Friday, December 18, 2015

Threat perception on the US Power Grid

Having had the privilege to model and study every utility in the continental U.S. power grid, there remains little doubt of terrorist intrusion in the near future that will seriously affect the Nation's infrastructure. In what could originate as a local intrusion, meaning that the SCADA system of a small utility could be hacked, it is likely that the entire power grid could be disrupted by propagating the disturbance through neighboring tie-lines. With a blackout there would be no traffic lights, automated banking systems will not work, gas stations and electric vehicle charging stations would stop service, with backup generators only a few commercial enterprises would operate at their minimum capacities, all modes of transportation will cease. Only those systems that have uninterruptible power supplies would continue to operate, but not for too long. This obviously includes critical services affecting the health and well-being of the society. It is likely that utilities could rapidly restore the system, but the impact has enormous consequences affecting the safety and security of the US. As one researcher describes, this could be done for "Fun and Profit". We could not be far away from the truth of how a terrorist perceives this as a threat on the US power grid.
Source: NASA/GSFC 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fearless Buddha Form (Abhaya Mudra) on the Moon

Fearless Buddha Form (Abhaya Mudra) overlooking Da Nang Bay, Vietnam, May 2012
On the first Full Moon night following enlightenment, in a gesture of pointing his finger at the Moon, Gautama Buddha told his five disciples that truth is not an illusion. One must find where truth exists. An early 1st Century Tibetan wall painting is a depiction of this gesture. The historical picture appears to be part of the Bhava Chakra.
(Licensed Copyright from

The top part of the Wheel of Life (Bhava Chakra) is a depiction of Gautama Buddha pointing to the Moon. In some paintings, one can see a standing Buddha, and in some others, one can see a sitting Buddha pointing to the Moon. What could Gautama Buddha have implied with such a gesture? 

The most common meaning given to the gesture is to not look at the finger, but, to look where the finger is pointing. What do you see if a person points a finger at something and says "Look there and you will find your answer"? That is our question. One must wonder about it at all levels of scientific and philosophical inquiry to seek a message from the gesture and decode it for all humanity to feel and experience a sense of global awakening.

From all aspects of human and biological evolution on Earth, the Moon and the Sun have for long been the center of study, by ancient theologians, philosophers, explorers and scientists . How do the Moon and Sun affect life on Earth? From a philosophical perspective, Gautama Buddha said, "There are Three things that cannot remain hidden, the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth". We know that the Moon appears and disappears with a period of 29.5 days. We know that there are ebbs and tides in the oceans on Earth. While we know many things about the Sun and the Moon, what is the Truth that remains hidden? Where? One cannot ignore what exactly the Grand Master was indeed pointing at and continue to philosophize about the gesture as it has been done until now. Philosophy is good because it teaches the moral values. Either through receiving explicit instruction or as a practitioner of education, we learn to practice what we preach. That which exists must be seen. The question one can ask is, in what form? One may not believe in a story about a fact, but, the fact still exists that Gautama Buddha pointed his finger at the Moon. What did Gautama Buddha see that inspires us to realize the power of tour Mind? One can only assume this means the power to perceive. Naturally, this thought coincides with the notions that perception leads to thinking, thinking leads to understanding, understanding leads to greater knowledge, and greater knowledge raises the state of the conscious Mind.

Truth exists in all forms. Anything we wish to know about the Universal truth exists. Where does one find it? If there is a message in this gesture, then the message must be perceived as such. But, what is the message? What did Gautama Buddha intend for all of humanity to see, understand and experience in our travel through time and space? Why now? It would be a moral obligation that if there is anything seen and known to be true, then one must reveal the truth. 

From the Zen classic Hekigonroku, Case 3: When Master Baso was gravely ill, the chief priest paid a visit and asked “I heard you have been very ill, how are you feeling these days? Baso replied “Sun-face Buddha Moon-face Buddha.”

