Friday, October 7, 2016

Via Lions Roar: Life is Tough. Here Are Six Ways to Deal With It

Illustration of a man on a branch.

An ancient set of Buddhist slogans offers us six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher Norman Fischer guides us through them. Illustrations by Keith Abbott.

There’s an old Zen saying: the whole world’s upside down. In other words, the way the world looks from the ordinary or conventional point of view is pretty much the opposite of the way the world actually is. There’s a story that illustrates this.

Once there was a Zen master who was called Bird’s Nest Roshi because he meditated in an eagle’s nest at the top of a tree. He became quite famous for this precarious practice. The Song Dynasty poet Su Shih (who was also a government official) once came to visit him and, standing on the ground far below the meditating master, asked what possessed him to live in such a dangerous manner. The roshi answered, “You call this dangerous? What you are doing is far more dangerous!” Living normally in the world, ignoring death, impermanence, and loss and suffering, as we all routinely do, as if this were a normal and a safe way to live, is actually much more dangerous than going out on a limb to meditate.
Illustration of man walking.

While trying to avoid difficulty may be natural and understandable, it actually doesn’t work. We think it makes sense to protect ourselves from pain, but our self-protection ends up causing us deeper pain. We think we have to hold on to what we have, but our very holding on causes us to lose what we have. We’re attached to what we like and try to avoid what we don’t like, but we can’t keep the attractive object and we can’t avoid the unwanted object. So, counterintuitive though it may be, avoiding life’s difficulties is actually not the path of least resistance; it is a dangerous way to live. If you want to have a full and happy life, in good times and bad, you have to get used to the idea that facing misfortune squarely is better than trying to escape from it.

This is not a matter of grimly focusing on life’s difficulties. It is simply the smoothest possible approach to happiness. Of course, when we can prevent difficulty, we do it. The world may be upside down, but we still have to live in this upside-down world, and we have to be practical on its terms. The teaching on transforming bad circumstances into the path doesn’t deny that. What it addresses is the underlying attitude of anxiety, fear, and narrow-mindedness that makes our lives unhappy, fearful, and small.

Transforming bad circumstances into the path is associated with the practice of patience. There are six mind-training (lojong) slogans connected with this:
  1. Turn all mishaps into the path.
  2. Drive all blames into one.
  3. Be grateful to everyone.
  4. See confusion as buddha and practice emptiness.
  5. Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.
  6. Whatever you meet is the path.

Read the complete article and more here

Via JMG: BREAKING: Obama Administration Formally Accuses Russia Of Attempting To Interfere With 2016 Elections


The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration on Friday officially accused Russia of carrying out a wide-ranging campaign to interfere with the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political officials.
The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to hold Moscow accountable for a set of actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.
The DNC publicly disclosed the intrusions in June, saying their investigation determined Russian government hackers were behind it. That was followed shortly afterwards by a major leak of DNC emails, some so embarrassing that they forced the resignation of the DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on the eve of the Democratic national convention.
The administration also blamed Moscow for the hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the subsequent leak of private email addresses and cell phone numbers of Democratic lawmakers. A series of other leaks of hacked material followed, all of which are suspected of being conducted by Russia-sponsored hackers.
More from NBC News:
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in an extraordinary gloves-off statement.
“Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.”
And from CNBC:
U.S. intelligence officials are “confident” that Russian government directed these attacks on American political organizations, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security said in a joint statement.
“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the agencies said in a Friday statement.
While this activity is “not new to Moscow,” the U.S. intelligence community and Department of Homeland Security said it would be “extremely difficult” for hackers to actually “alter ballot counts or election results,” because of the “decentralized nature” of the U.S. election system and the “number of protections state and local election officials have in place.”
Make the jump here to read the original and more on JMG

Via lgbtqnation: Donald Trump: ‘I’ll overturn the shocking gay marriage decision – trust me’

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

In a recent interview with Pat Robertson’s television network, Donald Trump blathered that antigay conservatives the world over can rest easy knowing that he’s committed to overturning the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage nationwide. 

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody asked the GOP presidential frontrunner what he thought of the Log Cabin Republicans calling him “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency.” 

Told that Evangelicals want to trust his stance on traditional marriage, Trump responded:

“I think they can trust me on traditional marriage… and frankly, I was very much in favor of having the court rule that it goes to states, and let the states decide. And that was a shocking decision for you and for me and for a lot of other people, but I was very much in favor of letting the states decide and that’s the way it looked it was going and then all of a sudden out of nowhere came this very massive decision and they took it away. But I was always in favor of state’s rights; states deciding.”

Read the original and more here

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 10/07/16:

“Liberdade é o que o ser humano mais anseia na vida. Mas o que é liberdade? Muitos confundem liberdade com a satisfação de impulsos instintivos e egoístas. Não compreendem que esses impulsos representam justamente o oposto - são verdadeiras prisões. A liberdade não tem nada a ver com as conquistas do ego. Ela é sinônimo de espontaneidade; e a espontaneidade sempre se manifesta com sabedoria e compaixão, portanto não pode machucar ninguém.”

“Libertad es lo que el ser humano más ansía en la vida. Pero, ¿qué es libertad? Muchos confunden libertad con la satisfacción de los impulsos instintivos y egoístas. No comprenden que estos impulsos representan justamente lo opuesto, son verdaderas prisiones. La libertad no tiene nada que ver con las conquistas del ego. Ella es sinónimo de espontaneidad; y la espontaneidad siempre se manifiesta con sabiduría y compasión, por lo tanto no puede lastimar a nadie.”

“Freedom is what human beings most long for in life. But what is freedom? Many confuse freedom with satisfying selfish instinctive impulses. They don’t understand that these impulses represent exactly the opposite. These impulses are the real prison. Freedom has nothing to do with the conquests of the ego. Freedom is synonymous with spontaneity. Spontaneity always manifests with wisdom and compassion, and in this way, no one is hurt.”

Via Daily Dharma / October 7, 2016: The Value of Ritual

Repetition is what allows something brand new to occur. Repetition, like the lapping of ripples against a rock, gently shifts the ground on which we tread, and so alters our relationship to the things we experience.

—Anne C. Klein, "Revisiting Ritual"