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Posts Tagged ‘reciprocity’

A bright idea, 'many hands make light work'.

A bright idea, ‘many hands make light work’.

Easter is a Holy Day, a Holiday to be Respected.

Too many cooks, not in Pauline's kitchen,

Too many cooks, not in Pauline’s kitchen,

Disregard the doctrines of dogmatic beliefs accept only what is beneficial, logical and ethical. Seek the wisdom of peace and kindness hidden by the pomp and ceremony of priests and guru dignitaries.

It looks like Renoir's Boating party.

It looks like Renoir’s Boating party.

The higher you climb up the mountain in search of truth, the more you will see that many spiritual paths converge to reach the same goal.

 All major religions have five principals they agree on. For the sake of peace can we disregarded what does not appeal to us.

 What is this neutral ground we can all share in common?

Abstaining from taking life most would agree on.

 Not stealing, we should only take what is given.

 Refraining from lies, stealing, envy and sexual misconduct these are ethics we can agree on.

Play together and stay together.

Play together and stay together.

There is no need for fences of bigotry baring us from access to the love to be found in sincere believers in all religions.

A small part of the family.

A small part of the family.

 Our life is precious and  we value our belongings so the wise abide by the ‘Golden Rule’, realising we are all interdependent and every action has a reaction. This is Newton’s third law relating to physical force. To Hindu and Buddhist this is like the automatic reaction of karma.

 In life karma is obvious when people respond to our actions in like manor. Smile at someone to test this they will usually smile back. That is a test of karma try it often to see how it works. If you get no response it may be because they have no smiles left in them and perhaps your smile has saved them from starving.

 Do not expect others or supernatural powers to correct the problems in the world. Do not complain protest and stir up more unrest. The change in the world starts with a personal change in our own behaviour.

Suwon a walled city South Korea 30 km from Seoul.

Suwon a walled city South Korea 30 km from Seoul.

 Open your mind, open your heart and open the welcome gate. Pull down your walls of distrust, fear, greed and remedy hate with understanding. Walls are built because of fear, greed and distrust. Huge houses are needed to hoard possessions and store more than is needed. Weapons and defences are increased out of fear; this only creates fear in our neighbours.

That burka could be hiding a weapon of mass destruction.

If you are afraid you may want to carry a gun.

 I am not going to lose any sleep over what is beyond my control. If the gods do not want to fix it why should I worry? We can be content if we do our own personal best to promote love in the world around us, helping people when we can. Appreciating and conserving Mother Nature’s gifts and endeavoring to follow an ethical path.

It is all beautiful with the right attitude.

It is all beautiful with the right attitude.

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The cake a work of joy a pleasure to share.

The cake a work of joy a pleasure to share.

A piece of cake, so easy.

This Christmas tree was like a burning bush.

This Christmas tree was like a burning bush.

It is time to bake a Christmas cake to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday. I am pleased that it is not traditional to decorate it with candles, two thousand and fourteen candles would create a fire hazard. As I do not believe in the supernatural I would only put thirty or thirty-three, the date of his crucifixion, still that would be enough to create problems in blowing them out. That would be a minor feat for Jesus and divided by three, The Father the son and the Holy Ghost that is only eleven candles to extinguish.

Santas walking on water.

Santas walking on water.

I am going to respect tradition, no candles, only cake, compassion and kindness. This is what Jesus promoted, not putting on a big show to sell candles. Christmas is a good opportunity to share some of our cake with others. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. This is true Christmas spirit, not the kind that is bottled and sold. Once the cork is pulled the dangerous intoxicating spirit escapes from the bottle and can turn Christmas into a time of grief. In other words don’t drink and drive or lose your senses and act stupid.

The presintation is inportant.

The presentation is important.

Jesus did not object to a slice of bread and glass of wine. To some Christian denominations this represents Jesus’ flesh and blood. I do not understand or see any value in many Christian observances, rites and rituals. But I do like and respect the sincere loving believers that do kindness where it is needed. I trust these people because they up hold the values Christ advocated. These are same principle other people of different beliefs practice.

The wise follow the star.

