Sunday, May 3, 2015




Sunday, May 03, 2015


In an article published in 1994, Prof. Robert Thurman writes:

 “If you’re a twentieth-century teacher, who can say what the twenty-first century will want? We would think somebody would have to be enlightened to be able to do that, and we don’t really have a concept of such a kind of enlightenment. But Tibetan Buddhists do. They know that enlightened knowledge does not just include knowledge of spiritual matters, but it also includes an awareness of how humanity develops and evolves.” [Robert Thurman, Treasure Teachings, An Interview with Robert Thurman, Parabola, Winter 1994, pp.  7-16. ]

His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes:


“If we want a beautiful garden, we must first have a blueprint in the imagination, a vision. Then that idea can be implemented and the external garden be materialized. “  [His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Little book of Wisdom, Rider, London, 1997. ]

This is a very important point. Do we have a vision of what we would like the beautiful garden of the future to be? How many people, today have:  “ . .an awareness of how humanity develops and evolves.” How many people care?  Yes, there are glimpses here and there. But certainly not in the realms of business and politics, where profit in the former and ideology in the latter are all that matters. 

Recently while reading the writings of Sir Arnold Toynbee, I was talking to a friend about the panoramic Vision always being necessary in taking an overview of the patterns of one’s life, as well as the pattern “ . . of how humanity develops and evolves.” In its entry on Toynbee, Wikipedia notes:

“Toynbee's work lost favor among both the general public and scholars by the 1960s, due to the religious and spiritual outlook that permeates the largest part of his work. His work has been seldom read or cited in recent decades.”  WIKI.

It seems, that having a “ . . . religious and spiritual outlook . . . “  is to be avoided at all costs? Peter Kingsley adds this observation:

“Even in these modern times, what half-heartedly is described as mystical perception is always pushed to the periphery. When it’s not denied it’s held at arm’s length — out there at the margins of society. But what we haven’t been told is that a spiritual tradition lies at the very roots of western civilization.” [Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom, The Golden Sufi Centre, 1999, pp. 6-7}

In the light of all the problems besetting the world today, let us examine some of the ideas of Toynbee:  He writes:


“In a world that has been unified in both space and time, a study of human affairs must be comprehensive if it is to be effective. It must include, not only the whole of the living generation, but also the whole of the living generation’s past. In order to save mankind we have to learn to live together in concord in spite of traditional differences of religion, civilization, nationality, class and race. In order to live together successfully, we have to know each other, and knowing each other includes knowing each other’s past, since human life, like the rest of the phenomenal Universe, can be observed by human minds only as it presents itself to them on the move through time.”  [Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Thames and Hudson, London, 1972, -p. 47. ]

Toynbee not only brings religious and spiritual aspects into his work, but also, introduces the idea of LOVE:


 “We shall, however, have to do more than just understand each other's cultural heritages, and more even than appreciate them. We shall have to value them and love them as being parts of Mankind's common treasure and therefore being ours too, as truly as the heirlooms that we ourselves shall be contributing to the common stock. Without the fire of love, the dangerous fissures in Mankind's social solidarity cannot be annealed. Danger, even when it is as extreme as ours is today, is never a sufficient stimulus in itself to make men do what is necessary for their salvation. It is a poor stimulus because it is a negative one. A cold-blooded calculation of expediency will not inspire us with the spiritual power to save ourselves. This power can come only from the disinterested pursuit of a positive aim that will outrange the negative one of trying to avoid self-destruction; and this positive aim can be given to men by nothing but love.  [Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, Thames and Hudson, London, 1972, -p. 47. ]



Thomas Alexander, has gifted us with some very beautiful and important advice in how to deal with the incivility in our society:


 “. . .  the central message of Confucianism, something important that it has to say to pragmatism -  namely, the salvation of society comes about by developing humanity in our hearts. This is not about making life more attractive. It is not even about making government "rule by example" rather than by compulsion, though that is a central teaching of the Master. It is about the power of art to shape the way we perceive and feel about other human beings and ourselves so that we are "aesthetically attuned" to them and they to us. This is the great question that Confucianism poses to pragmatism: the real art is the art of humanity, and this is the art of feeling humanity with a humanized heart.”


“The Way, for Confucius, was to be found in cultivating ren, often translated as "benevolence."  The ideogram in Chinese, which combines the pictogram of "man" with that of "two," suggests "person- to-personness." I will render it as "human-heartedness." In Confucius' day, it also connoted inward nobility of character: behaving like a true man, with great-heartedness. This is a fundamental concern for the "aesthetics of social existence" - a concern that human life and its dignity, value, and web of meaningful inter- relationships is foremost in our hearts, and that our hearts are emotionally "attuned" to respond to this instinctively. Ren, human-heartedness, is the raison-d'être for the arts - they restore ren in us, but ren must be there.”    


“Culture is the musical language that allows us to play together. This is why we need ceremony, rituals, manners: li. Without them we would not know how to communicate our care, love, respect, devotion, honor, gratitude. But it is not just any music; the music must express this - ren - not pettiness, greed, small-mindedness. The heart must be there first. "Aesthetics" should deal with beautiful behavior, but the beauty comes from human-heartedness. Life was indeed art for "Master Kong," but art was concerned with an aesthetics of living together. The arts should be used in education to foster our moral feelings, enhance our power of true sympathy, and give us ideals of dignified, caring lives. That was how you saved civilization.

