A PERCEPTION ON REALITY

When I refer to reality from an Islamic perspective, there are two aspects. The FIRST deals with visible existence. We all exist. This is a reality, not an illusion. However, this reality is not ‘permanent’, not ‘everlasting’. The SECONDS deals with reality as it really exists. In this context, the Islamic perception declares that ONLY Allah exists, while we exist by His permission. There are two perceptions of reality. In one sense, everything visible exists but at a highest level it is non-existent because there is ONLY one reality – Allah

If we take the view that only Allah exists, then everything in existence arises from Him. In this context, we say Allah is in everything but NOT everything is Allah. If you recall the Hadith where a stone will cry out saying that there is a Jew hiding behind it – this indicates that the stone is NOT just a stone but a living thing.

Our perception will defer according to the way we think and act. It also depends on our understanding within our own respective religion, but ULTIMATELY, we all want to seek out reality because we all know we will depart one day. In the movie BABE, the pig Babe on seeing all the pigs being shipped out was under the belief that they were all going to paradise BUT in fact were on the way to the slaughterhouse! We have had many movies dealing with our final destination. One such movie is Jupiter Ascending (2015). Then we have thee alien theorists and Orion. Every religion has a perception of reality. It exists in Buddhism without a god. Total enlightenment is its goal, whereas in revealed religions, it deals with God.

Living with reality will also differ from one religion to another. However, if you understand that you are a ‘created being’ or a ‘puppet on a string’ and that your ‘freedom’ is attached to conditions (servitude and submission), then, the concept of free will becomes limited in scope. It is not only confined to existing reality but also by Allah who is the final approver. This view is subject to various religious beliefs.  The reality of the situation is that you appear to determine your own outcome but in reality, to achieve success, you have to fall in line or fulfill your destiny as it has been preordained or ordained?

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Philosophical Argument on Enlightenment in Buddhism

If you are a person with an open mind and capable of not getting lost within the basic content your own religious beliefs than I recommend that you watch the YouTube movie Samsara (2001) Pan Nalin. The movie has some sexual content which is typical of movie production (that the way they market movies these days) but the way it is presented in a philosophical argument related to human perception, in terms of opinion from a woman’s perspective is very enlightening. I suddenly realised that religion on the whole is a man’s world. Women are usually and often placed second or down the ladder when it comes to position.

What Does the Film Highlight?

The film tries to provide us with a perspective from a woman’s point of view. Whenever, we view any religion, women occupy a secondary position. It is all about men. If you look up Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc, men rule the day. The point of view presented by Perma in the film does have a perspective. We all know and accept what Buddha did was right. However, we overlooked the feelings of his wife. This perspective does raise several questions concerning the quest for enlightenment. You just cannot run away from physical life and its natural instincts (like priests and monks do) to pursue some ideal of enlightenment. Islam strikes a balance between mundane life and spiritual life. Everything is not a ‘dream’ nor can we say ‘nothing exists’ when it does. However, in Islam, we say that ONLY the Creator exists, while we exists by His permission. He is eternal, we are not (that is if you accept the belief in One God).

In the film we have the statement: “How do you save a drop of water?” The answer: “By dropping it in the sea.” There is substance to this, but when we view the Islamic perspective of self-annihilation, it would mean: “By becoming one with the ocean,” meaning that you lose your egoistic desires in “I” to become one with Him (in Sufism).

The plot in the film deals with Tashi a Buddhist monk at the age of five. Twenty years later, he emerges from a three-year solitary meditation, for which he is awarded the degree of khenpo by the rinpoche. When Tashi begins to have wet dreams, his relationship at the temple becomes strained. On an official visit, he stays with a farmer and meets Pema, the farmer’s daughter. He leaves monastic life, returning to the farm, where he joins the migrant workers for the harvest. After another encounter with Pema, they marry. They later have a son, Karma.

The first point to note is that later on he is told by his mentor Apo at the monastery that it was not a dream but it did happen. Tashi in his logical rational argument points out that Siddhartha Gautama, before he became Buddha (enlightened), got married and had a child, so for him (Tashi) this was necessary. One has to experience a thing physically and not just dream it.

The second point to note is that everyone involved seems to know what will take place. When Tashi marries Perma and later on has an affair with Sujata, a migrant worker who returns to the farm to labour each year, that too is known in advance by Perma. While Pema goes to the city to sell their harvest, he and Sujata have sex. He’s told that this was something Sujata and Pema have talked about for years. 

The best part of the philosophical argument comes towards the end of the film. We all know that Siddhartha Gautama left his home without a word, without saying goodbye to his wife and son. We all know that he gave up being a prince married to a beautiful princess whom he loved very much; we all know that he loved his wife...

