"Shoot him!" Drescher screamed at Reid. "Shoot him!"
St. Denis was hit twelve times. He crumpled and went down. But then, almost immediately, as Reid and Drescher watched in amazement, he struggled back onto his feet and half staggered, half ran back down the path toward the Blazer.
Drescher dropped his gun, ran after St. Denis, and dove into him, hitting him behind the knees. The big man went down. Drescher rolled him over and climbed onto his heaving chest.
"Get a knife!" Drescher yelled at Reid.
Reid felt like he was going to vomit. For an instant he thought about running away, but he was afraid if he did, Drescher would come after him and kill him, too. He ran into the cabin and came out with a kitchen knife.
"Chant!" Drescher was screaming. "Start chanting!"
Drescher thought he was doing St. Denis one last favor. Krishna had preached, "Those who remember me at the time of death will come to me. Do not doubt this." By forcing St. Denis to chant, Drescher thought he was guaranteeing him a more spiritual life in his next incarnation.
Drescher grabbed the knife and stabbed St. Denis. Again and again. Hard and deep. Finally, the blade hit a rib and snapped.
St. Denis fought on, shrieking in agony, coughing blood, and gasping for breath. Reid found a hammer and Drescher hit him with that, punching a one-inch hole in his skull. St. Denis went limp.
Drescher and Reid dragged St. Denis down the logging road to the dammed-up stream. They dumped the body on the swampy ground. Reid picked up one end of a plastic sheet, about to wrap St. Denis's head in it, when the big man opened his eyes.
"Don't do that, you'll smother me," he said.
Reid screamed—a long, piercing scream of pure terror.
Raised by the hands of men, she was led trembling to the altar. Not for her the sacrament of marriage and the loud chant of Hymen. It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father's hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by superstition.
CONSERVING THE INNER ECOLOGY
by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
Only genuine Buddhists can conserve nature on the deepest level, the mental level. When the mental nature has been conserved, the external physical nature can conserve itself. When we talk about this inner nature, we mean a fundamental essence or element of Dhamma. When this can be preserved within, the external nature can certainly preserve itself. When this inner nature or dhammadhatu is conserved, there is nothing that will cause selfishness or egoism. It knows that nothing is worth clinging to as being "self," is free of notions like "me" and "mine," and is therefore unselfish. When there is no selfishness, there is nothing that will go out and destroy the external nature. When nothing is trying to destroy this physical nature, it is quite able to protect itself.
The Buddha referred to this inner nature as "dhammadhatu," the dhatu (element or essence) of Dhamma (nature). Sometimes he simply called it "dhatu." This dhatu is the source and basis for Dhamma, for all of nature. He proclaimed that "Whether a Tathagata has appeared yet or not, the dhammadhatu exists absolutely and naturally."
In other words, nothing occurs, exists, changes, or dies by itself. Nothing happens except through various causes and conditions. All change takes place through causes and conditions. Even death and destruction require causes and conditions, either the presence of ones that kill and destroy, or the absence of those that support. Further, the causes and conditions of one thing are caused and conditioned by others. These interactions of conditionality extend through the universe – mental and physical – connecting everything in a vast web of inter-dependence, inter-relationship, inter-connectedness, inter-wovenness. So supreme is this natural fact that we can call it "the law of nature" or "God." Nothing is more powerful or awesome than this most fundamental and ever-present Truth.
Let us consider more carefully what we mean by the word "nature." Although this English term does not quite fit our Buddhist term (dhammajati), it will serve once we have explained sufficiently. Nature (dhammajati) is all things that are born naturally, ordinarily, out of the natural order of things, that is, from Dhamma. Everything arising out of Dhamma, everything born from Dhamma, is what we mean by "nature." This is what is absolute and has the highest power in itself. Nature has at least four fundamental aspects. If we don’t understand them, it is useless to speak of "preserving nature." So please examine these four fundamental aspects of nature:
* nature itself;
* the law of nature;
* the duty that human beings must carry out towards nature;
* and the result that comes with performing this duty according to the law of nature.
[Ajarn Buddhadasa was always careful about terminology and felt that sloppy use of words was an important obstacle to the understanding of Dhamma. He put great effort into explaining key Pali terms, none of them more important than "Dhamma." Here he gives his standard explanation of Dhamma's most important dimensions. Although not quite identical with the four noble truths, it is worth comparing. --Suan Mokkh website editor]
Let's consider ourselves. Each human being includes the body of nature, as expressed and found in our own bodies. In us there is the basic dhammic law of nature that regulates everything. Everything in these bodies consequently carries on according to the law of nature. When we have our natural duty, we practice that duty in order to maintain the correctness of nature. Depending on how we perform that duty, we experience its results or fruits: happiness, dukkha, satisfaction, dissatisfaction. Within ourselves, within just these physical bodies, we have all four meanings of nature.
