Archive for April, 2013

The Korean Mountain Spirit

by on Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Gigantic new Sanshin painting at Jiri-san

David enjoying tea

David A. Mason has spent thirty years roaming Korean mountains, giving tours, teaching university classes in culture and tourism and researching and writing books and articles about Korean culture, particularly the religious traditions. His Spirit of the Mountains received the 20002 Best Book on Korean Culture Award from Korea’s Academy of Sciences. He was contributing editor to The Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook by Roger Sheperd and Andrew Douch and co-author of the 1997 Lonely Planet Guide to Korea. He is currently completing an encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism. This recent interview took place over Skype, when David was in Korea and I was in the Philippines. 

The photographs are used with permission and come from his websites http://www.san-shin.net, http://san-shin.org and http://baekdu-daegan.com. I highly recommend spending a couple of hours browsing through the many pictures and stories. Another interview with David Mason is available at http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20110825000865 and a lecture at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSNMnhQGqqw.

The Seorak Dinosaur Range

The idea of mountain spirits and practices is found all over the world—with the concept of sacred mountains—but Korea has probably the most highly developed and most complex culture of mountain spirits in the world. In Korea this very ancient, well developed system of shrines, art works and practices is connected to almost every kind of traditional religious and spiritual form that has developed here. It is an original part of Korean indigenous shamanism as it came from Siberia and the Mongolian areas, with mountain spirits dating back to prehistoric times. After Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism came to Korea from China and the Korean version was rooted here, the mountain spirits seem to have played a central role in helping these new religions become Koreanized.

Three Saints Shrine in Ssanggye-sa Temple

A particular example, which is especially blatant and open, is how Buddhists overcame the skepticism and opposition of the local people by including shrines to the mountain spirits within their temples, which were generally put on a mountainside. This gained acceptance for Buddhism and enticed more people to come to the temples, where they could perform mountain spirit rituals and—since they were there already—learn about Buddhism. Of course some of the temple monks also wanted to venerate the mountain spirits. Later on, we find that mountain spirit altars and shrines were a significant income earner for the temples. They brought in as much in the way of donations as the main Buddha altar at the temple did, and they still do.

A rich culture developed around this and a mutual regard. The Buddhists regarded the Sanshin, the mountain spirit, as the landlord. It was his mountain, and they paid rent with ceremonies giving offerings to the spirit. In exchange they hoped to get the spirit’s protection, a place to live and other benefits of the natural ecology.  So it was kind of a symbiotic relationship. To me it’s fascinating because usually when Buddhism, like most advanced religions, moves into countries it tends to take over the local spirits and make them Buddhist, turn them into some kind of a Buddha or bodhisattva. In Korea the mountain spirit maintained independence. In most art works it is not depicted as any kind of a bodhisattva—only twice out of ten thousand examples. Some of the paintings characteristics show the mountain spirit with Buddhist stature, that is, equal to a bodhisattva or perhaps an enlightened Zen master. So it remains a shamanist-Taoist figure, not Buddhist, although it is included in Buddhist temples.

The three essential elements to a Korean mountain spirit icon are a human figure, generally elderly and wise—it could be male or female—and then a tiger, either realistic or abstract in the traditional Korean folk way, and then a pine tree. Those three are necessary. The tiger represents the king of all animals. Here in Korea, the red bark pine tree is considered the most precious, valuable tree, essentially the king of all plants. The human manifestation of the mountain spirit shows humanity at its best. So this is a kind of idealization of the biosphere of plants, animals and humans. Often mushrooms are included and white cranes, and other elements showing nature at its best and humanity’s relationship with nature at its ideal.