While travelling back to his monastery, Tashi is confronted by his wife. She speaks about events and related them to how Siddhartha’s wife felt. She said, “Yashodhara was married to Siddhartha. She loved him dearly. One night he left her and their son Rahul while they were sleeping to seek enlightenment to become Buddha. He did not say a word when he left. Yashodhara had shown compassion for the sick, an ailing long before ever Buddha did…long before Siddhartha was even aware of suffering. Who can say that he owed his enlightenment to her? Perhaps Yashodhara wanted to leave Siddhartha and Rahul. How can we ever know if Yashodhara fell victim to anger, to loneliness or bitterness after Siddhartha left her? Who even thought about her (feelings)?” At this point in the film, Tashi falls on his knees. Pema continues, “What must she have said when her son, Rahul asked that eternal question: Where is my father? What must she have told him? How could a mother leave her own child in the night? It is only possible for a man to do, Tashi, only for a man to do. After that Yashodhara had no choice. She had to lead a life of renunciation. She cut off her hair and lived like an ascetic. O Tashi, if your thought towards Dharma were of the same intensity as the love and passion you have shown me, you would have become a Buddha in this very body, in this very life.” “Perma, forgive me,” says Tashi. “I am going back with you to where I belong.” She then drops a cloth bag to him as he sits on the ground. He opens it up to find a wooden bowl   and his beads in it. She leaves and he cries out in pain and collapses to the ground. Later he moves to the grave of his mentor Apo, when he see the writing on the stone. It reads: “How can one prevent a drop of water from drying up?” The answer is revealed when Tashi turns the stone around. It says, “By throwing it into the sea.” The film ends with Tashi looking into endless space.

CONCLUSION

I do not want to sound irreligious but in general we all accept and submit to our various religious beliefs in a dogmatic theoretical sense. We have the tendency to obey and to submit obediently which is a religious requirement, but at the same time, there seems to be a degree of ignorance over justice and fairness when it comes to applying or implementing religious injunctions. The film highlights the actions of Siddhartha and his goal towards enlightenment. No one actually considered how his wife felt. This is evident in every religion. It does raise questions concerning enlightenment. 

 

The DAY OF ARAFAH

This is the first day of Dzul Hijjah. I want to draw your attention to the DAY OF ARAFAH at Mekkah (Day of Arafat 2017 will begin in the evening of Wednesday,  30 August 2017 and ends in the evening of Thursday, 31 August 2017). Anyone who has performed Hajj will tell you that at the appointed hour on that day, as everyone assembles at the Plain of Arafah, they will witness a change in the weather. A sudden gust of wind will appear; a sudden coolness, even a slight shower of rain; everyone supplicates Allah Almighty at that time. It is truly an experience. From a spiritual perspective, the angels descend on Allah’s command to forgive those present. The Prophet (s.a.w) said, “There is no day on which Allah frees (forgives) His servants from hell than on the Day of Arafah.” Don’t waste your time with eclipses (a reminder of doomsday and azab). Instead go for Hajj and witness the Day of Arafah with its BLESSINGS! The western global news media will enlighten you about a solar eclipse with full coverage of the event BUT they can NEVER enlighten you over the phenomena that takes place during the Day of Arafah.

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However, what Muslims are told about the Day of Arafah is confined to this: The Prophet (s.a.w) said that whoever fasts on the Day of Arafah is forgiven last year, this year and the coming year. Most Muslims get carried away with this because of its appeal, and if you view it in a literal narrow context, you would fast to enjoy these benefits. This is a CORRUPTION of Islamic understanding. It creates the impression that you can get away with sin, evil, robbery, injustice etc. Please do NOT waste you time reflecting on REWARDS and BENEFITS without EXAMINING YOU CHARACTER AND BEHAVIOUR…..Allah Almighty is NOT dumb!

Just What Is The News Media Up To

Just what is the news media up to everyday? To answer this question let me offer you an example. Of late, there has been a rise in publicity over the late Diana, wife of Prince Charles. Just a few days ago there was a news report that Charles should be bypassed in favour of his son. It produced today’s news report by Sky News that Charles is facing a backlash over Dian. All this news sounds innocent but it has an agenda.

This is the SINISTER approach adopted by all news media. Instead, of exposing REAL ISSUES, society is fed with SPECIFIC reports INTENDED TO SHAPE our understanding of events. I the meantime the UNGODLY is left to flourish because it serve western political interest. For example, look at what’s going on in Egypt and the behaviour of Israel.- they all continue FAVOURABLY with US-western consent and media silence….just as BUSH and BLAIR got away with murder!