Thomas Alexander, The Music in the Heart, the Way of Water, and the Light of a Thousand Suns: A Response to Richard Shusterman, Crispin Sartwell, and Scott Stroud, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring, 2009), pp. 45-46.

“The task is not finished. South Africa is not yet a home for all her sons and daughters. Such a home we wish to ensure. From the beginning our history has been one of ascending unities, the breaking of tribal, racial and creedal barriers. The past cannot hope to have a life sustained by itself, wrenched from the whole. There remains before us the building of a new land, a home for men who are black, white, brown, from the ruins of the old narrow groups, a synthesis of the rich cultural strains which we have inherited. There remains to be achieved our integration with the rest of the continent. Somewhere ahead there beckons a civilisation, a culture, which will take its place in the parade of God’s history beside other great human syntheses. Chinese, Egyptian, Jewish, European. It will not necessarily be all black; but it will be African.”

Albert Luthuli



“Such clear and inspiring thoughts. To cultivate human-heartedness. Yes, this is what makes life beautiful and bearable. This is the energy that transforms. Thank you for sharing these beautifully worded ideas with me, Samten. It is a clear, crisp autumn morning and the sky is blue. I feel their resonance in the world about me. Now I will put on my boots and take the dogs for a walk in the forest. Much love to you, fellow traveler. Alexandra Dodd


“It occurred to me that the images in Tarot function much the way dreams do in psychoanalysis, by providing a symbolic and interpretable language for the elusive shape of our lives. We want our daily experiences, so disappointingly ordinary and frequently chaotic, to be magnified, as Sebald says they are in dreams. We want them to have a dramatic narrative, a coherent shape, a palpable vividness, which the Tarot can provide.”

Christopher Benfey, Tarot Dreams

Richard Stromer, Hermes as God of Liminality and the Guide of Souls. HERE


“Liquid is the element of most birthing, but liquid in what form? Myth presents images of birth from the froth of Uranus’ testicles; birth from the swallowed semen of the masturbating Atum-Ra; birth from the sweat of Ymir’s armpits; birth from the mating of Ymir’s feet; birth from the urine of Izanami; birth from the blood of Medusa; birth from tears as well as vomit; birth of the world from the sucked toe of Vishnu; birth from the cosmic egg; birth from Purusha’s mouth, arms, and thighs; birth from the dew of the East Wind. I suspect there must have been sweat of some sort that birthed, too, Mwindo. Like other divine heroes, he emerged from the finger of his mother, the hand or finger thought to contain procreative power similar to that of a womb.”

 Mary Aswell Doll, The More of Myth. A Pedagogy of Diversion, [Savannah College of Art and Design], Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, 2011, p.7

Mike Crowley, When Gods Drank Urine. A Tibetan myth may help solve the riddle of soma, sacred drug of ancient India; HERE


  Reading Joseph Campbell on Oriental Mythologies, I was struck by the fact that some of the ideas alive and well in the present day, can be traced back from between  1,700 to 4,000 years. For example: the Great Dualist struggle between Light and Darkness, today regurgitated as The Evil Empire, or Satan in the Whitehouse. The efforts to attain a perfect civilization often include the destruction, or vilification of the old.  The ISIL destruction in Iraq, for example, or throwing shit onto a statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town, as seen recently.
  Hence, we continue to suggest that a deeper exploration into the roots of our respective cultures, may help to deconstruct some of the cruder aspects of literal interpretations of ancient archetypes. In Greek Mythology we see the struggle between the Titans and the Gods is almost identical to the Battle between the Devas and the Asuras in Aryan/Hindu Mythology. I have been exploring these similarities in a project, which you can explore here:  THE TITAN PROJECT


“The lower depths have been the object of superstition and of legend for as long as there have been men and women to wonder. The Minotaur, half man and half bull, lived in a labyrinth buried beneath the palace at Knossos in Crete. A dog with three heads, Cerberus, guarded the gates of the underworld in classical myth, The Egyptian god of the underworld, Anubis, was a man with the head of a jackal. The journey underground prompted strange transformations. Anubis was also known as ‘the lord of the sacred land’, with the world beneath the ground creating a spiritual as much as a material presence.  The great writers of antiquity – Plato and Homer, Pliny and Herodotus – have described the underground worlds as places of dream and hallucination. Most of the great religions have created temples and shrines beneath the surface of the earth. Terror lingers in caverns and caves, where there may be subterranean rivers and fires. Sixteen thousand years ago the wandering people of Europe lived in or besides the entrance to caves; but they painted frescoes in the deeper and darker spaces of the caverns. The further downward you travel, the closer you come to the power.” [Peter Ackroyd, London Under London, Vintage, p.3. ]


Here are more Projects, Blogs and Websites to explore:


  "I miss that degree of genuine, unfabricated feeling...In a sense, the most dangerous thing in the world is apathy. Unlike violence, warfare, and disease, which can be avoided, people cannot defend against apathy once it takes hold. I urge you to feel a love that is courageous -not like a heavy burden, but a joyous acknowledgement of interdependence."

