Archive for January, 2008

Apocalypse A Go Go

Here, from Radar magazine online, is an amusing AND yet actually informational list of ways the world could come to an end. In the spirit of the reincarnation theme of this blog, I’d like us to wax a bit on how the world could “reincarnate” itself out of these messes before it actually succumbs to them! Radar helps by suggesting some ways to survive the doomsday debacles…

Let the End Times Roll

With global warming hogging the limelight, and Nostradamus predicting

our impending demise, This excerpt from Radar Magazine’s February

issue explores the other apocalyptic scenarios threatening to do us


From transgenic experiments destined to go awry to the imminent

culmination of the Mayan calendar’s 13th baktun cycle, we’ll have to

dodge a hell of a lot of bullets to make it to the next century. In a

cold panic, Radar sifted through mountains of data, interviewed the

world’s top experts, and prayed to several long-forgotten deities in

an attempt to assemble a list of the planet’s most pressing doomsday

scenarios and, more important, your best bets for staying alive.


True, black gold hasn’t exactly been Earth’s best friend. But it would

be highly inconvenient to have it run out before we find a

replacement. The theory of peak oil—that global oil production will

eventually enter a steep, terminal decline—was introduced in 1956 by

the late geophysicist M. King Hubbert. “Think Rwanda, Baghdad,

post-Katrina New Orleans, on a global and permanent scale,” says Matt

Savinar, the man behind the website Life After the Oil Crash. He

envisions a world of freaky inflation, beluga-level food prices, and

wars between countries desperate for oil. In other words, time to

start investing in buggy whips.

How to Survive: According to James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long

Emergency, people residing in regions with plenty of railroads,

moderate climates, and farmland—like Oregon and New England—will be in better shape than those who live in, say, L.A.


Remember the buzz about killer bees? So do we, fondly. Because it

turns out bees are really important, but since late 2006 they’ve been

disappearing for reasons nobody can quite explain. And it’s not just

honey supplies that will suffer if the bees bite it. You can also kiss

your fruits and veggies good-bye. “You could have the perfect field,

soil, and sun, and if the pollinator was not there you’d have a vine

and no fruit,” says Dr. Jeff Pettis, head USDA bee researcher. With

honeybees pollinating more than a quarter of the world’s food supply,

that’s a lot of empty vines (and stomachs). The financial impact of a

bee-free season would be $75 billion. Perhaps Albert Einstein put it

best: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man will

have no more than four years to live.”

How to Survive: Become part of the solution—starter hives are selling

for $215 on


The supervolcano buried beneath Yellowstone National Park last erupted

about 640,000 years ago. Frankly, we’re overdue for another shake-up.

“Next week, maybe,” according to Greg Breining, author of Super

Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park. Then

again, he concedes, the eruption could be a thousand or even a million

years away. But if the lava starts flowing, “All hell will break

loose,” Breining predicts. “A portion of the Earth far bigger than

Mount Everest would be melted, vaporized, turned into ash, and vaulted

high into the atmosphere.” No biggie, right? Until hours later, when

volcanic ash rains down on the southern prairie states, rendering

America’s wheat belt fallow for decades.

How to Survive: Since the jet stream blows east, set up shop somewhere

west of Wyoming, where a giant ash cloud is less likely.

Click here for the rest! There’s a lot more…


The Reincarnationist Back Story

M. J. Rose introduces us to the back story of her book The Reincarnationist in a guest post for The Buddhist Blog. I thought we ought to re-post it here on our own blog…

It’s fun to think of cross-posting as a sort of “reincarnation” for words (see the last paragraph of M.J.’s post below for more on that idea) – 🙂

The Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang said: “To Buddhism, however, death is not the end of life, it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our spirit will still remain and seek out through the need of attachment, attachment to a new body and new life. Where they will be born is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the resultant karma (cause and effect) is a result of ones past actions.”

When I was three years old, I told my great grandfather things about his childhood in Russia that there was simply no way I could have known.

He was not a Buddhist but a Kabbalist – and reincarnation is as much a part of mystic Judaism tradition as it part of Buddhism. As he continued to talk to me about these memories, my great grandfather became convinced I was a reincarnation of someone from his past.

My mother – a logical and skeptical woman – argued with him about what she called his “old fashioned” ideas but over time and more incidents, she became curious enough to start reading up on the subject.

