Monday, February 29, 2016

Dalai Lama to Speak at Mayo Clinic

Rochester, Minnesota, USA, 24 February 2016 (By Brett Boese, Post-Bulletin) - The Dalai Lama spoke to a crowd of 3,000 in Minneapolis during the weekend and has a similar event planned for March 9 in Madison, Wisconsin.

While those are the only two public events on his official schedule, the famous Tibetan Buddhist is also scheduled to address to Mayo Clinic staff Monday at the chapel of Saint Marys Hospital in downtown Rochester.

Mayo Clinic has confirmed the private address, noting that Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy will introduce the Dalai Lama prior to a select number of employees being treated to a discussion about "Compassion in health care." The event will be moderated by TV and radio host Cathy Wurzer.

While the 1 p.m. event is not open to the public, it will be available to watch via webcast at Direct link:

The Dalai Lama's health has been a hot topic since he canceled a U.S. tour last fall amidst his ongoing battle with prostate problems. The 80-year-old spiritual leader quietly returned to Rochester in January for treatment at the Mayo Clinic, but he appeared energized during Sunday's address in the Twin Cities that celebrated the Tibetan New Year.

He surprised many by speaking for three hours, which was twice what was planned. The crowd gobbled up his message, delivered in English and Tibetan, of valuing education and compassion.

Still, the main focus for many was simply his health, which he assured people was good.

"It's an extremely joyous occasion," said Tsewang Chokden, media coordinator for the Tibetan-American Foundation of Minnesota "After having been through this treatment, everyone was interested in his health and well-being. After seeing him here looking vibrant and healthy, we are all very excited today."

Despite those concerns, the Dalai Lama has actually popped up across various mediums over the past few weeks since arriving in Minnesota.

U.S. Congressman Tim Walz appeared in multiple photos on social media last week with the Dalai Lama. The two met for an hour in Rochester to discuss Walz's recent visit to Tibet, which was part of the first official delegation to visit that country in quite some time, according to a spokeswoman for Walz's office.

"Meeting with His Holiness is always such an honor and an inspiring reminder to treat those around us with decency and kindness," Walz said.

Minnesota State Patrol's Dan Lewis, a Red Wing resident, appeared in another social media photo with the Dalai Lama. The photo drew many online comments due to the Dalai Lama's traditional robes being accented by Lewis's wide-brimmed hat. Lewis is one of the many local law enforcement officers who have served as official security escorts for the Dalai Lama the past two months.

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede also hosted the Dalai Lama for a Feb. 11 discussion on building compassionate cities. Mayors from Anaheim, Calif., and Louisville, Ky., were among the others who attended, according to the post on the religious leader's official website.

"We are witnessing lots of suffering in today's world, including the recent refugee problem," the Dalai Lama said. "We must question what is wrong in today's world. I feel we are lacking a sense of respect for other's life, a sense of concern for other's well being, which is kindness. We only think of me, me, me! That is the seed of today's problem."

The North Star state has about 3,000 Tibetan residents, second most in the United State. Thousands of Tibetans fled their homeland after the Chinese government occupied their homeland in the 1950s.

The Dalai Lama sought refuge in India nearly six decades ago and may be the last to serve as the patron saint of Tibet. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama's given name, was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama at age 2.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

original link and photos:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Where Do Demons Dwell And Can They Really Cause Harm You Ask?

I keep getting that question. For a while actually. I can only offer my opinion as I have a biblical point of view so others are going to have a different opinion due to religion. I'll do the best I can to explain it a little bit. You don't hear to many people talk about this much either. Not much info out there either. I did some deep research on this a few years back and I just struggled to find a lot of knowledge.

What Is A Demon?

A demon is believed to be a force that can be conjured and controlled. They are also believed to have the ability to possess or inhabit the body of humans and the only way to rid the person of them is to conduct deliverance and/or Exorcism. Demons are portrayed differently in different cultures. Some believe demons to be actual physical beings that can take the form of anything, including animals. Others consider the real demons as more of a spiritual force of evil battling for one's soul. They  have been feared and written about in almost every culture in one form or another for as long as history has been recorded.

Second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 14 tells us Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Demons can trick us and come to us as Angels of light as well. Like I mentioned already, Familiar Spirits are spirits that give an appearance of a person that is familiar to us. Here is a good example: Demons know the history of the property and the person, so they can take on their appearance of any person so you feel more at ease with communicating with them. Satan may have great power, but even the Arch Angel Michael depends on only GOD'S power when dealing with Satan. That speaks volumes doesn't it?

From what I understand these vile demonic entities have set up shop and rule with an iron fist. In Calcutta India, they have many millions of gods that they worship. Many have come out of this type of worship to have demons exorcised from them only to reveal that the god they thought was a deity was actually a demon. In Singapore, worshippers there must pay respect to a powerful dignitary that is the spiritual ruler of the area before they can go to a temple and pray and worship another god. Demonic entities are jealous for power and control, and most of all, worship. There are many demonically inhabited nations and America is becoming this way more and more. It's all over tv sadly. I hate watching the news.

To answer the main question about dwelling places......A lot of where demons have their dwelling places like a graveyards, very old buildings with a bad history etc...That is a good place to start. Oh why would somebody want to do that is beyond me. I warned a group today via email that we exchanged I warned people not to do it so we'll see what comes from that hopefully nothing Also, any places where a tragedy has occurred. The more horrific the tragedy, the higher the probability that there is a demonic element involved. If a horrific crime or murder has occurred on a property or building, it gives demons a legal right to stick close until a permanent solution can get done. PLEASE NO Ouija boards it's absolutely a horrible idea. My ever so humble opinion is they are portals. Demons can come out to our space if possible.

I found the following on  which makes such a good point and it's valuable information. "Not only do demons dwell over countries and nations but they dwell over cities as well. In places where crime is very heavy it is easy to see the rule of darkness over a given area. In places where churches have less and less influence, crime, murder, theft, corruption, and evil will be most active. If you look at statistics of types of crimes that occur in different cities, for example, murder may be more common in New York than in San Francisco. By checking these statistics out, one can figure out just what kind of entities are most powerful in any given area. In some circles this is called spiritual mapping. You can actually find out what kind of spiritual forces are at work by what kind of activity takes place in a given area. Political corruption can also be evident in a demonically influenced city and we see this kind of thing all the time on the news. It is my belief that demons are behind many of the scandals we see today in government."

Demons are extremely familiar with your mental archives than you are and they will without a You will never win this spiritual battle in your own strength. It's impossible and totally ignorant to think you're that special. You will only be successful when you draw your strength from the power base, God Himself. There you will find the strength and stamina to "stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11) Satan's Nature is the nature of a man that causes him to act as he does. The same principle exists as we try to better understand Satan. John identified the devil as the originator and chief practitioner of sin (1 John 3:8). He further described Satan as “that wicked one” (1 John 5:18). Jesus called Satan a liar (John 8:44) and thief.

I found the following information very interesting and note worthy. I noted this on another blog I did a few months back and it really hits home with this topic as well. I obtained at :..........Fear and stress is today's No.1 killer! Believe it or not, fear causes more sickness and more mental illness and more premature deaths than anything else on Earth! Doctors have discovered that heart muscle is actually DESTROYED when people are subject to great fear. Dr. Marilyn Cebelin, writing in the General Practitioner's newspaper, "Pulse," says the hormone, adrenalin, literally DESTROYS heart muscles when people are subjected to intense stress and fear. Canadian medical circles also report that WORRY increases chances of infectious disease, in that it weakens the body's ability to fight off germs. A recent study of cases of streptococcal infection, according to Dr. Robert Haggerty, revealed that one out of four cases of such infections occurred after prolonged trauma and anxiety. Heart trouble, high blood pressure, arthritis and stomach ulcers are all basically caused by worry, tension, stress.

