Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tea Extinguishes Fire on Cuyahoga River!

This post is in response to Brother Christopher Hodapps post: "Cleveland is Burning Again",
over at Freemasons for Dummies blog. There was a Fire raging that has now been virtually extinguished. Thanks to all who followed this case and believe in Lodge sovereignty.

Just in time for Christmas there's a reason for the brothers of Halcyon Lodge,,
in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate. Earlier today the following was posted on the Clerk of Courts website for Cuyahoga County.


Some believe the their actions were akin to the Boston Tea Party's rebellious Spirit!

According to the court's ruling, the brothers of Halcyon Lodge acted in accordance with the Masonic bylaws and in good faith.

Our congratulations to the brothers of Halcyon Lodge.

Case #CV-08-649002
Search on "Halcyon Lodge"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Importance of Bowing

"The bow is done to show humility and is used to express a lack of arrogance. In addition, it serves as a sign of mutual respect between teachers and students and between opponents."

Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

The bow is perhaps one of the most misunderstood traditions in martial arts. Many people may think of it as a religious affiliation or as a sign of a master-slave type relationship between an instructor and his or her student. This interpretation is false. Instead, the bow is done to show humility and is used to express a lack of arrogance. In addition, it serves as a sign of mutual respect between teachers and students and between practitioners and opponents. If you were to compare the Asian bow to a Western tradition, it would most closely represent the handshake. In BJJ as well as in many other martial arts, the bow can be done from a standing position or a kneeling position.

Now that you know why some Martial Artist practitioners bow, let's look at when the bow is appropriate. You should bow when you enter the Academy or Dojo. At that time, you are clearing your mind of daily problems and events, and "emptying your cup" so that you are concentrating on BJJ(or your specific Art) and able to absorb the martial arts material you are about to learn. Just as you bow when you enter the Academy or dojo, you should bow when you leave the dojo. This signifies that your training on the mat has finished.

Some BJJ classes are started by bowing toward the front of the Academy or dojo. We bow toward the middle of the mat because that is where our instructor is and where the work is done. We bow to our instructor to show our respect and gratitude for his teachings, and to signify the full attention of practicing. Alertness is emphasized in martial arts training because of the inherit danger of learning and practicing combat. Therefore, the bow is important because it signifies that we are concentrated on the task and training ahead.

Bowing should be done between two people prior and immediately after sparring. Sparring partners often shake hands too. The bowing that occurs here indicates to each other that the practitioners are alert and ready. The bow after the sparring match shows gratitude to the other person. Each person learns something about himself, his opponent, and combat through a sparring match. The ending bow is thanking the other person for the learning.

We also bow to the instructor at the end of class, walk in belt rank to give another personal bow, hand shake and hug to the instructor and each other.

BJJ originated from the Japanese, so there are some Japanese ways that are involved in BJJ training. Especially if you are training with Brazilians. They are more formal when it comes to training. They are not that removed from the Japanese influence the Gracie's learned. The old school BJJ teachers also have a heavy Judo influence.

Bows Are Not Simply "Japanese Handshakes"

It is common knowledge that bowing is customary in Japan. Watching the Japanese bow at any place and any time can appear amusing to our foreign eyes. Conversely, do we find watching people shake hands amusing? In the Western world, we typically offer our hands when we wish to be perceived as showing sincerity. The Japanese prefer to bow. Like the handshake, the bow can convey a salutation, a farewell, or an expression of thanks and gratitude.

The bow, although, is not the exact equivalent of the handshake. Handshakes have little variation, other than length of time and the strength employed. This may tell one very little, other than one or both persons have strong hands. On the other hand, the bow can convey a number of different things to its partakers and observers alike. Various bows have different meanings. As well, the type and level of emotions that may be involved and the nature of the relationship between the persons bowing can be observed. Correct bowing is complex. There are different nuances involved with the type of bow and situation in which it is used. The depth of the bow depends on the relationship between the two people meeting. Bows can range from shallow nods to kneeling bows where one's head touches the floor. This latter bow, however, is seldom practiced or seen these days. As well as replacing the handshake, a bow can replace "thank you", "please" and other commonly used terms of gratitude and respect.

Many Japanese appear to bow with little conscious thought. This can be seen when a Japanese person is immersed in a telephone conversation and is bowing to the unseen party. It is incorrect to assume that all Japanese understand the fine distinctions of bowing. With globalization and the Westernizing of Japan, etiquette classicists note that many Japanese know only the rudimentary elements of correct bowing.

Bowing is Not About Religion

When we reviewed the kanji for "rei," we noted that it appeared as a pictogram for a person kneeling at an altar. This does not necessarily connote a person "in prayer." As was noted, Japanese kanji have many meanings and "rei" is no exception. Although bows are used in prayer in Japan and form integral parts of many religions, the bow used in the dojo is not part of a religious ceremony.

Interestingly, the bow is not solely a Japanese gesture used in a religious context. This particular act of submission originated in Christianity. In fact, there is still exists an ancient order that prostates the complete body on the floor facing the East. Islam is well-known for its bowing.

In Japanese culture, however, we see the bow used more for business and social interactions than religious ones. To this end, it is more akin to our Western handshake than to Eastern religion.

Historical Martial Arts Bowing - A Lesson in Self Defence

The densho (tradition) of the Confucian-inspired Japanese rules of demeanor has continued until present in the various dojos throughout the world. Originally the exclusive domain of the warrior class samurai, many of these structured and formal rules of etiquette have been codified, including how one should bow, since the time of the Minamoto no Yoritomo, who founded the Kamakura Shogunate approximately 800 years ago. The Ogasawara Reiho taught to the Kamakura Shogunate was adopted nationally as a standardized form of etiquette. Even today, there exists an Ogasawara Ryu, which is a school of etiquette. The rules of etiquette, though, pre-date the Kamakura Shogunate. It is notable that etiquette and specifically bowing is copied from warrior behaviors.

I find it truly sad when my fellow martial artists berate or disparage the use of at least some traditional Japanese etiquette, including bowing, in the dojo. It is interesting that many of these teachers are quick to note that they teach "jujutsu" or "karate", but outside of the actual words "jujutsu" or "karate" and the use of the unique practice uniform ("gi"), there is little else that distinguishes the school as a Japanese martial arts dojo. Perhaps these schools should call their arts "fighting" or "self-defense" and skip the rather tenuous links to Japanese martial arts. However, I digress.