The wise follow the star.

Jesus was one role-model to emulate as a path to morality there are other paths to the same destination. Let us not squabble over who we are following. Try to see the good in people and do to them as you would like them to do to you. This quote in some form is in every religion. It is known as the Golden Rule, the rule of reciprocity. It features in Confucianism 551 – 479 BC, also in Hindu and Buddhism. All this is ancient history; let us not get too excited about who did this and who said that, that would spoil the joy of Christmas day.

To the four story heigh top.

To the four-story high top.

Do not get all fired up, hot and excited, that is probably why there are no candles on a Christmas cake. The candles may have been omitted to remind us not to turn this special birth day into a party but keep it a tasteful occasion to spread peace and kindness. To put behind us the petty upsets and use this as a time to show forgiveness. Christmas can be a time for all to show respect.A great opportunity to renew old friendships that have been neglected in the hustle and bustle of modern life. We have an excuse to send a card and get back in touch. Christmas can be a wonderful time for everyone.

Decorations in Sydney are big and beautiful.

Decorations in Sydney are big and beautiful.

You do not need to stress out worrying about buying expensive gifts as commerce encouraged us to do. Our loved ones just want our loving kindness. We cannot smile and be full of love if we are stressed about finance. That is why I am cooking a Christmas cake One of life’s joys is sharing a slice of cake with friends. I can afford a little more than just a cake and it will give me pleasure to do so. As Jesus would agree it is better to give than receive. Real joy is in giving kindness and love it is not measured in dollars.

A closer look.

A closer look.

I remember my childhood Christmases not the material gifts but those wonderful Christmas dinners. Sharing food cooked with love by my mother. The Christmas pudding had silver three penny pieces in it. We had to eat carefully and the whole family enjoyed sharing the fun. If I missed getting a coin, Mum would say “here have another small slice” and her magic ensured I got a coin. A trick my Dad played was to slip a half-crown, like fifty cents today, disregarding the effects of inflation, into his pudding and pretended to almost choke retrieving it. It did not fool anyone but did create a laugh still echoing today. I played this game with my sons and the laughter was worth more than the money.

Christmas is a pleasure to the eye.

Christmas is a pleasure to the eye.

As well as a cake I am going to cook a pudding and get some old silver coins and ply the old joke with my five grand children. Christmas lunch with the family and especially the young children is a special time for love to flourish. Those that cannot be there we visit when we can and keep them informed through modern technology. I am thankful for Christmas and what it means compassion and peace on earth.

Window shopping is also fun.

Window shopping is also fun.

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A step in the right direction.

A step in the right direction.

Visit to Santa.

“What would you like for Christmas?”

“Bring me what Jesus wanted.”

“What was that?”

“Peace on Earth.”

“Be reasonable that is not what I am here for, there is no profit in peace.”

“It does not cost the Earth.”

“You are a problem child; ask for something expensive that will help the economy.”

“I would like good-will to everyone.”

“Look kid, stop being difficult, you must have seen something you want advertised on TV.”

“I have all I need; there are people in the world that need the necessities of life.”

“If you don’t want anything, why are you taking up my time?”

“Respect for my Grandfather he is going senile, like second childhood, he believes in Santa Clause, I  believe in God, Jesus and the holy spirit but not in Santa Clause.”

“You are not a child, but you are still not an adult.”

“Why not?”

“Because you still believe in myths, so don’t waste my time.”

St Maries Cathedral Sydney.

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney.

I made up this story between a shopping complex Santa and a sincere Christian upholding the true values of Christmas. I do not believe any myths, the point of my story is we do not have to believe to have respect. Nor should we disregard the positive things found in other people’s beliefs. The peace and compassion Jesus taught is the same ethical values Jews and Muslims revere. Hindus and Buddhists also promote love and kindness. The conversation shows how the kindness of giving at Christmas has been over commercialized. Read carefully and you will note kindness does not cost the earth, but buying unnecessary luxuries does cost the environment. Giving to those in need will promote peace on earth and reduce hate.

Sydney Town Hall and Christmas lights.

Sydney Town Hall and Christmas lights.

