Retired,Live in the woods, .54 miles off the road, love to work outside and feed the deer and birds in the winter time. I volunteer with meditation groups in four prisons near my home with the Milwaukee Zen Ctr Program that goes to 12 prisons. Also very active in Poetry community, Woodland Pattern in Milwaukee, Naropa SWP in Boulder, CO and other readings. There are four Buddha surrounding my home, I also take care of their well being and all living beings....
Haiti: The Spiritual Lessons To Be Learned
Today at 3:49pm
With the news of the Haitian disaster comes a profound sense of vulnerability. When faced with catastrophes of this scale, we are left feeling exposed, without answers, the explicit images shown in the media reminding us how transitory everything is in life, how the material security we strive so hard to achieve can disappear in an instant. These harsh shocks remind us that we cannot control even the most significant things in our lives, even that which appears to be the most secure can be gone in a flash.
When we seek external security, we are seeking stability within that which always changes; this is why we need so many guarantees, but no guarantee is absolute in this world. Life is a succession of moments, during most of which we are absent, and when we reach the end of the road or are reminded in some way of our own mortality, we often have the feeling of dissatisfaction, of not having fully lived… as if time has run like water through our fingers.
Whether the outside is shaken by an earthquake or an economic crisis, through illness or some other stressful situation, we can confront it in one place only: the here and now.
By being present - present with ourselves, present with one-another, present in our feelings - vulnerable, without denying the dimension of the impact, and flowing with life, without negating our emotions: those long ignored feelings, forgotten deep within, avoided and distorted into something corrupt, a suppressed resentment poisoning our relationships, damaging our health.
Our emotions should flow like water, washing the banks of our human experience as they pass, flowing like life through time, dancing through this illusion that is calling to us, inviting us to become more human and more real in each moment.
Security can only be found if I focus inwards, in the eye of the storm, the core of the hurricane that takes me ever deeper within its quiet; if I go outwards into the chaos, I lose myself within it; if I go deep within, I find myself in the void.
We can see this in action through the responses to the crisis. Just when we believe that humanity has no hope, we see countries sending planes and ships, and presidents and representatives from all corners of the earth coming together as they offer their help. So shine the heroes, the silent hearts that give freely, so that the pain and suffering of those affected can be lessened, offering consolation and the tools to readapt and continue forward, thankful for what life has given, and lovingly letting go of that which life has taken away.
We cannot do anything to stop it, nor does it make sense to suffer now for what the future may bring, but we can move into action and give, we can focus on loving more in every moment those who surround us instead of criticizing, giving thanks for what we have received and letting go of that which does not serve us in cultivating our passion for life.
In this moment, find yourself in the center of the cyclone. Welcome in this new way of living, completely connected with your heart: there where the essence of life itself pulsates, there where your true voice speaks and resounds within you and in everything, becoming one in the union of love.
posted by Isha Judd on Care2
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Isha Judd will be touring Europe in April 2010, presenting her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? which explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at www.whywalkwhenyoucanfly.com.
The Syllable by Syllable Commentary Explaining the Benefits and Advantages of the Vajra Guru Mantra Share Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 12:56am By the great tertön Karma Lingpa (14th century)
The Vajra Guru Mantra is the mantra associated with Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava. This is a draft translation of a treasure text which explains the Vajra Guru Mantra. It was originally concealed during the time of Padmasambhava in Tibet and later rediscovered by Karma Lingpa (14th century) who brought it forth from its place of concealment and copied it down on reams of gold. It is simply known as "The Syllable by Syllable Commentary Explaining the Benefits of the Vajra Guru Mantra." It begins with an invocation and then goes into a dialogue between Yeshe Tsogyal, the spiritual consort of Padmasambhava, and Padmasambhava himself. And so, Yeshe Tsogyal begins:
I, the woman Yeshe Tsogyal, having offered to you the inner and outer mandala on a vast scale, have the following request. Oh great teacher, Pema Jungne, you have been extremely kind to us, the Tibetan people, leaving for us a legacy that will benefit us now and in future lives. Your kindness is so great that we have never experienced anything like this before, nor will we ever experience anything like this in the future. In particular, so that now even though I am a humble person, I have no doubt that I will attain enlightenment.
In the future, sentient beings will have very short attention spans and a great many things will clutter and occupy their minds. Their characters will be rough and difficult to tame. They will develop many wrong views towards the sacred Dharma. In particular, a time will come when people will cast dispersions on the Secret Mantra teaching of the unsurpassable levels of tantra. At that time, all sentient beings will suffer heavily from disease, famine, and war. Because of the spread of these three calamities, in particular, China, Tibet and Mongolia will experience the same kind of turmoil as an ant's nest when it is destroyed, and the time will come for the people of Tibet to suffer greatly. Though you have spoken at length of many skillful means to salvage what is possible from that situation, sentient beings in the future will not have the time to practice. Even though they may have some slight inclination to practice, they will encounter many great obstacles. Sentient beings will experience a great deal of disharmony. They won't be able to get along or reach any kind of accord, and in the wake of this, their behavior will become very impure. Bad times such as this will be very difficult to avert. That being the case, what kinds of benefits and advantages would there be for those beings in the future were they to rely solely upon the Vajra Guru Mantra as their practice? I ask you to relate this for the benefit of individuals in the future who are not able to perceive this and therefore have to have it explained to them.
