Buddha, Planets, Constellations
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Buddha and Astrology
Buddha taught that one's future is conditioned primarily by one's karma. His monks and nuns were not to practice astrology. For all that, astrology is widely believed and practiced in most Buddhist countries and not uncommonly monks are astrologers.
Buddha did not encourage followers to speculate on things beyond their comprehension, but tend to a successful blend of spiritual development and wordly benefits, as laid out in the Gentle Middle Way. Accordingly, personal effort and discipline along the routes he mentioned, make many facets of astrology redundant. Still, Tibetan Buddhism, for example, has embraced astrology as an integral part of its Medical studies.
Also, astrology is popular in the Buddhist laity in many countries. Buddha tells, though, that for Buddhist monks there are inappropriate means for gaining a livelihood. The bhikkhu ("monk"):
abstains from conveying messages and buying and selling, from dealing with false measures, from deception, fraud, and crooked practices in general. He abstains from mutilating, robbery, plunder, offering blood-sacrifices and casting horoscopes, he abstains from wrong livelihood.
There is much else to refrain from for monks, that is:
"Interpreting dreams; fortune-telling based on visions; interpreting the calls of birds and animals, male slaves, female slaves; elephants, forecasting, calculating auspicious dates for marriages, betrothals, divorces; bringing forth flames from the mouth; administering ear-oil, eye-drops, treatments through the nose, practicing eye-surgery (or: extractive surgery), general surgery . . . [Ibid, extracted too]
Why is this or that called wrong speech, wrong (bodily) action or wrong livelihood? It is because they bring trouble and suffering to oneself and to others. They lead to blame and even more important, they may cause many problems for the further fare:
Defining prognostication and astrology as trickery, harmful and cheating, is what Buddha does. But what if astrology, or some forms of it, hold water, goes for helping a person and works? That would not be the astrology that Buddha speaks against. The same goes for good prognoses, and also farsight, foresight and some forms of visions, even dreams. A problem with some of these is that it may be a long wait before "the future tells". Another is that believing in things Buddha goes against, may form ideas that revolve in your head and form your self-image. It the effects are for good - good for us! If not, it may be to our loss, eventually. Also, if the descriptions do not match the person or happenings, it is like much a wrong map. The main point is to tread the Buddhist middle path in a balanced way.
The Brahmajala Sutta (Digha Nikaya, Volume 1, Sutta 1) is the opening of the Digha Nikaya. It discusses 62 wrong views. In this Sutta Buddha refers to "low arts" and forbade monks and nuns to take them up - such as making aphrodisiacs to make men and women fall in love with each other, and much else.
A monk is also to abstain from much else. See The Bhikkhus' Rules: A Guide for Laypeople, compiled and explained by Bhikkhu Ariyesako for so much more. [◦Link]
Astrology for and by non-monks
Astrology as referred to by Buddha, is a deceptive practice. He warns against misleading others, deceiving others, and using questionable means and ways of "low knowledge" to prosper from foolishness in other persons.
Rules fit for monks and nuns are not for the lay followers. What about forms and ways of astrology that are not deceptive, but not verified as truth-telling, or perhaps explorative and bringing benefits also? What if splendid understanding of astrology stands out as a useful tool for life management? If spendid, it may be verified by careful investigations. Till then it could be wise to refrain from it, since there is much else good to go for and invest time, effort and attention into - such as going for deep meditation and getting skilled for a good, decent living. After all, Buddha devised a general, structured way to end troubles and get firm in inner happiness, and having a fit life development too. It is won by "setting the wheel of dharma in motion", that is, by starting to apply his central teachings to one's ability, and thus live up to his balanced, general structured way of life, fair and square.
As compared to the inherent benefits of his given boons for great inner development for all - and worldly prosperity for lay followers as well - astrology tidings are not so much, actually. May we bear that in mind, as it is the main point for lay followers too - to go for greater benefits, that is.