There are many reasons for beginning to study the martial arts. One the main reasons that a person may initially enter a dojo is self-defense. Surprisingly, several Japanese martial arts masters note that the purpose of etiquette, and its expression through the use of the bow, is self defense. This is not to suggest that one should bow to an incoming mae geri (front kick). When one reflects more deeply on this supposition it becomes clear that reigi saho (etiquette manners) is self defense. On its face, we know that etiquette has a dictionary definition of "long-observed behavior proper to a specific context whose effect is to ensure social order."

Keeping with this definition, we are familiar with Japanese etiquette and particularly bowing as a "long observed" behavior that is used in a "specific context." With respect to it having the effect "to ensure social order", we need only review some historical warrior behaviors. For example, the sword is carried and drawn from the left side. A samurai would place his sword on his right side as a symbol of his peaceful intent. This placement made it tough to access the weapon quickly, thus rendering it ineffective. Failure to complete this customary behavior whilst in the presence of a superior ranking party was a grave breach of etiquette that could result in immediate execution.

These warriors had many strict protocols including how they entered rooms, to where they were seated in these rooms when superiors or other warriors were present, to how they removed and put on their swords in the presence of others. These protocols were strictly observed so that the warrior appeared to pose no threat. This etiquette code of behavior helped ensure the safety of others around the warrior. Moreover, it was a form of self-defense for the warrior since all were subject to these etiquette protocols; hence, the warrior had the ability to interact with others free of the fear of being exposed to a lethal risk

These patterns of behavior are not strictly the domain of historical Japanese culture. Two pieces of Western lore appear to support the notion of etiquette being central to self defense. In the first, medieval knights, when greeting each other, took hold of the other's right hand, which was the weapon hand. This was the forerunner of the modern handshake. Unlike the modern handshake, the knights kept hold of one another's arm while interacting at such a close distance. This ensured mutual safety while at close distance. Secondly, although unsubstantiated, it has been held that the modern day military-style salute showed that one's weapon hand was empty and therefore posed no threat. Others dispute this claim and note it is performed this way (right hand touching the forehead) historically in medieval tournaments. At these events, the two knights opened the fronts of their helmets to show their faces to their opponent and to the audience. Suffice it to state, the salute has military origins as does the bow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

GOUSA Council of Order, 9/19/2009 @ Halcyon Temple

I hope to be able to express how this weekends Council of Order meeting of the GOUSA impacted myself, the others who attended and the future of Orient Free-Masonry in America.

The idea that men from different obediences can come together without prejudice or segregation.
We had Free Masons from 6 different orders able to meet all on the Level, accomplish an historical business meeting, Alchemically Wed Halcyon and the GOUSA together with the rest of its members, and initiate two quality individuals into a Triangle in Washington DC.

Masons were able to see and feel what Halcyon Temple can mean to Freemasonry and that is was worth the struggles we have faced as a group. From afar, many questioned Halcyons stance to defend their Temple from destruction, but once inside, any True mason would have done the same.

It had a feeling of what it might have been like in 1717, where there were not any Grand Lodges existing yet, to have been able to put forth rules and edicts that seperate masons by terms of regularity or irregularity and beliefs. It truly was wonderful and enlightening. It was wonderful to have men from all over the country congregate at our facility to embark on this journey.

The main thing for me that was accomplished was that the GOUSA cemented the fact American Grand Orient Free Masonry is a 3 degree system only. We will all be Master Masons who meet on the Level, not 32nds, Knigh Templars, KYCH's, Royal Arch Masons and whatever other "High" Grade that has been invented by men to create an unlevel environment. All Higher degrees can be studied for Light, not a Title or point of recognition where some Grand Priory or Grand High Coucil doles out degrees's above Master Mason.

It was fascinating to see, as well as to be a part of the old ritual we conferred on the two aspirants from DC. I could only imagine the impact this ritual would have on a sincere aspirant, and the effect it would have made on a man centuries ago. The trials of the Elements, CoR, cast of characters that are needed to portray this ritual and the willingness of all the brothers to initiate the aspirants was humbling!

Brother Peace and the Brothers of Sirius, who have worked this ritual for awhile, really do a great job and exude a zeal for initiation that was absent in our pasts. This ritual is not for the lazy and disinterested. It takes certain character to be able to stay focused and remain interested in a potential 3-4 hour initiation!

Here is small portion of the group gathering for a photo I took with my cell phone:

It was memorable, and I look forward to future gatherings and the working of different rituals when we come together in the future. The Light that was gained after this weekend can only grow brighter within all who participated and hopefully it will spread to others!

I want to thank all who attended, and also to those who sent postive thoughts to us from afar, it was felt and appreciated.

To my French Brothers, I cannot wait to break bread with you again, and meet with all your brother's from Lafayette 89, Washington, D.C. ,GOdF!

It was great to hear the French accents in the ritual... it was a great addition!

PS: The Spirits of Halcyon surely smiled upon us this weekend!

As it is stated on our Temple: This building is dedicated and consecrated to the Spirit of Freemasonry!

That was accomplished this weekend!
So Mote It Be

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feasting on Sunshine

by Dr. Mercola

Have you ever wished you didn’t have to bother with eating or preparing food at all? When you stop to consider how many hours you spend thinking about food, planning meals, shopping for fresh produce, preparing and cooking meals, and eating, I would imagine nearly everyone has had this fantasy at least once.

Astonishing as this may seem, one Indian man is doing exactly this: converting the sun’s energy into nourishment, and he believes you can do it too.

Before you read this please understand that I am not advocating gazing into the sun directly but merely reporting on a phenomena that is already occurring. Also it is important to avoid scanning this article. If you scan the material you will think it is ok to gaze at the sun anytime and this is not only inaccurate, but quite dangerous.

Sun gazing is done around dawn or sunset. If you perform it at other hours you can cause serious damage to your retina.

The Practice of Sun Gazing

Sun gazing--also known as solar healing, solargazing, sun staring, Sun Yoga, Surya Yoga and Solar Yoga. All terms refer to the practice of staring directly at the sun in order to receive nourishment, healing and spiritual enlightenment. The gazing is done only during the first hour after sunrise or the last hour before sunset, when the sun’s rays are most gentle to your eye.

