Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Via Science and Nonduality Conference / FB:

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día - Flower of the Day 28/07/2015

“Nós somos diferentes somente por fora. Por dentro nós somos iguais. Quando experimenta essa realidade, você se torna o amor. Então não é uma questão de amar, porque o outro te dá alguma coisa; você ama porque você é o amor. Tudo que sai da sua boca torna-se uma prece para o eterno Um. Tudo se torna sagrado e divino.”

“Somos diferentes solamente por fuera. Por dentro somos iguales. Cuando experimentas esta realidad, te vuelves amor. Entonces no es una cuestión de amar porque el otro te da algo, amas porque eres amor. Todo lo que sale de tu boca se vuelve una plegaria para el eterno Uno. Todo se vuelve sagrado y divino.”

“We are only different on the outside. On the inside, we are all one and the same. When you experience this reality, you become love. Then, you no longer love because the other gives you something; you love because you are love. Every word that comes out of your mouth becomes a prayer to the Eternal One. Everything becomes sacred and divine.”

Today's Daily Dharma: Waking up to Racism.

Waking up to Racism

Waking up to Racism

I am often asked when talking about racism in Buddhist circles to be specific, give examples. In part, this longing emerges from the reluctance of white people in power to accept, and see clearly by opening their eyes, that white supremacy informs the shaping of Buddhist communities, individual interactions, publications, etc. That reluctance can only be transformed in spiritual practice, not by proof. There is never enough proof.
- bell hooks, "Waking up to Racism"

Monday, July 27, 2015

Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - Sen. Cory Booker

"Almost 50 years ago, a couple tried to purchase a home in suburban New Jersey in a neighborhood they loved, but found their efforts thwarted when the house they wanted was inexplicably pulled off the market. The couple later learned from fair housing advocates who had investigated on their behalf that the home was made unavailable to them because of their skin color. The couple's names were Cary and Carolyn Booker. They were my parents.

"You'd think this problem is relegated to the history books. But in 2015 — today — a couple can try to purchase a home and in 31 states be told it is not available to them on the basis of their sexual orientation. More than half a century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal government has yet to pass a large-scale law that protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's time for that to change." - Sen. Cory Booker, writing in support of the Equality Act.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Wille Nelson's Gay Cowboy Song

Freeheld - Trailer

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día - Flower of the Day 27/07/2015

“Um passo fundamental para a desconstrução de um padrão negativo é conseguir perceber que existe prazer investido nele. Primeiro você identifica as situações negativas que se repetem e qual o ponto comum entre elas, ou seja, o que causa a repetição. Depois você vai atrás da voz dentro de você que diz: “Eu quero ficar isolado; eu quero do meu jeito ou não quero nada”; “Eu quero fracassar”, ou ainda: “Eu quero ficar doente, não quero mais viver”. Com isso você começa a identificar o prazer que dá sustentação ao sofrimento.”

“Un paso fundamental para la desconstrucción de un patrón negativo es conseguir percibir que existe placer invertido en él. Primero identificas las situaciones negativas que se repiten y cuál es el punto en común entre ellas, es decir, lo que causa la repetición. Después vas en busca de la voz dentro tuyo que dice: “Quiero quedarme aislado, quiero que sea a mi manera o no quiero nada”, “Quiero fracasar”, o aún: “Quiero enfermarme, no quiero vivir más”. Con esto comienzas a identificar el placer que da sustento al sufrimiento.” 

“A fundamental step towards deconstructing a negative pattern is being able to perceive the pleasure we feel in it. First, we identify the negative situations that repeat themselves in our lives and the common denominator between them. This means identifying what causes the repetition. Next, we go after the voices inside of us that may be saying, ‘I want to remain isolated,’ ‘It has to be my way or I don’t want it at all,’ ‘I want to fail,’ or even, ‘I want to get sick: I don’t want to live anymore’. By becoming aware of these aspects within us, we begin to identify the pleasure that sustains the suffering.”