Views may differ among gurus too as to the value of astrology. There are many forms of astrology, and many differing views on the parts of it too. It also helps to question what form of astrology is into it, and for what purposes. Suffice to say that all are not of equal merit. Some seem to be, but evidence is far from convincing and ideal today at any rate. I think that is where we stand today. It matters to put time, consideration and effort into what helps and favours the most. Good meditation methods help some, and there is fit proof that some such methods do, like TM.
Things not to ignore
Janaka Yagirala writes in The Buddha on Astrology that many Buddhists today have a firm belief in astrology when it comes to marriage, starting something new and finding a solution to problems in life, "aspects in life to which the Buddha gave much greater and realistic guidance."
Compatible marriage partners. However, in the Samajivina Sutta of the Anguttara Nikaya (Chapter 4, Sutra 55), Buddha mentions that for a man and woman to be suited for a wedded life, all they need to be is compatible in thought and conduct. And this is different from being slaves to horoscopes.
Finding auspicious moments. In the Baddekaratta Sutta (Majjima Nikaya, Volume 3, Sutta 131) Buddha states that "a person who does what has to be done at the present moment lives an entire life of auspice". On the other hand, people who wait until the auspicious time to do something - as horoscope-told or otherwise - may procrastinate for such reasons, waiting for the auspicious moment.
Who is wise finds fit solutions. In the Jata Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya, Chapter 7, Sutta 6), Buddha says that "the person who is of virtue and wise, the monk who is ardent and astute can untangle the tangles [problems] of life." Such solution-making may or may not include astrology.
Good omens and astrology. The Mahamangala Sutta or the Sutta of the Great Auspices was preached by Buddha to settle a confusion on what a good omen or auspice is. Buddha mentioned 38 such good auspices which include not living among the unwise, living among the wise, praising the praiseworthy and so on. Having favourable astrological positions or following the path of astrology is not mentioned among these 38.
As for Buddhas guidelines for lay followers, I do recommend many of them, when they are carefully judged in the light of his teachings in the Kalama Sutta and elsewhere. Sane yoga guidelines might help too. Getting professional is good help in its way as well, whereas astrology may be used for taming folks, in part by infiltrating beliefs that condition minds fairly well:
"The Sun was in the star sign Leo when you were born, and therefore you behave in such ways as you do." "You are like that because you have no planets in the first house in the Aries sign." Well, it is not as simplistic as that, is it?
[Main source of the above: Janaka Yagirala. The Buddha on Astrology.]
Astrosophy and Rudolf Steiner
"Man is only three stages above the mineral." [John Jocelyn]
"Astrosophy" comes from the Greek words astr, star, and (o) sophia, skill, wisdom, from sophos, wise.
The emphasis is on the soul purpose and connection to the opportunities the heavens offer during your life.
We perceive ourselves as parts of a whole, affected by subtle and powerful quality influences represented by stars and clusters of stars, including star signs. Sidereal astrology is taken to to such an end. However, there are particular difficulties in using sidereal astrology, and one may swallow false relations thankfully in it.
That is about the lay of the land.
[Wikipedia "Sidereal astrology"]
Astrology is present in much Waldorf thinking. Steiner says among many other things that constellations of stars have influence over us, as when they draw the "etheric human body" out into space. It is a root of Waldorf education. Steiner's followers may argue that Steiner accepted only a modified form of astrology, one in which the stars do not control human destiny. Astrosophy is a rather blurred concept to suggest astrology "on a spiritual track", so to speak.
Rudolf Steiner Astrology
Many astrologers today embrace a spiritual world-view that often includes reincarnation and karma. [in Rudolf Steiner, Astronomy and Astrology. Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009.
The old, real, and genuine Astrology expresses itself in the destinies of men. [Rudolf Steiner, Rosicrucianism and Modern Initiation (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1965), lecture 3, GA 233a.]
The Cosmic Intelligences know the secret of the stellar world, and they alone can tell it. [Rudolf Steiner, Mystery Centres (Garber Communications, 1985), lecture 13, GA 232.]
The knowledge of the astrosophers of olden times, and astrologers of still older times, came directly out of humanity's intercourse with the gods. [Rudolf Steiner, Broken Vessels (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), lecture 10, GA 318.]
