Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mazu Daoyi

           I held a séance a couple of days ago, and I summoned the spirit of Mazu Daoyi, I was so sick and in such pain that the force of it was shaking the night sky.
           The windows rattled and the floor creaked and I asked the old faker, Sun Faced Buddha, Moon faced Buddha?
            His answer still lingers, when I wake.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Zen Master as Practical Metaphysician

     Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science. It would be fair to say that it is enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence. This has lead to three views of it in the west. David Hume a pure empiricist would say “Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.” Sir Alfred Jules Ayer in "Language, Truth and Logic" using the verifiability theory of meaning concluded that metaphysical propositions were neither true nor false but strictly meaningless, as were religious views.  Immanuel Kant was a little more kind to metaphysics. While admitting that rational analysis had its limits. He argued against knowledge progressing beyond the world of our representations, except to knowledge that the noumena existed.
         The third and probably the least accepted view is that of French philosopher Henri Bergson. Bergson held that anything can be known in one of two ways, either absolutely and relatively. The method of inquiry for knowing something relatively was the empirical method. He stated that empirical analysis is always an analysis ad infinitum and can never reach the absolute. It consists in dividing the object based on the chosen viewpoint and translating the divided fragments into symbols, wherein a specter of the original can be reconstructed. These symbols always distort the part of the object they represent, as they’re generalized to include it and every other part they represent. Thus they ignore the object’s uniqueness. *

*(See: Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, pages 165 to 168.)

            The method for understanding and enquiry into the absolute was what he called intuition. He defined intuition “as a simple, indivisible experience of sympathy through which one is moved into the inner being of an object to grasp what is unique and ineffable within it. The absolute that is grasped is always perfect in the sense that it is perfectly what it is, and infinite in the sense that it can be grasped as a whole through a simple, indivisible act of intuition, yet lends itself to boundless enumeration when analyzed”*

*(See: Henri Bergson, The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics, pages 159 to 162.)

           The problem then that the west has always had with both metaphysics and religion is that neither is subject to empirical analysis and therefore are beyond empirical proofs.

Lets talk Zen:
            D.T. Suzuki was perhaps the person most responsible for bringing the idea of Zen, and its nature, to the west. Suzuki and his disciples constantly stressed the idea that Zen is illogical, irrational, and beyond our intellectual understanding. This of course places it squarely in the class and set of metaphysics and religion, as rejected by western thought.

              In western philosophy and in Buddhism and Zen we seem to universally encounter a problem in almost every debate I think is best summerized as follows:

     “That is, those who have described the core of religion as the ineffable experience of the numinous, or of the sacred, or of Satori, implicitly draw a self-serving line between, on the one hand, those people who have had religious experience (like themselves, practitioners of a religion) and are therefore empowered to be judges of truth and falsehood in matters of religion, and, on the other hand, those people who have not (like the secular and scientific critics of religion) and are therefore incapable of distinguishing truth from falsehood in matters of religion. I do not mean to deny that the notion of “religious experience” has been used in the ideological way described here, to anoint certain persons with the authority to speak on religious matters and disenfranchise others. But “religious experience” is not the only fabled beast lurking in the ideological woods. “Empirical scientific analysis,” also known as “Academic objectivity,” is another such epistemological concept. Proponents not only claim it exists but also use it to draw a self-serving line between those who have it (like themselves, academic scholars) and who are therefore empowered to be the judge of true and false, and those who do not have it (like practitioners of religion)and are therefore incapable of distinguishing the true and the false. In this conflict over who has authority to speak on matter religious, both sides posit epistemological Entities, “religious experience” and “scientific objectivity,” and both sides claim possession of it to grant themselves authority and to disenfranchise the other. In this conflict, it sounds like two hands clapping, but underneath it is really only one.”
(See: “Victor Sogen Hori- "Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice”)