Then the great master, Pema Jungne replied:
Oh faithful lady, what you have said is so very true. In the future, such times will befall sentient beings and both in a temporary and in a long term sense, the benefits of the Vajra Guru mantra can be definitely be felt. Since my spiritual instructions and the methods of practice that I offer are immeasurable, I have hidden a great number of treasure teachings in the water, rocks, the sky and so forth. In these evil times, even individuals with fortunate karma will find it difficult to encounter these teachings. It will be difficult to bring together the necessary circumstances for these teachings to be revealed. This is a sign that the collective merit of beings is on the wane.
However, at such times, if this essence mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra, is repeated as much as possible, a hundred times, a thousand times, ten thousand times, a hundred thousand times, a million, ten million, a hundred million times and so forth, if it is repeated in holy places, in temples, next to great rivers, in areas where gods and demons abound, if it is recited in these places by tantric practitioners with pure samaya, by people with monastic ordination who maintain their vows purely, by men and women who possess faith in the teachings, if they give rise to bodhicitta on a grand scale and recite this mantra, then the benefits and advantages and energy of such practice are truly inconceivable. This will avert all of the negative forces of disease, famine, unrest, bad harvests and all bad omens and indications in all the countries of the world, such that the rain will fall in a timely manner for the crops so there will always be a plentiful supply of water for agriculture and for human and animal life, and all regions and areas will experience prosperity and auspicious conditions.
In this life, in future lives, and in the intermediate state between death and rebirth, these individuals who practice in this way will meet with me again and again. The very best of these individuals will actually meet me in their waking consciousness. Those of middling degree of attainment will meet with me again and again in their dreams. Gradually perfecting the different paths and levels of their practice, they will attain to the ranks of the masculine and feminine holders of intrinsic awareness in my pure land in the continent of Ngayab. Have no doubt of this.
If this mantra is recited a hundred times a day, merely a hundred times a day without interruption, one will become attractive to others and will effortlessly come by food and wealth and the necessities of life.
If one recites it a thousand or ten thousand times on a daily basis, one is able to literally overwhelm others with one's brilliance, in the sense of becoming very charismatic and influential in exerting a positive influence over others, and one will gain unhindered force of blessings and spiritual power.
If one repeats it a hundred thousand or a million times on a regular basis one will become capable of effecting an immeasurably great benefit for beings, exactly as one would wish to.
If one recites the mantra three or seven million times, one is never separate from the buddhas of the three times and one becomes inseparable from me. All the gods and demons of existence will attend to one and offer their praises.
In the most excellent cases, individuals will attain the rainbow body, and the final level of attainment in this lifetime. On a more middling level, at the moment of death, the mother and child aspects of radiant luminosity will meet. At the very least, individuals will behold my face in the bardo state and all the appearances of the bardo state will be free in their own ground such that these individuals will be reborn on the continent of Ngayab and from that vantage point, be able to accomplish an immeasurable amount of benefit to beings. Thus the Guru replied to Yeshe Tsogyal.
She responded by saying:
Oh great master, it is extremely kind of you to have spoken of these vast and immeasurable advantages of the spiritual energy of this mantra. For the benefit of sentient beings in the future however, a detailed explanation would be of enormous benefit, and so I would ask you to speak in a brief way about the different syllables of this mantra.
To which the great master replied:
O daughter of good family, the Vajra Guru mantra is not just my single essence mantra, it is the very essence or life force of all the deities of the four classes of tantra, of all the nine yanas, and all of the 84,000 collections of dharma teachings. The essence of all of the buddhas of the three times, all of the gurus, yidams, dakas, and dakinis, dharma protectors, etc., the essence of all of these is contained and is complete within this mantra. How, you may ask, does this work? What is the reason for all these being complete with this mantra? Listen well and hold this in mind. Read it again and again. Write it out for the benefit of sentient beings, and teach it or demonstrate it to beings in the future.