 H.H. the Karmapa

Love and Peace,  

Samten de Wet.

PS.  The above material consists of seed ideas, plucked at random, or almost from larger bodies of work.  The line of thought can be followed, albeit without  extensive amplification.  EMAIL ME HERE.






Saturday, March 7, 2015



And the god, perceiving that his flowery stroke had failed, said to himself: "He does not notice even the arrow that set the sun aflame! Can he be destitute of sense? He is worthy neither of my flowery shaft, nor of my daughters: let me send against him my army.”


   And immediately putting off his infatuating aspect as the Lord Desire, that great god became the Lord Death, and around him an army of demonic forms crystallized, wearing frightening. shapes and bearing in their hands bows and arrows, darts, clubs, swords, trees, and even blazing mountains; having the visages of boars, fish, horses, camels, asses, tigers, bears, lions and elephants; one-eyed, multi4aced, three-headed, pot-bellied, and with speckled bellies; equipped with claws, equipped with tusks, some bearing headless bodies in their hands, many with half-mutilated faces, monstrous mouths, knobby knees, and the reek of goats; copper red, some clothed in leather, others wearing nothing at all, with fiery or smoke-colored hair, many with long, pendulous ears, hav­ing half their faces white, others having half their bodies green; red and smoke-colored, yellow and black; with arms longer than the reach of serpents, their girdles jingling with bells: some as tall as palms, bearing spears, some of a child's size with projecting teeth; some with the bodies of birds and faces of rams, or men's bodies and the faces of cats; with disheveled hair, with topknots, or half bald; with frowning or triumphant faces, wasting one's strength or fascinating one's mind. Some sported in the sky, others went along the tops of trees; many danced upon each other, more leaped about wildly on the ground. One, dancing, shook a trident; another crashed his club; one like a bull bounded for joy; another blazed out flames from every hair. And then there were some who stood around to frighten him with many lolling tongues, many mouths, savage, sharply pointed teeth, upright ears, like spikes, and eyes like the disk of the sun. Others, leaping into the sky, flung rocks, trees, and axes, blazing straw as voluminous as moun­tain peaks, showers of embers, serpents of fire, showers of stones. [20] And all the time, a naked woman bearing in her hand a skull, flittered about, unsettled, staying not in any spot, like the mind of a distracted student over sacred texts.


   But lo! amidst all these terrors, sights, sounds, and odors, the mind of the Blessed One was no more shaken than the wits of Garuda, the golden-feathered sun-bird, among crows. And a voice cried from the sky: "O Mara, take not upon thyself this vain fatigue! Put aside thy malice and go in peace? For though fire may one day give up its heat, water its fluidity, earth solidity; never will this Great Being, who acquired the merit that brought him to this tree through many lifetimes in unnumbered eons, abandon his resolution."


   And the god, Mara, discomfited, together with his army, dis­appeared. Heaven, luminous with the light of the full moon, then shone like the smile of a maid, showering flowers, the petals of flowers, bouquets of flowers, freshly wet with dew, on the Blessed One; who, that night, during the remainder of the night, in the first watch of that wonderful night, acquired the knowledge of his previous existence, in the second watch acquired the divine eye, in the last watch fathomed the law of Dependent Origination, and at sunrise attained omniscience.

Asvaghosha, The Buddhacarita, Translated by E. B. Cowell, F. Max Müller and J. Takakusu, Oxford, the Clarendon Press, 1894, pp. 137 -58 [Vol. XLIX of The Sacred Books of the East

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, Penguin Books, pp. 19-20. Online HERE.









Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why Luxlapis?

What are the Aims and Objectives of The Luxlapis Project? Why Luxlapis?

Two words: Lux = Light – Lapis = Stone. Thus one could say a Stone of Light is the Diamond -  which cuts through everything. Plus the Diamond Path, is equivalent to Tibetan Buddhism,  known also as Vajrayana – again this can be called The Vehicle [or Path] of The Diamond Sceptre. So Luxlapis contains some of these meanings. 

The Stone: Lapis – is an important symbol in Alchemy – The Philosopher's Stone – so partly, Luxlapis is a project to weave systems of philosophy, Wisdom Lineages, spirituality, culture  &c. It is not an all-encompassing activity -  but has specific co-ordinates which are obvious to those who examine all the material published to date. Using the byline:

The Interface between CULTURE & SPIRITUALITY

 expresses the modus operandi,  and this piece by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is exactly the context in which the word 'spirituality' is used for all the LUXLAPIS activities:

"Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit – such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony -  which brings happiness to both self and others."

"The unifying characteristic of the qualities I have described as "spiritual" may be said to be some level of concern for others' well-being. In Tibetan, we speak of shen pen kyi sem meaning "the thought to be of help to others." And when we think about them, we see that each of the qualities noted is defined by an implicit concern for other's well-being. Moreover, the one who is compassionate, loving, patient, tolerant, forgiving, and so on to some extent recognizes the potential impact of their actions on others and orders their conduct accordingly. Thus spiritual practice according to this description involves, on the one hand, acting out of concern for other's well-being. On the other, it entails transforming ourselves so that we become more readily disposed to do so. To speak of spiritual practice in any terms other than these is meaningless."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Ethics for the New Millennium, Riverhead Books, New York, 1999, pp. 22-23.

