Friday, January 23, 2015

How to bounce back when life knocks us down



Linda Graham, MFT, is a San Francisco Bay Area psychotherapist and meditation teacher in practice.

She integrates her passion for neuroscience, mindfulness, and relational psychology through national trainings, consultations, workshops, and conferences.

She publishes a monthly e-newsletter, Healing and Awakening into Aliveness and Wholeness. She also sends out weekly inspirational quotes on resources for recovering resilience at LindaGraham-MFT.net.


(Neuro Summit III)
As the saying goes, It’s not what happens to us that matters but how we react to what happens to us. While some suffer, others take it all in stride. What’s the difference? Resilience -- the ability to face and handle life’s challenges. 

Today’s interview with Linda Graham, author of the book Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, teaches many simple methods to remain resilient.

Graham recommends Buddhist mindfulness, as used in Western psychology, to rehearsal to talk therapy to reinterpretation of what happens to us, proving we can control our own reality by how we respond. Tune in for tips and techniques on how to "rewire" the brain for increased resiliency. More
  • Be Super Resilient This Year:  "How to Emerge Stronger from Any Crisis" - see Graham’s cover story in this month's (Jan. 2015) issue of Complete Well-Being Download the PDF
Compassion for myself? (spiritrock.org)
Linda Graham teaches Compassion for Self and Others: listen to three segments of Graham’s daylong at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Dec. 13, 2014:

VIDEO: Resilience is our innate capacity to face and handle life’s challenges, to weather everyday disappointments and even extraordinary disasters. Bouncing Back integrates brain science, relational psychology, and Buddhist mindfulness practices to help us change old patterns of coping encoded in our neural circuitry for the better and to develop new ways to respond to pressures and tragedies quickly, adaptively, and effectively.

Our Forest Meditation Experiment

Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, Xochitl (tongvatribe.net), Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Bhikkhu Khantipalo (Laurence Mills), With Robes and Bowl (BPS.lk)
The forest and the woodland sprites (bhumi-devas) call out to us! (GWR/treemedia.com)

 
Bring it on, Mara, bring it on.
Did you ever want to meditate, I mean really meditate?

Find a bodhi tree to sit under, a green spirit rooted deep in the ground and extending high into the sky, bridging heaven and earth, and proclaim, "Let my blood dry up and my body wither up, but I will not move from this spot until something happens!"?

Siddhartha sees invisible woodland beings.
Our editor recommended this amazing pamphlet by a Western man -- Laurence Mills, who became Bhikkhu Khantipalo, author of With Robes and Bowl (Wheel No. 83/84, Buddhist Publication Society, 37 pages) -- who went to Northeastern Thailand to ordain in the old school Buddhist dhutanga* (thudong) tradition that was revived there.
  • *literally, "means of shaking off (the defilements)," "means of purification," sane ascetic or austere practices. These are strict observances recommended by the Buddha to some monastics to cultivate contentment, renunciation ("letting go"), energy, and so on. One or more of the 13 practices may be temporarily observed
The Plan
Above the treeline: There are wild beasts and ghosts and cryptids above Los Angeles! But we fear nothing...except the endless rebirths and redeaths of samsara (Gwillhickers).


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Angeles Nat'l Forest, Los Angeles County
The four of us will be going into the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles foothills in search of peace, quiet, and meditative inspiration. Food will be brought to us once a day after we find a firm drop off point we can walk to each morning and retreat from to our meditation stations.
 
High desert soon becomes alpine forest.
One will take a rock incline or cave (abandoned goldmine shaft), another the foot of a tree, another a sandy clearing by the river, one a pile of leaves and grass or a treehouse platform. Our only technology a camera -- but no phones, GPS, lighters, radios, tablets, or computers. Even a camera seems unnecessary and burdensome. All we will be doing is meditating and walking, practicing mindfulness and reading sacred texts. Something's gotta give, some insight dawn.



Daily Life in the Forest
Bhikkhu Khantipalo (Laurence Mills) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
Maybe practicing meditation in a green backyard would be a better way to start before heading out into the forest and leaving all civilization behind (planetgreen.discovery.com).
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“Control of the senses, contentment, restraint according to the Disciplinary Code and association with noble friends who are energetic and pure in life -- these are the very basis of the supremely pure life for the wise recluse.”
Dhammapada 375
“The recluse who abides in the Dharma, who delights in the Dharma, meditates on the Dharma, and who bears the Dharma well in mind (heart), does not fall away from the sublime Dharma.”
Dhp. 364
 
It is not easy to write about the ascetic recluses’ daily life as the conditions in which they live are so different. However, there are certain features of this life which are general, and these may be taken as a basis for this outline.

San Gabriel river meandering through the forest down to Los Angeles (Sgranf).

 
This material is composite in origin, some of it being experience heard from others and more again being stories told of others. Therefore, we shall speak of "the recluse" and present all these varied sources under this one anonymous label. While doing this, it should be borne in mind that much of what is said is quite common experience for those following the ascetic life.
 
