Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Void

It's funny how you lead yourself around to things.

I am currently reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead or Bardo Thodol which translates as Liberation Through Hearing in the Intermediate State. Next I will be reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.
How did I get here? I had recently read John Lennon in His Own Words and I recalled later that John Lennon had read The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, before writing Tomorrow Never Knows (working title: The Void), the last song on The Beatle's 1966 album Revolver.
I was searching my libraries' catalogue for something interesting to read when I recalled all this. So I looked it up.

It is very interesting, if you are interested in re-incarnation and other spiritual topics, as I am. It was written by Tibetan Buddhists so it relates to their beliefs but can be useful to anyone.
The basic idea is that when a person dies there is a 49 day process before re-incarnating and if the Bardo Thodol is read aloud, their spirit will hear it and realize where they are and in doing so, become liberated and not have to be re-incarnated. Apparently this is a rare event, as it takes a person with lifetimes of dedication and good merits to achieve liberation. Although a person in the Bardo may realise where they are they may still have to be re-incarnated but at least they can have some choice in the matter. I think this is the case but I am a complete novice so I may be wrong.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a like a preparation guide for the Bardo. Being a Buddhist would also be a preparation for the Bardo by default, as its tenets of compassion, mindfulness and right doing are skills needed in the Bardo.
From what I can gather from reading the Bardo Thodol is; when you are in the Bardo (although there are technically 3 Bardos) your mind manifests everything you encounter there. These can be good and bad experiences; memories, thoughts, karmas etc. But you think they are real and respond to them. That is the trap. By responding, you generate the conditions around you and so like a vicous circle you get carried along by your thoughts and feelings and sink lower and lower until you are attracted to a womb and become re-incarnated. Starting the whole cycle again.

Buddhists want to be liberated eventually so they practice their techniques in preparation for the Bardo or just the next life. By staying calm and mindful and being compassionate, in the Bardo, you will not be swept along by reacting to your manifestations and may become liberated by realising that everything is an illusion created by your mind. This is a very difficult thing to do. Anyone who has tried meditating by letting there thoughts flow by without getting carried along by them will know. It is also difficult not to believe everything in the physical world is an illusion (or Maya) whilst you are totally immersed in it. Just like the people in the film The Matrix (one of my favourites), who are actually in pods generating the power for the Matrix which is a virtual human world in which the inhabitants think is reality.

Personally I do not want to be re-incarnated, so I'm looking at ways to prevent it occurring, but if this is not possible, then at least to have some control over the matter.

I have also studied Krsna conciousness by reading The Science of Self Realisation, Chant and Be Happy, part of the Bhagavad Gita and some other Krsna books, and by talking to some devotees at Crossways Hare Krisna Restaurant in Melbourne. They believe that in this age of Kali Yuga (time of quarrel and contention) the best way to become liberated from re-incarnation (go back to Godhead or Krsna) is to chant the Hare Krisna mantra and when not chanting the mantra, to serve Krsna. They also believe in karma. This is a very basic overview obviously.

I met one guy at Crossways who is a follower of Krsna Consciousness but not a devotee who told me Buddism was created by Krisna for atheists so they can be liberated without believing in Krisna.

I will continue my studies.

Ship Ahoy!

© Copyright 2006 Egghead.

This looks like a ship to me. Although its really a bridge.


© Copyright 2006 Egghead.

This is a reworking of a photo of Elara one of the Suicide Girls (http://suicidegirls.com). I was thinking of putting it on a blue t-shirt, that's why the background is dark blue.

This girl reminds me of a girl I fell in love with once.

Francois Truffaut

Been getting back into good old, Francois Truffaut lately. I love french films. I'm not sure why. I might've been French in another life...

I recently saw Farenheit 451 but didn't think it was very good. It had some interesting parts but didn't really engage me. I watched the extras on the DVD and found out the problems they had making the film. It explained a lot.

Next I saw The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cent Coups), made in 1959, it was Francois Truffaut's first feature film and is the first of an autobiographical series of five films featuring the character Antoine Doinel (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud), as Francois Truffaut.
It was an interesting film, subtle in many ways, using images rather than dialogue to convey meaning. I found it funny and sad in equal measure. It has made me want to see the rest of the series.
Before selecting this movie I knew it was the first in a series so I wanted to respect the order even though I also wanted to watch a later film. I hoping it will be worth the effort.
I did recall seeing a film with Jean-Pierre Leaud many years ago, at first I thought it was Jules et Jim but now I think it might've been one in this series. I just remember Jean-Pierre Leaud having girl trouble...
The next film is Antoine et Collette made in 1962 as part of an anthology collection, L'Amour a vingt ans (Love at Twenty). As luck would have it, it is the only film in the series that my library doesn't have, so I will have to hunt it down.

Other Blogs

Lately I've been checking out two blogs I like:

Miscellany (http://melbournestories.blogspot.com/) and

Paul Oslo Davis http://pauldavisdrawings.blogspot.com/.

Miscellany is the adventures of a late twenties female school teacher living in inner Melbourne. Sometimes it makes me snort or chortle.

Paul Oslo Davis is a Melbourne illustrator and cartoonist. He also makes me chortle or titter. Paul publishes Raised Eyebrows which is Melbourne's only 1 page A3 zine/comic. If you like his work you may be able to get him to send you a copy.
He also had 2 cartoons published in The Age newspaper over summer which you may have seen.

He draws in a squiggly line style, which I really like. His sense of humour is strange which is up my alley.

Check 'em out.