We must grow up, in the past ignorance, fear, hatred and greed have caused conflict and wars. Calling other people’s beliefs myths is not nice, we have a right to our opinion but we must be reciprocal. If we cannot accept some ones opinion we should still respect their feelings. Wars have been caused because of dogmatic people who ironically disregard their own moral values and kill. Greedy people exploit the situation promoting distrust, fear and hate giving religion a bad name. Religion was invented to promote law and order and it has caused chaos.

sydney Town Hall celabrates Christmas.

Sydney Town Hall Christmas lights.

Christmas is a holy day for Christians, for others it is just a holiday and is a wonderful concept if we are sensible and show respect. If we are foolish Christmas can be a disaster. Please be mindful of your action, balance your behavior. Too much Christmas spirit could be your undoing. Be thoughtful in your giving, it need not be expensive, it is the thought you put into picking an appropriate present that counts. We should remember it is not our birthday, so we should not expect gifts. The joy is in giving and the importance of a gift is to expect nothing in return, otherwise it is a deal, a transaction and business as usual.

Chinese Santa at sydney China town.

Chinese Santa at Sydney China town.

Being respectful for others promotes goodwill, if we show respect we will be respected. We do not need to accept everything if it conflicts with our view. Still we can use what is beneficial wherever it is found and accept the gift graciously. Christmas is a holiday I look on as a Christian gift of kindness, opening our hearts to everyone. The best of the Christmas spirit should be practiced on everyone’s birthday. Then there would be peace on earth. Imagine how wonderful it would be if we emulated those admirable qualities attributed to Jesus.

Christmas department stor window display.

Christmas department store window display.

There are things prevalent at Christmas not advantageous to our wellbeing but these negative practices are not only exhibited at Christmas. Over indulgence, wild extravagance and stupidity, no need to rave on, all these cravings are spoiling our wonderful world. In Australia whatever you hold as sacred virtues can be practiced at Christmas, as we are a multicultural country. The mistakes of the past are many, hopefully they can be laid to rest and as a democracy we can be tolerant, for regardless of one’s ideology we are all from the same source, we are one, we all bleed the same colour.

"Look Mummy."

“Look Mummy.”

Tell Santa I would like a small piece of Christmas pudding and want a big piece of peace to share with everyone.

Children enjoy window shopping.

Children enjoy window shopping.

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A variety of passion fruit flower.

A variety of passion fruit flower.

Gay or Sad.

Flowers are gay without being controversial.

Flowers are gay without being controversial.

There is nothing wrong with being gay. I used to be gay but now I am sad I cannot be gay any more. To day to be gay you emerge from a cupboard and declare I am homosexual this then makes you gay or happy to be out of the confined space of the metaphorical cupboard. Your unique balance of Yin and Yang, to some people would make you appear as queer as a square egg.  Yin and Yang in Chinese Taoism is the balance of opposites Yin representing feminine things in nature, cool, soft, the moon, Yang the masculine, hot, hard and the sun are examples. Yin and Yang are not actually opposites, one would not exist without the other and each contains some of the other. It is the balance of Yin and Yang that gives all things their unique nature. When you have the Yin and Yang in perfect balance you are fortunate you are in tune with nature.

More variety.

More variety.

I knew a girl named Gay she decided to go into the cupboard to change her name to Sue. Johnny Cash then pulled out of the cupboard a song “A Boy Named Sue.” Another trip to the cupboard for Sue, you could have knocked me down with half a house brick, out she came as Bob. Now she has a job driving a big Kenworth truck, yes girls can do anything. It was not always that way but John Wayne is dead, ‘the little woman’ can do what she likes, we now have power steering and automatic transmission. Men can also do anything now that we have, plastic baby diapers, TV dinners and dish washers. All the labor-saving devices that make house work child’s play. That leaves the children free to play computer games.

Australian variety of Grevilleas.

Australian variety of Grevillia.

