Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Divine Silliness of the Book of Mormon

"The Only True Church"

Hopefully you won't be able to tell if I am praising Mormonism or defaming it, speaking Good of Joseph Smith or speaking Evil of him. Hopefully you won't be able to tell if I am praising all religion or defaming all religion. Hopefully your mind will be blown beyond thought.

A few weeks ago some Mormon missionaries came to talk to me. Of course we talked about the Book of Mormon. I also spoke of the truth in all religions. So far we all agreed. Eventually they said that, despite truth in other religions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Only True Church. This is when I shooed ‘em away.

The late Joseph Campbell pointed out the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City as a prime example of how the place of worship used to be the central and highest point in most any town or city in the world. But in modern times, he points out that the financial institution has become the center of devotion, dwarfing the temple. MK Gandhi observed that you see no greater reverence & devotion than on the faces of people in banks.

People like to joke about the Brigham Young statue turning his back to the LDS Temple, outstretching his hand to the Zions Bank building. Yes, it was Brigham Young who founded Zion’s First National Bank in 1873.

Somebody else (I forget who) pointed out that banks are looking more and more like churches and churches are looking more and more like banks

[Zion's Bank, left; Evangelical Mega-Church, right; Tokyo Buddhist Temple, below].

Joseph Smith's Question
In the early 1800s in New England, an adolescent name Joseph Smith questioned why there were so many religions, each calling itself The Only True Church. So he asked God for wisdom. Eventually he saw visions telling him none of these churches were right. Then came the Book of Mormon. It caused a big stir. Mormonism was born. Later Mormonism split into sects, each calling itself The Only True Church. The largest sect of Mormonism is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the brand we get here in Utah. Now we have another Only True Church added to the pot, playing with more adolescent heads.

Organized religion is Ego. Collective Ego! Droves of Collective Egos the world over each call themselves The Only True Church. I grew up in a Collective Ego called Evangelical Christianity, again calling itself the Only True Church. The Only True Church I belonged to literally called the Mormon Church “the Synagogue of Satan.” The Only True Church hates the thousands of other Only True Churches.

People tell me that Buddhism is not bigoted like Christianity. It definitely has very little bigotry compared to Christianity. However, about 7 years ago I spent time in a Theravada Buddhist Monastery in northern Thailand. Here I heard a sermon by a prominent monk. He said the Way was taught by the Buddha and only the Buddha. This Way, he said, was passed down in direct lineage from the Buddha to monks like he himself. And only this Way could bring us salvation (Nirvana) and that all other religions missed the mark. I had flashbacks to being in a Christian church.

Then there is the ongoing war in Sri Lanka, where the right-wing Buddhist majority, with the wealth and political power, has been persecuting the Hindu minority for centuries.

And when I visited near Dharamsala, India and taught English to a Buddhist monk, he assured me that the Theravada Buddhist Way in Thailand, unlike Tibetan Buddhism, missed the mark. However, I did attend talks by the Dalai Lama near Dharamsala, in which he advised most us Westerners to stop grasping for truth in other religions, like Tibetan Buddhism, and find the truth in our own. This was the first religious leader I'd ever heard try to encourage folks to grow where they are planted.

Again, I spent time hanging out with Hari Krishna Devotees. Like the Mormons, they at first made themselves seem open-minded, saying that all religions teach truth. But their agenda
eventually came out. They told me the Hari Krishna movement is the Only Pure Faith, that the Hindu scriptures, especially the Bhagavad Gita, are the only purely God-inspired scriptures. Prabhupad also says this in his comments in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

The Ego is a clever Snake, eh? Clever, but ridiculously not self-aware.

The Snake Called Ego

Ah, the Grand Practical Joke! Each Collective Ego, Each Religion, ironically states that Ego (Pride) is the source of all evil. “Ego comes before fall,” the Bible says. Each Organized Religion in the world indicts itself. Ego’s manifestation is materialism, greed, love of money, attachment to Credit and Debt – all called idolatry. Could it be more obvious?

The Snake chomps its own tail - perpetually!

