|Welcome to the EverLife Archives.
The long scrolls of history recorded far-sighted concepts imparted by ancient
sages through dreamlike languages. Their words were metaphors. Their stories woven with
symbolic images. Their reality was cosmic and surreal. Slowly over time
for the sake of reaching more people
religious interpretations had become increasingly literal, poetic imagery had been reduced
to simple concrete forms, and doctrines devolved away from originally intended meanings.
Here in the archives revisit the wisdom of the ages before religions drew lines in the
sand...see their similarities and differences through the light of ancient debates on the
scope and nature of existence, the origin and essence of mortality, and the sovereign role
of immortal gods. Open one of the vaults and step into the past. Pick out a file, blow the
dust away and delve into its documents to uncover a rich texture of intuitive visions and
Select a vault, check contents list, explore its files and read relevant documents.
Vault I: Ancient Mystics: Exploring Nature, Discovering the
Vault II: The Journey of Buddhism
Vault III: Early Beliefs: Systems and Order
Vault IV: The Rise of Populist
Vault I: Ancient Mystics: Exploring Nature, Discovering the
Contents: Evidence of intuitive languages and
cosmic discoveries made in ancient times (B.C.E.).
Discoverers: Various sages who communicated their findings in metaphor.
Languages: Sanskrit, Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek.
Areas: Tigris-Euphrates River Valley (Mesopotamia), Nile River Valley
(Egypt/Nubia), Armenia-Mycenia (Greek Mediterranean - Transcaucasus/Caspian Sea region),
Jordan River Valley (Near East), Indus Valley (India), Yellow River (China), and various
cradles of shamanic practices.
References: Mesopotamian petroglyphs and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Torah
(Bible/Old Testament), Egyptian Book of the Dead, Vedas, Buddhist Sutras, Tao Te Ching of
Lao Tzu, Iliad & Odyssey, writings of Socrates and Plato, native artifacts/customs.
|File # ZA1: Sages of
|Doc #a01: In Search of Truth
"Seeing" beyond the boundaries of the sensory-cognitive world ancient sages
"learned" of a rich cosmic tapestry of exotic worlds ruled by powerful universal
forces. These sages didn't use any invention to discover what was out there and nothing
that they discovered could be used in inventing something.
|Doc #a02: A Class of Religious Explorers
A formidable group of Central Asian clerics
explorers of the cosmos, masters of magic and spirits, and sage-poets
led the mobile Aryan nation into the Indus Valley.
|File # ZB2: Dream Languages
|Doc #b03: Visions, Themes and Skeptics
Among the sage-prophets of India, a group of skeptics emerged with the view that one of
them will scale the summit of ultimate cosmic Wisdom.
|Doc #b04: Poetry, Numbers and Symbols
Underlying the mythologies of ancient cultures are imaginative stories told with
breathtaking poetic license; conveying profound concepts about the inner and outer
workings of existence; and, providing in dreamlike visions the underpinnings of a dynamic
cosmic architecture that made equal use of the absolute and the changing. Works of this
sort emerged from Sumer, Egypt, Israel, Greece and India. In time their originators
disappeared but the impact of the stories remain
their meanings explored with passionate fervor up through the present time.
|File # ZC3: Intersections in Time
|Doc #c05: Comparative Timeline of World
|Doc #c06: Common Metaphors, Different
Vault II: The Journey of Buddhism
|Contents: Documentary evidence of
Languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese.
Areas: Asia and the Pacific.
References: Buddhist sutras, biographies, commentaries, diaries and
File # YD1: Time Frames
|Doc #d7: Sakyamuni's Travels
The historical Buddha claimed to have aspired for enlightenment over the course of
countless past lives. Sakyamuni said that he sought guidance from tens of thousands of
buddhas and gods across the universe before he accomplished his goal. Having finally
attained the state of Perfect Enlightenment, he possessed the ability to see past, present
and future without any obstruction. From that vantage he observed that all beings were
part of a grand cosmic migration across a vast field of existence that extended across all
time and space. His followers wanted to know: Where was everybody going? Why were they on
this journey? How far have they come? How far was it to the end?
|Doc #d8: Across the Worlds of Transmigration
Transmigration is defined as the process of changing places or shifting one's
perspective. Buddhism proposed that mortal beings are constantly changing the "place
of existence" from which they operate. This idea applies the principle of evolution
to time itself. It denotes that each moment transmigrates into another. Hence, each moment
represents a new place
in some way different from its prior and next moment. Humans experience the passing of
time as a result of this phenomenon. It is also at the heart of evolution or devolution.
