Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Redemption

I try to read at the park sometimes, but I need to keep an eye on my daughter and sometimes it's just too many interruptions. I've been not taking a book to the park and not looking at my phone, and I guess I get to reflecting. Had 2 thoughts today.



1. I remember a while back when Brit Hume said that Buddhism doesn't have redemption. There is a Buddhist text on redemption but it certainly doesn't buy into the hooey that Hume was thinking about, like you get to go to heaven if you're done a little good and repent or whatever. When it all went down I saw a celebrity Buddhist say he thought Buddhism had redemption.

I would say that Buddhism is more focused on preventing negative actions that would need redemption. Angulimala has some making up for murder to be done. Humans can really turn it around and that is an amazing thing.

Redemption is a good idea. It bubbles up from true remorse and the desire to try and right wrongs. Why not try to focus on trying to make up for mistakes.

Plus it helps you realize that there are a lot of things that can't be undone. Not to put more pressure on people, but as an extra incentive to be careful and thoughtful.


2. The neutral stage of metta is the hardest and most useful. If we don't love or hate someone, it's easy to drift away. This stage challenges us most to push for metta to someone who isn't in our grid of like or hate.

Metta isn't about thinking, it's about spreading a feeling further if possible. Provoking a positive mental state into new areas. Thought and feelings go together, so you can't separate them.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Joy synonyms



amusement
bliss
charm
cheer
comfort
delight
elation
glee
humor
pride
satisfaction
wonder
alleviation
animation
delectation
diversion
ecstasy
exultation
exulting
felicity
festivity
frolic
fruition
gaiety
gem
gladness
gratification
hilarity
indulgence
jewel
jubilance
liveliness
luxury
merriment
mirth
prize
rapture
ravishment
refreshment
rejoicing
revelry
solace
sport
transport
treasure
treat
good humor
pride and joy
regalement

Monday, August 05, 2019

Stephen Batchelor quote

"I see the aim of Buddhist practice to be not the attainment of a final nirvana but rather the moment-to-moment flourishing of human life within the ethical framework of the Eightfold Path here on earth." from Tricycle.

That is in part based on his rejection of rebirth, of which he states: "Given what is known about the biological evolution of human beings, the emergence of self-awareness and language, the sublime complexity of the brain, and the embeddedness of such creatures in the fragile biosphere that envelops this planet, I cannot understand how after physical death there can be continuity of any personal consciousness or self, propelled by the unrelenting force of acts (karma) committed in this or previous lives."

Also in article:

Edward Conze drew the conclusion that “Buddhism hasn’t had an original idea in a thousand years.”

And

"Western enthusiasm for things Buddhist may still be a Romantic projection of our yearnings for truth and holiness onto those distant places and peoples about which we know the least."

And

"It [secular Buddhism] is neither a reformed Theravada Buddhism (like the Vipassana movement), a reformed Tibetan tradition (like Shambhala Buddhism), a reformed Nichiren school (like the Soka Gakkai), a reformed Zen lineage (like the Order of Interbeing) nor a reformed hybrid of some or all of the above (like the Triratna Order, formerly the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order)"

And

"It is in this sense that my secular Buddhism still has a religious quality to it, because it is the conscious expression of my “ultimate concern”—as the theologian Paul Tillich once defined “faith.”"

There's much more in the article, but I've quoted enough. Quite appealing to me.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

John 13:35

Compare translations:

KJ21 By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples: if ye have love one for another.”
ASV By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
AMP By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”
AMPC By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
BRG By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
CSB By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
CEB This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
CJB Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other.”
CEV If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.
DARBY By this shall all know that ye are disciples of mine, if ye have love amongst yourselves.
DLNT By this everyone will know that you are disciples to Me: if you are having love in-the-case-of  one another”.
DRA By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
ERV All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”
EHV By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
ESV By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
ESVUK By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
EXB All people will know that you are my ·followers [disciples] if you love ·each other [T one another].”
GNV By this shall all men know, that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
GW Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”
GNT If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
HCSB By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
ICB All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”
ISV This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
PHILLIPS When he had gone, Jesus spoke, “Now comes the glory of the Son of Man, and the glory of God in him! If God is glorified through him then God will glorify the Son of Man—and that without delay. Oh, my children, I am with you such a short time! You will look for me and I have to tell you as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow.’ Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.”
JUB By this shall everyone know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
KJV By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
AKJV By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
LEB By this everyone will know that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”
TLB Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
MSG “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
MEV By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
MOUNCE By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NOG Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.”
NABRE This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NASB By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NCV All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”
NET Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”
NIRV If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.”
NIV By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
NIVUK By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’
NKJV By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NLV If you love each other, all men will know you are My followers.”
NLT Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
NMB By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
NRSV By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NRSVA By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
NRSVACE By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’
NRSVCE By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
NTE This is how everybody will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.’
OJB By this will kol Bnei Adam have da’as that my talmidim you are, if ahavah you have one for the other.
TPT For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
RSV By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
RSVCE By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
TLV By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
VOICE Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.
WEB By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
WE This is how all people will know that you are my disciples.'
WYC In this thing all men shall know, that ye be my disciples, if ye have love together.
YLT in this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye may have love one to another.'

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Possession



Not sure what book this is from, got it off Reddit, but I thought it was interesting. Reminds me of doing the 6 element practice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pearls of Winter



Lisa J. Jisa has written Pearls of Winter (Goodreads). I went to high school with Lisa and she's a friend. We often have spiritual discussions and swap links. She is a Christian and believes God is love. She can see the problems with certain churches and religions and is not a fundamentalist or anything like that. I find interfaith discussion important. In the past she wrote for her newspaper in Arizona. Check out her book.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

8 verses of mind training without commentary

With a determination to achieve the highest aim

For the benefit of all sentient beings

Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,

May I hold them dear at all times.