           If we examine the public dispute between Hu Shih and D. T. Suzuki we see a perfect example of what I am talking about. “In the April 1953 edition of Philosophy East and West, Hu Shih and D. T. Suzuki published their debate on the history and method of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. Suzuki’s final refuge was that Hu Shin, was not enlightened and therefore had no right to debate him. It is sad when looked at closely, for as James D. Sellmann, pointed out in his review of the debate; neither man was even using the same definition for the word “Chan” or “Zen”.
         But I am going to suggest that there is a resolution to this age old dilemma between the Empiricist and the Metaphysicians.   I am taking the position here that the Zen master is a practical metaphysician. Further, that the practice of Zen meditation is a method of proof of the nature of the absolute. That Zen is neither rational nor irrational and that as Mr. Sellman states:
    “It seems to me that describing Zen as illogical or irrational is a misunderstanding not of Zen, but of the nature of the illogical and the irrational. “ (See: James D. Sellmann, Philosophy East and West Vol. 45, no. 1 January 1995 p. 97-104, © University of Hawaii Press )
          Zen is by its nature “a-logical” That is to say that it is beyond or outside the bounds of logic, or to those things to which logic can apply. But that Zen is a practice that can be learned by anyone and therefore the truth of which is verifiable by anyone. It is a means by which as Henri Bergson espoused, that by intuition, anyone can come to grips with and know the absolute.
         We will always need aids to help us negotiate the relationship between insight and language. We will need teachers and koans and experiences of both a mundane and spiritual nature. And I am sure we will always have a tendency to be in love with our own beliefs and practices.
          But it is a fact that Zen is the tool that western philosophy denied could exist. It is the practical method of proving metaphysics. Buddha’s first rule was always forget the philosophy, forget the debate. You should accept nothing just because I said it. Try it out and see if it works, see if it is true. That is the nature of Zen.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Emptiness – what’s the big deal?

                 This observation is of course subjective, but it seems to me people hear the word emptiness and immediately start spinning their mental wheels. The concept of emptiness as used in most modern Buddhist teachings was expounded or elaborated on by Nagarjuna.

        Emptiness is the English translation of the Sanskrit word Sunyata. Sunyata means to have no inherent existence or Svabhava in Sanskrit. Now before you go tilting off on a tangent what dose it mean to “inherently exist”?

To have or be Svabhava:
(1) An inherently existing entity exists in splendid isolation without the need to reference any other entity. It is completely defined by its own nature.
(2) An inherently existing entity is uncaused.
(3) It is indestructible.
(4) It is eternal.
(5) It is unchanging when viewed externally.
(6) It cannot undergo any internal changes of state.
(7) It either has no constituent parts, or if it has parts those parts are inseparable.
(8 consequently, nothing can be ejected or removed from it.
(9) Nothing can be added to it (this would change its definition).
(10) No change in external conditions (up to and including the destruction of the entire universe) can affect it.

                 To be empty of inherent existence means “you” are not any of the above 10 things.

             So, now that you have a clear idea of what it means to “inherently exist” I must ask if you ever really believed that you or anything else did or dose inherently exist?

            Nagarjuna said that everything that exists by the nature of reality dose so dependant upon prior causes and conditions.   Everything is both a cause and an effect. He rejected the idea of a primary or first cause and took the position that reality was by its nature an infinite progression/regression: i.e. to be without beginning or end. He said that we suffer from a misperception caused by the psychological tendency to grasp at all objects of perception as if they really existed as independent entities. This is to say that ordinary beings believe that such objects exist "out there" as they appear to perception.

  Now that’s not such a big deal is it? Welcome to the middle –way.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Value of Zen

         There I was. The universe was vast and filled with violence. The rules were simple you have between now and perhaps a few years. Everything here consumes everything else and the only thing you can be sure of is you are a temporary item with a short shelf life. You, everyone you know, the earth beneath your feet and the sun that burns above all have an expiration date stamped upon them. This makes me unhappy.

“My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will." --- William James

      The material world is of little comfort, everyone and everything moves and changes, the nature of any pleasure is that it will end and too much of any of it will kill you. The more I have the more I want and the more I get the more it weighs upon me.

      Wait! I see:

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

I see this is true. I see this could work. But:

            "Grant an idea or belief to be true, what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life?" --- William James

               But that would mean that the value of any truth was utterly dependent upon its use to the person who held it. I suppose the theory of relativity has some worth to me, it seems to have some cash value. Knowing that gold fish are a type of carp, yes I see it all now.
            I suppose, this small formula, well it just might be that this could have value. It could provide me with a moral anchor, emotional stability, even provide benefits of an, aesthetic, psychological, existential, communal, and even physical-health, nature. I suppose it could.

But of course I would have to apply effort, this don’t seem to be a free ride.

“Happiness is that which can be borne with ease;
suffering is that which cannot be borne with ease.”
Old Buddhist saying

Can this be born with ease?

I think I will sit down and meditate on this.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A teacher -

                   An aspiring monk wanted to find a Guru. He went to an monastery and his preceptor told him: "You can stay here but we have one important rule - all students observe the vow of silence. You will be allowed to speak to me once every 12 years".