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG are the sublime, essence of the principles of enlightened body, speech, and mind VAJRA is the sublime essence of the indestructible family GURU is the sublime essence of the jewel family PEMA is the sublime essence of the lotus family SIDDHI is the sublime essence of the activity family HUNG is the sublime essence of the transcendent family
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM is the perfect splendor and richness of sambhoghakaya AH is the total unchanging perfection of dharmakaya, the manifest body of absolute reality HUNG perfects the presence of Guru Padmasambhava as the nirmanakaya, the manifest body of emanation VAJRA perfects all the heruka deities of the mandalas GURU refers to the root and transmission gurus and the holders of intrinsic awareness PEMA perfects the assembly of dakas and dakinis SIDDHI is the life force of all the wealth deities and the guardians of the treasure teachings HUNG is the life force of the dharmapalas, the protective deities
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG are the life force of the three classes of tantra VAJRA is the life force of the monastic discipline and the sutra class of teachings GURU is the life force of abhidharma and kriya (action) yoga, the first level of tantra PEMA is the life force of the charya (conduct) yoga, the second class of tantra, and yoga (joining) tantra, the third class of tantra SIDDHI is the life force of the mahayoga and anuyoga classes of teachings HUNG is the life force of the ati yoga, the Natural Great Perfection (Dzogchen)
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG purify obscurations arising from the three mental poisons: desire/attachment, aversion, and ignorance VAJRA purifies obscurations which stem from anger GURU purifies obscurations which stem from pride PEMA purifies obscurations which stem from desire/attachment SIDDHI purifies obscurations which stem from envy/jealousy HUNG in a general way purifies obscurations which stem from all emotional afflictions
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
Through OM AH HUNG one attains the three kayas Through VAJRA one realizes mirror-like pristine awareness Through GURU one realizes the pristine awareness of equalness Through PEMA one realizes the pristine awareness of discernment Through SIDDHI one realizes the all-accomplishing pristine awareness Through HUNG one realizes the pristine awareness of basic space
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
Through OM AH HUNG gods, demons, and humans are subdued Through VAJRA one gains power over malevolent forces of certain gods and demons Through GURU one gains control over the malevolent forces of the Lord of Death and the cannibal demons Through PEMA one gains control over the malevolent influences of the water and wind elements Through SIDDHI one gains control over the malevolent influences of non-human forces and spirits bringing harm and exerting negative control over one's life Through HUNG one gains control of the malevolent influences of planetary configurations and earth spirits
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG accomplishes the six spiritual virtues VAJRA accomplishes pacifying activity GURU accomplishes enriching activity PEMA accomplishes magnetizing activity SIDDHI accomplishes enlightened activity in general HUNG accomplishes wrathful enlightened activity
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG avert all imprecations and curses VAJRA averts the negative consequences of breaking one's samaya with the deities of pristine awareness GURU averts the negative influences of the eight classes of gods and demons in samsara PEMA averts the negative influences of nagas and earth spirits HUNG averts the negative influences of gods, demons, humans, samsaric gods
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG defeats the army of the five mental poisons VAJRA defeats anger GURU defeats pride PEMA defeats desire/attachment SIDDHI defeats envy and jealousy HUNG defeats the armies of gods, demons and humans
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG brings about the spiritual accomplishments or siddhis VAJRA brings about the siddhi of peaceful and wrathful deities GURU brings about the siddhi of the awareness-holders and the lineage gurus PEMA brings about the siddhi of the dakas and dakinis and dharma protectors SIDDHI brings about the mundane and supreme siddhis HUNG brings about the siddhi of accomplishing whatever one wishes
OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG
OM AH HUNG transfers consciousness to the pure realms of experience VAJRA transfers consciousness to the eastern pure realm of Manifest Joy GURU transfers consciousness to the southern pure realm of Glory & Splendor PEMA transfers consciousness to the western pure realm of Great Bliss SIDDHI transfers consciousness to the northern pure realm of Excellent Activity HUNG transfers consciousness to the central pure realm of Unwavering
If a physical form could demonstrate the benefit of even one recitation of OM AH HUNG VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUNG, the entire earth would not be sufficient to contain the merit. All sentient beings who see, hear, or remember this mantra will definitely be established in the ranks of the masculine and feminine awareness-holders. If it is the case that these words of truth of the Vajra Guru mantra do not accomplish for sentient beings what they wish to accomplish just as I have promised, then I Pema Jungne, am truly deceiving sentient beings. But I have not deceived you, so you should practice according to my instructions.
Even if you are not able to recite the mantra for whatever reasons, you should mount it on the top of a victory banner, even when the wind touches it, and that wind touches sentient beings, it will free them without a doubt. Alternately, you may inscribe it in clay or carve it in stone. This will also guard the path upon which these syllables are placed and guard that region from malevolent effects. You may also write this mantra out in gold ink on dark blue paper and wear it as an amulet. When you die, if this amulet is burned with your corpse, rainbows will be seen and your consciousness will be transferred to the realms of Supreme Bliss. The benefits of writing out, reading or reciting this mantra defy any accurate measure and defy any standard measurement that could be applied. Having established this for the benefit of beings in the future, I am hiding this treasure. May it meet with a fortunate child of mine in the future who has good karma.
May this pracice be a blessings to all People, thanks to Lynn VivaPalestina Wilson, a leader of the march into Gaza this past few days, on Face Book Peace ko shin
Dua to be recited in the morning أَصْبَـحْـنا وَأَصْبَـحْ المُـلكُ للهِ رَبِّ العـالَمـين ، اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أسْـأَلُـكَ خَـيْرَ هـذا الـيَوْم ، فَـتْحَهُ ، وَنَصْـرَهُ ، وَنـورَهُ وَبَـرَكَتَـهُ ، وَهُـداهُ ، وَأَعـوذُ بِـكَ مِـنْ شَـرِّ ما فـيهِ وَشَـرِّ ما بَعْـدَه
The morning has come to me and the whole universe belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, O Allah, I ask of you the good of the day, it's success and aid and it's nur (celestial light) and barakaat (blessings) and seek hidayah (guidance) and seek refuge from the evil in it (this day) and from the evil of that which is to come later.
(Hisn from Abu Dawood)
Alternatively, recite this dua اللّهُـمَّ بِكَ أَصْـبَحْنا وَبِكَ أَمْسَـينا ، وَبِكَ نَحْـيا وَبِكَ نَمُـوتُ وَإِلَـيْكَ المَصِيْر
O Allah we enter the day time and the evening and die with your Qudrat (power) and to You do we return.
