29 July, 2014

God Doesn't Take Sides

The Compassionate Buddha
Photo: Mike Perry
It puzzles me at times as to why people pray to their God to help them overcome another person or community. I remember watching soccer players in the World Cup, for example, praying to win a match. And, of course, in any war conflict we tend to pray to win the battle.

Surely though, thinking like this is wrong. Why would any God favour any one person over another or any particular country over another? He wouldn't, No more than that, He couldn't.

I read the following from the Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha. It's part of something called The Rain Cloud.

Upon all I ever look
Everywhere impartially,
Without distinction of persons,
Or mind of love or hate.
I have no predilections
Nor any limitations;
Ever to all beings
I preach the Law equally;
As I preach to one person,
I preach to all.
Ever I proclaim the Law,
Engaged in naught else;
Going, coming, sitting, standing,
Never am I weary of
Pouring it copiously on the world,
Like the all-enriching rain.
On honoured and humble, high and low,
Law-keepers, and law-breakers,
Those of perfect character,
And those of imperfect,
Orthodox and heterodox,
Quick-witted and dull-witted,
Equally I rain the Law-rain

That seems about right: everyone is equal no matter what. God doesn't take sides.

Other Buddha Posts:
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The Mantelpiece Buddha
Top Ten Zen Buddhist Quotes Of Taisen Deshimaru

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28 July, 2014

A Cornish Journey Back To 1644 At Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle, Cornwall

The scene was set in the English Civil War of 1644. King Charles marched west in pursuit of the Parliamentarian army of the Earl of Essex, who was invading the Royalist stronghold of Cornwall. On the 21st of August, the Royalists attacked Essex's positions north of Lostwithiel, capturing Restormel Castle.

Approaching Restromel Castle, Cornwall

As I've said before, that's the thing about Cornwall it's full of history. We made a visit to Restormel Castle, near Lostwithiel, last week and these are a few of the photos I snapped.

Inside Restormel Castle Cornwall

English Heritage describe the castle: "The great 13th-century circular shell-keep of Restormel still encloses the principal rooms of the castle in remarkably good condition. It stands on an earlier Norman mound surrounded by a deep dry ditch, atop a high spur beside the River Fowey. Twice visited by the Black Prince, it finally saw action during the Civil War in 1644. It commands fantastic views and is a favourite picnic spot."

Ruins of Restormel Castle Cornwall

The original castle though goes back much further. Restormel Castle was believed to have been built - in the middle of a large deer park - after the Norman conquest of England in about 1100 by Baldwin Fitz Turstin, the local sheriff.

View from Restormel Castle battlements

There's no longer a deer park, but from the high castle battlements it's easy to see why this spot was chosen. The views still stretch for miles.

With the photo above I zoomed in with my camera and could see the farmer getting in his hay.

Tractor getting in the hay, Cornwall

Most of the castle is now probably classed as a ruin but it's still worth a visit. There aren't many perfectly round castles about and it's still possible to make out the rooms that were once securely within the walls.

Inside Restormel Castle near Lostwithiel

After spending quite a while inside climbing and looking we left by the double archways. The second was probably once a portcullis.

Entrance to Restormel Castle

From the outside it's easier to see how the castle was built on a mound with the moat below.

Castle moat at at Restormel Castle Cornwall

We had our lunch with us so sat overlooking the view towards Lostwithiel. A perfect day ...

View from Restormel Castle Grounds

... though it's easy to drop off into another time zone or dimension if so inclined ...

Restormel Castle different time zone

... but most people tend to return to present day reality eventually.

Castle from the air

It's strange because the day we visited the castle we were on our own, so could enjoy the atmosphere and the peaceful surroundings.

Other Random Cornwall Posts:
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The Ghosts Who Haunt Bodmin Jail, Cornwall: 13 Exclusive Photos

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26 July, 2014

The Groping Ghost Gropes A Granny


I read on the Canterbury Times of how 73 year old Doris Birch couldn't sleep at night because of a groping ghost.

Here's Mrs Birch's experience:

"It's like an octopus. It started four months ago. I was lying in bed when I felt this creepy pair of hands. I kicked frantically and it went away. Next time it came I hurled the duvet on to the floor! But the ghost keeps coming back. I've tried sleeping without the duvet. But it started shaking my mattress. I even threw the mattress off the bed and bought a new one but it has made no difference.

I told my 16-year-old granddaughter and she was gob-smacked. She said I must be joking.

