Articles and Opinion
Answers to questions on serious topics
Wisdom and KNowledge, Is God Love?, Proof of Reincarnation, Tibet
Which comes first wisdom or knowledge? Or is this like the question of the chicken or the egg?
This is different from the chicken or egg question because this definitely has an answer. To be able to answer this we must first define wisdom and knowledge. According to ancient writings wisdom is the "stopping of the discriminating mind" and knowledge is the information gathered from experience and reason known to be the truth and to be a fact. From here it can be deduced that a baby, born with an "empty mind", is ready to absorb experiences from his surroundings and from his environment. However, before the first information reaches the baby's brain or consciousness, there is already a process involved and this is wisdom. It is what 'discriminates" or chooses from among the first sensations and information reaching the consciousness of the child. As his store of knowledge accumulates, there is then more facets of information to weigh and if not deemed useful for the moment, thinking is not continued on that line. For the learned man, wisdom is the beginning and the end of the process of thinking.
One time, when I was applying for a job, one of the tests given to us trainees was to talk extemporaneously on either topic of our choice: wisdom is power or knowledge is power. It was a good thing I was not called upon to recite my piece - we were training to give a sales talk, and if I would have been called, I would have delivered my musings on philosophy and religion.
Insight, on the other hand, is the result of suspended thinking. What does this mean? If a problem is perplexing us, and sometimes we consciously stop thinking about it, our subconscious, nevertheless is continuing the task of discriminating among our knowledge and memory. When it has found the answer, then it pops out to us and we realize we have an insight, which usually is correct. These are lessons I learned from life or have been incorrectly taught at school, though inadvertently, and here I am giving them to you, free.
If ancient wisdom and teachings were taught at school, then I would have not been confused and perplexed over Marcel, Rahner, Hildebrand, Kierkegaard and their bunch whose writings were required reading in college which, in my opinion, was a complete waste of time, not contributing anything to my personal development except to know to avoid them in the future.
Is God love? Do you believe that as His children He loves us, and does not wish us to fall into evil but wants us to choose good and eventually be with Him forever?
Is God love? This is the kind of question I don't like very well because when I say yes the next question would be "If God is love, then why is there so much hatred and evil in the world?" Luckily, the questioner did not go into that direction. You can say that God is love and peace and kindness, but in the greater scheme of things, I would advise not attaching human qualities to the concept God. By giving God human qualities, we tend to bring Him down to our level as a Being who would allow His creations into His kingdom only when they have successfully fought off evil in the war between good and Satan. Compare this with what I teach: that God is beyond our understanding, that whether we choose good or evil we will eventually get to paradise, only in a much harder way if we choose the latter. What I am saying is, as what is written in the Bhagavad Gita, take the correct course of action and do your duty, without any thought or reward for yourself, and you will know happiness: "Your business is with action alone; not by any means with the fruit of action. Let not the fruit of action be your motive to action. Let not your attachment be fixed on inaction".
Is God love? Sure, you can say also that God is peace, kindness, truth, and everything but beware of your next statement. With God we don't assume anything that He is or is not. Isn't it simpler jut to say that He is a spirit? Then we don't get trapped into paradoxes which theologians then try explain themselves out. When we say that God is a spirit, the question why there is so much evil in the world becomes a new, entirely different query, which does not contradict our first statement that God is a spirit. Because it is unrelated, we can answer it separately and objectively with confidence and conviction that there is evil in this world because of karma - men are born to learn from this earth and life.
Sure, I'm all for saying that God is love but the problem is some immature members of other religions will understand it as saying they are more loved by God than the followers of other religion, so the first group goes around imposing their dark beliefs. If we are truly God's children then He must love us equally, right? Again, God is not human to play favorites. And that is the danger of saying God is love.
The rules are made for the majority and if the majority thinks that God is love, that God is everything, that God is within us, etc. then it ought to be but in a society it is the noisy minority, the pea-brained egoistic few who misinterpret abstract concepts and turn it into sick ideology who cause the most trouble. That is why there are secret teachings - to avoid some knowledge being abused by the wrong people.
You always talk about reincarnation but there seems to be no proof. Can you provide one?
Reincarnation is something to be believed more than it is to be proven. Anyway, there was something written about a little girl in India who kept claiming that she was married and had a baby boy in her previous life. The elders in her village inquired around and found in the next village a family which fitted her description and when she was brought there, the girl recognized her husband and when she saw the boy she died giving birth to, she tried to lift him but he was bigger than her. You might have also read about the European boy who was a recognized reincarnation. I have also mentioned Alex Haley the famous author of "Roots" who started, as Kunta Kinte, an oral tradition relating his capture and relocation to the western hemisphere. His story was passed on from one generation to another until the proper time came for Alex Haley to write it down. It was not necessary that Kunta Kinte had to be reborn in the same lineage every time; it was enough that from time to time he would be reborn in "the family" to correct or make sure that the story was being retold until he came back to write the book.
Going into more recent times, in the second half of the nineteenth century, lived Joseph Carey Merrick, known as the Elephant Man. He had abnormally large skin and bone overgrowth in his head, hands and feet and he ended up in a freak show. Yet, he was a silent, intelligent and sensitive young man. Because he could not sleep lying down like normal people do, he would sleep sitting up. One night he tried to sleep like normal people do, that is by lying down on his back, but which caused his death by asphyxiation.
