliefs and practices which God sees as spiritual adultery. Over and over in the Major Prophets, God exposes His heart regarding His holy and infinitely intense jealous hatred of paganism and occultic activities, and how much it tears at His heart. How can you read Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel and not be affected by the constant barrage of God’s intense, jealous rage over occult practices, such as you are doing?

Entire reigns of kings in the historical books were summarized as good or bad, depending on how they dealt with the occult. In one sense, Josiah was the greatest Old Testament king, and his zeal for God was manifested in how thoroughly he rid the nation of all occult practices. “”4 Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”(2 Kings 23:24-25) Notice the close connection between Josiah’s unprecedented love for God, love for His law, and his putting away mediums and necromancers.

2. We lovingly challenge paranormal investigators to see their primary identity as children of the Living God and part of His Church-the Body of Christ, and not primarily as members of the paranormal community. (Romans 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph.5; Gal. 3-4) He wants us to transform culture and not be conformed to it (Romans 12:1-2)-to be salt and light. Further, we believe that it is the paranormal community itself which is accelerating this individual and corporate disobedience due to it being a plausibility structure; shared beliefs and passions make it easier to rationalize disobedience to God’s clear commands, and to believe things which are actually implausible. Two of the attributes of scripture are its sufficiency and clarity, and your lack of perceiving the clear truth is deeply concerning to us. The more deeply you become involved, the more of a deluding darkness takes hold of the reasoning process, where things that should be clear, aren’t; a dark veil has descended, and you begin to blame God for the distressing circumstances that your actions have brought about—God’s discipline and/or demonic oppression.

Praying for protection, or for discerning spirits in Jesus’ Name, before/during an investigation will often be ineffective because God does not listen to us if we are engaged in heinous sins or cherish sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18) Why do you pray to Michael for assistance, or other angels, when neither Jesus nor the apostles ever did? Why pray to an arch-angel when God, the Holy Spirit, is infinitely stronger and present with us always? It’s one thing to pray to God for HIM to send His holy angels, but angels do not want us to pray TO them, which is a form of worship. And your requests for discernment will be blocked as well because of grieving the Holy Spirit, who gives discernment.

Does it concern you, as it does us, that so many investigators are themselves plagued with demonic activity, and are suffering in a multitude of ways? This is the deep, dark secret of the paranormal community.

3. Specifically, we call our brothers and sisters to stop all attempts to communicate with the deceased (e.g. EVP’s, Ghost box, Ovulus, etc.); to not view oneself as a medium/psychic, nor use mediums/psychics in investigations. It is disturbing to see the unabashed use of ‘Christian Mediums’, when that should be seen as an unholy oxymoron. You are utterly deceived if you believe God has gifted and called you as a medium; He has not. He does not speak out of both sides of His Mouth. He doesn’t condemn mediumship and then call one to it. It is a common error for folks to mistake their human spirit/passions for the voice of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit works in tandem with the Word. And the relativism of truth has crept into many Christians approach to the moral absolutes of the bible.

Investigators are increasingly using parapsychological categories in place of biblical categories; being conformed to the world by the allure of false science instead of being transforming agents of culture (Rom. 12:1-2) Many investigators affirm the dangers inherent in Ouija Board use, but they fail to see that there is no qualitative difference between soliciting EVP’s (or other electronic means) and a Ouija session.

Not all Ouija sessions are frivolous; some are serious and sincere attempts to communicate with the spirit realm, (just as you are doing), yet we know the horror stories associated with them. Many cases we are called to are rooted in playing with Ouija boards and the like. And those of us in deliverance ministries often have to come in after investigations have stirred up the hornet’s nest due to the use of occultic techniques.

Both Ouija and EVP’s address any spirits there to make their presence known. Both are explicit attempts to communicate with the dead, which is clearly forbidden and condemned throughout the bible. The means of communicating with the spirit realm are mushrooming, but they are equally heinous in God’s eyes. The veneer of science behind these methods must not be seen as excusing them, much less sanctioning them. It is whitewashing wickedness.

