Archive | August 2012

Curiosity beyond the Skies

image credited to Majed Athab of joystiq.com

Beyond the Skies – image credited to Majed Athab of joystiq.com

Often we look to the skies and wonder, what is beyond. How far does the universe stretch? How small are we if we are looked upon from beyond. How could it be that, our planet Earth is just right in the spot where life exists. When it comes to a question like this, there aren’t many answers to it, except the existence of a creator, a God.

Have you ever sit and wonder, how could you, be you? How are you not some other creatures, but  human with a mind and the ability to think about this? What force put you here, putting your very soul into this body you currently own?

Christians and most other religions believe in the existence of a creator, a God, a divine being. Could it really be that someone is truly watching over us, providing us what we can never see nor realize?

I had always tried to answer all these questions and doubts. I tried to research lots and lots about astronomy of how our universe works, but could it be that, a huge blanket of stars and galaxies was cast towards and fooled all of us? No matter how hard we tried to search and search again with our powerful man-made telescopes yet, we could not find a true and final answer.

All we had were theories, speculations, and debates of how our universe are assumed to be.

In science, it was explained that, our universe was created according to the occurrence of ‘Big Bang’. If so, galaxies are communities of solar systems and planets, and so Earth was a coincidence, so is the existence of life. Through science also, the law of probability suggested that, there may be plenty of Earth-like planets out in the universe.

Comparing the size of our mother Earth to the universe, we could even find individuals of different cultures, races, and background, yet identical in features. How could the probability of Earth-like planets be lower? Thus the theory of aliens must be true. However, what should we do when we find them? What if they are hostiles, or what if we got greedy?

Through religion, we know Earth and life itself is created by God. Then how do all the galaxies and stars and planets explain themselves? Were they too, created by God? Then why isn’t there any stories about the other species or races regarding them in our religious writings?

Once, I came across a statement that today, curbed my curiousity. It says…

If one day, we were to possess the knowledge and truth about the universe, we may be God.

Such a quote is familiar to me, but never had I bothered myself to seek out its owner, knowing that I really did get it from somewhere beyond me.

The moment the writer of the quote mentioned God, could it means that, it is a task, not achievable? That it is so hard, beyond our grasp as human beings, that only God could.

Or is the writer an atheist, and meant an ultimate knowledge would be obtained, if one is to acquire such a knowledge?

Only time will tell the answers to such questions…

Advertisements

I woke up one day, and had superpowers!

What if one day, you wake up and find out that you possess superpowers? Or even better, superpowers you had always wished for.

Everybody, I believe, in at least one stage of their lives, wish they have superpowers. Well, I do. Imagine the ability to teleport from places to places like in the movie, Jumper. Say goodbye to traffic congestion, for there is no more need for long extensive drives! Not only that, you get to visit places that you may never have the opportunity to do so. Breakfast in Berlin, lunch in Beijing, and dinner in France, your choice!

Or what if you had the power of Professor X from the X-Men. Truth be told, from people I had ever talked to, none truly realizes the ability of Professor X’s powers. His powers are awesome! Imagine this, you’ll no longer need to cramp on books nights before your big exams. All you have to do is, walk into the examination hall and steal everyone’s answers from their mind. If you prefer otherwise, freeze all brain functions of all the invigilators and start the very first public examination discussion.

Super strength like Superman are just too common. I never wanted anything to do with the word ordinary in my life. Maybe among those who read this, would prefer so. It is completely fine, I have no bias against superpowers, so feel free.

Perhaps, the ability to be invisible would be great. However, I know how all the guys would come out with ideas that would be out of the topic, so I leave this to the readers.

I would say this could be my favourite one, the ability to manipulate time. Sure everyone has done mistakes and wish to correct them. If I were to have the ability to manipulate time, I would not mind failing in whatever I venture in. After all, I can just turn back the time if I mess anything up. A gentle reminder, if any of you really do possess such a power one day, make sure that the mistake you were bold enough to commit will not lead to your death. I don’t believe you can still use your power if you got yourself killed.