In one human being, we can find all four aspects of nature. Throughout the entire world, we can find all four meanings of nature. And in the universe, including all the worlds together, we can see the body of nature, the law of nature, the duty of nature, and the result of nature.
If we understand all aspects of nature and conserve the law of nature within ourselves, it will then be impossible for selfishness and egoism to arise. When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature. Then the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically. Therefore, please be very interested in this inner nature. When there is no selfishness, we can preserve the purity and beauty of nature. Without selfishness, this world will be naturally pure and beautiful.
When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awakened while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinibbana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them. This too comes from maintaining a correct inner nature, and so it is natural to preserve the outer nature. In this way it isn’t very difficult to conserve the external physical nature.
In other words, Dhamma is the ecology of the mind. This is how nature has arranged things, and it has always been like this, in a most natural way. The mind with Dhamma has a natural spiritual ecology because it is fresh, beautiful, quiet, and joyful. This is most natural. That the mind is fresh means it isn’t dried up or parched. Its beauty is Dhammic, not sensual or from painting colors. It is calm and peaceful because nothing disturbs it. It contains a deep spiritual solitude, so that nothing can disturb or trouble it. Its joy is cool. The only joy that lives up to its name must be cool, not the hot happiness that is so popular in the world, but a cool joyfulness. If none of the defilements like greed, anger, fear, worry, and delusion arise, there is this perfect natural ecology of the Dhammic mind. But as soon as the defilements occur, the mind’s natural ecology is destroyed instantly. These defilements are like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind’s natural state.
In this context, we can specify the defilement called "craving," the craving that destroys the inner ecology of the mind and then expresses itself outward in destroying the physical ecology. This thing called "craving" must be understood well. Craving always means the foolish desire that arises out of ignorance (avijja), out of not understanding things as they actually are. Unfortunately, whenever Buddhists speak of samsara, most of them teach that every kind of desire is craving. This is incorrect. Only that which desires stupidly is properly called "craving." If it wants intelligently, it is called "sankappa," (aspiration or aim), which we can call "wise want." There is an important distinction here that should never be confused. Craving is always ignorant, no matter how we translate it into English. If, however, the desire is wise, it should be called "aspiration" or "wise aim."
Craving destroys both the inner-mental and outer-physical ecologies.
Take a good look: The entire cosmos is a cooperative system. We must honor and worship the cooperative system. The sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars are a giant cooperative. They are all inter-connected and inter-related in order to exist. In the same world, everything co-exists as a cooperative. Humans and animals and trees and the earth are integrated as a cooperative. The organs of our own bodies – feet, legs, hands, arms, eyes, nose, lungs, kidneys – function as a cooperative in order to survive. Let's bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death. Then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology.
--This is an edited version of a talk by the great Thai forest teacher Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and is almost identical to the version printed in Tricycle Buddhist Review Winter 1998 issue.
As devotees know, Beloved Bhagavan Adi Da Samraj is a Divine Yogi. There is a long history of such beings having very unconventional “death events” or moments in their lives. We have seen this in Beloved Bhagavan’s Case in many circumstances in the past -- the Ruchira Dham or Lopez Island Event, and the Divine Emergence, as merely two of them. Certainly it is the hope of this moment, as we write, that Beloved Bhagavan will Re-Enter His Body and begin a new Phase of His Work. It is our hope and intention that He will Re-Animate the Body and wake up.
That Adi Da will always be eternally present, and furthermore, that He has provided us with all the means necessary to locate Him, making His Presence forever available to us.
“And castles made of sand
Slips into the sea
-- Jimi Hendrix
The semicircular canals are the body's balance organs, detecting acceleration in the three perpendicular planes. These accelerometers make use of hair cells similar to those on the organ of Corti, but these hair cells detect movements of the fluid in the canals caused by angular acceleration about an axis perpendicular to the plane of the canal. Tiny floating particles aid the process of stimulating the hair cells as they move with the fluid. The canals are connected to the auditory nerve.