It is our experience from studying all the relevant biblical texts, that every attempt to support notions common in the paranormal community, always commit one or more exegetical/hermeneutical fallacies. Indeed, the texts appealed to usually undermine the very beliefs being defended by Christians in the paranormal community. (E.g. Mark 6)

In paranormal seminars what is often called "phenomenology'', is the tendency to identify entities in your investigations by your five senses and intuition...which is naive'. If Satan can appear as an angel of Light (2 Cor. 11:14) then it would be a snap for him/demons to appear as anything. (And we have seen some really bizarre manifestations.) In light of this biblical fact, why do Christian investigators continually attempt to identify entities based on appearance, sound of voice, smells, or some kind of intuition? Why believe the voice of a demon? If they are anything, demons are masters of deception, who were there 100 years ago and can mimic all the findings of the historical research. Thus, they have been successful countless times in misguiding investigators into thinking that they have discovered the alleged ‘deceased human’ who is causing the problems. Failure to take into account the reality of demons has led many Christians to embrace shameful beliefs and to view the phenomena/data through distorted lenses.

There are gradations of sin (and hell, Romans 2:5) and occultic sins are especially heinous in God’s eyes. (John 19:11; Lev. 4:2, 13; 5:17; Numbers 15:30; Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15; Matt. 5:19; 23:23; Deuteronomy 18—all the Major Prophets). And to engage in them is to jeopardize one’s eternal destiny. How can you continue doing what you know God hates? “He who perseveres (in obedience) to the end, will be saved.” Since it is the HOLY Spirit who gives us assurance of salvation, it is impossible to have genuine assurance of salvation when engaged in such unholy activities. Hebrews 12:14 We fear that many, who profess Christ, don’t possess Christ. “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord…” Matthew 7:21-18 ... without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Have you ever stopped to ask if your spiritual authority is being compromised as a result of your grievous sin? And we know from painful experience that investigating the paranormal causes demonic oppression, whether you realize it or not. So, when you go to help someone, you are likely bringing demons with you, which unwittingly infest them further. And without a doubt, your occultic techniques make it worse for the client by opening new demonic doors, or making old ones ‘wider.’

Many of you are hesitant to even mention demons to your clients because it might ‘scare them.’ But is that wise since the bible says that there are only two entities in the spirit realm: good and bad angels (demons/unclean spirits/elemental spirits are all synonyms)? Laura responded the same way in her first few years as a Christian, scared she'd frighten people, until she felt God urged her to tell the truth or otherwise she’d be lying to them!

Have you ever stopped to ask if your spiritual authority is being compromised as a result of your grievous sin? And we know from painful experience that investigating the paranormal causes demonic oppression, whether you realize it or not. So, when you go to help someone, you are likely bringing demons with you, which unwittingly infest them further. And without a doubt, your occultic techniques make it worse for the client by opening new demonic doors, or making old ones ‘wider.’

Many of you are hesitant to even mention demons to your clients because it might ‘scare them.’ But is that wise since the bible says that there are only two entities in the spirit realm: good and bad angels (demons/unclean spirits/elemental spirits are all synonyms)? Laura responded the same way in her first few years as a Christian, scared she'd frighten people, until she felt God urged her to tell the truth or otherwise she’d be lying to them!

The bible mentions demons and Satan. It's the truth. They'll be more scared if they die without knowing the truth or knowing Christ as Savior... Laura was grateful when a Christian told her that the spirits she spoke with were demons. As soon as she believed this, she was desperate to be free of them, scared or not!

If you don’t tell them the truth about demons, you are in a sense allowing them to continue to believe a lie; you are lying to them.

And by appealing to earthbound spirits, poltergeists, and residual energy (a book is forthcoming showing how vacuous this notion is), you are telling the client there is peace, when there is no peace. False prophets were condemned in the OT for saying that. It also destroys biblical hope.