Please know God's perfect love casts out fear. We have nothing without the love of the father. Because of him and Jesus we are protected. There may have been multiple times in your life or you could've died or have been seriously hurt and God intervened and you just didn't realize. He loves you so very much.

Written By Jennifer L Auld

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Long Term Effects of Investigating the Paranormal

 By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

“The first thing you will notice is that the atmosphere is "buzzing" and has a heavy, excited feel to it. Inside you may feel a bit of a pressure being exerted from an external source. Your heart may feel stressed as it may beat irregularly in your chest. Demonic entities can physically affect you and can cause considerable damage. This is a concern that is currently under investigation in regards to the harmful effects placed upon professional and novice ghost hunters. Soon you may see health hazard warnings being posted at paranormal investigation sites. I know it may sound a bit bizarre, but there really is credible evidence of investigators coming down with strange heart and internal organ problems that, for some, have led to hospitalization.

As an example, author and haunted survivor Stephen LaChance attributes his sudden heart surgery to the demonic activity he was exposed to in the Union, Missouri Screaming House.

The shocking reality is that paranormal investigators may be exposed to more than they realize - especially in a long-term sense.”

Tim Yohe, Paranormal Insights

For years now I have expressed a growing concern for the welfare of folks who are exposing themselves to the spirit realm. I have worried out loud regarding the physical dangers (other dangers as well) that long term exposure to this spirit realm is having on paranormal investigators or people living in infested homes. Recently, I have been asking investigators what kind of activity or problems that they themselves are experiencing. Honestly, it does not seem that—at least the ones I talked to—were keen on talking about it.

This concern was reinforced in two ways in the last week. First, I was contacted by a family a few days ago who moved into an infested home nine years ago. After spending a considerable amount of time on the phone with the parents (they have 4 kids), it quickly became apparent that they came under demonic oppression immediately after moving in. This oppression has included an assault on virtually every area of their lives, including their health. Prior to moving in, the mom had never been seriously sick, but since then, she has dealt with cancer and a litany of other significant ailments.

Anyone who has dealt with long term demonic oppression knows first-hand the terrible reality of this danger of deteriorating health….both the people experiencing it and those helping them. Of the dozens of cases that I have worked on, almost all of them included health problems.

The bible clearly distinguishes between natural disease/handicaps and those caused by demonic oppression/possession. That is, in the gospels we see people who have all sorts of afflictions due to demonic  activity. So, it is logical to assume that they still are doing the same today.

Second, I read an article by Timothy Yohe which the brief excerpt above is taken from. This is the first time that I recall reading an article from someone deeply involved in paranormal investigation/research who openly acknowledges this problem and addresses this issue. Numerous times before, I referred to these physical problems as the deep, dark secret of the paranormal community. Though there is ample evidence of the dangers of interacting with the spirit realm, it is rarely mentioned. So, reading this article was a breath of fresh air.

“I know it may sound a bit bizarre, but there really is credible evidence of investigators coming down with strange heart and internal organ problems that, for some, have led to hospitalization.

The shocking reality is that paranormal investigators may be exposed to more than they realize - especially in a long-term sense.” Please re-read Yohe’s entire excerpt again…

I am glad that someone/s are finally taking a serious look into the long term effects of being a paranormal investigator. My concern is not to score some debating points, but I have a deep and genuine compassion for those whom I know are suffering, or will be down the road, due their plunging into the paranormal.

The kinds of physical problems Yohe mentions are serious—affecting the major organs of the body, including the heart.

The heart. Did you know that the human heart is kept alive by electrical impulses that move from one part of the heart to another, causing the pumping action?

I have had serious heart problems for a long time…chronic atrial fibrillation, and chronic systolic heart failure. I would probably not be alive today had not a nurse say to me on a routine visit, “Did you know that you are in atrial fib…irregular heartbeat?” I was sent to an electrophysiologist who discovered that there was a potentially fatal problem with the electrical activity in my heart. These guys are the ultimate heart specialists. After going through Med school, cardiac internship, and several more years studying the electrical function of the heart. In our area there are tons of cardiologists, but only 3 electrophysiologists. Enough of me and my heart.

However, it is common knowledge that demons are very adept at wreaking havoc on all things electrical—cell phones, appliances, TV’s, radios, ect. Master manipulators of electricity. I have seen this many times, and chances are you have as well. So, why not the heart too, with its electrical activity?

Bottom line? Here is a respected paranormal researcher who says that the shocking reality is that paranormal investigators are being exposed to much more danger than they realize…especially long term.

While I deeply appreciate Yohe’s insights and clarion call for caution, I don’t think he goes far enough.

Demonic attachment is a serious reality amongst paranormal investigators, which causes a whole host of problems. It is time for paranormal enthusiasts to reflect on the very real hazards of jumping headfirst into a realm that is forbidden to us. The continual solicitation of EVP’s, which is contrary to biblical commands to not attempt communication with the dead, is bound to have serious consequences…no matter how sincere and well-intentioned you might be.

As Yohe points out, this is a widespread problem in the paranormal community—taking it further, should this fact not compel paranormal enthusiasts to re-think that you are mainly dealing with earthbound spirits? The evidence suggests otherwise, and it breaks my heart that folks are turning a blind eye to what is utterly obvious in the bible, and is now being corroborated by even more empirical evidence.

From the dawn of time and written history, virtually every society had a respect/fear of the spirit realm, which is why they had a mediator of some kind…priest, shaman, ect. Ours is the first generation that I’m aware of in which anybody and their brother is rushing headlong into interacting with the spirit realm. Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should.

When I was writing my book in 2009 there were about 950 paranormal groups listed in in the US. In the span of just a few years that number has grown to about 3,500! Our ancestors knew something that we seem to have forgotten—playing with spiritual fire will burn you. I’m grateful that Yohe realizes this and I hope his words will start a community-wide conversation.

For YOUR sake, please reflect deeply on your current involvement with spiritism (that is what almost all paranormal investigations are in a nutshell), or you may end up very sick or worse…

Looking for answers? Please read Insiders Testimony to the Dangers of Interacting with the Paranormal, Part 2 [The Cure]

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

Monday, February 22, 2016

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Teaches the Tibetan Community in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 21 February 2016 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama left the religious institution where he’s been staying in Rochester early this morning for a nearly ninety mile drive to Minneapolis. The local Tibetan community there had invited him to teach. The journey took him through a frozen landscape of rolling fields still bearing remnants of the winter snow.

Arriving at the Minneapolis Convention Center he was welcomed by representatives of the Tibetan community as he stepped out of his car and was offered the traditional ‘Chema Changpu’ once inside the building. Tibetan children danced and sang a delightful song of praise to him as he took the stage. His face radiant and brimming with health, he waved to the audience before greeting the assembled lamas and monks. Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges and State Representative Carolyn Laine welcomed him to their city.

President of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, Dr Tsewang Ngodup spoke briefly, rejoicing in His Holiness’s good health and thanking him for accepting the Foundation’s invitation. He noted the additional auspiciousness of its being Losar, the day before the Day of Miracles and the beginning of a Monkey Year with its propitious links to Guru Padmasambhava. He affirmed Minnesotan Tibetans' aim to be active members of the Tibetan diaspora, to contribute to their local communities and conduct themselves as global citizens. He expressed a wish that His Holiness’s medical treatment be a complete success.

Seated before thangkas of Chenrezig, the Medicine Buddha and Guru Rinpoche, His Holiness began his talk:

“I always start by greeting my brothers and sisters. That’s how I think of you and how I think of all 7 billion human beings, so I’m never lonely. Many Tibetans came here as refugees, although many of them have passed on. Now there is a new generation who were born and brought up here. I’ve met you now and then over the last ten years that I’ve been receiving care at the Mayo Clinic. Two years ago we celebrated Losar together and I’m happy to see you all again.

