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80 Years Ago

Archives 07-19-2000

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com




Approximately 2,600 years ago, the first Buddha entered human form as Siddhartha Gautama, a Hindu prince who married at an early age and participated in a worldly life of luxury and pleasure.

Finding his self-indulgent existence dull, he began wandering in search of enlightenment. One day he encountered an aged man, a sick man, and a corpse. He suddenly realized that suffering is the common lot of humankind.

He then encountered a monk, calm and serene. Deciding to adopt this way of life, he renounced family, wealth, and power in the quest for truth.

While sitting under a bo tree, he experienced the Great Enlightenment, which revealed the way of salvation from suffering. He suddenly understood that all the answers he had been searching for were within and always had been.

Many stories have this theme. In the Wizard of Oz, the major characters have what they're searching for from the beginning. Courage, wisdom, love, and a way home are there all along. Not only does Dorothy return home, when she awakens, she discovers she's never left home.

The first Buddha discovered the same thing on a different level. Home isn't a place. Home is something we carry inside. No matter how lost and alone we feel, we're never alone or lost. Lost is a state of mind, not a physical condition.

At the same time the first Buddha was undergoing his transformation, the age of Aries ended and the Age of Pisces began.

As anyone knows who is familiar with those silly, computer-generated horoscopes in the newspapers, birth signs begin with Aries and end with Pisces.

Unlike birth signs, the Wheel of Time, or more accurately the Wheel of Times, begins with Aquarius and ends with Pisces.

Pisces is the only sign that occupies the same place, the end, of each cycle. Pisces is also the most spiritual of all signs. The advent of three major world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam didn't accidentally occur during the Age of Pisces.

The creation of those belief systems were preordained by the planets and the stars.

Although Pisces is the most spiritual of all signs, every Yin has a Yang. Pisces has a flip side influenced by Pluto, the darkest of planets.

During the Age of Pisces, religious wars have been fought almost constantly. Christians killing Moslems. Moslems killing Christians. Christians killing Hindus. Hindus killing Christians. Moslems killing Hindus. Jews killing Christians. Christians killing Jews. Jews killing Moslems. Moslems killing Jews.

Moslems and Jews have a particular dislike for one another that will continue to escalate into war as long as the United States provides support to Israel.

Permanent peace in the Middle East can't be achieved without a balance of power. The United States is disrupting that balance.

A teeter-totter with a 300 pound man on one side and a 50 pound child on the other will never be even at both ends. For negotiations to be completely successful, both sides must be face to face on level ground, which can't be accomplished with an outside power sticking its nose where it doesn't belong.

According to the Constitution, our government shouldn't favor one religious group over another. I wonder why our founding forefathers knew what they were doing and our political leaders today don't.

"When the Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars."

When I first heard the lyrics to Aquarius on the radio, I was on my way from a hippie commune in New Mexico to a Buddhist monastery in Denver. I figured I'd sniff the flowers, roll in the grass, lay back and take it easy when I arrived. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Life in a Buddhist monastery is no pleasure cruise. Up at three in the morning. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Work. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Work. Work. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Work. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. Work. Work. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate.

I was a product of an American upbringing. I had grown up on burgers and fries. A handful of rice and a few vegetables for each meal wasn't my idea of food.

But I didn't complain. My participation in high school sports, baseball, football, wrestling, track had contributed to my already competitive spirit. As my wrestling coach was fond of saying, "Don't let ‘em see you sweat."

If these scrawny, little Buddhist monks can take it, I thought, so can I. Although I didn't know it at the time, if a dozen Buddhist monks got into a fight with a dozen professional football players, betting on the monks would be a sure thing.

I pushed on until I let go and allowed the flow to carry me. I completed the time I had agreed to at the monastery.

When I was getting ready to leave, my teacher asked what my plans were. "I'm going to California," I said, "to see what this Age of Aquarius is about."

"No need to hurry,” he said. "The age you speak of will not arrive for several centuries. If you do not see it while in one body, you will in another."

"I don't want to keep coming back again and again," I said. "Life is too painful. I want to find Nirvana and never leave."

"You are holding Nirvana in the palm of your hand," he said. "Do not grasp it so tightly."


Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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