Buddhism also contends that at the moment of death the state of one's being transmigrates
[shifts into another state of existence and arises therein]. Accordingly, it is not a soul
or a persona that travels to another place. Rather, accrued causes (karma) dictate the
specifications of transmigration in its next manifestation.
|Doc #d9: Cosmic Time [Past, Present &
Sakyamuni called it the triple world
a realm that encompassed the past, present and future. From his enlightened vantage he
could see (i.e., take into account) the three dimensions at once. Surveying the panorama
of the triple world, the Buddha declared that all beings were on an incomprehensible
journey that spanned countless mortal lifetimes. His followers wanted to know how this
trek began, but he would not acknowledge that there was a beginning at all. Finally, in
the Lotus Sutra he traced his existence to a point so far back that time no longer
|Doc #d10: Prophesy of Decline and Decay
Sakyamuni predicted that Buddhism would undergo significant changes over a period
of several thousand years. He foresaw an increasingly disturbing decline in the ability of
human beings to deal with the ravages of mortal existence. Eventually, he cautioned,
people would suffer more than ever
from a profound sense of loss and confusion, unequaled division and destruction, and an
epidemic of insidious illnesses, including dysfunction and misperception. Simultaneously,
Buddhist wisdom would lose its vital power to aid its believers. It would become distorted
and limited in its original liberating power. As Buddhism decays and declines, future
human cultures, even if rich in material possessions, would be plagued by spiritual
dementia and desperation.
|Doc #d10: Transforming the Present into a
Sakyamuni predicted the coming of an Age of Decadence (Jpn. Mappo) slated to
start 2,000 years after his passing. Presumably this apocalyptic era could last for 10,000
years or more, or until its people see the light and transform their world into a place of
pure eternal joy. Presumably, this period of time coincides with the present age. The
Buddha, aware of what is to come, purposely left behind the Lotus Sutra [his gift of
enlightenment] for the people of our time. Its legacy is a secret vehicle which humans may
use to transform their world into a buddha-land (enlightened paradise). The Lotus Sutra's
latter-day advocate, Nichiren, crystallized its power in a single phrase,
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. He declared that chanting this formula would bring about world peace
|File # YE2: Asia's Religion
|Doc #e11: Buddhism's Journey Thru Asia
|Doc #e12: India: Visions of Boundless Scope
Buddhism was born in India. Follow it from inception to its demise, from its role in
reshaping the Brahamanic view of the cosmos to its failure to deal with Hindu nationalism.
|Doc #e13: China: Mastering the Ways of Nature
Buddhism found an audience in China among a ruling elite who valued the wizardry of its
proponents, including their keen powers of prophecy and their supernatural abilities in
manipulating Nature. Buddhism's influence grew and expanded among a peasant populace
seeking liberation in their next life from the hardships of this one.
|Doc #e14: Tibet, Sri Lanka & Thailand: The
Art of Worship
Mysticism ruled as Buddhism forked into esoteric and populist schools. Large images of the
Buddha came to be used in public worship; Sakyamuni was given a divine role as cosmic
guide and protector; mantras, mudras and secret rituals came into vogue.
|Doc #e15: Japan: Essence In All vs. Nothing
Their traditional beliefs in spirits (Shinto) notwithstanding, the Japanese were attracted
by Chinese Buddhist notions that a single essence permeated all that existed. A variety of
sects vied for attention
each claiming to offer a superior form of cosmic salvation. Political power and natural
disasters played a big role in determining the country's religious path.