Hira Ratan Manek was born in 1937 in Bodhavad, India, and was raised in Calicut, Kerala, India, where he earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kerala. After graduating, he joined his family’s spice trade business before retiring from that in 1992 to pursue a life-long interest in sun gazing.

Manek states that we have a super computer in our bodies, given to us by nature -- our brain -- which he calls the “brainuter.” He says that sun gazing activates the full potential of your brain, bringing forth “infinite inherent powers” that have remained dormant for millennia.

In order to activate these dormant brain powers, Manek suggests:

Being a holistic entity it needs a holistic power supply. Sun energy is the source that powers the brain, which can enter and leave the human body or the brain only through one organ that is the human eye. Eyes are the Sun Energy’s entry door to the human brain.

Converting solar energy to physical nourishment is not a new phenomenon but the rediscovery of an age-old healing ritual. Sun gazing originated in India more than 2,000 years ago with the teaching of Lord Mahavir of Jain, also known as Mahavira or Vardhamana. Lord Mahavir established Jainism, one of the oldest religions originating on the Indian subcontinent. Jains believe that every soul is divine and has the potential to achieve God-consciousness.

Sun gazing was also practiced by ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Greeks, Mayans, in Tibetan Yoga and some traditions of Qigong, Tai Chi, and by some Native American tribes.

Hira Ratan Manek

Hira Ratan Manek[ii] who prefers the simple nickname HRM, states that the sun can be used to heal the mind, body and spirit. As a result of sun gazing, he claims to have better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Perhaps the most startling claim HRM makes is that, since he became a devoted sun gazer, he has been able to sustain himself on solar energy alone for very long periods, without eating any food. Somewhere along the line, this became known as the “HRM phenomenon.”[iii]

He claims he has been living on sun energy and water alone since June 18, 1995, with only occasional tea, coffee and buttermilk for “hospitality and social purposes.” He has also undergone three strict long-term fastings, during which he was under the control and observation of various scientific and medical teams.

The first fast lasted 211 days in 1995-96, in Calicut, India, and was directed by Dr. C.K. Ramachandran, a medical expert on allopathic and ayurvedic medicine. This was followed by a second fast lasting 411 days in Ahmedabad, India, directed by an international team of 21 doctors and scientists, led by Dr. Sudhir Shah.

The third observed fasting was in the United States, where he was observed by a team at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Philadelphia for 130 days. The specific focus of this observation was his retina, pineal gland and brain, and the team was led by Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, and Dr. George C. Brainard, a leading authority on the pineal gland.

Their findings were unexpected.

HRM claims they discovered his brain’s gray cells were regenerating and that his pineal gland was expanding, rather than the shrinking that is typical after the mid-fifties.

Since 2002, Manek has given hundreds of lectures all over the world and has been the subject of many articles, interviews, and even a film. In 2002, he established the Solar Healing Center, with headquarters in Orlando, Florida. There are now Solar Healing Centers all over the world, as well as over thousands of enthusiastic sun gazing followers.

The Sun Gazing Process

HRM has developed a method for sun gazing, based on years of study, and trial and error. He states it can be accomplished by anyone, in any part of the world, at any time of the year. Sun gazing is a one-time practice that takes 9 months to complete. It is generally broken into three phases:

1. First 3 months

2. 3-6 months

3. 6-9 months

After the 9 months, there is a life-long regimen of “bare foot walking” on earth soil for 45 minutes a day, and the more you stick to this regimen, the more your body will be “recharged.” More about this later.

First Three Months

Manek instructs sun gazers to begin their sun gazing journey by spending a maximum of 10 seconds on the first day looking directly into the sun during the safe hours, which are defined as within one hour after sunrise or within one hour of sunset. While sun gazing, it is important if possible to stand on warm, bare earth. This helps to ground you and enhances the sun gazing benefits.

On the second day, look for 20 seconds. Add 10 additional seconds every day thereafter. So, after 10 days, you will be looking at the sun for 100 seconds (e.g., one minute and 40 seconds).

In this first phase, it is common for people to begin experiencing a more positive mindset, less negativity, more confidence, more compassion, and less fear.

Three to Six Months

At the end of three months, your gazing time will be about 15 minutes. This is the period during which many people begin to find their physical diseases subsiding.

HRM also states that 70-80 percent of the energy synthesized from food is used by your brain to “fuel tensions and worries”, and after three months, these tensions go away, leaving this newly freed energy available for more productive use. You might also find your need for food decreasing.

When you reach 30 minutes duration, he states you will be “slowly liberated from physical disease” since, by then, your organs are all receiving their needed Prana[iv], or life energy, directly from the sun.

Your body needs energy, not necessarily food. Food is actually our “secondary energy source,” according to HRM. The human body does not convert sunlight into energy in the same way plants do, with chlorophyll, but through a different photosynthesis process, like a photovoltaic cell.

HRM states:

“You are your own master at the end of 6 months.”

Six to Nine Months

After 6 months, you will start to utilize the original form of “micro food,” which comes from the sun. This has the additional benefit of having no toxic waste attached to it.

At around 7.5 months, or 35 minutes per day of sun gazing, you can expect your hunger to start decreasing appreciably. Hunger results from the energy requirements of your body, which is a must for your existence. Conventionally, you are getting the sun energy indirectly by eating foods that are a by-product of sun energy. Now, you are getting the energy directly.

Between 8 and 9 months (44 minutes), HRM says you can expect your hunger to be pretty much gone. If it isn’t, he says it is because you don’t have enough belief in the process, and it will take you a little longer, but it is still achievable.

More importantly, at this stage, your energy levels are very high and you will have a very deep sense of well-being.

After Nine Months

After nine months, you should discontinue solar gazing for the sake of eye care--your eyes have reached the limits of what they can safely take. However, your body will eventually become “discharged,” kind of like a battery, and must be recharged.

Recharging is accomplished by walking bare-foot, on bare earth, preferably in the sun, since the bare earth contains a great deal of sun energy.

This works, HRM explains, because the act of walking stimulates your pineal gland. As is described in reflexology[v] your foot is a microcosm of your entire body, and your big toe is connected with your pineal gland. The other toes are connected to the other major glands of your body. More information about the pineal gland will be presented in a following section.