Whenever I interact with someone,

May I view myself as the lowest amongst all,

And, from the very depths of my heart,

Respectfully hold others as superior.



In all my deeds may I probe into my mind,

And as soon as mental and emotional afflictions arise-

As they endanger myself and others-

May I strongly confront them and avert them.



When I see beings of unpleasant character

Oppressed by strong negativity and suffering,

May I hold them dear-for they are rare to find-

As if I have discovered a jewel treasure!



When others, out of jealousy

Treat me wrongly with abuse, slander, and scorn,

May I take upon myself the defeat

And offer to others the victory.



When someone whom I have helped,

Or in whom I have placed great hopes,

Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways,

May I regard him still as my precious teacher.



In brief, may I offer benefit and joy

To all my mothers, both directly and indirectly,

May I quietly take upon myself

All hurts and pains of my mothers.



May all this remain undefiled

By the stains of the eight mundane concerns;

And may I, recognizing all things as illusion,

Devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

#5 (37 practices of Bodhisattvas)

When you keep their company, your three poisons increase,
Your activities of hearing, thinking and meditating decline,
And they make you lose your love and compassion
Give up bad friends--
      This is the practice of the Bodhisattvas.

My initial reaction to this verse is that I don't like it. I think that's the whole point of the bodhisattva is to leave the monastery and be in the world (like the Buddha) with all it's complications and negativity. You don't flee for your own spiritual development, you rush into the world.

But you can't be friends with lack of virtue. Friendship is only with a person who possesses virtue. There is no such thing as a bad friend, there is only a person who does not participate in friendship, maybe comrades in samsara.

You can monitor your feelings and be aware. There is not sin in taking care of yourself and guarding your development. You can't help people if you can't take care of yourself. Self care is very very important.

So when someone is draining your ability to hear, think and meditate, you make sure that they do not snuff out these abilities. You nurture and cherish your abilities to do these things, for everyone. If you're going to go down a dark spiral if you associate with someone, then don't associate with them. Being a bodhisattva isn't sacrificing yourself, unlike the Christian martyr. You are going for enlightenment for the sake of all beings, but destroying yourself doesn't do that. You could choose to sacrifice your body for others, but going down a negative path is not the same thing, and this life is precious.

I think of Ksitigarbha from the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Pūrvapraṇidhāna Sūtra, who vows not to achieve Buddhahood until all hells are emptied.

But by no means do you need to constantly put yourself into harm's way either. It's OK to surround yourself in nourishing relationships and rarely challenge this setup. You should not pretend you are more spiritually advanced than you really are to please others.

You may have an Iago who gaslights you because he can't outright murder you, but feels he can undermine you, sabotage you under the guise of a loyal servant. Or maybe a Lady Macbeth, who encourages you to be murderously ambitious, and shames your concept of manhood to help get you there. Or maybe you listen to the flattering daughters like Lear, that support your grandiosity. Or maybe a Tybalt can draw you into a conflict to your detriment.

If you go on r/family on Reddit you will encounter people who realize their family is undermining them and perhaps are a not the all good that family is portrayed. On r/relationships on Reddit you will find that relationships change and people can realize or see someone has changed to be undermining. People change. They can be supportive and helpful for a while, and then change. Perhaps you give a friend the benefit of the doubt, or you give them a little more of a chance to be a full person with the negative and the positive that everyone has. But clinging to the idea of how someone is in the past might also be masochistic and unhelpful.

(go back to #4 here (there are actually 44 verses in the text, 2 preface, and 5 postscript))




Thich Nhat Hanh quote



"Understanding someone's suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love's other name. If you don't understand, you can't love" -- Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Joy Harjo

"Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time."

From Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Addicted to information: Idle curiosity

I imagined that learning was somehow free from addiction and pure goodness. But this article from NeuroscienceNews.Com shows that facts are also part of the reward system that gets all wrapped up in addiction:

"“To the brain, information is its own reward, above and beyond whether it’s useful,” said Assoc. Prof. Ming Hsu, a neuroeconomist whose research employs functional magnetic imaging (fMRI), psychological theory, economic modeling, and machine learning. “And just as our brains like empty calories from junk food, they can overvalue information that makes us feel good but may not be useful–what some may call idle curiosity.”"

I've been reading a history of America and looking lots of things up on Wikipedia. There were woman who fought in the Revolutionary War: Deborah Sampson GannettMolly PitcherAnna Maria Lane, Sally St. Clair and Margaret Corbin.

We joke about "surfing the internet" is like going down the rabbit hole, a reference to the great curiouser and curiouser book Alice In Wonderland. It turns out always looking at our phones is a kind of addiction.

I've always seen curiosity as a virtue, but I suppose everything can be turned into a vice.

Could this be applied to the whole industry of celebrity gossip? Could this be applied to wanting to know more about Shakespeare, when there's little biographical information?

They outlawed slaves learning to read because they might get big ideas, or learn about all the slave rebellions going on all over the place.

The information age has changed a lot of things. Caskets have gone down in price because people learned you could get caskets for cheaper somewhere else.

Where are the stories where information hurt people? I know that drug information did not decrease the amount of drug use, like it was hoped.

Sangharakshita talked about a kind of dharma indigestion where people knew too many exotic practices and dharma but were not really putting any of it into practice. Nothing was valued or sacred it was all just gorged information.

Maybe we should call it not the information age, but the clickbait age, slowing down to rubber neck.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Poem by Sangharakshita

The Minor Poets

Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge
Are godlike spirits; we are men,
And cannot always brook their splendour –
The Minor Poets please us then.

The singers of the lesser vision,
Who never soar beyond our ken –
When we grow tired of greatness, they,
The Minor Poets, soothe us then.

Oppressed by fears, by doubts bewildered,
From Melancholia’s cluttered den –
For all their charm, for all their solace,
The Minor Poets, we thank them then.