A female Sanshin from Cheongcheon-am Hermitage

Now, you mentioned the male-female divide. Many, many mountains are believed to have female spirits. There are various theories as to which mountains and how it’s divided. But, even when a mountain is widely believed by pretty much everybody to have a female spirit, often the paintings or statues have a male form, a wise old grandfather with a long white beard. This is the influence of Confucianism, which is totally male-dominant and maintains that a kingly spirit must be male; there’s just no option on that. More recently over the thirty years I’ve been chronicling them, there has been an increase in the number and frequency of female Sanshin paintings. It’s an exact parallel to the status of Korean women as it’s been rising from the near-Pakistani subjugation level of a hundred years ago to something approaching equality between men and women. It’s a fascinating revival of religious iconography.

The shrines don’t appear just on sacred mountains, but then you could say every mountain is sacred. Almost any significant mountain or large hill, especially if it’s behind a village or an area where people live, will have a shrine to that mountain spirit. It’s believed that any hill or mountain has a spirit, but the greatest mountains have the greatest mountain spirits. Everything has a spirit—trees, rocks, animals—but the greatest among them are spirits that call our attention to them or deserve our attention.

The Baekdu-daegan Range

Throughout the Korean peninsula there are quite a few sacred mountains that are highly sacred and reputed as such throughout the nation. A few of them even are in North Korea, which itself recognizes their sacredness, even though we deem it a supposedly atheist-communist regime. In North Korea, Baekdu-san, or White Head Mountain, on the border with China is maybe one of the most sacred mountains of all the people. It represents the nation and the ideal of unification of Korea. Then Geumgang-san, which is highly significant for Buddhism, is among the most beautiful mountains in the world. Myohyan-san is very rich in traditional culture, both in Korean Nationalism and shamanism-Buddhism. It has all kinds of relics still there, and the North Korean regime regards it as very important. In the South, where we have more freedom of religion and mountain spirit culture flourishes more, probably the number one mountain is Jiri-san in near South Joella Province. It’s our first national park and still the largest, a gigantic sprawl of three major peaks and a couple of dozen minor peaks, a massive mountain area. Jiri-san means Exquisite Wisdom Mountains. It’s a Buddhist name, the specialized wisdom of the bodhisattva. It’s believed that any spirit who has come to that mountain will attain wisdom. A foolish person can turn wise by living around there. On the slopes of Jiri-san, all around it, are up to let’s say a hundred religious sites—from Confucianism and shamanism and Taoism and Buddhism. I can think of no other sacred mountain in the world with that cultural diversity and richness or with that much activity. Three of the top Buddhist temples in the entire nation are located there in Jiri-san.

That mountain is regarded in some sense as the grandmother of the entire nation, the ultimate matriarch, and definitely female. Baekdu-san, the giant volcano on the border between North Korea and China, is regarded as its counterpart, the great patriarch, the ancestral grandfather figure of the entire nation. Then all of the great mountain range that runs between those two, one unbroken range called the Baekudu-daegan, those mountains are all their children. All the mountain ranges that branch off the Baekdu-daegan are their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Together it’s one family that physically defines the Korean peninsula and that serves as the spirit of the entire nation and people, an integrated system

Besides, there are very highly sacred mountains like Gyeryong-san, “Rooster Dragon Mountain,” a rather small mountain filled with probably 60 to 70 shamanist and Buddhist sites. Then near the east coast there’s Odae-san, the “Five Platforms Mountain,” highly sacred to Korean Buddhism, to the north of that, Seorak-san, the “Snowy Crag Mountain, which is actually a highly sacred part of the southern part of the Geumgan-san Diamond Mountain. Below them to the south but still on the east coast, there’s Taebek-san. Its sacredness is mostly shamanistic, National-shamanistic, associated with the entire founding myth of the nation.

[According to the myth, Hwanung, the son of the King of Heaven, descended to Taebaek-san and established a holy city. When a bear and a tiger came to him and begged to become human beings, he gave them mugwort and garlic—sacred food—and told them to stay in a cave for one hundred days. The tiger left, but the bear stayed and was transformed into woman. When she begged for a son, Hwanung mated with her. Dangun, their offspring, founded the first Korean kingdom. – This myth is so widely believed that one of my university students once presented it in a paper as historical fact. He was insulted by my skepticism.]

