Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Via JMG" Texas Attorney General: Domestic Partner Benefits Violate State Constitution


GOP Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says that any city that offers domestic partner benefits is in violation of the state constitution.
Domestic partnerships, as recognized by the local governments, are close enough to the definition of marriage to violate a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions that 76 percent of Texas voters approved in 2005, the opinion stated. “By creating domestic partnerships and offering health benefits based on them, the political subdivisions have created and recognized something not established by Texas law,” the opinion said. Lawyers for Austin and Travis County have begun researching the opinion to help political leaders determine if it should be followed. Attorney general opinions attempt to determine how Texas courts would rule on a legal matter, but only the courts have the definitive say on constitutional questions.
Travis County, which has offered such benefits for 16 years, will hold a meeting next week to discuss Abbott's claim.  The Austin City Council will meet with its lawyers but says it has no plan to change its benefits. (Tipped by JMG reader Jeff)


Reposted from Joe

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






What is the benefit of exerting mental effort the wrong way?
- Guon

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 30, 2013

Learning How to Live

Not only is it of profound importance for each of us to understand in a deep way the law of impermanence but it’s also quite practical. It’s not merely metaphysical or something to be argued about in philosophy seminars and coffee shops. Learning the law of impermanence can be done there, too, but the Buddhist teaching is designed to help us learn how to live.  
- Larry Rosenberg, “The Weather is Just the Weather”
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 28, 2013

Taming the Monkey Mind

Your thoughts run around like a wild horse and your feelings jump about like a monkey in the forest. When the monkey and horse step back and reflect upon themselves, freedom from all discrimination is realized naturally.  
- Dogen, "Instructions for the Tenzo"
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 27, 2013

On Not Playing the Victim

One of the worst kinds of elevation of the self is playing the victim. There are times when we actually are victims, when actual blame is appropriate, but to take on the identity of a victim and be stuck blaming is something else. Surprisingly, it is actually a subtle form of elevation—I’m not responsible, you are. This is giving up all freedom.   
- Nancy Baker, "The Seventh Zen Precept"
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 25, 2013

You Are Not Your Pain

You can’t go preventing pleasure and pain, you can’t keep the mind from labeling things and forming thoughts, but you can put these things to a new use. If the mind labels a pain, saying, 'I hurt,' you have to examine the label carefully, contemplate it until you see that it’s wrong: the pain isn’t really yours. It’s simply a sensation that arises and passes away, that’s all.  
- Upasika Kee Nanayon, "Tough Teachings To Ease The Mind"
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 24, 2013

Forgiving Past Harms

Most of us find it very difficult to forgive individuals who have hurt us deeply. Why should we forgive them? Although we sometimes make others feel uncomfortable when we express our anger toward them, we are the ones who wind up suffering the most when we do so. Maintaining anger is similar to picking up a red-hot piece of coal to throw at someone—whether we hit our target or not, we are the ones who get burned.  
- Matthew Flickstein, "Forgiveness"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through April 25th, 2013
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Via JMG: COLOMBIA: Bogota Mayor Unfurls Pro-Gay Banner As Senate Considers Marriage


Colombia's Senate is expected to vote down its marriage equality bill today after a debate which is scheduled to begin within the hour of this writing.  Despite that prediction, today Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro ordered the above banner to be unfurled over city hall as LGBT activists demonstrated outside. Watch the debate and vote live here.  More photos from the pro and anti-gay sides can be found on the Twitter feed of US-based activist and Colombia native Andres Duque.


Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 23, 2013

Becoming Intimate with your Neurosis

The teacher serves as a mirror but also encourages your ability to trust in yourself. You begin to trust in your basic goodness instead of identifying with your neurosis. There’s a shift of allegiance. Then the obstacles begin to seem temporary, and what’s permanent is the wisdom. To the degree that you become intimate with your neurosis—not acting-out and not repressing—to that degree you discover your wisdom.  
- Pema Chödrön, “Unconditionally Steadfast”
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Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Do not underestimate your ability.
- Geshe Chekawa, in Advice From a Spiritual Friend

Monday, April 22, 2013

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Arouse your will, supreme and great, Practice love, give joy and protection; Let your giving be like space, Without discrimination or limitation. Do good things, not for your own sake But for all the beings in the universe; Save and make free everyone you encounter, Help them attain the wisdom of the way.
- Prajnaparamita

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 22, 2013

Gateway to Happiness

We are constantly encouraged to reject what is unpleasant, disappointing or difficult. 'What's all this suffering? Let's be happy! Have fun!' But our suffering is not our enemy. It is only through a relationship with my pain, my sadness, that I can truly know and touch the opposite—my pleasure, my joy, and my happiness.  
- Claude AnShin Thomas, “Conceptions of Happiness”
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