Hence, we see no positive purpose behind paranormal investigating, as it is practiced today. The clients don’t need validation of something they already know is true; they need deliverance/conversion. If you are truly called by God, then you may consider
deliverance as a vocation. In light of 1 Cor. 10:31, we can see no redeeming value nor any hope of paranormal investigating bringing glory to God. Indeed, it dishonors God’s holy Name, when we are called to “hallow His Name”.
We affirm that all genuine paranormal activity is demonic activity, as neither holy angels nor the Holy Spirit will act mischievously, and angels are our servants. (Hebrews 1:14). And humans immediately go to heaven or hell after they die. (Heb. 9:27)The perfection of the atonement is at stake regarding the demonic notion of ‘earthbound spirits.’, and it is one of Satan’s most effective lies.
If your ultimate authority is the Roman Catholic Church, and the teachings of its well known exorcists, then we gently but firmly state that their view of justification is a false gospel (Gal. 1), and no human authority must be placed on par with God’s Word. Purgatory is a direct assault on the singular honor and dignity of the Person and Work of Christ and His finished work on the cross.

Conclusion: There is much more we had wanted to say, but from the depths of our hearts we beg of you to listen carefully to what we have said, even if it initially upsets you. In summary, even if you persist in believing in earthbound spirits, the bible clearly says to not attempt communication with the dead. Neither Jesus nor the early church communicated with earthbound spirits (Moses and Elijah weren’t earthbound), and they didn’t conduct paranormal investigations or assist deceased spirits in “crossing over”, because our thrice-holy, omnipotent God and Judge Reigns over every atom in the cosmos, especially our souls! (Eph. 1:11)

We are called to imitate Christ, and Jesus Himself is the Light—let us point them to Him. Our Savior didn’t have a ministry to the dead, and neither did the apostles. They weren't involved in paranormal investigations. So, why should you? Certainly this would have been part of the Great Commission if it were true! Focusing your time and energy on paranormal investigating and assisting souls to ‘cross over,’ is not part of the Great Commission. Thus, we feel you have been distracted from that explicit calling to all believers.

We urge you to re-focus your energies on reaching out to the lost and making disciples, while they may still be found, and helping those who are demonically oppressed, by cleansing them and their homes of unclean spirits. God is so gracious and merciful and He can use you to re-direct your focus on reaching the ‘living lost’ and delivering people from demons! If He can use us toward that end, then He can certainly use you!

When Laura Maxwell realized she was deceived some years ago, by a group of Christians who all believed in, the now popular global Christian trend, that they were receiving revelation from alleged 'holy angels,' she left that group and sought a deliverance minister. She repented and had demons cast out of her! Even after her many years in healing and deliverance ministry, she, too, had been deceived but sought help! She shared this in a radio interview on angels we did together last year. Nobody is above being deceived!

Like Laura did, please seek deliverance if it is needed, as we know many of you are oppressed.
Please send any replies to Mark Hunnemann at mhunne@aol.com. He was the primary drafter of this letter. Laura Maxwell and Dana Emanuel gave invaluable support and insights.

P.S. We intend to produce several 5-10 minute videos in the near future which reply to the frequent questions asked and can be viewed on our YouTube channels and blogs.

Love in the Lamb,
Mark A Hunnemann, M.Div. (Author, Deliverance Minister and Former Pastor), http://archive.aweber.com/paraworld

Laura Maxwell B.A. Hons. (Author, TV and Radio guest, Radio host and Former Spiritualist) https://ourspiritualquest.com/

Dana Emanuel (Author, Deliverance Minister and Former Paranormal Investigator) https://xposingtheenemy.com/

The undersigned lovingly call you to ‘put off’ your pagan/occult ways, and re-affirm that Jesus’ Lordship extends over every area of life. Seek the Lord while He may be found, and bow before Jesus as your Savior and Lord.


Signed by: Jerry Blasé, Dan Langenfeld, Lena Bonnick, Garry Keogh, Bonnie Giese, Mary Kirk, Neil Thompson, Sonya Saporito, Tracy Jackson, Larry Thompson. Donald Jones, Philip Ness-Thomas, Christopher Milner, Richard Lohman, Ariel Vega, Sandy Ragland, Christina Steel, Darren Steel, Krystal Clawson, Danny Clawson, Jr., Randy Sims, Melissa May, Sheila Jones, Jonathon Chai, Tammy Dajamette, Deborah McBride, Michael Quillen, Ashley Sidney, Rhonda Anne, Debbie Tucker, Jason Tirre, Connie Williams, Dwayne Follick, Tami Jocasta, Lynda Smith
Miller, Cheri Kharsah, Kara De Jesus, Zita Grant, Tina Storey, Ruth McGuire, David Abreu, Joshua Hopping, Billy Posey, Joe Miroddi, Dana Carrigan, Garry Combs, Rose Queener, Kelly Dello, Liese Sukeforth, Marilyn Chastain Haning, Bre Greer, Jen Wigolo, Aaron Knight, Phillip T Oliver, Billy Vanderbilt, Cynthia Hampton, Pastor Michael Sanders-Biblical Counselor, Hope Glover