Faded bindings, dusty edges,
Words underscored by studious pen –
Rejoice to see them on the shelves,
And praise the Minor Poets then.













Came across this poem when I googled "Sangharakshita and Shakespeare". I love "Melancholia’s cluttered den". There was a guy who wrote on the r/Shakespeare subreddit about his depressed feeling in realizing he would probably not be able to surpass Shakespeare. I don't really worry about that, but I think in a way that "cannot always brook their splendour". Maybe not.

Not sure if Sangharakshita means to list his top 4 favorite poets. We can't ask him anymore because we lost him last year.

He died at the same age as my grandfather. In the refuge tree, we imagine all our fathers and mothers over our shoulders. In the refuge tree is Sangharakshita and his teachers in the "teachers of the present" 9.

Turning away from reading the Dharma is something I'm doing more and more. I've been reading through Shakespeare. At a certain point, everything is Dharma.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Julian of Norwich



Been listening to Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love. I saw someone was reading it on Goodreads, and was interested. I missed her holiday May 8th. I find that Christian mystics can write interesting things even if I don't buy into their whole scheme of things.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Mindfulness Conspiracy



The Guardian has an article entitled The Mindfulness Conspiracy. I'm honestly getting a little tired of people generating articles about subjects they that ends up being reinventing the wheel. I dismissed the article when I read someone thought it was clickbait. Clickbait is such an important concept. I find myself clicking on links that never contain the photo on the original link and ends up being a slide show. I don't click on slide shows any more. Just can't do it no matter how cool all the old photos are. I'm also struck by the line from Lenon, "nobody told me there would be days like these."

The subheadline is, "It is sold as a force that can help us cope with the ravages of capitalism, but with its inward focus, mindful meditation may be the enemy of activism." Right there I disagree. I think of the wonderful book Time To Stand Up by Thanissara.

Taking care of yourself is profoundly revolutionary and supports the revolution, despite what Ronald Purser, the author of the article, says. I would also suggest that turning inward ultimately helps people to tune into injustices in the world, and mindfulness can focus one's energies for change. The Bodhisattva ideal is all about helping others. The idea that unhappiness resides within us doesn't mean that we don't need to seek to redress injustice outside of us. Understanding the barriers to metta, compassion and sympathetic joy is incredibly revolutionary. I would argue that that is the work that needs to be done by those in the yang of politics who's policies lead to the death of Americans. Just to pick one example, our love of guns leads to the murder of 350 children every year.

I suppose there is the antidote to all this mindfulness rediscovery. Some people have adverse reactions. Often people who are repressing things, or unstable mental structures that come down with change. The problems with people on intense retreats are often that people are not supported through the intense times. I didn't tell my preceptor that I had a deep meditative experience and other meditation problems. But I've learned along the way, and I'm not impatient to iron out all my wrinkles. I just learned an idea that helps me with compassion meditations. The world where you have a guru who sniffs out all your problems is perhaps more spiritual materialism or good luck.

I don't really know if there was a time of deep friendships and deep human interactions. You could make the case that technology has taken us away from that. I don't know if either of those thoughts are true. Objectivity about mind is one gain in meditation. I already had epistemic character, but it took it to another psychological level.

Assuming mindfulness is a "magic panasea" isn't a great place to start. If there's one thing about mindfulness, I've come to realize, there are no magic panaseas.

"Mindfulness zealots" tend to be people who have decided to make a career out of what they love. Purser writes, "And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids."

Perhaps he is attacking mindfulness without the Buddhism, and it's community, ethical structure, the history of the Bodhisattva ideal? He says, "Mindfulness is nothing more than basic concentration training." Um, I don't think so. Oh, what he is talking about is secular mindfulness, which is often used to lure in wary Christians who worry about betraying their families. Meanwhile nuns and priests go on retreat and realize something was really missing in their spiritual practice. If nothing at all, with just mindfulness you might become aware that you need ethics, community and positive goals that don't hurt other people. Did he go along to a Sith meditation class?

"The neoliberal order has imposed itself by stealth in the past few decades, widening inequality in pursuit of corporate wealth." It's hard to argue that we have not taken a step back in inequality recently, all the indicators I've read about suggest that things are getting more unequal. To pick out mindfulness as the culprit, well, that does feel like clickbait.

"Stress has been pathologised [sic] and privatised, and the burden of managing it outsourced to individuals." Um, that's been going on since dot.

Taking responsibility of one's life does not conflict with looking at the larger forces with society. He's buying into the either/or dichotomy of the yin and yang of politics. We can tell people to take responsibility for their lives, and work on the greater forces. Conservative would have you not work on the larger forces, and buy into this false dichotomy. Work on individual forces and larger forces. It's the same claptrap of saying that psychotherapy blames the victim. No, it empowers the victim, and you can also wake up to work on the larger forces.

Here is the hedge that totally undercuts his point: "But none of this means that mindfulness ought to be banned, or that anyone who finds it useful is deluded. Reducing suffering is a noble aim and it should be encouraged." Now all of a sudden? Not sure if he's aware of all the good done by spiritual communities in the world. In fact by realizing our inter-being, it's hard to imagine what he is talking about, except in the either/or dichotomy of the yin and yang of politics.

It's hard to imagine a "mindfulness industry" being such a force in society. How about the "social work industry"? That one tuned me into the suffering of the poor, and how unfair and blaming the victim it is, how larger forces grind people into dust sometimes. I met a social worker once who thought psychotherapy was easy, changing the larger forces was hard. Great, you focus your energies where you think it will do the most good. But you don't lift yourself up by putting others down. Again not either/or.

So many phrases, "so-called mindfulness revolution". I know so many people that will disagree with this article. One of the fetters is the fetter of superficiality--thinking that rites and rituals are ends in and of themselves. I think McMindfulness is really just superficiality.

