The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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New Age - Heaven on Earth
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All spiritual traditions predict the dawn of a new era of peace, love and harmony once the storms and stresses of kaliyug melt away. We are now amidst a planetary dark night of the soul, the iron era of Kaliyug, plagued with disasters, diseases, poverty, terrorism, war, despair, denial and spiritless materialism. As deep ecology author Joanna Macy says, "We are bombarded by signals of distress… Not surprisingly, we are feeling despair… what is surprising is the extent to which we hide this despair from ourselves and each other." This despair is unwarranted if we look at the heart of humanity's spiritual heritage, which shows that this is only the darkest hour ahead of the sure arrival of the dawn. Ancient spiritual traditions from world cultures envision a future Golden Age of truth and heaven on earth, when the Divine will manifest in the mundane world, after dissolving the soul's night. The futurist Moira Timms, in her book, Beyond Prophecies and Predictions, explores such visions, and with corroboration from cientific, seismological and environmental documentation, asserts that the interconnections of these visions predict the current millennium as the time of planetary initiation and evolutionary shift. "Different descriptions of the same picture are presented, but what emerges is a single prophecy, a single theme," she says. Despite conflicting fundamentalist interpretations, these prophetic visions, though unique and different in their external trappings, have an essential core planetary vision, providing a coherent framework for the future of humanity and earth.
Ancient Visions In Hindu tradition, the universe is created, destroyed and recreated through an eternally recurring series of mahayugs made of four yugs - Satyug (golden age of truth), Tretayug (silver), Dwaparayug (bronze) and Kaliyug (iron). In the current Kaliyug, dharma has lost three-fourths of its strength. Some interpreters argue that Kaliyug will continue for many more millennia though others conclude that we are already in the transition phase towards Satyug. In Satyug, humanity exists in perfect spiritual unity, peace, truth and love. Sage Suka tells King Parikshit in Srimad Bhagavatam: "In Satyug, dharma had all its four legs - truth, compassion, asceticism and loving service of all creatures." The Biblical description in Revelation 21: 4, of the time when God will "wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…" points to Satyug. Moira Timms says that the opening of the seven seals mentioned in Revelation, indicates the successive opening of the seven earth chakras initiating the tough transition from disorder towards the Second Coming of Christ and the return of the Holy Ghost, which is the Divine Feminine. Buddhist traditions prophesy the advent of the future Buddha, Maitreya, who will found Satyug. The Jews await the second coming of Elijah and Islamic prophecy speaks of Imam Mahdi. In Hindu legends, Kalki, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, is prophesied to manifest to end Kaliyug and establish Satyug. Kalki will come riding a white horse, wielding a sword, vanquishing evil and protecting dharma. This parallels the Tibetan Buddhist kalachakra vision. The kings of the legendary Tibetan pure land, Shambhala, have the title Kalki. Kalachakra prophesies that the last Shambhala king, Kalki Rudra Chakrin (the fierce turner of the wheel), will appear riding a white horse, heralding a spiritual era. Interestingly, Vishnu also turns the Sudarshan Chakra. Many researchers say that despite varying versions of timing, Kalki and Rudra Chakrin denote the same Divine manifestation, which will happen in the near future. The Native American Hopi creation story talks of four ages of gold, silver, copper and an age of mineral mixed with clay. It says we are in the fourth age in which the Great Spirit will return for the Great Purification. The Mayan calendar forecasts the end of the present age on December 21, 2012, ushering in the new Age of Flowers. Mayan and Toltec cultures revere the God Quetzalcoatl, who, in his human manifestation, had founded their civilization. To the Mayans, Quetzalcoatl is known as Kukulcan and is related to kundalini, according to Timms. In the Maya-based Aztec calendar, the era of planetary transformation is denoted by the glyph Ollin that is number seventeen, signifying planet earth for the Mayans. As Quetzalcoatl departed, he told his people that at the time of the Golden Age, he would return from the east as the morning star, lord of the dawn. Zapotec legends prophesy that as the sun of the new spiritual cycle dawns on earth, countless tiny spiritual entities will emanate from the heart of the returning Quetzalcoatl, manifesting a spiritual civilization. Ancients realized that earth is a living organism, with psycho-spiritual dimensions. Patriarchy suppressed this knowledge in the Dark Ages. According to ancient astrology, we are entering the Age of Aquarius, marking the liberation of feminine energy from patriarchal restrictions. Timms says, "The Goddess is emergent. She is timely and eloquent in her return, rising powerful and beautiful once more after her long sojourn through the season of darkness … As the Phoenix rises so will She soar again. This is another way of explaining the mystery teachings' prophecy of the emergence of the 'feminine ray'. The return of the Great Goddess is the return of the Light." It initiates the intensification of the planetary Gaia consciousness. The Golden Age effects the integration and harmonization of the masculine and feminine divine energies on earth that remained separated in Kaliyug. A prophetic timeline encoded within the geometric measurements of Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza correlates with historical events and ends at the king's chamber, mentioning September 17, 2001. Healer and shaman, Kiara Windrider, concludes that the September 11, 2001, twin tower terrorist attack and its aftermath, indicate the Pyramid prophecy of planetary crisis. The Egyptian myths say the Sun God Ra will return to restore spiritual order after the chaotic initiatory test. The prophecies of Nostradamus also describe a planetary crisis and a subsequent Golden Age. A controversial Nostradamus prophecy says a spiritual leader from South India will manifest the Golden Age.
