tiistai, 18. heinäkuu 2017

A mini-course on pronouncing Finnish for English-speaking people

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Kalervo Mielty and Richard Raven have developed a new way of teaching Finnish pronunciation to English-speaking people.

It is easy to separate small differences in the contexts that you are used to. That is why in this mini-course the pronunciation of some English words is replaced with correspondent Finnish sounds, so that you can hear the difference more clearly and practice the right Finnish way of producing the sounds.

This fifteen an a half minutes course is available in YouTube free of charge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S06SRMb5MBQ&t=8s

 

 

keskiviikko, 1. maaliskuu 2017

A short lecture on sin!

The first things, which comes to mind when talking about sin, are the ten commands in Exodus. They are a list of affairs that people must avoid. The Old Testimony presents these commands as dictated by God Himself although they can easily be found in many older sources.

Such persons as Gregory the Great defined in 500th century the seven mortal sins. Thomas the Aquinas continued this work in 1200th century.

The lists of sins have focus on human activities, but no list can show us the actual basis for the idea of sin.

We can search roots of sins by studying the Genesis and comparing it to the basic ideas in The New Testimony.

The Christian idea of the original sin means in principle being separated from God, the absence of divine nature in human beings. The Genesis symbolizes this resulting from the fall of Adam via an apple picked by Eve from a wrong tree.

This story is but an allegory of a change in the consciousness of humanity from a direct inner to an indirect outer one. Time and space had emerged before that, forming all not-divine things with which a human being could later on identify himself. The first division from the divine unity had already happened in the creation of Eve.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (not that of eternal life) symbolizes the birth or formation of conditional consciousness, which leans to the field of contrary ideas and polarities. This is the reason that people are no longer able to recognize anything in their original invariable essence.

In principle, we could define sin very easily: it means identifying with outer phenomenon and oneself (as a separate being). All concrete lists of sins come from human need to create order in their daily social life.

It is much more difficult to apply the idea of sin in human life. The New Testimony gives some ideas in encouraging searching the Kingdom of Heaven by forgetting oneself, bearing one’s cross, and following the giving instructions in one’s daily life.

To achieve “the master degree in humanity” one should be able to drop all one’s identifications with transient phenomenon of life in order that something eternal could turn out in one’s inner or inmost being.

The requirement for poverty in spirit in the Sermon on the Mount presupposes inner liberation out of all outer things and selfishness. Becoming like a child means a complete lack of all kinds of bonds to temporal things and affairs. That requires the kind of wisdom, which comes directly from above, where there is, according to James,”no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

The Sermon also gives the shortest possible definition of sin: “Be perfect!” Smith Hoeggman propably denotes to this kind of interpretation when saying to Paavo Ruotsalainen: “One thing is missing from you and in that thing all – the inner knowledge of Christ!” Apostle Paul said that the followers should put Christ on themselves.

If we try to define sin according to concrete actions, we will impinge on the fact that many wrong doings might in time cause good results. People may get the opportunity to face their faults and start correcting them.

The Creek term for sin is hamartia, which means an attempt to hit a target. Attempts are often failing, which need not to prevent from trying again, for “grace is new every morning.”

Master Eckhart stated that one should not even repent his mortal sins, if those were in some respect leading him to the birth of the Son of God in the inmost part of the soul – for this, means a complete liberation from sin and death.

maanantai, 27. helmikuu 2017

Prevention and the Bible

 

Prevention, which usually denotes to birth control, is in Finland no longer a topic of serious controversies. An abort does not really belong to means of prevention, for it merely shows the lack of control.

In Roman Catholic countries, both affairs are much bigger issues.

***

Where can we find the original ideas of the wickedness of birth control? Mostly on the Old Testimony.

In Genesis, God commands people to be fruitful, and multiply. It is understandable that thousands of years ago this might be necessary for keeping the community alive. Jeremiah gives a more detailed command: “That ye may be increased there, not diminished.” Jeremiah’s advice would be suitable in Finland as well as in many other western countries.

***

The only episode in the whole Bible, which we could interpret prohibiting birth control is found in Genesis 38:8. There Juda says to Onan:

Go in unto thy brother's wife, marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

It does not regard much thinking to see clearly, how far this episode stands from present affairs between men and women. This ancient Jewish idea was meant to protect the future of the widow in the community – nowadays the same is made through legislation.