An ancient, common myth you've probably heard in some form is that of a Serpent who guards a treasure, coiling around it. This Dragon himself cannot enjoy the treasure, and he won’t let anybody else near it. Then some Hero, like Siegfried, Saint George, Heracles, or Baal slays this Dragon and everyone rejoices. Jesus alludes to this idea, talking to the Religious leaders of his
own religion, the Scribes and Pharisees (whom he happens to call snakes):

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against people; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)

Jesus said, "Woe to the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor lets the cattle eat." (Gospel of Thomas 102. Here Jesus quotes Aesop’s Fable of the dog in the manger).

And It Came To Pass

Anyway, back to Mormonism. I once had a Jack-Mormon boyfriend who told me a great secret: "Joseph Smith was a Trickster." This intrigued me.

Over the years I tried many times to read the Book of Mormon. But I couldn't help but see it as the silliest book I’d ever read. I couldn't get past the first few chapters. And I couldn't get past my view of the LDS Church as one big Financial Corporation posing as a religion. But I live amidst Mormon culture, and millions of devoted people feel deeply about the Book of Mormon. Just out of simple Golden-Rule respect, I must see through their eyes.

So just a year ago I picked up the Book of Mormon again. This time I resolved to take on the Zen mind, the mind of no judgement, the mind of the infant. Forget about everything I’d heard about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or the LDS Church! Read it with a soft heart, an open mind.

Lo & Behold, I heard the Eternal Laughter of the Universe burst forth!
The silliness of The Book of Mormon is its Divine Genius! The silliness is its Gargoyles, its Nagas, guarding the Temple, the Cherubim guarding the Tree of Life: only the ego-less mind can enter! The silliness is the Serpent coiled around the treasure, the blind Church of Greed sitting in the manger – you know, the one that calls itself The Only True Church!

A big point of ridicule of The Book of Mormon is that folks feel it is poorly written, in Old English, and it repeats whole tracts of scripture, usually word-for-word, from the King James Bible. It especially repeats the phrase “it came to pass” to the point of absurdity. “It came to pass” is the laughingstock of the Book of Mormon. It keeps respected scholars away.

Just a few weeks ago I found a new translation of the Book of Mormon into plain English, Modern Revelation, translated by Thomas Johnson, a non-Mormon pragmatist, actually published here in Moab. He simplified its verbose-ness and deleted “it came to pass”, condensing it to a very small book. Mormons don’t approve of it. Strange, but in my deepest core I agreed with them: I felt its strange mystery had been stripped away.

Then one day I got an epiphany:

“And it came to pass”

Could it be that “It came to pass” is the very theme, the Holy Mantra, of the Book of Mormon?

I followed my hunch. I picked up the Book of Mormon again, focusing on this most common phrase. By “chance” I stumbled upon the clue in 1 Nephi 20:3, which quotes Isaiah 48:3. After pages of “and it came to pass” ad-nauseam, why, all the sudden, would Nephi delete “and they came to pass” from Isaiah 48:3? Look:

I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. (Isaiah 48:3)

Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did show them suddenly. (1 Nephi 20:3)

The mystery deepens. Every sub-book in the Book of Mormon is saturated with “it came to pass” – but then it is mysteriously absent in the last sub-book, Moroni! Not a single instance of “it came to pass” in Moroni! Why? The mysterious answer is there, if you look.

The words of Zen Poet Ryokan came to mind:

If there is beauty, there must be ugliness;
If there is right, there must be wrong.
Wisdom and arrogance are complementary,
And illusion and enlightenment cannot be separated.
This is an old truth, don’t think that it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret:
All things are impermanent!

Then, the words of Zen Master Eihei Dogen:

Lack of firm aspiration is caused by being unaware of impermanence. Ultimately speaking, we die moment by moment, not residing even a little while. (From Shoboghenzo Zuimonki)

I die daily” (Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:31)

"If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Why does the universe exist?
It came
to pass.

Heaven and Earth shall pass away,

With our possessions, our possessiveness, we fool ourselves into thinking that it came to stay, that we came to stay. We trick ourselves into believing our petty edifice is the Only True Church Eternal -
but it came
to pass.

We came
to pass.