Three Saints Shrine in Cheonbo-sa Temple

The mountain spirit in Cheonbo-sa Temple

Most nations don’t really have this kind of variety. Their mountains tend to be sacred to only one religion, whereas with Korea there are five different religious-spiritual traditions that hold different mountains sacred in different ways. [Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, shamanism and spiritual-nationalism] that hold these mountains sacred, different mountains in different ways. The Christians are the only exception to this, refusing to recognize even the concept of a sacred mountain and regarding the mountain spirits as demons—although they spend so much energy opposing them, denouncing them and trying to have their shrines destroyed, that it shows they think the mountain spirits are important. Protestant Christianity has only been here for about 120 years. It’s a very fundamentalist, narrow-minded, intolerant, bible-thumping kind of Christianity that came from America, causing constant conflict. It’s the same kind that some 80 or 90 years ago banned alcohol, dancing and any kind of fun. That kind of Christianity took root here and flourished. As usual, once Koreans get a religion they don’t change it much. They don’t believe in liberalization or modernization. They did this with Confucianism and Buddhism also. In China, Buddhism has changed and evolved, but the Koreans kept the original schools as they first came from the Song Dynasty, Zen Buddhism and the other doctrinal schools, and refused to update them. In a scholastic sense it’s fascinating.

There’s a wide, stunning variety of mountain spirit shrines. I spent 30 years photographing them, but I keep finding new stuff. The original shrines were just deliberately constructed piles of stone, out behind the temple, sometimes with a large slab of stone with Chinese characters carved in it saying, “This is the shrine for the mountain spirit.” Shrines like that persist until today, including newly built ones. Sometimes they contain a granite statue of Sanshin with a tiger and perhaps a pine tree carved out of granite. Now most common is a small wooden building, like a one-room shack, with a traditional tiled roof. Inside there’s a painting and/or a statue inside and enough space for a person to bow.

Inwang Samshingak

Inwang Samshingak altar

In the last 20 years, Buddhist temples have been enlarging and expanding their mountain spirit shrines so that some have become almost as large as the main Buddha hall, big enough for 20 people to gather inside. These special shrines enshrine three main folk shamanic spirits, the mountain spirit and a Taoist kind of spirit, the Seven Stars of the Big Dipper, and The Lonely Saint, a disciple of the Sakyamuni Buddha who was endowed with magical powers and who remained here on earth to help human beings. He’s lonely because he’s separate from the others in heaven. This kind of shrine is called the Samsung-gak, Three Sages Shrine or Three Saints Shrine.

It represents the ancient Oriental trinity, which is one of the most fundamental concepts in the entire Orient, starting in China at least 4,000 years ago, a trinity of heaven, earth and humanity. This is from the classical I Ching, the oldest philosophical book in East Asia, and it’s just extremely fundamental to any kind of East Asian Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism or whatever, In this shrine, the mountain spirit of course represents earth. The Seven Stars of the Big Dipper, with other heavenly deities in it, represents the powers of heaven. And the Lonely Saint is a kind of supreme human being, an enlightened disciple of Buddha. The shrines are very popular. They get a lot of visitors, plenty of veneration and cash donations.

A shaman at Samgak-san Sanshin Festival

Samgak-san Festival with participants in Confucian garb

Well, the rituals are some combination of shamanistic, Buddhist and Confucian practices, which is the way things co-developed. People pray in a shamanistic way, rubbing their hands together in supplication and prostrating themselves and praying. Or there is a Buddhist way of doing three prostrations while chanting the name of the spirit and perhaps a Buddhist text associated with the mountain spirit. There’s a more Confucian style similar to ancestor rituals or rituals for the spirit of a respected, departed teacher. All the rituals involve placing offerings on the altar, usually something aromatic so the smell goes up to the spirit. Candles are lit, just as they are in all the world’s religious practices, and incense is burned because that’s pleasing to the spirits. Usually there is a dish of water that is then uncovered—pure water for the spirits to consume. It should be perfectly clean and freshly got from the local stream. Shamans in the deep mountains may do something very simple, like lighting a single candle and having one small dish of water at the base of a great boulder or cliff. It goes from that way of worshipping all the way up to full-scale, Confucian-style productions. The altar table is loaded with 25 different kinds of offerings, and a grand ceremony is held with very senior leaders of the community. These days, local mayors or county heads lead these Confucian-style ceremonies. There can be a traditional orchestra playing traditional instruments and dancers employed as in royal Confucian ceremonies. They can really make quite a big deal out of it.