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Dalai Lama Discusses the Diamond Cutter Sutra

Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the Kalachakra Maidan this morning, he was greeted as usual by thousands of smiling faces and folded hands. He returned the smiles and saluted some old friends. From the edge of the stage he waved to more distant members of the audience and they waved back, some even jumping up and down for joy. After greeting old friends among the Lamas on the stage, His Holiness took his seat on the throne. The ‘Heart Sutra’ was recited in Chinese.

“Today, I’m going to explain the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’ primarily for Chinese students as I have done once before,” His Holiness announced. “I’m also thinking of explaining the ‘Heart Sutra’. I have generally been giving teachings annually to Chinese in Dharamsala, but on this occasion we’ve been able to gather here in this sacred place. At the beginning of this series of teachings I taught a group of Indian Buddhists, recalling that Buddhism originated in India before spreading across Asia.

“The Pali tradition, with its exemplary Vinaya traditions, spread to countries like Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. The Sanskrit tradition in the way it was followed at Nalanda spread to China and from there to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Later it was carried to Tibet and on to Mongolia. China was therefore among the earlier countries to which Buddhism spread. Nowadays, wherever in the world there are Chinese, they set up a Buddhist temple, which shows how close Buddhism is to the Chinese heart—it is China’s traditional religion.

“In 1954 I visited Beijing and other parts of China where I was shown many Buddhist temples. In particular I remember a stupa in Beijing that reflected the links between Tibetan Buddhist Masters and the Chinese Emperors, which contained a statue of Vajrabhairava. Later, during the Cultural Revolution all religions were considered aspects of blind faith and efforts were made destroy them. However, it seems that it takes more than that to uproot long ingrained faith and after Deng Xiao Ping relaxed restrictions, Buddhism has revived. A university survey some years ago found evidence of 300 million Buddhists in China, which friends tell me has grown to 400 million. President Xi Jinping observed in Paris and Delhi that Buddhism has an important role in Chinese culture.”

His Holiness expressed his admiration of the fact that all the world’s major religions flourish in India. What’s more, these different religious traditions, indigenous and from abroad, theistic and non-theistic, live together in respectful harmony.

“I’m a Buddhist monk,” he said, “but I respect all religious traditions. The key thing is to be sincere and to put what you believe into practice. All these different traditions teach love, compassion and tolerance even if they hold different philosophical views. While I have immense respect for Buddhist philosophical positions, I never say that Buddhism is the best tradition. To do so would be as mistaken as saying that one particular medicine was the best for everyone in all circumstances.

“The Buddha encouraged his followers to be sceptical and to examine what they heard in the light of reason. He said,

O monks and scholars,
As gold is tested by burning, cutting and rubbing,
Examine my words thoroughly
And accept them only then—not just out of respect for me.

His Holiness discussed his childhood interest in mechanical toys and how, when he visited China in 1954, he visited factories and power plants and burned with curiosity to know how they worked. Mao Zedong observed that he had a scientific mind. In exile he thought of holding discussions with scientists. When warned that science is a killer of religion he considered the role of reason and logic in the Nalanda Tradition and decided there was no danger. In fact, the interaction led to mutual benefit and one result is that science is now part of the standard curriculum in many Tibetan monastic institutions. Scientific knowledge has extended Buddhist understanding.

