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The Ten Spiritual Realms: According To An Ancient Japanese Buddhist Priest From The Kamakura Period

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One night in the early days of my six-month tenure managing a holistic healing retreat center in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, our community gathered as we always do for the evening activity. This evening’s activity focused on a discussion of the ten spiritual realms. The person sharing his knowledge on the subject was a short Italian traveller and devout Buddhist named Lorenzo.

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His claim to fame at the retreat center was being voted most likely to be found chanting the mantra  “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō,” which means “Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra” or “Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law.” In his words: “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō is a vow, an expression of determination, to embrace and manifest our Buddha nature. It is a pledge to oneself to never yield to difficulties and to win over one’s suffering. At the same time, it is a vow to help others reveal this law in their own lives and achieve happiness.”

This is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism and Tendai Buddhism. The practice of prolonged chanting is referred to as shōdai, while the purpose of chanting daimoku is to reduce sufferings by eradicating negative karma along with reducing karmic punishments both from previous and present lifetimes, with the goal to attain perfect and complete awakening. Sometimes he would be found chanting this mantra for hours at a time. This was his “thing” and we loved him for it!

In the very beginning of his talk he looked at each of us wide-eyed and asked the group: “Has anyone here ever been in hell?” I looked around the room and after a few seconds of waiting, slowly raised my hand. Without hesitation, he looked me directly in the eyes and said “Good! Now you can help others get out.” There are few things that people have said to me throughout my life that I know will stay with me forever; this was one of them. So began our intro to the ten spiritual realms.

The 10 Spiritual Realms as described by Nichiren Daishonin are listed below. Broken into two parts, the first six (Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, and Heaven) are derived from the Indian concept of the six realms of rebirth. Above these lie the four holy states (Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva, and Buddhahood).

Ten Spiritual Realms:

1. Hell or Jigokudō: A state of suffering and despair in which we perceive we have no freedom of action. It is characterized by the impulse to destroy ourselves and everything around us. It is also commonly referred to being in a state of mind completely absent of hope and being unable to construct our future in our minds.

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2. Hunger, Hungry Ghosts, or Pretas: The state of being controlled by insatiable desire for money, power, status etc. While desires are inherent in any of the Ten Worlds, in this state we are at the mercy of our cravings and cannot control them.

3. Animality, Beasts, or Chikushōdō: In this state, we are ruled by instinct with neither reason nor moral sense nor the ability to make long-range judgments. We operate by the law of the jungle and will not hesitate to take advantage of those weaker than ourselves and fawn on those who are stronger.

4. Anger, Titans, Asuras, or Shuradō: Here, awareness of ego emerges, but it is a selfish, greedy, distorted ego, determined to best others at all costs and seeing everything as a potential threat to itself. In this state we value only ourselves and tend to hold others in contempt.

5. Humanity or Jindō (also known as Tranquility): This is a flat, passive state of life, from which we can easily shift into the lower four worlds. While we may generally behave in a humane fashion in this state, we are highly vulnerable to strong external influences.

6. Heaven: This is a state of intense joy stemming, for example, from the fulfillment of some desire, a sense of physical well being, or inner contentment. Though intense, the joy experienced in this state is short-lived and also vulnerable to external influences.

7. Learning, Śrāvaka, or Shōmon: In this state, we seek the truth through studying the teachings or experience of others.

8. Realization, Pratyekabuddha, or Engaku: In this state we seek the truth not through others’ teachings, but through our own direct perception of the world.

9. Bodhisattva or Bosatsu: Those who aspire to achieve enlightenment and at the same time are equally determined to enable all other beings to do the same. Conscious of the bonds that link us to all others, in this state we realize that any happiness we alone enjoy is incomplete, and we devote ourselves to alleviating others’ suffering. Those in this state find their greatest satisfaction in altruistic behaviour.

10. Buddhahood: A dynamic state that is difficult to describe. We can partially describe it as a state of perfect freedom, in which we are enlightened to the ultimate truth of life. It is characterized by infinite compassion and boundless wisdom. In this state, we can resolve harmoniously what appear from the standpoint of the nine worlds to be insoluble contradictions.

A Buddhist sutra describes the attributes of the Buddha’s life as a true self, perfect freedom from karmic bonds throughout eternity, a life purified of illusion, and absolute happiness.

10 Worlds Description Source: http://www.sgi.org/resources/introductory-materials/ten-worlds.html

Be Your Own Guru

Personally, I feel that understanding the difference between each of these realms and integrating the lessons learned by visiting them all can inspire rapid personal growth. As someone who has set out on a seemingly unending quest for personal and spiritual development years ago, I have learned quite a few things in my travels. One of the greatest lessons was how to truly listen to others, but ensure that their thoughts don’t become my own unless they align with my personal truth.

In my experience, individuals who lack control over their own emotions and actions tend to feel the need to push their own ideas, agendas, and influences onto others. When it comes to giving advice, I appreciate Tony Robbins’ approach on this subject. As he would say, “I am not your guru,” but if talking with me can help you realize what steps you need to take in order to better your own life without harming others, then great! I’m not you. I have no idea what you’re going through, but if I can assist in removing mental blockages to get you to where you need to become your own guru, then that’s a beautiful thing.