Humanity, [Rudolf Steiner] says, is intimately connected to cosmic beings, who in turn are related to planets and stars. There is meaning in the cosmos . . . Steiner shows that as individuals, and with the guidance of spiritual beings, we choose an appropriate time of birth to match the destiny we are to live. [Rudolf Steiner, Astronomy and Astrology. Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009]
Astrology is studied and practiced in Anthroposophical education centres, for example Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. Individual birthcharts or horoscopes are prepared and interpreted. [Star Wisdom - Astrosophy, www.starwisdom.org/star-wisdom-classes.htm
The zodiac is twelvefold; it divides its totality into twelve separate parts. Those forces, which come out of the cosmos, from the zodiac, take on form and shape in the animals." [Rudolf Steiner, Man as Symphony of the Creative Word. (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 3, GA 230.]
The fixed stars work in the human being, the moving planets work in the human being, and all the elements of nature work there as well. [Rudolf Steiner, The Roots of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 84.]
Our physicists and astronomers imagine the sun as a huge gaseous ball some twenty million miles away in the universe. This huge cosmic gas stove without walls radiates light and warmth in all directions. It is the only explanation, the sole idea for us if we wish to be experts and not naive dilettantes. [Rudolf Steiner, sardonically, in Education for Adolescents. Anthroposophic Press, 1997, p. 114.]
We receive spiritual nourishment from what flows from the whole galaxy of stars. [The Roots of Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997 p. 83.]
Major Planets of Edgar Cayce
How to learn the order of the eight accepted planets from the sun and outwards? "Memorize Very Easy Methods - Just Simplify - Uhm - Not - Nine." - that acronym conforms to the first letters of the nine planets from the sun and outwards:
Formerly Pluto was counted in among planets too, but has recently been dismissed from the list. From Pluto was discovered in 1930 and till 2006, Pluto was considered the ninth planet of the Solar System. Pluto is now considered the largest member of the Kuiper belt without being dominant within it, and after Eris, Pluto is the second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System. A number of scientists continue to hold that Pluto should be classified as a planet. [Wikipedia, sv "Pluto"]
There is no doubt that many sides to astrology have entertainment value. The following planet bellowing is a brief description of major planets and Pluto and their presumed effects on humans. It is in part statements from a sleeptalker (not sleepwalker), the American Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), as it was presented by Stephen Poplin, MA, on a now abandoned address. . Cayce discoursed while in a "sleeping" state. What he said was recorded by others, and when he awoke he usually said he did not remember what he had said while asleep. He never profited from his sleeptalker gift. And not all of his claims have proven true, for example the one about the age of the Gisa pyramids in Egypt. Radioactive carbon dating shows he erred by 7000 years. [Wikipedia, sv "Edgar Cayce"]
Cayce said that his trance statements should be taken into account only to the extent that they led to a better life for the recipient. Moreover, he invited his audience to test his suggestions rather than accept them on faith. Today there are tens of thousands of Cayce students, mostly in the United States and Canada. Cayce readings developed a moving, holistic health concept that also included astrological birth influences and dream interpretations that matter.
If you read plenty of astrology and neglect to ask for fair evidence of its very many claims, you risk ending up indoctrinated, and it may take tens of years to get a fit thought-life again in those areas. Hard evidence is found by skilled observations and measurements. Not so hard facts are of probability, and probabilities are a field for skilful attempts too. There are levels of probability in statistics - it is not just "I presume".
Also, much information that is not verified scientifically, may still be OK. Unverified does not necessarily equal "wrong". Much that is unproved, is not disproved either. Consider, "Twin fools: one doubts nothing, the other everything [Ap 166]. It is also said as part of an American proverb that "the wisest of fools are called philosophers [Ap 221]."
Hence, when you get the gist of information from the sleeptalker Edgar Cayce, your job is to ask for good evidence to assist his claims. My bet is that such evidence is hard to find. That Cayce's sleeptalker teachings confirm common astrology statements about planets, is far from good enough evidence.