An interface is " . . a point where two things meet and interact." Make your own conclusions.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience;

we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Image: Detail from a face of an octahedral uncut (rough) diamond. From Wikipedia Commons.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Precious Human Body

    In Buddhism, there is an analogy of how difficult it is to attain a Human Birth. Or imagine that a small ring is floating on the ocean. On the bottom of the ocean there lives a special turtle that surfaces briefly only once every hundred years. The probability of its head surfacing within the ring is pretty slim, but far greater than the chance of obtaining a precious human body.

Let us say that a turtle lives in an ocean for a hundred times a hundred years.  Floating upon that ocean is a single yoke with a hole in it, blown by the wind so that it did not stay in one place for even a moment.  It is very unlikely that the turtle's throat will be thrust into it.  But obtaining a human body from within the lower realms of samsara is taught to be far more difficult.  The Spiritual Letter says:
               It is harder to gain a human birth and the Dharma,
               From the state of having been an animal,
               Than for a turtle to put its head into a yoke
               While both of them are lost in the vastness of the ocean.
               Therefore with these faculties of human beings
               By practicing holy Dharma let us reach its fruition.
The Bodhicharyavatara says: 4.20
               This is the reason why the Bhagavan has taught
               That attaining human birth is much more difficult
               Than for a turtle to put its head into a yoke,
               Tossed within the vastness of a limitless ocean.
As for the scripture they are speaking about, the Bunch of Flowers says:
     It is difficult for the Buddha Bhagavats to enter into the world.  But very much more difficult than that is attaining human birth.  Let the reason for this be taught in an example.  O Shariputra, let the great difficulty of the first be like an ocean.  Within it let there be a yoke, having a single hole.  Let there also be a decrepit turtle.  In that great ocean the wind blows from above and blows from below, and as it blows these things about, that decrepit turtle rises out of the ocean once in a hundred times a hundred years.  The difficulty of becoming human again  after having fallen back is not equal to that of the throat of that decrepit turtle that rises once in a  hundred times a hundred years quickly entering into the hole of that quickly moving yoke.  For those who fall away like that, becoming human again is very much more difficult.

It is taught that a human birth is precious in relation to time, number, and example. “Time” refers to the fact that a human body is very rare. Looking at history and biographies, one learns that a human lifespan is very short. “Number” refers to the number of those few living beings who have acquired a human body in comparison to the inconceivable number of sentient beings who are not able to receive the teachings and practice them. “Example is best illustrated in “The Bodhicharyavatara” by Shantideva, in which he states: “For these reasons, the Buddha has said that for a turtle to insert its neck into a yoke adrift upon the vast ocean, it is just as extremely hard to attain the human state.” In explanation: A blind turtle dwelling on the ocean’s ground has no ambitions; there is a wooden yoke with a hole which tosses about on the great ocean’s surface. The Buddha taught that it is just as difficult to attain a human birth as it is for the turtle to stick its neck through the hole of that yoke when it happens to rise to the surface of the ocean every one hundred years – in fact, it is less likely to attain a precious human body.
His Eminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche the Third, Karma Lodrö Chökyi Senge. The Supplication - Instructions on “Calling the Lama from Afar  by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye the Great

An example is mentioned in Engaging in the Conduct of Bodhisattvas:
For these very reasons, the Buddha has said
That hard as it is for a turtle to insert its neck
Into a yoke adrift upon the vast ocean,
It is extremely hard to attain the human state.
This was explained by the Buddha in the sutras:
  Suppose that this whole earth were an ocean and a person threw in a yoke that had only one hole. The yoke would float back and forth in all the four directions. Underneath that ocean, there is a blind tortoise who lives for many thousands of years but who comes up above the surface once every hundred years. It would be very difficult for the tortoise’s head to meet with the yoke’s hole; still, it is possible. To be born in a precious human life is much more difficult.
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation


Monday, October 3, 2011

Social Transformation

Monday, 03 October 2011

I was watching Roseanne Barr on the Kaiser Report on RT News, she mentioned that the Occupy Wall Street protest reminded her of the 60’s, and by a co-incidence, the same night I saw Ang Lee’s recent film Taking Woodstock. The event is beautifully reconstructed, through the lens of a Jewish family who lived in the area, and in its own way, celebrates the peaceful and gentle qualities of the Festival.  Other statements that Roseanne Barr made, almost exactly parallel the astrological analysis of Richard Tarnas, relating to the configurations of Saturn, Pluto & Uranus, in particular.  Personally, I find an extraordinary precision and clarity in this paradigm –  for example, on the 60’s period, Tarnas writes:

“ . . the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s and early 1970s, coincided with that volcanic eruption of revolutionary and emancipatory impulses,  accelerated historical change, social and political turmoil, and heightened creativity and innovation in all spheres of human activity that has shaped the global zeitgeist ever since.”