“The crucial point is that we have to study. Paying homage to Amitabha and simply reciting sutras is not sufficient. I have heard that there are many temples and monasteries in China. They would do well to become centres of learning. As a result of our efforts to extend opportunities to study amongst Tibetans, we now have nuns qualified as Geshemas after almost 20 years of rigorous study. It requires a change of focus. I remember visiting Singapore in 1965 or 66 and being very moved to hear the ‘Heart Sutra’ chanted in Chinese. However, the monks who were alert when I gave empowerments and permissions dozed off when I explained more general teachings. Westerners, people who are not traditionally Buddhist, take notes when they come to teachings.”

As he took up the text of the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’, His Holiness explained how after attaining enlightenment the Buddha declared ‘Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity—I have found a nectar-like Dharma. Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand, so I shall remain silent here in the forest.’ However, when they met again, Kaundinya and his former companions requested him to teach. He explained the Four Noble Truths in terms of the four characteristics of each truth, as well as the 37 Factors of Enlightenment. These are clearly recorded in the Three Baskets of the Pali Tradition. Pali was the language of the first council at Rajgir during which the Vinaya was compiled.

Later, the Buddha gave the Perfection of Wisdom teachings on Vulture’s Peak that came to be recorded in Sanskrit. His Holiness clarified that the teachings found in the Pali tradition were those that had been given openly in public, whereas those of the Sanskrit tradition were given before a more select gathering. Where the teachings of the Pali Tradition form the very foundation of Buddhism, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings are the Buddha’s supreme instructions.

With regard to the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’, His Holiness mentioned that the former Ganden Throne-holder, Rizong Rinpoche, had given it to him, although there is no ‘explanatory transmission’. Like other works in the Kangyur and Tengyur collections its Sanskrit title ‘The Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra’ is given to show that it was not composed in Tibetan. The sutra deals with wisdom and what it cuts through is ignorance. It begins with the Venerable Subhuti asking the Buddha the following question, "World-Honoured One, if sons and daughters of good families want to give rise to the highest, most fulfilled, awakened mind, what should they rely on and what should they do to master their thinking?"

In explaining that the highest Madhyamaka view is that things can only be said to exist by way of designation, His Holiness quoted Nagarjuna’s observation that bodhisattvas aspiring to omniscience cannot be fully qualified if they continue to cling to an idea of independent objective existence. He was further prompted to remark that Nagarjuna’s key work ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ is very precious and is available in Chinese. “I read it,” he said, “and I repeat and think about verses from it every day.”

He explained that of the ‘Fundamental Wisdom’s’ 27 chapters, if you were to read chapters 26,18, 24 and 22 you would come to understand how we fall into cyclic existence, how there is no independently existent self, and how things have no objective existence, but are interdependent. He also commended his Chinese listeners to make themselves aware of the Chinese translations of Aryadeva’s ‘400 Verses’, ‘Buddhapalita’ and Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and ‘Clear Words’.

His Holiness noted that during the first turning of the wheel of dharma, the Buddha explained that there is no permanent, single, autonomous self. During the second turning, he elaborated on this and made clear that form, shape and colour, for example, have no independent existence at all—therefore the ‘Heart Sutra’ famously says, “Form is empty, emptiness is form”. Among the Two Truths, conventional truth is what is designated by worldly convention. Not only is the person a mere designation, empty of independent existence, but the psycho-physical aggregates that are the basis of designation are also empty of any independent existence.

Recalling what he had been saying earlier about his experience of the way Vinaya is observed in Thailand, His Holiness noted that a monk is to eat before midday. He brought the session to an end in expectation of continuing tomorrow. Members of the audience expressed their enthusiasm by smiling, clapping and waving as His Holiness left the stage.

original link & photo: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/the-diamond-cutter-sutra

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Dalai Lama Discusses Universal Ethics for the Modern Age

Relevance of Universal Ethics for the Modern Age at Tumkur University
December 26, 2017

Bengaluru, Karnataka, India - A misty start turned into a bright morning as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove out of Bengaluru to Tumkur University today. He was welcomed on arrival by the Vice-Chancellor and Registrar as well as the Abbot of Sera-Jey Monastic University. Resonant drummers and horn players preceded them into the Dr Sree Sree Shivakumara Maha Swamiji Auditorium. After the auspicious lighting of the lamp, invocation prayers were chanted first by a mixed group of Indian singers and then by monks from Sera-Jey. His Holiness, the Vice Chancellor, Registrar and Abbot were formally made welcome.