“I’m glad to know that you are trying to preserve our traditional values. It's 57 years now that we’ve been in exile, while the turmoil in Tibet began 60 years ago. Nevertheless, you’ve kept your spirits up, which is praiseworthy, and maintained our cherished values, for which I’d like to thank you all. The Tibetan spirit is strong and we’ve kept our culture and religious traditions alive, which is important because they have a contribution to make to the world at large. That’s something to be proud of. The Nalanda tradition is based on logic and reason, which is why aspects of it appeal to scientists today. We Tibetans are able to study these traditions in our own language without any need to look elsewhere. It remains our responsibility to keep these traditions alive and to raise our children with love and affection.

“Today I want to speak about some of the thoughts and experiences I’ve had as a human being, not as a Buddhist or as Dalai Lama.”

He said he was committed to sharing with others how to help humanity live more happily and more peacefully. The key is to develop a concern for others’ well-being; a sense of compassion. He noted that many of the problems we face are of our own making, worst among them being when others are killed. He remarked that we feel concern when we hear about someone being killed by a tiger or an elephant, but we seem to accept reports of people killing each other as something normal. He reminded his listeners that although they were comfortable where they sat, at the same time, in other parts of the world, people were dying violently, some in the name of religion. He drew attention to the link between our physical and verbal actions and our emotions. If, instead of anger, hatred and suspicion, we were moved by loving-kindness, we would naturally have greater respect for others and our actions would be non-violent.

His Holiness observed that we live in a materialistic world in which there is insufficient attention to human values. We rely for satisfaction on material things rather than on warm-heartedness. But, as human beings, we are social animals. We need friendship and friendship depends on trust. Building trust depends on concern for others and defending their rights, not doing them harm. Friendship has a direct link to warm-heartedness, which also has benefits for our physical health. He added that some scientists have found that constant anger, fear and suspicion undermine our immune system.

“In my experience, what we need is a calm mind and warm-heartedness provides a basis for that. That’s how we make ourselves happy as individuals in families, local communities and nations. I believe that if we can train those who are young today in these qualities the world will be a more peaceful place later in this century. I try to promote human values because we tend to forget that we are all the same as human beings. If you think of me as your friend, try to do the same. This is not something we can hope the government or the UN can do, real change starts with individuals. We each have to make a contribution. I request you to do so too.”

Applause rippled across the nearly 3000 people in the hall.

“Let me add one thing,” His Holiness resumed. “I’ve been in conversation with scientists for more than 30 years. Many of them show an interest in learning about the science of the mind. Ancient Indian understanding of the mind is profound when compared to modern psychology which seems to be at an early stage of development.

“However, scientists have shown that even infants who are too young to talk can distinguish between illustrations of harmful and helpful behaviour and respond positively to help and negatively to harm. They conclude that basic human nature is compassionate. And this gives us hope.”

His Holiness explained that his second commitment is to promoting inter-religious harmony. He declared that, despite their apparent philosophical differences, all religions carry a common message of love, forgiveness and tolerance. Their common purpose is to produce compassionate human beings. He cited the examples of religious people dedicated to the service of humanity. He noted too that the Buddha taught different things at different times and places to different people. This was not because he was confused, nor because he sought to confuse others. It was because he appreciated that people of different aptitudes respond better to different explanations, much as the same illness may respond to different remedies.

Pointing out that many religions teach about God the creator, there are others, a branch of the Samkhya tradition, Jainism and Buddhism among them, that teach that responsibility for what we do and what happens to us rests on our own shoulders. However, thinking of God as a being of infinite love and seeking to emulate him is a very powerful practice.

“Those of us who follow a religious practice ourselves have a responsibility to work to foster inter-religious harmony.”

During the course of his talk His Holiness spoke some of the time in Tibetan and asked his translator to provide the essence of what he’d said and at other times spoke directly in English himself.

“I’m also a Tibetan,” he said, “and since I’ve been nurtured by Tibetans since I was small, I can never give up the cause of Tibet. In 2001 I semi-retired from political responsibility and in 2011 completely retired. I did this to promote democracy. Still, Tibetans both within Tibet and outside have placed their hopes in me, but now my responsibility is to work to protect Tibet’s natural environment, which is fragile and delicate because of the altitude and dry climate. Because they see it as important to global climate change as the North and South Poles, some environmentalists have referred to the Tibetan Plateau as the Third Pole. Special care needs to be taken of it.”

Describing Tibetan culture as a culture of peace and non-violence, His Holiness suggested it can contribute to making the world a more peaceful, compassionate place. As for Tibet’s Buddhist traditions, he said it seems to be the most complete transmission of the traditions of India’s Nalanda University, including logic, psychology and a range of philosophical views. These traditions are contained in the more than 300 volumes of Buddhist literature translated, mostly from Sanskrit, into Tibetan.

At this point a small girl dressed in red came and stood right in front of the stage looking up at His Holiness. He smiled and waved to her, asked how old she was and heard that she was four. She held his gaze steadily for some time before turning and running back to her family. His Holiness remarked:

“Children like this are very pure and open. They have no prejudices or preconceptions. They aren’t bothered by the secondary differences of colour, faith, nationality, wealth or education that seem to pre-occupy adults. We would be better to be like them and one remedy is to remember that we are all the same as human beings.”

His Holiness resumed his account of the Nalanda tradition’s being introduced to Tibet by the great Nalanda scholar Shantarakshita. He came at the invitation of Tibetan Emperor Trisong Detsen. That he was a great scholar can be seen today in his writings such as the ‘Compendium of Reality’, which His Holiness said he has suggested that both the Nyingma Monastery of Namdroling and Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in South India include in their curriculums. Shantarakshita gave the first monastic ordination in Tibet, helped found the first monastery at Samye, and explained the great treatises, as well as encouraging and participating in the translation of Buddhist literature into Tibetan. The renowned Indian traveller, Rahul Sankrityayan, who made several trips to Tibet in the early 20th century, noted with bemusement that although images of Guru Padmasambhava widely prevailed in Tibet, he saw not one statue of Shantarakshita.

After the achievements of the 8th century, in the 9th, Tibet fragmented politically and Buddhism declined. In the 11th century, a descendant of the earlier emperors, the King of Ngari invited Dipamkara Atisha from the Indian university of Vikramashila. He composed his seminal text ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ at Thöling. His principal student Drom Ton, Gyalwai Jungney founded the Kadampa tradition. Within that were those who belonged to the scholarly lineage, who studied classic Indian treatises, those who belonged to the stages of the path lineage and those who belonged to the instruction lineage. Geshe Langri Tangpa, disciple of Potowa and author of the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’, which His Holiness had been invited to teach, belonged to the scholarly lineage.

Taking up the text, His Holiness explained that the first verse emphasised the practice of altruism - ‘May I always cherish all beings.’ But, His Holiness asked, what does the ‘I’ refer to? He explained that while many Indian philosophical schools asserted the existence of an independent self, all four Buddhist schools of thought reject a permanent, independent, self-sufficient self. He quoted Nagarjuna:

A person is not earth, not water,

Not fire, not wind, not space, 
Not consciousness, and not all of them. 
What person is there other than these? 

Noting that while a person is designated on the basis of these six elements, those elements too exist only as designations. His Holiness stated clearly that understanding this is not easy and that he has been working on it for 60 years. He suggested that 40 years ago it began to make sense. Asking what would be the use of such an understanding, he answered that it was related to developing peace of mind. His Holiness mentioned that when he was talking to some Christian nuns the other day one asked what to do about our strong ego. He said he told her that it’s very powerful to think of yourself as just one small part in the whole of God’s creation.