The franchising of mindfulness is blanding it of idolatry so Christians don't get twitchy. Anyway, you bring your ethical system to whatever you do. You can teach mindfulness all you want without an ethical system attached, but even so I think humans have a natural ethical sense that can't be gotten rid of. I would prefer to beat the drum of veganism that in my opinion is the largest personal act you can do to improve the world. No mention of that.

Superficiality and spiritual materialism are well known problems. Keep fighting against them. "because what it offers is so easily assimilated by the market, its potential for social and political transformation is neutered. " So don't neuter it. Did you really think the revolution would come from an industry? It's like he feels the revolution industry has been sidetracked. It's kind of funny to even imagine the revolution industry. I see revolution as lead by woke individuals or just ideas having their time in a widespread way.

When I read, "A truly revolutionary mindfulness would challenge the western sense of entitlement to happiness irrespective of ethical conduct." I think about how you have to promise toys to children to get them out of the burning house, but once they get outside, what they find isn't toys, but is so much better. Selling Buddhism through happiness is misguided but does capitalize on a psychological research obsession of a few years ago. I would argue that revolutions are lead not by angry people but by people who fight injustice and can keep their equanimity.

"Perhaps worst of all, this submissive position is framed as freedom." I think facing our minds is profoundly unsubmissive.

His critique of neoliberalism is fine. Unfortunately the conflation of mindfulness collaboration isn't really proved. But it got a long post out of me, so for that I am grateful. But look up Joanna Macy and then tell me mindfulness isn't about everyone and everything. It's called Systems Theory baby.

On a positive note (the world really is getting better) Bhutan is supporting female monastics, countering valuing just men. The good work done by Bhutan Nuns Foundation.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Love


Here is a short video about this book by the author so you can get a brief sense of her.

I've noticed "felt sense" being used a lot amongst Buddhists. I read that phrase first in Eugene Gendlin's book Focusing.

Lama Palden Drolma in 1987 she founded Sukhasiddhi Foundation in the SF Bay Area (Fairfax is north of San Francisco), a Tibetan Buddhist center in the Shangpa and Kagyu lineages. Her teachers were Kalu Rinpoche, HH Karmapa the 16th, Jamgon Kongtrul, Tai Situpa, Bokar Rinpoche, Dezchung Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, HH Dudjom Rinpoche, and the Dalai Lama.

One thing I like about this book is that she talked about how others suffering can enter our body and reside there if not processed. By inviting suffering in and metabolizing it, the negative energy is diffused. You visualize a vajra which is the indestructible absorber of suffering smoke.

I'd imagined a lint filter, that you had to keep cleaning out, but I like the vajra much better. I have a vajra on my shrine. I keep seeing Dr. Farnsworth saying, it's dolomite baby.

I like the way she writes and there are many different versions of how to do the meditation of tonglen, even for the non-Buddhist in this small book. 

Times Review of George Will’s latest book

“Today’s culture is a reason for thinking that perhaps people should be a bit more circumscribed by manners and mores, and would be improved by a pinch of awe about something other than their own splendor.” 

They inevitably cast a shadow on what passes for conservatism in the Republican Party today. Their values are domination; gut-thinking; cultishness; recklessness; fundamentalism; and the preference for raw power over letting things be.”

Review


Friday, May 03, 2019

Amazing video



Coleridge wrote of Hamlet, "All duties are holy for him; the present is too hard." (p. 202 Shakespeare and Modern Culture by Marjorie Garber). My solution to that problem is to trust your instincts, your gut. This is where emotions cut down possibilities and you can act in your own best interest. A man had a hunting accident that cut off his emotions from his brain. He seemed normal. He went back to work and someone asked him, "what would you like for lunch." The possibilities were too much for him, he could not decide. While emotions are often the bad guy, make you do bad things impulsively, we tell people to think more. But emotions serve an important function of narrowing possibilities to help you act. Focusing is one method taught to help you tune into your body's wisdom. You can do a body scan. You can do one of the many variety of somatic meditations. Reginald Ray has one.

You can watch a video of Ray on YouTube, interview by Renate McNay on Consciousness TV, uploaded 2015. The video is over an hour, but I watched it.

They go into Ray's 17 years with Chogyam Trungpa. He speaks about his Episcopal root of trying to leave the body. What strikes me about him is his humility. Renate McNay talks about the loss of her child as the crisis that helped her to work towards embodiment. Watch the rest of the video to find out how he does it. The practice helps you to know what your body knows. You see the small slice of reality you've been looking at for it's narrowness as you widen your perspective. You become less invested in your small slice of reality and begin to see infinity.

McNaly said she tried the Earth meditation, and usually she goes up, but to go down seems like the wrong direction. We become disembodied by walling off from our body. You learn to feel and sense the body. You notice the tension of the body. You begin to release the tension. We stop walling off experience. Embodiment is co-extensive with the universe. The experience of oneness with the universe. You let go of tension by going into it. Put your awareness into the tension. That act changes it, you perhaps begin to see how you're holding onto the tension. McNaly says she accepts pain and that disperses it. She feels like it's an endless process. Ray thinks the purpose of life is not to reach an endpoint. Life is a process of unfolding that gives an imperative. Egolessness is the realization that there is no fixed point. Everyone wants the upcycles. Downcycles teach us more. You reregulate, and that is how you grow. Ray's son was 15 when this video happened. That reminded McNaly of a teaching that we are all tired from going through the cycles. But at times the story disappears for her. Ray says it's the ego that's tired, it works so hard.

Ray has done 11 years worth of solitary meditation. Two or three months for 40 years. Ray told Trungpa about his desire for solitary meditation, and he said that's not what we're doing, we're mixing with life. He talked about longer meditations making him go weird. He feels like a month or month and a half was the best length for him, he says 10 years ago (2005?). Milarepa had lots of disciples around him, he wasn't always alone. Long long solitary retreats are not helpful because you're not getting the feedback you need.