In his introduction Vice Chancellor Prof Jayasheela remarked that everyone present was looking forward to hearing what His Holiness had to say. He reviewed the partnership that Tumkur has with Sera-Jey and mentioned projects they are co-operating on, including student exchanges and the translation of several of His Holiness’s books into Kannada.

Sera-Jey Abbot Tenzin Choesang Rinpoche read a report outlining his Monastery’s relations with Tumkur University. The memoir of understanding between the two institutions first signed in 2012 was renewed this year. He listed the conferences and workshops that they have held together during the initial period of their agreement.

His Holiness was requested to release five books produced and published by Sera Jey Monastery. They included an account of Buddhist Tenets translated from Tibetan into English and produced as a bi-lingual edition; a record of the history and culture of the Mahayana translated from English into Tibetan; a magazine containing essays and papers translated from English into Tibetan; the Seventy Topics related to ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ in Chinese and Notes on Avalokiteshvara translated into Chinese.

His Holiness began his talk by saluting the audience as his respected brothers and sisters, young and old.

“Indeed, I’m very happy to be here once more. I’m now more than 82 years old and during my time I’ve learned many things and noticed many others. Some say the ‘Big Bang’ took place 12 billion years ago, others assert it was 25 billion years ago. Whichever it was, our sun is said to have appeared about 5 billion years ago, after which life appeared in our solar system and in due course human beings evolved.

“Human beings developed language. Our brains are something quite special, they give us the ability to change and develop in ways that other mammals are unable to do. However, this power also involves a capacity for wanton destruction. We may think of powerful predatory animals like lions and tigers as aggressive and violent, but I was once surprised to learn how peaceful they can be. If they are well fed, they have no drive to hunt and kill.

“Human beings, on the other hand, are intelligent, but if their intelligence is controlled by disturbing emotions, they have the potential make a great deal of trouble. Does this mean that human nature is good or bad? Scientists say the evidence is that human nature is essentially compassionate. Experience shows that by using our intelligence we can nurture this seed and extend it to become infinite compassion.

“We can also use our intelligence to distinguish which of our emotions are disturbing and which are constructive. Scientists have observed that constant fear and anger, for example, have the effect of undermining our immune system, whereas having a warm heart and peace of mind are good for our physical health. This is why we need to adopt a code of emotional hygiene.

“Emotions are part of our mind. Anger may have some defensive function, but if it becomes extreme and out of control, it disturbs our own peace of mind and upsets the atmosphere wherever we are.”

His Holiness explained that religious traditions have customarily carried a message of tolerance and forgiveness, but today the education system is more influential. Unfortunately, although modern education is highly developed in terms of the knowledge it conveys, it fails to produce a healthy, happy society because of its lack of attention to inner values and peace of mind. There is a need for it to become more holistic and impart universal values.

His Holiness observed that suffering is rife in different parts of the world with innocent people being killed and children dying of starvation. He lamented that if things go on in this way, the 21st century will be no different from the violent century that preceded it. He noted no slackening in the manufacture and acquisition of powerful weapons, whose only use is violent.

“We are now more interdependent than ever before. We also face common challenges like the threat of climate change. We have to take others’ interests into account. In this country, the world’s most populous democracy, there are a multitude of different languages and cultures in different places and yet they all belong to the union that is India. I have great admiration for the spirit of the European Union. After the Second World War historic adversaries decided to put their common interest ahead of narrower local concerns.

“Our education system should take an unbiased secular attitude and include instructions about the advantages of love and warm-heartedness. In India there is a longstanding tradition of ahimsa, non-violence, which is rooted in karuna or compassionate thought. However, in today’s India there is a strong inclination to look to the West, which is oriented towards a materialistic outlook. There is an urgent need to combine modern education with the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions and the use of logic. Only India has the potential to be able to do this. This is a project that Tumkur University and Sera-Jey Monastic University could profitably explore together.