The recommended walking schedule is, walk for 6 consecutive days once you have completed your nine months of sun gazing, for 45 minutes per day. Just walk at a relaxed pace--no need to walk briskly or jog.

Then, walk regularly (he doesn’t give a minimum or maximum) for a year, always for 45 minutes. After a year of “recharging,” if you are satisfied with how you feel, you can discontinue bare foot walking. But if you want to strengthen your immune system, memory, intelligence, etc., then continue the walking.

He also mentions that many other mental and spiritual benefits are possible during this time, such as new psychic abilities, a built-in “navigational” system, and higher levels of brain activity. He states:

“Almost all problems get solved.”

For more detailed instructions, please refer to his website.

The Pineal Gland

The pineal gland[vi] [vii](also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, or epiphysis) is a small endocrine gland in your brain, about the size of a pea. It produces melatonin, a hormone that influences your wake/sleep patterns and photoperiodic (seasonal) functions. It is shaped like a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and is located near the center of your brain, tucked into a groove between the two hemispheres.

The pineal gland was the last gland to have its function discovered. Its long status as the “mystery gland” caused it to be shrouded in myth, superstition and the object of numerous metaphysical theories about its function.

The pineal gland is associated with the sixth chakra, also called Ajna or the “third eye” in yoga, and is considered to be the seat of “inner wisdom.” It is believed by many to be a dormant organ that, when activated, awakens psychic abilities. Some consider it to be where consciousness resides in your body. Rene Descartes devoted a great deal of his life to its study and called the gland “the seat of the soul[viii].”

Interestingly, the gland is activated by light. Light reaches it by passing into your eyes, then along a pathway from your retina to your hypothalamus called the retinohypothalamic tract, then along nerve pathways to your pineal gland.

Light impulses inhibit the production of melatonin, and at night when it is dark, pineal inhibition ceases, and melatonin is released. Therefore, the pineal gland is an important timekeeper for your body. Melatonin is also produced during visualization and relaxation.

How is the pineal gland associated with sun gazing?

According to Dr. Sudhir Shah:

The hypothalamus is the commander of autonomic nervous system, and the pineal gland is in proximity to the autonomic nervous system, so it is logical that new energy transportation may either activate this system or it may use this system as vehicle.

HRM believes that the light energy you take in while sun gazing activates your dormant pineal gland, which then turns your “brainuter” on. It is this activation that causes you to experience the magical conversion of sun energy into nutrition, healing of disease, heightened energy, increased psychic abilities and, ultimately, enlightenment.

Looking at Sun Gazing With a Skeptical Eye

Is sun gazing really safe?

Sun gazing is highly controversial due to the considerable evidence which states that looking directly at the sun can be damaging to your eyes. Solar retinopathy[ix] [x] is a form of damage to the retina from solar radiation, usually seen in those who look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse. Although vision loss due to the sun is generally reversible, permanent damage and loss of vision have been reported.

But how much of a danger is sun gazing, if practiced within the established safety guidelines?

Most eye care professionals will advise you against looking directly at the sun, during solar eclipses and otherwise. However, there seems to be a multitude of sun gazers out there who are carefully following “safe” sun gazing guidelines, without any real horror stories about visual damage or blindness.

So, who is right?

Since so many people appear to be successfully engaged in this practice and are reporting benefits, perhaps there is some validity to sun gazing, provided it is done with an appropriate measure of caution in order to minimize the risk to your eyes.

Astronomer Andrew T. Young[xi] wrote an article about the history of solar retinal injuries, exploring fact versus folktale. He states there is ample evidence in the literature that the normal human eye is able to look briefly at the sun without harm. He uses the statistical distribution of solar injuries as evidence for the safety of sun gazing:

…The near-total eclipses at which eye injury occasionally occurs are visible only a few minutes per century at any given location on Earth; the unobscured Sun is available for viewing every clear day. If we suppose the Sun is up (on the average) for 12 hours a day, that's about 440,000 hours or over 26 million minutes per century that the Sun is up outside of eclipse, compared to a few minutes of dangerous time near totality.

So you'd expect eye injuries from unprotected Sun-viewing to be roughly a million times more common than injuries during eclipses.

However, what we find is that the vast majority of solar retinal injuries occur as a result of viewing a solar eclipse without adequate protection because the pupil is opened up, allowing very high levels of UV to penetrate in a short time.

There are impressively few reports of any such injuries from non-eclipse sun gazing. And even eclipse-viewing injuries are relatively uncommon.

Dr. Young’s conclusion…

The potential for serious eye damage from sun gazing at sunrise or sunset is small; about the only way you could seriously damage yourself would be to stare at the full sun at high noon while your pupils were dilated by some kind of drug. (Quite a variety of nasal decongestants and other common drugs, as well as exposure to some pesticides, have been reported to dilate the pupils.)

Vinny Pinto of the Raw Paleolithic Diet website[xii], who has done a tremendous amount of research in the area of sun gazing and is a sun gazer himself, writes:

There is definitely some potential danger to staring at the sun for any significant length of time anytime after a couple of hours after sunrise or a couple of hours before sunset, and particularly at high noon and during early afternoon, but even then the harm would likely be minor or temporary. There is also some significant danger from staring at an eclipse for even a short length of time, since the pupil may be tricked by the apparent low light intensity into allowing too great an influx of solar radiation at harmful wavelengths into the eye.

It is also worth mentioning that the urban legends about several students going blind in the 1960s while tripping out on LSD[xiii] [xiv] and staring at the sun were nothing but a hoax designed to scare kids into avoiding drugs.

Have the Claims of Hira Ratan Manek Been Substantiated?

Currently, there exists no solid scientific proof that sun gazing actually works in the manner that the “sun gazing gurus” claim, nor is there solid proof to the contrary. The sun gazing community is enthusiastically awaiting rigorous and definitive scientific studies on sun gazing to resolve the matter.

But until those come forth, the best you can do is to review the data yourself, and follow your gut.