Ray has done 3 times month long retreats in total darkness. He hoped it would help him work on his unconsciousness. Trauma did come up. He also talks about calling up his wife to talk him off the edge of some of his insecurities. Trungpa says you think you can handle it, but you can't. Trauma is something you can't handle that you block off. Ray said he was in 19 hours of hell working on it. He said after 3 times doing this, he felt like that was enough. He didn't formally meditate, he just came back to his experience in the dark.

He got buried up to his nose and mouth. He said it took 10 years to resolve the issue of a rock that was in his back while he was buried.

40 minutes out of 70 minutes and I felt full up, I needed a break to process what I'd just seen. I highly recommend this video. Sensory integration is part of this somatic meditation and I'm amazed at how it keeps coming up. When I meditate more, my smelling improves. Usually, I'm pretty glad I can't smell all the stank smells other smell, but I also worry that I'm blocked and unintegrated, not that I have an inferior olfactory sense.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Buddhist At A Catholic Confirmation.



My son did Confirmation yesterday. He's 13. His Abuela was his sponsor, holding his shoulder throughout much of the 2 hour ceremony. I had a lot of thoughts and feelings during the ceremony. I kept saying "beautiful" to myself.

Background: His mother is Catholic and I'm a Buddhist. Since I found Buddhism I have decreased my sarcastic atheist humanist comments, and really appreciated other traditions. Since I love spirituality, I was all for my sons having a religious education. We had a Buddhist naming ceremony when he was an infant.

My older son declined to be confirmed, though he was baptized and did communion. I try to engage him about science, and spirituality and humanism, but it's still a bit over his head. I tried to imagine what his secular humanist rituals would be? Going to a movie? Watching the Super Bowl? He's not into sports. He's more into superhero movies and video games.

First off, I'm always jealous of the building. What a beautiful building with amazing visual reminders of spirituality. Churches are truly holy places, no matter what shenanigans humans do there. As a Buddhist in America I go from schlumpy rented rooms to people's houses. There's no money in Buddhism the way it seems you can get rich in Christianity.

My son's sponsor (and indeed her daughters) exemplifies the spiritual kindness I aspire to, and when the father discussed light as a metaphor for spiritual guidance, I really saw her as a wonderful guide and example. Beautiful.

I was flooded with memories of boredom in church in the summers I spent with my grandparents. I loved my grandparents so much and I miss them every day. At the time, I was kind of resistant to Christianity. My parents are atheist and non-religious. My mother refused my offer of a Buddhist statue in her garden. My father has a Buddha in his backyard.

I thought about that lovely book Priestdaddy. A young poet's father got a dispensation to keep his wife and family when he got the calling to God. I remember he liked to play guitar in his room in his underwear. The writer is a gifted poet.

The incense was cool (smell), I like trying to reach all the senses during ritual, and I want more ritual. The bass in the organ made the ground tremble (touch). Of course sight it the dominant sense with the colored windows. I did not take communion, but taste is engaged there. And of course music was lovely (sound). They put oil on my son's head (touch). There are more than 22 senses, but those are the 5 major ones.

I thought about the doctrine of the clean slate. With confession you wipe the slate clean, are forgiven. That could be a huge weight off your shoulder. It's not true that you are necessarily forgiven by any victims and the consequences of your actions still go on and on. I could see how that might be an interesting spiritual gambit.

My higher power is the dharma, the example of the Buddhas and the spiritual community. But if you want to call the great unknowns "God", then that isn't horrible. We know so little. We are so puny. I think spirituality is standing up in the face of that awe and articulating our hopes of a higher evolution.

I'm watching Farscape and I love when Zaan prays to the goddess, she is female. I switch to female pronouns when I do reading at AA.

I find that Christianity keeps plugging away at God in a really tedious way, but I also like rituals so I was torn. There are worse things you could do.

I was helped by AA in the idea of trying to keep the focus on me, and not do everyone else's inventory. It's so easy to slip into judgmentalism, for me anyway. My son yawned, and then put up his hand sending the positive energy to his brother, and I joked with him that he was sending his yawn. My ex-wife doesn't like talk and gave me the hairy eyeball. I kept thinking about Rowan Atkinson saying, "the holy spigot", and Monty Python skits. There's a certain amount of humor for those who don't take life seriously. I'm not one who always feels the unbearable lightness of being, but my ex certainly is on the other end of the spectrum. Everything seems serious and sacred to her, people joke too much.

On the other side of that is that when I was a cross country runner in high school, we noted that those who believe in God ran faster than those who didn't. It was an informal anecdotal gathering of data, but I think there is some comfort in engaging in a spiritual tradition. My son is a soccer player, and he's really hung in there and really improved. He is a light to me.

I also liked all the family around. It is a ritual of coming of age for my son and celebrate my son's growing up and development with family. I liked the community, when everyone turns around and shakes everyone's hand. Seeing the pride in the eyes of family was heartening.

I didn't like the idea that a nun praying made the day a good weather day. I'm not Christian but I don't think God is a Santa Claus god that grants certain people their wishes. There is a lot of hooey that ropes one in, but I think that is to be avoided by me. Spiritual materialism isn't easy to avoid, and to be honest the biggest religion in America is consumerism. Is it a losing battle for me to try and read all of Shakespeare's plays? I want to collect the whole set, it launches a desire to see expensive plays that I cannot afford (Glenda Jackson is doing Lear on Broadway right now).

What I do like is the Saint Francis prayer. Except for the plugs for the Christian dogma, it essentially captures the spiritual kindness I admire (Bodhisattva):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

My son chose his confirmation name to be Francis of Assisi. (His Buddhist name is Shantikara), and he read the prayer to the family back in his sponsor's place.