One is the way that leads to Possessions,
the other the Way that leads to Nirvana.
One is the way that leads to illusion of permanence
the other the Way that leads to Reality.

"There Are Only Two Churches"
Yes, young Joseph Smith’s questions: Why are there so many religions? Which religion is right? Here we have the clue:

But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:31)
Only illusion perishes.
Only illusion comes to pass.

Yes, the Book of Mormon states what the Christ and the Buddha state:

One way leads to wealth. The other way leads to Nirvana.” (Gautama Buddha, Dhammapada v. 75)

No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:24)

Yes, we have the answer to Joseph Smith’s question about which is The Only True Church:

Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. (1 Nephi 14:10)

This is a direct reference to the Whore of Babylon in the 17th and 18th chapters of Revelation in the Bible: the Whore who is the Religion of Commerce. The Book of Mormon states that the Whore Church is dominant, huge, & universal, not limited to any single culture or denomination. And we see that the One True Church is small, yet also universal, not limited to any single culture or denomination. If the Book of Mormon is true, the huge, wealthy, and powerful LDS institution simply cannot be the One True Church that it says it is!

If you look up the words whore and whoredoms throughout the book of Mormon, you see that whore always refers to greed mentality. Throughout the Bible, too, greed is spiritual adultery, called whoredom. Yes, Joseph Smith’s question is answered in the Book of Mormon. One is the Church of Greed and the other is the The One True Church. The church that loves to call itself the One True Church cannot be the One True Church:

For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord . . . . They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone stray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell! . . . . But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. (2 Nephi 28:3-18)

This Whore Church is characterized by greed, by deleting the teachings of its own Jesus from its doctrines:

the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots… (1Nephi 13:34)

Aren't the basic teachings of Jesus (summarized in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6, 7) missing from "Christian" churches? Here's the challenge: ask yourself if you have ever witnessed any Evangelical leader or Mormon president or Apostle even go near Jesus' basic teachings with a ten-foot pole, much less actually follow them! Wouldn't hell freeze over before you ever saw Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham preach the basic teachings of Jesus? The Bible itself calls the baskic teachings of Jesus the Gospel, and these imposters claim to be ministers of the Gospel.

Anywone who dares follow the teachings of Jesus cannot help but see that they are the teachings of the Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Muhammad. The Quran itself states that if Christians and Jews simply followed their own religion, they would also be following Islam. Islam means "Surrender" (Quran 5:69).

Notice how those who harp the loudest that Jesus is the only way don't even begin to follow his teachings. Blind eyes cannot see that the One Way is Omnipresent, Universal.

You Can't Get Around It:
The Book of Mormon and the Bible Are Incompatible With Capitalism

Because the LDS Church is The Bastion of Capitalism, it blew me away when I read passages like this:

And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift . . . . There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. . . . And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ. And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ. And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel (4 Nephi 1:3-27)

The above passage is a direct reference to these two verses in the New Testament, ingeniously showing them as One Single Concept:

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. (Acts 4:32)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

Yes, Nephi speaks the Profound Message:
there can be no unity, no one-ness, with possession. With possessiveness comes duality and divisions, the separation of male and female, the birth of “isms” and “ites”.

But it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions; For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up (3 Nephi 6:10-14)

Notice how eerily similar the the above words are to the words of the Lakota Sage Lame Deer:

“Before our white brothers came to civilise us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilised to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorney or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We were in a really bad way before the white man came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without the basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilised society." (Lame Deer, from John Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions)

A Religion's Very Own Scriptures Are Its Worse Indictment Against Itself

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? (Mormon 8:37-40)

The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, like the Quran, promises that wealth and blessings come to the spiritual seeker. Seek first the Buddha Way, Zen Master Dogen says, and all that you need comes to you. Seek first the Kingdom of God, Jesus says, and all you need shall be added to you. "Yippee" say the John Osteens, Gordon B. Hinkleys, Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells, and George Bushes as they build their own coffins. Religion, which denounces greed, is twisted to justify greed.
Only when we possess nothing are we rich, their own sages teach. Only the non-possessive can enjoy things. Only those who let go can know love.