What does Sun-face Buddha or Moon-face Buddha mean? Philosophically, of course, there are an endless number of ways to interpret Master Baso's reply. Was it just a matter of saying that he felt angry at times and pleasant at other occasions? Or, is it likely he had seen and understood what was on the Sun and what was on the Moon to describe the feeling of his illness? What could he have meant? What was the message of his reply? Of course, only Master Baso would know that. It forces one to think things through to understand what the message indeed is.

"Seeing is believing" is a common phrase that gives one the perception that nothing is believable until it is seen by the eyes. If this is true, then it is not enough just to hear about it. We must see to believe what we hear to be true. Is it true, therefore, that seeing is believing? "Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others," wrote Johnathan Swift (1667-1745 AD). So, "what is the art in vision?", we could ask.  To answer this, perhaps yet another phrase used to describe one's blindness brings greater understanding.

The phrase "Blind as a Bat" is used to describe someone that does not have enough visibility in the eyes, poor vision and cannot see. It could also be used to say that someone is ignorant. But the question is; is it true that a  Bat is blind? 
Buddha, in Sanskrit "भुद्ध ", means "the Awakened One". Gautama Buddha means "Gautama The Awakened One".  Anyone can, therefore, feel awakened and experience an awakening. Hence the phrase "There is a Buddha in everyone", meaning "There is an awakening in everyone". We must make the effort to seek it. Our quest is Where is the Buddha? Not Who?! Not When?! Not Why?! Not What?! Just Where! Where is the Buddha? It must be inside yourself, the Inner-Self, the Inner-Mind, the Inner-Consciousness.
Communication theory describes how messages are coded at the sending end, sent over a transmission medium, and decoded at the receiving end by considering propagation delays in node-to-node message passing, channel noise, and transmission bandwidth limitations. It is understandable that looking at the finger of a person pointing at something gives little or no information, i.e., low entropy, low uncertainty, mostly everything is known, and not much is unknown. However, if one were to look beyond in the direction being pointed, one is overwhelmed and deluged by too much information and not know what to see or select, i.e., high entropy, great uncertainty, no prior information, too many unknowns. "The fundamental problem of communication is that of reproducing at one point either exactly or approximately a message selected at another point. Frequently the messages have meaning; that is they refer to or are correlated according to some system with certain physical or conceptual entities." wrote Claude Shannon in Mathematical Theory of Communication.

There is absolute truth in Claude Shannon's statement. Every message has a meaning. Words have to mean something. Pictures have to mean something. Images viewed in different wavelengths and orientation showing different features, which otherwise are indistinguishable, must mean something. In other words, everything has a meaning and a purpose for its existence. The important conclusion from Claude Shannon's principles of uncertainty is that "of reproducing at one point either exactly or approximately a message selected at another point". The word "approximately" is important because it signifies the first impact of a finding. It is only through a systematic evaluation and understanding that one can fully decode a message. The "approximate" nature of the form of message is indeed always the beginning of a longer message that points towards greater understanding of Life. Exactness can never be achieved. Exact truth means absolute truth. Precise, with no room for tolerance. Precisely what something means could never be understood in one's lifetime.

Earth and the Moon, as they rotate around their axes around the Sun cause different view angles of the face of the Moon in the Northern and Southern hemispheres of Earth.

So, what was Gautama Buddha pointing to and what is the message? 

The Moon is the nearest celestial object to Earth. It has its axis of rotation with respect to Earth. The relative spin of Earth and the Moon is such that the same face of the Moon always faces Earth. Various myths and beliefs exist. But, our beliefs must transcend in the truth rather than in the myths surrounding the fact. Myths drive us towards false beliefs. Blind faith is to accept without reasoning. Our perceptions must be held firmly by reasoning and understanding.

In "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching", Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh describes a Zen story about a man riding a horse. While at first, it is just a man on a horse, a person watching the horse galloping quickly shouts at the man "Where are you going? You must be in a hurry!" The man, feeling utterly confused shouts back "I don't know! Ask the horse!".

Our life's path is like riding a horse. Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh's has said "We are riding a horse, we don't know where we are going, and we can't stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We are always running, and it has become a habit. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are at war within ourselves, and we can easily start a war with others." The message on the Moon appears to show this more vividly in that our journey through life is a story of being driven by desire and attachment.