When the sun rises recite الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَقَالَنَا يَوْمَنَا هَذَا وَلَمْ يُهْلِكْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا (مُسْلِمْ)
All praise be to Allah who has forgiven us today and not destroyed us due to our sin.
The evening has come to me and the whole universe belongs to Allah who is The Lord of the worlds. O Allah, I ask of you the good of the night, it's success and aid and its nur (celestial light) and barakaat (blessings) and seek hidayat (guidance) and refuge from the evil of this night and the evil that is to come later.
O Allah we enter the night and the day and live and die with Your Qudrat (strength) and to You do we return.
After the expiry of Maghrib time, recite this dua اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّ هَذَا إِقْبَالُ لَيْلِكَ وَإِدْبَارُ نَهَارِكَ وَأَصْوَاتُ دُعَاتِكَ فَاغْفِرْ لِي
O Allah, this is the time of the coming of the night and the passing of the day and the voices of those calling You to forgive us.
Other supplications to be recited in the morning & evenings Uthman (R.A.) reported that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) has said that (nothing will harm) the servant who recites these words three times every morning and evening.
We have made (started) the morning (and night) in whose Name nothing in the skies and the earth can harm and He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing.
It is narrated by Abu Dawood that if one recites this dua in the morning, no unforeseen calamity will come to him.
Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said that if a person recites three ayats of Surah Rum (Para 21) and if he misses his normal recitation of the day, he will still be rewarded for it. This applies to the night as well.
"So remember Allah in the evening and the morning. To him is the praise in the Heavens and the Earth and in the last hours and when it is noon. He brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living and He revives the earth after it is dead. And even so you shall be brought forth".
Abu Huraira (R.A) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said that whosoever reads the beginning of Surah Mo'min (para 24) and Ayatul-Qursi in the morning, then he will be protected from calamaties and ploys till the evening and whosoever recites these in the evenings, will be protected from calamities and ploys till the morning.
"Ha. Meem, The sending down of this book is from Allah who is the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing, The Forgiver of sins and the Acceptor of repentance, Severe in retribution, Bountiful there is no ilah but He, Unto Him is our return".
Allah! There is no ilah (deity worthy of worship) but He The Living, The Eternal One. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belonges whatever is in the Heavens and on the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before and what is behind them. They encompass nothing of His knowledge which He will. His Throne extends over the Heavens and the Earth, and the preservation of both does not weary Him. He is the Exalted The Immense One.
Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) stated that a person who has recited (the underlying) in the morning, he has pleased (praised, glorified) Allah for His favours of the morning, and if he has done so in the night, he has thanked Allah for His favours of the night.
Translation: "O Allah, whatever favours You have bestowed upon me and all other creations is only from you. You are One, You have no partners. Praise and Shukr (thanks) be to You".
If recited in the night, then recite مَا أمَْسيَ in place of مَا أَصْبَحَ بِي
Thuban (R.A.) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAW) stated that if a Muslim servant recites (the underlying) three times every morning, then it becomes the responsibility of Allah to satisfy him on the Day of Qiyamah.
in the morning the last three ayats of Suratul Hashr then Allah delegates 70,000 angles to send mercy onto him till the evening and if he dies that day, he will die as a martyr and if he recites these in the evening then Allah delegates 70,000 angels to send mercy onto him till the morning and if he dies that night, he dies as martyr.
"He is Allah, there is no ilah but He, He is the knower of the unseen and the witness He is the All-Merciful, the All compassionate. He is Allah, there is no ilah but He. He is the king, the Holy, the Giver of Safety. The Taker-in shelter the All-Mighty, the omnipotent, the All-Sublime. Allah is Pure and Pure of what they associate (with Him). He is Allah, the Creator, the One who is Perfect. To Him belong names Most Excellent. All that is in the heavens and the earth, glorify Him and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise".
Ataa bin Abi Rahaa (R.A.) narrates that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) has stated that if a person recites Surah Yaseen early in the morning then his need for the day will be fullfilled.
Benefit: The recitation of Surah Ikhlaas, Surah Falaq and Surah Naas three times each in the mornings and evenings, has been encouraged in the Ahadith.
Supplications to be recited at night Abdullah bin Masood (R.A.) states that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) has said that the person who recites Suratul Waqia (para 27) every night, will never be poverty stricken (hungry) (Baihagi in Shabatul Iman)
Uthman (R.A.) states that a person who recites from
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
in Surah Al-Imran till the end of the Surah on any night or part of the night, will receive the reward of performing his Salaat for the whole night.
Jabir (R.A.) states that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) never slept before reciting Surah Alif Laam Meem Sajda (21 para) and Surah Tabarakal Lazi.
Abdullah bin Masood (R.A.) narrates that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) has stated that the person who recites the last two ayats of Suratul Baqarah till the end, then these two ayats will be sufficient for him, i.e. Allah will protect him from all evil and ploys.
When retiring to sleep, make wudhu, dust off the bed three times, lie on the right side, place the right hand under the head or cheeks and recite the following dua three times.
