A Bit of Controversy?

Some of you may have heard the story a few days ago of Engineers dowsing for water using L or Y-shaped divining rods. Their use came to light when a couple called out engineers from the Severn Trent water company to their home in the Midlands.
They were so astonished to see a technician use dowsing rods to locate the mains pipe that they contacted their daughter Sally Le Page, an Oxford University scientist. She contacted Severn Trent, who confirmed their technicians still use the method.

Now many of you who have attended some of our recent Meditation Retreat Days will have had a go at divining. I have been interested in the subject for a number of years and introduced a “sampling session” to the retreat days as a demonstration that we can be mindful and aware of very subtle influences in our environment. I give brief instructions as to how to correctly hold the rods (we use 30 inch braising rods with 6 inches bent at a right angle to form the handle) and how to walk slowly and attentively.

The would be diviner is then given a direction to walk and started on their way, no additional instructions, no clues and no prompts just advice on grip and walking speed. Everyone gets some sort of reaction and at the same points.

I first came across dowsing when a colleague brought a pair of rods into work. I hadn’t a clue as to what they were so asked. He sheepishly replied that he had to put up some shelves and wanted to know if there was any wiring in the wall where he had to drill.

As I was looking very strangely at him he gave them to me, showed me how to hold them and told me to just walk across the office. I took about five steps and the rods swung violently across each other almost pointing directly back at me. In total bemusement I asked, “what the hell happened there”. He told me to look at my feet, it was a modern office block and all the cabling was routed through underfloor trunking – I was standing directly on top of a section.

I asked my friend how he discovered dowsing and his story was almost identical to that of Ms Le Page’s parents. Two chaps from the Gas Board turned up after he had reported a drop in the gas pressure to his property, they said that they had a problem with their gas detector so they were going to use divining rods as they always used to in the past but begged my friend not to mention it to “management”. The rods were used, a single hole was dug and the leak fixed.

Now I’m not going to make any claims for dowsing other than to say, that in my experience, the vast majority of people that try dowsing succeed in detecting something. This may be because we detect subtle clues from our environment but that is my point, we can be mindful of those usually ignored parts of our field of awareness.

Just out of interest if you Google Ms Le Page, unlike most such searches the hits keep on going, I got to page 15 before Google started to go off piste and started referencing other le pages, you will also get acres of pictures on an image search.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that General Electric has launched a “creator-in-residence” program, tapping 22-year-old British biologist and Oxford PhD candidate Sally Le Page as its first face. Le Page, who first gained a YouTube following with her self-produced videos, made a video a week for GE throughout June 2015, tackling subjects like the science behind movie magic and the relationship between humans and machines. One of Le Page’s most popular GE videos focused on Chappie, a science fiction film. The video, which kicks off with Le Page asking, “When am I going to have a robot best friend?” includes an interview with the project leader of GE’s robotics program and a visit to the company’s Global Research Centre.

Could Ms Le page’s parents’ much publicised outrage be anything to do with actually publicising their already much promoted daughter and was her response part of her continued quest for ever higher celebrity status re her considerable social media presence?

 

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Myanmar and the Rohingyas

On yesterday’s edition of BBC radio 4’s program Today Vishvapani (a member of the Triratna Buddhist group) offered his thoughts on the situation in Myanmar and the plight of the Rohingyas……….



“When I hear about the horrific repression that’s being inflicted on the Muslim Rohingyas, I share many of the outraged feelings that others are expressing. But I feel something extra as well: shame that these things are being done by my fellow Buddhists for the sake of a Buddhist state and with the support of many Buddhist monks.

How did we get here? I don’t want to over-simplify the situation in Rohingya, or generalise the responses of all Burmese Buddhists; but the question remains. The Buddha said that ‘hatred is never overcome by hatred, but only by love’; so how has the faith he founded become associated with such brutality?”

Listen to the full talk here…………….

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A Buddhist Father Christmas

The Listening Project is a BBC Radio 4 initiative that offers a snapshot of contemporary Britain in which people across the UK volunteer to have a conversation with someone close to them about a subject they’ve never discussed intimately before.

Just before Christmas Fi Glover introduced a conversation between a Buddhist Father Christmas and a Baptist chaplain about how they spend Christmas morning in the hospice. Another in the series that proves it’s surprising what you hear when you listen.

Note – Latest Vishvapani Talks Now Available

The latest “Thought for the Day” talks by Vishvapani are now available in our Audio Section.

Education

The Buddhist ethical precepts telling people to avoid killing, lying and so on, are described as ‘training principles’ that invite us to adopt the underlying attitude the rule expresses……………………………..