Dr. Sudhir Shah[xv], a neurologist who led the 21-physician team that evaluated and monitored HRM during his 411-day water-and-solar-energy fast, publicized his conclusions and theories about how HRM can subsist on sunlight. He posited that HRM sustains himself based on four key factors/processes:

1. Reducing calorie requirement by chronic adaptation

2. Deriving basic energy from sun energy

3. Utilizing the energy in an efficient way, and recycling it in his body

4. Possessing a genetically or phenotypically different body disposition

He goes into great detail about each factor in his theoretical summary, which you can read in his online report.

Dr. Shah concludes that the sun gazing phenomenon is genuine, stating, “It’s just fantastic, and absolutely amazing, but this is not a myth.”

A glowing article[xvi] in support of HRM was written by Dr. Maurie D. Pressman, a Holistic-Spiritual Psychoanalyst and Director of the Pressman Center for Mind/Body Wellness in Philadelphia. Dr. Pressman states he spent a good deal of “personal time” with HRM and believes he is one of the “realized beings among us.”

He describes how struck he was with how HRM’s body looked--very slender, graceful, and firm--not emaciated at all. He was also impressed with his quiet, self-assured manner.

Other reports are not so glowing.

In 2003, when trying to confirm reports that NASA had invited HRM for study[xvii], Jan Steinar Haugland[xviii] received a response from NASA spokesperson Dolores Beasley saying she had no idea why reports had claimed that NASA had invited Manek. She went on to say that they have no record of his being involved with them. She also checked all offices doing related research at centers such as Johnson, Marshall, and Ames.

Doctors who were supposedly wowed by HRM’s performance in the United States seem less than eager to publicly express their praise.

The third “observed” fast lasting 130 days was supposedly performed in Philadelphia, PA, under the direction of Dr. Andrew Newberg[xix] and Dr. George Brainard[xx]. However, contact with Dr. Newberg apparently revealed that Manek was only studied for “brain scans of meditation” at the University of Pennsylvania, not for his ability to fast indefinitely.

Dr. Newberg also denied ever undertaking the 130-day study, according to Wikipedia.

I emailed HRM himself and asked if he could shed some light on this conflicting information. He responded promptly, stating:

When an experience of a person becomes reproducible, it becomes a science. Sun gazing is not for non-eating. It is for health of mind, body and spirit…

…The media sometimes reports things in haste, I have never said anything about NASA. Those who believe, they do it, and those who do not believe--to them, any amount of explanation won’t work.

So, you will have to decide for yourself as to the validity of the claims of Hira Ratan Manek, and other sun gazers. What can be found easily are many reports from people who have been utilizing his sun gazing protocol to their benefit, without any negative consequences.

In fact, the very ambitious Vinny Pinto has posted online the results of his First Sungazing List Group Sungazer’s Survey[xxi]. Results are encouraging for those of you who are bold enough to consider trying out this esoteric practice. His major findings were:

Health improvements were reported, especially among women.
Persons who had sun gazed for at least a year, at least 4 times per week, were far more likely to report a decreased need for solid food.
Persons who had sun gazed for more than five years and who gazed near mid-day were more likely to report adverse effects.
35 of the 51 participants reported “increased or greatly increased energy” while only 1 participant reported reduced energy.
The number of people who reported a “decreased need for solid food” was approximately equal to the number of people who reported “no significant change in need for food.” Only 1 person reported an increased need.
The most common physical/mental/spiritual experiences reported from sun gazing were bliss/joy and peace/calm.
Not one person reported a decrease in physical health. All participants reported their health was the same or improved.

When asked how scientific his survey was, Pinto stated it was “not rigorously scientific, but a useful tool.”

That said, he describes himself as a degreed scientist and statistician who has trained others in statistical methodology, stating he made the study as scientific as he could, within his time and financial constraints. Therefore, it is probably a pretty good representation of the sun gazing population.

Closing Thoughts

Just how sun gazing works remains a mystery, but the same can be said of many esoteric practices, such as acupuncture and Qigong, which have been around for millennia and survived the test of time. One would expect these things to fall by the wayside if they offered no benefits at all.

Sun gazing appears to be gaining momentum in this country, as more complementary health practices are gaining acceptance by the public. If we always demand an explanation for how something works before trying it, we might be cheating ourselves out of some great tools that can provide benefit.

One fairly comprehensive resource is a book called Living on Sunlight[xxii] by Vina Parma, MBA. It is available for FREE download here.

I recommend that you read multiple sources of information before diving in, if sun gazing is something you decide you want to explore. At least then, you will be embarking on the journey with your eyes wide open.



[ii] Wikipedia,

[iii] Solar Healing Center: The official site for Hira Ratan Manek,

[iv] Wikipedia,

[v] Wikipedia,

[vi] Crystal’s Metaphysical and Science Website, Third Eye – Pineal Gland, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[vii] Encyclopedia Britannica online,

[viii] Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Descartes and the pineal gland, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[ix] Wikipedia,

[x] Chen JC and Lee LR, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[xi] Galileo, solar observing and eye safety, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[xii] Pinto V, Raw Paleolithic Diet Website, (Accessed December 15, 2008)


[xiv] Another LSD hallucination, Time Magazine online, January 26, 1968,,9171,837763,00.html

[xv] Shah S,

[xvi] Pressman MD, Realized beings among us, The Monthly Aspectarian, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[xvii] NASA to study man who survives on liquids and sunlight, June 20, 2003, Space Travel Exploration and Tourism,

[xviii] Haugland JS, Secular Blasphemy, July 2003, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[xix] Newberg A, website of,

[xx] Thomas Jefferson University website, faculty page, (Accessed December 15, 2008)

[xxi] Pinto V, Raw Paleolithic Diet website,

[xxii] Parma V, Living on Sunlight: The Art and Science of Sun Gazing as taught by Hira Ratan Manek, HRM 2nd Ed. December 2004 e-book

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Cause of the Fall?