Gaia/Bhumi devi, help us in our efforts.
Wherever the recluse is -- whether in the forest, a cave, or some other solitary place -- the day begins early and with stirred-up vigor. All is quiet except for the night sounds of some insects and perhaps the swishing of bats or owls -- and at such a time, long before dawn, say 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock, conditions are excellent for the practice of forest meditation.

Of course, the recluse, unless already very skilled, will have to shake off Māra (the personification of defilements) in the guise of sloth-and-torpor (sleepiness and apathy), for this aspect of the Killer would urge one to loll in bed until daybreak. [Other killers can be kept at bay with metta and protective chants.]

Instead, one rises, moving very, very slowly, refreshes oneself, and fixes the mind upon a meditation-subject (maybe the breath at the tip of the nose) that had been put down the night before on going to sleep.

There are lions, like P-22, in them there hills!
Making three bows to the Three Guides, the Triple Gem, quietly intoning, “Namo tassa Bhagavato arahato sammā sambudhassa” and, “Buddham saranam gacchāmi, Dhammam saranam gacchāmi, Sangham saranam gacchāmi,” the recluse, mind rightly directed and guarded, settles into solemn meditation.

The extent to which one is able to fix the mind on this subject, to prevent the arising of The Five Mental Hindrances (Wheel No. 26)
  1. sensual desire
  2. ill will
  3. restlessness-worry
  4. sleepiness-apathy
  5. skeptical doubt
and make the mind more and more one-pointed, will depend of course upon individual progress and ability. The two greatest obstacles one will encounter will be the sleepiness-apathy already mentioned above, and distraction (a form of restlessness). And between these two the mind is liable to vacillate like Odysseus’ boat dodging between Scylla and Charybdis.

We should invite our friend, Adam Eurich, to film us, and we can all live in a giant sequoia hollow in Yosemite National Park to stay safe and warm (SeekingHeartwood.com).
 
Monks under the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya, India
Being wrecked upon one or the other will be a common experience in the beginning. When one finds the mind to be like a fountain bubbling up with ideas, fantasies, memories, anticipations, and so forth, one sits firmly upon a meditation seat unmoving, employing mindfulness (sati-paṭṭhāna), until the mind becomes quiet.

But when sleepiness creeps into the mind and interferes with bodily posture, then it is time to get up and practice meditation while walking up and down, pacing back and forth on a short path. If one is settled for some time in a cave or forest, it is good to create a short walking place (caṅkamana).

Pacing steadily up and down, sleepiness leaves both mind and body, and after some time, with the mind made one-pointed, it is possible to practice standing meditation. After bringing the mind to a fully quiet and one-pointed condition in this position, it is possible to return to a fruitful practice sitting down. More
  
With Robes and Bowl
Glossary (pg. 2), Verses for Thudong-faring (3), From the Sutta-nipāta (3), With Robes and Bowl (5), Preamble: The Bhikkhu Life —The 13 Austere Practices (5), Daily Life (9), The Hand of Death (12), Thudong Abodes (15), Wandering (23), Companionship and the Solitary Life (27), Postscript (31), Appendix: Ariyavaṃsa Sutra (34), Introduction (34), Discourse on the Noble Lineage (34)
Wayfaring
Q: Hey, you guys aren't doing this because you just saw (Reese Witherspoon's) "Wild" or (Afghanistan) "Lone Survivor," are you?
A: No. Okay, then. We'll bring you vegan food.
Q: What will you do when you all are not meditating?
A: Walking.
Q: Walking?
A: "Walking meditation," which Ven. Khantipalo calls cakamana (slowly pacing up and down), but which we call hiking. It's interesting, really, because the Cankamana Sutra ("The Discourse on Walking," SN 2.3.2.5) is all about good friendship, noble friendship, wayfarers wayfaring (Dharma-faring) together.
 
Whose afraid of the "fairies"?
Wisdom Quarterly wiki edit 
Female yakshi, Vijayanagara
Yaksha (Sanskrit, यक्ष yakṣa) is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Buddhist literature as well as in Hindu and Jain texts. The feminine form of the word is yakṣī (यक्षी) or Yakshini (yakṣiṇī, यक्षिणी).
 
Male yakṣa, Mathura
In Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an harmless nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains. But there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) or ogre similar to the rakṣasas that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers.
 
In Kālidāsa's poem Meghadūta, for instance, the yakṣa narrator is a romantic figure, pining with love for his missing beloved. By contrast, in the didactic Hindu dialogue of the Yakṣapraśnāḥ or "Questions of the Yakṣa" (reminiscent of the Buddhist Alavaka Sutra), it is a tutelary spirit of a lake that challenges Yudhiṣṭhira.

What if it gets cold at night? We'll retreat into an ice cave or a mystical/magical dimension.
 .
Thai Buddhist temple yaksha.
The yakṣas may have originally been the tutelary gods/spirits of forests and villages, and were later viewed as the steward deities of the earth and the wealth buried beneath.
 