“We Tibetans consider ourselves chelas or disciples of Indian gurus. What we know we learned from you. However, over time some of this has become neglected in India and now the chelas are better informed about certain aspects of ancient Indian knowledge. I regularly appeal to young Indians to pay more attention to their ancient heritage of psychology and philosophy, because peace in the world has to start with peace of mind. This is an area in which India can lead by example.”

Many of the young students had questions for His Holiness. One wanted to know about the status of Buddhism in China and he told her that historically China has been a Buddhist country. He observed that wherever Chinese have settled in the world they set up ‘China Town’, where there is almost always a Buddhist temple. He added that, familiar with the works of Nagarjuna, the Chinese also follow the Nalanda Tradition. During the Cultural Revolution there was widespread destruction in relation to all religion, but there has since been a recovery. President Xi Jinping has stated publicly that Buddhism occupies an important place in Chinese culture. Research suggests there are now more than 300 million Buddhists in China, many of them well-educated people.

Another young student asked about wisdom and His Holiness told her it concerned the ability to understand reality. It involves knowledge at a deeper rather than a superficial level based on the observation that appearances do not reflect reality.

When a member of the audience asked about the purpose of life, His Holiness replied that it is to be happy and joyful. Another wanted to know if he feared death and His Holiness told him that death is a part of life. As a Buddhist he thinks in terms of there being life after life, and the importance therefore of leading a meaningful life, which is the context for his favourite prayer:

And now as long as space endures,
As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue likewise to remain
To drive away the sorrows of the world.

The Tumkur Registrar concluded the meeting by expressing gratitude to His Holiness for coming and speaking at the University once more.

Lunch was provided in the Guest House that commemorates Madan Mohan Malviya the freedom fighter, contemporary and companion to Gandhi and founder of the Banaras Hindu University. Following that, His Holiness returned to Bengaluru. Tomorrow morning he will travel to Delhi.

Original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2017/relevance-of-universal-ethics-for-the-modern-age-at-tumkur-university

Saturday, January 20, 2018

End Of Times: Vision of the World's End

Revelations can be a very intimidating book out of all 66 in the bible. Is very difficult to understand...all we can do is pray to God and ask him to reveal to us what he would like us to know.

Now let's discuss the book of Revelations and the end times in general.

This is a summary in the best format I can offer. Or rather bits and pieces so it's not so overwhelming or puts the brain on overload. From my point of view. I am certainly not stating this is it, no o other views are correct. This is just my humble opinion. The name of the book, Revelation, is a translation of the title in the original New Testament Greek, Apocalypsis the origin of the other name by which the book is now known, the Apocalypse. The Greek term denotes an unveiling or uncovering—thus, a revelation. A very interesting title with very interesting events to come as we are warned.

Many ask why was this book written? Well, as I mentioned above, the book's very name means to reveal —to unveil, to open to understanding what otherwise could not be comprehended. Yet most people believe that this final book of the Bible cannot be understood at all, that its language and symbols are too confusing to make sense. I can understand why. It's very intimidating.

The author of the Book of Revelation is John, who is an exile living on the island of Patmos. Many of the early church fathers believe that he was the same person as the apostle John. However, some believe the writing style of Revelation suggests that the two are not in fact the same, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, although it is possible that the author of Revelation was an apostle of John.

The Book of Revelation's apocalyptic and symbolic language has resulted in a vast array of interpretations. The events depicted are often considered to be an illustration of the early Christian persecutions, but the symbolism is also interpreted quite literally, suggesting that the Book is really about the end of the world, and that the events it describes will occur. Some Christians do not accept the Book of Revelation as canonical, and the decision to accept it in the final list of canonical books was highly controversial, according to the article "Meander Travel: Book of Revelation."

The Vision Of The World's End

Revelation is a book written to reveal the future, and Jesus Christ is the One who does the revealing: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place … Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because. of Him” (Revelation 1:1,7).
Here is the theme of Revelation—the time of the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.

John explains where he was when he received this vision of the end time: “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet” (Revelation 1:9-10).