From a FB amiga, soemhwre in Phoenix, AZ:

Today's Daily Dharma: The World Is Made of Stories

The World Is Made of Stories
The stories that make sense of this world are part of this world. It is not by transcending the world that we are transformed but by storying it in a new way.
- David Loy, "The World Is Made of Stories"

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Via Green Renaissance / FB:

Via Mountain Stream Meditation Center / FB:

BREAKING: Despite Threats, President Obama Makes A Case For Gay Rights In Kenya

President Obama is visiting Kenya, the first sitting American president to do so, where he lost no time addressing the subject of gay rights in spite of warnings and threats from some Kenyan lawmakers and demonstrations by Kenyan churches. The president held a joint press conference today with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, and "went there" on the very first question.
President Obama: 
"Similarly, with respect to the rights of gays and lesbians, I have been consistent all across Africa on this. I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law, and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law, and that the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, and I say that recognizing there may be people who have different religious or cultural beliefs.
But the issue is, how does the state operate relative to people. If you look at the history of countries around the world, when you start treating people differently, not because of any harm they are doing, but because they are different, that's the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen. And when the government gets in the habit of treating people differently, those habits can spread. And as an African American on the United States, I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently. And there were all sorts of rationalizations by the power structure that were provided for decades in the United States for segregation and Jim Crow and slavery, and they were wrong.
So, I'm not equivocal on this; if somebody is a law abiding citizen, is going about their business and working at a job, obeying the traffic signs and doing all the other things good citizens are supposed to do and not harming anybody, the idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love, is wrong. Full stop.
And, you know, the state does not need to weigh in on religious doctrine. The state just has to say, we're going to treat everyone the same under the law. And then everyone else can have their own opinions. Alright?"
Kenyan President Kenyatta then replied to the reporter's question, saying about gay rights:  
"There are some things that we must admit we don't share, our culture, our societies, don't accept. It is very difficult for us to impose upon people what they themselves do not accept. This is why I repeatedly say that for Kenyans today the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue. We want to focus on other issues that are day-to-day living foe our people." 
I would suggest to President Kenyatta that as long as Kenyans can be legally imprisoned for having sex, gay rights are an issue.

We'll let you know what the President says on gay rights when he addresses the Kenyan Parliament, where lawmakers have threatened to walk out and/or have him removed, should he bring up the issue. 

Read the original posting here

Today's Daily Dharma: Chanting for Things

Chanting for Things
In my experience, the activity of chanting for material or spiritual things becomes a process of cleansing one's spirit, not corrupting it; and Buddhists who began by chanting for hotter cars ended up driven to awaken themselves and help others, at times with great energy and joy. 
- Sandy McIntosh, "As American as Apple Pie?"

Friday, July 24, 2015

If Gay Marriage, Why Not Polygamy? - John Corvino

Via WGB:

Via WGB: 9.5M LGBT Adults Nationwide Would Be Protected under New Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Bill

Public opinion polling indicates that 78% of Americans support federal protections from discrimination for LGBT people.
The Equality Act, introduced today in Congress, would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, federal funding and jury service.

About 9.5 million adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT, according to Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates. Discrimination against LGBT people has been well documented in a variety of sources.
  1. In nine surveys conducted in the past 10 years, 19% to 78% of LGBT people reported experiencing discrimination or harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at work.
  2. Gay men earn 10 percent to 32 percent less than heterosexual men who have the same productive characteristics, such as experience and level of education.
  3. About 83% of American adults report in recent polls that LGBT people face moderate to high levels of discrimination.
  4. LGBT workers file complaints under employment non-discrimination laws at comparable rates to female employees and employees who are people of color.
  5. Research has demonstrated that LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes in LGBT employees. 