In Indian art, male yakṣas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly, stout, and dwarf-like (Buddhist kumbandha). Female yakṣas, known as yakṣiṇīs (dakinis?*), are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips. More

*The dakini (and male daka) appeared in medieval legends in North India (such as in the Bhagavata Purana, Brahma Purana, Markandeya Purana, and Kathasaritsagara) as a demon in the train of Kali who feeds on human flesh. They are comparable to malevolent or vengeful female spirits, deities, imps, or fairies in other cultures, such as the Persian peri.

SEX with Elna, pygmies in Burma (video)

Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; The Moth (themoth.org) with Garrison Keillor, Elna Baker


Prophet Joseph Smith, can you forgive her?
A young woman recounts the difficulty of being a clean cut Mormon in New York City, which somehow Mittens Romney is able to do even in dirtier, weirder Washington, D.C. Young Elna Baker is a writer and comedian, whose book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance was published by Penguin in 2009. She currently resides in NY, but this disclosure was not the highlight of one night at The Moth.

Alan Rabinowitz with The Taron (NatGeo)
That honor goes to Alan Rabinowitz and his amazing story of hiking in Buddhist Burma in a far off part of the country where the world's only surviving group of Mongoloid pygmies (a kind of human, possibly the kumbhanda of Buddhist lore, going extinct, The Taron) were said to have been spotted by an earlier explorer. He guides his companions in and finds the remnants of the tribe.
Alan Rabinowitz, while searching the Himalayas high in upper Burma, comes across the last of the mysterious Taron people and meets with the locals. More

Thursday, January 22, 2015

San Francisco Asian Art Museum

CC Liu, A. Nguyen, Wisdom Quarterly; San Francisco Asian Art Museum (AsianArt.org)
Moments of discovery, exploration, and surprise await. Whether coming from overseas or around the corner, here’s how to plan ahead to get the most out of a trip:  PLAN. VISIT.
Gandhara-style future Buddha Maitreya as a Central Asian king from Scythia (asianart.org).
Enter the Mandala: three-dimensional Buddhist representation of the cosmos (asianart.org)
Asian Art Museum houses many masterpieces. See something rare today (asianart.org).

Are VACCINES safe or even effective?

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny, MD
It should be a crime to poison children if done with good motives, but it's not.
 
Like many conscientious consumers, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, MD is concerned about the grave dangers of vaccines.

The controversy blew up in Australia recently, when venues canceled her upcoming seminars to discuss the science, due to small cells of a pro-vaccination lobby group. Who is funding this attack on freedom of speech and open discussion of medicine? The industry that makes money from vaccines, Big Pharma, a government agency? Her visa to visit Australia may be revoked, Dr. Tenpenny says, lamenting that free speech is being quashed even in scientific circles.

What do vaccines do?
STOP THE SHOTS and do some research first!
At best when they are not purposely contaminated with excipients (extra ingredients such as mercury, thimerosal, ethylene glycol, toxic preservatives, growing media for the virus, and other carrier compounds that do not serve the primary function claimed on the label) all vaccines do is provoke antibodies.

But this has NOT been demonstrated to help anything. A benefit has not been scientifically established, yet it is all a vaccine is confirmed to do in terms of benefit. Exposure to disease provokes antibodies (think of AIDS and HIV and malaria). What about what vaccines do in terms of HARM? We are not allowed to hear about that.

Iatrogenesis (harm or death from correctly following medical treatment instructions) is not allowed to be discussed at all. For example, the prescription drugs cause more deaths today than do any other drugs -- when used correctly and as prescribed!

And if the government or any secretive agency adds an additional ingredient, in collusion with the money-making industry promoting vaccination for everything, who is protecting consumers from that? Inject me and my children with mystery substances? I don't think so.

Few know that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in the U.S. has awarded damages for autism in children in at least 12 cases -- "and autism is just the most extreme form of vaccine injury," with brain inflammation listed as a possible side effect on most of the vaccines, the doctor states.

Who is this MD?
Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny, MD
Dr. Tenpenny is an osteopathic medical doctor, board certified in three medical specialties. From 1986 to 1998, she was a full-time emergency medicine physician and the Director of the Emergency Department in Findlay, Ohio. In 1996, she opened the Center for Integrative Medicine now located in Middleburg Heights. Patients have come from nearly all 50 states and 14 other countries to get well using a combination of conventional and alternative therapies.

Beyond her recognition in the field of integrative medicine, she is the most knowledgeable and outspoken physician on the negative impact vaccines can have on health. Dr. Tenpenny has invested more than 18,000 hours documenting the serious problems with vaccines.

NO! Who would allow or ask for their kids to be injected with known toxic compounds?
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She is the author of several books and a contributing author for several more including Textbook of Food and Nutrients in Disease Management (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press). Her articles about vaccine hazards have been translated into more than 10 languages.

In addition to being a guest on hundreds of radio and national television programs (including the Dr. Oz Show), Dr. Tenpenny is the medical consultant for Parker Hannifin, a Fortune 200 company with 60,000 employees in 48 countries. She is helping to develop health-conscious and holistic programs for the company’s locations in the U.S. and around the world. She is also the medical correspondent for WHDT TV with a daily health segment called, “Common Solutions for Common Health Problems.”