People are going to think I am mad but it is as real as the day to me. I'm not lonely. I love living alone. But this is very creepy and is giving me the jitters. It's harassing me. I need to call in the Ghostbusters.

I told the vicar and he said it is a lost spirit. What I want to know is, why has it got lost in my flat?"

The Methodist Minister Hugh-Nigel Sheehan told the Canterbury Times: "I was approached by Mrs Birch but I fear I am not in a position to help. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I have no expertise in this at all. I am neither a trained counsellor nor from a church with a tradition of exorcism such as the Catholic Church. It is very difficult to know how to respond."

Fortunately the newspaper offered up some help in the form of ghost-hunters Ray and Beryl Herne.

It seems that Ray is able to draw the gross ghost into him and Beryl will then envelope it in a vortex of light and send it to the other side.

As Beryl explained: "Sometimes spirits need to be here. There is usually a reason. Sometimes it's family. Sometimes we have to alleviate some stress."

Ah yes, stress, there certainly seems to be an excess of it in the world today.

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25 July, 2014

In Life We Are Programmed Into A WYSIWYG Matrix


According to a poll, Britons don’t consider themselves officially old until they turn 66. Okay, but why 66 and not perhaps 86 or 96? It's like we are brainwashed into thinking that some 'things' happen at various stages/ages throughout our lives, so we come to accept and believe this to be the case.

I was talking to someone yesterday about travelling and he said, "Of course, I can't do that now as I'm in my mid sixties." We then met a neighbour who was full of aches and moans and she said something like, "You've got to accept this as you get older."

I wonder why we accept any sort of limitations throughout our lives. It's partly because it's something we have been told over and over and so accept as being the norm. Even the Bible talks of three score and ten being our life span.

Psalm 90:10 tells us:

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

That's the King James version but the New Living Translation doesn't disagree:

"Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away."

And what's all this pain and trouble business? Why should we think that life has to be all about such negative aspects.

If, as a lot of us say, we get what we think or believe, then that's life all wrapped up and parcelled. We live for seventy years, eighty if we are really lucky - but the extra ten years doesn't appear that enticing if it's going to be all labour and sorrow.

I can't accept this or the likes of Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like a snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

That's not very cheerful, is it? Then we have ancient sayings like the Riddle of the Sphinx hidden deep in ourselves:

"Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?"

Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: "Man - who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age."

Well done to Oedipus, but why do we accept / think that man will need a walking stick in old age? It's because this is what we've come to accept.

I feel we have to create a complete new matrix for ourselves of how we want and expect things to be throughout our lives - or even eternity. Forget the popular status quo and start developing our own personal beliefs of health, happiness and immortality. Oh, and we'd better throw in some wealth as well, while that remains the method of exchange.

What we genuinely believe sets the scene for our every day lives. Or maybe you think that's a load of codswallop - after all there are wars, tribulations, sickness and the like all around us. But who's fault is that? Gods? The State? Or could it be our own? WYSIWYG.

Ramble over.

Other Rambles As Posts:
A How Did It All Begin Ramble
Are We Really Nothing At All On A Ride To Nowhere?
A Ramble About 51412 Leading Nowhere

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24 July, 2014

A Visit To Byron Bay And Eating Coleslaw Coincidences

Byron Bay, Australia

On Monday the 14th July I was feeling a bit lazy in the evening so I had a look to see what was on television. I saw that there was a documentary where the English comedian, John Bishop, was cycling in Australia recreating a journey he had done when a much younger man.

Byron Bay lighthouse, Australia

It sounded interesting and I said to Karin, "I wonder if he'll go through Byron Bay which Darren likes so much?"

Karin was immediately confused as our son is called Darren, "Darren likes it?" she questioned.

"No, not our Darren. I mean Darren my blogger friend in Australia."

"Oh, right."

Byron Bay coastline, Australia

I turned on the television. The programme had started and John Bishop was just arriving in - yes - Byron Bay!

"Well, I never," I said, or words to that effect.

Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia

My camera was on the coffee table so I picked it up and snapped a few pics from the television. They are none too special in quality - but may give an idea as to why Aussie Darren is attracted to the area. A man of good taste!

John Bishop also went to Brisbane, where Darren lives. That's a windswept Bishop below, in his cycling gear, with Brisbane in the background.

Strange how I got to see this television programme and at the exact right moment, it certainly wasn't planned - at least by me!

I also had another sort of similar thing happen last week connected with the Internet.

I was using the computer and Karin called up to me, "Do you fancy coleslaw with your meal tonight?"