After practicing silence and meditation for 12 long years, finally the student could say his one thing, and : "The bed is too hard."
After another 12 years of hard silent meditation, he had the opportunity to speak again. He said: "The food is not good."
Twelve more years of hard work passed. His words after 36 years of practice: "I quit."
His Guru quickly answered: "Good, all you have been doing anyway is complaining."

"To find a Buddha, all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the person who's free: free of plans, free of cares. If you don't see your nature and run around all day looking somewhere else, you'll never find a Buddha. The truth is, there's nothing to find. But to reach such an understanding you need a teacher and you need to struggle to make yourself understand..."


          It is important that we familiarize ourselves with the characteristics [of a spiritual teacher] discussed by Kongtrul Rinpoche. Second, we must maintain awareness of our own motivation during the process of finding a teacher. Am I seeking a teacher in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, or am I seeking to fulfill my need to acquire the prestige associated with a famous teacher, or am I merely attracted to a lama's beautiful retreat land or the social scene of a hip Sangha, and so on.
These motivations need to be acknowledged if we are to recognize an authentic wisdom teacher, because the teacher you find is related to your karma, and your karma is intimately connected to your motivation.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye from “The Teacher-Student Relationship”


1. Proper ethical behaviour - a guru should not harm others but try to help
2. Single pointed concentration
3. No self-grasping or egoistic thoughts
4. Having love and compassion as main motivations to teach
5. Realised emptiness, at least have a proper intellectual understanding
6. Perseverance in teaching
7. Wealth of scriptural knowledge
8. More learned and realized than student
9. Skilled speaker
10. Given up disappointment in the performance of the students

If possible, try to find a guru who possesses all these qualities, but at least the first 5. This may be difficult enough...


Just like a teacher requires certain qualifications, so should a proper disciple fulfill some criteria.

A disciple should consider him/herself as a patient, the teacher as a doctor, the Dharma as medicine and should take the medicine by practicing. Like His Holiness the Dalai Lama says: "There is no substitute for hard work"

A proper disciple should avoid the so-called 3 faulty attitudes:
- being like an upside down vessel: refusing to learn and scepticism
- being like a leaking vessel: forgetting everything and showing no interest
- being like a polluted vessel: being very prejudiced and believing to know everything better than the teacher

A proper disciple should fulfill the 3 requisites:
- lack of prejudice, being open-minded
- intelligence and a critical mind: not blindly following orders
- aspiration: wanting to practice and experience results (not just scholarly study)

           From The Tibetian Buddhism Guide to the student teacher relationship

        To see through all things you must depend on yourself, no one else can do it for you, however a good teacher can choose the most appropriate time to call out a students potential.
                                         Tsai Chih Chung
We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.
                                         Phyllis Diller

With  my complements to Rudy

“Riding a mule while seeking a mule”

“Riding a mule while seeking a mule”
                                    Old Zen Saying

"Investigate Right Where You're Standing"
                                     Master Chu-hung

                      Dogen, described meditation as an easy practice open to everyone. But I have found it requires resolve and determination to continue it over the years. My Sensei says it becomes easier the more you do and can even become addicting. But over those long years my body has rebelled and now my sitting can involve 10 times the pain it did when I was younger, in fact when I was younger there was little or no pain in sitting, now my arthritis strikes at me like some demon from another world. And in truth I am embarrassed and ashamed when the flames of time drive me to sit in a chair rather than on a cushion. I some times think my time has passed, that I have somehow missed the boat on this go around. Other times I simply sit and just don’t have a care one way or the other.
      Taking the 2 positions at once, seeking without trying to obtain, I often seem to sense the truth lurking in some dark corner of my mind, and then it’s gone, nothing left but the wind and the dew upon the grass. No wonder, no awe,  just the emptiness of a field left unplowed.  I don't know why but there seems to be a sadness in it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Religious freedom and Zen in the year 2010

               In 842 CE the Tang Emperor Wuzong declared war on Buddhism in China. He was a Taoist, he had a money problem, his last war had all but bankrupted his government, and so he declared Buddhism an outlawed religion.
                He ordered that all Buddhist lands and property be forfeited to his government. This went a long way towards ending his economic problems. 44,600 monasteries and temples were either seized or destroyed. Over 260,000 monks and nuns were stripped of their robes and sent into servitude or told to return to lay life. Buddhist writings and sutras were outlawed and destroyed. The only school of Buddhism to emerge from this more or less intact was the Chan (Zen) School. Even with their buildings gone and their writings destroyed and outlawed, the heart of Zen kept beating.