DRTENPENNY.COM STANDS FOR:
  • We oppose the one-size-fits-all public health policy imposed by state rules and enforced by physicians, hospitals, and public health employees.
  • We oppose public health policies that demand the rights of the individuals must be secondary to rights of individuals to refuse the injection of products that can have long term, even deadly, consequences to their health.
  • We support the freedom to refuse any medical procedure, including vaccination.
  • We support fully informed consent, which means admitting to the harm that vaccines can cause and allowing the person time for consideration.
  • We believe that vaccines can cause more harm to the health of the individual -- and subsequently to the community as a whole -- than the good vaccines are claimed to do by vaccine proponents.
Vaccine Research Library
(VaccineResearchLibrary.com) Making vaccination decisions is an important personal responsibility that should not be left to any medical or scientific "authority." Parents and consumers must educate themselves about infectious diseases, vaccines and their potential outcomes to the extent that they feel absolutely confident and well prepared for taking full responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. More

KARMA
I don't know about these shots (Laila Re).
What is bad karma? It is acting out of greed, hatred/fear, or delusion. We say our motive is "good" because we care, but because we are motivated by delusion, ignorance, or wrong view, we are making bad karma.

Our motive for doing something, if it is deluded, is not a "good" motive...even if we pat ourselves on the back for doing what the TV or the pharmacist told us to do because that's what those sources were told to say.

Should I get annual "flu shots"?

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Just shut up and take it. - Is has what in it? Five reasons to say NO (asheepnomore.net)
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No way should anyone tolerate or give in to the fear surrounding promotional campaigns by well meaning people and pharmaceutical profiteers for regular flu shots. Those strains have little if anything to do with what strain of virus is actually present in a given year. Big pharmaceutical manufacturers just GUESS as to what bug may be coming. And although they are almost always wrong, they get doctors and outlets to suggest the profit-making shots anyway just as a needless precaution.

Rather than promoting health, healthy lifestyles, or actual countermeasures for a disease we face, instead our immune systems are further compromised and burdened just when we need them to do what nature intended! Free flu shots are toxic and have not been scientifically (or etiologically) demonstrated to prevent getting the flu. Children and seniors are weaker and therefore need less burdens placed on them, but anyone forcing them to get these shots is putting them in harm's way with a good motive.

KARMA
We don't accept, why ask the 3rd World to?
What is bad karma? "Bad" karma is acting motivated by greed, aversion/fear, or delusion. We say our motive for an action is "good" because we care. But if we are motivated by delusion (wrong view, ignorance), we are performing and accruing bad karma.

Our motive, if it is deluded, is not a "good" motive. This is true even if we pat ourselves on the back for doing what the TV or a pharmacist tells us to do. WE are responsible for OUR action. It does not matter what anyone else says or thinks. If we do it, we are responsible. Therefore, we have to think even as we accept advice from others. 

Measles? Too bad. Sue us. Ha ha ha.
Disneyland just got worse. Disney, Inc. already corrupts us in our youth and ruins kids everywhere. But now it spreads disease, too. Oh, Mickey, how could you?!
Disney measles outbreak has parents scrambling to vaccinate kids [despite risks and harm]
VIDEO: Vaccines did not prevent outbreak
vaccine measles injection vaccination
(El Avia/flickr)
Disneyland contaminates people with measles: CNN propaganda says vaccines will protect everyone. There's an outbreak of measles at the theme park, and one of California's top public health officials is still backing vaccinations as if vaccinated people were not at danger. Children under 12 months and people who have never had a measles should stay away from the park while the disease outbreak continues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Buddha and RACISM in old India (sutra)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson, Sheldon S., Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly translation  of the Assalāyana Sutra (MN 93) based on Ven. Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff)
The Buddha, a magnificent statue in Theravada Thailand (Baddoguy/flickr.com).
  
Pythia inspired by pneuma (Collier)
For the following sutra (discourse) to make sense to us in our Western context even though it is set in an ancient Eastern context, imagine that an elitist group -- say, for example, white supremacists, were to say that they alone were the favored creation of the Judeo-Christian God. And say these Nazis were to send a well trained Hitler Youth student wearing a brown shirt to dispute with a sage -- say Moses of Egypt or Mo of Mecca or Jesus of Nazareth or Pythia of the Oracle at Delphi or Kwan Yin of China or Todd of Poughkeepsie -- who was teaching that all people are equal in rights, equal in humanity, equal in potential but differentiated by actions (karma) rather than birth. We are what we can be when given equal opportunity that results in our merit -- what we DO (mentally, verbally, physically), not what we are labelled at birth.
  • Moses sees bush burning on hill.
    Moses, that Bible guy played by Charleton Heston, was from Egypt? Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known by the acronym the “Rambam,” 1135-1204, was a codifier, philosopher, communal leader, and court physician to Sultan Saladin of Egypt and the author of a commentary on the Mishnah, the Book of Mitzvot, Mishneh Torah, the Guide to the Perplexed, and many other works) calls Moses "the most perfect human being," and the sages of the Talmud said that "the Divine Presence spoke from his throat.
It hardly needs saying, but Nazis are disgusting mass murderers who run sexist/racist police states, many of whom became Americans; just ask researcher Annie Jacobsen (video). Also note that the Brahmins created Hinduism (particularly Adi Shankara) based on Brahmanism and Brahminical interpretations of the old Vedic religion of the Indus Valley Civilization. If, as many people like to say nowadays, "the Buddha was born a Hindu," would he have refuted so many Brahmins and rejected the ancient Vedas like he did? No, spiritually speaking Prince Siddhartha was born a Scythian, became a wandering ascetic (shraman), and founded the most successful wandering ascetic movement ever, which his Brahmin convert students turned into a "religion" at the First Council in Rajgir, Magadha. While Brahmins are the bad guys in this story, it must be remembered that being born a Brahmin itself makes one neither good nor bad. Three of the Buddhas most important disciples -- Sariputra, Maha Moggallana, and Maha Kassapa -- were Brahmins.
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The Sutra
What did the Buddha look like?
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One (the Buddha) was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, in the generous multimillionaire's monastery. On that occasion 500 Brahmins from various provinces were visiting Savatthi on business. And the thought occurred to them, "This wandering ascetic Gautama [the Buddha] prescribes purification for all four castes. Now who is able to dispute with him on this matter?"
 