Question: Is it proper for us to study the effects of the planets on our lives in order to better understand our tendencies and inclinations, as influenced by the planets?
Mercury is associated with high mental skill and aplomb. It is fit for a nice-looking fare to get masterly sun-tanned - it assists a good impression a lot, and is thus a corollary to own aplomb.
Venus is indeed the planet of love and harmonious conditions, either natural or man-made, and the will to beautify the home is there. Luxury may be an outcome of getting outsmarted. If sovereign mental adroitness surfaces and reaches into others or surroundings, this skill is eager to beautify and may succeed too.
Mars may bring with it anger and good enough control in an open way. Mars is bold, much as a clean breast most often. Mental muck sets in on top of wrong boldness that may be called preposterous, and one had better be warned against that fare in time. Good and staunch conduct is one of the finest assets. Boldness may be used to serve a lot of others if there is only surface ideas linked to it - or: to serve through bold enterprise may spell "outsmarted one way or other" - there is that risk from being victim of much bluff. Maybe a woman that is turned into a witch is much as suggested here, under the surface.
Jupiter confers universality and ennoblement and may bless one with luxury, including an ability to consider others. It is much of a luxury. If feigning sets in, there are gurus abounding to outsmart oneself through lots of sleek and intrinsically taming efforts - some under the surface. The stupid, persistent arrogance of fictitious besser-wissen (knowing-it-all and so on) of some gurus or assisting helpers "out there", can signify "overdoing it" through feigning and perfidious boldness that brings on loss and dramatic worsening of conditions of serving ones - such artistry.
Saturn - E-HA - , that often functions to thwart and embitter through such as obstacle racing, harsh restrictions, and little rewarding and menial work at times, could represent a need for drastic change! Either illness comes on or there needs to be more or better trust in Amen. Thus, Saturn is quite testing on the nerves and free will, and it shows a golden, jolly way out in a nutshell - these things can seem like a great problem in beginning stages! In the front of that, man learns hairy persistence in some fixed route or drill, and the lesson: You get outsmarted if others say you've got a screw loose to get rid of you, or if cramping or dwarfing institutionalisation sets in for other reasons, like gout - From there, bossing is hated for being on top of you, or over your head, all of which serves to make you an underdog all along, if you're not meticulous and careful - much circumspect and maybe stern and rigidly upright at times too. Watch your sex life early in life, as the gonads are told of here by Edgar Cayce. If you fix and digest much, you may swell up too much from it - such as by stupid arrogance and pride that the ancients called hubris and considered a natural sin - and it should be acted against somehow.
Uranus - SWOSH and WROOOMM - is the planet of wonder on wonder, and can be very, very good in all fairness, and mean guys get Uranus all wrong - yes, fallen handiness may get awfully outsmarted through Uranus. There is time for smoothness and letting it go awry too. One's overall decisions to follow through to some golden route against being outsmarted is much overlooked, much important here. Swallow well, it insists! If your need is to outsmart the being outsmarted, try divination, a lot divination from an expert, but not from stupid machine-mechanics. Computers and other machines rich in random linkages don't really "see" all right that way. You need a soul to see well enough higher up.
Neptune - IIIK! - is adamant. It can tickle us as the mystic transgressor, maybe one more divination expert that strives to operate in mysterious-looking ways through a little mur or lots of finesse, including decor. It can be musical. Oddness is a risk. Many murky, inner attunements can remain largely "unseen" around us, adding ecstasy to much fictitious. An ingurgitation of files. Affinity to water or waves of other kinds. Can seem odd. Can profit from getting greatly misunderstood at times. Hero confusion and bulwarking conclusion to defend a lost cause may set in. Watch connections well against getting outsmarted, don't let them end "up there" in the blue. Let handy service outsmart being misunderstood, if you can. Feel free to be around for it. Fondness of the banner or flag may lead into army matters - into excruciating troubles like gunfire battles and losing own assets.
