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The Monks. Often a Brahman when he has attained to a considerable age withdraws to the desert, fasts, watches, refrains from speech, exposes himself naked to the rain, holds himself erect between four fires under the burning sun. After some years, the solitary becomes "penitent"; then his only subsistence is from almsgiving; for whole days he lifts an arm in the air uttering not a word, holding his breath; or perchance, he gashes himself with razor-blades; or he may even keep his thumbs closed until the nails pierce the hands.

By these mortifications he destroys passion, releases himself from this life, and by contemplation rises to Brahma. And yet, this way of [Pg 58] salvation is open only to the Brahman; and even he has the right to withdraw to the desert only in old age, after having studied the Vedas all his life, practised all the rites, and established a family. A man then appeared who brought a doctrine of deliverance. He was not a Brahman, but of the caste of the Kchatrias, son of a king of the north. To the age of twenty-nine he had lived in the palace of his father.

One day he met an old man with bald head, of wrinkled features, and trembling limbs; a second time he met an incurable invalid, covered with ulcers, without a home; again he fell in with a decaying corpse devoured by worms.

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And so, thought he, youth, health, and life are nothing for they offer no resistance to old age, to sickness, and to death. He had compassion on men and sought a remedy. Then he met a religious mendicant with grave and dignified air; following his example he decided to renounce the world. These four meetings had determined his calling. Buddha fled to the desert, lived seven years in penitence, undergoing hunger, thirst, and rain. These mortifications gave him no repose. He ate, became strong, and found the truth. Every man suffers because he desires the goods of this world, youth, health, life, and cannot keep them.

All life is a suffering; all suffering is born of desire.

To suppress suffering, it is necessary to root out desire; to destroy it one must cease from wishing to live, "emancipate one's self from the thirst of being. One must cease successively from feeling, wishing, thinking.

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Then, freed from passion, volition, even from reflection, he no longer suffers, and can, after his death, come to the supreme good, which consists in being delivered from all life and from all suffering. The aim of the wise man is the annihilation of personality: the Buddhists call it Nirvana. Buddha came not with a new doctrine, but with new sentiments. The religion of the Brahmans was egoistic. Buddha had compassion on men, he loved them, and preached love to his disciples. It was just this word of sympathy of which despairing souls were in need. He bade to love even those who do us ill.

Purna, one of his disciples, went forth to preach to the barbarians. Buddha said to him to try him, "There are cruel, passionate, furious men; if they address angry words to you, what would you think? You may dwell in the country of the barbarians.


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Go, proceed on the way to complete Nirvana and bring others to the same goal. Buddha loves all men equally, he calls all to salvation even the pariahs, even the barbarians—all he declares are equal. He preaches to them in the street in language simple with parables. Buddha demanded neither rites nor exertions. To secure salvation it was enough to be charitable, chaste, and beneficent. Doing a little good avails more than the fulfilment of the most arduous religious tasks.

The perfect man is nothing unless he diffuses himself in benefits over creatures, unless he [Pg 61] comforts the afflicted. My doctrine is a doctrine of mercy; this is why the fortunate in the world find it difficult. Later History of Buddhism. It is a religion without a god and without rites; it ordains only that one shall love his neighbor and become better; annihilation is offered as supreme recompense. But, for the first time in the history of the world, it preaches self-renunciation, the love of others, equality of mankind, charity and tolerance.

The Brahmans made bitter war upon it and extirpated it in India.

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It is today the religion of about ,, [26] people. Changes in Buddhism. Buddha had himself formed communities of monks. Those who entered these renounced their family, took the vow of poverty and chastity; they had to wear filthy rags and beg their living.

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These religious rapidly multiplied; they founded convents in all Eastern Asia, gathered in councils to fix the doctrine, proclaimed dogmas and rules. As they became powerful they, like the Brahmans, came to esteem themselves as above the rest of the faithful. It is more commendable to feed one religious than many thousands of laymen.

At the same time that they transformed themselves into masters, the Buddhist religious constructed a complicated theology, full of fantastic figures.

They say there is an infinite number of worlds. If one surrounded with a wall a space capable of holding , times ten millions of those worlds, if this wall were raised to heaven, and if the whole space were filled with grains of mustard, the number of the grains would not even then equal one-half the number of worlds which occupy but one division of heaven. All these worlds are full of creatures, gods, men, beasts, demons, who are born and who die. The universe itself is annihilated and another takes its place. The duration of each universe is called kalpa ; and this is the way we obtain an impression of a kalpa: if there were a rock twelve miles in height, breadth, and length, and if once in a century it were only touched with a piece of the finest linen, this rock would be worn and reduced to the size of a kernel of mango before a quarter of a kalpa had elapsed.

Buddha Transformed into a God. They adored also the saints, his disciples; pyramids and shrines were built to preserve their bones, their teeth, their cloaks. From every quarter the faithful came to venerate the impression of the foot of Buddha. Mechanical Prayer.

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They have invented prayer-machines; these are revolving cylinders and around these are pasted papers on which the prayer is written; every turn of the cylinder counts for the utterance of the prayer as many times as it is written on the papers. Amelioration of Manners.

Wherever it reigns, kings refrain from war, and even from the chase; they establish hospitals, caravansaries, even asylums for animals. Strangers, even Christian missionaries, are hospitably received; they permit the women to go out, and to walk without veiling themselves; they neither fight nor quarrel. At Bangkok, a city of , souls, hardly more than one murder a year is known.

Buddhism has enfeebled the intelligence and sweetened the character. We know the religion of the Hindoos, but of their political history we are ignorant. It is composed of deserts of burning sand and of icy plateaux cut by deep and wooded valleys.

Last Ancient Civilization The Journey Of Surrender Adaption Of The Camp Of Gods Tears

Mountains surround it preventing the escape of the rivers which must lose themselves in the sands or in the salt lakes. Violent winds blow which "cut like a sword. Here the peach and cherry are indigenous; the country is a land of fruits and pastures. The Iranians. Like all the Aryans, they were a race of shepherds, but well armed and warlike. The Iranians fought on horseback, drew the bow, and, to protect themselves from the biting wind of their country, wore garments of skin sewed on the body. Between the tenth and seventh [29] centuries before our era their religion was reformed by a sage, Zarathustra Zoroaster.

We know nothing certainly about him except his name. The Zend-Avesta. It was a compilation written in an ancient language the Zend which the faithful themselves no longer understood. It was divided into twenty-one books, inscribed on 12, cow skins, bound by golden cords.