—It will now be apparent, in spite of such an interpretation by religious hierophants
who wished to place and keep woman in servility, that woman was not the cause of
the fall. That man fell from a state of Edenic purity into grosser conditions through
yielding to temptation is a tradition held by widely disseminated peoples. Eve
yielded, and partook of the Apple of the Tree of Good and Evil, because she was
promised it would bestow wisdom. This apple is the fruit of incarnated experience.
The soul, therefore, descended from its spiritual state to enter physical form, where it
must gain its daily bread by the sweat of its brow, because it was tempted by the
desire for wisdom, which could only be attained by experiences in form.
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and
evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and
live forever.
What is the tree of life? Immortality is life without end. Life and consciousness are
only possible in association with form. Therefore, immortal life depends upon the
ability of the soul to attract to itself such forms as will enable it successfully to adapt
itself to its environment; for life only expresses through form so long as there is
successful adaptation to the environment. Continuous adaptation to environment is
continuous life. And while the life of the physical body may undoubtedly be greatly
prolonged, the earth in time will reach a state when it will no longer support physical
life. Man can hope for lengthy life, but not for immortality, in the flesh. He must,
therefore, if self-conscious immortality is to be attained, develop the power to attract
about his soul a form of the substance of the plane whither the tides of the
evolutionary life wave carry him.
Nor will he tarry indefinitely in the astral; for the astral, like the physical, is subject to
changes that in time will make it unfit as his abode. Ultimately, he will be swept
along by forces that are as certain as is physical death, to realms above the astral, to
the spiritual realm; yes, later, to regions even above this.
But if he is to survive on the spiritual plane; that is, if he is to retain consciousness, he
must have the power to build himself a form of spiritual substance. Such a form can
retain, as modes of motion, all the past experiences of the soul, if points of contact are
provided by which the slower velocities of astral substances can transform their
energy into spiritual velocities. To carry the consciousness into spiritual realms,
vibratory rates must be set up of sufficient frequency that they will organize spiritual
substance into a form which will receive from the astral body, and retain, the states of
consciousness recorded there.
The rates of motion of common worldly thoughts, those of base desires, and those of
selfish interest, have too low a frequency to influence spiritual substance. The person
who has no higher thoughts and aspirations than these does not build a spiritual body.
If he ever gets a spiritual body, which he probably will, he will have to organize it by
noble aspirations, unselfish endeavor, and devoted love on the astral plane, after
physical death.

Individual survival depends upon the ability of the entity to adapt itself to
ever-changing environment. There is no such thing as rest in nature; there is an
eternal procession of creation and destruction of form. Continuous consciousness,
therefore, depends upon the ability continuously to adjust the internal relations to the
external relations. Conscious life consists of this adjustment, and if it is to be without
end, there is Immortality.

To accomplish such a progressive adaptation the soul is concerned with but two
factors: Love and Wisdom. These are the tools with which it works. They are equally
important and essential, and the successful performance of its task depends upon
their continuous application to an increasing range of material. And in this
application, quality is important as well as quantity.
cc zain

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fraternal Bonds Without Territorial Exclusivity

This weekend I had the pleasure to attend and meet Relson Gracie of the famed Gracie Jiu Jitsu Family. What an exceptional man, not only in martial arts, but philosophically and attitude wise. For those not familiar with the Gracie's, here is a link to their family history, .

The Jiu Jitsu that I am training under is a certified instructor under Relson, and he frequently travels from Hawaii to see his instructors, teach things only he would know and interact with all the students. Talk about a humble man! What a difference meeting basically a Grand Master of a Martial Art that he has been training in for over 55 years, and still calls everyone "my brother", shakes all hands and never wants to be treated any different than the rest of us. How different from Ohio Masonry. The Grand Lodge's minions would hold district meetings just to teach masons how to properly "introduce" masons who refuse to be on the level and want all to know their "Titles". What do these titles mean? Absolutely nothing! How masonry has gone from a group of master masons only, to 33rds, 32nds, Knights, Companions, Deputies, etc.......

Since we have left the Grand Lodge system, we have only run into one ego, and he was dealt with and is gone. It's so refreshing to have the Grand Master call Halcyon and ask what they can do for us, instead of what we have to do for him! Not once, while in the Ohio system, did one Grand Lodge rep ever ask us what they could do for us, always commands and demands. Period! Here, the Grand Master of this discipline was on the ground grappling and showing us technique. He never wanted to be treated differently, he called us brothers and you could tell he meant it.

Gentlemen, there are sooooo many available groups for real that offer true, equal brotherhood; so much so that American Freemasonry is not special any more. They really do not have much to offer any more except a dues card and being told who they can and cannot associate with!? And oh yeah, they also restrict discussion topics too! In America no less?

Ok, well not me though, not while I live and breath on American soil. No electrician who ass kissed his way into a Grand Master's Title could ever restrict my Freedoms that many masons died for in the 1700's.
War Halcyon and the GOUSA! Liberty, Equalty and Fraternity can and are still a masonic creed.

Martial Artists from all over came to "visit" at this seminar. It did not matter from what "organization" one belonged to, it was open to all to come and gain some "knowledge" from a Master. What a different concept from American Freemasonry...
I could just imagine someone saying, you are a clandestine martial artist from another Grand Master, we are not allowed to have martial artist communication with you? LMAO

Wrong Password:result...

What a joke........ Grown men laying claims to sandboxes in the 21st century. Oh well, I know that I have fellow jiu jitsu brothers all over the country and world who will take me in as a brother no matter where I travel as well as Orient Masons worldwide, but not when it comes to the prejudiced, racist, egotistical grand lodge system here in america where isolationism rules the day! And rule the one day making of masons(members only in reality)

What am I missing out on again?

With all my love:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alicea, 18, a two-time Golden Gloves champ in busy boxing night at Browns Stadium

Alicea, 18, a two-time Golden Gloves champ in busy boxing night at
Browns Stadium
by Joe Maxse/Plain Dealer Reporter
Saturday April 18, 2009, 10:56 PM

CLEVELAND -- Something had to give at 152 pounds on Saturday night in
the finals of the Cleveland Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament.

Eddie Alicea was out to defend his title at Cleveland Browns Stadium
and Brett Simmons, last year's titlist at 132 pounds, was out to take
it away. The two 18-year-old fighters did their best to live up to the
billing as one of the night's best bouts.

It definitely was for Alicea as he put on a business-like effort in
winning the decision by outworking a game opponent.

"I don't take anything away from him, but I was at my natural weight
and was just busier," said Alicea, a senior at Max Hayes High. "Every
combination came off my jab. He caught me with a couple shots and he's
really fast."

However, Simmons was not fast enough to keep Alicea from beating him
to the punch too many times. Late in the first round, Alicea landed
his first scoring flurry of blows.