Nerves myelinate (fully develop) in order of their importance for survival. The first cranial nerve to myelinate in utero is the vestibular nerve (sensory nerve with some motor nerve functions) whose primary functions are balance and energy. A two-month-old embryo hears and reacts to sound by opening and closing the arms and legs, these movements are the Moro reflex. "The newborn hears and moves in rhythm to the mother's voice in the first minutes of life. There are no random movements; every movement of the newborn has meaning, with particular movements being linked to particular sounds. For example, with a sudden loud sound the baby will throw out its arms and legs in a Moro Reflex. In response to his mother's voice, he will turn toward her. Studies done using high-speed film show that newborns and infants have a complete and individual repertoire of body movements that precisely synchronize with syllables or sub-syllables of a speaker's voice. This important matching of movement to words, or "entrainment", starts in utero at about four and a half months and leads to full development of the vestibular systems and the ability to language successfully."
The Vestibular Nerve begins to myelinate in utero by registering the movement of the fetus and its environment (mother). After birth the vestibular system is necessary for the infant's survival in the new environment, which is gravity. The vestibular nerve is involved in the sense of equilibrium, maintenance of posture and muscle tone. The other purpose of the newly myelinated nerve of the hearing organ is the electrical charge that the brain receives from sound and that is crucial for brain development. In these early stages, it is the mother's voice that the baby has entrained to, and in particular to the high frequencies that are most enriching for the infants' brain development. "We instinctively talk to babies with a higher voice, called "Parentese", which we now know energizes the baby's brain, making it more alert to all sensory input and able to take in specific patterns and rhythms, thus aiding leaning."
MOTOR NERVES MYLINATE BEFORE SENSORY NERVES
It is the motor nerves that myelinate before the sensory nerves, meaning that movement awakens the senses. We need movement and that includes sound in order to sense or perceive our environment and ourselves. Movement is crucial to learning in both the internal environment and external environment. Both sound and movement are crucial to the early developmental reflexes.
[M]y quest to understand the origins of human love and violence was partly rooted in my doctoral training in developmental neuropsychology and psychophysiology at McGill University, Montreal, P.Q. Canada where I was made acutely aware of the extraordinary importance that the early sensory-social environment has upon brain development and behavior. The pioneering studies at McGill in the 1950s and 1960s documented that social isolation rearing of puppies results in not only aberrant adult emotional-social behaviors but also in abnormal brain development and functioning.
In 1966, I joined the newly formed NICHD where I created the Developmental Behavioral Biology Program (NICHD) to establish basic research programs on brain-behavioral development. During my tenure at the NICHD (1966-1980), I formulated a novel developmental brain-behavioral theory of emotional-social regulation to explain the pathological depression and violence that results from maternal-social deprivation or the social isolation rearing of infant animals.
I redefined "maternal-social deprivation" as a special case of Somatosensory Affectional Deprivation (SAD) and identified somesthetic processes (body touch) and vestibular-cerebellar processes (body movement) as the two critical emotional senses that define the sensory neuropsychological foundations for maternal-infant affectional bonding. Sensory deprivation in the other sensory systems (vision, hearing, smell and taste) do not result in the maternal-social deprivation or SAD syndrome).
My reconceptualization of the maternal-social deprivation syndrome which involved cerebellar-limbic-frontal lobe brain functions was made possible by the pioneering studies of Mason (1968) and Mason and Berkson (1975) who demonstrated that the isolation rearing of infant monkeys on a "swinging mother" surrogate (vestibular-cerebellar stimulation) prevented the development of the classic maternal-social (SAD) syndrome. This behavioral study opened the "vestibular-cerebellar" gate to brain structures and processes not previously implicated in these emotional-social disorders and represents, in my view, a scientific study of such importance that is matched only by the original contributions of the Harlows. The implications of the Mason and Berkson "swinging mother surrogate" study for human development is profound but, unfortunately, remains unappreciated despite the fact that its dramatic effects can be seen in the Time Life documentary film "Rock a Bye Baby" (Dokecki 1973) and which has been one of the most successful documentaries of Time Life.
It is important to emphasize that in terms of SAD theory, the different sensory-emotional systems of the body provide the neuropsychological foundations for different psychological states. Specifically, the vestibular-cerebellar sensory system provides the primary neuropsychological foundation for "Basic Trust"; the somesthetic (touch) sensory system provides the primary neuropsychological foundation for "Affection"; and the olfactory (smell) sensory system provides the primary neuropsychological foundation for "Intimacy". In normal development these emotional-sensory systems are combined in rich patterns of complex sensory stimulation which results in the development of a "neurointegrative" brain where "Basic Trust", "Affection" and "Intimacy" are integrated with one another to form an emotional brain gestalt that can be called "Love"– long before the infant can understand the spoken or written word which is mediated by the auditory and visual cognitive senses.