We have happy marriages, why shouldn’t we have gay divorces. Why is something as popular as divorce sad? One does not have to give back the wedding presents or reimburse the parents for the cost of the reception or even pick up the confetti. What about the kids? Hopefully the kids now have two homes to choose from and lots more options in playing one parent off against the other. The children also have the legal system to look after their rights. Children are well-informed of their rights; no adult dare lay a hand on them. Even a friendly helping hand can be misunderstood. It is unfortunate children are taught to fear, God and man, when most men want to help and protect children. Lacking the time to take care and teach your children. You think it necessary to teach them fear? I am surprised at how many children grow into kind caring adults, when I consider their role models.

This is a close up of the Crown of Thorns.

This is a close up of the Crown of Thorns.

I am confused, I don’t know if I am Arthur or Martha, figuratively speaking. Actually I am fully aware of my gender. It is whether I agree with the values our society places on possessions and status that puzzles me. I do not want to be taken up the wrong way and it is not my intention to offend those people who are personally affected by an imbalance of Yin and Yang so to speak. There have been, and still are, a lot of talented people. Freddie Mercury, Queen’s vocalist. Remember their hit “Another One Bites The Dust.”? I still love that hit. Freddie made no secret about his bisexuality he actually capitalized on it. As a unique playwright wrote “There is only one thing worse than being talked about that is not being talked about.” That is attributed to Oscar Wild, so is “They are terrible temptations that it takes courage to yield to.” One of his young acquaintances may have said these lines and Oscar took the credit?

It is variety that makes a garden interesting.

It is variety that makes a garden interesting.

We should not judge people harshly just because they are different to us. Nothing in life is simple there are many variables. I hope this post triggers food for thought that prompts tolerance. The modern world is full of diversity and we need to look at everything with an open mind. If a woman drives a truck or a man is a house husband and women set up house together or men kiss on the football field. This is irrelevant it is whether they are helpful, kind and considerate to others that matters. We can have our preferences without condemning others for theirs and this tolerance should be reciprocal.

A Powder-puff Lillypilly.

A Powder-puff Lillypilly.

Sex, Religion, Race or Colour We have this in common we all bleed red.

A visitor to the Powder-puff.

A visitor to the Powder-puff.

 

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What is your problem?

1997 Korean trip.

 Korean 1st trip.

You see your world from your unique position; it is crystal clear to you. You know your version of your vision. I see my world from my point of view; it could be close to yours or totally opposite to you. It is clear to me what I see, but you cannot see it my way and I cannot see as you do. Perhaps we should change positions. You would then have a clearer view from my position and some idea of my understanding, and I would see things from your angle. We could then decide the advantage of holding a particular point of view. We would then realize we need a three hundred and sixty degree view and this is difficult for a mere mortal to do. Then who has x-ray vision? We still would not know the secrets hidden below the surface. We would remain ignorant but at least have established some understanding of another point of view.

2006 top steps

All our views lack a full understanding of what is beyond our view. On this limited view we make our hypotheses to explain the nature of the inexplicable universe and this is our view. There are many views from scientific to the super natural, some totally different to the view of another, but armed with reciprocal understanding of the other persons view, there is no need to take up weapons to defend our view. Realizing these views are only theories, to explain what we cannot see.

2004 view from steps

Look at some facts; find out how many different views there are on a subject like religion. You may be surprised every major religion, and there are many, have thousands of different branches, denominations or schools. Then there are the cults, the secret societies, the shamans, the witch-doctors and many new age groups. All sincerely believing they are right many without looking into any of the many other beliefs. They may tell you their God has spoken to them. May be God spoke to me too, but evidently I was not listening. Maybe a different God spoke to someone else. There are many Gods and all are the true God to the one that believes in him or her, or ‘it’. Yes, god could be an ‘it’, a force or something like nature with natural laws all interrelated and interdependent.

 Look out

It is easy to accept someone else’s words on faith. Words they claim were given to them from their God. There have been many prophets. The only one with any credibility in recent times would be Haile Selassie a very good man by all accounts. He was an inspiration to Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King also Malcolm X and if you are a fan of Bob Marley you will know about the Rastafarian Movement. Throughout history there have been many admirable men such as Jesus and the Buddha. It is not unusual for followers to enlarge on the good deeds of the deceased. In the case of the Buddha some people have elevated him to the status of a god. A lot of things change over 2,500 years and it takes a lot of unbiased reading to realize the truth is difficult to ascertain. Recently a man was interviewed on T.V. he was claiming to be the returned messiah I do not think anyone believed him.