           I was thinking about this today and about religious freedom. I wonder how many of us realize how fragile our right to worship as we please is in the year 2010. So I decided check it out. Here is what I found.
          In the following countries the government Licenses religion and will only allow those religions it has decided to license and regulate.

China, Population: 1,313,973,713.
North Korea, Population: 23,113,019.
Vietnam, Population: 84,402,966
Cuba, Population: 11,382,820

            The following countries are either a religious state or have a official state government religion with little or no toleration of other religions:

Afghanistan (Islamic state), Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh (Islamic state) Brunei, Comoros, Egypt

Indonesia (Uses Islamic jurisprudence in private law, and in Aceh special territory as a basic law. Officially also recognize Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism as religion, but the penalty for converting from Islam to another religion is death.

Iran (Islamic state), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya
Malaysia (Not exactly an Islamic state but does have Sharia courts along with the secular courts), penalty for conversion, death.
Maldives, Mauritania (Islamic state) Morocco, Oman
Pakistan (Islamic state) Qatar, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia (Islamic kingdom)Somalia (the newly established coalition government announced in March 2009 that it would implement shari'a as the nation's official judicial system. Tunisia United Arab Emirates, Yemen (Islamic state) Algeria, Bangladesh, Comoros, Somalia, Jordan, Indonesia (Aceh Special Province Only)
Buddhist state governments:
Bhutan, Cambodia, Kalmykia, A republic within the Russian Federation (Tibetan Buddhism- sole Buddhist entity in Europe) Sri Lanka (Theravada Buddhism) - The constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place," but Buddhism is not recognized as the state religion. Thailand.

Jewish states:  Israel,

         In Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia, the new Christian regimes, backed by western evangelicals are passing laws to stifle other religions and make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. Showing that Christianities will to theocracy is not dead and still thriving.
         The above is not an exhaustive list by far, but if you just “assumed” religious freedom was the normal state of affairs in the world, I think it shows you are wrong.
         Religious liberty is in fact atypical in our 21st century and should be guarded at all costs.

I wonder how well Zen would fair should we face another Emperor Wu?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The First Great Vow.

“Shigu Seigan” (Fourfold Great Vow)

Beings are numberless, I vow to free them
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them
Buddha's way is unsurpassable, I vow to realize it.

      These four vows, or a variation of them, are repeated daily in Zen temples, Zen centers and monasteries all over the world. I myself prefer "Sentient beings are numberless; I vow to liberate them," to “Beings are numberless, I vow to free them.” But there you go…

       Before I decide to write on something as pervasive as the 4 great vows I usually check around, read a bit of what the Zen and/or Buddhist teachers are saying on the subject, and see if I should even bother writing my blog on it. I have felt an urge to write on this for a while and today I checked out what the Zen masters of the Internet had to say about them.

If any of you internet Zen Masters ever stumble across this blog, listen up!

      The first great vow has nothing to do with soup kitchens, contributing to charity or visiting people in mental institutions. You can not free a person or liberate them by paying their bills, mowing their lawn or even feeding them food. These are all wonderful things to do, but they have nothing to do with this vow.
      The first and only being you can free or liberate is that amalgamation of delusions you tentatively call “you”. The only way to accomplish this is by the next three vows.
           You have within you at all times every one you have ever been and will ever be. These sentient beings reside within you from instant to instant and from life time to life time. Attention: If you ever manage to free or liberate one of these beings then you free and liberate numberless others both past and future.

As Dogen would say, investigate that!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Birth, Life and Death

       I would say that Birth, Life and Death are the issue that underlies all religion. If you disagree with that then this little essay is not for you.
     In Buddhism we have adopted a view that sentient beings, at least most of us, are subject to an endless cycle of Birth, death and rebirth, we call this among other things being trapped in samsara. We wander through the countless cycles of Life & Death, bouncing between the lowest hells (Avici - the unrelenting Hell) to the highest heaven (Akanistha - the ultimate peak of Heaven). Among the goals, or intent of Buddhism is to escape this cyclic existence.