Learning Through Suffering

It is essential to take some time and look at the positive aspect of suffering. The creative forces inside each and every one of us seem to be activated when we are experiencing difficult times. Have you ever wondered why you prefer the earlier work of your favourite musicians? Did you ever think maybe it has to do with the fact that they were “hungry artists,” channeling their own pain and utilizing it as a source of creativity while desperately trying to make their mark on the music scene? Once I realized this a while back, I always make sure to look for the lesson to learn and wonder how I can use that seemingly negative energy to create something beautiful in times of despair.

We will constantly revisit these realms, sometimes many of them throughout the course of a single day or even only a few hours. Just because we’ve previously attained the higher spiritual worlds doesn’t mean we won’t revisit the other lower ones later on in life. By developing a deeper understanding of these states of mind, we are better equipped to conquer them.

What Makes Someone “Spiritual”?

So let’s say that you meditate and do yoga daily, you pray for the wellbeing of others, you don’t eat meat, you go to farmers markets, buy locally sourced produce, wear conscious-made sustainable clothing, have a vast collection of Lumerian Quartz Crystals for your shrine, have full moon ceremonies with your soul tribe, and attend Burning Man every year. Does that make you spiritual? Not exactly, at least not in my opinion. These are, however, things that many people do as part of their spiritual path. However, for me, spirituality is defined simply as being someone whose highest priority is to love themself and others. That’s it. If you do all the aforementioned things, but you’re still an asshole to other people, sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

The basic principles of spirituality are at the core of every religion and often referred to as the “Golden Rule.” It has been taught for millennia and is most well known in the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them undo to you.” Nothing has changed from this Golden Rule other than the verbiage, as you can see in the diagram below.

At the end of the day, I view truly spiritual people as those who have been through hell themselves and want nothing more than to help others get out because they know what it’s like. These are beings that help others with humility and don’t allow a self-serving ego to subsist within their being. Killing the ego is not a phrase I like to use. The ego is part of our personality and who we are as human beings; however, we must keep it in check to ensure that it exists to serve us so that we may serve others. Now that’s being spiritual as fuck!

Check out my travel blog to follow my journey and other adventures from some of the most inspiring people I’ve met along the way! www.FollowingFreebird.com

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Consciousness

The Wake Up Call We All Need To Hear About Politics

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We exist in a time, especially with the US in the midst of another election cycle, where we must face the reality that personal transformation and identifying the REAL workings of our world is crucial to creating change.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we always baited into left/right politics? Why is so much media focused on taking left or right angles? Are we getting to any real truth by not addressing the real, proven workings of our world? Are we living in a delusion?

Back in 2009 I created a documentary that kickstarted Collective Evolution’s popularity. It focused on taking a big picture, conscious, look at the state of our world and what needs to change. This film was made on a handy cam with a budget of about $800, haha. But it was the beginning of something powerful, and played its role.

One of the key insights I wrote into this film was the idea that we must begin looking at our world and our political system from the standpoint of consciousness – how our inner belief systems and programming create the world we see in our world.

The current challenge we face is that people are not seeing the truth of our world and thus are living in a delusion, or illusion. They are being baited into identifying as either a democrat or a republican. Baited into various heated issues that also don’t address the truth of what’s happening in our world. These societal manipulations are distracting people from something that can actually create change, and this is why the mainstream media and culture in the US is so developed to keep people lost.

Because of this, we must begin to take a new approach to understanding our world that looks not just at policies and people who create ideas that governments push through, but also, and most importantly, the elephant in the room that few political candidates ever discuss in any meaningful way – the deep state.

A combination of personal transformation and viewing the truth of our world couragiously, is the way forward. I’m not stating this in a way where I’m suggesting there is only one pathway forward, I’m stating this as 2 key ingredients that must be brought together to properly understand our world and what we must do to evolve it. This is precisely why for 10 years the formula I built for Collective Evolution’s media has been focused on combining personal transformation with truth.

Currently, many are too afraid to have these honest and grounded conversations as they don’t want the label of being airy-fairy or a conspiracy theorist. Both of these labels, of course, are convenient forms of ridicule that seek not to answer ideas brought forth, but to brush them aside as something people don’t wish to look at and face.

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In the video below, I address a detail that is so crucial to our understanding of our world. As the US moves yet again into another cycle of elections, this message is more important now than ever.

To watch full episodes of The Collective Evolution Show every day, sign up for a free 7-day trial to CETV here.

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Alternative News

Are Human Beings “Extraterrestrial?” Did We Come From Somewhere Else?

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Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

Are we alone in the universe? The obvious answer coming from mainstream science these days is a big no. It’s quite clear that we’re not alone, that’s the general scientific consensus. The next questions to ask are: Has advanced ‘super intelligent’ extraterrestrial life visited our planet in the past, and is extraterrestrial life visiting our planet now?

For years, if you believed that intelligent extraterrestrial life has visited our planet, you would have been put in the ‘conspiracy theorist’ category. But today, that’s not the case. Perhaps this ridicule was as a result of something specific–the very first director of the Central Intelligence Agency said that there was an “official campaign of ridicule and secrecy” when it came to the topic of UFOs.