The vestibular system is phylogenetically the oldest part of the inner ear. It is situated in the petrous part of the temporal bone, in close proximity to the cochlea. The vestibular system responds to movement of the head relative to space and gravity, using inertial-sensing receptors which are activated by forces arising from the acceleration of mass in accordance with Newton’s law: Force = Mass X Acceleration.
In order to determine the absolute movement of a body in three dimensional space, reliable information is required about movement in each of the 6 "degrees of freedom" permitted in three dimensional space, i.e. three translation or straight lines (up-down, left-right, fore-aft), and three rotational (in one horizontal, and two vertical planes at right angles to each other) movements. There is one vestibular system on each side of the head, in close approximation to the cochlea.
Each side of this bilateral system consists of two types of sensors:
1. the two otolith organs (the saccule and utricle) , which sense linear movement (translation),
2. a set of three semicircular canals, arranged at right angles to each other, sensing rotation movement in three planes.
Introduction to the Vestibular System
The Otolith Organs
The utricle and the saccule are two sac-like structures each of which contains a specialized region (the macula) which is made up of a ciliated sensory epithelium (the vestibular hair cells). In humans, the hair cells in the vestibular system differ somewhat from those in the auditory system, in that each vestibular cell, in addition to having a number of thin stereo-cilia, also has one thicker longer kino-cilium positioned at one end of the cell’s hair-bearing surface.
The hair cells of the vestibular system also exhibit a constant "resting discharge activity" even in the absence of a stimulus. Thus, stimulation is sensed by the central nervous system as a change in this resting, "spontaneous" discharge rate. The cilia which emerge from the hair cells are embedded in a gelatinous matrix containing solid CaCO3 crystals (the otoconia) which overlies the cells. During linear acceleration, the crystals (being denser than the surrounding fluid) will tend to be left behind due to their inertia. It has been demonstrated that the resultant bending of the cilia causes cell excitation when the bending is toward the kino-cilium (with a resultant increase in the firing frequency of the innervated afferent sensory fibres of the VIII th nerve), and inhibition when away from the kino-cilium (with a resultant decrease in the firing frequency of the innervated afferent sensory fibres of the VIIIth nerve).
Since they are sensitive to acceleration, the otolith organs detect the direction and magnitude of gravity, as well as transient linear accelerations due to movement (for example: tilting the head produces a transient linear acceleration which is reflected in changes in the firing frequency of afferent fibres innervating the sensory cells).
The Functions of the Vestibular System
The information from the vestibular apparatus is used in three ways:
To provide a subjective sensation of movement and/or displacement in 3-dimensional space.
For example, the hair cells of the utricle provide a sensation of head tilt based on the direction in which the cilia are bent by the gravitational force. When the head is tilted in the direction of polarity of a given cell, it depolarizes and excites the afferent fiber. Alternatively, when the head is tilted in the opposite direction, the same cell hyperpolarizes and inhibits the afferent fiber.
To maintain upright body posture (balance). A variety of reflexes of the limb musculature, are mediated by activation of the otolith organs and semicircular canals. When the vestibular system is activated these reflexes result in the stabilization of the head's position in space (vestibulospinal and otolith-spinal reflexes).
To control the muscles that move the eyes, so that in spite of the changes in head position which occur during normal activities such as walking and running, the eyes remain stabilized on a point in space . The eye movements which are generated by activation of the vestibular system are called vestibulo-ocular reflexes and are discussed in greater detail on the next page.
The Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex
Unblurred vision is only possible if the eye is stationary (fixed) with respect to a viewed object. The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) is an important mechanism by which unblurred vision is made possible during head movements that are generated during everyday activities such as walking and running. For example, if the head is turned to the left, this reflex causes the eyes to move to the right (i.e. in the opposite direction of the head movement). The oppositely directed eye movement occurs at the same velocity as the head movement, and therefore generates an eye movement which keeps our line of sight fixed on the same point in visual space both during and following the movement.
During short head movements, these compensatory eye movements remain well within the mechanical limits of eye rotation. However during large amplitude head rotation, the eye can reach its limit of excursion long before the head movement is completed. Consequently, during this condition, an additional feature is added to the VOR: when the eye reaches an extreme position, it is rapidly flicked back to a new starting position. From this new starting position, the eye then continues a new cycle of compensatory movement during continuing head movement. The resulting "saw tooth" pattern of slow compensatory/ rapid resetting eye movements (slow phases and quick phases respectively) are referred to as vestibular nystagmus.
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