David observing a Confucian Sanshin ritual

I’d like to add that the mountain spirit culture in Korea is still flourishing. City people may tell you it’s an old-fashioned tradition, “Nobody does that anymore. We’re a high-tech, 21st century country.” But the evidence is entirely otherwise. Driving around in the mountains, I’ve found new shrines being built and larger shrines than ever before, larger statues and bigger paintings than were ever made in classical times, and more elaborate. People are spending a lot of money. The new mountain spirit shrines and paintings and art works are indications to the scholar that this is not a dying religion. It’s still very much a part of 21st century Korea.

I think it’s because the mountain spirit is fundamentally a part of the Korean mentality, even if they don’t want to admit it. It goes really deep down into the national identity and personalizing of who they are. It’s connected to so many of their basic cultural norms, which show up in so many ways, that it’s almost a ubiquitous factor in Korean culture. The spirit has acquired some new roles also, being quite “green,” protecting the environment with the new ecological movement that’s been building for out several years. The Sanshin is a perfect symbol of human beings living in harmony with nature. We protect nature, and in exchange nature protects us, our health and well-being. It’s also involved in praying for national unity. Sanshin is fundamental to Korean culture, respected by both the North Koreans and the South Koreans, so that all Koreans can’t help but relate to culturally and spiritually.

Spirit of the Mountains

After about a dozen years of research, in 1999 I published a book called The Spirit of the Mountains: Korean San-shin and Traditions of Mountain Worship. It was given an award by the government as the best book on Korean culture of that year. Later they translated it into Korean, making it both the first book in Korean about the mountain spirits as well as the first book in English. So it was a highly regarded and highly awarded book and popular with scholars, but never much of a seller. A few years ago the Korean publisher let it go out of print, to my disappointment. The copyright reverted to me, and as soon as I have the time I want to rewrite it including the many new things I’ve learned over the past 14 years. I want to add a supplement and correct it and put out a second edition. But my next book coming out is an official Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism.

Related link:

“A Look at Korean Shamanism” <http://caroldussere.com/2009/11/23/a-look-at-korean-shamanism/>

Synchronicity

by on Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Monks from all traditions under the tree–or a descendant of the tree–under which the Buddha was enlightened

I meditate with David and Claudine about once a week at the Sattva Center on Xavierville Avenue in Quezon City. At the beginning of this recent interview, I asked David how it happened that a guy from a country as Catholic as the Philippines came to be a Tibetan Buddhist. (Thanks to David Montecillo for the photos from India.)

David’s story

David with Santan Rinpoche of the Nyingma tradition

Okay, I was an ordinary college kid, studying and partying. Because I had a creative streak, after graduation I took a job in advertising. I could spit out good work really fast. But after about two and a half years I started to burn out. I realize now it was because my focus was always on the external, like waiting for the weekend and that adrenaline rush. Eventually it was a three-day struggle to come up with a heading for a simple print ad. I’d gone from a big high to a low low. I decided to bury my disappointment with friends—go out, party, drink. One Saturday in local bar, my friends talked about an energy seminar they’d attended on Pranic healing. I was curious because I was already into martial arts, but only the external side. Our teachers talked about energy, this chi or qi. It was strange. In this crowded bar where people were drinking, my friends were holding their hands in front of each other, feeling each other’s auras and saying, “Your qi is up to here. I can feel it.”