|File # YF3: Teachings and Teachers
|Doc #f16: Order of the Buddha's Teachings
Most Buddhists follow some part of his teachings, but according to Chinese
scholars the Buddha taught a carefully crafted 50-year-long course. Accordingly, the order
of the sutras divulged an increasingly sophisticated program of revelation climaxing with
the Lotus Sutra.
|Doc #f17: Commentaries & Interpretations:
Schools of Thought
Buddhism is open to interpretation and from its inception had invited analysis and
commentary. Doctrinal schisms among monk-scholars led to the development of hundreds of
|Doc #f18: Title and Lineage: Battles Over
Authenticity of Teachings
Threatened by Taoist criticisms that Buddhism was a contrived religion, Chinese Buddhists
were required to establish authenticity by tracing their school of thought's lineage to
ancient patriarchs who presumably received the "Truth" from the Buddha himself.
Sectarian founders were vested with titles of achievement to give credence to the
legitimacy of their teachings.
|File # YG4: Nichiren's "Eternal
|Doc #g19: Nichiren, Declarer of the Truth of
A biographical examination of the 13th century Japanese monk who championed the Lotus
Sutra. He embodied a character in the sutra, Demeanor of Supreme Essence, noble leader of
countless Selfless Volunteers (denoting the inherent enlightened identity of all mortals).
Nichiren declared that the power of Everlasting Life would transform a decaying world into
a paradise on earth by resurrecting the ultimate identity within each person.
|Doc #g20: Personal Writings and Scholarly
A relatively large body of material written by Nichiren has survived from the
13th century giving modern scholars an unusually direct and intimate insight into the
thinking of this ancient sage. Nichiren wrote a prolific amount of personal letters and
doctrinal theses addressed to devoted followers, Buddhist monks, political and community
leaders. He consistently replied from the self-conceived perspective that he had
undertaken the role of a key character in the Lotus Sutra
a messianic figure who vowed to be born in a future Age of Decadence and provide its
people with the means to actualize the final prophesy of the Lotus Sutra: the
accomplishment of universal peace. Nichiren often cited sutra passages in support of his
view. Throughout the collection of his writings (Jpn. Gosho) he built a cogent case for
his contention that Buddhism must return to the point where Sakyamuni had left it off. In
due course, he proclaimed, his undaunted devotion to that cause would be joined by
countless others until such future time when large numbers of beings could behold the
banner of peace flying over their lands of joy.
|Doc #g21: Nichiren Inscribed the Supreme
Treasure of Everlasting Life (Gohonzon)
The importance of religious iconography in Japanese Buddhism is based on the
premise that focusing on an objective representation of one's faith during the practice of
prayer facilitated the fusing of that faith with the sacred essence depicted in that icon.
The mandala Nichiren had inscribed offered his visual embodiment of the Lotus Sutra's
essence. He characterized this icon as a mirror image of the eternal treasure of Perfect
Enlightenment that is ensconced deep within every living being. On a short scroll meant
for installation in an altar, he described in calligraphic ink the profound vision he had
held in his mind. The Lotus Sutra described a lotus-shaped cosmic gathering of all who
ever have, are and will exist. While the text of the Lotus Sutra described a monumental
tower belonging to a buddha named Abundant Treasures hovering in the air at the center of
this assembly, Nichiren regarded this "treasury" as a carefully crafted metaphor
for the quintessential expression of Perfect Enlightenment. Therefore, in its place, at
the center of his mandala, he inscribed the phrase Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo [I Honor the
Perfectly Endowed Reality of Everlasting Life]. While the sutra defined a simultaneously
everlasting and transcendent congregation, Nichiren regarded this event as a metaphor for
the universal enlightenment inherent in every being. To him the Lotus Sutra's surreal
scene described the fully enlightened state of being [the state of Perfect Enlightenment]
which both he and Sakyamuni experienced within their life. Nichiren declared that all
ordinary human beings could access this omnipresent eternal fiber holding together the
cloth of their mortal existence. For Nichiren the "Ceremony in the Air"
described in the Lotus Sutra constituted an obtuse representation embedded in the text for
future revelation. It described the quintessential moment
the nexus [middle path] between immortality and mortality, a point of critical mass
when all of existence is poised to arise, all potentials are seeded into the folds of
time, and, all who finally rediscover the realm of eternal fulfillment find that they have
returned to their place of origin.