Besides the typical patterns seen on the Moon, such as the "Rabbit on the Moon", patterns never perceived before seem to emerge and shine vividly. Here is one which gives the perception of a family unit on a horse that appears to add meaning to "Samsara" a cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

A spectacular sight that mystified me was the twin rays from the Crater pair, Messier A and Messier seen here in the NASA Apollo 15 Lunar mission taken from the window of the Apollo Command Module. I was intrigued by the beams of light and the power of the radiating source. If one were planning a trip to the Moon, it could serve as a homing beacon for navigation on the Moon. It was highly intriguing, to say the least.
Thay Thien created several watercolor renditions of Avalokhiteshwara portrayed as a provider of all human needs throughout the cycle of human evolution. His artistic rendition covered the areas of Mare Serenitatis, Mare Tranquilitatis, and Mare Fecunditatis. These three Marias in English are, the Sea of Serenity, the Sea of Tranquility, and the Sea of Fertility, respectively, all three which aptly describe the significance of Avalokitheshwara as the Giver of Compassion and provider of knowledge and wisdom to all humankind. Serenity, tranquility and fertility describe the pure and true nature for Peace of Mind throughout the life cycle of birth and death in a state of absolute calmness.

Then, like a sudden spark, a picture of the third-quarter waxing Moon baffled my imagination. The twin rays from the Messier Crater pair appeared to terminate at the center of the palm of a distinct Buddha form. The box highlights the location of a 3D holographic image that has the form referred to in Sanskrit as Abhaya Mudrā, or Fearless Form. It is a form that "represents protection, peace, benevolence and the dispelling of fear."

Like a bolt from the blue, I had stumbled upon something that stunned me. Could this be what Gautama Buddha was pointing his finger at the Moon? Could this be a message for the beginning of deeper understanding of the Bhava Chakra?

Images in the visible and invisible region of electromagnetic spectrum appear to show a hideous mask over a human face symbolizing the grip of Mara over the Mind of Gautama Buddha depicted in paintings.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple. Chiang Mai, Thailand, April 16, 2012

Finally, I am reminded of a Koan "No Water, No Moon" which sheds light on Nun Chiyono's enlightenment

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taming the Elephant in one's Mind

I cannot imagine how many times each day I say to myself to tame the elephant in my mind. It is a bursting feeling in the mind with no possible end in sight, and with no outlet for relief. It is anger, unrest and frustration combined in disproportionate and unthinkable ways that makes one feel as though the World around is fading away. It gives a jittery and uneasy feeling of being lost and totally confused with no way to take control of oneself.

Like an elephant in rage, which can trample anything and everything in sight, you feel like jumping out screaming and destroying everything around. It is a sense of being out of control, a sense of madness, and a feeling of utter chaos. How can one possibly calm down? What is the prescription to remain calm and collected?  Is there a way to find comfort and relief?

There is a temptation to ask someone, a close relative or friend perhaps, it does not matter who, to show the way. "Show me the way" is exactly what the Mind is telling itself constantly. It is a never-ending persistent ringing inside the mind that does not seem to go away. Is there an answer? Is there a Way? What is the Way? I am reminded of a Koan from the Zen classic Mumonkan or The Gateless Gate Case 19, which says "Ordinary Mind is the Way". 

As easy as it sounds, controlling one's own mind appears to be the the commonsensical and easiest way. No one else can give that power. It is a self-generated power to resist negative change. The feeling is between giving-up, or fighting to win. It also gives meaning to controlling aggression and building a sense of self-control. There is a sense of stability which offers solace and peace of mind.

A calm mind creates an environment for rational, constructive, pristine and innovative thoughts. Creative ideas help one to rationalize, organize and give meaning to why, what and how to challenge nagging issues or problems that plague the mind. Then, when one is composed and free of ill-conceived and destructive thoughts, one can direct the Mind to the knowledge of destroying the unhealthy and cankerous mind. It is a self-directed mind game in which the good and evil mind are severely at odds, disagreeing with each other, and with the good part eventually overwhelming and subduing the evil mind. It is a fight with the evil Mara in one's mind that has to be subdued and destroyed.