President Bill Clinton speaks out against DOMA at the #glaadawards


Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 21, 2013

Riding the Highs and Lows of Life

Skillful attitudes of mind are the key to facing potentially explosive situations and the ongoing highs and lows of life and practice. In fact, recognizing these attitudes and cultivating their antidotes is the foundation for all spiritual growth. By cultivating skillful attitudes of mind, we will respond to more and more of life with awareness and wisdom.  
- Steve Armstrong, "Got Attitude?"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through April 22nd, 2013
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 20, 2013

The Mind's Buddha

Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no form. It's not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can't grab it. Beyond this mind you'll never see a Buddha. The Buddha is a product of your mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this mind?  
- Bodhidharma, "The Snaggletoothed Barbarian"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through April 21st, 2013
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Rassurez-vous - Fear Not


Full Performance of "You Have More Friends Than You Know"



Via JMG: Rio De Janeiro State Legalizes Marriage


The Brazilian state of Rio De Janeiro has become the tenth in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Marriages conducted in any of these ten states are recognized nationwide. Same-sex marriage is also legal in the national capital of Brasilia. (Tipped by JMG reader Afonso)


Reposted from Joe

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States wants you to know that you as a gay person are not welcome in their community:

January 3, 2011

To the American Bahá’í community

Dearest Bahá'í Friends,

The National Spiritual Assembly understands that homosexuality is a subject of
particular interest and concern to many in this country and is, therefore, moved to share
with you a letter dated October 27, 2010, written on behalf of the Universal House of
Justice on this topic. A copy of the letter—addressed to an American Bahá’í—was
received by our Assembly, and the Supreme Body has kindly granted us permission to
share it with you:

...With respect to your question concerning the position Bahá’ís are to
take regarding homosexuality and civil rights, we have been asked to convey
the following.

The purpose of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is the realization of the organic
unity of the entire human race, and Bahá’ís are enjoined to eliminate from
their lives all forms of prejudice and to manifest respect towards all.
Therefore, to regard those with a homosexual orientation with prejudice or
disdain would be against the spirit of the Faith. Furthermore, a Bahá’í is
exhorted to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression”, and it
would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those
whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.

At the same time, you are no doubt aware of the relevant teachings of the
Faith that govern the personal conduct of Bahá’ís. The Bahá’í Writings state
that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that sexual
relations are restricted to a couple who are married to each other. Other
passages from the Writings state that the practice of homosexuality is not
permitted. The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh on personal morality are binding on
Bahá’ís, who strive, as best they can, to live up to the high standards He has
established.

In attempting to reconcile what may appear to be conflicting obligations,
it is important to understand that the Bahá’í community does not seek to
impose its values on others, nor does it pass judgment on others on the basis
of its own moral standards. It does not see itself as one among competing
social groups and organizations, each vying to establish its particular social
agenda. In working for social justice, Bahá’ís must inevitably distinguish

between those dimensions of public issues that are in keeping with the Bahá’í
Teachings, which they can actively support, and those that are not, which
they would neither promote nor necessarily oppose. In connection with
issues of concern to homosexuals, the former would be freedom from
discrimination and the latter the opportunity for civil marriage. Such
distinctions are unavoidable when addressing any social issue. For example,
Bahá’ís actively work for the establishment of world peace but, in the
process, do not engage in partisan political activities directed against
particular governments.

We felt it important that the friends have access to this guidance from the House of
Justice, and trust that you will find it helpful.

 With loving Bahá'í greetings,


 Kenneth E. Bowers
 Secretary

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






The path to material gain goes one way, the way to Unbinding, another. Realizing this, the monk, a disciple to the Awakened One, should not relish offerings, should cultivate seclusion instead.
- Dhammapada, 5, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 19, 2013

Daydreams of a Poet

It is possible to take our existence as a ‘sacred world,’ to take this place as open space rather than claustrophobic dark void. It is possible to take a friendly relationship to our ego natures, it is possible to appreciate the aesthetic play of forms in emptiness, and to exist in this place like majestic kings of our own consciousness. But to do that, we would have to give up grasping to make everything come out the way we daydream it should.  
- Allen Ginsberg, “Negative Capability: Kerouac’s Buddhist Ethic”
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Via JMG: Ex-Gay Poster Boy John Paulk Apologizes: I No Longer Support Ex-Gay Movement


 
 