Vault III: Early Beliefs: Systems and Order
|Contents: Evidence of major themes in
the formation of belief systems.
Conceptualists: Various sages and religious founders.
Languages: Sanskrit, Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Mayan.
Areas: Africa, Europe, Americas, Asia.
References: Mythologies, histories, artifacts, Bible, Buddhist sutras and
commentaries, Platonic ontology.
XH1: Bones of Contention
|Doc #h21: Creation Stories
In ancient times there are several creation scenarios. Both Egyptian and Indic creation
stories begin with a world that is covered in water. The first living thing to appear
above the surface is a lotus.
|Doc #h22: Monotheism vs. Polytheism
In the view of prehistoric shamans, spirits lived inside of living things. Good spirits
represented cosmic forces willing to ensure the sustenance of human existence, while evil
spirits would cause death and ruin. With the inception of early civilizations came the
first institutional religions. They defined a higher level of cosmic will
the gods. The gods represented forces more powerful than Nature's spirits. Just as the
spirits needed to be appeased in tribal cultures, powerful sages now proclaimed that the
gods had to be convinced of man's worthiness. This led to the conception of a polytheistic
hierarchy and the creation of stone icons to be used for worship and sacrifice. The idea
that a single God ruled over all other gods appeared in Egyptian and Greek theologies. The
Canaanites posited that no other god existed but one. While Buddhism inherited the
Indic-Brahmanic pantheon, Sakyamuni claimed that all the gods were mortal
moreover, no one being or entity of any kind was immortal. As the entire universe was
impermanent (i.e., mortal), he asserted, so are the gods (i.e., its universal forces).
Although, he added, compared to a human being the lifespan of a "god" may be as
long as an eon (i.e., the lifespan of one universe). Moreover, he contended, gods do not
exist in a separate realm. Rather, they functioned within one indivisible, multifaceted
and boundless reality, which included mortality. Throughout his discourse he refused to
discuss the issue of immortality, although he was repeatedly asked about it. Eventually,
in the Lotus Sutra, he revealed that all the buddhas throughout the universe shared a
single Perfect Enlightenment. Accordingly, the Perfect Enlightenment of all buddhas was
the Perfectly Endowed Reality Everlasting Life.
|Doc #h23: Judgment vs. Will
Do forces beyond one's ability to discern control destiny? If so, are the circumstances of
existence the product of a god's will or is it human will that determines outcome? What or
who determines the circumstances of one's birth? Do human acts and experiences constitute
random events or are they guided by unseen rules of order? Does judgment happen after
death or is it something that happens all the time?
|Doc #h24: Soul vs. Singularity
What is it that resides at the core of existence? Is there a soul or a self that continues
after death? Are there two separate realms: one for immortal gods/God and another for
mortal beings? Where do people go when they die? Do believers in a religion really go to a
better place than non-believers?
|Doc #h25: Resurrection and Immortality
The themes of resurrection and immortality appear at the very beginning of human
religion. Egyptians believed that the sun was resurrected each morning as it arose from
the underworld. They also believed that mummification would allow the dead to live again
in the realm of the gods. While the doctrines of religion changed over time, the issues of
immortality and resurrection continued to be addressed. Sakyamuni finally provided his
views on the subject in the Lotus Sutra.
|File # XI1: Cosmic Order
|Doc #i26: The Imperial Model: From Gods to
In Greek mythology, it was Zeus, king of the gods. To the Egyptians and Chinese their
pharaohs and emperors, respectively, were gods sent to rule the world. When Siddhartha
Gautama, crown prince of the Sakya clan, embarked on his search for the meaning of life he
abdicated his right to the throne. This biographical feature revealed that Buddhism at its
inception rejected the notion of an imperial cosmic-sovereign. The Buddha represented a
new paradigm for the sovereignty of existence. As a sage who had rejected the trappings of
power, he reflected the idea that compassion and wisdom reigned over life.