And on the present alignments, he writes:

“Saturn-Uranus-Pluto T-square configuration will present the human community with major challenges on many fronts. The Uranus-Pluto square that will continue through 2020 could well represent something like a combination of the 1930s and the 1960s in a twenty-first-century context, a sustained period of enormous historical change requiring humanity to radically expand the scope of its vision and draw upon new resources and capacities in ways that could ultimately be deeply liberating. Whatever form this coming era will take, I believe that the great global transformations and emancipatory movements that have coincided with the long sequence of axial alignments of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto surveyed in this book, as well as the deep human suffering and moral evolution that took place during the Saturn-Pluto, Saturn-Neptune, and other such challenging alignments, have prepared the world to enter this critical threshold with a collective awareness that could make a significant difference in its outcome. . . . “

This all makes sense to me. But how do we put this information into practical action patterns.  This involves a deeper exploration of the astro-mythological material, excavating imaginal ideas for inspiration creative social action.  I am convinced of this,  but setting this process into motion, needs human interaction -  always difficult to achieve  when individual and group ego/self structures [the Saturnine]  dominate. 

We have ourselves to blame if we fail to act on the Uranian [change] energies that are  available, in embryo, so to speak.  A recent query to the I Ching produced this:
"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram K’un is characterized by devotion; thus the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made."
The I Ching - 24 Fu / Return (The Turning Point)

I was delighted, as this Hexagram suits the situation perfectly. The general consensus is that in many organizations at the moment, the shit is hitting the metaphorical fan. I think this is also because we need to completely refresh our paradigms.  All  indications are that this is a period of great organic change, for us as individuals, and as organizations.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

The White Hat

Many have heard of the famous black hat of the Karmapa and the red hat of the Shamarpa, maybe the lotus hat of Padmasambhava and the yellow hat of the Gelugpa Tradition. What about a white hat that is identical to the black hat of Gyalwa Karmapa? See: THE WHITE HAT OF THE KARMA KAGYU.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Shattered Heart Bursting with Seed . . .

  Federico Garcia Lorca, a great Poet and Visionary was murdered by the Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War.  This beautiful Homage by another great Poet, Pablo Neruda -  brought to mind the refrigerated trucks filled with corpses headed for Saudi Arabia, filled with corpses of people murdered by their own Government in Bahrain, because they want a piece of the pie. Just a little piece. Mubarak is gone. But there are still too many Mubaraks – and as Wikileaks is proving, they have devastating power, wielded through Plutocracy.   

Pablo Neruda:

“There are two Federicos: the real and the legendary. And the two are one. There are three Federicos – the poet, the man who lived, and the man who died. And the three are a single being. There are a hundred Federicos, each of them singing. There are Federicos for the entire world. His poetry, his life, and his death have spread across the earth. His song and his blood are multiplied in every human being. His brief life is not ended. His shattered heart was bursting with seed: those who murdered him could not have known that they were sowing the seed, that it would send forth roots, that it would sing and blossom everywhere, in every language, ever more resonant, ever more vivid.”  

Pablo Neruda, Passions and Impressions, p. 96, in : Noel Cobb, Archetypal Imagination. Glimpses of the Gods in Life and Art, Lindisfarne Press, Hudson, New York, 1992, Chapter 3, Dionysos and Duende, p.126.

And to continue the theme of Change, which is central to the next few years:

“The essential quality of life is living; the essential quality of living is change; change is evolution; and we are part of it. The static, the enemy of change, is the enemy of life, and therefore our implacable enemy.”

John Wyndham,. The Chrysalids, 1955.

“There are two great powers,” the man said, “and they’ve been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn from one side by the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.”

Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife, Scholastic, London, 1997.

 “Nothing is constant but change! All existence is a perpetual flux of "being and becoming"! That is the broad lesson of the evolution of the world . . . Substance alone is eternal and unchangeable . . . It reveals itself to us in an infinite variety of forms, but ... its essential attributes, matter and energy, are constant.

E Haeckel, The wonders of life, tr. J McCabe, London, Watts, 1904, p. 100.

Shame on those, who continue to cling to the Old.

Peace, Samten

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


   The material here gathered, is part of a larger work process.  Seeing that the Moon is in Cancer, it would be suitable to contemplate this particular Lunar energy through various cross-cultural examples. Firstly, we have an initiatory experience from an Isis devotee of the Roman world; followed by a vision of an English Alchemist; then a text on the Tibetan Green Tara, and some examples of Marian visions of Fatima, which I think can be compared to the luminosity in our examples, and finally, as a comparison to the Robert Graves translation, the version of the great 17th century Jesuit Scholar, Athanasius Kircher.

Peace - Samten


In The Golden Ass of Apuleius, which was written by a Roman citizen of Madaura, North Africa, in the 2nd century C.E. Lucius is transformed into an ass through meddling with an unsavoury magical practices, and undergoes many trials and tribulations in jackass form, until he is transformed back into human form, at the end of the novel, and experiences this vision of the Goddess Isis:


This is the Robert Graves translation:


“I had scarcely closed my eyes before the apparition of a woman began to rise from the middle of the sea with do lovely a face that the gods themselves would have fallen down in adoration of it. First the head, then the whole shining body gradually emerged and stood before me poised on the surface of the waves. Yes, I will try to describe this transcendent vision, for though human speech is poor and limited, the Goddess herself will perhaps inspire me with poetic imagery sufficient to convey some slight inkling of what I saw.