John Paulk, the man many "credit" with launching the "ex-gay" movement in the United States, has apologized for his past and denounced the "ex-gay" industry.  From an interview with Portland's PQ Monthly:
"Until recently, I have struggled all my life in feeling unloved and unaccepted,” Paulk said. “I have been on a journey during the last few years in trying to understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others. During this journey I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people including people who are close to me. I have also found a large number of people who accept me for who I am regardless of my past, any labels, or what I do.”
Paulk continued, “I no longer support the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals — especially teens who already feel insecure and alienated. I feel great sorrow over the pain that has been caused when my words were misconstrued. I have worked at giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live. I am working hard to be authentic and genuine in all of my relationships.”
Truth Wins Out provides some background on Paulk:
John Paulk was at one time the most well known and influential person in the “ex-gay” industry, appearing on the cover of Newsweek with his wife Anne in 1998 under the headline, “Gay For Life?” He was instrumental in forming the Love Won Out “ex-gay” roadshow, which subjected countless LGBT youth and their families to misinformation, indoctrination and lies, and which destroyed many families in the process. In 2000, Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, photographed John Paulk coming out of a Washington, DC, gay bar, and the lies began to unravel. Though John resigned from the board of Exodus International following this incident, the Religious Right continued to use the Paulks’ story as evidence that the “ex-gay” life was a fairy tale rather than a nightmare, and many LGBT people and their families have been damaged or destroyed over the years as a result.
Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen says "not good enough."
"It is not enough to simply send an e-mail that says, ‘I’m sorry.’ John Paulk must work to atone for the damage he has done to LGBT families by taking a public role in renouncing and working against the harmful ‘ex-gay’ industry by embarking on a speaking tour to show that he truly has changed. Further, he should advocate for a bill in Oregon that would ban so-called ‘reparative therapy’ for minors. Only then can he start to repair the damage he has done to countless LGBT people and their families.”
 
RELATED: Last April I posted a report that Paulk's Facebook page was "littered with Glamor Shots-style images of Paulk and attractive men" and that his profile stated that he is "interested in women and men."


Reposted from Joe

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:

Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Walking the spiritual path is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.
- Chogyam Trungpa, "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 17, 2013

A Change of Heart

A change of heart requires a great deal of courage and a great deal of compassion. The courage is to not avert our gaze, but instead to turn to the various sufferings in our own life or in the world around us and see them with the concern and compassionate eyes of the Buddha.  
- Jack Kornfield, "A Change of Heart"
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Sakka asked: "What is the cause of self-interest?" The Buddha answered: "It is perception of the world as one's object." "How does one overcome this perception of the world as apart from oneself?" "By acting for the increase of goodness and happiness. It is in this way that the world ceases to be one's object."
- Digha Nikaya

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 16, 2013

Meditation in Action

Buddhism often appears to promote personal transformation at the expense of social concern. Some Buddhist teachings claim that the mind does not just affect the world, it actually creates and sustains it. According to this view, cosmic harmony is most effectively preserved through an individual's spiritual practice. Yet other Buddhists amend the notion that mind is the primary or exclusive source of peace, contending that inner serenity is fostered or impeded by external conditions. Buddhists who place importance upon social factors and social action believe that internal transformation cannot, by itself, quell the world's turbulence.  
- Kenneth Kraft, “Meditation in Action”
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Via JMG: ¡Viva los Gigantes!

GLAAD To Honor SF Giants



Next month the world champion San Francisco Giants will become the first professional sports team to be honored by GLAAD.
In 1994, the San Francisco Giants became the first-ever professional sports team to host an HIV/AIDS benefit game, "Until There's A Cure Day." Since then, the Giants and the Giants Community Fund have repeated the effort, generating more than $1.3 million for Bay Area HIV/AIDS education, care/service organizations and international HIV/AIDS research. The Giants were also the first major league sports team to record a video for the It Gets Better Project, a campaign devoted to bettering the lives LGBT youth.  Last September, pitcher Matt Cain, the longest tenured player on the team, was photographed for the NOH8 Campaign in response to California's passing of Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples. In October, the Giants took yet another stand in support of LGBT youth by participating in Spirit Day, GLAAD's annual anti-bullying campaign.
The event takes place on May 11th.


Reposted from Joe

Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:



Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Whose minds are well-developed in the factors of self-awakening, who delight in non-clinging, relinquishing grasping-- resplendent, their effluents ended: they, in the world, are Unbound.
- Dhammapada, 6, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 15, 2013

Living a Virtuous Life

Buddhist practice is never about creating goals and trying to achieve them. It’s about learning to see clearly for ourselves our own real state in each and every moment. As we come to see what life really is, we begin to behave more logically and ethically, because that’s what makes sense.  
- Brad Warner, “The Enlightenment Pill”
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Via JMG: State Department Announces LGBT Rights Program For Western Hemisphere


Yesterday the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs announced a new program:
Secretary of State John Kerry has committed to advancing the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals as a central part of our human rights engagement. Taking into account the Secretary’s commitment as well as the Presidential Memorandum issued December 6, 2011, that directs all federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs has developed a regional strategy that strives to eliminate violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Respect for the human rights of LGBT persons in the Western Hemisphere varies dramatically by country. Some countries offer legal protections for LGBT persons, whereas others have laws that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. Recognizing that violence and discrimination based on a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity hinder the prosperity of countries.
The four-part strategy of the new program: 1) Expand public outreach and awareness of LGBT issues; 2) Create and leverage existing partnerships and programs; 3) Collaborate with multilateral partners; and 4) Engage directly with host country governments.