The Lord’s day (also known as “the day of the Lord” or “the day of Christ” throughout Scripture) is the time of God’s intervention in human affairs when He establishes His Kingdom. (Plainly in this context it does not refer to a particular day of the week for worshipping God. To better understand which day God has set aside for rest and worship, please download or request our free booklet Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest. )
The apostle Paul, referring to this same time, says: “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).

In another epistle Paul calls it “the day of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:2). The reason is that Jesus Christ, the Lord, intervenes in a powerful way at this time to take over the world. This is why this end-time period is called the Lord’s day.

John’s vision of the Lord’s day begins in Revelation 4: “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne” (verse 2). After describing the scene in heaven, John focuses on a scroll God holds that lists end-time events. “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1).

Only Jesus Christ, called the Lamb, is worthy to open the seals and unleash these end-time events. When God the Father determines the time is ready, He authorizes Jesus to initiate the events written on the scroll. They include the terrifying end-time occurrences prophesied throughout the Scriptures to take place during the 3 1⁄2 year period.
The seven seals describe the events before and during Christ’s return to rule the earth. “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels …saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Revelation 5:11-12). Here Jesus Christ is being authorized to unleash the final events and then establish His Kingdom.

The first seal (Revelation 6:1-2) represents widespread deception by a false Christianity that began in the days of the apostles (Matthew 24:4 – 5). The second seal (Revelation 6:3-4) refers to the increasing devastation caused by war as the end approaches (Matthew 24:6-7). The third seal (Revelation 6:5-6) represents increasing hunger and famines (Matthew 24:7). Other consequences of war and famine are represented by the fourth seal (Revelation 6:7-8)—such things as disease, plagues and civil unrest that kill many people (Matthew 24:7).

All of the events in the first four seals have been occurring, with varying frequency and intensity, from Christ’s time to our day. But they have greatly intensified over the last century and will grow even worse in the suffering mankind will have to endure nearer the end.

The fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-11) brings us directly to the time of the end. It acknowledges the past persecution and martyrdom of God’s servants and announces they will have to wait “a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed,” before God avenges their deaths.

In The book of Matthew 24:9 Jesus tells His followers this will be a time when “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” He also describes it as a time of “great tribulation

THE SIXTH SEAL

The next seal describes how “powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29) after the end-time tribulation and martyrdom of the saints has begun but before God’s wrath is unleashed in “the day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). These heavenly signs announce the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
Terrifying heavenly signs announce Jesus Christ’s direct intervention in world events to save mankind from itself. This shows that, while God has permitted the previous end-time disasters, Satan has been their driving force. Now God begins to demolish Satan’s kingdom, pouring out His wrath on a rebellious and insolent world.

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:12-17).

Jesus described this sixth sign in His Olivet Prophecy: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [rescue] draws near” (Luke 21:25-28).

Consequently, in the latter part of the 3 1⁄2 years of Satan’s wrath, God will intervene, first with signs and wonders in the heavens, then by orchestrating His final punishments before Jesus Christ’s return.

Finally the seventh seal is opened (Revelation 8). It describes seven other aspects of end-time events, each announced with a trumpet blast. In the first four of these plagues God strikes the earth and mankind’s environmental support systems. The fifth trumpet’s plague inflicts great pain on those refusing to serve God. In the sixth trumpet plague, God permits an unimaginably destructive and all-out worldwide war to begin (Revelation 8-9).

With the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the Bible reveals that “the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7).

This mystery of the end time was briefly alluded to in the Garden of Eden and its meaning glimpsed by the patriarchs and prophets. John writes: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15).

God is in control. Every prophetic detail will be carried out according to His time frame.

As Christ concluded His Olivet Prophecy in Luke 21:34-36, He warned His disciples who would live during the end time: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Please keep in mind you know how this ends. Jesus Christ prevails and satan loses so we should feel a lot of peace and cling to the Father and His Word. It is truth. Satan's time is limited and he knows this. Like I said in my last blog fear is not of God just keep rebuking Satan and his entire Kingdom. They have absolutely no authority over your mind, body, soul and spirit and repeat that daily with authority. Only Jesus Christ resides in you and what you stand for. Just keep Jesus number one in your life and you will be okay my friends. God bless.

Written By Jennifer L Auld

Amazon SearchBox