Religion

Can there be a God of an infinite universe?

Can there be a God of an infinite universe?

Not the kind of God that most people imagine. Not the kind of God listens to your prayers and maybe answers them, not the sort of God who might tell you to do certain things, like strap explosives to yourself and blow up a bus full of people. That kind of God couldn’t exist in an infinite universe in which everything that can exist does exist. In such a universe, God is the one thing that can’t exist. There could be gods though. If we were to go to another planet and terraform it, make it like Earth, introduce advanced…

I used to know what I thought about Iraq

Back in 2002/3 when we were demonstrating against the war it seemed so much simpler. Now, though I can see the case for air strikes, that to leave those fleeing IS without air cover could result in massacres which will be filmed and shown to us, it feels like we’re trying to put out a fire with parrafin.

I am not an animal

I asked The Professor (4) what animals he could see in this picture. He said rabbit. Good, and what else? What about the birds? Yes, he agreed that birds were animals. And what else? The boat and the tractor, he said after a while. No, boats and traction engines are not animals (yeah, the traction engine has a face and is smiling, but let’s overlook that for now). What about the man driving the traction engine? No, people aren’t animals, he insisted. Yes they are, I said. I’m an animal, you’re an animal…

High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

I walked out of the pension and turned right. I walked up the hill, past two small churches and several hotels and pensions, to the cable car station, where there are a load of snack bars, a tourist information office, and bureau de change, and the ticket booth for cable cars that go up the mountain, which is where I was going. It had clouded over but it wasn’t raining like it was yesterday. In my bag I had my waterproofs, just in case, along with my camera, a bottle of water and some sandwiches. I bought a ticket to…

On the train from Vilnius to Warsaw

I took the bus from Palanga to Vilnius. It cost 51Lt. Now I’m on the train to Warsaw. 67Lt. I have 10Lt in my pocket. The rest of my money I changed into Polish Zlotys. The woman in the bank seemed to find the way I said Polish amusing. It took a while buying the train ticket, queueing at three different tills before I found one that would sell me the ticket, and then there was a load of paper work and a phone call. It was about a ten minute wait.

Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland

There’s a church on a hill by the port of Helsinki, a red brick building with gold balls sitting on the spires, making it look a bit Islamic but I think it’s a Russian orthodox church. I went in there today, just as a christening was starting. Tourists and people who’d just walked in were confined to an area by the door by ropes. There were prominent signs saying: “Silence Please! Divine service in progress” (in several languages) and images of cameras (still and video) and a mobile phone, all crossed out. Some people didn’t notice the signs or deliberately…

Coffee Republic, Soho Square, London, UK

Back in London after a couple of weeks in Eastbourne, now staying in Peckham Rye, but probably only for a few more days. I’ve been looking into getting a boat to Cuba, which seems to be possible but not so easy. There was a freighter going there from Lisbon, which took passengers and charged 90 Euros a day, but that’s fallen through, so now I’m looking into cruise ships, which aren’t as expensive as I’d thought they might be, about £500 to £700 for trans-Atlantic.

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

There was a Tibetan monk sitting outside my guest house this afternoon. He was sleeping when I looked out of my window but he was awake when I got outside and sat down. He talked in a very quiet voice about emptiness and compassion and how you should spend time studying and meditation rather than of partying. Impermanence – we waste too much time. If you’re forty you may only have another twenty years. I could barely hear what he was saying. An Israeli with a loud voice was talking to an Irish woman about Buddhism. When I got the…

Rishikesh, India

Back to the Swami Darmandanda lectures. Today I arrived early and Swami said he was pleased with the class, though there weren’t as many people there today. About 20, when usually there are 30, though nobody showed up late. On the way there the baba without a blanket who turned down my offer of 5 Rupees a few days ago – I can’t buy a blanket with 5 Rupees – called me over to him again. He made out he just wanted to chat to me, but he tried the same thing two days ago when I asked him if…

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