   Her long thick hair fell in tapering ringlets on her lovely neck, and was crowned with an intricate chaplet in which was woven every kind of flower. Just above her brow shone a round disc, like a mirror, or like the bright face of the moon, which told me who she was. Vipers rising from the left-hand and right-hand partings of her hair supported this disc, with ears of corn bristling beside them. Her many-coloured robe was of finest linen; part was glistening white, part crocus-yellow, part glowing red and along the entire hem a woven bordure of flowers and fruit clung swaying in the breeze. But what caught and held my eye more than anything else was the deep black lustre of her mantle. She wore it slung across her body from the right hip to the left shoulder, where it was caught in a knot resembling the boss of a shield; but part of it hung in innumerable folds, the tasselled fringe quivering. It was embroidered with glittering stars on the hem and everywhere else, and in the middle beamed a full and fiery moon.”



"I could see between me and the light a most exquisite, divine beauty - her frame neither long nor short but of middle, decent stature. Attired she was in thin loose silk but so green that I never saw the like, for the colour was not earthly. In some places in was fancied with white and silver ribbons, which looked like lilies in a field of grass. Her head was overcast with a thin, floating tiffany, which she held up with one of her hands and looked as it were from under it. Her eyes were quick, fresh and celestial but had something of a start, as if she had been puzzled with a sudden occurrence. From her black veil did her locks break out, like sunbeams from a mist. They ran dishevelled to her breasts and then returned to her cheeks in curls and rings of gold. Her hair behind her was rolled to a curious glove, with a small short spire, flowered with purple and sky-coloured knots. Her rings were pure, entire emeralds - for she valued no metal - and her pendants of burning carbuncles. To be short, her whole habit was youthful and flowery: it smelled like the East and was thoroughly aired with rich Arabian diapasons. "

Vaughan, Thomas. Lumen de Lumine: Or A new Magicall Light discovered, and Communicated to the World By Eugenius Philalethes... London, Printed for H. Blunden at the Castle in Corne-Hil. 1651.


The Blessed Lady, the Holy Tara

Then he should meditate on the Blessed Lady, the Green Tara, as proceeding from the yellow germ-syllable TAM, which stands on the spotless orb of the moon, which again is inside the filament. of the full blown lotus, which is within the lunar orb originally established on the heart. He should conceive her to be of deep green colour, two-armed, with a smiling face, proficient in every virtue, without defect of any kind, adorned with ornaments of heavenly gold, rubies, pearls and jewels; her twin breasts decorated with lovely garlands, her two arms decked with heavenly bracelets and bangles, her loins beautified with glittering rows of girdles of flawless gems, her two ankles beautified by golden anklets set with divers gems, her hair entwined with fragrant wreaths made of the flowers of the paradise tree and others of that kind, with the figure of the Lord Amoghasiddhi, the Tathagata, in her resplendent jewelled headdress, - a radiant and most seductive similitude, in the prime of her youth, with eyes of the blue of the autumn lotus, her body robed in heavenly garments, in the Arddhaparyanka posture, within a circle of white rays on a white lotus as large as a cart wheal, her right hand in the sign of generosity (varada) and holding in her left a full blown blue lotus. Let him develop this likeness of our Blessed Lady as long as he wishes.

Thereupon our eternally perfect Blessed Lady is led forth out of space, in her intelligible aspect, by means of the numerous sheaf’s of rays which illumine the triple world, and which issue from the yellow germ-syllable TAM, which is in the filaments of the lotus in the moon of which the orb was established on the heart, and from that Blessed Lady (herself). When he has led her forth and established her on the background of the firmament, he should offer an oblation at the feet of that blessed Lady, with scented water and fragrant flowers in a jewelled vessel, and should offer a respectful welcome (lit. worship) to her in many ways, with heavenly flowers incense, scents, garlands, unguents, aromatic ponders, garments, umbrellas, flags, bells, banners, and so forth. After he has thus again and again worshipped, and lauded her, he should exhibit the appropriate finger-sign called 'the open lotus flower'. After he has, with this mudra gratified our Blessed Lady's intelligible aspect, he should develop the incantation ( mantra) in relation to her contingent aspect. And he should resolutely believe in the non-duality of these two aspects.

Thereupon the rays which issue from the germ-syllable TAM that is upon the spotless orb of the moon within the filaments of the blue lotus in the lunar orb, - rays that are of unlimited range, proper to the divine Tara, and that illuminate the ten quarters of the triple world, - now take away the poverty and other ills of beings who live in this triple world, by means of showers of manifold jewels which rain down from above, and they refresh them with the nectar of the teachings of the Dharma, which reveals all things as impermanent, without self, and so forth. After he has thus concerned himself with the divers needs of the world, he should evolve also in his meditation the cosmic aspect of Tara. Again he should meditate, until tired, on whatever has come to be in the yellow germ-syllable TAM, in the stages of expansion and contraction. If he gets exhausted from his meditation, he should murmur the mantra which is here OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SWAHA, This truly royal mantra is of great power. All Tathagatas have honoured, worshipped and revered it.

When he has emerged from the trance, the Yogin, who has seen the whole universe in the form of Tara, should dwell at will conscious of his own identity with the Blessed Lady.