Reposted from Joe

JMG HomoQuotable - Dan Savage


"My father was a Catholic deacon, my mother was a lay minister and I thought about becoming a priest. I was in church every Sunday for the first 15 years of my life. Now I spend my Sundays on my bike, on my snowboard or on my husband. I haven’t spent my post-Catholic decades in a sulk, wishing the church would come around on the issue of homosexuality so that I could start attending Mass again. I didn’t abandon my faith. I saw through it. The conflict between my faith and my sexuality set that process in motion, but the conclusions I reached at the end of that process — there are no gods, religion is man-made, faith can be a force for good or evil — improved my life. I’m grateful that my sexuality prompted me to think critically about faith. Pushed out? No. I walked out." - Dan Savage, from his New York Times book review of Jeff Chu's Does Jesus Really Love Me?


Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 14, 2013

The Light of Reality 

The sense of self creates a feeling of solidity, like the apparent solidity of the clouds veiling the face of the sun, but at certain moments a gap is opened up, through which we may receive a glimpse of the light of reality.  
- Francesca Freemantle, “The Luminous Gap in Bardo”
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 13, 2013

Great Enlightenment

Great enlightenment is the tea and rice of daily activity.  
- Dogen, “Tea and Rice”
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 12, 2013

Simple Practice

It’s definitely the case that we can practice at any given moment. We can always try a little more to be kind, to be compassionate and be careful about what we do and say. 
- Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, "Keeping a Good Heart"
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Via JMG: Marriage Equality Nations


Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:

Daily Buddhist Wisdom






Subhuti asked: "What does buddha mean?" The Buddha answered: "Buddha is reality. One who thoroughly comprehends all the factors of existence is a buddha."
- Prajnaparamita

Via JMG: Missouri Man Arrested For Refusing To Leave Partner's Hospital Bedside


A gay man in Missouri has been arrested after refusing to leave his partner's hospital beside when the ill man's family demanded that he be ejected from the premises. Via Raw Story:
Roger Gorley [on the right in this photo] told WDAF that even though he has power of attorney to handle his partner’s affairs, a family member asked him to leave when he visited Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Tuesday. Gorley said he refused to leave his partner Allen’s bedside, and that’s when security put him in handcuffs and escorted him from the building. “I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley explained. He said the nurse refused to confirm that the couple shared power of attorney and made medical decision for each other. “She didn’t even bother to look it up, to check in to it,” the Lee’s Summit resident recalled.
The arrested man in now under a restraining order and may not enter the hospital grounds at all. A hospital spokesman has issued a statement.
"We believe involving the family is an important part of the patient care process. And, the patient`s needs are always our first priority. When anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance."
The arrested man says he and his partner were joined in a civil union five years ago. Civil unions, of course, are not legally recognized by the state of Missouri. (Tipped by JMG reader Str8 Grandmother)
RELATED: In 2010 President Obama mandated that any hospital that receives federal funding such as Medicare or Medicaid must allow visitation privileges for same-sex partners.


Reposted from Joe

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 11, 2013

See the World in a Moment

It is very important to see your life not only from the narrow view of your egoistic telescope but also from the broad view of the universal telescope called egolessness. This is why we have to practice. Right in the middle of the stream of time, we have to open our eyes there and see the total picture of time. Through spiritual practice we can go beyond our egoistic point of view. We can touch the core of time, see the whole world in a moment, and understand time in deep relationship with all beings. 
- Dainin Katagiri, “Time Revisited”
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Via Marriage Equality USA / FB:


 
 
 
The legislature has until 6/20/13 to approve a bill, or the courts have threatened to instate marriage equality on their own.

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma April 10, 2013

Beyond the Reach of Stress

We should be intent on cleansing and polishing our hearts so that they can gain release from their worries and preoccupations, the source of pain and discontent. Peace, coolness, and a bright happiness will arise within us, in the same way as when we unshackle ourselves from our encumbering burdens and debts. We'll be free—beyond the reach of all suffering and stress. 
- Ajaan Lee, “Sowing the Seeds of Freedom”
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Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:


Daily Buddhist Wisdom






A monk asked, All of the buddhas and all of the buddadharmas come forth from this sutra. What is this sutra? Qinshan said, Forever turning.
- Zens Chinese Heritage