Gwancheol gate

Metaphysics a philosophy concerned with knowing and being, a metaphysicist tries to explain the fundamental nature of the universe. All I can say is philosophy is a very heavy subject. Was the Buddha a metaphysicist? He taught

The Four Noble Truths. 

1. life was  dukkha, dukkha equates to the unsatisfactory nature of things.

2. The origin of dukkha.

3. the cassation of dukkha.

4. The Eight Fold Path the way to the cessation of dukkha.

Insige wall.

The first step on the path is ‘right understanding’ to realizing all things that are subject to arising are subject to cessation. Wanting these impermanent things is to invite eventual pain. If we have right understanding and practice  the other steps on The Eight Fold Path. We avoid dukkha, much of life’s suffering and will promote good in the world.

good view

We should study all the good teachings available to us and our P.C. gives us access to a vast amount of wisdom. If you are interested type into Google names and things in my post you are unfamiliar with. I do not wish to take anyone to exclusive sites I have chosen.  It is up to you to learn from the outside and growing on the inside. Not accepting anything or ruling out anything till it is tested thoroughly. Any God that objects to this is very insecure and not the true ultimate power in the universe.

Lookout

That is our problem, perhaps it is an unsolvable one. The Alcoholics Anonymous has adopted a prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr. That is appropriate to quote here, The Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Stream and wall

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 Path to practice.

Many paths to the top of the mountain.

Many paths to the top of the mountain.

You may not believe the story of Jesus’ resurrection as described in the Bible, (Mathew 28: 1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24: 1-49; john 20: 1-21 :25,). You may have another story from a book you hold sacred. Whether you believe it true or false, does not automatically make you a nice person. You do not need to belong to any one religion or philosophical group to be a decent, honest and caring person. A person can have any religious or philosophical belief as long as they live in harmony with their fellow-man, practicing noble ethical qualities. The downside is you may not go to heaven, that is a hot subject to debate.

After the crucifixtion.

After the Crucifixion.

Observing a few basic, ethical rules and practicing them govern whether a person is a worthy person you can trust and rely on. In reality people are not, “good people”, people specially chosen. There are the uninformed or ignorant and there are people who genuinely believe they know, but may be misinformed, but still can be nice people, eager to help anyone in need. Bearing this in mind we must not be ignorant, arrogant or rude, listen with respect, balance the facts and except what is helpful and disregard what is nonsense.

The golden rule.

The golden rule.

There are basic ethical rules that do not conflict with any major religion and are incorporated in their precepts or laws. All worthy people who practice the qualities of kindness and consideration for their fellow-man are good people. To be kind you must be considerate and have respect for the feelings of others. If you are respectful you will be respected, that is the meaning of reciprocity in action. Treating others as we would like to be treated is “the golden rule.” When practicing the “golden rule,” you must remember we do not all have the same ideas, likes and dislikes. Therefore you should always consider the others preferences.

A nother choice, one of the Hindu trinity.

Another choice, one of the Hindu trinity.

The Christians follow “the Ten commandments”. Other beliefs have their guiding laws and precepts. They all agreed on the same fundamental principles, of prohibiting killing, upholding honesty, not lying or stealing, prohibiting illicit sex and violence, also not abusing drugs. All drugs are harmful; all have side effects, these effects must be considered carefully. A little may be a beneficial medicine or it could be dangerous poison. If you do not practice these laws or rules you are either ignorant or a fool. These are the principles that allow society to live in peace and harmony. The ignorant need teaching the fool is sick and needs understanding care and compassion.

Generosity without limit beer in moderation.

Generosity without limit beer in moderation.

There should be a meeting place, where we can practice the things we do agree on. Then listen to each other’s thoughts, views, ideas and beliefs without argument. controlling our thoughts and emotions is essential or what started out as a discussion could escalate into an argument that could become violent.