Well, this would be the very first superpower I wish to have. When I was young, I wished I was The Flash. Super speed is all I need! Homeworks will never be a ‘waste of time’. You could probably do them just before your teacher steps into the class. Besides, if you watch the movie, it says that Flash, not only has speed physically, but also biologically. Meaning the ability to speed up your metabolism. Wishing for that buff body, guys? Get it ripped in seconds!

Well, we all wish we had superpowers don’t we? When it comes to the topic of ‘what if I had superpowers’, I’ll go overexcited and I believe most of you all out there would be the same. However, we must not lose grip of reality. Learn to appreciate what we have, maybe one day, we could really find supers in us. Compassion, valour, courage, generousity, and many more are all super characteristics. All we got to do is to find and constantly preserve our inner selves.

“Education” that has no Educational Values? What?

Education, is perhaps the most crucial concept to almost every human. Where would one go, or how would one progress without education? But how is modern education efficient enough for human endeavours?

When we send our children to their schools, did we ever ask ourselves, regarding what quality of education our children had been receiving? Some may see quality, in terms of great discipline and excellent grades. But that was not the point of education.

We all understand that, human will only progress if we learn efficiently. It is also inevitable, that the best way to learn and progress is from failures. But have our modern education system been encouraging it? Certainly not.

The purpose of education, is to produce outcomes from decent to excellent youngsters. However, the society believes that we should train these youngsters to be robots instead. Feeding them with all the so called ‘knowledge’ that is 80% unused when they grow up.

Prioritization of Morality and Religion

If kids are expected to grow up being civilized citizens, why not prioritize in morality and religion subjects instead of having them as sub-subjects. This ensures youngsters to understand the importance of morality and religion is beyond one’s achievements.

Provide chances and room for failure

When children are not rewarded for failing, instead the opposite, what makes you think that they will ever try to venture outside their comfort zones? What geniuses have we known that are ordinary compared to the rest? None. If we want to encourage progression and learning, let them have a try. Give them space. Never ever shut them down just because they failed.

The ability to choose

Children are always forced to learn what they dislike. Everyone is born different and unique. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Let them choose what they want to learn and become at young age. Yes, they may still be too young to know what is best for them. If it does not suit them, let them re-choose. Give them time to choose and fail and re-choose. Some may, at this point think that such a procedure is a waste of time. But, what happened to education is forever? We will never cease to seek for knowledge until the day we pass on. There is no difference between a 15 years old and a 45 years old genius. They are both still geniuses. Better late than never.

Besides, for one to be good at what he or she does, is for him or her to like it. If children find no fun in education, certainly they will find no fun in learning. Let them understand that it is an adventure, to constantly seek out for themselves. Let them choose what they want to learn and only learn what they wish.

I believe a maths geek will certainly score in maths and not in literature or history or even languages. You can’t expect children to be born God-like or a Jack of all Trades. And there should not be any judgments to a person who can’t do well for what he dislikes.

Everyone is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Albert Einstein

I do not believe they will ever be any changes made regardless of how much people protest or agree towards our modern education system. Or at least, not now.

If we want the humans to be a more progressive race, start by allowing them to progress.

After all, at the end of the day, when people ask what do we really gain from schools and colleges, the answer would be the skills to pass an examination and of course, how to live with constant judgments.

Insights of Buddhism – How I Chose My Religion

Many Buddhists never really had an idea to what Buddhism really is. In my region, many strayed away from Buddhism even though they called themselves Buddhists. Here, I would like to share with all my readers, on how I chose my religion.

First, I would like to start off with a little about myself. I was born in a Buddhist family but never really thought much about Buddhism since birth. I then begin to lean towards Christianity as to where I was schooled (Christian Missionary School) and what I was taught there. However when I grew older, I started to question about my religion. I was at the verge of converting to Christianity. Before I decided to agree for baptism, I told myself that it is important for me to know my roots, thus I led myself to ask more about my family religion.