Via JMG: Houston Mayor Annise Parker: We'll Take This To The Voters And We'll Win

"Obviously, I am disappointed and believe the court is in error with this eleventh hour ruling in a case that had already been decided by a judge and jury of citizens. Nonetheless, we will proceed with the steps necessary for City Council to consider the issue. At the same time, we are consulting with our outside counsel on any possible available legal actions. Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance is similar to measures passed by every other major city in the country and by most local corporations. No matter the color of your skin, your age, gender, physical limitations, or sexual orientation, every Houstonian deserves the right to be treated equally. To do otherwise, hurts Houston’s well-known image as a city that is tolerant, accepting, inclusive and embracing of its diversity. Our citizens fully support and understand this and I have never been afraid to take it to the voters. We will win!" - Houston Mayor Annise Parker, via press release.
Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via http://islamicommentary.org: Same-Sex Relationships & the Fluidity of Marriage in Islamic History

 One scholar’s response to Reza Aslan and Hasan Minhaj’s “Open Letter to American Muslims on Same Sex Marriage”  by ALI A. OLOMI for ISLAMiCommentary on JULY 17, 2015:

"Aqa Mirak" - 16th Safavid watercolor by Aqa Mirak depicting two young princes and lovers. (currently located in the Smithsonian)
“Aqa Mirak” – 16th Safavid watercolor by Aqa Mirak depicting two young princes and lovers. (currently located in the Smithsonian)

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26th 2015, various religious groups have responded to the ruling. Muslim Americans, who themselves are a minority group in the United States, have struggled to find consensus.

Some have openly condemned the ruling. Others have urged a more hesitant acceptance of the court’s decision. Cognizant of the precarious position of minorities in the United States, Imam Suhaib Webb posted an online message where he encouraged a nuanced perspective that respected the ruling and supported it politically, while acknowledging the theological and ethical dilemmas for conservative Muslims. A group of Afghan American thinkers and activists on The Samovar Network took a more accepting stance when they held an online panel (via a Google hangout) and showed support for the ruling and the LGBTQ community as a whole.

Author, Reza Aslan and comedian, Hasan Minhaj wrote an open letter, published in Religion Dispatches, to Muslim Americans encouraging acceptance and tolerance, reminding Muslims that they too are a minority in the United States and should stand for the rights of their fellow minorities.

People were surprised by the letter and some have attributed the position of the authors to Western influence. Popular representations in America and Europe, tend to depict Muslims as staunchly against same-sex marriage. But I would point out that positions like Reza’s and others like him actually highlight a forgotten part of Islamic history.

Just as in the case of Christianity, the history on same-sex relationships in Islam is far more complex than some would have you believe.

First, we have to acknowledge that though same-sex relationships are timeless and gay people have existed throughout history, according to theorists, like Michel Foucault, homosexuality as an identity emerged alongside heterosexuality in modernity. Indeed, an argument can be made that homophobia itself is a predominantly modern fear tied to anxieties about masculinity within nationalist contexts. The Qur’an itself does not address homosexuality directly, but refers to specific practices.

When it comes to same-sex relationships, Muslims point to the infamous Qur’anic verses on the People of Lot (7:80-84), which some modern scholars — by projecting modern sensibilities on the verse — interpret as being a condemnation of homosexuality. Yet, other scholars point out the context of the verse in the Qisas Al Anbiya, a commentary and history on the lives of the Islamic prophets by Al Kisa’i, that relates the tale of Lot as a condemnation of the corruption festering in the people of Lot, whose bestial carnality led to rape and sodomy; i.e. it’s not a direct condemnation of sodomy.

2. "Haft Awrang"- The Seven Thrones, an illuminated manuscript by 16th Century Jami. Depicts a male youth with his male suitors.
2. “Haft Awrang”- The Seven Thrones, an illuminated manuscript by 16th Century Jami. Depicts a male youth with his male suitors.

In fact, the Qur’an actually supports diversity of desires when it states that God created various mates for mankind (30:21). Furthermore, the Qur’an uses homoerotic imagery to describe paradise as full of eternally youthful manservants so attractive that “when you see them, you’d think them as beautiful as scattered pearls.” (52: 24, 76: 19).

We must also consider the Prophet Muhammad’s life and how his wife, Umm Salama, had a gay or interest manservant, Hit. In addition to Hit, there was also Tuways and Al Dalal. These individuals, known as mukhanathum, were counted as companions of Muhammad, or disciples and friends. The mukhanathum even served as guardians of Muhammad’s tomb when he died.