On that occasion the Brahmin student Assalayana was staying in Savatthi. Young, with head shaved, 16 years old, Assalayana was a master of the Three Vedas with their vocabularies, liturgy, phonology, etymology, and histories. Skilled in philology and grammar, he was fully versed in cosmology and in the marks of a great man.

The thought occurred to the Brahmins, "This Brahmin-student Assalayana is staying in Savatthi... He is able to dispute with the wandering ascetic Gautama on this matter."
 
So the Brahmins went to the Brahmin-student Assalayana and said to him, "Master Assalayana, this wandering ascetic Gautama prescribes purification for all four castes. Come and dispute with him on this matter."
 
The Brahmin-student Assalayana said to the Brahmins: "Sirs, the wandering ascetic Gautama  is one who speaks Dharma. And those who speak Dharma are hard to dispute with. I cannot dispute with him on this matter."
 
A second and a third time the Brahmins asked him adding, "You have lived the life of a wanderer. Do not be defeated without being defeated in battle."
 
When this was said, the Brahmin-student Assalayana said to the Brahmins: "Sirs, apparently, I do not get leave from you (to avoid the matter), so at your bidding I will go."
 
A Question of Race
So many women and men came to the Buddha for guidance and became monastics, such a movement as India has never seen. But the Buddha was not from India, and the Brahmins resented it, later replacing Buddhism with a new incarnation of the old Vedic religion.
 
The Brahmin-student Assalayana then went with a large group of Brahmins to the Blessed One, exchanged courteous greetings with him, and sat respectfully to one side. Sitting there he said:
 
"Master Gautama, the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste; every other caste is inferior. Only Brahmins are the fair caste; every other caste is dark. Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma [the supreme creator God of the Brahmins]: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.' What does Master Gautama have to say with regard to that?"
 
"But, Assalayana, the Brahmins' Brahmin-women are plainly seen having their periods, becoming pregnant, giving birth, and nursing. Yet the Brahmins, being born through the birth canal, say: 'Brahmins are the superior caste; every other caste is inferior. Only Brahmins are the fair caste; every other caste is dark. Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

Upward mobility
The Buddha was in "India" talking about the area in blue where he came from (wiki).
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The Buddha, Sukhothai (Hatahway_m/flickr)
"What do you think, Assalayana? Have you heard that in Yona* (Bactria) and Kamboja (Kambojaka) and other outlying territories [in Central Asia/Scythia west of their location in Savatthi near the Kingdom of Magadha] there are only two 'castes' -- masters and slaves -- and that having been a master one (can) become a slave, and that having been a slave one (can) become a master?"
 
"Yes, Master Gautama..."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says sp, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

Virtue
Buddha smiling (nippon_newfie)
"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a noble warrior [kshatriya caste member] who -- taking life, taking what is not given (stealing), taking advantage (engaging in sexual misconduct), taking liberties with the truth (perjury/telling lies), speaking divisively, speaking harshly, engaging in chatter, being greedy, bearing thoughts of ill will, and holding wrong views [these are collectively known as the Ten Courses of Unwholesome Conduct] -- on the breakup of the body, after death, reappears in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, even in hell, and not a Brahmin?

"Is it only a merchant [caste member]...? Is it only a worker [caste member] who -- taking life, taking what is not given, taking sexual advantage, taking liberties with the truth, speaking harshly, engaging in idle chatter, being greedy, bearing thoughts of ill will, and holding wrong views -- on the breakup of the body, after death, reappears in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, even in hell, and not a Brahmin?"
 