"Oh my Lord, I have taken Your name and placed myself on my side and by Your power will rise up again. If you take my soul whilst I am sleeping (grant me death) then have mercy on my soul and if you leave me (let me live) by your power protect me by that with which you have protected your righteous servants".
Or recite this dua اللَّهُمَّ بِاسْمِكَ أَمُوتُ وَأَحْيَا
"I submit my life to you, I turn towards You and leave my work unto you, I lean on you, desire your boons and fear you as there is no other salvation besides you. I believe in the kitab (Book) you have revealed and in the Rasul(Prophet) you have sent.
Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) showed (taught a Sahabi) this dua and said: "If after reading it you die in the night, then it is as if you have died on 'Natural Deen' and if you awake in the morning alive then you will have good fortune".
Anas (R.A.) narrates that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said that if a person retires to bed on the side and recites Surah Fathiha and Surah Ikhlaas (Qul huwa- Allaho Ahad) he is immune from everything besides death.
(Hisnul Hasan from Albazr)
Sahabi (R.A.) requested Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) that Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) teach him something to recite at the time of retiring to bed. Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said: "Recite Qul Ya Ayuhal Kafiroon, for in it (there is an announcement) to refrain from shirk.
(Mishkat from Tirmidhi)
In some ahadith it is stated that one should sleep after reciting (i.e. not to talk after reciting it).
(Hisnul Hasin from Albazr)
Ayesha (R.A.) narrates that when Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) used to go to the room for sleep, he used to recite Suras Ikhlaas, Falaq, Nass and blow onto his hand (palms) in such a manner that the saliva would drop on them and then he would rub them over his body three times starting from the front of the face.
Beside this he would recite 33 times سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ 33 times الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ 34 times اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ
He also used to recite Ayatul Qursi as Allah has stipulated that the reciter will be protected throughout the night by the angels and the Satan will not come near.
Also recite this dua three times أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيَّ الْقَيُّومَ وَأَتُوبِ إِلَيْهِ
Its virtues are that all the reciter's sins will be forgiven even if it be equal to the extent of the foam in the ocean.
Recite Bismillah while closing doors, covering utensils, and putting off the light (candles etc.)
Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said that when a person enters his bed (to sleep), an angel and a Shaitaan surround him. The Shaitaan whispers 'your awakening will end in evil' and the angel says' end in good". One sleeps after engaging in dhikr, the angels will protect him throughout the night. In order to gain the protection of the angels, it is wise to engage in Dhikr and then sleep.
It was on this day in 1952 that a 23-year-old medical student from Buenos Aires, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, hopped on a motorcycle with his biochemist friend and began his journey through Latin America. For Che, it was a journey that would last nine months and in which he'd traverse 8,000 miles by motorcycle, hitchhiking, steamship, horseback, river raft, and cargo plane. He'd return home a changed man, dedicated to the causes of alleviating poverty, unifying Latin America, and to armed revolution. This journey became the basis for his New York Times best-selling book The Motorcycle Diaries. Guevara came from a well-off Argentinean family. He didn't get very good grades in medical school, and he didn't seem that interested in politics. He really just loved to ride his bicycle and to travel. He'd biked around Argentina all by himself a few years before. So when his older friend, 29-year-old biochemist Alberto Granado, mentioned the idea of taking a motorcycle from the south end of Latin America to the north, young Guevara jumped at the chance. He decided skip his upcoming final exams and put medical school on hold for a year. And 58 years ago today, Guevara and Granado mounted a rickety old motorcycle, which they nicknamed La Poderosa, the Mighty One, and departed Buenos Aires. On their way out of Argentina, they stopped at a resort where Guevara's girlfriend's family was staying for the summer so that he could say good-bye. His girlfriend gave him $15 to buy her a swimsuit from North America, which he swore he starve rather than spend on anything else. Weeks later, he handed the money to a homeless couple. In Santiago, their sputtering motorcycle broke down for good, and they resorted to hitchhiking for the rest of the trip. From Chile they went to Peru, to a leper colony along the Amazon River where they hung around to treat patients. There he spent many nights awake into the wee hours talking with a Peruvian Marxist; he later cited these conversations as having helped to define his politics. Guevara and Granado traveled on to Colombia and Venezuela, where Granado stayed to work treating people with leprosy. Guevara boarded a cargo plane to fly back to Argentina by way of Miami. But the plane had engine problems, and Guevara was stuck in Miami for several weeks, and he waited tables and washed dishes to survive. He made it back to Argentina, sat down and reworked his travel notes years after the journey and wrote contemplative commentary around the descriptions of landscape and people that he'd jotted down while he was out on the road years before; his book The Motorcycle Diaries is actually a memoir. There are a few English translations available, including ones by Ann Wright (1996) and Alexandra Keeble (2003). Che Guevara wrote in his diary: "I will be on the side of the people ... I will take to the barricades and the trenches, screaming as one possessed, will stain my weapons with blood, and, mad with rage, will cut the throat of any vanquished foe I encounter." Che Guevara died in 1967 at the age of 39, executed by members of the Bolivian army. Actually, he was killed by the CIA and their killing continues to this day...when will demand this stops?