Same-sex relationships and romance existed throughout the history of Islamic civilization from the 7th century on. The famed Persian poet Rumi and the father of Classical Islamic poetry, Abu Nawas, wrote verses extolling the beauty of young men. Indeed, in medieval Abbasid, Ottoman, and Safavid empires, the normative standards of beauty in works of poetry and art revolved around the youthful and desirable appearance of young men.

While women were absolutely praised, the normative standard of beauty focused primarily on a concept of youthfulness that was equated to vitality and desire. In many of the poems like those of Abu Nawas and Rumi and many others, this meant young men, but these young men were attributed with feminine qualities, highlighting the fluid nature of masculinity and femininity.

Caliphs like Al Amin in the 8th century Abbasid caliphate engaged in same-sex relationships, and it is written that the warriors of Abu Muslim, who overthrew the Umayyads, lay with their male pages. While periods of oppression certainly existed and scholars anxiously debated whether acts were permissible or prohibited, on the whole, Islamic civilization tended to be not only tolerant, but accepting of same-sex romances.

Textual evidence for same-sex relationship between women were not as widespread in the Arabic and Islamic literary tradition, but there is still ample evidence of the tolerance and even praise of same-sex relationships between women. For example, in the 10th century, Jawami al-Ladhdha or, Encyclopedia of Pleasure by Abul Hasan Ali, he relates a story of love and romance between two women, Hind bint al Nur’man and Al Zarqa.

"Shah Abbas and Wine Boy"- 17th Century art by Muhammad Qasim depicting Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas with his lover and wine boy.
“Shah Abbas and Wine Boy”- 17th Century art by Muhammad Qasim depicting Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas with his lover and wine boy.

Some periods of Islamic history were more accepting than others and we should acknowledge that there was regional variation, but the historical arc was significantly towards toleration. When famed 19th century Moroccan scholar, Muhammad al Saffar traveled to Europe he was surprised to find same-sex courtship repugnant to the Europeans in contrast to its acceptance in the Islamic world. Indeed, that acceptance of same-sex courtship and romance was used by European Christian and orientalist writers as a sign of the supposed moral laxity of the “orient.”

Same-sex relationships between men, for example, were depicted in art, including in these images (now in the public domain): 1) “Shah Abbas and Wine Boy”- 17th Century art by Muhammad Qasim depicting Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas with his lover and wine boy; 2) “Haft Awrang”- The Seven Thrones, an illuminated manuscript by 16th Century Jami. Depicts a male youth with his male suitors; 3) “Aqa Mirak” – 16th Safavid watercolor by Aqa Mirak Tabriz depicting two young princes and lovers (currently located in the Smithsonian) and 4) “Sawaqub”– 19th Century Ottoman depiction in Sawaqub al Manaquib depicting sexual relations between a man and his wine servant.

These cultural and social realities of same-sex relationships in Islam have been made subterranean in historical reflection. People who wish to push a singular interpretation of religion conveniently ignore these parts of Islamic history in favor of narratives hewn from their prejudices. While the historical existence of relationships between couples of the same sex is an irrefutable fact, these narratives are often swept under the rug and the history of tolerance is forgotten in favor of depictions of Islam as a homophobic and aggressive faith.

Make the jump here to read the full article
Same-Sex Relationships & the Fluidity of Marriage in Islamic History (by Ali A. Olomi) - See more at: http://islamicommentary.org/2015/07/same-sex-relationships-the-fluidity-of-marriage-in-islamic-history-by-ali-a-olomi/#sthash.evhCQAj6.dpuf
Same-Sex Relationships & the Fluidity of Marriage in Islamic History (by Ali A. Olomi) - See more at: http://islamicommentary.org/2015/07/same-sex-relationships-the-fluidity-of-marriage-in-islamic-history-by-ali-a-olomi/#sthash.evhCQAj6.dpuf

Om Mani Padme Hum - Original temple mantra version