Believe it or not, only then I knew that Buddhism has no God. I know most of the world look at Buddhism as atheism. But let me explain to you all, how Buddhism is indeed a religion, with or without a God. Buddhists do have faith. Faith in Buddha, who we see as our Teacher. The Buddha is actually just a title. To whom we look upon to and take refuge in is the first Buddha (the founder of Buddhism), Gautama Buddha or better known for his name, Buddha Shakyamuni.

Buddhists faith, is the faith in the teachings of Buddha. The believe in the laws of nature and karma. The teachings of Buddha is simple. Focus on selflessness, be pure, discipline our mind, and to obey the Eightfold Path.

The importance of Buddhism, is to become or at least be as close to a Buddha. When one reaches a stage, as pure as Buddha himself, he/she shall also be a Buddha. Yes, there are several Buddhas, but we always look to Gautama Buddha as the First Teacher and all his teachings.

Buddha himself said:-

I’m no God. Nor will I preach. I’m only here because those who are lost can come to me for answers. I will never convert others. You can learn from me and part ways as you wish. I welcome everyone who wishes to seek for answers.

Perhaps that is the reason why I never get to learn more about Buddhism. A true Buddhist will obey Buddha’s teachings and thus, will not preach or convert others. However when one seeks, he shall find answers from them.

Yes, that is when I seek. So shall I find my answers. I found out that most things in this world happens because of me (according to the teachings). We shall never blame others, as for what happened is caused by what we have done. If we wish to live better lives, first we must be better.

That is when I found out Buddhism is all about morality. However, I still believe in a Creator/God. So, I got confused after understanding Buddhism. Then I found out that, Buddha himself has never reveal about the existence of God and so I kept on researching for answers and finally found it. Writings suggest that Buddhism can be practiced by people of any religions. As mentioned above, Buddha said, “you can learn from me and part ways as you wish”.

As I slowly lose my leaning towards Christianity, I was still in doubt. In a bridge between these two.

Then one day, my college lecturer came into the class and talked about religions. He asked who are Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. However when it came to the question, “who practices Buddhism here?”, to my surprise not even one admitted, when I knew there were Buddhists in my class.

Seeing this, my lecturer said to all of us. “There is no shame with what your religion is. I’m a Buddhist and I’m proud of it. What is important about your religion is if it suits you. It doesn’t matter if it is practiced by the majorities or the minorities. As long as it suits you”.

Then, since that day, I realize how Buddhism answered all my doubts. That is the day when I decided to learn even more about my own religion and thus, became a Buddhist. It is also since then, I found out that Buddhism was wrongly portrayed and lots of Buddhists have no idea what Buddhism really is. I hope one day, they find their true religion.

BELOW ARE EXPLANATIONS TO SOME TERMS THAT MAY SEEM RARE TO MOST PEOPLE.

Further Explanation – TECHNICAL WORDS

What is karma?

Karma is described as an energy. This will be best described scientifically. As we are all familiar with Newton’s Third Law of motion, I shall then explain with it as an example. Truthfully, it is similar. Newton’s Third Law states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That is how karma works. If in our lifetime, we were to generate positive energy, we will in turn gain positively.

As Buddhists believe in afterlife, karma is best used then. Our soul is a source of energy, where energy is not destructible and can only change in form. When we pass on, this energy will change in form. If we were to have good karmas, our energy is positive, thus our form to be changed shall also be positive.

Pure and Disciplined Mind

I’m sure that everyone is familiar with this quote:-

The mind is everything. What you think, you become – Buddha

In Buddhism, it is important to have a pure and disciplined mind. Every living things have brains. What distinguish us humans, is our mind. The ability to think, consider, and make decisions instead of relying on instincts. According to the quote, it is explained that, if we were to think of happy and positive thoughts, we will become so and vice versa.