"No, Master Gautama. Even a noble warrior... Even a Brahmin... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes -- if they take life, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, tell lies, speak divisively, speak harshly, engage in idle chatter, are greedy, bear thoughts of ill will, or hold wrong views -- on the breakup of the body, after death, reappear in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, even in hell."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a Brahmin who -- refraining from taking life, stealing, sexual misconduct, perjury, speaking divisively, harshly, idly, from being greedy, bearing thoughts of ill-will, or from holding wrong views -- on the breakup of the body, after death, reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world, and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"
 
"No, Master Gautama. Even a noble warrior... Even a Brahmin... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes -- if they refrain from taking life...wrong views -- on the breakup of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a Brahmin who is capable of developing in any direction a heart of good will -- free from animosity, free from ill will -- and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"
 
"No, Master Gautama. Even a noble warrior... Even a Brahmin... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes are capable of developing in any direction a heart of good will -- free from animosity, free from ill will."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a Brahmin who is capable of taking a loofah and bath powder, going to a river, and scrubbing off dust and grime, and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"
 
"No, Master Gautama. Even a noble warrior... Even a Brahmin... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes are capable of taking a loofah and bath powder, going to a river, and scrubbing off dust and grime."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"
 
Golden Buddha in a great decorative hall (tecnica/t3cnica/flickr.com)
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"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose an anointed noble warrior king were to call together 100 men of different births (and say to them), 'Come, masters. Those of you born in a noble warrior clan, in a Brahmin clan, or in a royal clan, take an upper fire-stick of sal wood, salala wood, sandalwood, or padumaka wood, produce fire, and make heat appear.

"And 'Come, masters. Those of you born in an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan, take an upper fire-stick from a dog's drinking trough, a pig's trough, from a rubbish heap, or of castor-oil wood, produce fire, and make heat appear.'
 
"What do you think, Assalayana, would the fire made by those born in a noble warrior clan, a Brahmin clan, or a royal clan -- who had produced fire and made heat appear by taking an upper fire-stick of sal wood, salala wood, sandalwood, or padumaka wood -- be the only one with flame, color, and radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be used for?
 
"And would the fire made by those born in an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan -- who had produced fire and made heat appear by taking an upper fire-stick from a dog's drinking trough, a pig's trough, from a rubbish heap, or of castor-oil wood -- be without flame, color, and radiance, unable to do what a fire might be used for?"
 
"No, Master Gautama. The fire made by those born in a noble warrior clan, a Brahmin clan, or a royal clan... would have flame, color, and radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be used for. And the fire made by those born in an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan... would have flame, color, and radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be used for. For ALL fire has flame, color, and radiance, and is able to do whatever a fire might be used for."
 
"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the Brahmins say, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"
 
"Although Master Gautama says so, still the Brahmins think, 'Brahmins are the superior caste... Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose a noble warrior youth were to cohabit with a Brahmin maiden, and from their cohabitation a son were born. Would the son born from the noble warrior youth and Brahmin maiden be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a noble warrior and a Brahmin?"
 
"Yes, Master Gautama..."
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose there were a Brahmin youth who were to cohabit with a noble warrior maiden, and from their cohabitation a son were born. Would the son born from the Brahmin youth and noble warrior maiden be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a noble warrior and a Brahmin?"
 
"Yes, Master Gautama..."
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose a mare were to mate with a donkey, and from their mating a foal were born. Would the foal born from the mare and the donkey be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a horse and a donkey?"
 
"Master Gautama, from the mixed breeding it would be a 'mule.' Here I see that it [the mixed breeding] makes a difference, but there [in the previous two cases] I do not see that it makes a difference."
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose there were two Brahmin-student brothers, born of the same mother -- one learned and initiated, the other unlearned and uninitiated. Which of the two would the Brahmins serve first at a funeral feast, or a milk-rice offering, a sacrifice, or a feast for guests?"
 
"The Brahmin student who was learned and initiated, Master Gautama... For what great fruit would there be for what is given to one who is unlearned and uninitiated?"
 
"What do you think, Assalayana? Suppose there were two Brahmin-student brothers, born of the same mother -- one learned and initiated (but) unvirtuous and of unwholesome character, the other unlearned and uninitiated, (but) virtuous and of fine character. Which of the two would the Brahmins serve first at a funeral feast, or a milk-rice offering, a sacrifice, or a feast for guests?"
 
"The Brahmin student who was unlearned and uninitiated (but) virtuous and of fine character, Master Gautama... For what great fruit would there be for what is given to one who is unvirtuous and of unwholesome character?"
 
[Aha!] "First, Assalayana, you went by birth. Then, having gone by birth, you went by mantras. Then, having gone by mantras, setting both of them aside, you have come around to the purity of the four castes that I prescribe."
 
When this was said, the Brahmin student Assalayana sat silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words.
 
Then the Blessed One -- seeing that the Brahmin student Assalayana was sitting silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words -- said to him:

The first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha from the region of his birth.
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"Once, Assalayana, this wrong view (harmful opinion) arose in the seven Brahmin seers (rishis) as they were consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: 'Brahmins are the superior caste; every other caste is inferior. Only Brahmins are the fair caste; every other caste is dark. Only Brahmins are pure, not non-Brahmins. Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'

"Then the seer Devala the Dark heard, 'This wrong view has arisen in the seven Brahmin seers as they are consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: 'Brahmins are the superior caste; every other caste is inferior... Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'

"So arranging his hair and beard, putting on crimson garments, wearing multi-layered sandals, and carrying a staff made of gold, he appeared in the courtyard of the seven Brahmin seers. Then he walked back and forth in the courtyard of the seven Brahmin seers saying, "Well, now, where have these masters, the Brahmin seers, gone? Well, now, where have these masters, the Brahmin seers, gone?"
 