Shakespeare and the Buddha

“For me, Shakespeare is more than a poet or a playwright. Of course, he isn’t a teacher as the Buddha is. But I see them both, in different ways, as heroes of consciousness who offer new ways of seeing and open up new ways of being”.

Note – Latest Vishvapani Talk Now Available

The latest “Thought for the Day” talk by Vishvapani on “Our Assumptions and Biases” is now available in our
Audio Section.

…….. Looking at these seemingly intractable issues as a Buddhist, I reflect, firstly on the importance of self-scrutiny. Buddhism stresses that we tend to see the world in a way that confirms our assumptions and biases. What’s more, belief systems and ideologies can objectify and justify those assumptions, presenting them as the objective truth and creating fixed, dogmatic views of ourselves and the world. 

That’s why Buddhism stresses holding our views lightly and listening, openly and with compassion, to those we might otherwise dismiss. But it also warns that the past can be a trap. We can’t change history, and dwelling on grievances can in fact reinforce them.

It’s the End of the World – AGAIN!!

American radical anti-gay activist Scott Lively is warning that if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favour of marriage equality, it could literally bring about the end of the world and the rise of the Antichrist in just a week’s time!
As Lively sees it, if gay marriage becomes legal we can all “expect some sort of severe judgement to fall on America in conjunction with this process” but the “coming calamity will almost certainly be a part of some larger act of God’s punishment on the entire world, most likely the Great Tribulation prophesied by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse,” signalling the “End Times”.

He warns that gay marriage will unleash the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which will take the form “gay theology,” war, famine, and a “massive harvest of the grim reaper” of the souls of all who have died in the chaos. That, in turn, will give rise to the Antichrist by late September, which will result in full-scale persecution of Christians and the end of the world:

According to the bible’s book of revelation after weeks or months of global chaos, when the nations are sufficiently broken and the peoples of the world desperate for a return to order, a hero will step upon the world stage to end the crisis. In the human context he will secretly represent the globalist elites who have planned and prepared for this opportunity to impose a new world order: a new global government with a new economic system.
In the spiritual context he will be enacting a Satanic plot to usurp the role and identity of the Messiah and gain the adulation of the world.

Wielding great military power this self-aggrandising human Saviour will force an end to war and impose a secular humanist paradigm and religious pluralism as a remedy to the various forms of “discrimination” which he will blame for the world crisis. Everyone will be given the choice (at first) to join the new order and gain immediate integration into its cradle-to-grave socialistic bounty. “Just sign this oath to reject and renounce all divisive and discriminatory beliefs and “supremacist” theologies,” he would say, “and take this mark of membership on your hand to receive free food, housing and medicine and all other benefits under our enlightened new order of tolerance and inclusiveness.” (Could this be someone we know?)

Now according to Scott Lively, the date on or around which this false messiah would emerge is,  Yom Kippur, September 23, 2015, the first day of the Jubilee — the day/year of liberation.

“Just as Christ began His earthy ministry by declaring the Jubilee in Luke 4:17-21, the false messiah would do the same, but in modern terms: “I hereby declare a global Jubilee of all debts, both public and private,” he would proclaim, “We are wiping the slate clean to start over on a foundation of social justice and cooperation.” He would not yet be exposed to the world as the Antichrist, but the Biblically literate would recognise him.


The fifth stage of the end-time chronology is persecution of the believers (Matthew 24:9), who, in this scenario, would be characterised as “black marketers” who refuse to support the new economic system and are thus blamed for its many inadequacies and hated by its adherents. Even as the rest of the world lauds its “saviour” and embraces his government, the Christian believers (and Torah-faithful Jews) would be increasingly reviled and hunted.
Under the Antichrist kingdom, Jerusalem (the centre of the universe for prophecy study) is described in Revelation 11:8 as “mystically called Sodom and Egypt,” implying in part that both homosexuality and pantheism (religious pluralism) define its culture.



I don’t think there is any question, Biblically, that the cultural celebration of “gay marriage” portends judgement from God. The only real question in my mind is whether it truly signals the imminent “beginning of sorrows” or is just another step in the path leading to God’s wrath at a later time. God is long-suffering, even to the most wicked of societies and He does not act until their iniquity is “full” (Genesis 15:16). 

If we are on the verge of “birth pangs” we will likely know it by Passover, but in either case we should brace for serious judgement on the United States in the form of natural and/or man-made disaster if the Supreme Court established sodomy as a basis for marriage under our constitution”.