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"Be a Lamp unto Yourself"

By Joann Bakula
June 2006

"Be a Lamp unto Yourself"

By Joann Bakula
June 2006

The third of the three highest spiritual Festivals is called the Festival of Humanity, blending diverse spiritual approaches into a united invocative appeal; hence it is also celebrated as World Invocation Day, World Goodwill Day and the Christ's Festival, evocative of the new group of world servers. This June full moon is the point and time of distribution for the blessing of Wesak from the Buddha to the Christ and now to humanity, utilizing the energy circulation of the planetary triangle of Shamballa, Hierarchy and humanity, empowering those soul-infused personalities who are affecting the world.

In all of our monthly full moon Festivals our approach is to the lineage of enlightened and perfected Beings who make up the community or Ashram who work upon the inner side of life. This one Ashram has five 'lineages' and 'wisdom lights' in Buddhism or wisdom groups in esoteric parlance, each having special functions, attributes and approaches. This has always been an unbroken chain of Being in reality, even though our own thoughtforms have created the illusion of a break between the truth and the world. Christ put Himself across that breach when he was raised up, and his disciples spread the word when they found tongues able to speak truth in whatever language was required, just as we need to do today. Is speaking the universal language of spiritual truth, purified of cultural and social favoritism, our new Pentecost? We celebrate the new union of East and West in Christ as Lord Maitreya, the future Buddha, who will precede that distant Buddhahood with many incarnations just as the last one did, and as Christ predicted He would. Are our minds and hearts prepared to accept a Christ free of cultural identification? Can we really create a pathway for a universal Christ, the living Christ, who is Christ for all the peoples of the world? Is Chrsit still Christ by any other name?

The Lord Maitreya, whom Christians call the Christ, is said to preach the Buddha's last sermon, exhorting disciples to think for themselves. Seeing the danger inherent in following any authority, he offered his teaching, as Christ did, in freedom. In self-reliance we build the only foundation authentic enough to endure the tsunamis and earthquakes of transition periods in world history. During times of change and upheaval, the intuition and soul-consciousness are the only true compasses to steer through the rocks of hardline ideologies and the whirlpool of agitation. "Be a lamp unto yourself, " is the message of this sermon, because the only way to the intuition is through independence. As long as our perception is given to us by the collective or socio-political machine, it clouds our discernment between the real and the unreal. Independence is the psychological foundation of discipleship, as we know. The aspirant is dependent upon authority and obedience. That is the old way. The new way is freedom. The lamp within is the intuition. This is the only light that can lead from the dark tunnel perception of the senses to perception of the ocean of wisdom limitless and vast as space. The battle between the new group and the old collective, with its tactics of intimidation and imitation, is aptly summed up by one leader as 'the new group of world servers, not the old group of self-servers.'

From a foundation of independence from the collective in spiritual matters (not civil or security matters), the disciple can see the interwoven interrelationships described by Joseph Campbell as, "the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can't blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended." Revealing something of the anvil-like nature of forces the inner life uses to mold us and guide us on the evolutionary path of enlightenment--the only path of survival-and how to use this to life's advantage is the work of meditation. "With all that is coming to light today, we see how that which we value, our choices and desires, strike the blow upon the anvil of our life, forging results that are exactly in line with what we intended, consciously or unconsciously," as Sarah McKechnie put it. We are taught to mold ourselves on social models, even if we have higher models. What we think of as the perfect life never strikes the blow that opens the hard casing of the outer life to make available the gold within. The world seen in this golden light is a new world. The obstacles to the superficially perfect life envisioned by the enculturated personality are useful and often designed by the soul itself, put in karmic place in the third bardo.

One of temptations Buddha faced under the bodi tree was social duty. When he put his hand to earth, he was affirming his right to be here, demonstrating the union and synthesis of life/spirit, consciousness and body in a human form, with a different duty than the social one, a higher truth than the collective. It's this false sense of lower 'responsibility'-the ability to respond-- that blocks the outpouring of the spiritual life for so many, that Buddha himself choose this as one of his three primary faces of evil to address. When he dispelled the illusion of the social world we call glamour, Buddha touched the earth in a gesture saying 'I have a right to be here,' to link worlds, from the permanent, non-composite to the world of earth, in one human being. So can we. This is both our destiny and a strategy for survival. The opposite of suffering, disease, old age and death which Buddha sought is within us, like the kingdom of God, waiting to be realized. It is that which is "unborn, unaging, deathless, sorrowless and incorrupt."