"Then the seven Brahmin seers said to the seer Devala the Dark, 'Now who is this walking back and forth in the courtyard of the seven Brahmin seers like a village lout saying, "Well, now, where have these masters, the Brahmin seers, gone? Well, now, where have these masters, the Brahmin seers, gone?" Let's curse him!'

"So the seven Brahmin seers cursed the seer Devala the Dark: "Be ashes, dribble-spit*! Be ashes, dribble-spit! Be ashes, dribble-spit!"'
  • *NOTE: Reading capali with the Thai edition of the Pali canon. The Pali Text Society (British PTS) edition has vasali ("one having a vile person [as a mother?]"); the Sri Lankan edition has vasala, "vile person." [And the Burmese edition? Versions of what is thought of as a singular Pali language canon have minor variations.]
But the more they cursed him, the more beautiful, good-looking, and inspiring he became. Then the thought occurred to the seven Brahmin seers, 'Our asceticism is in vain! Our supreme-life [of celibacy and ascetic restraint] is fruitless! For before, whenever we cursed anyone, "Be ashes, dribble-spit!" that person would always become ashes. But the more we curse this one, the more beautiful, good-looking, and inspiring he becomes!'
 
"'Masters, your asceticism is not in vain, and your supreme-life [of ascetic restraint is] not fruitless. Please, masters, abandon your hatred toward me.'
 
"'We abandon our hatred toward you, master. Who are you?'
  
"'Have you heard of the seer Devala the Dark?'
 
"'Yes, master.'
 
"'I am he.'
 
"Then the seven Brahmin seers approached him to bow respectfully before him, and he said to them, 'I have heard that this wrong view has arisen in the seven Brahmin seers as they are consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: "Brahmins are the superior caste; every other caste is inferior... Only Brahmins are the offspring of Brahma: born of the mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma."'
 
"That is so, master.'
 
"'But do you know, masters, if the mother who bore you went only with a Brahmin and not with a non-Brahmin?'
 
"'No, master.'
 
"'And do you know if the mothers of the mother who bore you -- back seven generations of mothers -- went only with Brahmins and not with non-Brahmins?'
 
"'No, master.'
 
"'And do you know if the father who sired you went only with a Brahmin woman and not with a non-Brahmin woman?'
 
"'No, master.'
 
"'And do you know if the fathers of the father who sired you -- back seven generations of fathers -- went only with Brahmin women and not with non-Brahmin women?'
 
"'No, master.'
 
"'Do you know how there is the descent of an embryo?'
 
"'Yes, master, we know how there is the descent of an embryo: The mother and father come together, the mother is fertile, and a gandhabba [gandharva, the spirit, ghost, the "being about to be reborn"] is standing present. The coming together of these three is the descent of the embryo.'
 
"'But do you know for sure whether the gandhabba is a noble warrior, a Brahmin, a merchant, or a worker?'
 
"'No, master.'
 
"'That being the case, do you know who you are?'
 
"'That being the case, master, we do not know who we are.'
 
"Now, Assalayana, if those seven Brahmin seers could not defend their own birth-statement when interrogated, pressed, and refuted by the seer Devala the Dark, how can you now defend your own birth-statement when interrogated, pressed, and refuted by me -- you, their lineage holder, but not (the equal of) Punna, their ladle holder?"
 
When this was said, the Brahmin student Assalayana said to the Blessed One:

"Magnificent, Master Gautama, magnificent! It is just as if one were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see what was there to see (forms). In just the same way has Master Gautama -- through many lines of reasoning -- made the Dharma (the truth) clear to me. I go to Master Gautama for guidance, to the Dharma, and to the Sangha [of noble disciples, i.e., those who have verified the truth the Buddha expounds, which is the Dharma]. May Master Gautama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for guidance from this day forward, for life."

NOTES
*Yonā, Yavanā, Yonakā:
a country and its people, probably the Pāli equivalent for Ionians, the Bactrian Greeks. The Yonas are mentioned along with the Kambojas in Rock Edicts v. and xii of Buddhist Emperor Asoka as a subject people, forming a frontier district of his empire. The country was converted by the Thera Mahārakkhita, who was sent there after the Third Council (Mhv.xii.5; Dpv.viii.9; Sp.i.67).

In the time of Milinda the capital of the Yona country was Sāgala (Mil.1). It is said (Mhv.xxix.39) that at the foundation ceremony of the "Great Reliquary Shrine (Mahā Stūpa), 30,000 monastics, under Yona Mahādhammarakkhita, came from Alasandā (Alexandria) in the Yona country. Alasandā was evidently the headquarters of the Buddhist monastics at that time. Alasandā is generally identified (see, e.g., Geiger, Mhv. Trs. 194, n.3) with the Alexandria founded by the Macedonian king (Alexander) in the country of the Paropanisadae near Kābul, Afghanistan.
 