When people pray they need to reconcile their wishes with the reality, not hope Santa Claus will bring them a present because they are worshiping the strongest god. That was a quote I loved from Wild. She realized she was praying for God to change things instead of the grace and mindfulness to cope with the reality. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Study of Suffering



I'm reading The Book Thief and I add it to the books about Germany during WW2, and the holocaust. There are so many books about this time and this particular brand of suffering. It makes you want to eat, the food shortages. It is a journey in to European culture and Jewish culture. Now I alternate between Israeli and Palestinian novels. This is a hot spot of conflict in the world.

But you can also read memoirs of ordinary abuse, or the abuse like a woman being educated and shot for it. It's hard to imagine the ban on education, I think education is so important, but the death instinct has forces

I'm also reading about the Irish potato famine. I'm one thirty second Irish (Great Grandfather) and perhaps more, who knows in the slush of American heritage. A northern european mutt, adding in Ecuadorian heritage to my sons and some Cherokee for my daughter. The smoosh of genetics.

I was particularly offended by a father giving away Katherine in Taming of the Shrew and someone recommended I read "Traffic in Women" by Gayle Rubin. The article helps to explain how women were given away by men, from an anthropologist viewpoint.

Despite one black woman conservative saying there is no racism in America, I read extensively of the African-American literature. I worked with a man who talked about getting paid less than his white co-worker. I apologized to him for my race. In social work school I learned that to deny racism was perhaps the racist thing in the world. To deny the existence of others suffering is a common strategy. The horrified anxiety of seeing others suffering causes us to turn our gaze and deny it. That didn't happen.

It's much easier to blame the victims of systematic violence, racism, sexism, classism. Since this happened to you, then you must have somehow asked for it. If you are poor in America you must be doing something wrong. You have a challenging school? Raise above. People do raise above and get out, you can do the same.

Forget reading, look at the homeless person you next see. I worked as a social worker for many years and saw suffering up close. I'll forever be unable to unsee what I saw, though I have blocked and forgotten quite a lot of it. People are suffering. Turn on the TV and watch the wars around the world. A lot of suffering you see is through a book or the TV but you also see it in real life. Perhaps you are stuck in an Emergency waiting room, or you drive past a car accident. You can't avoid suffering, experiencing it yourself or seeing it in others.

While religions can cause suffering, they are also one of the few institutions that suggest to not avert your gaze, to reflect on it. Can you keep your gaze on suffering when you see it? Do you notice the efforts to push it away, the horrified anxiety we feel.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness


Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness
If I have harmed anyone in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness. If any one has harmed me in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them. And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that. For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself, through my own confusions, I forgive myself.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hildegard von Bingen



I can't blog now about how wonderful this movie was, but I'd like to begin the post for my thoughts as they come to me. Turns out there are 4 other movies about her on Amazon Prime, and 3 of them are free. I watched one called Vision. It was subtitled. That led me to Hildegard, a 45 minute drama in English. Then I watched the one based on a one woman play, that was enhanced for the film.

Seeing so many different shows about her, they each had a different slant, but they all this various aspects of her raise to believing in her visions, and the help of her brother, the taking on of the authority and establishing her own monastery, and her intensity and challenges. She developed a relationship with a younger woman who had visions too, and once documentary noted that her disciple was more read for a while.

Then I read the Wikipedia entry on her: Hildegard von Bingen, "was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany."

"Hildegard was elected magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias. She is also noted for the invention of a constructed language known as Lingua Ignota."

Her spiritual intensity, calling out the venial leaders, and her music are amazing. Cut and paste her name into Spotify and listen to angelic music. She is amazing.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Maha-parinibbana Sutta quote

"...the monk, nun, male lay follower, or female lay follower who keeps practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, who keeps practicing masterfully, who lives in accordance with the Dhamma: that is the person who worships, honors, respects, venerates, & pays homage to the Tathagata with the highest homage. "

Friday, April 05, 2019

The Lotus Sutra Translated by Burton Watson chapter 16 quote

"Because living beings have different natures, different desires, different actions, and different ways of thinking and making distinctions, and because I want to enable them to put down good roots, I employ a variety of causes and conditions, similes, parables, and phrases and preach different doctrines. This, the Buddha's work, I have never for a moment neglected." The Lotus Sutra
Translated by Burton Watson, chapter 16

Friday, March 29, 2019

Archbishop Scroop from Henry IV part 2

I've always been interested in the specious reasoning of so-called spiritual people to be violent.

Here is the justification from Archbishop Scroop for warring:

we are all diseas'd
And with our surfeiting and wanton hours
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever,
And we must bleed for it; of which disease
Our late King, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble Lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician;
Nor do I as an enemy to peace
Troop in the throngs of military men;
But rather show awhile like fearful war
To diet rank minds sick of happiness,
And purge th' obstructions which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly.
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run
And are enforc'd from our most quiet there
By the rough torrent of occasion;
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which long ere this we offer'd to the King,
And might by no suit gain our audience:
When we are wrong'd, and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access unto his person,
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet appearing blood, and the examples
Of every minute's instance, present now,
Hath put us in these ill-beseeming arms;
Not to break peace, or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Buddha and Shakespeare

Not sure if I can swing a narrative for all these links. I've been obsessed with Shakespeare lately and recently explored the antisemitism in Merchant of Venice. So today I just googled Buddha and Shakespeare.

Here is a link about how we create our worlds with our minds, with Hamlet quote.

Wise Attention points out that Shakespeare helps us to imagine different perspectives. They are both heroes of consciousness for him.

This person looked for similarities after being on retreat.

Here is a review of Buddhism, Shakespeare, and deconstruction.

Here is a review of Whacking Buddha: The Mysterious World of Shakespeare and Buddhism, by Mark Lamonica.