Modern Visions Modern visionaries have tried to build upon the ancient visions. Millions worship Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, as an avatar. He upholds the inner divinity of humanity, selfless service and divine love. He has prophesied that he would incarnate again in the future as Prema Sai Baba to establish Satyug. The Baha'i faith founded by Baha'u'llah aims to create an age of peace, equity and justice, unifying the essence of all religious traditions. The American New Age prophet, Edgar Cayce, foresaw a future humanity with a ‘new comprehension’ attained through telepathy. Kalki Bhagavan, through his Golden Age foundation and Oneness University, plans to accelerate planetary transformation and establish Global Oneness around 2012. By Oneness he means, "to get the 'filter' permanently removed between you and reality, you and the Divine." Kalki Bhagavan sees enlightenment as a neurological process, and his diksha attempts to transfer divine energy to the neo-cortex of individuals, to reorganize consciousness. The Brahma Kumaris believe that after disasters, war and famine, the Satyug will start. Their tenets are soul consciousness, egolessness and vicelessness. They foresee a desireless, crime-free, non-hierarchical and prosperous society with perpetual spring, yogic reproduction and solar- and atomic-powered technology. The catch is they forecast only 900,000 souls graduating to Satyug. In August 1987, in a gathering called Harmonic Convergence, millions of New Agers meditated at spiritual vortex sites to manifest the Golden Age. Jose Arguelles formulated it based on Mayan and astrological prophecies. Six months before the harmonic convergence, in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, a distant subgalaxy of our Milky Way, a super giant Blue Star supernova exploded. It released massless, chargeless, subatomic particles called neutrinos, which passed through earth, more than what the sun will release in its lifetime. There was also ultraviolet, infrared, Gamma ray and X-ray radiation. Scientists say the radiation zooming through earth then, was equal to that from all the galaxies from the visible universe combined. Says science writer Donald Goldsmith, "supernovas make cosmic ray particles; cosmic ray particle impacts produce mutations, mutations drive evolution…" Moira Timms suggests that these neutrinos are the spirit forces of stars, the living codes of light that quicken human evolution and align the planetary grids of kundalini energy with the spiritual galactic central sun.
Collective Consciousness Innovative visionaries have integrated ancient spiritual visions with the scientific principle of evolution, and have pioneered evolutionary spirituality focusing on collective consciousness transformation through our participatory co-creation with the evolutionary process, rather than passive dependence on any single messiah to save us. Sri Aurobindo created such an integral vision, which the Mother, his spiritual collaborator, evolved further. Sri Aurobindo stressed the conscious participation of all individuals to intensify evolution, as we are all aspects of the Divine. He says, "If everything depends on Divine intervention, man is only a puppet and there is no use of sadhana… No doubt, in the last resort all can be said to be the Divine cosmic working, but it is through persons and through forces that it works…" Instead of dismissing earth and the world as illusions to escape from, Sri Aurobindo realized that the world is the Divine's dynamic aspect. His vision of Satyug forecasts the supramental age when the integral truth consciousness of the supermind will manifest the life divine in matter through an immortal post-human, supramental species, causing a terrestrial transformation, the divinisation of material reality itself. Satprem, the disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, calls it a "yoga of the Earth." Satprem describes the enlightened future race: "They do not work for themselves though they are the primary ground of their experience…They have given themselves to the future, body and soul, the way one jumps into the fire without a look back..." Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Han, has a similar vision. He suggests that the future messiah will be an enlightened community, anchored in mindfulness, in which individuals engage in collective enlightened action. The central Buddhist tenet of interdependent co-arising that emphasizes interconnectedness inspires this vision. His Holiness, the Dalai Lamas a future that bridges the chasm between the rational and spiritual in an integration of science and spirituality. He initiated the Mind and Life Conferences as an avenue for a dialog between science and spirituality with the aim of evolving a more conscious and ethical science, and an open, non-dogmatic spirituality for an integral era. Twenty first century spiritual visionary, Andrew Cohen, has pioneered the concept of Evolutionary Enlightenment. He says, "The pursuit of enlightenment is for the transformation of the whole world, the enlightenment of the whole universe. It's ultimately for the evolution of consciousness itself." Cohen suggests autonomy and communion as the features of a future enlightened culture. Says Cohen, "Autonomy is radical independence and authenticity…the expression of pure creative freedom - the powerful, unrestricted freedom of the individual to flower in his or her own potential without limit… Communion is the profound revelation of nonduality when it dynamically emerges in a collective context… For both autonomy and communion to exist simultaneously is a newly emerging potential in consciousness… It is a new and evolving expression of nonduality in which the thrill of autonomy and the bliss of communion merge into one singular, unified state of consciousness." The rise of ecological awareness has triggered a new spirituality which envisions the future Satyug as the realization of a planetary Gaia consciousness. Humanity will evolve in a collective enlightenment of communion with all beings, the universe, the immanent and transcendent Ultimate Reality, to attain even collective immortality, as aspects of a full-fledged earth consciousness, manifesting divinity in matter. An integral collective consciousness creates neither uniformity nor separation. Our authentic innermost selves are unique and express different dimensions of the same Ultimate Reality. However, unlike the separative tendencies of the ego and cultural, religious, ideological identities, the unique life purpose and qualities of one's authentic self enhance the collective consciousness and allows an integral evolution to manifest Satyug. Such an integral evolution does not choose a few for ascension to an exclusive heaven, and leaves no one behind. When a critical mass is reached, the whole of humanity, the planet and all her beings can experience a quantum shift that manifests spirit in matter as one integral multidimensional collective consciousness. There is a messiah inside every one of us. We must manifest our divinity within and co-evolve as a conscious collective to create our destiny to survive the initiatory tests of the Kaliyug and manifest Satyug. As Moira Timms rightly urges, "It is the Earth who calls. We ignore Her at our peril. We must recognize our common unity, stop participating in destructive and defoliational lifestyles, and create a world that works for everyone. We must speak for the Earth. We are the Earth."