In the Assalāyana Sutra (M.ii.149), Yona and Kamboja are mentioned as places in which there were only two castes/classes of people, masters and slaves, and the master could become a slave and vice versa. The Commentary (MA.ii.784) explains this by saying that supposing a Brahmin goes there and dies, his children might consort with slaves, in which case their children would be slaves. In later times, the name Yavanā or Yonā seems to have included all westerners living in India and especially those of Arabian origin (Cv.Trs.ii.87, n.1). Yonaka statues, holding lamps, were among the decorations used by the Sākiyans of Kapilavatthu, the Buddha's family clan in one of their capitals [likely Bamiyan, Afghanistan] (MA.ii.575). The language of the Yavanas is classed with the Milakkhabhāsā (e.g., DA.i.276; VibhA.388).

The Anguttara Commentary (AA.i.51) records that from the time of Kassapa Buddha the Yonakas went about clad in white robes because of the memory of the pre-Shakyamuni Buddhist religion which was once prevalent there. The followers of the historical Gautama Buddha also wore white.

Aryans?
People referred to as "Aryans," in ancient times and now, relate most people now called "Iranians." Why would this be so as, of course, the word originally had nothing to do with whites or Muslims or Germany or Madame Blavatsky and Theosophists or Nazis? The Buddha was from the west of India, from Central Asia, and his people were called ariyans, "nobles" because they were nomadic warriors reliant on horses. Of course they had settlements, but as a culture and a history, they were nomadic and mainly ruled over large stretches of pastoral land and wilderness rather than comfortable cities and farms.

They became rich not because of their agrarian ways but because of the Silk Route going through land they controlled. Bamiyan (Afghanistan), the original Kapilavastu where the Buddha grew up, a seasonal capital of the Shakyans (Sakyas, Sakas), was on a main road leading from "India" to the "stans." There was no "India" and nothing was called a "stan" at the time, for these are the modern names.

But history and archeology have been tampered with for political and religious reasons, and straightening out matters is now next to impossible. But when one does, everything starts to make sense! See "The Story of the Lineage" (translation of the Nidana Katha) in Buddhist Birth-Stories (Jataka Tales) by Rhys Davids and the breakthrough research of Dr. Ranajit Pal (ranajitpal.com). This area became Hellenized, an empire of the ancient Greeks called Bactria. What was Bactria like? It is most famous for producing the first anthropomorphic depictions of the Buddha in what is popularly called the Gandhara style.
(Wiki) The Bactrians spoke Bactrian, a northeastern Iranian language, descended from Avestan, and most closely related to extinct Khwarezmian, modern Yaghnobi, and Ossetian. Bactrian went extinct, replaced by southeastern Iranian languages such as Pashto, Yidgha, Munji, and Ishkashmi. The Encyclopaedia Iranica states:
Bactrian thus occupies an intermediary position between Pashto and Yidgha-Munji on the one hand, Sogdian, Choresmian, and Parthian on the other: it is thus in its natural and rightful place in Bactria.[16]
The principal religions of the area before Islam were Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.[17] The Bactrian people are primarily the ancestors of modern-day Tajiks as well as Pashtuns.[18][19] Regarding Tajiks, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:
The Tajiks are the direct descendants of the Iranian peoples whose continuous presence in Central Asia and northern Afghanistan is attested from the middle of the 1st millennium bc. The ancestors of the Tajiks constituted the core of the ancient population of Khwārezm (Khorezm) and Bactria, which formed part of Transoxania (Sogdiana). They were included in the empires of Persia and Alexander the Great, and they intermingled with such later invaders as the Kushāns and Hepthalites in the 1st–6th centuries ad. Over the course of time, the eastern Iranian dialect that was used by the ancient Tajiks eventually gave way to Farsi, a western dialect spoken in Iran and Afghanistan.[20] More
ANCIENT WAR DIARIES (wiki)
Greek fire
The Second Arab Siege of Constantinople in 717–718 was a land and sea offensive by the Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate against the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. In 716, after 20 years of progressive occupation of the borderlands of Byzantium during its prolonged internal turmoil, Arabs led by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik invaded Byzantine Asia Minor. They made common cause with the general Leo the Isaurian, who had risen up against Emperor Theodosios III, but Leo tricked them and secured the Byzantine throne for himself in 717. The Arab army then crossed into Thrace and built siege lines to blockade the city, which was protected by the massive Theodosian Walls. The Arab fleet's attempted blockade was neutralized by the Byzantine navy's Greek fire (pictured), and the Arab army was crippled by famine and disease during the unusually hard winter that followed. After the defeat of two Arab fleets and another Arab army, followed by an attack on their rear by Bulgarians, the siege was lifted in 718. Although regular attacks on Byzantine territories continued, the Caliphate's goal of conquest was abandoned. Historians credit the siege with halting the Muslim advance into Europe, and rank it among history's most consequential battles. (Full article)