|Doc #i27: To the Rescue of Man: Angels and
The role of angels in Western religions is similar to the role of celestial bodhisattvas
in Buddhism. Is there a connection between these two?
|Doc #i28: Stairways to Heaven: Common Premise
of the Babylonian Ziggurat, Egyptian Mastaba-pyramid, Indic Stupa, Chinese Pagoda and
Early cultures buried their dead under mounds. In time, these grew into higher
and higher mortuaries. Why did ancient cultures build these reliquary structures? Were
they meant only to provide protection from defilement? Were they supposed to lead the dead
into the beyond? Did the position of stars have anything to do with them? One such
mysterious structure is described in the Lotus Sutra. It is a miles-high monolith that
appears to be hovering high in the sky. Is there a connection between this Tower of
Abundant Treasures and other stairways to heaven?
Vault IV: The Rise of Populist Salvation
|Contents: Doctrines exchanged across
Communicators: Sakyamuni, Zoroaster, Jesus, Gospels, Asoka, Kumarajiva,
Nagarjuna, Tian-tai, Mohammed, Buddhist missionaries, storytellers-wanderers, traders.
Languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Hebrew, Aramaic, Hindi, Latin, Greek, Persian.
Areas: Greek Empire, Roman Empire, Babylonia (Persia), Kashmir,
Jerusalem, India, China.
References: Lotus Sutra, Mahayana sutras, Mahabarata, Zend-Avesta, Greek
and Roman Mythologies, Bible (New Testament).
File # WJ1: The Old Silk Road
|Doc #j31: Kashmir: Crossroads of Religion
From the 2nd century B.C.E. onward the Old Silk Road permitted travel from China to
Greece. By the 2nd century C.E., the city of Kashmir became its central Asian hub. At this
strategic location nearly every religion in the world had its representatives. Scholars
belonging to various schools for Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians,
Taoists often debated and shared their stories and doctrines. From these crossroads, new
religious ideas found their way to new locations. One such sage-teacher provided a student
of his, Kumarajiva, with a copy of the Lotus Sutra. The student eventually brought it to
China and translated it into Chinese. No original copies exist today in its native
Sanskrit and Pali languages.
|Doc #j32: Crossover Mythologies
In ancient times sages spoke languages steeped in symbolic and metaphoric terminology.
Symbols, such as the Tree, the Wheel, and the Lion, among others, were used to convey
profound concepts through mythic stories. Although speaking different languages, various
cultures made use of common symbols and mythologies to convey their views on similar
subjects. For example, the notion that a final battle will take place at a future date
between the cosmic forces of Light & Darkness is found across cultures and religions.
Originally conceived as a battle between Wisdom and Ignorance, latter-day scatological
religions prophesied an apocalyptic fight between Good and Evil. The idea of supernatural
power belonging to sage men produced such metaphoric notions as immaculate birth and
walking on water (Hindu Mahabarata and Christian Bible), while in Buddhism's Lotus Sutra
the Buddha walked across the air. Are these events to be understood in a literal sense, or
were surreal and mythic dream languages used by the ancients to "hide" profound
and sophisticated meanings?
|Doc #j33: Salvation For All: A Global Wave of
In early civilization religion was the province of a religious caste
shamans and sages specializing in uncovering the greater Truth of existence and reaching
the gods. Ordinary people benefited only by offering sacrifice and behaving as the gods
willed, but could not hope to reach the sacred realms of the gods as did their religious
and secular leaders. Eventually, the populace demanded that religion become relevant to
their future existence
whether that constituted an afterlife or rebirth. From the 6th century B.C.E. when
Buddhism appeared to the 6th century C.E. when Islam arrived on the scene, religions
underwent major reformation. During this period Judaism was followed by Christianity and
Islam. Brahmanism was turned into Hinduism and Hinduism chased Buddhism out of India.
|File # WK2: Lotus Sutra Themes Appear in Early
|Doc #k34: Father, Son and Holy Ghost
The Buddha described his most distant past life as the sixteenth son of an ancient buddha.