JETSUN DOLA (ARYA TARA) in her green form, symbolising the Perfection of Wisdom. "She is the remover of hindrances and obstacles." The Mother of Compassion in Bodhisattva form, has the seed syllable TAM (in green), standing on a moon mat in a lotus. Her root mantra is




"Rogo said, "... The sun dimmed, and a kaleidoscope of colours bathed the Cova. ..." ... Around noon they saw the sun become dim and they could see the stars in the sky. They also so a globe of white light settle on the tree ... . ... the vice-general of the town of Leiria, said, "... I saw clearly and distinctly a globe of light advancing from east to west, gliding slowly and majestically through the air. ...". On this occasion there was also a rain of white flower petals, which mysteriously disappeared before they reached the ground." [falling through the air of spectral flower-petals is an commonplace of Buddha lore] ...


 "People who looked ... saw a glowing slivery disk. Some researchers believe this was a UFO. Others believe the movements were those of the sun itself. {when I have seen (on several occasions) the sun move around erratically in the sky, it was always coloured (yellow or blue); when the sun did not move except to set at its usual rate it was uncoloured (black); when there was something silvery in the sky (on various occasions) I deemed it a flying saucer} The glowing disk revolved on its axis, sending rainbow-coloured beams of light in all directions. This continued for twelve minutes. Then the disk, moving in zigzag fashion, plunged earthward. ... Suddenly the disk rose back into the sky. ...


"I ... saw it looking like a well-defined disc, bright but not blinding. ... This chequered shining disc seemed to possess a giddy motion. ... It turned on itself with an astonishing rapidity. ... The sun while keeping its swiftness of rotation, detached itself from the firmament and, blood-red in colour, rushed towards the earth ... .


"... I looked fixedly at the sun, which appeared pale and did not dazzle. It looked like a ball of snow turning on itself. ... Then suddenly it seemed to become detached from the sky, and rolled right and left, as if it were falling upon the earth. ... During the long minutes of the solar phenomena, the objects around us reflected all the colours of the rainbow. Looking at each other, one appeared blue, another yellow, a third red, etc. [these colours which the people became may have been manifestations of their auras, or rather, perispirits ] ..."


From D. Scott Rogo: Miracles : a Parascientific Study. New York, Dial Press, 1982, pp. 376-377



The Goddess: Isis and her various other names and symbols: from Athanasius Kircher: From Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652-4) Based on Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Book 11, chapter 47:

Then by little and little I seemed to see the whole figure of her body, mounting out of the sea and standing before me, wherefore I purpose to describe her divine semblance, if the poverty of my human speech will suffer me, or her divine power give me eloquence thereto. First she had a great abundance of hair, dispersed and scattered about her neck, on the crown of her head she bare many garlands enterlaced with flowers, in the middle of her forehead was a compass in fashion of a glass, or resembling the light of the Moon, in one of her hands she bare serpents, in the other, blades of corn, her vestment was of fine silk yielding divers colours, sometime yellow, sometime rosy, sometime flamey, and sometime (which troubled my spirit sore) dark and obscure, covered with a black robe in manner of a shield, and pleated in most subtile fashion at the skirts of her garments, the welts appeared comely, whereas here and there the stares glimpsed, and in the middle of them was placed the Moon, which shone like a flame of fire, round about the robe was a coronet or garland made with flowers and fruits. In her right hand she had a timbrel of brass, which gave a pleasant sound, in her left hand she bare a cup of gold, out of the mouth whereof the serpent Aspis lifted up his head, with a swelling throat, her odoriferous feet were covered with shoes interlaced and wrought with victorious palm. Thus the divine shape breathing out the pleasant spice of fertile Arabia, disdained not with her divine voyce to utter these words unto me: Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath moved me to succour thee.


"I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of powers divine, Queen of Heaven, the principal of the Gods celestial, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the silences of Hell be disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customs and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the Ethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustom to worship mee, do call me Queen Isis.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Net of Nets . . .

C.G.Jung wrote:

"We live today in a time of confusion and disintegration. Everything is in the melting pot. As is usual in such circumstances, unconscious contents thrust forward to the very borders of consciousness for the purpose of compensating the crisis in which it finds itself. It is therefore well worth our while to examine all such borderline phenomena with the greatest care, however obscure they seem, with a view to discovering the seeds of new and potential orders."  [1]

  I would like to suggest that these “borderline phenomena” – are usually ignored, because of the condensed, nuclear space in which they often gestate. Put in other terms, these borders, or liminal states are ignored by the monolithic beams of our conscious mind. Small Things are overlooked, and the Gods of Small Things – are driven to extinction. 

     It is said that Jain monks  sweep the ground in front of them to avoid tramping on insects. It is a Buddhist practice to buy animals that are destined to be slaughtered and eaten, and release them. But there are some living creatures that we find difficult to show compassion to, for example, spiders and snakes. 

