Part 3 A Fire, burning desire, kindle, aflame, heart afire
“For our rejoicing is this…that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world…”—2 Corinthians 1:12
“…if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes…all these curses shall come upon thee…The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning…they shall pursue thee until thou perish.”—Deuteronomy 28:15, 22
“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”—Romans 5:8, 9
The “fire” words, phrases and concepts mentioned in Buddha’s Fire sermon and the other pagan fire references mentioned on this post, remind me of some of those I have read in my research that are part of the vocabulary of some “Christian” songs and organizations. In my next posts, 3C and 3D, I will present some places where “fire” phrases are used or referred to in what is thought to be the “Christian” world.
Fire Sermon of Buddha
It is said that a few months after his own “enlightenment,” Buddhu preached the Fire Sermon to 1000 Bikkhus (Buddhist monks) at Gaya (holy demon), India, to teach them how to attain arahantship—to become enlightened.
Realizing the Bikkhus he was preaching to had at one time practiced a sacred fire ritual, worshipping the fire morning and evening, Buddha taught them that the “All” (ayatana)—twelve sense bases, six internal and six external—“are burning and blazing,” and explained how to be liberated from suffering through detachment from the senses and mind…
“Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame…Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs.”—from “Fire Sermon” —Adittapariyaya Sutta, SN 35.28 Thanissaro, 1993.
According to Buddha, a well-instructed noble disciple sees this burning and thus becomes disenchanted with the sense bases…Disenchantment leads to liberation from suffering.
Dukkha is a central concept in Buddhism, the word roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including sorrow, suffering (or pain), affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration.
Another Discourse of Buddha
In a different discourse, Buddha, instead of describing the sense bases as being aflame, he describes the five aggregates as burning. (Five “aggregates” categorize all individual experience…there is no “self”…suffering ends by giving up attachment(s) to aggregates.)
“Bhikkhus, form is burning, feeling is burning,
perception is burning, volitional formations are
burning, consciousness is burning. Seeing thus,
bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences
revulsion towards form…Through dispassion [this
mind] is liberated….”—Āditta Sutta (SN 22.61); Bodhi 2000
“Burning” means: the fire of passion; the fire of aversion; the fire of delusion; the manifestations of suffering.
Another discourse of Buddha likened our physical and mental apparatus to hot embers. In the discourse, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with, dispassionate about, and liberated from these burning constituents. (Kukkuḷa Sutta 22.136)
Agnihotra is a Vedic yajña (ritual or sacrifice) performed by members of orthodox Hindu communities. The term agnihotra means ‘pouring milk (hotra) into the fire (agni)’. Agnihotra includes the worship of the three (or five) sacred fires. A modern version of the Vedic Agnihotra has been promoted by various individuals and groups as a non-sectarian ritual for the healing and purification of the atmosphere and as a primary source of sacred ash.
Modern Agnihotra (Homa) consists of making two offerings (two pinchfuls of uncooked rice grains smeared with a few drops of cow’s pure ghee) to the fire exactly at the time of sunrise and sunset along with the chanting…the first mantra, “Oblation unto the Sun”, the rest of the mantra’s first line: “This belongs to the Sun not to me.”
Peace and the connection with fire
As you read the next few paragraphs, remember that Agni is a god of fire, the acceptor of sacrifices, and one of the most important of the Vedic gods. Agni has three forms: fire, lightning and the sun.
4th International Young Leaders Peace Summit
Big Island, Hawaii, November 15, 2006
Every day begins and ends with a sunrise/sunset fire ceremony (Agnihotra—see next paragraph); each day has events related to the mission and vision of Beyond the Global Divide, there will be time…for sharing teachings and for quiet reflection.
Agnihotra is the process of purifying the atmosphere through specially prepared fire. This healing fire comes from the Vedas…
Homa Therapy: Homa is used here synonymously with Yajnya, the technical term…denoting the process of removing the toxic conditions of the atmosphere through the agency of fire. You heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere heals you. This is the central idea in Homa Therapy.
The most basic Homa (Yajnya) is called AGNIHOTRA and is tuned to the biorhythm of sunrise/sunset. Performance of Agnihotra on a regular daily basis establishes the healing energies necessary for a healthy environment.
Prem Rawat on Peace
When a human being truly realizes that there is an absence of truth and happiness in his life, an absence of peace, then a fire comes from within. A real fire to find peace burns for that person from the heart, not from the head. That person starts to search.—excerpt from tprf.org/prem-rawat/Prem-Rawat-on-peace.htm
Baptism of Fire and Theresa of Avila
“Baptism of Fire”…It means therefore to be “Fully immersed into God,” somewhat akin to St. Theresa of Avila’s seventh mansion…
The Miracle of the Heart: Catacomb of S. Sebastiano
“While he (Saint Philip Neri) was with the greatest earnestness asking of the Holy Ghost His gifts, there appeared to him a globe of fire, which entered into his mouth and lodged in his breast; and thereupon he was suddenly surprised with such a fire of love, that, unable to bear it, he threw himself on the ground…
When…he rose up full of unwonted joy, and immediately all his body began to shake with a violent tremour; and putting his hand to his bosom, he felt by the side of his heart, a swelling about as big as a man’s fist, but neither then nor afterwards was it attended with the slightest pain or wound…till his death, his heart would palpitate violently whenever he performed any spiritual action.—described by Bacci, a few days before Pentecost, in 1544
Francis of Assisi
“…Francis understood by his vision that the soul must come to resemble Christ by the ardors of its interior fire, rather than by any physical, exterior means…You reproduced the sacred marks of Your passion in the body of the most blessed Francis, in order that Your love might also set our hearts afire.'”—From 19th century Abbot, Dom Guéranger; “The Time after Pentecost V”, Vol. 14, translation O.D.M.
From The Works of George Fox by George Fox p. 268
For as natural men and women in the night cannot see what is in their houses, without a candle which they light at a natural fire, which gives light to the natural eye: so man’s spirit is lighted by God and Christ’s divine light and fire, by which they see with the heavenly eye what is in their house and inward parts.
Burning in the bosom
Mormonism teaches that if a person prays about the Book of Mormon “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it (the Book of Mormon; Moroni 10:4) unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” If this is done, according to Doctrine and Covenants, 9:8, “your bosom shall burn within you” to show that it is true.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”—Proverbs 28:26
“Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:21
“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”—Romans 10:2–4