There is another book Buddha and Shakespeare. It came out in 2004 and there are no reviews of it on Amazon.

I had thoughts on how to avoid harm after reading Jo Nesbo's Macbeth.

I've also explored the idea of fathers giving away daughters in marriage and the oppression of women.

Shakespeare has replaced my study of the suttas, and Dharma. I don't know if it's possible to have overload but since 2004 I've been reading a lot of Dharma and I wanted to cast a wider net. I read as a Buddhist now.

And yet I still like to hear biographies of Thai Forest Monks.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Article on animal consciousness in the Atlantic



"Apart from Pythagoras and a few others, ancient Western philosophers did not hand down a rich tradition of thinking about animal consciousness. But Eastern thinkers have long been haunted by its implications—especially the Jains, who have taken animal consciousness seriously as a moral matter for nearly 3,000 years." (ROSS ANDERSEN MARCH 2019 ISSUE Atlantic)

"Female trout “fake orgasms,” quivering as though they’re about to lay eggs, perhaps so that undesired males will release their sperm and be on their way. We have high-definition footage of grouper fish teaming up with eels to scare prey out of reefs, the two coordinating their actions with sophisticated head signals. This behavior suggests that fish possess a theory of mind, an ability to speculate about the mental states of other beings."

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Roy on Caste

You've been vocal against the caste system in your fiction as well as your non-fiction. How do you navigate your own caste identity?

I don't have a caste identity, because I am not a Hindu. A lot of people thought my father was a Brahmin, but he was not. He was a Brahmo Samaji, who then became a Christian. But that argument that only Dalits can write about Ambedkar or one shouldn't write about Gandhi—that's an opinion, but I don't agree with it at all. My caste identity is totally muddled; I don't fit in anywhere. The RSS keeps putting this thing out that she is actually a Christian, as if that immediately means I would grow horns. Everyone says whatever they like.

As for criticism, you can't react to it in some stupid way—you have to accept that it is a complex thing, and you have to take care of what you are saying and why you are saying it.

India is so complicated—people outside can't fully grasp the way caste operates. People think if you write in the vernacular, you are a radical person. But that's not true because the vernacular itself is colonised by the upper castes. A lot of radical Dalits choose to write in English, for instance. There are so many streams of things that are happening.

Attachment



I forget where I got that photo and I'm trying not to steal and give credit, get permission, so if anyone knows, please let me know.

If suffering is a cue to turn to the Dharma, then we shall have plenty of cues. One recent article I felt grateful to read was by Robina Courtin, whom I'd never heard of before. Here is a quote:

"Attachment is such a simple word, but it’s multi-faceted. At the most fundamental level it’s that feeling of neediness deep inside us; that belief that somehow I am not enough, I don’t have enough, and no matter what I do or what I get, it’s never enough. Then, of course, because we’re convinced that’s true, we hanker after someone out there, and then when we find the one who triggers our good feelings, attachment manipulates to get him, convinced that he’s the one who will fulfill my needs, make me happy. Then we assume he’s our possession, almost an extension of myself."

I've been reading Montaigne's essay: That to study philosophy is to learn to die. I see Hamlet read it. There's a part in it where I thought of the 6 Element meditation, that Bodhipaksa teaches so well. This essay is pretty hard to read, and I've read a lot about death: How We Die, Denial of Death and When Breath Becomes Air. (I've been reading Montaigne because he was an influence on Shakespeare. I'm currently reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is pretty trippy. Quite amazing.) Attachment to life is the ultimate attachment.

One of the things about the TBC is that they don't do some of the modern presentations, they don't use the word attachment that much. That's more of an IMS word.

I'll end with a quote from Jane Eyre:

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

Meanwhile the fear of people listening to themselves and not chasing the twin muses of capitalism and tyranny, was blown up in China.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

In The News



The Smithsonian has a great article on the Diamond Sutra.

Two teachers are facing the consequences of their actions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Zen at War

The history of internment is not a glorious moment in American history. Zen at Work points out that Buddhists were not immune to nationalism, to pro-war statements. I'm not saying that to justify any cruelty, I'm just saying it wasn't a sure shot to say "Buddhists" are not warlike ever. There is other evidence that "Buddhists" can be violent.

A nation doesn't have one religion. A nation therefore can't practice a religion because it is not unified. Sure, there are "Buddhist" countries. If you consider genocide by a Buddhist country, then that disproves a country practices a religion. I don't believe a true Buddhist can commit much violence, but even a vegan diet includes the death of insects due to machinery. How to you consider others and minimize violence is the question.

I hope American can maintain some religious freedom, and not just for majority sects of Christianity. Tricycle has an interview with Williams, who has a book about practice in the internment camps for Japanese Americans, which is called American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War. It looks like an interesting story and history. I am curious about Buddhist's experiences and practices, Japanese-American experiences.

Internment is similar to the wall. We can accept any problems but if one Japanese-American causes trouble, that is too much. Angel Mothers, not the original group, but the radical right wing group who co-opted the term, that takes exception to their children dying at the hands of a non-citizen. As if being murdered by a citizen would somehow be acceptable, as if a dead child isn't horrible enough. Indeed 1200 children have died since Parkland, for our love of guns and America's misinterpretation of the constitution. Democrats should definitely abuse presidential powers and declare an emergency for more gun control when they inevitably regain the white house.

The same wackado principle was in place at Riker's Island when I worked there. COs could bring in drugs to sell and use, rape prisoners, and commit all manner of crimes, and whatnot, but if you weren't a CO, they made sure you were not carrying in any contraband and I had to go around and around the checkpoint to get scanned.

It's the us/them thinking. So much othering. Call me unpatriotic if you want, but I want to live in an inclusive America that works to solve real problems, not just keep "others" from creating problems.

I feel a connection to Japan because my mother was born in Japan in 1947 (to Americans during the Occupation).