A bizarre mystery of the Book of Mormon is that it contains a perfect prophetic description of the LDS church in the first three chapters of Jacob, as well as the 6th chapter of Helaman. Again, it speaks of the church blessed with wealth, leading to its own corruption. They even begin practicing polygamy, which the Book of Mormon strongly denounces. In Helaman 6, and throughout the Book of Mormon, it speaks of the wealthy, corrupt church practicing secret society stuff. No other church in the world fits this description so precisely as the LDS church itself. The strange mystery is that all these practices began in Joseph Smith’s lifetime, promoted by Joseph Smith himself! It’s as if the Spirit of both Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot both are rolled into one, battling each other in the enigmatic person of Joseph Smith, the Trickster, the Stealer of Fire. There's another enigmatic clue in the Book of Mormon. The word “Smith” is found once in the Book of Mormon:

3 Ne. 22: 16 “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” (quoting Isaiah 54:16)

In the prologue of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith states in his testimony:

…that my name should be had for good and evil among nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

Simple observation shows that it is the Organized Religion (whether called Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Mormon, Evangelical, Muslim, whatever) that promotes greed, war, hypocrisy, genocide, bigotry, environmental destruction, extortion, nationalism.

Yes, there are only two religions in the world: One is the Church of Reality, the other the Church of Illusion, servant of Mammon. The Church of Illusion is so good at illusion it can disguise itself as thousands of religions, each calling itself The Only True Church. Each seems in conflict with the next; but don't be fooled - they all work together pefectly as one single destroying machine.

Friday, January 12, 2007


My big report for the day: I just scratched an itchy on my cheek.
Does a hand require anything in return from the cheek for scratching an itchy on the cheek? Doesn’t the hand love the cheek as its own self? For in loving the cheek the hand loves the whole Body, and in loving the whole Body the hand loves itself. There can be no other kind of love.
The whole body gives its attention to the tiniest of pinpricks. Leave the 99 to tend to the 1.

Blind humanity, why can’t you see that the Whole Universe is One Body? Blind humanity, how can you be so stingy, so un-sharing, so un-grateful? Blind humanity, why are we hurting our selves, our self, our Universe?

It all boils down to just this:



All Credit to the Whole.

Giving all Credit to Jah means giving all Debt to Jah.

Every particle in the universe sings Hallelu-Jah, All-Credit-To-Jah, as says the 148th Psalm of the Tanach.
[Added Jan 27, 2007: "Do you not see that Allah is He Whom do glorify all those who are in the heavens and the earth, and the (very) birds with expanded wings? He knows the prayer of each one and its glorification, and Allah is Cognizant of what they do.[24.42] And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and to Allah is the eventual coming" (Quran 24.41-42).
It is only the stingy, only the possessive, only we humans, who do not know the Universal Hallelu-Jah, who cannot harmonize with the rest of creation! It is only we who take Credit for ourselves, only we who are lost in Debt, possessing and possessed by nothing but our own minds. It is only we who do not know Gratitude, Grace, Gratis, Charisma, the Universal Hallelu-Jah!
Trickster Steals Fire

Myths all over the world tell the one mysterious story of what separates us from the balance of nature. Some Trickster, some Fire Seraph, steals Fire from heaven {Navajo Coyote, above left; Norse Loki, above right; Greek Promethius, below left; Hebrew Seraph (Fire Serpent), below right}. Humans have taken possession of Fire - control of Energy, control of Cause-&-Effect. Thus we are proud, we are ego. Fire, Sword, & Conflict have been caste upon our world. Yes, somebody has presented us with the Fruit of the Thought of Credit-&-Debt. Don't distress, it's part of the "plan". But “Vengeance is Mine, I will Repay,” says the Whole.
Ah, Greek myth: Promethius, whose name means Fore-thought, steals Fire from heaven. And Promethius comes with his twin brother, Epimethius, whose name means After-thought. Fore-thought and After-thought, Thought of Credit & Debt, can never dwell in the Present, in Reality, in the Whole. Our word “promise” (“prometer” in Spanish) comes from the same root. We are bound by promises, vows, debt, meaning we have rendered ourselves unable to Rest in the Eternal Present, unable to enter the Sabbath, the Center of the Menorah from which all time branches.