Revealing this as the better part of human nature and actualizing this knowledge in the world is the kingdom of God on earth. We, the spiritual people of this world, have a right to be here; like Buddha we have a duty or dharma (truth) and responsibility greater than the social, that belongs here as part of human development and evolution. It is universal responsibility. The Dalai Lama has said 'universal responsibility is the key to human survival' and that 'human rights, environmental protection and greater social and economic equality are all interrelated.' He has also reiterated a common observation that Buddhism is a religion [philosophy or psychology] of methods, the primary one being non-violence. He has said, "I am a steadfast follower of the doctrine of non-violence which was first preached by Lord Buddha…and was practiced in our own time by the Indian saint and leader Mahatma Gandhi." Gandhi was himself inspired by the non-violent civil disobedience and self-reliance of Henry David Thoureau, whose philosophy is enjoying a timely revival. Analysis of the causes of violence and the prevention of violence is a current theme of the U.N. and U.N. Days and Years Meditation in acknowledgement of the tremendous amount of suffering that violence causes. An outstanding, comprehensive analysis of the causes of violence has been written this year by Judy Jacka, who cites esoteric, psychological, dietary, physiological, sociological, political/cultural/religious, historic and industrial causes. To this I would add more words of the Dalai Lama, "Violence is caused by negative emotions; this is why ahimsa, or non-violence/harmlessness is the only way out. Harboring ill-will toward the perpetrators is also negative emotion. We must disarm on the inside while we disarm on the outside. If we can have no hatred for those who cause suffering then forgiveness comes; otherwise, if not, more violence comes….You need a warm heart and right motivation." The Tibetan Book of the Dead reiterates Buddhist views that hate and aggression are primary obstacles to humanity's and the individual's liberation, and urges us to say, "I have been wandering like this in samsara until now through clinging to anger and aggression, desire and hate…So I say, 'Now I will never again feel hate and aggression" You should repeat this."

We, too, must touch earth with the teaching; we must link the spiritual and material world with our non-violent presence, warm-hearts and right motivation. There is a way out and it is the path of enlightenment that exists within, leading to our own unborn, deathless and limitless life, and the actualized ethics that result from this knowledge. The revelation that East and West, Buddhism and Christianity, compassion and truth, heart and mind, are One is the most significant revelation of the larger theosophic literature, many think, and one that heralds a newer, wider point of view that blends, unites and fuses. It transcends the religious/cultural and political wars of our time and prefigures the reappearance of the Enlightened One, by whatever names He is known around the world.

Instead of exploiting the appetite for cruelty, He will exploit the appetite for compassion, and thus lead us away from the brink. If evil can be identified as the energy that destroys the binding force that holds and connects everything in this composite world together, from bodies to relationships to kingdoms, then the energy of good and goodwill can be described as that which strengthens the ties that bind life and relationships together on earth. Although all forms know life and death-which is life's method of revealing its own pristine unitive nature of synthesis-there is unnatural and untimely death, and wrongful death. Alice Bailey described cosmic evil as intending to destroy life on our planet and use it as a raft, as it were. Our best protection against deception of this kind, whether it's through distortion, lies, illusion or maya, is the power of group intuition by those in the heart center of the new group of world servers. "A disciple bows to all and despises none," was one of Gandhi's favorite sayings and the keynote of his own discipleship and political/ social action, along with non-violent methods and civil disobedience, inspired by Henry David Thoreau. Right view and right method are two mile markers on the 8-fold noble path of Buddha. Identification with synthesis of the whole and harmlessness, or truth and love, are the way of Buddha, Christ, and Gandhi, and the Way now as they have always been.

The sense of universal responsibility or sense of synthesis has found expression for the world in the U.N.'s Millenium Development Goals, still more idealistic than attainable, but showing amazing public support through the endeavor of Bono and friends of the '"campaign to make poverty history." The power of poet/musicians to organize the power of goodwill inherent in humanity was recognized by G-8 leaders, who forgave interest payments from third-world countries, freeing them from debt enough to deal with health issues. In Ghana, for instance, clinics that had to be closed for lack of funding, are now reopening to deal with widespread poverty and AIDS. Offered an opportunity to respond, the masses of humanity are very often way ahead of their leaders in choosing right values, right methods and right goals. This choice of expressing idealism with goodwill stemming from a will-to-good over ideological militarism, both inherent in the 6th ray, is a powerful force of goodwill when mobilized. This energy circulation from top to bottom, as it were, from synthesis to unity to equality is an antidote in these strange times, and the opportunity of this full moon meditation to help the plan of love and light to work out.

May it work out in your life, in all true servers, and in the world.

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