Pluto - HIDDEN - must be free-wheeling or try fakir measures to stay healthy and heeded. The planet was discussed by Edgar Cayce a long time before it was discovered in the 1930s. He called it alternately Vulcan and Septimus, the seventh planet from the earth. When Pluto was discovered, Cayce affirmed that Vulcan or Septimus was the same planet as Pluto. Regeneration and a growth in consciousness is held to be a Vulcan thing, and good helps towards self-mastery and better self-centredness. The capacity to maintain silence and yet rouse many should be notable, and the hold is one of matter. Others being adamant mean nothing, as this very mystical ruthlessness wins! Also, one should beware of wrath and anguish and getting brutal and underhand lots of times - better keep neatly attuned to the love force like a king and rustic gentleman - if not as a very gallant, ennobling fisher. This 'musical note' insists: Be here now against daydreaming and wishing that is steered too far off - To develop gist is one of the finest assets. and decent attempts to educate a lot handy guys may be robbed if fictitious and filthy law-enforcement sets in. Wishing in anguish may spell outsmarted and robbed of decent education! [Link]
Aligned to humans?
The farther out in space our planets orbit, the more need for 'night', rest and great discretion of deals they could have, and the tougher they may be to deal with some way or other. And the less jovial and friendly their environment may be too.
The above appears to be an overlooked key to interpretation of the planetary influences or types we are blessed with.
Constellations and the Like
The starry sky forms the background for the revolving planets and sun and moon, as seen from Earth. By the art of imagining and story-telling, many parts of the starry sky are given names and understood nearly as "things in themselves", that is, as constellations. Constellations, these imaginary things, are groups of stars as viewed from Earth, with poetic meanings and significance attached to them. Because the stars are moving away from one another and from Earth in the expanding universe, the constellations have changed over time. There are 88 official constellations today.
Carl Gustav Jung held that astrology contains the cream or jewel wisdom from former civilizations - maybe it is so and maybe not; it seems to depend on interpretations.
Some parts of ancient wisdom, brought up to date, can make men more proficient and hence prosper better. Freud showed one side of it; he reinterpreted Greek myths and applied his derived understanding on humans of "yesterday". And Greek and other myths relate to the starry sky's constellations. [◦More]
Myths very often embody teachings about the constellations, that is, they contain astrological teachings. For example, the Constellation Draco's "mytho-universe" encompasses Babylonian stories too. Many things have a beginning. Is this a start of lofty sea serpent tales, then?
The sea serpent Tiamat acquired Tablets of Fate, which were supposed to confer upon their owner the power to rule the universe, and she gave them to her husband for safekeeping. Then she summoned forth out of the slimy depths all the most frightful creatures that her brain could conceive, monsters whose like has never been seen again. So horrible were these creations that even the gods took fright and hid themselves away in their airy heaven.
Now is the time to affirm measuredly if you can: "I know some astrology. Sir Isaac Newton did too; Carl Gustav Jung as well. Carefully mastered and accessed astrology can help some. If not the astrologer's clients, then for a while the one who gets his pay for casting horoscopes and telling things by its many points and patterns -"
We humans share 98% of our genes with little chimps. And there is hardly much a chimp in zoo can do. Conform man is toughly governed over, and seldom actualises himself or herself full well, many psychoanalysts, including Abraham Maslow, hold. And if Jesus appared as a sacrificed lamb-human - he walked like a man, he talked like a man, appearing to know things, yet finally ended on a tree, but was it of his own will? I hardly think so.
We find a row of postulates that can be aligned to the starry sky at the moment of birth. If an ape and - say - Jesus are born at the same moment, will their careers be different? Will both be attached to trees, some way or other? And do they have wit and freedom of will so that they may avoid suffering tough times?
Lum, Peter. The Stars in Our Heaven: Myths and Fable. New York: Pantheon Books, 1948.
Yagirala, Janaka. The Buddha on Astrology. Lankaweb. 1997-2004. www.lankaweb.Com Newspapers Ltd.
 The Edgar Cayce Readings. [www.geocities.com/Athens/5692/astro.htm]
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