Just returning from the celebration of the Life of Norma Jean Varland Hanson, the wonderful lady who has been my brothers wife for some 56 years with family and friends. Who said death is not a healing event, it sure is. What a meaningful liturgy in the Christian path, and a laughter filled gathering of the families for the rest of the day and into the night. Many thanks to Laurie, Chip, Jean and Eric and of course my dear big brother JD. Be strong bro, you are never alone, some days will be tearful and sad, but everyday is a gift, blessings JD.
Yes, it is a new year, 2010. Turning 70 in these 365 days, you sometimes wonder how many more there will be. But, why worry each moment is a gift is all we have. Here's hoping your year is a rich one, filled with love, peace and justice for all people's. Peace and love from ko shin, Bob & Karen and our clan.
The Gaza Freedom March has come to an end, but before the protesters dispersed they agreed on the following statement:
End Israeli Apartheid Cairo Declaration January 1, 2010
We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South African delegation, state:
In view of:
* Israel’s ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza; * the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements; * the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will tighten even further the siege of Gaza; * the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006; * the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza one year ago; * the continuing discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians within Israel; * and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees; * all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the Zionist ideology which underpins Israel; * in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and allowed it to behave with impunity; * and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)
We reaffirm our commitment to:
Palestinian Self-Determination Ending the Occupation Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees
We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the United Palestinian call of July 2005 for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to compel Israel to comply with international law.
To that end, we call for and wish to help initiate a global mass, democratic anti-apartheid movement to work in full consultation with Palestinian civil society to implement the Palestinian call for BDS.
Mindful of the many strong similarities between apartheid Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa, we propose:
1) An international speaking tour in the first 6 months of 2010 by Palestinian and South African trade unionists and civil society activists, to be joined by trade unionists and activists committed to this programme within the countries toured, to take mass education on BDS directly to the trade union membership and wider public internationally;
2) Participation in the Israeli Apartheid Week in March 2010;
3) A systematic unified approach to the boycott of Israeli products, involving consumers, workers and their unions in the retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors;
4) Developing the Academic, Cultural and Sports boycott;
5) Campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation and/or the Israeli military industries;
6) Legal actions targeting the external recruitment of soldiers to serve in the Israeli military, and the prosecution of Israeli government war criminals; coordination of Citizen’s Arrest Bureaux to identify, campaign and seek to prosecute Israeli war criminals; support for the Goldstone Report and the implementation of its recommendations;
7) Campaigns against charitable status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
We appeal to organisations and individuals committed to this declaration to sign it and work with us to make it a reality.
Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(* Affiliation for identification purposes only.)
1. Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor/ Women in Black*, USA 2. Nomthandazo Sikiti, Nehawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa 3. Zico Tamela, Satawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa 4. Hlokoza Motau, Numsa, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa 5. George Mahlangu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Campaigns Coordinator*, South Africa 6. Crystal Dicks, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Education Secretary*, South Africa 7. Savera Kalideen, SA Palestinian Solidarity Committee*, South Africa 8. Suzanne Hotz, SA Palestinian Solidarity Group*, South Africa 9. Shehnaaz Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa 10. Haroon Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa 11. Sayeed Dhansey, South Africa 12. Faiza Desai, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa 13. Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada*, USA 14. Hilary Minch, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee*, Ireland 15. Anthony Loewenstein, Australia 16. Sam Perlo-Freeman, United Kingdom 17. Julie Moentk, Pax Christi*, USA 18. Ulf Fogelström, Sweden 19. Ann Polivka, Chico Peace and Justice Center*, USA 20. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA 21. Elfi Padovan, Munich Peace Committee*/Die Linke*, Germany 22. Elizabeth Barger, Peace Roots Alliance*/Plenty I*, USA 23. Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CodePink*, USA 24. Svetlana Gesheva-Anar, Bulgaria 25. Cristina Ruiz Cortina, Al Quds-Malaga*, Spain 26. Rachel Wyon, Boston Gaza Freedom March*, USA 27. Mary Hughes-Thompson, Women in Black*, USA 28. David Letwin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, USA 29. Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery*, USA 30. Gael Murphy, Gaza Freedom March*/CodePink*, USA 31. Thomas McAfee, Journalist/PC*, USA 32. Jean Louis Faure, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, France 33. Timothy A King, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East*, USA 34. Gail Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA 35. Ouahib Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA 36. Greg Dropkin, Liverpool Friends of Palestine*, England 37. Felice Gelman, Wespac Peace and Justice New York*/Gaza Freedom March*, USA 38. Ron Witton, Australian Academic Union*, Australia 39. Hayley Wallace, Palestine Solidarity Committee*, USA 40. Norma Turner, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, England 41. Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black (Vienna)*/ Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East*, Austria 42. Mateo Bernal, Industrial Workers of the World*, USA 43. Mary Mattieu, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland 44. Agneta Zuppinger, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland 45. Ashley Annis, People for Peace*, Canada 46. Peige Desgarlois, People for Peace*, Canada 47. Hannah Carter, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada 48. Laura Ashfield, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada 49. Iman Ghazal, People for Peace*, Canada 50. Filsam Farah, People for Peace*, Canada 51. Awa Allin, People for Peace*, Canada 52. Cleopatra McGovern, USA 53. Miranda Collet, Spain 54. Alison Phillips, Scotland 55. Nicholas Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Jews Say No*, USA 56. Tarak Kauff, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Veterans for Peace*, USA 57. Jesse Meisler-Abramson, USA 58. Hope Mariposa, USA 59. Ivesa Lübben. Bremer Netzwerk fur Gerechten Frieden in Nahost*, Germany 60. Sheila Finan, Mid-Hudson Council MERC*, USA 61. Joanne Lingle, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME)*, USA 62. Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA 63. Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA 64. Anna Keuchen, Germany 65. Judith Mahoney Pasternak, WRL* and Indypendent*, USA 66. Ellen Davidson, New York City Indymedia*, WRL*, Indypendent*, USA 67. Ina Kelleher, USA 68. Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Chicago)*, USA 69. Brad Taylor, OUT-FM*, USA 70. Helga Mankovitz, SPHR (Queen’s University)*, Canada 71. Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Scotland 72. Agnes Kueng, Paso Basel*, Switzerland 73. Anne Paxton, Voices of Palestine*, USA 74. Leila El Abtah, The Netherlands 75. Richard, Van der Wouden, The Netherlands 76. Rafiq A. Firis, P.K.R.*/Isra*, The Netherlands 77. Sandra Tamari, USA 78. Alice Azzouzi, Way to Jerusalem*, USA 79. J’Ann Schoonmaker Allen, USA 80. Ruth F. Hooke, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship*, USA 81. Jean E. Lee, Holy Land Awareness Action Task Group of United Church of Canada*, Canada 82. Delphine de Boutray, Association Thèâtre Cine*, France 83. Sylvia Schwarz, USA 84. Alexandra Safi, Germany 85. Abdullah Anar, Green Party – Turkey*, Turkey 86. Ted Auerbach, USA 87. Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker*, USA 88. Louis Ultale, Interfaile Pace e Bene*, USA 89. Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA 90. Emma Grigore, CodePink*, USA 91. Sammer Abdelela, New York Community of Muslim Progressives*, USA 92. Sharat G. Lin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center*, USA 93. Katherine E. Sheetz, Free Gaza*, USA 94. Steve Greaves, Free Gaza*, USA 95. Trevor Baumgartner, Free Gaza*, USA 96. Hanan Tabbara, USA 97. Marina Barakatt, CodePink*, USA 98. Keren Bariyov, USA 99. Ursula Sagmeister, Women in Black – Vienna*, Austria 100. Ann Cunningham, Australia 101. Bill Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA 102. Terry Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA 103. Athena Viscusi, USA 104. Marco Viscusi, USA 105. Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee*, USA 106. Manijeh Saba, New York / New Jersey, USA 107. Ellen Graves, USA 108. Zoë Lawlor, Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Ireland 109. Miguel García Grassot, Al Quds – Málaga*, Spain 110. Ana Mamora Romero, ASPA-Asociacion Andaluza Solidaridad y Paz*, Spain 111. Ehab Lotayef, CJPP Canada*, Canada 112. David Heap, London Anti-War*, Canada 113. Adie Mormech, Free Gaza* / Action Palestine*, England 114. Aimee Shalan, UK 115. Liliane Cordova, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, Spain 116. Priscilla Lynch, USA 117. Jenna Bitar, USA 118. Deborah Mardon, USA 119. Becky Thompson, USA 120. Diane Hereford, USA 121. David Heap, People for Peace London*, Canada 122. Donah Abdulla, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights*, Canada 123. Wendy Goldsmith, People for Peace London*, Canada 124. Abdu Mihirig, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada 125. Saldibastami, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada 126. Abdenahmane Bouaffad, CMF*, France 127. Feroze Mithiborwala, Awami Bharat*, India 128. John Dear, Pax Christi*, USA 129. Ziyaad Lunat, Portugal 130. Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) 131. Labor For Palestine
Gaza Freedom March instructions from Greta Berlin By Guest Post • Dec 31st, 2009 at 9:22 • Category: Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, War
Gaza_Freedom_MarchPlans for Thursday, December 31, Tomorrow (ed note, today), international groups related to the Gaza Freedom March will join together for a united march to Gaza. We are demanding an end to the Seige of Gaza, freedom of movement for all Palestinians, and end to the Wall. We urge people around the world to join civil society in a boycotts, divestment campaign and a call for sanctions now.
Our protest will begin at 10 AM sharp in the heart of downtown Cairo. We are asking people to be in the area of the Tahir Square and the Egyption Museum. Please be in the area early. It is time to act like a tourist just as the Egyption Government has said we should do - window shop, buy coffee etc.
Please stay in small groups and pay attention. When the March begins, which will be visible by flags and sound, move to it as quickly as possible and add your energy and body to the flow. Once it begins, act like an Egyption and move through the traffic to join in.
Think of this as mosquitos or bees moving like a swarm to build our march. Once we are all together we want to stay tight, but know that is some place we will be flowing through the cars. We are nonviolent peaceful people. We do not want conflict, we want to go to Gaza to bring attention to the siege.
We do not know what the police will do. But we must be prepared for police brutality. We know they are capable of clubbing us, or physically pushing or pulling us around. If this should occur we will sit down.
Since it is likely that we will be stopped or corralled be prepared to spend some time together. Have ample water, food, things to keep warm, and cushion if you need something to sit on comfortably.