When the time came for him to reveal the "true nature" of his buddha-body he was
invited to appear alongside a ghostly apparition of an extinct buddha named Abundant
Treasures. This buddha's body was depicted in that ethereal way, because he represented
the intangible "body" of transmigration, karma and wisdom. Next, as the Buddha
revealed that his life had been enlightened since the eternal past, the sutra recounted a
parable in which the now Eternal Buddha was described as the father of all beings. All
three identities (father, son and holy ghost), appeared together in Buddhist text for the
first and only time in the Lotus Sutra.
|Doc #k35: Resurrection
While Mediterranean mythologies regarded resurrection in terms of the postmortem
reanimation of one specially regarded being (i.e., emperor or sage), in the Lotus Sutra
countless numbers of beings were resurrected from below the ground. They arose through the
earth and then walked across the air to honor the Buddha and accept from him the mission
to be reborn at a designated time in the future of humankind. According to the Buddha, the
resurrected ones were eternally-enlightened Selfless Volunteers. As they would reappear
for humanity's sake, they represented the enlightened eternal-identities seeded below the
cognitive surface of all humans ever born.
|Doc #k36: Prodigal Son
A parable in the Lotus Sutra about a poor runaway son and his compassionate and rich
father may have predated the Christian version, much as the Bible story of Noah appears to
have been adapted from the earlier Sumerian legend of Gilgamesh.
|Doc #k37: Sermon at the Mount
The Buddha chose high places to speak from. Was it because his audience was so large that
the stage must be visible from afar, or was it the proximity to the sky that was the
crucial factor in choosing that vantage? The sermon known as the Lotus Sutra was held at
Mount Vulture Peak in India, perhaps to denote that herewith the Buddha would reveal his
quintessential view on life and death. After this sermon accorded humans the opportunity
to access the eternal core within them, the Buddha added that tapping this core would cure
them of their ills
no matter their cause. He declared that its power to do so existed across lifetimes.
|Doc #k38: The Practice of Healing
In the Lotus Sutra the Buddha was characterized as a physician who offered his demented
children a powerful antidote
referring to the healing powers inherent in this sutra
meant to deliver them from confusion and pain . Herein, he was shown to provide ordinary
folk with a way to end the sufferings of physical illness, emotional anguish and mental
distress. Yet, in this tale the Buddha avoided direct contact when curing his followers
(he had gone to another land). Instread, he leaves behind the medicine (this sutra) with
which they may (perhaps out of sheer desperation) cure themselves. Henceforth, he
announced, anyone who embraced this sutra wholeheartedly will transform his six senses
(touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing and thought) until they become perfectly healthy
|Doc #k39: Divine Grace
According to Christian writings God gave believers an unearned gift
the gift of salvation. An earlier version of this theme can be found in the Lotus Sutra
(5th century B.C.E.). Prior to this sutra the Buddha had declared that it was impossible
to attain Perfect Enlightenment (buddhahood), as only one who was already a buddha could
fathom buddhahood. This Paradox of Attainment was shattered when in the Lotus Sutra he
predicted that its entire audience was destined for buddhahood. His followers rejoiced and
praised the Buddha for endowing them with a gift they never imagined would be theirs. The
sutra added that the gift of Perfect Enlightenment (i.e., Everlasting Life) had been given
to all mortal beings before they were born. This doctrine of Universal Grace was
illustrated in a parable about a poor man who drank too much and fell asleep in a wealthy
man's house. As the prosperous one had to leave for a distant land, he affixed a jewel
inside his sleeping guest's coat. When the guest awakened, he continued on his way
unaware of the gem he possessed. He traveled far and wide for a long, long time.
Everywhere he encountered difficulties and was forced into hard labor just to survive.
Eventually, the two men encountered each other again. The rich one (i.e., Buddha) informed
the poor one (i.e., mortal being) that all the while he possessed beneath his garments a
precious gift worth untold fortune.