That set the pattern of the bout as Alicea kept the pressure on for
much of the time. While Simmons would pick off many of the punches,
Alicea's fast hands showed him to be the aggressor and had to score
points with the judges.

"I'm disappointed," said Simmons, a senior at Glenville High. "I would
have done better, but I just got back in the gym three weeks ago."

While his speed was still apparent, boxing at the higher weight cost
Simmons in the power department. Alicea also stuck to the game plan
preached by his coach Francis Figueroa.

"I told him to stay with the jab and keep the pressure on," said
Figueroa, who helps run the Old School Boxing Club in Ohio City. "He's
a good boxer, but by [punching] first he gains confidence."

Alicea reached the semifinals of last year's national tournament. He
said he will improve on that effort this time around at the Golden
Gloves Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"This year I'm going to take it all," said Alicea.

Zeddie Adams, a two-time Junior Olympic national champion from Brush
High, won the 141 pound open division title on a decision against
Reginald Barnes from the Thurgood Marshall/Police Athletic League Gym.
Adams, representing Cleveland's Salvation Army Boxing Academy, wore
down his opponent as he took control in the second round.

Cleveland's Terrell Gausha, a champion at 178 pounds the past two
years, picked up the 165-pound title on a decision against Wilkens
Santiago from Lorain.

Also winning in the open ranks were Yuandale Evans at 132 pounds,
Joshua Krosen at 178 and super heavyweight Stipe Miocic.

The open division winners will compete at the national tournament
beginning May 4.

119: Antonio Nieves (Old School),
152: Eddie Alicea (Old School B.C.)

152: Cassius Foster (Old School)


Saturday's Championships

at Cleveland Browns Stadium


112: Anthony Tulley (Good Shepherd B.C.), unopposed; 119: Antonio
Nieves (Old School), unopposed; 125: John Winterich (Empire),
unopposed; 132: Yuandale Evans (unattached) dec. Derrick Moss (West
Side); 141: Zeddie Adams (Salvation Army) dec. Reginald Barnes
(Thurgood/PAL); 152: Eddie Alicea (Old School B.C.) dec. Brett Simmons
(unattached); 165: Terrell Gausha (unattached) dec. Wilkens Santiago
(Freddie's); 178: Joshua Krosen (Warren B.A.) dec. Randy Campbell
(Claymont A.C.); Under 201: Marc Ward (Thurgood/PAL), unoppposed; Over
201: Stipe Miocic (unattached) def. Enam Danley Jr. (Empire B.C.), RSC
1. (Open champions advance to national tournament in Salt Lake City,
Utah, May 4-9).


125: Deontae Malone (Lonnie Burten Rec.) dec. Larry Mattice (Salvation
Army); 132: Greg Gilbert (West Side B.C.) dec. Devon Brown
(unattached); 141: Julius Thomas Jr. (unattached) dec. Von Hunter
(Lonnie Burten); 152: Cassius Foster (Old School) dec. Jimmy Bland
(Glenville Rec.); 165: Matt Brown (Terminator B.C.) dec. Avery Wood
(unattached); 178: Jim Chisholm (unattached), unopposed; Under 201:
Benjamin Horn (unattached), unopposed; Over 201: Alex Obrovich
(unattached), unopposed.


119: Justin Molnar (unattached), unopposed; 132: Ramiro Hernandez
(Michael J. Zone/Gladiators) dec. Christopher Hanczaryk (Freddie's);
141: Angel Figueroa (Freddie's), by walkover; 152: Eric Watkins (West
Side) dec. Noah Klembara (unattached); 165: Alex Vereshchagin (Empire
B.C.) dec. Kipp Latten (unattached); 178: Shavar Campbell (Empire)
dec. Adam Ferin (Little Italy B.C.); Under 201: Ryan Milligan (Valley
Forge B.C.) def. Jeffrey Hulett (unattached), RSC 1; Over 201: James
Meder (Valley Forge B.C.), walkover.

Female: 141: Carrie Fiol (Warren B.C.), unopposed.

Here is a photo of the 3 fighters with a new member of the team. Halcyon Charities and Old School Boxing Club want to wish Eddie and Antonio good luck at Nationals and to fight with dignity and class!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Well, another milestone in Ohio Masonry. The Grand Lodge has rolled out it's marketing plan for 2009. Giant billboards will have been invested in for a public relations program, helping promote the Fraternity and direct persons to the grand lodges website. WHAT SECRET ARE THEY ALLUDING TO TO ATTRACT THE CURIOUS?

My mother in law saw one of these while travelling with my wife, and was puzzled about the "public" recruitment for membership. She is a little old school, and forgot that Masonry today is not the same as her fathers. She remembers all the work I did to become a mason and a Worshipful Master, and then she hears of "one day classes" and public recruitment, and that any part of masonry is for sale: she now understands why they have dropped in prominence and interest in societies leaders. She was also taken aback when she hired a realestate lawyer and he was advertising on his brochure what Lodge he belonged to as well as the shrine. Now masons are advertising masonry in their personal business worlds? Once a NO NO?

My wife learned about Hiram(and the scerets of the "raising") from the TV and of his trials and tribulations.

I hope this mass public displaying of the Square and Compass pays off, but rarely does quantity agenda driven programs deliver quality?

IMHO ofcourse
Is this comparable to those late night TV commercials geared towards a specific client?
Same ole same ole.......

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 24 inch Guage and Jiu Jitsu

Time for writing and getting thoughts down has become tougher. As with Life and Nature, things go through cycles. Whether it is finances or the whole economy, tides or planetary movements, all things move in cycles. The time one can focus on Freemasonry and to what extent will be cyclical. Between ones own personal blog, other Masonic blogs of interest, forums and emails; then ones own involvement in their own physical Lodges, whether an officer or regular participant, responsibilities add up. In my own world, business has taken up more time and my daughter is getting older which demands more intellectual involvement from me. My parents continue to only get older which demands more time and responsibilities as well. Family and vocation are to always take precedence in our lives. This comes back to balancing our time properly, which is taught to us as an Entered Apprentice in the 24 inch gauge.