Zen master Dogen wrote a small essay called “Shoji” or On Life and death” It begins:

“Because there is Buddha within living and dying, life and death do not exist.” And in response, the following was said, “Because the Buddha did not exist within life and death, He was not infatuated with living and dying.” These words are the very heart of what was said by the two Meditation Masters Kassan and Jōzan. Since they are the words of persons who had realized the Way, we can certainly profit by them, and not in vain. Anyone who wishes to be freed from life and death should clarify this principle. Should you seek for Buddha outside of living and dying…”

        I had a moment, a realization that I suppose my logical mind would say was self evident, yet that moment was some how more profound than understanding, I can’t explain it, but subjectively it was.

       My Zen teacher was discussing life and death during a talk, and I suddenly realized that life and death are not different things at all, that birth, life and death are one single event, one single thing having the same nature. I somehow had always seen birth and death as polar opposites, like light and dark, sweet and sour, hot or cold. But in that moment I seemed to pierce this illusion and see. Suddenly tons of what I had read by Dogen, not just in Shoji but in many of his writings,  made perfect sense, not a small feat in itself if you have read much of Dogen.

Well that’s all I wanted to say…

That and Thank You Sensei!

Monday, May 3, 2010

“O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; No more of that.”

One of the wonderful things about Buddhist history and thought is that it has so many flavors and varieties. One of the sad things about humans is that once they decide on a flavor it seems to drive them crazy when they see others enjoying a different one.

A little Jewish man who history called Jesus taught a philosophy of love and compassion. Humans calling themselves Christians have then spent over 2000 years killing, torturing, murdering and burning to death anyone who disagreed with them on even the slightest point of doctrine.

A little Hindu man who history calls Shakyamuni Buddha wondered the world for 40 years teaching a way to ease the pain of life and reach for enlightenment. In the 3000 years since his death there have been schools of philosophy by the score expounding upon his teachings and almost to a school teaching things in direct contradiction to his basic teachings.

I see in this not a flaw in the teachings so much as a flaw in human nature.

I am Buddhist and from that I cannot retreat. But when deciding to write on being a Buddhist in the twenty first century I had to face my own Karma, my own world view is bound up in my karma and yours and the two can not be separated. In a way this is a missive from my world sent out to yours. And despite my own faith I am aware that whenever someone address’s the subject of religion they are moving into shadow and danger, for history and Shakespeare have told us truly that “O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; No more of that.” Shakespeare's King Lear, 1605.
Men have been presuming to talk and act for God since before recorded history.

“ When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.”
Prologue to the Code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE one of the oldest texts of laws known to man.

It is clear from the well developed text above which was written about 3787 years ago men were killing each other in the name of God and justifying their actions as authorized by God long before recorded history.

For some unknown reason contemplation of God seems to drive men mad and by madness I mean abandonment of reason and moral character. When this madness strikes it more often than not drives those afflicted to strike out against all those around them but its most fundamental symptom is the affected seem to become enemies to life, even their own. This madness seems confined to no particular religion or age. Below I have listed just a few examples or mile stones of this madness for your consideration. This list is far from exhaustive and if I have left anyone out I apologize.

Of course the exact date is not know but most scholars seem to estimate a date of around 1272 BC when God drops by personally to give Moses a laundry list of nations and people to exterminate. According to the book of Deuteronomy, God orders the Jewish tribes to exterminate every man, women and child of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzities, Hivites and Jebusites. God directs that these people be “destroyed totally”. This they do and take their promised land, and that leads to trouble that still has not ended.

Somewhere between 300 and 400 AD Polynesians land on Easter Island, an isolated island 2000 miles from any other land. By 500 AD the inhabitants adopt a religion which requires that they carve large stone figures called moai. Over the years they start carving more and bigger statues. Every year they poured more and more scarce resources into these religious objects. Eventually the islands entire resources are consumed by this religion until the society collapses and the natives are all but wiped out. They are forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. On the verge of extinction with only about 111 people left alive they dump the old religion and make a new one dedicated to the God Make-make, called the Bird man Cult.

In 415 AD Hypatia of Alexandria, one of the most brilliant minds of her age and the first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics in human history is torn to pieces with glass fragments by hysterical Christian monks. There follows a purging of much of the scientific and mathematical work done in Alexandria.

Muslims invade India in 1000 AD. Mahmud Ghazni leads a Jihad against the Hindus and Buddhist of India. These invasions lasted for centuries even continued when the Muslims controlled almost the entire sub continent of India. The Hindu population is said to have been reduced by 80 million people during between 1000 AD and 1525 AD by these religious wars. Others estimate the dead to be closer to 100 Million. Buddhism is all but wiped out in India during this time. The Muslim war lord Nadir Shan was infamous for creating a mountain of Hindu skulls in Delhi India as a monument to Ali.