And so reincarnation was an idea I grew up with. A concept that my mom and I talked about and researched together. We studied what Buddhists and Kabbalists and Hindus wrote. We read scientific articles and skeptical arguments. We debated and postulated.

If you had asked me at twenty if I believed, I would have said “I don’t not believe.” But I was fascinated. And remained fascinated.

In my early thirties I studied Zen Buddhism and learned to mediate. It was about the same time I started writing fiction and found myself very much wanting to write a novel about reincarnation.

But it wasn’t until my mother died ten years ago that I finally began to make notes for that novel… a story about someone like her who started out skeptical but came to believe in reincarnation. At the time I was too close to the subject and missed her too much to work on the project. The grief was too close and too raw.

Then four years ago on the exact anniversary of my mom’s death my niece, who was almost three years old told me about experiences I’d had with my mother… experiences my niece couldn’t have known – moments I had never shared with anyone.

There was no turning away anymore. That experience convinced me it was time for me to finally explore my ideas and questions about reincarnation through my novel.

Josh Ryder, the main character in The Reincarnationist has my mom’s initials, her spirit and her curiosity and like her, he’s a photographer. But there the similarities end.

When Josh starts having flashbacks that simply can’t be explained any other way except as possible reincarnation memories he goes to New York to study with Dr. Malachai Samuels — a scientist and Reincarnationist who works with children helping them deal with past life memories.

In the process Josh gets caught up in the search for ancient memory tools that may or may not physically enable people to reach back and discover who they were and who they are.

Thich Nguyen Tang said: “So we can say that in Buddhism, life does not end, merely goes on in other forms that are the result of accumulated karma. Buddhism is a belief that emphasizes the impermanence of lives, including all those beyond the present life. With this in mind we should not fear death as it will lead to rebirth.”

I think writing is a rebirth like that. Thoughts reborn as words that in a way die for the author once they are put to paper but are then reborn again for the reader who picks up the book and experiences the ideas and thoughts of the writer in his or her own personal way.


The Gnashing of Teeth for All Eternity is Not Love!

Here is a piece from DR GURU DEWA, Spiritual Head of the Vedanta Mission. I couldn’t agree more that Hell is torture and torture is not any sort of divine love no matter how you slice it. God IS love, and for him/her to be serving out eternal punishments just doesn’t ring true.

It really does seem that karma and reincarnation are more in line with the type of wisdom we would like in our versions of God.


Love is the answer, not Hell

I WOULD like to offer a few words in clarification of the recently raised issues of Hinduism, Christianity and Hell.

The concept of Hell has its origin in ancient Zoroastrian belief that there are two mutually opposed powers in the universe, the power of good (God) and the power of evil (Devil or Satan).

But the Bible gives us a clearer picture of its own concepts of God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, etc.

Although, from the Hindu point of view, Jesus is a manifestation of God’s love in many of his teachings (such as the Sermon on the Mount), from an objective perspective, we have to say that Jesus advocates a very narrow and intolerant ethical code of belief and behaviour.

Sir Bertrand Russell, one of the beacon lights of rational thought in the modern age, says of Jesus Christ as depicted in the New Testament:

“There is one very serious defect, to my mind, in Christ’s moral character, and that is that he believed in Hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can ever believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to Jesus’ preaching. You will find that in the Gospels, Christ says: ‘Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?’

“Then Christ says: ‘The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.’ And he goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another.

“I think all this doctrine, that hell fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above him in those respects.”

The Hindu answer to the Christian concept of Hell must be clarified. In Hinduism, there is no concept of a permanent hell. Karma and reincarnation form two of the major principles of Hindu thought.

Sir William Jones, one of the early Indological researchers, says about reincarnation: “I hold the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation to be infinitely more rational and more likely to deter men from vice than the horrid opinions inculcated by Christians on punishments without end.”

Hinduism totally rejects the idea of a permanent Hell, a place where damned souls are supposed to burn and be tortured eternally to satisfy the primitive concept of justice of a vengeful God.

In Hinduism, God is Pure Love, Saccidananda. Hinduism teaches that love for God, and therefore love of all humanity as the children of God, is the supreme type of karma that leads to salvation in God’s Holy Being.

Therefore, Love is the answer, not Hell.

— DR GURU DEWA, Spiritual Head, The Vedanta Mission

For the original version of this article, click here.


Next Page »