Selflessness

Selfishness (opposite of selflessness) is a temptation. Buddha’s teachings stated that, cravings and temptations are pollutants to our mind. If we were to be selfless, we think less of ourselves, thus we feel the lessen in need for temptations. With selflessness, one can also gain good karma (mentioned above).

Eightfold Path

This is where Buddhism is centered. However, there are a few deeper information, but I’m here to just provide a brief description, not to preach. The Eightfold Path is somehow similar to Christian’s Ten Commandments.

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

As these deserves deep explanations, you guys can read more about it here if interested.

Society: How it destroys itself

Image

Everyone would often look up to an individual who had done something inspirational or making sacrifices beyond anyone’s expectations. Great and inspirational heroes are what drove societies to use such qualities to shape fundamental norms. But have we asked ourselves, how are we, as members of the society compare ourselves to the norms we configured or better yet, encourage such an ambience to those who is promising enough? Truth be told, society had never admired such traits, instead being fearful of it.

However, such negativity does not address to each and every individuals of a society, but to the majorities; whereby majorities are commonly that shape the society’s norms.

Society taught us that human beings are designed to learn and progress. Progressions and improvements would have not been defined if there was not the existence of errors, mistakes, shameful doings, and pretty abundance of negative acts. Nevertheless, society never did and will accept such occurrence gracefully. Judgments had further distorted the probability of any efficient improvements and progressions to take place.  With such an instance, is how society did not and has not been encouraging towards what is said as a more supreme individualistic.

Without the consideration to offer second chances, society tends to label their members. When one fails to obey by society’s norms, he or she is labeled and forever so. No matter what follows on, neither any acts from such a person will ever be recognized as decent. Society itself is too hypocrite, acting and stating contradictory. The concept of progression itself is taught but not applied. No greatness is born; it is preserved, learned and encouraged. If it is not so, society will never either progress or learn and there will not be anyone to blame.

Despite, one could also say that the imitable factor to such degradation of society is in fact, discrimination.

‘A bright man, sitting by the side of a beggar as seen, who he had cared, provided, sheltered and befriended, will once be assumed of being similarly ‘close to the ground’. Yet no one had ever wondered or even bothers to understand what this bright man has sacrificed and what true courteousness he had shown. Nobody cares. Why would they? ‘

Judgments and discrimination has so much deluded the society’s vision. Society taught us all human shall be equal, yet out casting those least favourable without a sense to observe at true courtesy within and only glance through what is on the surface.

In another perspective, it could be described that, such undertakings of harsh judgments could be caused by jealousy. Jealousy of how bright a man could shine, brighter than everyone in the whole city, everyone who mostly put on a mask, to pretend and act to be as courteous, yet insincere. We as members of the society must understand that we ourselves allow such unfavourable instances to occur. We are the ones who judge qualities by the surface, therefore we are the ones who encourage insincerity, pretentious behaviours and discourage purity. Society is now a stage for best actors and actresses.

Likewise, morality had become an act to a show, instead of an action of pure, sincere courtesy. People become ‘actors’; society’s norms become ‘scripts to an act’; members of society become ‘directors’.

‘When a man dares enough to step up, show true morality without being pretentious, he is judged, torn, pressured, and discriminated, and if he is valour enough to persevere through all that, then will he stand as a man, inspired and respected. Buy why? Why must one go through so much just to be courteous? Why the members of society must reject his values which in every ways up to the standards of the norms configured?’  Is the society really so fearful and insecure of such perfection?

Society degradation is not caused by any foreign external factor, but domestically damaging and self-destructive. And at the same time, we pretend that it is acceptable. Convincing ourselves, human beings are progressing healthily as we fear to look at what we have become. When we think of causes of why the world is getting harder to reside on, all of us are reluctantly to think of our self-unsuitability. We did not let our morality, decent behaviours and courtesy lead us. Instead, we followed on the trails and norms set, and fake our way down to try obeying all such that we forgot we had severely conveyed all this positive norms into negative ones as we struggle. How will we be better, when we are not brave enough to be better; or better yet allow others to be?