If we are stopped and held we will work together to decide our course of action. There is room for everyone in this action whether you are marching on the street, watching from the sidewalk or providing support through media or electronic alerts about what is happening. You must make up your own mind if it is time to step out, but know that the more of us willing to hold the space the more power we have.
We are asking for an international delegation of women to lead this march. There will be a briefing at the Sun Hotel at 9 AM.
If your group did not do a walk through, please send someone to check in at the Sun Hotel by 8:30 AM sharp.
The most important thing is that we are coming together to support one another and take action on behalf of the people of Gaza and Palestine.
It will be a great day and we look forward to marching together in the streets!
It is rumored that we may be blocked in our hotels. If you find this to be true gather everyone together and go to their blockade and begin your protest march or rally at their blockade.
If we are physically prevented from getting to the area we want to be, send a delegate to the Lotus Hotel at 10:30 to re-adjust the plan. Make sure your group has a site to re-group by 11 AM in order to get the information from the Lotus.
Dana Balicki National Campaign Manager CODEPINK Women for Peace email@example.com c 202.422.8624 :: w 646.723.1781 PINKTank :: http://codepink4peace.org/blog/ Facebook :: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/203
Stuart Littlewood – Reaching the Gates of Hell is not so Easy By Guest Post • Dec 31st, 2009 at 11:14 • Category: Action Alert, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, War
photo_1_b37e092f829273c114beaa6b3ea93ef1(VIA Redress) Egyptian ruler Mubarak torpedoes international voluntary aid to Gaza
Stuart Littlewood considers the predicament of the Viva Palestina international humanitarian convoy – the culmination of voluntary work by thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors in the UK, Europe and internationally – whose journey to besieged Gaza was thwarted by Egypt’s ruler, Husni Mubarak, just four hours before it reached its destination.
The Viva Palestina convoy is being given the run-around by Egypt’s President Husni Mubarak and his “Awkward Squad”.
My heart goes out to the 500 or so dedicated people from 17 different countries who brought their convoy of 200 vehicles almost to the gates of Gaza, only to be stranded at Aqaba just four hours short of their destination.
And not only the 500 driving with the Viva Palestina convoy but the thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors back home who have worked for months to provide the medical supplies, the food, the transport and the countless other humanitarian items.
These 500 “salt of the earth” were kicking their heels in Aqaba, and threatening a hunger strike while their precious cargoes spoiled in the heat, because the Egyptian authorities wouldn’t allow them to enter Egypt through the port of Nuweiba. The reason appeared to be that the road across the Sinai from Nuweiba to Rafah ran close to the Israeli border and the 250 trucks and ambulances of the convoy might have caused “a big infiltration problem”.
Why the Egyptian army couldn’t have provided an escort to ensure that no trucks left the column, wasn't explained. The convoy had already taken great trouble and gone many hundreds of extra miles to avoid Israel.
To have come so far and given so much – in time, effort, money and other resources – and to be thwarted at the last minute, was very hard to take.
However, Egypt is perfectly entitled to lay down rules and its Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: "The Egyptian government welcomes the passage of the convoy into the Gaza Strip on 27 December, on condition that it abides by the mechanisms in place for humanitarian aid convoys to the Palestinian people, including most importantly the entry of convoys through the port of El-Arish."
In February 2006 the British MP George Galloway, who leads today's convoy, was refused entry into Egypt. The last Viva Palestina convoy was pelted with stones and vandalised at El-Arish, which is about 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, after Galloway reportedly called President Mubarak uncomplimentary names and urged the country's armed forces to overthrow him.
We all know what Mubarak is, but how sensible was it for Galloway to broadcast his opinion to the world when he wanted easy passage for his convoy through the guy’s territory?
There’s clearly no love lost here, and I heard the Egyptians had imposed three conditions if the convoy wished to reach Gaza through Egypt:
1. It must hand all its vehicles and aid over to UNWRA. 2. It must drive 500 miles back to Syria, then take ship from Latakia to the port of El-Arish. 3. It must ask Israel’s permission to cross from Egypt to Gaza.
This information came from members of the convoy, not the organizers. Conditions number 1 and 3 are unthinkable, surely. But this evening the organizers announced that the convoy, after mediation by Turkey, would indeed turn around and head back to Syria and embark from Latakia to El-Arish. Nothing has been said about complying with the other two conditions.
The voyage should take them under the noses of the trigger-happy and piratical Israeli gunboats who think nothing of opening fire on Gazan fishermen. Will the Royal Navy be dispatched to provide an armed escort?
The question remains: did the organizers know all this beforehand – especially the El-Arish stipulation – or was it suddenly sprung on them? Was clearance given for the southern route via Aqaba, then rescinded, or was it left to chance?
The convoy’s organizers are not answering basic questions and the full picture has still not emerged.
“This is a very determined convoy and we're not going anywhere except to Gaza," says George Galloway.
God speed you to the Gates of Hell then, George. But next time you should maybe consider going by sea, sailing 200 boats though international waters and demanding that the Western powers guarantee the freedom of the high seas. That way you don’t need to bow to the likes of Mubarak.
And you could become an admiral. Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. http://www.redress.cc/palestine/slittlewood20091229