They said there was a class the following morning at eight o’clock in Alabang, a long drive from Quezon City. I wondered about my chances of waking up in time. But the next morning I was up before seven, so I went. That’s how I met my teacher, an American married to a Filipino. Her Tibetan name is Khandro, and she’s a lineage holder of the Tibetan line. She’s also into practices like meditation, Zen and Pranic healing. In class I learned about energy. Sometimes I couldn’t follow because the pacing was too fast, but I felt I belonged, that this was the right time for me explore this kind of thing. The transition started.

At that time I was still in my early twenties. I wanted to go back to school, find a bit more about myself. While I was working on my master’s in business, during the week I went to class, worked with my classmates on case analysis, went to companies to interview them and took tests. On weekends I was at the teacher’s house, learning about dharma, energy, healing and meditation. One side of me was doing left-brain financial statements, and the other side was contemplating the universe. My teacher introduced me to others who taught me things like qigong, and I found my way to a center where I practiced the arts of healing. Over the years one thing led to another. Synchronicities.

David in front of a bodhi tree

So Buddhism is probably the foundation, but I don’t know what to call myself anymore. In my spiritual practice I reach out to a whole milieu of deities—Ganesha, who’s a Hindu deity, is very strong in my life. I’ve been introduced to other energies, like the Isis energy and the Lady of the Adriatic, which is Christian or Catholic. I’ve even touched on the Reiki systems. Every “religion” or pathway leads back to a source. As human beings, before we can put our trust in something it needs to make sense to the rational mind. For me Buddhism was the first step. When I was younger, I didn’t have a good relationship with my Catholic upbringing. I followed the rituals, and in times of crisis I would pray. But it took a Buddhist teacher to make me understand and appreciate Christian terminology. Most traditions have a certain language, but the essence is pretty much the same. We color things based on our culture, our environment, our country’s history. In the office space inside me there’s such a conglomerate that I don’t know what label to use. Some teachers would say that’s good.

Once, friends invited me to a very born-again bible study. They asked my opinion about how to handle certain situations. So I quoted some Buddhist principles, but I replaced the word “Buddha” with “Christ.” Everyone agreed. The language is different, but the principles are the same. In our search for truth, we have buffet before us so we can experience each dish and make our own selections—without imposing them on others. Someone asks me what path to take, and I say, “What do you want? Choose, and if one doesn’t taste right, go to the next.”

Because the Buddhist dharma was written by the Buddha’s disciples, it’s very goal-oriented, like the three jewels [the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha] and the five poisons [ignorance, attachment, aversion, pride and jealousy]. It’s very behavior-based. But if behavior doesn’t come from being-ness, it may not be sustainable. Our being-ness has to translate into behavior. So I learned that even the person who’s throwing a tantrum may also be experiencing Buddha by being authentic, true to the being-ness of right now, rather than following what’s dictated by circumstances. But of course discernment is always there: is this the right place for a tantrum?

Even in Buddhism there’s “do this, do that,” but the true teacher will draw out from you where you want to go. Or give a glimpse of what enlightenment could be like. It’s up to you to find a way, while the teacher says, “You’re getting warmer—oh, you got colder,” a little nudge to get your bearings right. For me, when it was time, the teacher’s physical presence left when she moved to the U.S., but not her energetic presence.

I trained in Pranic healing or qigong therapy, practicing with a group which gave healings twice a week. I found that, regardless of whether people were rich, poor, young, old, when they sit before you their energy patterns tell who they are. And we’re all the same, regardless. Stress, or the issue of separation, is always there, and it shows in our energy patterns.

David’s class with Penor Ringpoche, the head of the Nyingma tradition at that time

I also got involved with a prayer circle led by a lady who channeled angels and gave us messages. In February or March of 2001, she channeled an entity who said through her that I had to be in the U.S. before September. I’d been planning to go for a relative’s wedding in November, and my uncle had asked me to come to New Jersey to help him set up a business. I didn’t know why I had to be on U.S. soil by September, but I talked to my family about going early, and we agreed. My brother and I landed on August 31. It was easy getting through customs with all the luggage because the Filipino officer in charge just waved us through.