Turning to the ‘Eight Verses' again, he explained that the first verse shows you should have compassion and affection for others. The second is about humility, the third is about being mindful in daily life, for example applying the anti-dote of love when you sense anger arising. The fourth verse is about not giving in to anger but showing compassion when you encounter uncouth, unruly people, while the fifth recommends accepting defeat and giving the victory to others. The sixth verse advises cultivating patience when those you have helped scorn you. The seventh deals with the practice of giving and taking; imagining giving virtue to others and taking their sufferings upon yourself. The final of the eight verses tells you not to give in to the eight worldly concerns and to see everything as like an illusion, completely lacking independent existence.

His Holiness then led the gathering of nearly 3000, including about 2000 Tibetans, in reciting three verses as the basis for generating the awakening mind. With regard to the first verse that dealt with taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, he said that those belonging to other faiths could visualize and imagine addressing their own objects of refuge. The second verse dealt explicitly with developing the awakening mind and the third rouses courage to do the practice.

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

His Holiness concluded his talk with a succinct explanation of making progress through the five paths, which he related to the mantra found in the ‘Heart of Wisdom’. He said the first ‘gate’ indicates the path of accumulation, the second ‘gate’ the path of preparation, ‘paragate’ indicates the path of seeing, ‘parasamgate’ the path of meditation and ‘bodhi svaha’ the attainment of enlightenment.

After representatives of the organizers had offered white silk ‘katas’, His Holiness smiled and, waving to the happy crowd, left the stage. He was offered lunch before climbing into a car once more and driving back to Rochester.

Link to original article & photos:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Are Tongues for Real or Just Demonic Jibber-Jabber?

Just touching upon a subject in this blog that will most likely require much more in-depth aspects for people to truly understand. Today I will cover one crucial aspect called Speaking in Tongues.  There are those people who profess to 'speak in tongues' and then there are those 'who do not speak in tongues'.

So by an examination of that matter let's quickly look at the points to be made.  Is speaking in tongues still valid today or required to this day? Or is speaking in tongues nothing more than modern day 'demonic jibber-jabber'?  In this blog I will help you learn the truth which can have dire consequences.

First thing we need to understand is this: one of the most intriguing, yet least understood Heaven-bestowed gifts is that of speaking in tongues. Many Christians today believe that unless a person has received this “gift of the Holy Spirit” and can “speak in tongues” then he or she has not yet been “baptized by the Spirit.”

Speaking in tongues is typically used as a test to prove whether or not a person has been saved. The “speaking in tongues” that is practiced by many Christians today when they say they are praying or worshipping, is totally contrary to the genuine, Biblical speaking in tongues. Re-read this again if you don't understand what was just written.

For the apostle Paul believed in the gift of tongues, but he (Paul) understood that a true gift of tongues was ALWAYS a legitimate language which could be understood! Hence Paul, more than any other New Testament writer, wrote of the gift of tongues. Paul warned against the modern meaningless noise (just modern day demonic jibber-jabber) that many Today call the “gift of tongues.” For as true followers of Christ Jesus we are called to “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more impiety.” (See 2 Timothy 2:16).

Therefore, it is recorded 1 Corinthians 14:18-19 (KJV) "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."   Today the tongues which is given is not a known language but rather an unknown language, which then stems from the kingdom of evil thus a demonic trick to edify this person as being ‘truly baptized’.

The Apostle Paul explained the difference between those who make senseless noise (which is what is happening today) versus those who have actually been gifted with the ability to instruct others of truth in a foreign language. Follow this up with the words as follows 1 Corinthians 14:4-5 (KJV) "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."

Now let's go a bit deeper shall we. According to the holy word we find this: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance ... Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” —Acts 2:4,6. The Bible says that the people from other nations HEARD (Acts 2:6-8) in their own native tongue (i.e., language).  Re-read this once again so you understand – Tongues is a true known language unknown to the speaker and the person who hears and then understands!

What those who actually experienced that day recorded in the Bible was HEARING IN TONGUES, which is totally different. The Apostle Peter never spoke any language other than the Greek he normally spoke in. It is IMPOSSIBLE to reconcile the demonic jibber-jabber of Pentecostals or Charismatics today with the miracle of tongues found in the Bible. Acts 2:9-11 mentions sixteen different nations which were present on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:8 plainly states that each man HEARD the Gospel in his own native tongue in which he was born. How does this compare with the so called Charismatic speaking in tongues today that makes NO SENSE TO ANYONE?

Many have all heard the term "speaking in tongues"; but, no one actually spoke in tongues in the Bible. Rather, they spoke in their OWN language, and the listeners then heard and understood the message spoken in their OWN native language. We read in Acts 2:8-11, "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Parthians, Medes, Elamites, the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea, Cappadocia, in Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, in Egypt, in the parts of Libya, Cyrene, strangers of Rome, Jews, Proselytes, Crete’s and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." So none of the Apostles, nor any of the New Testament saints, ever spoke in some unknown so called Heavenly jibber-jabber; but rather, in their own native language.

This is confirmed in Acts 2:8. The gift, or miracle, of tongues had manifested in the HEARING of the Word, and NOT the speaking. The term "speaking in tongues" is often misunderstood and is somewhat of a misnomer. When the Bible mentions "speaking in tongues," it is referring to truly hearing in tongues. When the Gentile converts spoke with "tongues" in Acts 10:46, it was the same Greek word for "tongues" as in Acts 2:4 ("glossa," meaning, "the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations."). It was a KNOWN earthly language. The same Greek word is used by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 14:18, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all." However, Paul had the GIFT of tongues, which is different from the MIRACLE of tongues in Acts 2. Paul was fluent in different languages, just as many people today are gifted in being able to learn several different languages.

The same is true of musical instruments. Some people are gifted writers. Now, nearly anyone can write something, but few people can write in such a way that others are compelled to read their works. The "gifts" of the Spirit are different from the miracles of God. The gift of tongues still exists today; but the Apostolic miracles of tongues and healing ceased during the New Testament, which is evidenced by Paul's inability to later heal himself, Timothy, and Trophimus. God does still heal today, but he works through the prayers of the saints, and requires for us to be reconciled with our Christian brethren (James 5:15-16).  More importantly to be properly baptized in the spirit means that each person must be obedient and do the will of the Father, just as Christ Jesus did!

So as you have learned “speaking in tongues” should be questioned as well as tested properly for it probably is demonic jibber-jabber. I pray this has helped someone today have both their heart and mind opened on the aspect of this area.

Rev. Bradley Luoma, Exorcist & Deliverance Minister

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Can Demonic Attacks Really Happen During Dreaming?

Oh this is another common question I receive since the release of some movie a few years back. Can't remember the name to save my life. Grrrr...Demons will attach themselves to people when they are weak, if they can, but they will also work on those who think they are untouchable and too strong. Many people are struggling against the demonic who will not leave them alone. HUGE, HUGE mistake if you are truly thinking your physical strength will help you, your mental strength is what is being challenged. Make no mistake. The armor of God is what we need. A dream is a physical thing happening within you’re brain. I don't think at all it isnt impossible for a demonic entity to invade one in that manner. Sadly these things can’t be proved or defined in an actual way, so we can’t know what their limits at all. It's very disturbing. If you go on you tube you will find countless info on how to summon demons. Some are very Real summoning incantations too. Even satanic masses are secretly recorded. It's all over. Dark and evil has become cool almost. Even just looking at this abomination on YouTube could inadvertently draw the attention of the wrong person's attention as long as you don't become obsessed with it and you're just looking at it for research purposes you're OK. You just never want to fixate on this subject at all or anything to do with it.