I note that Iniesta, a legendary central midfielder who played for Barcelona FC for 16 years, is enjoying his time playing for Kobe in Japan. There they don't see losing as quiet as tragic, and perhaps have a more zen attitude. Sounds so sane.

I hope we can distinguish those who are mistakenly violent in the name of spirituality, and those who truly work towards truly practicing ideals. This discernment will help to avoid idiot compassion.

The hope going forward is that being Buddhist won't disqualify one from being American. I can imagine things turning a way that will make it "un-American". Don't forget that Buddhism was hounded out of its birthplace in India, through competition, conversion and absorption. The burning of Nalanda is a low point. America's love of religious freedom isn't that firm that you can say it can't happen here.

The end of Buddhist Monks, A.D. 1193

The raise in American Buddhism is interesting to me. "Though the religion born in India has been in the US since the 19th century, the number of adherents rose by 170 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the American Religious Identity Survey. An ARIS estimate puts the total in 2004 at 1.5 million, while others have estimated twice that. "The 1.5 million is a low reasonable number," says Richard Seager, author of "Buddhism in America." This is from the Christian Science Monitor in 2006. "

"People are looking for experiential practices, not just a new belief system or a new set of ethical rules which we already have, and are much the same in all religions," Surya Das says. "It's the transformative practices like meditation which people are really attracted to."

The Pew Center write, "The number of Buddhists around the world is expected to increase between 2010 and 2030, rising from 488 million to about 511 million. However, the global Buddhist population is projected to decline after 2030, falling to 486 million by 2050, roughly where it was in 2010."

It is considered dramatic for Buddhists to become around 1% of America. Twelve percent consider Buddhism as an important influence, 25-30 million people.

Buddhist have been persecuted in the history of Earth. And have done persecuting.

My job is to work to decrease the harm I do to others, to think about others and understand the context that I am in, with empathy, and see the larger picture than just my own selfish comforts, pleasures and avoidance of pain. To work towards embodying and exemplifying the ideals I find attractive and aspire to.

And as usual the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi has some answers for fostering peace: "While the endeavor to achieve peace may often be frustrating, we should remember that nothing truly worthy can be achieved without effort. Peace and justice may be slow to arrive, but we will never obtain them without a struggle."

Monday, February 18, 2019

The clogging burden of a guilty soul



"The clogging burden of a guilty soul." Bolingbroke in Richard II, act one, scene 3. He's condemning Mowbrey. In the spiritual life the most control you have is over your life. It's best to worry about yourself, though of course we always talk about others to figure ourselves out and how to relate to others.

I never really believed it when the fellow in Crimes and Mistermeaners skips away, as though he is untouched by his crimes.

You can justify your actions when you do something that is not so good, but in the end when you hurt people, there's a kind of mark (if you ever hope to be empathetic).

I always think about the gladdening. The gladdening happens when you're ethically clear and don't have negative stuff to "clog" and "burden".

In the Anapanasati sutta, mindfulness of respiration, after you've tuned into the breath and tuned into the body, you listen for the positive effects of the meditation. I think like metta, you can't force these things. Most in metta I look at things that might block the flow. Same thing with the gladdening. What is blocking the flow of gladdening.

I probably take refuge in confort, pleasure and convenience most, but I try to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. I've also been practicing some bardolatry.

Later in scene 2, act 2, Bushy says to the Queen, "lay aside life-harming heaviness."

Meditation can go wrong if you don't have the proper supports for the insight, "I had come to believe, simultaneously and sequentially, that I was: dead, alive, omniscient, immortal, non-existent, gay, straight, telepathic, a flower, a pulse of pure energy and a nuclear bomb."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

silk and Gandhar

I thought this website expressed the dilemma well: 

"Do we go on killing billions of innocent insects or do we somehow stop silk production, which actually accounts for less than 0.2% of the total textile production in the world.

But what about the fact that silk production is a very important tool for economic development, especially in the rural areas of developing countries? Labor-intensive, high income-producing silk production (sericulture) can be found today in over 40 countries. The majority of households involved in this economy come from Asia with China employing over 1 million people. India is second in production, employing over 700,000 households, but India is the largest importer and consumer of silk.

It may be the answer can only be a personal one to avoid silk and pass the information on to others who may not know how silk is produced.

We could instead choose to promote man-made fibers such as nylon, olefin, polyester and rayon instead of silk. But even that decision can constitute an ethical dilemma. These fibers are made from chemicals and petroleum derivatives and we are becoming more and more aware of the effects of these products on global climate change and environmental pollution."

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They discovered a bunch of statues in Gandhara. It was along the Silk Road:


Here is an article about the subject.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Fundamentalism


Are "Westerners" allowed to decorate with a Buddha? Why would anyone worry about what someone has in their living room? There's all kinds of thinking that, with my personality, am against, but I don't imagine that impressing my personality on others is a worthwhile project.

There are billboards in Buddhist countries that are against whatever that is. What a thing to be against.

Link 1 is a photo

Link 2 is an article with photos. A monk opines:

“That’s only a symbol. From my point of view, the real Buddha is not in there, the real Buddha is inside you. When you wake him up, you understand everything clearly, and then you see that Buddha is just a symbol.”

That said, he understands why some people get up in arms about the use of the image.

“For beginners, they feel the image is the Buddha, but for advanced people or those with understanding, they dont mind, they don’t care.

“Buddha is not on a statue or anything else outside, it’s in my mind. Anything that happens outside my head, does not affect what happens inside.”

Now that's the kind of thinking that strikes me as clear and spiritual.

Link 3 is a reddit discussion about the issue

To me this is a kind of move towards fundamentalism, and someone commented that it was a political ad.

What if a bunch of fundamentalist Buddhist invaded America? That would be bizarre wouldn't it.