"Yes please," I answered while clicking to go to Thex Dar's Google + page, which I often visit, His top entry was titled Thex Cole Slaw and was a recipe for coleslaw! I left him a comment saying: "Strange - my wife asked me a few minutes ago if I fancied some coleslaw with my meal tonight. I said yes!"

There seems to be a lot of potential for synchronicity through the Internet and the media at large.

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23 July, 2014

The Ghost Sightings In London's Top Hotel

The Langham Hotel
Photo source: The Langham Hotel
The Langham Hotel is one of London's finest five star hotels but is also reputed to be one of England's most haunted places to stay. This can be confirmed by some of the England Cricket players, like Stuart Broad for example.

The fast bowler described his experience, while staying at the hotel.

"It was so hot in the room I just couldn't sleep. All of a sudden the taps in the bathroom came on for no reason. I turned the light on and the taps turned themselves off. Then when I turned the lights off again the taps came on. It was very weird.

It really freaked me out. I ended up asking to move rooms. Bealey [his girlfriend] was pretty spooked too.

Ben stokes has had some problems sleeping as well. He's in room 340 and it seems the third floor is where a lot of the issues are. I'm telling you something weird is going on.

He went on to say:

"I've slept okay during the current Test but the Sri Lanka Test was not great. One night I woke up in the middle of the night, around 1.30am and I was convinced there was a presence in the room. It was the weirdest feeling.

I turned the light on and looked online and could see Matt Prior was online too. I went to his room and he had exactly the same thing! Neither of us could sleep because we were spooked out."

That's the cricketers experience but The Langham Hotel has a long history going back to 1865. The cream of Victorian society would frequent the hotel, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde. The Langham Hotel website actually indicates that they have seven ghosts.

The most famous of the ghosts haunts Room 333.

A BBC Radio announcer, Alexander Gordon, awoke suddenly in the night to see a fluorescent ball which slowly took on the shape of a man wearing Victorian evening wear. The announcer asked the ghost what it wanted and it began to float towards him, with its legs cut off some two feet below the ground, arms outstretched, eyes staring emptily. At this point the announcer got up and fled.

Other BBC staff reported seeing the apparition in the same room, though it usually only appears during the month of October. The explanation for why the ghost looked to have his legs cut off, some two feet below the ground, is that the floors have been raised since Victorian times when central heating pipes were installed.

A further guest told how a friend of hers had seen the ghost in Room 333. He had thrown his boot at it and the boot sailed right through the ghost. An American journalist also saw an apparition in this room.

Another ghost is described as a grey haired Victorian gentleman, dressed in a cloak and cravat with blank staring eyes. It is said that he is the spirit of a Doctor rumoured to have killed himself after murdering his bride while they honeymooned in the hotel.

Also seen is a footman dressed in blue livery and with powdered hair from the 18th Century. This is most likely a ghost from the days when the Foley Mansion stood on this site. Then there is the large Germanic looking man, in military style dress, who stands at a window on the fourth floor. The legend is that he is the ghost of a German Prince who threw himself out of the window just before the outbreak of the First World War.

BBC staff also told of how they experienced the antics of a mischievous spirit who had a habit of tipping sleeping night shift staff out of their beds. It is also rumoured that former guest, the exiled French emperor Napoleon III, returns from his last resting place to haunt The Langham’s basement.

If you want a good night's ghost hunting try The Langham Hotel - that is, if you can afford five star London prices!

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22 July, 2014

Fate Smiles As Cyclist Cheats Death Twice

Maarten de Jonge
Photo: Maarten de Jong / Twitter
I have written before about how it appears that some people are meant to survive, no matter what. Maybe they have some unfinished business here on earth. This struck home again with the case of Maarten de Jonge and Malaysian Flights MH17 and MH370. With both flights all of the passengers were killed or presumed dead.

Mr de Jong was due to travel on both of these flights but for some reason changed his plans both times.

Maarten is a cyclist with Malaysia's Terenggany cycling team. He actually cancelled his seat on MH17 to save money by transferring to a cheaper flight. He also escaped death on the MH370 because he decided to again exchange his ticket, this time for an earlier flight.

He said of his good fortune, "How happy I am for myself and my family. Though my story is nothing, attention should be paid to the victims."

There was another similar case too. Gert Jansen and his family were turned away from boarding MH17 at Schiphol Airport because it was over booked. He said, "All those faces of people with whom we stood in line, are etched in my memory."

It does make you wonder about fate and the things we may have committed to do in this life.

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