2 weeks ago I wrote about Sleep Paralysis so feel free for reference to read it. When we sleep, our brains produce chemicals to paralyze our bodies. Otherwise, we would act out our dreams. Sleep walkers have a deficiency of these chemicals and others. Some Might be exiting out of the “paralyzed” state and this is the result of being unable to move or speak until you are back to your conscious state of mind. It's called Sleep Paralysis.
The most associated with demons is that of the “Incubus” or  "Incubi" a term which translates to a male demon having sexual intercourse with a sleeping female. These dreams or visitations happening is very frightening.  It is most common for those experiencing the “Incubus” subtype of hallucinations to believe that they encountered a demon or were victim of a demonic attack.  In a majority of cases, people claim that the demon they encounter was attempting to murder them in their sleep.

Some Causes Of Demonic Dreams:

Bad associations
Cursed Items
Family Curses
And For no reason at all. Just to get to your soul or torment you.

Here are some bible verses on dreams..

Genesis 40:8  Jacob Dreamed
11 Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.'24 But God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to him, "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad."

Genesis 28
12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

"And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say:
“If there were prophets among you,I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams."
Numbers 12:6

"He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds."
Job 33:15

I found the following at I thought it was interesting:
It could be expressions of you feeling threatened by. You may feel an urge is sinful, so you repress it. Your dream then presents it as a demon or devil, not necessarily because it is, but because that’s how you see it. Thus, a person who has terrible feelings of guilt about sexual urges, may represent them as a demon threatening to possess them. Therefore a demon may represent guilt, hatred, feelings of uncleanness, aggressiveness or desire for love, and so on. See: Devil; Satan

Although many dreams about demons are probably reflecting anxiety feelings and struggles we have with moral issues or sex, sometimes the battle with demons can be about our body fighting a virus or bacterial infection. See: devil

Example: We were trying to cross the hall diagonally toward the exit, but were constantly attacked or haunted by black demons or ghosts. I was fighting them off, but the struggle went on and on as they came back. Then toward the end I had a large pole and I was smashing them aside shouting, “By the power of God within me, I dismiss you” – or words to that effect."

This is really such a very difficult subject to give you foolproof answers that will satisfy everybody. In closing I would just tell people to ask God every night to protect you. Saying prayers every night without fail and really believe and you will notice changes they are very, very terrified of Jesus.

Written By Jennifer Auld

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Was Jesus Christ a Ghost?!

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

It has surprised me the number of seminary trained Christians whom I respect point to the text in Mark 6 as proof positive that Jesus believed in ghosts. They say it is the clearest text of Jesus affirming the existence of human spirits/ghosts populating the earth, and that Jesus Himself believed in ghosts because He did not correct his disciples when they thought/said Jesus was a ghost as He walked on the water. Though I dealt with this in my book, I want to address this again in more detail. What I want to do is take the cumulative evidence to show that Jesus was NOT affirming the existence of ghosts. As we shall see, the Holy Spirit's intent for this text is antithetical to the notion of ghosts. "Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened."

1. It is important to put this text in context. Mark, spokesman for Peter, wrote this "docudrama" in order to persuade people to be followers of Jesus--words and actions of Jesus are presented by Mark to draw true disciples to our Divine Messiah. This episode is "hooked" into the preceding narrative of Jesus miraculously feeding over 10,000 people by using the word "immediately". (5,000 was just the men) Jesus is trying to show his obtuse disciples that He was the "greater then Moses" by giving us eternal Bread, and not ephemeral manna.The parallel text in Matthew 14, which includes Peter walking on the water, is also followed by the word "immediately". This is important because the authors want us to connect what had just happened (empirical evidence of Jesus' deity as seen in miracle of feeding of large multitude)The disciples were eyewitnesses of this profound miracle. In order to interpret this text correctly, we must remember that didactic/teaching texts interpret historical narratives.Both in the OT and NT followers of God did and said many wrong things, which are not always corrected by the editor. The classic case is Jepthah (Judges 11:30--who vowed to kill the first thing that came out of his tent, if God gave him victory. His daughter came out of his tent to congratulate him and was condemned to death. Jepthah had made an unbiblical vow--which the bible had made provisions for him to repent of. However, it seems that he did not repent and felt obliged to follow through with his horrible vow--he killed his daughter. However, the editor does not explicitly condemn this act. The inspired editor assumed prior knowledge of his readers. Anyone conversant with Leviticus/Deuteronomy would know  that wrongful vows should not be acted upon, and that Jepthah SHOULD have known human sacrifice was repugnant to God. The editor assumes this prior knowledge, but does not give commentary. That is that danger of drawing doctrine from the silence of historical narrative. The same is true of the NT. Many evil words and actions are recorded in the historical books of the bible but are not always condemned. It is HISTORY. In the NT there are numerous examples of the disciples saying/doing whacko things prior to Pentecost,but Jesus did not always correct them (e.g. Transfiguration experience where Peter stuck his foot in his mouth, again)....a precedent of the disciple NOT being rebuked by Jesus for saying stupid things.

2. What was the Holy Spirit's intent in above text? Was it to prove the notion of ghosts? NO!! This text, and its parallel text in Matthew 14. was included to prove that Jesus was Yahweh! How sad and ironic that it is used to "prove" that Jesus believed in ghosts. Jesus intentionally "walked by them" in order for them to see Him, and thus give empirical evidence that He was the Creator of Heaven and Earth. By walking on the water Jesus wanted them to see Him walking in the midst of a ferocious storm to show He was the Lord of creation. "it is I....."ego eimi"...I AM" echoing Exodus 3:14 )By walking on the water in a furious storm He was demonstrating that He was Lord over creation, and that there was no need to be afraid. Not only Jesus' actions but His words were designed to show the disciples that He was/is God Almighty. The Septuagint uses the same word for "passed by" when Moses experienced God "passing by" him )Exodus 33:19, Moses/disciples a glimpse of God's glory. In Mark 6:48 "walking on the sea" echoes the Septuagint Job 9:8 where "God trampled upon the sea"....same Greek words. The Holy Spirit's intent in this text is to accent the deity of the Lord Jesus--King over creation (see Mark 4).

3. First century Judaism was rife with superstition and theological confusion. For example, Jewish leaders believed in salvation by good works, and the popular superstition of a plentitude of ghosts was rampant, as it has been since the dawn of time. Peter and the rest of the disciples were deeply effected by common superstition, and were very slow to change until after Pentecost.

4. Why would they call Jesus a "ghost" when they had just seem him a few hours earlier...very much alive? Was He a ghost of a living Person? Perhaps they were terrified because they thought this was a demon trying to deceive them? That is an option not often mentioned. Either way, with an abundance evidence for Jesus' deity, why would they call Him a ghost? How could God be a ghost?! This is (and the parallel text) is the only place that "phantasm" is used, which can mean superstitious imagination.

5. Recall that the Holy Spirits intent was to exalt the deity of Jesus, and the disciples de-exalted Him by calling Him a "ghost".

6. So, why did not Jesus correct them?  First, we do not know if Jesus corrected them or not because in many cases the entirety of what Jesus said is not recorded. But my guess is that He did not correct them....not then, anyway. Why? They were deathly afraid! He was keen on comforting them, and not correcting them.It is an argument from silence to say that Jesus must have agreed with them since He did not correct them.The most common negative command that Jesus uttered was, "Do no be afraid!" If your child was drowning, and you jumped in to save them, what would be your first words to them?

7. In a context in which the deity of Jesus is being accented, it must have broken Jesus' heart that His disciples responded so faithlessly. He "walked by" in a manner to empirically display His Lordship over the storm, but the lesson was lost on them. Instead they became wild-eyed with fear, and superstition enveloped them like a cocoon.