Religion can be an excuse to plunder.

Religion can be an excuse to plunder.

Learning to control the thoughts that are agitating our mind, like static interferes with T.V. reception, some people use meditation, some use pray and some may be gifted with a tranquil nature. Whatever religion or philosophy is chosen if it allows you to listen calmly in the midst of a debate and not get angry or resentful it is serving you well. You will become wise by listening and not allow your pride or ego to draw you into an argument. You will remain silent or respond with calm logic to the question under debate. It may be difficult to tolerate people who persist in not seeing clearly as you beleave. Consider this is good practice for awareness of your thoughts and tolerance towards others. Remember conversely the situation is also difficult for the other party.

Montage of Religions.

Montage of Religions.

We have to share this small world with many different races with their diverse customs and practices. There are many major religions each with a surprising number of different branches or denominations. This gives us a vast amount to study and consider before we decide who is right. Till we get to know people of other beliefs, read their writing and study their ideas can we know whose teachings are the supreme path to follow? Till then be tolerant and promote what we all can agree on.

Not yet tranquil.

Not yet tranquil.

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Montage of Religions.

The montage of religions.

Although all these religions have good aspects, they all have doubters and disputes, within their faith and with other religions. All have good intentions and can help in living an ethical life.  But in my opinion none are the ultimate answer. I could be wrong, I am still learning, no doubt I am ignorant of some of the details. We often look outside and criticize others, when the fault lies within our self.  I will follow what I believe and not be dogmatic about other dogmas and beliefs. With an open questioning attitude I hope to gain some understanding, of what is possibly an unanswerable question.

A piece of heaven.

I learned some interesting things, while gathering pictures for the montage.

thanks to.

Peace in heaven.

Thanks to Google and all the people whose pictures I used in the montage. All the other pictures I used are my own photos and drawings. That works out reasonably well, thanks to the Photoshop program. For the montage I decided to explore another way of getting pictures and I learned a lot more than I had expected   Thanks to the web site, Islamic Academy, I read the article for non Muslims, well worth reading, especially for people who consider Muslims a threat. That was where I got the beautiful art representation of Allah I liked others but chose the one with the flowers as they are more in keeping with purity and seemed more as a gift from the above. Thanks for the picture I used in the montage from other sites. They all gave me a bit more interesting knowledge about the beliefs they represented. I give thanks to them for this knowledge that contributes to my understanding and enlightenment.

Many rivers flow to one ocean.

Knowledge and understanding are the antidote to fear and hatred. It is said, “Things are neither good nor bad, things are just as they are.” to the wise. We can get too emotionally involved, too judgmental. Some times we think something is wonderful when we learn the price; decide it expensive, not worth the time and effort and often an adversity is a blessing in disguises.

The ocean is vast.

If we look for the good we will find it, if we look for faults we will find them. It could be what we see is only a reflection of what we are looking for. So let us start to look for the good in our fellow man, he is a reflection of you. Smile at the people you meet, they will usually return your smile, do not get upset if they do not, they may have problems and need kindness, not more troubles. Do not be too quick to judge that untidy, mean-looking person, in reality he may have dreadful problems plaguing him. See him under favorable circumstances and he could appear much more appealing.

The ocean is deep.

To judge a belief as a myth and nonsense, before studying it with an open mind is biased, prejudice. A mind interested in the underlying reasoning is more rewarding. Things I once thought had no useful purpose or were unintelligible nonsense, after further investigation I saw the reasoning behind them. Some I then judged as helpful to my spiritual advancement others I decided were not helpful to me. I always benefited in that I gained understanding of the people that lived by those beliefs.

The ocean is beautiful.

Reciprocity, understanding and respect are things that could save a lot of turmoil in our world. To live with trust in our neighbor, knowing he has the same needs as us and if not deprived of his fair share of these basic needs, like us he would rather live in peace than risk his life in war and the destruction. War does more damage to our environment than all the peaceful activity. Nature is infinite and will not be destroyed, man is mortal he will be destroyed, if he refuses to learn.

Natures beautiful gifts we should appreciate in your own way.

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