From 1095 to 1291, the Catholic Church started a series of military invasions of the Middle East that are now called the crusades. The Christians go on a killing rampage across the world. These bloody and ruthless wars were fought primarily with the Muslims that lived there. The stated goal for these invasions was to take back the Holy land. The number of dead on both sides reached into the millions. The Christians also held various less publicized military crusades against the tartars, the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, and many other groups around Europe during this period. The most infamous being against a group of Christians called the Cathars.

In 1208 The Pope, Innocent III, apparently tired of having to go to the middle east to kill for God turned his eyes upon France and calls for a formal Crusade against the Cathars there. The Cathars are a group of Christians that believed in poverty and chastity for all its members. The pope gathers and army whose command is “Kill them all. God will know his own”. The war against the Cathars of France continued for two generations and resulted in the mass murder of over half a million men women and children. The Catholic Church still maintains it was justified on religious grounds.

In 1478 the Catholic monarchs of Spain decide make sure Catholic orthodoxy is maintained by starting the Spanish Inquisition. For the next hundred years or so Protestants and Jews are harassed, tortured and killed by the inquisition.

There seems to have been nothing like a good human sacrifice to get the god’s on your side. People have been murdering friends family, strangers and captives in search of god’s blessing all across the world for years. Human sacrifice has been part of religious ceremony since before recorded time. In central and South America it was practiced by the Aztec, the Maya, the Inca, the Mixtec and the Olmec. In India the wives of deceased Hindu husbands were expected to perform Sati, throwing themselves on their husbands funeral fire. The Chinese used to tossed folks bound hand and foot into rivers to make the river gods happy. The Romans and the Etruscans loved a good human sacrifice and even turned it into entertainment. The list is endless. But no one seems to have been able to top the Aztec’s. I have given them special note.

From about 1250 to 1512 the Aztec peoples decide that the gods want humans to have their hearts ripped from their living breasts for their pleasure, so among other quaint religious rituals they would place people a sacrificial stone. Then the priest would cut through the abdomen with an obsidian or flint dagger. The heart would be torn out and held towards the sky in honor to the Sun-God; the body would be carried away and either cremated or given to the warrior responsible for the capture of the victim. He would either cut the body in pieces and send them to important people as an offering, or use the pieces for ritual cannibalism. This was done to about twenty thousand people a year. In 1512 The Spanish Christians Shocked by this behavior put a stop to it by wiping out almost the entire Aztec peoples by war and disease. Back in Spain the Spanish Inquisition was still in full swing.

Ever busy from the 15th to 17th century the Christian Church goes on a witch burning program in Europe. Some 50 thousand women are tortured and burned at the stake.

1614 to 1648, Japan’s Buddhist government makes being a Christian punishable by death. All citizens are required to register with a Buddhist temple. Thousands of Christians are killed many are crucified or burned alive... This ban lasts for years even when no longer enforced.

In 1691 the Catholic country of Ireland was controlled by the protestant country of England. Knowing a good thing when they saw it the English proceeded to pass laws punishing the Irish for being catholic which of course resulted in a religious war that still bubbles up today. Thousands of people have died, been imprisoned, tortured and held in abject poverty based upon their religion from then to now.

In 1933 Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany and the Nazi party starts its rule of Germany. This eventually leads to the development of death camps and mass murder of Jews throughout Europe. Conservative estimates of the Jewish dead range from 2 to 3 million at the death camps. Over a million Gypsies are rounded up and killed, 200,000 freemasons and another million people from various religions and groups are murdered.

On 15 August 1947 England transfers power to India and Grants India self rule. Almost immediately religious war breaks out between the three major religious groups in India. The fighting takes the lives of an estimated 1 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, followed by the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

In July 1946 Jewish nationalist bomb The King David Jerusalem, killing 91 people and ushering in the new age of terrorism. The methods used are later adopted by both the Muslim extremist and the catholic IRA in their religious struggles.

In 1950 Communist China Invades the predominantly Buddhist nation of Tibet and Over 2 million Tibetan Buddhist including Thousands of monks are killed. Thousand more are arrested and tortured for their religious beliefs by the communist. This process continues into the 21st century with Red China claiming it “owns” Tibet.

What madness rolls across the mind of a man who thinks he knows what God wants done...