8. To say that Jesus must have believed in roaming human spirits because He did not (that we know of) correct His disciples, is an argument from silence--a logical fallacy. Jesus/apostles did warn us of Satan and demons, but they never warn us of roaming human spirits. This is NOT an argument from silence because knowing who populates the spirit realm is utterly necessary for discernment and victory in spiritual warfare. As an exorcist, how can I properly proceed if I do not know exactly who/what may infesting the house/person? Jesus never cast out a human spirit from a human...only demons.

9. Not all historical narratives are bereft of teaching or editorial comment.v.52 is an inspired editorial commentary on this whole episode--they were afraid and their hearts were hardened. Faith Vs fear, and teachability vs hardened hearts. Unlike many historical narratives, this one is concluded with an editorial comment. This is extremely important in interpreting this text accurately. Everything...EVERYTHING...the disciples did and said has a shadow cast over it. Everything they said and did was compelled by fear and hard-heartedness. Their comment re: Jesus being a ghost was an expression of both fear and hardness of heart. They did not learn from the feeding of the 5,000 (or the 4,000) that Jesus was God almighty. How utterly tragic that they would call Him a ghost, when what He was doing and saying displayed that He was the culmination of the I AM". It is difficult to over-state the significance of this concluding renders the ghost comment utterly suspect.

10. The epistles were written largely to interpret the actions and words of Jesus. After Pentecost, ghosts are never mentioned again--except the deceased spirits in heaven or hell (e.g. Moses and Elijah). To those who are unduly affected by the fact that the bible does not mention Jesus correcting their comment that He was a ghost, was He a ghost in that text? NO! As parents, do we correct our kids EVERY TIME they make a mistake? The bible says that would break their spirits if we do. If your child was in danger of drowning and was frightened, would you feel the need to immediately correct them of anything dumb they may have uttered in their terror? I hope not....rather we would embrace them.

With an issue as significant as ghosts, we cannot camp on a text in which we are told explicitly that they were full of terror and hardness of heart, which casts a long shadow over everything they said. It is much more plausible that their cry of "ghost" was fueled by superstition.

Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Richard Gere: My Journey as a Buddhist

Richard Gere talks about his many years of Buddhist practice, his devotion to his teacher the Dalai Lama, and his work for Tibetan freedom.
The Dalai Lama is Richard Gere's teacher

I suppose it’s a sign of our current cynicism that we find it hard to believe celebrities can also be serious people. The recent prominence of “celebrity Buddhists” has brought some snide comments in the press, and even among Buddhists, but personally I am very appreciative of the actors, directors, musicians and other public figures who have brought greater awareness to the cause of Tibetan freedom and the value of Buddhist practice. These are fine artists and thoughtful people, some Buddhists, some not, among them Martin Scorsese, Leonard Cohen, Adam Yauch, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, and of course, Richard Gere. I met Gere at his office in New York recently, and we talked about his many years of Buddhist practice, his devotion to his teacher the Dalai Lama, and his work on behalf of the dharma and the cause of the Tibetan people.

—Melvin McLeod

Melvin McLeod: What was your first encounter with Buddhism?

Richard Gere: I have two flashes. One, when I actually encountered the written dharma, and two, when I met a teacher. But before that, I was engaged in philosophical pursuit in school. So I came to it through Western philosophers, basically Bishop Berkeley.

Melvin McLeod: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it really happen?”

Richard Gere: Yes. Subjective idealism was his thesis—reality is a function of mind. It was basically the “mind only” school that he was preaching. Quite radical, especially for a priest. I was quite taken with him. The existentialists were also interesting to me. I remember carrying around a copy of Being and Nothingness, without knowing quite why I was doing it. Later I realized that “nothingness” was not the appropriate word. “Emptiness” was really what they were searching for—not a nihilistic view but a positive one.

My first encounter with Buddhist dharma would be in my early twenties. I think like most young men I was not particularly happy. I don’t know if I was suicidal, but I was pretty unhappy, and I had questions like, “Why anything?” Realizing I was probably pushing the edges of my own sanity, I was exploring late-night bookshops reading everything I could, in many different directions. Evans-Wentz’s books on Tibetan Buddhism had an enormous impact on me. I just devoured them.

Melvin McLeod: So many of us were inspired by those books. What did you find in them that appealed to you?

Richard Gere: They had all the romance of a good novel, so you could really bury yourself in them, but at the same time, they offered the possibility that you could live here and be free at the same time. I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility—I just wanted out—so the idea that you could be here and be out at the same time—emptiness—was revolutionary.

So the Buddhist path, particularly the Tibetan approach, was obviously drawing me, but the first tradition that I became involved in was Zen. My first teacher was Sasaki Roshi. I remember going out to L.A. for a three day sesshin [Zen meditation program]. I prepared myself by stretching my legs for months and months so I could get through it.

I had a kind of magical experience with Sasaki Roshi, a reality experience. I realized, this is work, this is work. It’s not about flying through the air; it’s not about any of the magic or the romance. It’s serious work on your mind. That was an important part of the path for me.

Sasaki Roshi was incredibly tough and very kind at the same time. I was a total neophyte and didn’t know anything. I was cocky and insecure and fucked up. But within that I was serious about wanting to learn. It got to the point at the end of the sesshin where I wouldn’t even go to the dokusan [interview with the Zen master]. I felt I was so ill-equipped to deal with the koans that they had to drag me in. Finally, it got to where I would just sit there, and I remember him smiling at that point. “Now we can start working,” he said. There was nothing to say—no bullshit, nothing.

Melvin McLeod: When someone has such a strong intuitive connection, Buddhism suggests that it’s because of karma, some past connection with the teachings.

Richard Gere: Well, I’ve asked teachers about that—you know, what led me to this? They’d just laugh at me, like I thought there was some decision to it or it was just chance. Well, karma doesn’t work that way. Obviously there’s some very clear and definite connection with the Tibetans or this would not have happened. My life would not have expressed itself this way.

I think I’ve always felt that practice was my real life. I remember when I was just starting to practice meditation—24 years old, trying to come to grips with my life. I was holed up in my shitty little apartment for months at a time, just doing tai chi and doing my best to do sitting practice. I had a very clear feeling that I’d always been in meditation, that I’d never left meditation. That it was a much more substantial reality than what we normally take to be reality. That was very clear to me even then, but it’s taken me this long in my life to bring it out into the world more, through more time practicing, watching my mind, trying to generate bodhicitta.

Melvin McLeod: When did you meet the Dalai Lama for the first time?

Richard Gere: I had been a Zen student for five or six years before I met His Holiness in India. We started out with a little small talk and then he said, “Oh, so you’re an actor?” He thought about that a second, and then he said, “So when you do this acting and you’re angry, are you really angry? When you’re acting sad, are you really sad? When you cry, are you really crying?” I gave him some kind of actor answer, like it was more effective if you really believed in the emotion that you were portraying. He looked very deeply into my eyes and just started laughing. Hysterically. He was laughing at the idea that I would believe emotions are real, that I would work very hard to believe in anger and hatred and sadness and pain and suffering.

That first meeting took place in Dharmsala in a room where I see him quite often now. I can’t say that the feeling has changed drastically. I am still incredibly nervous and project all kinds of things on him, which he’s used to at this point. He cuts through all that stuff very quickly, because his vows are so powerful, so all-encompassing, that he is very effective and skillful at getting to the point. Because the only reason anyone would want to see him is that they want to remove suffering from their consciousness.

It completely changed my life the first time I was in the presence of His Holiness. No question about it. It wasn’t like I felt, “Oh, I’m going to give away all my possessions and go to the monastery now,” but it quite naturally felt that this was what I was supposed to do—work with these teachers, work within this lineage, learn whatever I could, bring myself to it. In spite of varying degrees of seriousness and commitment since then, I haven’t really fallen out of that path.