The EVIL of TERRORISM

The latest events in Spain are truly sad and disturbing. Innocent people were killed to serve whatever cause it was. Global news media, notably CNN, BBC and SKY NEWS, all focused on what took place. [http://news.sky.com/story/amateur-video-shows-cambrils-suspect-shot-dead-by-police-10993600?dcmp=snt-sf-twitter]

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As usual it often always involves Muslims, which in itself is very disturbing because it makes all Muslims suspects rightly or wrongly. It is indeed a very difficult situation to analyse. I do wonder what causes individuals to become radicalised. Has it got something to do with social conditions, economics, employment etc. Has it got something to do with Islamic education and preaching?

What I can’t understand is that these migrants or refugees left their countries because it offered them no hope of existence. They came to the west seeking a better life but seemed to have failed to adjust to their current environments. What went wrong? I have witnessed many Arab refugees in Malaysia, they do not seem to realise their predicament. Instead, they want to behave and live the way they did in their home countries. There is a serious problem of adjustment, attitude and willingness to assimilate. I observed this with the Turks in France and Germany when I visited these countries in peaceful times years ago. Every race that migrates has the tendency to bring in another from their country. There is a great deal of money flowing out too. I guess it is acceptable so long as there is no violence.

Today, this dimension has changed greatly. Western interference, Israeli ambitions over Palestine has resulted in several proxy wars which have created instability in the Middle East which in turn has caused an influx of refugees into Europe, America and Canada. In a certain context, the west is to be blamed for the current situation. However, the real simmering issue is the one dealing with Palestine. The inability of the US and world at large to resolve the Palestinian issue has been the root cause of terrorism. No matter what we say or do or plan to implement, terror on the streets will continue to exists.

Another issue at hand deals with sincerity. Most western countries take in refugees to resolve labour problems. Their societies do not want to do dirty jobs or low paying jobs. In Malaysia, we have such a huge foreign, at times illegal, workforce which we cannot do without. It is this cheap labour that keeps many countries going. From the economical perspective, this is good but from a social context it is not. Exploitation. abuse and manipulation takes place to serve greed, economic and political goals. The real interest of a nation is not viewed at all.

On a global scale, the influx of refugees can create social, cultural, religious and political problems as we are witnessing now. Second generations of migrants are caught in between. They are Muslims but at the same time do not appear to be good Muslims in terms of the religion. There is an identity, personality, complex existing over being a traditional Muslim and a western one. What all these migrants and refugees should adopt is the way Jews handle and conduct themselves in the world. Keep your identity as a true Muslims and live as a westerner in the west. The whole goal of existence should be Islamic without going overboard in a western environment. There is NO NEED to get emotional or sentimental. One MUST adapt to change without losing one’s religious identity! Other do so so why can’t Muslims do so! I am amazed that these people (migrants/refugees) could NOT reform their own Muslim countries but on migrating want to introduce change forcefully.

The danger with generosity is that it often backfires. Any country needs to look into who it invites to be a citizen. Every western country needs to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries as Bush and Blair did in Iraq and later in Libya, Syria and now ???? Its high time the Palestinian issue of resolve. Israel can’t go on killing Palestinians at will, confiscating their lands, building new settlements etc. The ROOT CAUSE OF EVIL has its foundations in the inability to deal justly of Palestine justly. The west closes an eye to Israeli ambitions and when a terror attack takes place shifts the blame and reasons to the Internet etc. The UN and every western institution needs to act appropriately in the name justice. Societies need to be offered balanced news and NOT doctored news to serve inhumane interests. It high time the news media present itself as decent custodians of humanity and STOP offering us lopsided news as as the embargo against Qatar in support of ruthless regimes! Until humanity experiences some level of justices instead of vetoes, terrorism will flourish. It flourishes on disgruntle dissatisfaction over the way people are treated. Look at Egypt…look at Saudi… TIME TO CHANGE and TIME TO STOP BEATING AROUND THE BUSH!

WHAT IF YOUR PRAYER IS NOT ANSWERED?

My wife who is a retired teacher but still teaches at the ages of 69, showed me a very interesting article set as an examination paper. The article:

Fire on the Mountain

A night of terror in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

by JUSTIN HECKERT

June/July 2017

Was fantastic and beautifully written. You can get the full article at http://gardenandgun.com/feature/gatlinburg-tennessee-wildfires-fire-on-the-mountain/

Please read it, there is much one can learn from it.

“On the night of November 28, residents of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, found themselves in the midst of a nightmare. Within hours, a small blaze had exploded into the worst fire in the Smoky Mountains in a hundred years, forcing thousands to flee and leaving fourteen dead. Months later, the tourist town is bouncing back. But for some who survived that terrifying night, life will never be the same.”