UFOs are no longer taboo, and their existence has been disclosed thanks to millions of pages of unclassified government documents from around the world. They’ve been photographed and recorded on video as well as tracked on radars. They’ve performed maneuvers and were clocked travelling at speeds no known aircraft on Earth can travel. Furthermore, there are many witnesses, from astronauts to civilians to high ranking military personnel to academicians and more, who have been creating awareness and putting all of the evidence out there for us to see.

We are in a process of ‘disclosure,’ a slow one, and it’s a subject that leaves no aspect of humanity untouched. The implications are huge, from spiritual to technological to scientific and beyond. It really opens up pandora’s box.

The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe is one of the biggest questions in the history of mankind, along with how we got here and who created us. Perhaps they are all interrelated? We have yet to answer these questions, yet God as well as the theory of evolution seem to be heavily pushed on the population in an almost unquestionable manner, leaving humanity in a divide, constantly disagreeing with each other without ever being able to find common ground.

Did we come from outer space? I don’t watch Ancient Aliens, but I am sure many people are aware of the biblical, ancient, and indigenous lore of human beings coming from outer space. There are no shortage of stories regarding this, but it’s a perspective that we never really hear about and one that is never addressed within mainstream academia. That being said, anybody who truly has a passion for this subject is going to go down that rabbit hole.

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Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, said he “happens to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we are not alone on this planet” and that we have “been visited many times.” He is one of many astronauts to express this. It was while coming across his comments that I stumbled upon the comments of Al Warden, who said in a TV interview:

We are the aliens, but we just think they’re somebody else, but we’re the ones who came from somewhere else. Because somebody else had to survive, and they got in a little space craft and they came here and they landed and they started civilization here, that’s what I believe. And if you don’t believe me, go get books on the ancient Sumerians and see what they had to say about it, they’ll tell you right up front.

He seemed pretty confident in his knowing.

He’s not the only one to assert such things, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology for Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material,” and they also shared this belief.

In his book published in 1982, Life Itself, Crick argues that there is no possible way that the DNA molecule could have gotten its start here on Earth and that it had to have come here from somewhere else. Within the mainstream scientific community, the generally accepted theory is that we are the result of a bunch of molecules accidentally bumping into each other, creating life. However, according to Francis, we are the result of what is now known as Directed Panspermia. Crick and a British chemist, Leslie Orgel, published their paper on it in July of 1973.

Their theory explains that, “organisms were deliberately transmitted to earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.”  (source)

As far as Crick’s thoughts on the theory that we are the result of accidentally  bumping into each other, he thinks this was as likely as the assembly of a jumbo jet hit by a hurricane in a junk yard. In other words, he thought the theory held little to no credibility.

The theory of evolution is taught today as a fact, when in reality it has little backing. In fact, 500 scientists in several fields came together a few years to create “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.” There are countless studies being published calling into question the theory of evolution. Not long ago, we wrote about a new genetic study that did exactly that, you can read more about that here.

recent paper published by 33 scientists in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal suggests that the flourishing of life during the Cambrian era (Cambrian Explosion) originated from the stars. This is another example of how the theory of evolution would be thrown out of whack.

“With the rapidly increasing number of exoplanets that have been discovered in the habitable zones of long-lived red dwarf stars (Gillon et al., 2016), the prospects for genetic exchanges between life-bearing Earth-like planets cannot be ignored. ” (The study)

There is a great little blurb from Cosmos Magazine, one of the few outlets that talked about the study:

With 33 authors from a wide range of reputable universities and research institutes, the paper makes a seemingly incredible claim. A claim that if true, would have the most profound consequences for our understanding of the universe. Life, the paper argues, did not originate on the planet Earth.

The response?

Near silence.

The reasons for this are as fascinating as the evidence and claims advanced by the paper itself. Entitled Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?, the publication revives a controversial idea concerning the origin of life, an idea stretching back to Ancient Greece, known as panspermia.

What about giants? There are several examples of evidence that exist in support of the idea that giants once roamed the Earth. For example, stored in the vaults of the medical school at WITS University, Johannesburg, there is part of an upper leg bone with a hip-joint that would have stood approximately 12 feet tall. It’s been there since the early 1960’s and was found by miners in Northern Namibia. It is one of the most precious and rare specimens available today that clearly indicates the existence of giants in Southern Africa more than 40,000 years ago.

That’s another story in and of itself, and you can read more about that here.

Further Discussion/Takeaway

The point of this article is to show you that there is a lot more to the human story than what we’ve been told, yet we are still taught that there are only two acceptable possibilities. The truth is that we don’t know, and the evidence points to the fact that what we are being taught and what we are learning from a young age doesn’t hold nearly as much credibility compared to theories that don’t even get mentioned within the mainstream.

Perhaps there is much more to human history and the story of our origins than what we’re told? Perhaps intellectual authorities have been involved in concealing this information from humanity because it would completely change the collective worldview and the controlling mechanisms used to enslave humanity?

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Consciousness

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.

  • Reflect On:

    We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

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“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

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