Melvin McLeod: Does His Holiness work with you personally, cutting your neuroses in the many ways that Buddhist teachers do, or does he teach you more by the example of his being?

Richard Gere: There’s no question that His Holiness is my root guru, and he’s been quite tough with me at times. I’ve had to explain to people who sometimes have quite a romantic vision of His Holiness that at times he’s been cross with me, but it was very skillful. At the moment he did it, I’m not saying it was pleasant for me, but there was no ego attachment from his side. I’m very thankful that he trusts me enough to be the mirror for me and not pull any punches. Mind you, the first meetings were not that way; I think he was aware how fragile I was and was being very careful. Now I think he senses that my seriousness about the teachings has increased and my own strength within the teachings has increased. He can be much tougher on me.

Melvin McLeod: The Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism puts a strong emphasis on analysis. What drew you to the more intellectual approach?

Richard Gere: Yeah, it’s funny. I think what I probably would have been drawn to instinctively was Dzogchen [the Great Perfection teachings of the Nyingma school]. I think the instinct that drew me to Zen is the same one that would have taken me to Dzogchen.

Melvin McLeod: Space.

Richard Gere: The non-conceptual. Just go right to the non-conceptual space. Recently I’ve had some Dzogchen teachers who’ve been kind enough to help me, and I see how Dzogchen empowers much of the other forms of meditation that I practice. Many times Dzogchen has really zapped me into a fresh vision and allowed me to see a kind of limited track that I was falling into through conditioning and basic laziness.

But overall, I think the wiser choice for me is to work with the Gelugpas, although space is space wherever it is. I think the analytical approach—kind of finding the non-boundaries of that space—is important. In a way, one gets stability from being able to order the rational mind. When space is not there for you, the intellectual work will still keep you buoyed up. I still find myself in situations where my emotions are out of control and the anger comes up, and it’s very difficult to enter pure white space at that point. So the analytical approach to working with the mind is enormously helpful. It’s something very clear to fall back on and very stabilizing.

Melvin McLeod: What was the progression of practices for you, to the extent that you can talk about it, after you entered the vajrayana path?

Richard Gere: I’m a little hesitant to talk about this because, one, I don’t claim to know much, and two, being a celebrity these things get quoted out of context and sometimes it’s not beneficial. I can say that whatever forms of meditation I’ve taken on, they still involve the basic forms of refuge, generation of bodhicitta [awakened mind and heart] and dedication of merit to others. Whatever level of the teachings that my teachers allow me to hear, they still involve these basic forms.

Overall, tantra has become less romantic to me. It seems more familiar. That’s an interesting stage in the process, when that particular version of reality becomes more normal. I’m not saying it’s normal, in the sense of ordinary or mundane, but I can sense it being as normal as what I took to be reality before. I can trust that.

Melvin McLeod: What dharma books have meant a lot to you?

Richard Gere: People are always asking me what Buddhist books I would recommend. I always suggest Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind to someone who says, “How can I start?” I’ll always include something by His Holiness. His book Kindness, Clarity and Compassion is extraordinarily good. There’s wonderful stuff in there. Jeffrey Hopkins’ The Tantric Distinction is very helpful. There are so many.

Melvin McLeod: You go to India often. Does that give you the opportunity to practice in a less distracted environment?

Richard Gere: Actually it’s probably more distracting! When I go there, I’m just a simple student like everyone else, but I’m also this guy who can help. When I’m in India there are a lot of people who require help and it’s very difficult to say no. So it’s not the quietest time in my life, but just being in an environment where everyone is focusing on the dharma and where His Holiness is the center of that focus is extraordinary.

Melvin McLeod: When you’re in Dharmsala do you have the opportunity to study with the Dalai Lama or other teachers there?

Richard Gere: I’ll try to catch up with all my teachers. Some of them are hermits up in the hills, but they come down when His Holiness gives teachings. It’s a time to catch up on all of it, and just remember. For me, it means remembering. Life here is an incredible distraction and it’s very easy to get off track. Going there is an opportunity to remember, literally, what the mission is, why we’re here.

Melvin McLeod: Here you’re involved in a world of film-making that people think of as extremely consuming, high-powered, even cut-throat.

Richard Gere: That’s all true. But it’s like everyone else’s life, too. It just gets into the papers, that’s all. It’s the same emotions. The same suffering. The same issues. No difference.

Melvin McLeod: Do you find that you have a slightly split quality to your life, going back and forth between these worlds?

Richard Gere: I find that more and more my involvement in a career, in a normal householder life, is a great challenge for deepening the teachings inside of me. If I weren’t out in the marketplace, there’s no way I would be able to really face the nooks and crannies and darkness inside of me. I just wouldn’t see it. I’m not that tough; I’m not that smart. I need life telling me who I am, showing me my mind constantly. I wouldn’t see it in a cave. The problem with me is I would probably just find some blissful state, if I could, and stay there. That would be death. I don’t want that. As I said, I’m not an extraordinary practitioner. I know pretty much who I am. It’s good for me to be in the world.

Melvin McLeod: Are there any specific ways you try to bring dharma into your work, beyond working with your mind and trying to be a decent human being?

Richard Gere: Well, that’s a lot! That’s serious shit.

Melvin McLeod: That’s true. But those are the challenges we all face. I was just wondering if you try to bring a Buddhist perspective to the specific world of film?

Richard Gere: In film, we’re playing with something that literally fragments reality, and being aware of the fragmentation of time and space I think lends itself to the practice, to loosening the mind. There is nothing real about film. Nothing. Even the light particles that project the film can’t be proven to exist. Nothing is there. We know that when we’re making it; we’re the magicians doing the trick. But even we get caught up in thinking that it is all real—that these emotions are real, that this object really exists, that the camera is picking up some reality.

On the other hand, there is some magical sense that the camera sees more than our eyes do. It sees into people in a way that we don’t normally. So there’s a vulnerability to being in front of the camera that one doesn’t have to endure in normal life. There’s a certain amount of pressure and stress in that. You are being seen, you are really being seen, and there is no place to hide.

Melvin McLeod: But there’s no way you actually work with the product to…?

Richard Gere: You mean teaching through that? Well, I think these things are far too mysterious to ever do that consciously, no. Undoubtedly, as ill-equipped to be a good student as I am, I’ve had a lot of teachings, and some have stuck. Somehow they do communicate-not because of me, but despite me. So I think there is value there. It’s the same as everyone: whatever positive energies have touched them in myriad lifetimes are going to come through somehow. When you look into their eyes, when the camera comes in for a closeup, there’s something there that is mysterious. There’s no way you can write it, there’s no way you can plan it, but a camera will pick it up in a different way than someone does sitting across the table.

Melvin McLeod: How comfortable are you with your role as the spokesman for the dharma?

Richard Gere: For the dharma? I’ve never, ever accepted that, and I never will. I’m not a spokesman for dharma. I lack the necessary qualities.

Melvin McLeod: But you are always being asked in public about being a Buddhist.

Richard Gere: I can talk about that only as a practitioner, from the limited point of view that I have. Although it’s been many years since I started, I can’t say that I know any more now than I did then. I can’t say I have control over my emotions; I don’t know my mind. I’m lost like everyone else. So I’m certainly not a leader. In the actual course of things, I talk about these things, but only in the sense that this is what my teachers have given me. Nothing from me.

Melvin McLeod: When you are asked about Buddhism, are there certain themes you return to that you feel are helpful, such as compassion?

