Crikey! I Never Realised!
Maybe certain days have relevance above their station and mere numerical nomenclature? Who knows. So read on. See what happened today!
622 AD – The Hijra of Muhammad
Muhammad runs away from Mecca to escape persecution. From this point forward, huge swathes of the globe took up Islam, Islamic empires spread across, Africa, Asia and half of Europe; the legacy of which self-evidently exists today. Okay, there’s huge argument about this, but some people take this as the day. Personally, I don’t know enough about it, but I need something to match the post’s title, and other writers do take this as the day. Wikipedia says this, and who am I to argue?
The Muslim dates are in the Islamic calendar extended back in time. The Western dates are in the Julian calendar. The lunar year is about 300/309 solar year. The Hijra is celebrated annually on 8 Rabi’ I, about 66 days after 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year. Many writers confuse the first day of the year of the Hijra with the Hijra itself, erroneously stating that the Hijra occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1 or 16 July 622.
All dates given above may have occurred about 89 days (three lunar months) earlier. The Muslim dates may be those recorded in the original Arabic calendar and their month names may not have been changed to account for the (probably three) intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad’s last Hajj (AH 10).
Speaking to 13th century feudal Japan, Nichiren the monk said that the calamities and disasters befalling the people were all due to incorrect lifestyles. He insisted that all people were equal and free, that they should pay heed to people who were obviously skilled in their chosen field, and that they should do their best in the limited lifetime available.
Largely, he was ignored, and so half the country starved because of self-interest and malice.
And this is exactly the place where we find ourselves now across the globe. We live on a world of limited resource, where many people choose to live their life by stealing from others, either as individuals or nations. Nichiren’s words have as much relevance now as they ever did. Here’s part of the writing:
I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason that the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears. – WND, page 7, “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”
Daisaku Ikeda has some similar words about today; he says:
The powerful may appear great, but in reality they are not. Greatest of all are the ordinary people. If those in power lead lives of idle luxury it is because the people are silent. We have to speak out. With impassioned words, we need to resolutely attack abuses of power that cause people suffering. This is fighting on the side of justice. It is wrong to remain silent when confronting injustice. Doing so is tantamount to supporting and condoning evil.
I’ve quoted the above as a direct statement to those companies like Pacific Webworks, people like Jesse Willms and the misguided people of Utah who have misinterpreted their US constitution of freedom and capitalism as a freedom to steal from the needy as a means of amassing capital, all hiding under the umbrella “that it’s god’s work”. If capitalism doesn’t serve the people, then it has no purpose.
Nichiren’s Buddhism is now growing at a phenomenal rate. The time of change is now.
1918 AD – Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and his family are killed by a Bolshevik firing squad at Ekaterinburg, Siberia.
One of the final acts of the Russian revolution occurred with the attempted elimination of all of the monarchy and any aspirants thereto. This act changed history for the 20th century, it’s consequences evident even now by a powerful Russian people, proud of their history, somewhat ambivalent about the exact direction that leadership and authority should take.
On the night of 16/17 July 1918, the royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, told to dress, and led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house; the pretext for this move was the family’s safety – that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Ekaterinberg, and the house might be fired upon.
The executioners drew revolvers and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him multiple times in the head and chest. Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their clothing, which provided some initial protection from the bullets and bayonets. They were stabbed with bayonets and then shot at close range in the head.
Trinity, the first bomb is tested by the US at Alamogordo Air Base in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Within a month, two more bombs had been dropped on Japan, effectively ending World War 2. We, especially in the West, are living this legacy still. It can be argued that the threat of total devastation (the theory of MAD) has made nations with the bomb more proactive in reasoned discussion and less likely to take arms against each other. The converse is that the weapons will one day be used again and it’ll be the end of the world as we know it…
Unlike Oppenheimer, who had his own bit of Indian prose in mind, whenever I see the Trinity picture I hear William Blake. It’s a beautiful picture, just as the bomb goes off. What fearful symmetry? In that split second, we see all that was and all that will be.
Tyger, tyger, burning brightIn the forests of the night,What immortal hand or eyeCould frame thy fearful symmetry?
1969 AD – Man on The Moon
On this day, mankind set off to stand on a different celestial body. Four days later, we’d done it.
Less than four centuries earlier, over much of our planet, you could be burned or stoned to death for even suggesting that the possibility existed that a “creation of god” could be imperfect or blemished, like the moon is.
Such is the progress we’ve made, yet even now, such events are like a dream within a dream. The misogynist, nationalist, creationist forces are at work, attempting to roll back the clock to a time when they ruled the roost, and their hypocritical word was god .
But for now, we can say that men bravely stood on the Moon.