Friday, November 10, 2006

Trinity and Three Rings

For every action an equal and opposite reaction exists. They hate us, we hate them, they hate us back. We are the victims of mathematics. It seems that even enlightened self-interest can not thwart the inexorable rhythm that tears us apart.

Yet, without hope things will improve and our inheritors will know a world richer than our own, life is pointless and evolution vastly overrated.

In many religions there is a Triune Symbol. Three rings in Siddhartha Gautama's Buddhist faith dating back to the 5th century BC, there are the three interconnected rings representing the Three Jewels or Triratana as shown here. Literally, the Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Christianity has the Holy Trinity representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Judaism has the Star of David, which is actually representative of two trinities, one for the divine existence, and one for our current extistence. "As above, so below."

Kabbalistically, the Star/Shield of David symbolizes the six directions of space plus the center, under the influence of the description of space found in the Sefer Yetsira: Up, Down, East, West, South, North, and Center. Congruently, under the influence of the Zohar, it represents the Six Sefirot of the Male (Zeir Anpin) united with the Seventh Sefirot of the Female (Nekuva).

This was confirmed by Christ's teachings

Beyond cause and effect, there is a third principal wielded by sentient life - the capacity for self-sacrifice - the conscious ability to override evolution and self-preservation for a cause, a friend, or a loved one.

About 12 years ago, Babylon 5's first season hit the air. On the surface, it appeared to be yet another Trekkie-style show. However, the writer must have done some homework on humans and what makes us great. This scene I have borrowed stayed in my mind since 1994. I ran across it recently. A mere 60 seconds, but it's message indelible and lasting in its truth.

Some of the episodes are now available online for free, incredibly enough!

The scene demonstrates what is best about humans, our diversity, our passion, and what ultimately adds palpable quality to every one's lives on this planet, this fragile spaceship we have been entrusted with, Earth.

Vandana Ti-sarana is often recited by both monks and lay people:

  • Buddham saranam gacchāmi - I go for refuge in the Buddha
  • Dhammam saranam gacchāmi - I go for refuge in the Dharma
  • Sangham saranam gacchāmi - I go for refuge in the Sangha

The Mahayana Chinese/Japanese version differs only slightly from the Theravada:

  • 自皈依佛,當願眾生,體解大道,發無上心。
I take refuge in the Buddha, wishing for all sentient beings
to understand the great way and make the greatest vow.

  • 自皈依法,當願眾生,深入經藏,智慧如海。
I take refuge in the Dharma, wishing for all sentient beings
to deeply delve into the Sutra Pitaka, gaining an ocean of knowledge.

  • 自皈依僧,當願眾生,統理大眾,一切無礙。
I take refuge in the Sangha, wishing all sentient beings
to lead the congregation in harmony, entirely without obstruction.

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