Renounce all Credit for yourself, say the Upanishads, says the Tao Te Ching, says the Bible, says the Quran, says the Dhammapada. Thus let the Present dissolve all Debt.

Hallelu-Jah is the entire Gospel, spoken by every particle of the Universe, every part of the Whole. Everything lives, everything sings, Hallelu-Jah, All-Credit-To-The-Whole. Hallelu-Jah is the return of Fire, the return of Payback, the return of Vengeance, back to Heaven, casting our crowns back to the Throne of the Whole, the Real, the Royal. All opposites of Credit and Debt, Reward and Punishment, like the arms of the Cross, dissolve as One at the Center of the Cross. Every particle bows to the Whole, and we must bow, too, whether voluntarily (gratis) or involuntarily (possession).

Humans, why can’t you sing in the Infinite Choir along with every other particle in the Universe, “To the Whole belongs all glory, all honor, all power, all strength.” To the Whole belongs all credit, and if all credit then all debt. The Whole is infinitely Merciful, the Quran says, Nature says. Mercy means unmerited favor, free gift. Tell me what particle can exist without mercy? What particle in the Universe is not a Gift? When you find it, render it to Caesar. Render illusion to illusion.

Change, for the Reality of Heaven is at hand.
Change, for the Reality of Heaven is within you.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Money "or" Barter?

Moneyless Gillian, My New Friend, My Ancient Friend
Yesterday, at this house-sit, I got a wonderful phone call from Mexico. It was from Gillian, a Canadian woman who gave up all her money and possessions last Ocotober, except (I think) her clothes, toothbrush, and writing tools! My friends Denise, Satya, and Helen met her in Portland, and Denise had contacted me and told me about her. Since then Gillian and I both have been thinking about each other, wanting to meet. Gillian and I started talking about the logistics of living moneyless, and the debate over technology, etc. Then Gillian said her path boils down to just this: Love and Truth. This is what drives her. It needn't be made any more complicated. And we talked about our model, Peace Pilgrim.
Money, Barter, Technology, and their fulfillment: Love
A good friend of mine just emailed and brought up the idea of barter, as opposed to money. Here's basically what I wrote back to her:

I think I should probably say trade rather than money, because it's all the same thing. A coat traded for a sandwich is money - just a bulkier and less efficient way of doing it. In this way "money" is better than "barter." A coat traded for a sandwich comes from the same mentality as a bill traded for a sandwich.

You no longer see the coat as a coat, as reality, but you see the coat as an invented value.

This is why I call it consciousness of credit and debt, because it includes "both" money and barter (which aren't really 2 different things).

If humans are trusting creatures, then humans just give without expecting anything in return and take gifts without guilt, as all the religions prescribe. ("Freely you have given, so freely receive", Jesus says to his disciples as he sends them out into the unknown without money: Matthew 10:8). Work with no expectation of reward, the Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching state over and over.

If we give when we see a need (not out of a sense of owing, or obligation) and take freely when we need, not out of a sense of greed or fear, then everyone gets what they need when they need it, and there is no imbalance, no hoarding. Our system would then be balanced as nature's system is balanced, because no non-domesticated creature consciously trades. Am I idealizing or fantasizing, or am I simply stating simple observation of nature and civilization?
Trust gives birth to trust, so we must start by trusting the untrustworthy, and go through a period of getting screwed. That's the cross. I am simply re-stating what all of the religions say: random (not organized, not pre-arranged) generosity, random giving to present needs, must begin now, where we are at.

We cannot pull down or change any system, and we must not start a new system or religion or whatever "non-profit". Just simple human compassion (love, gift) can happen anywhere, anytime, infecting the world so much so that the organized commercial and "non-profit" systems can become obsolete on their own. Love cannot be traded. Love can only be freely given and freely received, else it is not love. ALL things must be done in love.