My cousins took me around San Francisco, and then I flew to San Diego to see my teacher for the first time in three years. I spent the weekend with her. On September 11, I was in the airport waiting to go back to San Francisco when the World Trade Center was hit. All of a sudden, on the flight information board the signs were turning over—clack, clack, clack, clack—to cancel, cancel, cancel, cancel. A crowd was huddling around the television in a coffee shop. “Holy cow!” All the planes stayed on the ground. The weekend with my teacher became a week. When I got back to San Francisco, I shared the story with my cousins. Two weeks later I was on a Korean Air flight to meet my uncle in New Jersey. So I decided I’d had to be in the U.S. in September because if I’d come later I wouldn’t have been able to get in with all the security.

I had a visa in good standing. I was helping my uncle, but each day I had thirty minutes to an hour to meditate and become quiet. In hindsight I feel that universe used me, along with countless others, as a channel to help balance out energies. New York at that time was in an uproar.  There was a lot of stress, lot of paranoia, a lot of hullabaloo. It was unbelievable. But despite everything I had a peaceful mindset all year. I found myself walking mindfully across New York, at peace inside. I’m sure there were many others who started praying and meditating, and I guess that was just my part. My teacher had once said, “When the universe plans to use you, you’ll be used regardless.”

The 2006 Monlam, the prayer for world peace

A year after Sept. 11, the economy was still down. Once my uncle and I went to a job fair in Madison Square Garden. There were long lines—blocks long and four or five people wide. These were people in Gucci shoes and Armani suits who were grabbing flyers for temp jobs. So I saw how people were displaced, how they were suffering. I saw them reach for happiness and security. As one of the gurus had said, “Security is an illusion.” I witnessed that all over New York. And even though my uncle’s business plan looked good on paper, circumstances entered in. Things happened, things changed. Impermanence was the biggest lesson for me. After a year I moved back to the Philippines.

A couple of years later I started a business with a friend who, like myself, was into dancing, meditation. During my short experience of corporate life here and in New York, I’d heard how noisy people were inside. My friend and I decided to set up a company which would bring wellness and stress management to corporations. Over time our company evolved, adding more aspects.

In 2003 went to Hawaii to get a teacher’s training certificate in Shenzhen qigong. In the 1980s this qigong style was imparted to Master Yi Zhenfeng by one of his teachers, but for a lot of it he went into a trance, and the movements just came out. Mankind needs them now. This system is to help open our hearts and our consciousness and awareness. I set about trying to impart the Shenzhen way as much as I could.

Inside the Temple of Bodhigaya. Some tourists.

In 2006 I went to Bodhigaya in Bihar, India, where the Buddha was enlightened. That’s Mecca for a lot of Buddhists. I was the only Filipino with a contingent of Chinese Buddhists from the local Nyingma temple in the Palyul Lineage, the lineage I still follow. My experience there was very spiritual. Sanpen Rinpoche took us around Bodhigaya. I was privileged to have an audience with his Holiness Penor Rinpoche, the head of the Nyingma tradition. He gave us blessings. Now he has passed on to nirvana. I met a very young incarnation of a high lama who also passed away. There were a lot of typical pilgrimage experiences, but I remember very distinctly bringing the energy back to the Philippines with me. For maybe a week or two I felt so much inimitable peace, which was very palpable. Others would look at me and say, “Wow, you’re so chilled now.”

Before and after I went to India, I received meditation students in my house. As much as possible I tried to be true to what my teacher taught me, and I understood the trouble she had with me and my classmates because we were still sometimes hard-to-control, rowdy kids.

