Archive for the ‘A is for . . .’ Category


AVOLOKITESVARA (Sanskrit, the lord who is seen below; the lord who looks down; the lord who perceives sound)
In eastern religions, the God of Mercy. Sometimes male, sometimes female, he/she is worshipped in Asian cultures, called by different names: Chenrezig in Tibetan, Kwan Yin in Korean, Guanyin in Chinese, Kannon in Japanese, etc. His/her image is often depicted with many arms.

The Dalai Lama is said to be the 14th incarnation of this deity.

Read Full Post »


AVATAR (Sanskrit, he descends)
Traditionally, the incarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu, in human or animal form. Whenever there is a decline of religion, and a rise of irreligion, I incarnate myself. To protect the good, to destroy the wicked, and to re-establish religious principles, I appear in every age (Bhagavad Gita).

Though legends abound, clear dates or historical proofs of an incarnated Vishnu are not presented. The term has mainstreamed in role playing games in which a player creates his or her own persona, or avatar. “Avatar” is also an animated series and a video game.

Jesus might generally be called an avatar, with the qualifier that he is the one Incarnation of the Creator God, Yahweh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling with us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only” (John 1:1, 14).

Read Full Post »


ATMAN (self)
The higher absolute Self, Brahman, the Great All is One, Cosmic Consciousness. An aspect of this concept is that one cannot perceive his own divinity because of illusion (maya) or ignorance (advaita). In a nutshell, we are gods with bad memories, deceived by ignorance. This Hindu teaching was rejected by Buddha in favor of the concept of an-atman, or non-being.

Both teachings contradict the human/creator relationship in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Native American, and many folk religions.

Read Full Post »


ASCETIC (Gr. askein,to exercise)
A person who leads a life of austere self-discipline, particularly for devotion or penance. Extreme self-abuse, suppression of simple pleasures, celibacy, fasting, “the silence,” eating/drinking disgusting things, and isolation are part of the effort to achieve what is perceived to be a higher state of consciousness.

Related article: “Power Suffering” by Jennifer Egan, New York Times Magazine, May 11, 1999.

In the New Testament, forbidding marriage and certain foods as spiritual practice, “which God created to be received with thanksgiving” is lumped in with “doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1-8).

Read Full Post »

ASCENDED MASTERS are high-level beings who are said to live in the etheric plane above the earth and channel knowledge to human beings. Also called The Hierarchy or the Great White Brotherhood. A partial list: Abraham, DK, El Morya, Hilarion, Jesus, Kryon, Kuthumi, Kwan yin, Lazaris, Lord Lanto, Maha Chohan, Maitreya, Mary, Mother of Mercy, Mother of Miracles, Nada, Paul the Venetian, Saint Germain, Sanat Kumara, Serapis Bey, Teresa.

Who are they really? Figments of entranced imaginations? Angels? Demons?

Theory 1. Fiction. Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote a satirical book The Coming Race about nine unknown men who secretly run the world. Occultist Helena Blavatsky promoted the concept of ascended masters, perhaps thinking he was presenting facts as fiction. Her followers, particularly Charles W. Leadbeater, developed alleged biographies of the Ascended Masters. In 1925, Leadbeater wrote The Masters and the Path.

Theory 2. Angels. Do they exist to counsel humankind? The apostle Paul said exactly the opposite: “(God’s) intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose, which he accomplished in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:10,11).

Theory 3. Demons. Hosts of spiritualists are receiving messages from these masters, who say they will soon “externalize” to our planet. The varied and sometimes contradictory  messages— you are god, God is tired, there is no hell or heaven, you need a spirit guide, you can achieve anything with your own psychic power—these doctrines are not new, and have historically been associated with the demonic.

Read Full Post »


ANDROGYNE (man-woman)
The gender-blended human. The asexual persona is significant in alchemy, asceticism, monasticism, homosexuality, and New Age thought; also popularized in Japanese manga comics.

“More young people are embracing something we would traditionally consider in between.” “The Mystery of Gender,” Newsweek, May 21, 2007.

When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them” (Genesis 5:1,2).

Read Full Post »


ANATMAN (non-being)
The Buddha’s term for nonexistence.  In Neighboring Faiths, Winfried Corduan elaborates: “The moment of salvation occurs when the person comes to realize his place of non-self in the void. This is enlightenment . . . It is sometimes said that self-extinction is the goal of Buddha’s philosophy; it would be better to put it as realizing one’s own self-extinctedness. Nonexistence is the reality; one simply has to become aware of it.” (p. 223).

Virtually all pre-Buddhist sacred texts of other religions disagree. Humankind from cultures around the world have long understood the existence and eternal nature of the human soul, an afterlife, and a creator or sky-god.

Interestingly, God’s very name—Yahweh, the “I Am”—suggests personhood (I) and existence (Am). In this regard Buddhism is more opposite of Judeo-Christian belief and nearly all other religions than the most nihilistic system of atheism.

God . . . breathed into (Adam’s) nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

Read Full Post »

Altered State

A mental state in which alpha brain waves are especially active. Occurring naturally when waking up, altered states may be unnaturally induced by oxygen deprivation, psychoactive drug use, severe trauma, starvation, visualization, or meditation.

Virtually all branches of mysticism use mind-emptying mantras, measured breathing, self abuse, or drugs to artificially induce altered states of consciousness. The ritual appears to open a gateway to the spirit world and may create an experience called “spiritual ecstasy” or “union with the divine.”

Related practices: contemplative prayer, centering prayer, hesychaste prayer, breath prayer, mantra, chant, saying the rosary, dkhir, dhyana.

Read Full Post »

AKASHIC (sky, space) RECORDS
In New Age thought, a collective record of humankind’s deeds kept in the “etheric plane,” or heavenly realms. Some channelers and mystics claim to access the records in altered states of consciousness.

Occultists sometimes equate the Akashic Records with the Book of Life, first referenced by Moses (~1300 BC)  when he pleaded with God to spare the Israelites: “‘But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.’ The Lord replied to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book’” (Exodus 32:32, 33). See also Malachi 3:15, Revelation 3:8, Revelation 20:12.

Read Full Post »


ABRAHAM (father of a multitude)
1. Spiritual father of the Jewish people (~2000 B.C); esteemed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
2. A group of entities who channeled teachings found within The Secret, a New York Times best seller.
The self-promoting, occult teachings of the entities called “Abraham” stand in opposition to the faithful Abraham of the Old Testament. The God of Abraham condemned channeling: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).

 See Ascended Masters


Read Full Post »