"...the family was also respectful of spiders: Mary Berners-Lee hung cotton threads down into the bath tub so fallen spiders could scale the smooth sides."  [2]

   I have personally seen spiders caught in the bath.  I usually use a towel or a cloth to help them to escape. This story would not be so unusual – unless we know who Mary Berners-Lee was, or to be more exact, who she mothered. Her son, is Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of World Wide Web.  I find the connections rather fascinating. Born and raised in London, [ruled by Gemini] - Tim Berners-Lee is an unsung visionary.  His book: Weaving the Web. The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor  -[3] published 10 years ago is an important read for everyone involved in the digital/virtual/world web.  He writes:

“Link by link we build paths of understanding across the web of humanity. We are the threads holding the world together.”

These are very beautiful words,  of wisdom, and point towards what we have to work towards, in these terrible and promising times.  How extraordinary then, that another great visionary of the 20th Century  gives us an almost identical  . . .

"Everywhere on earth there are people of our kind. That for a small part of them, I can be a focal point, the nodal point in the net, is the burden and the joy of my life."  [4]

As these are quotes from a larger work on the Symbolism of the Net, I will only continue with one more example here:.

“Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell, or an atom. Each jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.” [5]

From this elevated perspective, we more back to Tim Berners-Lee:

“Hope in life comes from the interconnections among all the people in the world. We believe that if we work for what we think individually is good, then we as a whole will achieve more power, more understanding, more harmony as we continue the journey. We don’t find the individual being subjugated by the whole. We don’t find the needs of the whole being subjugated by the increasing power of an individual. But we see more understanding in the struggles between these extremes.” [6]

    These interconnections are very important in a Buddhist  approach to life.  Ideas of networking –preceded the actual emergence of the World Wide Web. In the little magazines I published from 1972 – the word ‘network’ appears consistently. [See Appendix 1] It is thus appropriate, that on this edge of a new decade, and in the midst of an ongoing crisis of confidence in politicians and businessmen  - we might re-examine our own networks – even though the sense of co-operation and sharing has been shot down along with the concept of a Rainbow Nation.  It is not merely enough to network.

Yours sincerely

Samten de Wet

14 January 2010

[1]   C.G.Jung, The Psychology of the Transference, p. 160.

[2]   Scientific American, December 1997, Vol. 227 No.6. p.21.

[3] Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web. The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor, Texere, London-New York, 2000. [1999]

[4]   Hermann Hesse, private letter, 1955.

[5]   Mitchell, Stepen, The Enlightened Mind: Harper Perennial, New York, 1991.

[6]   Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web. The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor, Texere, London-New York, 2000. [1999]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gye Nyamehu

The PRESENCE OF GOD Ikon is an Adinkra symbol called Gye Nyame, which is a symbol of the omnipresence and omnipotence of god. It comes from an Akan aphorism that can be translated:

“This great panorama of creation dates back to time immemorial: no one lives who saw its beginning and no one will live to see its end, except God”.

Adinkra are symbols common in West African societies that represent concepts and aphorisms. There are seventy to eighty core symbols. They provide a framework of moral virtues and lessons for the good life. See:

“THE PERFECT ANIMATE BEING is one possessing sense and intellect. This being should be thought as a cosmographer who has a city with five gates, which are the five senses. Through these gates messengers enter from all over the world, announcing the disposition of the entire world in the following order: those who bring news of the world’s light and color enter through the gate of sight; those who bring news of sound and voice through the gate of hearing; those who bring news of odors, by the gate of smell; those who bring news of flavors, through the gate of taste; and those who bring news of heat, cold, and other tangible things, through the gate of touch. The cosmographer should sit and note down all things that are related to him, in order to have a description of the entire perceptible world represented in his own city. But if any gate of his city always remains closed — the gate of vision, for example—then the he will be a defect in the description of the world because the messengers of the visible did not gain entrance. The description would not make mention of the sun, the stars, light, colors, or the forms of men, animals, trees, cities, and the greater part of the world’s beauties. And the same holds true for the other gates. The cosmographer therefore tries as hard as he can to keep all the gates open, to listen constantly for the reports of new messengers, and to bring his description ever closer to the truth.

Finally, when he has made a complete representation of the perceptible world in his own city, he compiles it into a well-ordered and proportionally measured map lest it be lost. He then turns to it, sends away the messengers, shuts the gates, and transfers his inner understand to the creator of the world, who is none of those things that he understood and recorded from the messengers, but rather the maker and the cause of all of them. He considers that the creator was prior to the entire world, just as he himself was prior to the map. And from the relationship of the map to the true world, he beholds in himself, in so far as he is a cosmographer, the creator of the world.”

Nicolas of Cusa, Compendium, VIII. 1464

Friday, July 24, 2009

Italo Calvino On the City

“This idea of the city as an encyclopaedic discourse, as the collective memory, is part of a whole tradition: think of the Gothic cathedrals in which every architectural and ornamental detail, every space and element, referred to notions which were part of a global wisdom, was a sign that found echoes in other contexts. In the same way we can ‘read’ the city as a reference work, just as we read Notre-Dame, capital by capital, pluvial after pluvial. And at the same time we can read the city as the collective unconscious: the collective unconscious is a huge catalogue, an enormous bestiary; we can interpret Paris as a book of dreams, an album of our unconscious, a catalogue of horrors.”  

Italo Calvino, Hermit in Paris. Autobiographical Writings, Vintage, London, 2004, p.173.


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