Richard Gere: Absolutely. I will probably discuss wisdom and compassion in some form, that there are two poles we are here to explore—expanding our minds and expanding our hearts. At some point hopefully being able to encompass the entire universe inside mind, and the same thing with heart, with compassion, hopefully both at the same time. Inseparable.

Melvin McLeod: When you say that, I’m reminded of something that struck me when I saw the Dalai Lama speak. He was teaching about compassion, as he so often does, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he spoke more to a wider audience about the Buddhist understanding of wisdom, that is, emptiness. I just wondered what would happen if this revered spiritual leader said to the world, well, you know, all of this doesn’t really exist in any substantive way.

Richard Gere: Well, the Buddha had many turnings of the wheel of dharma, and I think His Holiness functions in the same way. If we are so lost in our animal natures, the best way to start to get out of that is to learn to be kind. Someone asked His Holiness, how can you teach a child to care about and respect living things? He said, see if you can get them to love and respect an insect, something we instinctively are repulsed by. If they can see its basic sentience, its potential, the fullness of what it is, with basic kindness, then that’s a huge step.

Melvin McLeod: I was just reading where the Dalai Lama said that he thinks mother’s love is the best symbol for love and compassion, because it is totally disinterested.

Richard Gere: Nectar. Nectar is that! [In vajrayana practice, spiritual blessings are visualized as nectar descending on the meditator.] That’s mother’s milk; that’s coming right from mom. Absolutely.

Melvin McLeod: Although you are cautious in speaking about the dharma, you are a passionate spokesman on the issue of freedom for Tibet.

Richard Gere: I’ve gone through a lot of different phases with that. The anger that I might have felt twenty years ago is quite different now. We’re all in the same boat here, all of us—Hitler, the Chinese, you, me, what we did in Central America. No one is devoid of the ignorance that causes all these problems. If anything, the Chinese are just creating the cause of horrendous future lifetimes for themselves, and one cannot fail to be compassionate towards them for that.

When I talk to Tibetans who were in solitary confinement for twenty or twenty-five years, they say to me, totally from their heart, that the issue is larger than what they suffered at the hands of their torturer, and that they feel pity and compassion for this person who was acting out animal nature. To be in the presence of that kind of wisdom of heart and mind—you can never go back after that.

Melvin McLeod: It is remarkable that an entire people, generally, is imbued with a spirit like that.

Richard Gere: I’m convinced that it is because it was state-oriented. Obviously, problems come with that, with no separation of church and state. But I am convinced that the great dharma kings manifested to actually create a society based on these ideas. Their institutions were designed to create good-hearted people; everything in the society was there to feed it. That became decadent—there were bad periods, there were good periods, whatever. But the gist of the society was to create good-hearted people, bodhisattvas, to create a very strong environment where people could achieve enlightenment. Imagine that in America! I mean, we have no structure for enlightenment. We have a very strong Christian heritage and Jewish heritage, one of compassion, one of altruism. Good people. But we have very little that encourages enlightenment—total liberation.

Melvin McLeod: Looking at how human rights violations have come to the forefront of world consciousness, such as in Tibet and South Africa before that, the work of celebrities such as yourself who have been able to use their fame skillfully has been an important factor.

Richard Gere: I hope that’s true. It’s kind of you to say. It’s an odd situation. Previously I’d worked on Central America and some other political and human rights issues, and got to know the ropes a bit in working with Congress and the State Department. But that didn’t really apply to this situation. Tibet was too far away, and there had been extremely limited American involvement there.

I found also that the question of His Holiness in terms of a political movement was very tricky. It’s a non-violent movement, which is a problem in itself—you don’t get headlines with nonviolence. And His Holiness doesn’t see himself as Gandhi; he doesn’t create dramatic, operatic situations.

So we’ve ended up taking a much steadier kind of approach. It’s not about drama. It’s about, little by little, building truth, and I think it’s probably been deeper because of that. The senators, congressmen, legislators and parliamentarians who have got involved go way beyond what they would normally give to a cause they believed in.

I think the universality of His Holiness’ words and teachings have made this so much bigger than just Tibet. When His Holiness won the Nobel Peace Prize, there was a quantum leap. He is not seen as solely a Tibetan anymore; he belongs to the world. We were talking before about what the camera picks up—just a picture of His Holiness seems to communicate so much. Just to see his face. It’s arresting, and at the same time it’s opening. You can imagine what it would have been like to see the Buddha. Just to see his face would put you so many steps ahead. I think a lot of what we have done is just putting His Holiness in situations where he could touch as many people as possible, which he does every time with impeccable bodhicitta.

I keep saying Tibet will be taken care of in the process, but it’s about saving every sentient being, and as long as we keep our eyes on that prize, Tibet will be all right. Of course there are immediate issues to deal with in Tibet. We work on those all the time. Although we had reason to believe a more open communication with the Chinese was evolving, the optimism generated by Clinton’s visit to China has not panned out. In fact, the Tibetans, as well as the pro-democracy Chinese, are experiencing the most repressive period since the late eighties, since Tienanmen Square.

Melvin McLeod: I’m always impressed with a point the Dalai Lama makes which is very similar to what my own teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, presented in the Shambhala teachings. That is the need for a universal spirituality based on simple truths of human nature that transcends any particular religion, or the need for formalized religion at all. This strikes me as an extraordinarily important message.

Richard Gere: Well, I think it’s true. His Holiness says that what we all have in common is an appreciation of kindness and compassion; all the religions have this. Love. We all lean towards love.

Melvin McLeod: But even beyond that, he points out that billions of people don’t practice a religion at all.

Richard Gere: But they have the religion of kindness. They do. Everyone responds to kindness.

Melvin McLeod: It’s fascinating that a major religious leader espouses in effect a religion of no religion.

Richard Gere: Sure, that’s what makes him larger than Tibet.

Melvin McLeod: It makes him larger than Buddhism.

Richard Gere: Much larger. The Buddha was larger than Buddhism.

Melvin McLeod: You are able to sponsor a number of projects in support of the dharma and of Tibetan independence.

Richard Gere: I’m in kind of a unique position in that I do have some cash in my foundation, so I’m able to offer some front money to various groups to help them get projects started. Sponsoring dharma books is important to me—translation, publishing—but I think the most important thing I can do is help sponsor teachings. To work with His Holiness and help sponsor teachings in Mongolia, India, the United States and elsewhere-nothing gives me more joy.

The program we’re doing this summer is four days of teachings by the Dalai Lama in New York. August 12 to 14 will be the formal teaching by His Holiness on Kamalashila’s “Middle-length Stages of Meditation” and “The Thirty-seven Practices of the Bodhisattvas.” That’s at the Beacon Theater and there are about 3,000 tickets available. I’m sure those will sell quickly. If people can’t get into that, there’s going to be a free public teaching in Central Park on the fifteenth. We’re guessing there will be space for twenty-five to forty thousand people, so whoever wants to come will be able to. His Holiness will give a teaching on the Eight Verses of Mind Training, a very powerful lojong teaching, one of my favorites actually. Then His Holiness will give a wang, a long life empowerment of White Tara.

I’ve seen His Holiness give bodhicitta teachings like these, and no one can walk away without crying. He touches so deep into the heart. He gave a teaching in Bodh Gaya last year on Khunu Lama’s “In Praise of Bodhicitta,” which is a long poems Just thinking about it now, I’m starting to crys So beautiful. When he was teaching on Kunu Lama’s “In Praise of Bodhicitta,” who was his own teachers whooosh! We were inside his heart, in the most extraordinary way. A place you can’t be told about, you can’t read about, nothing. You’re in the presence of Buddha. I’ve had a lot of teachers who give wonderful teachings on wisdom, but to see someone who really, really has the big bodhicitta, real expanded bodhicittas.

So those are the teachings that I believe His Holiness is here to give. That’s what touches.

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