He was reincarnated in the second half of the twentieth century as a very popular celebrity. He is very agile, extrovert and has lots of fans and loves the limelight. Now, the kind of reincarnation one will go into depends on one's task because we are born on earth both to learn and accomplish some task. Our major experiences in our previous lives help and determine not in a small scale what we are in our present incarnation. It is the general truth that we have no memory of our past lives - so we can carry on with our life unencumbered by what we have done or who we were before - but in our subconscious lies the whole knowledge of our being. It is a kind provision of nature that we cannot have full access to our subconscious. In fact, we don't even remember everything that ever happened to us in our current life.
You have said that Modified Religion is the best from the three great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism because these are the true religions. How can you reconcile in your teachings that in Judaism there is no reincarnation?
Hinduism is the professed oldest religion, older than Judaism. Then you have Zoroastrianism around 628 BCE (before the common era), Jainism in 600 BCE, Taoism in China around 580 BCE and not long after, Buddhism. You can read accounts in Buddhism which preceded Christianity by 500 years, where there are mentions of priests being members of the Jain sect or teachers of Brahman.
In Judaism there is a book called Kaballah which is a book on mysticism. The Jews have the Written Law and the Oral Law; the Written Law is referred to as the Torah, and the Oral law, written at the time when the Jews were being persecuted and exiled away from their homeland, is called the Talmud. This was written to ensure that Judaism would not die out as a religion and as a way of life and to avoid very different and conflicting interpretations of the Written Law. The Kaballah is an offshoot of the Torah and contains mystic knowledge studied by scholars and not readily taught to the average members of the community. It is accepted that the Kaballah contains treatises or passages dealing with reincarnation and karma, albeit in different terms. The concept of reincarnation is very hard for the nonbeliever to grasp but once he starts to see the light of the truth of reincarnation, he will find that everything will fall into place - the meaning of life, existence, cause and effect, paradise and suffering, etc.
What is your opinion of Tibet? Do you think it should vie for independence?
This is a touchy subject. China is claiming that Tibet is one of its provinces since the time that both countries were conquered and unified by the Mongol Genghis Khan. The Tibetans argue, however, that they were separate states before the invasion of the Mongols. The Chinese were under the Tang Dynasty while Tibet was ruled by a king. After the Mongols were defeated by the Ming Dynasty in China, the two countries developed separate cultures - Tibet becoming a country where there was religion, specifically, Buddhism was openly practiced, which is also their way of life. China with its great civilization adopted communism.
Tibet cannot be assimilated into any other way of life where there is no religion. Once the leaders of China will realize that with freedom they can win and be good leaders of their community, they can bring developments. They can become rich, travel and visit other countries and bring new ideas and technology as a step towards prosperity. Meanwhile they can start by opening up their economy to private businesses run by their own people. No matter that people say that money is evil, it still makes a good incentive for economic development. When the people shall have attained a higher standard of living they will have their leaders to thank for it. At the same time, Tibet can become the Switzerland of Asia. It should attend trade fairs, cultural shows, even beauty contests, if possible.
In my opinion, Tibet should vie for independence. Communism cannot last forever. Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism have been around for centuries while communism is just a few decades old. Then there are only about five communist countries in the world now. Tibet cannot achieve independence by force or violence. It has no army. To borrow a marketing term, it has to position and reinvent itself. It can even hire marketing consultants to promote Tibet.
There have been a dissenting opinion that Tibet should seek complete independence instead of autonomy. What do you think of that?
As I have said, Tibet has no armed forces capable of fighting China. But there are other ways of showing a country's struggle for independence besides going to war. This can be done through peaceful means. Let's look at the matter more closely from another point of view.
As it is going on now, the leadership of Tibet wants autonomy while another group wants complete independence. What is unusual is that no other country seems to be supporting Tibet openly. Why is this? It's because it's divided. In other words, if I were a third country observing what is happening to Tibet, I would get the impression that "Hey! These people are not even united in their stand. Why should I help them? They can not even stand on solid ground whether they want independence or autonomy. Let them solve their differences first."
Autonomy for Tibet? I doubt it. This may also be another reason why third party countries are just watching and observing on the sidelines. Asking for autonomy is like implying acceptance that Tibet is already a part of China - it just wants a bit more from the central government. For third party countries, meddling in the affairs of Tibet would mean interference of internal affairs.
Do you think that a third party country will be willing to initiate a tripartite dialogue with China? The chances of success have to be weighed. What if Tibet will just say "Oh, we just want autonomy, you know." These may be the reasons why no third part country is bold enough to stand up to China, except perhaps Taiwan, which has its own problems. Again, these may be the reasons also why the issue of Tibet can't even get to the United Nations.
The Beijing 2008 Olympics is only a few days away from August 8, and the world will be watching the games. All is not finished yet with Tibet. Well, there are forecasts by Buddhist priests that a future war will be prevented from going full blown by the appearance of alien beings. Maybe after the chaos is over, Tibet will be able to sneak out or wiggle itself free and achieve complete independence.
So, what do I suggest? First, I suggest that Tibet hire independent consultants who can in business parlance "sell" or promote Tibet to the world. Actually, I have two consultants in mind. They are Al Ries and Jack Trout. Secondly, Tibet should form a steering committee to prepare the plans, make the agenda, and carry out the program. This will take a lot of time, money, effort and people. If Tibet should decide, then it should decide fast because these men are not getting any younger.