Nothing is evil in itself. Not computers, not cars, not highways, not stores. It is the heart that runs these things that is untrusting, paranoid, greedy. When computers, cars, highways and stores are freely given and freely received, released from conscious trade, I guarantee that they will enter the world of balance. This computer and the house I am using right now are not owned at this moment, but freely shared. They are released from money. To the pure, all things are pure. What was once a product of money (illusion) has become the product of love (reality). Money is a symbol of past and future, but not the present. Money, which is a belief, not a substance, does not and cannot exist in the Present. The Present is the Only Reality. Calling money either good or evil gives it control over us - gives it the illusion of substance. If we trust or fear illusion, then we ourselves are illusion.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Camel Through the Eye of the Needle

I don’t expect to be well-loved or popular because of this blog entry, as with all previous blog entries.

Free means without possession, without money.
Ponder this the next time you hear the phrase "Land of the Free" and the now common "haters of freedom."

To own is to owe. To owe is to be enslaved. Enslaved to what? Hmm... Mammon?

"Forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors."
Forgive us our owing (owning), even as we forgive those who owe (own) us.

My friend, Sonia, in Portugal, whom I never met in person, sent me this email & gave me permission to quote it here:

“- Being moneyless for thousands of people is not even a choice, so you
shall be thankful for having the opportunity to choose.
- Being moneyless - when it is a choice - is something that, in many cases, results from a past with money. For example, consider Buddha, the rich prince, or San Francisco, a rich son before becoming priest. Money is not only the terrific monster of capital, it is also the serpent that bites its [tail]: money prepares the way to avoid money.
- And finally I remembered that sentence of Thomas Aquinas: «Evil has no being». Why bother about it?”

The answer that came to me:

“I think about this serpent biting its own tail all the time. Yeah, money is part of the mysterious play of the universe. I was born relatively privileged - therefore I can choose what I'm doing. But it would be foolish to feel apologetic about it. What other choice do I have to be healthy? It is the choice (thus, the love) that is the point. There must be a Prodigal Son, it seems.

“I have hung out with street people who never had the experience of privilege, and I cannot blame them for being totally baffled by my choice. In my travels to underdeveloped nations, I could not blame people for wanting to experience the capitalistic gluttony of industrialized nations, at the expense of environment and human dignity. It seems it is something humans must go through. Like it or not, the serpent in Eden must be part of the ‘plan’.

“Ah, Thomas Aquinas' question! We bother with evil because it is part of the Play, if we know that evil has no being. It is fun to bother with movies and myths and games, if we know they are pretense!”

Who can follow her own religion? What camel can go through the eye of a needle?

“One way leads to wealth. The other way leads to Nirvana.” (Gautama Buddha, Dhammapada v. 75)

“But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:31)

“No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:24)

Ponder this: If money were not a master and humans the slaves, then humans would have a choice to be free of money. And this is the mysterious beauty of the universe: when we can finally admit that we are enslaved to money, that we have no choice. Only with this great confession can the impossible become possible. Is it possible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle?

I do not expect non-Christians to follow Jesus.
But everyone expects Christians to follow Jesus.

In the words of Jesus:

None of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33)

Yes, here’s the mysterious paradox: Only when professed Christians can finally be honest and confess the obvious, that they do not believe the teachings of Jesus, only when we can confess that Jesus’ teachings are impossible to follow – only then can we believe the teachings of Jesus. Only then can the impossible become possible.

Is not the first step of recovery from alcoholism to say, “I am an alcoholic?”

Ask any professed Christian:
is not confession the first step into Christianity?

Back when I thought I was a devout Christian, it dawned on me one day:
"If I say I believe in Jesus, in Jesus' teachings, I am not honest. I surely do not believe in Jesus, in Jesus' teachings." Sin cannot see itself. Only when sin can see itself and admit it is sin can it vanish like the illusion it is.

Yes, “None of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Death is the loss of possessions.
When we possess nothing, right down to giving up possession of our bodies, our minds, and our thoughts, our beliefs, our dogmas,
then the taste of death is gone.
Death, where is your sting?

Possession is illusion.

Dis-illusionment is the key to life.

Yes, our illusion shattered,
our heart broken,
right down to our most cherished religious beliefs.

Who can survive dis-illusionment?

Only the Real.

"Be yourself, no matter what they say." (Sting)