The story is truly touching and it was these words that touched me most: “In the mountains that night there were too many prayers to pick from, and not all of them were answered.” Students were asked: “In what way is this expression tragic?” I found both the statement and the question very dynamic. The statement and the question can be approached from several directions, it depending on how you view the situation; depending upon how you view God; depending on how you view prayer.

I will not indulge in the written answers students offered because I do NOT know their answers, neither does it concern me, nor would I want to encroach on my wife’s job as a teacher which she treasures and honours, not forgetting her undying loyalty to Singapore – all I will do is present you with several points of view on the subject and question concerned to indicate differing views which individuals may hold.

THE STATEMENT: “In the mountains that night there were too many prayers to pick from, and not all of them were answered.”

THE QUESTION: “In what way is this expression tragic?”

THE ANSWERS

FIRST SCENARIO; From my understanding of the QUESTION, what is TRAGIC here is that ‘on that night there were too many prayers (for God) to pick from, thus, not all of them were answered. 

SECOND SCENARIO‘on that night, there were too many prayers to pick from, and not all of them were answered.’ In a certain context it is TRAGIC, because it leads to the belief that it is POINTLESS TO PRAY TO GOD….you might as well submit yourself to whatever is about to take place!

THIRD SCENARIO: As individuals believing in God, we should look into why SOME PRAYER WERE ANSWERED and others not. Did we consider our attitude towards God? Do we turn to Him ONLY when in need? Or maybe, you consider yourself a devout servant of God and therefore He WILL and MUST attend to you? These are POSSIBILITIES and PROBABILITIES which are quite valid logically. However, when you view an infant floating unharmed during the tsunami not long ago, it does show you that God (or His angels) were around. That is how we get the statement: ‘not all of them were answered’. I am of the view that there are conditions that need to be fulfilled for a person to deserve special attention from God. Apart from this, God being God, the Creator and Sustainer, will act as He deems fit regardless of what we believe in! 

Kindly please give me your take on this. I hope the author reads it (will email him), and I hope the questioner has a clear direction…(13 Aug, 2017)

Philosophy on Thought

To all those who attending Qur’anic classes and studying the Qur’an, let me present you with a philosophical question (Mantik Islam): If Allah knew what Iblis would turn out to be, why did He create Him? The angels in the Qur’an too did NOT speak favourably about the creation of Adam…look at mankind today.

The first thing Islamic scholars will tell you is that you CANNOT QUESTION Allah Even the angels submitted to it. Anyway, doing so in this case is NOT KUFR! It wanting to know; to acquire knowledge. Do NOT be a BLIND follower! You NEED to KNOW something, to some point of acceptance, NOT blind acceptance!

You may come up with many answers concerning this question in relation to the purpose, objective and whatever you like. The bottom line is: Allah knows best. In the first place He also knew that the heavens and the earth, mountains etc all turned down the role of being His Vicegerent ….only ‘foolish man’ accepted it, and man is ‘ever in haste’ (all Qur’anic expressions).

The essence of the whole situation has just one message: Everything is in the hands of Allah; He determines every outcome as He deems fit; He punishes whom He pleases and He forgives whom He pleases etc. In one sense, He is the BOSS not you! Whatever you do and hope to gain from based on Qur’anic injunction does NOT necessarily work out the way you want it to be. That would be a corruption of intention with the wrong expectation! You perform Solat NOt because you MUST do so. You do so for your own good, because you have been ORDERED to do so! You can ONLY HOPE (Insha Allah is the word) and look FORWARD to His Mercy, Guidance, Forgiveness etc.

Allah does as He pleases, however, we say He is JUST. In what way just? Look at Iblis, look at Abu Lahab, Abu Jahal…Hitler….Bush and Blair…..Even at this point you CANNOT understand the DEPTH of justice (like the depth of the ocean). You only UNDERSTAND a FRACTION of the TRUTH! Many continue to ask why are the Palestinians still suffering and the Jews getting away with genocide? DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ASKING WHY…TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOURSELF AND IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE (WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATIONS, JUST SUBMISSION)

Understand one thing: Until you submit wholeheartedly like Nabi Ibrahim (a.s.) did, nothing will work your way. And even if you did, please, do not count your chips over you submission because submission and surrender to Allah is an UNCONDITIONAL REQUIREMENT. When Allah bestows wealth on a person, He EXPECT him to spend it in His way!

In life, you SUBMIT and OBEY. You do your best and hope for the best. Every outcome lies in His hands and you cannot question Him. You were NOT created to question Him but He CAN QUESTION YOU! You think this is unfair/unjust? Iblis thought so and you can join Him! He owns the world and the world is filled with people of his kind.

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