After I got back, I met a lady named Kim Lopa. The first time we met, we each had a flashback to a past life when we were Tibetan monks. Occasionally when I was still in training, I saw her again at the healing center. Around December 2006 Kim gave a workshop called The Lily and Beyond. This is a workshop, a shaktipat or an empowerment, in which divine grace and the blessings of various masters and teachers come down to us in energy form and complete our energy body. In short, all of the benefits of forty or fifty years of spiritual practice and meditation are given in one workshop. That’s The Lily and Beyond. After taking the workshop, we can go into high meditation space instantaneously and hold it there all throughout the day—while washing our clothes, while driving—whereas ordinarily when we went into meditation we could only reach high levels of meditation pace on peak levels during peak days. With the Lily activation we can actually get there instantaneously and hold the space effortlessly. It provides us with peace and a certain buoyancy, so that no matter how our life knocks us down, our default system is just to get back up very quickly. Getting back on your feet doesn’t take months or years. I’ve seen it happen to others who have the activation. This gives us God’s peace 24/7.  The Lily and Beyond is the culmination in my life.

Zemten Rinpoche, a khenpo, David. When David was presented as a practitioner, the khenpo put his head on David’s as a blessing.

Sometimes I feel like a bank deposit box where you put your jewelry to be stored. Sometimes I’m a bit also hesitant because I’ve learned that “to whom much one has been given, much is expected in return.” The individual is expected to let go of old material things, attitudes and beliefs. Where it’s going we don’t know yet. There’s a responsibility for people who have an awareness or who are working on ourselves to reach that awareness. It’s as if humanity is in a time of transition from the old ways of being and doing to a new way of expressing our divinity, a time of unification, assessment, and of being true to who we are. It’s like a time when we’re starting the roots of culture change from who we think we are to who we are inside, accepting every part of us, the light and the dark, the happy to the sad. It’s bringing us back to who we once were thousands of years ago, before the fall from grace, when human consciousness was very high. Now it’s time to reclaim it. That’s my daily experience. I mean, in our company we still make action plans, but often the universe uses us for something.

In the Lily community we have a “Christ office,” which is a place in the atmosphere where there’s Christ-consciousness—not necessarily Christian, but having to do with unification. People work in the office. We who took the lily activation are given the chance to serve. Once I thought Christ-consciousness meant getting along with others, but it’s about unification from within. First the many aspects of who we are inside have to unite as one. From the light to the dark, we have to be accepted for who we are. It’s respect of ourselves. When that happens, we don’t walk anymore as a personality, but we walk, speak, we move as a deity, as the highest expression of who we are spiritually.

The tree in the main temple

In fact, the mission vision of The Lily and Beyond is peace and one brotherhood of man. That’s one word: peaceandonebrotherhoodofman In order to see it work, for those of us who said yes to the Christ-office, every aspect of our being, of our lives, has to be aligned with it. Our work, our careers, our relationships, our relation to nature—peaceandonebrotherhoodofman. In the Lily community. after the shaktipat, we’re connected 24/7 to divine energy. So our intuitions can be activated. Some people’s healing “powers” can be activated. Some people’s clairvoyance becomes magnified. Manifestations become quicker. This is about change, to help manifest what we call the Golden City Alert, peaceandonebrotherhoodofman. This is a tall order, but we know we are always guided with backup. All we have to do is move in faith.

The empowerment doesn’t violate free will. If we still choose to go to shadow or back into our old programs, it won’t stop us. It will delay the work, but that’s free will. That’s the divine. Free will of man is respected above all else. So that’s how we are in the Lily community. I believe that, in every faith, peace and one brotherhood of man is the goal. It’s like qigong, yoga, Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, are all dots, and it’s our job to connect them so we can see the big picture.

Links:

David and Claudine organized the first Heal-Om Festival. Photos at http://caroldussere.com/2012/10/26/the-first-heal-om-festival/

The Lily and Beyond. http://www.lilyandbeyond.org/ and http://www.mercymartinez.com/home/lily-and-beyond

A reader writes:

Thank you for sharing this, Carol!  I’ve read it up.  Now I got a better appreciation of David’s spiritual growth and transformation, which allowed me to gain an insight as well on the synchronicities I have been experiencing.

Another reader writes:

I really appreciate your latest post about David’s journey and spiritual growth. I like learning about the different experiences of fellow pilgrims.