The 24 inch gauge, which again is the first working tool offered to the newest and youngest Entered Apprentices. Why would our Masonic Forefathers have placed this Working Tool as the First object for contemplation upon the psyche of the neophyte? What other meanings can be gleamed from the study of this particular object?

The Trinity? Man's threefold nature? Mind, Body, Spirit? The Emotional Soul, the Intellectual Soul, the Conscious Soul? The Dense Body, the Vital Body, the Desire Body? The Divine Spirit, the Life Spirit, the Human Spirit? Past, Present, Future? Involution, Evolution and Epigenesis? If we want to we can find how the number 3 is all around us. Three degrees to Freemasonry only. Man has devised more to it, but the building blocks of Freemasonry are the 3 degrees and that is what needs to be focused on. That could be one lesson of the 24 inch gauge, concentrate on the 3 degrees only.

Right now, I personally have taken a little hiatus from making Freemasonry a priority (mind and soul development) and am now focusing on my physical temple. For too long I have let my physical temple wither for too long. So I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My training has been going on now for a month and I love it. This training is also motivated by the desire to teach my daughter these principles of ground fighting and defense. I feel a young woman could really learn to defend themselves against friend or foe that puts you in an uncompromising position. The dedication I am taking to this training is paying off. I am the lightest I have been since college. I am now less than 240lbs! A few years ago I had allowed myself to reach 270+ lbs at 6'2''. I carried it well being an athlete, but I could tell it was doing damage to my inner workings, and my knees and back. I slowly started controlling my mouth, by not shoveling in as much food anymore. Gluttony I was guilty of! I then decided to dive into this Martial Art for 3 reasons, Cardio, technical knowledge of the Art and to teach my daughter.

Being a competitive man, it was difficult at first to have smaller men control you physically on the ground through technique. One had to bury their ego to have to take a beating and learn from it, then analyze what one had done and grow from it. I want to get better fast, so I am watching instructional videos when I can, trying to read about technique as well as philosophical approaches to the Art. I find it as fascinating as Freemasonry. I am finding it is allot like chess. One needs an ability to think while under duress and pressure. Jiu Jitsu is a submission type of grappling martial art, so certain actions spawn reactions. What needs to be learned is that non trained people have natural defensive reactions, where a trained Jiu Jitsu practitioner will react completely differently. It is always thinking about how to improve ones position without getting yourself caught in a submission type of hold.

My flexibility is getting better. It is very tough on the hips. My shoulders and wrists are trashed from grappling with multiple 300lb-ers! The body was not used to using these muscles in this manner, as well as the abuse from past athletics has ruined most of my joints. Time, patience and perseverance is making me a better practioner, having better cardio and becoming more flexible. I believe if the body is not functioning at its peak ability, the blood and oxygen cannot and do not work at their full capacity as TGAOTU had intended them to. There are many writings where "wrestling" with demons or desires is used as allegory for maintaining morality?

As a Freemason, I had let the Physical Temple go to long without any concentration or work! When most of us look around our Lodge rooms, do we see craftsman who have stopped working on 1/3 of their being? Belly masons I believe they are labeled?
We wonder why medical expenses are so high.

Gluttony with food and lack of physical exercise make a slovenly group. Whether masons or any org., we need to take care of our Temples or they will crumble down around us. Remember the lesson of the 24 inch gauge: Mind, Body and Spirit. Do not neglect any of the three and give them equal attention to perfect the being. I know I have some my Lodge brothers interested in me teaching them stuff I have learned. We have two Brothers that are both well over 300lbs, both under 40. I am trying to get them moving on their Temples as well. One may need more focus than another, but never neglect the Temple that TGAOTU gave YOU to dwell in while alive. TGAOTU may see that as disrespecting His House that he rented to you! TGAOTU built an infinite amount of temples for His Children to reside in, and You trash that present? What kind of Freemason can one be if he abuses the Temple given him by his Creator?
Again, just a thought and an interpretation of a Working Tool presented to us at our earliest stages in Freemasonry.
Abuse of the physical Temples built by masons and the abuse of the physical Temples built by TGAOTU.

In My Humble Opinion
Study your VSL about grappling to strengthen your Temple:

Genesis Chapter 32 verses 24-32.

Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone. A man came and wrestled with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.”

“You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.

The man asked, “What is your name?”

“Jacob” he answered.

The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”

Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.”

So he named the place Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, and the muscles on his hip joint had been injured. That’s why even today people in Israel don’t eat the hip muscle of any animal.
Genesis Chapter 30 verse 8.
So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, (and) I have indeed prevailed.”
Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 12 and 13:

We are not wrestling against humans. We are wrestling against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will be standing firm.

I believe that God knows that we are still wrestling today. Not just in the sport but life in general. God knows that the sport is a sport that can teach lessons in life that is why he uses it in the way he does. God knows that we wrestled with life yesterday, will so today, and will certainly do so tomorrow.

I believe that God knows that many of us today are facing problems and obstacles. Not just on the mat but more importantly, in life. We know what many of those obstacles and difficulties are. They include things like; Gluttony, Drugs, Bullies, Issues at School, Alcohol, Peer Pressure, War and many more. The truth is that we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a fallen and imperfect world that often takes along with it innocent victims. While some may consider it unjust for God to allow these types of things to happen, I see it as an ultimate loving God that would love us enough that he would ultimately allow us to do even stupid things, even things that unfortunately might cause harm to some one else. The love of God allows us to make the choices we make, even bad ones.

God also allows us to learn lessons from life and the things we become involved in. That is in part what this last passage of scripture is about. God loves wrestling/grappling and is in part telling us that we can learn lessons from wrestling/grappling, lessons in real way’s and with real meaning that wrestlers/grapplers can probably relate to better than anyone else.
Plato (427-347 B.C.E.)

The son of wealthy and influential Athenian parents, Plato began his philosophical career as a student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens where Aristotle studied. Plato was raised in a moderately well-to-do aristocratic family. His father was named Ariston, and his mother Perictione. Plato’s given name was Ariistocles, whereas his wrestling coach, Ariston of Argos, marked him with the nickname Platon, meaning broad on the account of his robust figure. Diogenes mentions alternative accounts that Plato derived his name from the breadth (platutes) of his eloquence, or else because he was very wide (platus) across the forehead. According to Dicaerchus, Plato wrestled at the Isthmian games.