No one can do a person greater good than what one's own well-directed mind can do. A willing person will find the way.

I came across a video segment on Reuters News that meditation is a necessity for a calm Mind

Walking up a steep hill on a hot and humid morning in April of 2012 to visit the famous Buddha Pagoda in Chiang Mai, Thailand,  I felt totally exhausted about half-way up. Climbing the steep path of stone steps with each step about knee-height , made me sweat profusely and feel out of breadth. I could go no further. I had to stop and rest. I was being tortured in my Mind. "Should I stop, sit down for a while and then walk down?", I thought.  

A sign in the woods awakened me. "A willful man will have his way..." it said, both in English and in Thai. Of course, had it not been in English, I would have never know what it said.

My first thought was "WOW"! Yes, these were the words of wisdom I needed. No one I knew could have said that to me at that moment and have received the same attention as this simple message from the woods surrounding the Pagoda. There was no one else next to me. I would be lying if I said I did not think that way. These were the words anyone wishes to hear or see that reinforces one's Mind to be willful, mindful to achieving one's goals in life. There was a sense of enlightenment and I needed that badly. "You can't give up", I said to myself over and over again. One part of the Mind says "Go" and the other "No-Go". I was reminded of a Manthra from the Heart Sutra.

In Sanskrit: "Gathe-Gathe-Paragathe-Parasimgathe-Bodhi Swaha".
Translated In English: "Going-Going-Gone-Gone forever- Enter the divine Bodhi State".

What is Going and Gone forever mean? What is the object that has gone?

It is said that Bodhisathwa Avalokhiteshwara gave the Manthra as a means to perceive emptiness wherein all five sensory systems are gone, and even the Mind itself cannot be perceived. Lost is the Mind and hence the Mind is a void. Impossible for any one to perceive. In the conventional way of thinking, going out of one's Mind is called madness. However, if it is not madness that we perceive, then what is that feeling when there is no Mind to perceive the existence of the Mind! Difficult to perceive, let alone to understand and have the experience.

Perhaps only those few Masters in our generation, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Venerable Thich Ngat Hanh and one special person in my life, Venerable Thich Le Thien whom I refer to as Thay Thien, in Vietnam, can describe in their words that feeling towards greater awakening in our Mind.

I suppose the Manthra could be read and understood as "Get-up, Walk-up, Walk-up faster and enter the Pagoda". This is exactly how I could have built the will and exert power in the Mind to act and pull myself up the hill. Our perceptions of inducing a push-pull feeling can be visualized as a "flux feild" that will induce currents in the human body and generate sufficient potential to energize the human Mind to getup and go. Imagine an iPhone with a RF chirp transmitter that can do that! A chirp that arou the stimulatory neurons to burst and stimulate the urge to do what must be done.

Having gained back the strength in my Mind, I pushed myself uphill, a feeling of Mind over Matter, or Mind over Body, however one can describe a feeling of Self-control, and finally reached the Pagoda. Whether it was a pulling force or a pushing force that gave the strength I cannot describe.

When I reached the top, I was simply awestruck! Everything flashed through my Mind. I thought "Where am I?" All I could see were Gold colored statues of The Buddha, Emerald Green Buddha, wall paintings from the past and a feeling of time-travelling into the past. WOW! What an enlightening feeling it was! It was as though a door had opened in my Mind.

A wall-painting captivated my Mind. A human with a protective shield like none that we know now or will ever know, against an enemy that is as formidable as one can possibly imagine. Who is Mara? It must be Mara the Evil Mind. There can be no greater enemy than Mara. He is in our own Mind. "How?", one can wonder anyone has that power in one's Mind to fight such an Evil Mind. It is said that when Gautama Buddha meditated, the elephants in the forest bowed as they passed by. The moral from this is that taming the elephant in one's Mind, will tame the elephants in the minds of others.