***

Jewish leaders had a habit to defend the identity of the tribe by using God as a deterrent. This might be even necessary to control a wild tribe of nomads – especially such as the tribe of Binu-Jam (Benjamin).

***

The New Testimony does not tell anything about the birth control. Apostle Paul writes of sexual intercourse in the first Cor. in a rather positive way, but he allows the stopping that sort of intercourse, at least for a while, on mutual agreement. In the same chapter, Paul seems to recommend singleness (at least for spiritual ones), but allows marriage for those, who cannot contain, “let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

***

Many Catholic priests may think that living in celibate helps them in being spiritually born again. Unfortunately, Celibacy is often practiced by human will force, which may cause the natural instinct to fade from conscious control and twist (towards for example kids) – unless the inner being is built on a solid ground.

It is obvious that a person must fully control his own mind before he may become a mediator for the enormous forces of the Holy Spirit.

***

The New Testimony does not give sufficient and exclusive guidelines for the question of birth control. The Gospels concentrate on assisting the growth of spiritual life. Issues of daily activities are mostly skipped, for people should find solutions for worldly affairs by themselves.

*** 

More than a hundred years ago, families in Finland often had very many children. Children were essential to ensure the continuity of life and the security for old people. Of course, there were not very efficient and reliable means for prevention.

***

In principle, increasing the population should in Finland be encouraged to prevent it from becoming too old. The problem could be solved by immigration, but that might also cause some friction if not managed properly.

***

We have a good reason to respect those families that bring about here as many children as they can. The affair becomes doubtful if it happens on basis of too outdated and suspicious ideas or under the pressure of a religious community or another person.

sunnuntai, 11. joulukuu 2016

Why did Sarah laugh?

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On the 18th chapter of the First Book of Moses, there is a verse: “Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?”

The Finnish singer Saara Aalto could cheerfully state: “Could I really win, which am often classified as a looser in Finland?”

Saara Aalto can serve as a living witness for the fact that the Finnish persistence, SISU, begins there where the normal willpower ends.

***

The same spirit – or quality of mind – is required in addition to knowledge and skill at the most demanding human competition – in driving to conquer one’s own human nature and attain “the crown of righteousness.”

In X-Factor, the floorshow is performed in front of human audience and judges. In conquering one’s human nature the floor exists deep in the soul, out of which all worldly creations should be cleaned away.

This is a very long Christmas-cleaning. As it approaches the Christmas-realisation, it takes place in a complete darkness – so that the real light could be clearly perceived and that the receptivity for the light could be properly tested.

perjantai, 15. huhtikuu 2016

Life is the road to an endless ocean

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A Road to life

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An endless ocean

One teacher (professor Ravi Ravindra) claimed that a man has first to become rich if he wants to become poor in a right, spiritual way. In this case becoming rich includes psychological wealth like knowledge, authority and honor.

Another teacher (Master Eckhart) said that all possible things are always ready in the innermost being of every man. The purpose of life is to activate these potentialities in the limits of time and space. We call this process learning. One of its problems is the tendency of the human mind to become conditioned to its own ideas, so as it does not take in anything that seems threatening to it. Luckily, eventually the human mind gets bored with its present richness and begins to search for something different.

At some stage, all the worldly things lose their power and there is nothing left for a person but a change of direction into his inner world. The prodigal son is about to turn back home!

We could talk about identifying with the outer world, things and events (as becoming rich). The detaching of oneself from temporary things (as becoming spiritually poor) will begin after that.

The road in the first photo descends gradually into a valley called life. At some faraway stage, the road starts to rise back towards “the highlands of spirit” and disappears soon beyond our “worldly eyes”.

The third teacher (Friedrich Nietzsche) described the state of consciousness, which might come ahead as soon as all the mental bonds and images of mind lose their grip. Then a man finds himself as being a question mark between two empty states.

The fourth teacher (Juan de la Cruz) stated that a man, rising high enough, cannot any more lean to such things to which he in his life was conditioned. Now it is time for the kind of faith, hope and love that has no phenomenal targets.

The second photo might symbolize an endless ocean with a freely floating, empty boat where a man cannot take anything but his mind - cleared of all temporary things.

 

Photos:

1. Death Valley, California

2. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia