Monday, February 27, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / All Things Can Be Treasured

I will learn to cherish beings of bad nature
And those pressed by strong sins and sufferings
As if I had found a precious
Treasure very difficult to find.

—Geshe Langri Thangpa, "Breaking the Habit of Selfishness"

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / The Foundation of Compassion

When practicing and studying, it’s important to have a motivation that is free from affliction. Among the various pure motivations, the most important is the wish to help ourselves and others, the vast motivation of the Mahayana, which means acting for the sake of all sentient beings, who are as limitless as space.

—Kenchen Thrangu, "On What Is Most Important"

Friday, February 24, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / You’re Depending on You

Nobody can get into the heart of your experience and fix anything for you. If you want to make your own internal experience more hospitable, only you can do that work.

—Ethan Nichtern, "Awake with Others"

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / What It Is “To Know”

The idea that all human reason must be empirical is a story that is told to us by our masters.

—Curtis White, "The Science Delusion"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Faced with outsized stresses, these Baltimore students learn to take a deep breath

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 22, 2017

Serve to relieve human suffering wherever you find it, in any way you can. Whatever your skills or karmic predicament is, there’s always an opportunity to relieve human suffering. The major way you are relieving human suffering is by becoming a conscious being, and then all the rest of your stuff should also be involved in relieving human suffering in other beings. You should have enough money and right livelihood in order to keep your body healthy, in order to allow you to do your sadhana, in order to fulfill your social responsibilities that are existing, your karmic responsibility, and all the rest of the money should be distributed. Simple as that.

The enlightened being, or the person that’s awakened, realizes that the game is to walk through the path and leave no footprint. Leave no footprint because whatever footprint you leave is just more karmic stuff.

Via Daily Dharma / What Is Expression?

In painting, as in any art, we can escape the prison of our minds and connect with what transcends ordinary perceptions. And just as a body of water stays still while a wave-form moves through it, consciousness remains stable despite the constant motion and flow of our thoughts.

—Fredericka Foster, "Spotlight On: Fredericka Foster"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

September 7 is Brazilian Independence day...

Soooo... this Trump thing has caused me to rethink my status here as a permanent resident. Brasil has been much more progressive re: GLBTq immigration than WTFistan has been (see my TEDx talk). 

And now that things are schlepping to the evangelical right here as well, it is now or never… So my hubby and I had a long talk and decided it is best for me to be able to vote – since I pay taxes and enjoy all the other rights and responsibilities. And if things really go south (pardon the pun) up in WTFistan, I can sponsor my family down here in Neverland.
So I reacted by the Trump coup, by applying for the Brazilian half of what will be dual citizenship. 

Kinda complicated, but soooooooo much easier for me to become a Brazilian, than the crap my husband has to put up with (again a plug for my TEDx talk way back when). Went on line to the Brazilian Immigration (I am a permanent resident - like a green card), got a list of jobs/things I have to do to organize a file to get a Brazilian passport, etc. I talked to my lawyer bud here in Ouro Preto. 

The worst is the FBI report, I asked around and I met folks who were stranded like I was 6 years ago up there for a month... no can do! So I contacted the US Consul in Rio and we talked/bantered back and forth for a while and he offered to write me a letter to get my fingerprints done here in Brasil, then mail the prints/forms to the FBI.

That letter.

So yesterday I took the letter to the PolĂ­cia Federal (PF) in Belo Horizonte (BH), which is a cross between the FBI and the “migra” in the States. I got in the “foreigner line” strangely short, which faces the Brazilian (abandon the countryside of the waiting area – very full). Showed my letter, and the delegada (officer) was so apologetic, I know it says for you to come here, but you need to go to the office in… (The HEAD office for the PF – of course all the way across town on the top of a hill – think a very 1970’s collection of ugly buildings (Minas Gerais has a talent for building really ugly buildings – my campus is just one example) which forms a fortress/military/ Star Feet base complex next to a hospital… got there, went to the even more imposing gate, and went thru security (picture, badge, chatting up the security folks), all the time the Brazilians are looking at me like a strange flower, or lost puppy “why would you do this, I want to move to Miami” kind of look. I was directed to follow a blue line around a building (Which I did) just “follow the blue brick road” across a green space, a couple of “soldiers” greeted me and I felt even more like I was in Star Fleet, albeit a very “brega” one. I followed the blue line thru another lobby, and then upstairs in another building got lost, more Star Fleet delegados helped me, smiling… found the place, and the guy helping me was so surprised. The rest of the office was so happy to see me, and have something happy to do, just a dumb gringo who isn’t in a crisis. After a minor problem downloading the FBI form to BH Star Feet, I was inked and on my way in no time…

I left base and headed down the hill to a taxi stand, and called a dear friend from UFOP who is off for the semester while she finishes her doctoral thesis. She directed me to go to her house (across town) and we walked to lunch, and everywhere we went she just had to tell everyone, restaurant, museum, and her family… “Daniel is becoming a Brazilian!” Oi such a shunder…

When I got home (Neverland is a good 2 hour bus ride from BH over impossibly green mountains)I put all the docs together, and this morning on my way to campus SEDEX’d (we have our own DHL/UPS/FEDEX here in Neverland) them to West Virginia where you send stuff that allows you to get a criminal report. I walked back to campus all verklempt… and REALLY happy! It helped that a gentle breeze was blowing, the sun was out, the mountains are as green as green can be, and birds were singing… “Vem ti vi! Vem ti vi!”

So step one (of about 20) done… check!

Next step: The report I sent to FBI HQ needs to be “autenticado” in the Brazilian Consulate in San Francisco – a dear amiga in the California State Senate Int’l office will do that for me – she earns extra dharma points. Then it has to be translated and collected with the rest of the documents. This will take a few months at best. Which gives me time to do all sorts of other tasks… copies of the house contract, proof of my work as a federal employee, copies of the marriage certificate, etc. all authenticated and stamped and registered in “cartorios”.

So you can see why I get snarky at folks in WTFistan, who think “I’ll just move to Canada or France”, yeah good luck. I had to tell one guy, start with grad school and marriage… moving abroad ain’t like moving across WTFistan cowboy.

So to make this very long story short, keep me in your prayers and send lotsa love and light to all who I need to facilitate this… I am just so really fortunate and blessed – a great job, in a great little college town, in a funky state, in a more than dysfunctional but wonderful country. Despite all the problems here in Brasil, there are so many really, really fine people here and it will be great to be Brazilian in a few months!

September 7 is Brazilian Independence day... hoping to have it all done by then! Dedos cruzados!

Putin: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Via Daily Dharma / Standing Up

Judgmental criticism is one thing; judicious criticism is actually a gift. That’s why the Buddha never formulated a precept against talking about other people’s faults or errors, because there are times when you have to speak up against harmful behavior.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Gossip"

Via Daily Dharma / Gratitude and Generosity

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity. I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need.

—Sallie Tisdale, "As If There Is Nothing to Lose"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

This is where I stand. Period.

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This is where I stand. Period.

I make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. I know some are tired of political postings and rants. But apart from posts of recipes, grandchildren, meals, flowers, dogs, travel pictures,and drama, and even beautiful expressions of spiritual beliefs, FB is (until it gets taken away) a vehicle to express our outrage at how far our country has currently fallen on the humanitarian scale.

To me, FB is a useful vehicle for my passion and activism. The fevered Ego currently occupying our White House, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love.

And unless you are worth billions of dollars, they are a threat to you and your life, too.
So I will resist and I will be part of the resistance, and proud of it. If you can join in or hang with it, fine. But if not, then you probably need to unfriend me now. I refuse to "play nice" in the face of what these people are doing. Our country's well-being demands that we stand and resist.

Some people are saying that we should give #45 a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is my response:

•I will not say #45's name.
•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...
•I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid or repeal the ACA.
•I will not "work together" to build a wall.
•I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.
•I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, no matter how bad they might have been, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
•I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1%.
•I will not "work together" to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
•I will not "work together" to help #45 use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies.
•I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
•I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not "work together" to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
•I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not "work together" to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
•I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not "work together" to slash funding for education.
•I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not "work together" to allow torture and "black op" prison sites.
•I will not "work together" to "take their oil."
•I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
•I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that #45 and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not "work together" to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
•I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.
•I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
•I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual "pre-existing condition."
•I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
•I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.
•Iwill not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
•I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not "work together" with #45 or anyone who supports him, because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.
This is the line, and I am drawing it.
•I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN for what's really so dangerous about #45, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world:
That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is anything more than nothing... When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.
PS: If you agree, please copy and re-post (we understand this results in larger numbers of people seeing a post), and if you can, sign your name below ours. Also, if we have left anything out, feel free to add it to this list.
Consider this an opportunity to make a declaration of commitment, in becoming part of The Resistance.


Patricia Rollins Trosclair
Andrea Dora Zysk
George Georgakis
John Christopher
John Bowles
Patrick St.Louis
Carla Patrick
Darnell Bender
Vickie Davis
JMichael Carter
Janice Frazier-Scott
Rev. ELaura James Reid
Jeanette Bouknight
Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey
Gerald Butler
Carolyn McDougle
Vaughn Chatman
Adrienne Brown
Gary Trousdale
Steven E Gordon
Isis Nocturne
Debi Murray
Maureen O. Betita
Mona Enderli
Fernie James Tamblin
Myrna Dodgion
Alan Locklear
Tom Wilmore
Jackie Evans
Donna Endres
Lora Fountain
Roberta Gregory
Heather A Mayhew
Stevo Wehr
Nathan Stivers
Jen RaLee
Joan Holden
Leigh Lutz
Deborah Kirkpatrick
Linda Levy
Tom Rue
Nancy Hoffmann-Allison
Beejay McCabe
Michael James Myers
Edward T. Spire
Rupert Chapman
Dawn R. Dunbar
Robin Wilson
Monique Boutot
Laura Brown đŸ’ȘđŸŒ
Susan Aptaker
Steve Katz
Bonnie Wolk
Risa Guttman-Kornwitz
Angela Gora
Butch Norman
Sharon Tolman
Sue Zislis
Maurice Hirsch
Satch Dobrey
Jim Krapf
Don Starwalt
Deb Johansen
Daniel Anderson
Tim Roda
Helen o Leary
Kyle Staver
Sharon Clabo
Mary Proenza
Jamie Trachtenberg
Sherry Jo Williams
Julie Chase
Alexa Grace
Dreama Kattenbraker
Deborah G Rogers
Sharon Pierce McCullough
Laura Phillips Dollieslager
Lynnette Fitch Brash
Robin van Tine
Richard Hill
John Paul Jones
Sharon Van Schaik Kale
Anita Jagt
Gail Kent
Suzanne Hershey Ford
Erin Gall
Ezilda Samoville
Daniel Clark Orey

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Via Ram Dass

You gotta remember that the ego is built on fear. It’s not built on love; it’s built on fear. It’s built on the fear of non-survival, and so you build a structure in order to make you safe. And it’s beautiful instrument, but if you’re identified with it, you’re fearful all the time. And because you’re fearful you’re always going to overcompensate and make ego decisions that are a little inappropriate, because they’ll be colored by your looking from inside this place.

When you’re outside of it you see that you use your ego as you need to to make decisions. You come back into sombody-ness. You and I are meeting back here behind this dance that we’re doing which is charming and fascinating. And that’s really the beauty of playing with the ego and the higher consciousness. And it’s only when those two planes work that the ego becomes really functional, okay?

Via Daily Dharma / Graceful Suffering:

There is grace in suffering. Suffering is part of the training program for wisdom.

—Ram Dass, "America’s Guru"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / Creating Our Own Suffering:

In short, it’s our reactivity that generates dukkha, keeping us agitated and therefore unable to contemplate the actual, direct, here and now experience of it.

—Thanissara, "The Grit That Becomes a Pearl"

Friday, February 17, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / Making Space

Like a forest fire, anger tends to burn up its own support. If we jump down into the middle of such a fire, we will have little chance of putting it out, but if we create a clearing around the edges, the fire can burn itself out. This is the role of meditation: creating a clearing around the margins of anger.

—Mark Epstein, "I’ve Been Meditating for Ten Years, and I’m Still Angry. What’s the Matter with Me?"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / The Achievement of Altruism:

According to the scriptures, the mere inclination to generate bodhicitta thus shows a certain degree of spiritual evolution and maturity.

—Karma Trinlay Rinpoche, "What We’ve Been All Along"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Via Ram Dass

We don't need to wait until we are enlightened before we act in the world, and we don't need to withdraw from the world to become enlightened. Conscious social action can be our own work on ourselves that becomes the vehicle for our awakening.

Via Daily Dharma / For All Sentient Beings

Without bodhicitta, there can be no enlightenment. And all of us—no matter who we are and what we have done—hold this seed of bodhicitta within ourselves.

—The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, "No Easy Answers"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Via Daily Dharma: Seeing Another

When you’re not entrapped by another person’s appearance or behavior, you can see behind all that to a deeper level of their being because your mind has tuned itself; you’ve shifted your focus just that little bit to see their soul. That soul quality is love.

—Ram Dass, "Tuning the Mind"

Via Tricycle/ Rama Dass: Tuning the Mind

When I look at relationships, my own and others, I see a whole range of reasons we get together and ways we interact. Some are transactional, but the deeper impulse of every human relationship is to evoke the love and oneness that unites us. But what actually happens is that many relationships reinforce our separateness because of our misperception of ourselves as separate beings, and because of our desire systems, which are based in separateness or ego. Relationships only work in a spiritual sense when you and I really see that we are one.  
Relationships and emotions can reinforce our separateness, or they can be grist for the mill of awakening. When it comes to love relationships, we are like bees looking for a flower. The predicament is that the emotional power of loving somebody can get you so caught in the interpersonal melodrama that you can’t get beyond the emotion. The problem with interpersonal love is that you are dependent on the other person to reflect love back to you. That’s part of the illusion of separateness. The reality is that love is a state of being that comes from within. 

The only thing you really ever have to offer another person is your own state of being. When you’re not entrapped by another person’s appearance or behavior, you can see behind all that to a deeper level of their being because your mind has tuned itself; you’ve shifted your focus just that little bit to see their soul. That soul quality is love.
From Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart by Ram Dass. © 2913 Love Serve Remember Foundation. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True.

Make the jump here to read the original and more

Peter FĂ€llmar Andersson: This is how we let Hans Rosling rest in peace

Hans Rosling, 1948-2017.
This is a translated version of an article first published on February 12th, 2017. Read it in Swedish here.
Hans Rosling was said to be unable to deliver bad news.
That is a misconception.
Three years before passing away, he remarked that the one thing that had surprised him the most during his tenure as a global educator was that he became so famous – despite having so little influence over people’s real knowledge. He realized he was stuck in ”persona hell”, and that people remained ignorant at a level worse than random guessing when they took Gapminder’s tests. Not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of ”an actively upheld ignorance”.
He had discovered that people actively had set their minds to remaining ignorant.
Hans Rosling had devoted decades to try to throw out our Tintin-like perspective, but kept on having to say ”wrong, wrong, wrong” when the Swedish people answered the question of how many children are born per woman in Bangladesh.
So how do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting that he sometimes swallowed swords in a heavy metal style tank top.
And by remembering that mothers in Bangladesh no longer give birth to five children on average, nor four, but TWO POINT TWO children.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting that he got more clicks than Lady Gaga online.
And by remembering that 80 percent of the children of the world now have access to the most important and most cost efficient of all vaccines: the one for measles.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting that Time Magazine put him on some list.
And by remembering that Hans Rosling was certain that the world, if it got it’s act together, can reach the goal that the United Nations set for the year 2030: to exterminate extreme poverty for everyone, everywhere.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting that he was a ”data rock star” at the lecture network website Ted.
And by remembering that life expectancy globally has skyrocketed, and now averages 72 years.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting false quotes, distributed by people who want everything for the world but Rosling’s humanism.
And by remembering that he spoke of the refugees on the Mediterranean by saying: ”Send a ferry to help them over, instead of saving them when they are about to drown”.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By forgetting that he once competed in ”PĂ„ spĂ„ret”, one of Sweden’s oldest and most popular game shows.
And by remembering that Hans Rosling, the man, was a result of a political struggle that created a nation built on social security, that made it possible for him – who grew up in a home without a flushable toilet – to be the first in his family to study at a higher level. His dad worked in a coffee factory, his mother as an assistant at a library. And that he, thanks to that same nation state, was able to receive his first cancer treatment as a father of small children, at age 30. And that the treatment gave him another 38 years to live.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
By – hesitantly – forgetting that he once turned some colleagues down when they wanted him to take part in a student comic theater celebration: ”got no time. gotta stop ebola. get something online.”
And by remembering that Hans Rosling sometimes was mistaken, or drew the wrong conclusions.
How do we let Hans Rosling rest in peace?
Perhaps by following his example, and whisper a quick ”thank you” when turning on the water faucet, to get clean, fresh, healthy water.
In the spirit and hope of his heavenly harmony, may we finally understand what his Lego blocks, his graphical bubbles and Swenglish accent were all about:
We hold our destiny in our own hands.
Translation from Swedish: Andreas Ekström
Make the  jump here to read the original here

Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan: A queer vision of love and marriage

Monday, February 13, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / Inanimate Inspiration

Disgusting things get thrown on the earth, but the earth isn’t horrified by them. When you make your mind like the earth, neither agreeable nor disagreeable sensory impressions will take charge of it.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "The Joy of Effort"


Via Tricycle / Spiritual but Not Religious Exploring a growing cultural phenomenon that is here to stay

In this special section from the Spring 2017 issue of Tricycle, religion scholars, journalists, and laypeople share their thoughts on a phenomenon that is here to stay: the rising number of people who identify as spiritual, but not religious.

As Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University William B. Parsons says in his introduction:

“During a year of research among the religiously unaffiliated, for example, the American writer Kaya Oakes encountered many more people who dip in and out of various Buddhist traditions than people who actually identify as Buddhists. To help with background, historian Matt Hedstrom sheds some light on little-known Protestant educational trends that may have paved the way for contemporary mindfulness. Religious studies scholar Andrea Jain offers an example from the world of yoga that parallels some of the strongest critiques—familiar to Tricycle readers—of spirituality as a consumer product. And finally, Diane Winston, a journalist and historian of religion, relates her experience teaching an undergraduate class in which students seem neither religious nor spiritual.”

Table of Contents:

SBNR: Past and Present, with William B. Parsons
The Case of Bikram Yoga, with Andrea Jain
Scientific Spirituality, with Matthew Hedstrom
Two Sides of the Same Coin, with Diane Winston

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Via Ram Dass

There is a way of shifting consciousness so that you see that we are all one in the form of many...You see that a starving person or a dying person or a frightened person is you. Then the whole trip of, 'What's good for me? What do I want? What do I need?' just becomes less interesting. And that's where the power is that changes the universe.

Via Daily Dharma / Three Marks of Existence:

Sometimes when I’m asked to describe the Buddhist teachings, I say this: Everything is connected; nothing lasts; you are not alone. This is really just a restatement of the traditional Three Marks of Existence: non-self, impermanence, and suffering.

—Lewis Richmond, "The Authentic Life"

Via BBC / More or Less: Hans Rosling - the extraordinary life of a statistical guru

A huge hole was left in the world this week with the death of the Swedish statistician Han Rosling. He was a master communicator whose captivating presentations on global development were watched by millions. He had the ear of those with power and influence. His friend Bill Gates said Hans ‘brought data to life and helped the world see the human progress it often overlooked’. In a world that often looks at the bad news coming out of the developing world, Rosling was determined to spread the good news, extended life expectancy, falling rates of disease and infant mortality. He was fighting what he called the ‘post-fact era‘ of global health. He was passionate about global development and before he became famous he lived and worked in Mozambique, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo using data and his skills as a doctor to save lives. Despite ill health he also travelled to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to help gather and consolidate data to help fight the outbreak. On a personal level he was warm, funny and kind and will be greatly missed by a huge number of people. 
Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Wesley Stephenson

Make the jump here to listen to article

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Via DailyDharma / The Buddha Within You:

There is a buddha in every one of us, and we should allow the buddha to walk. Even in the most difficult situation, you can walk like a buddha.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, "Walk Like a Buddha"

Friday, February 10, 2017

Via Daisaku Ikeda / To My Friends:

To My Friends

The hallmark of a leader is
the promptness with which
they encourage others and
their earnest resolve to not
let time slip them by.
Be thorough when reporting
and communicating information,
and go to our members in need
with lightning speed!

Via Daily Dharma / Ask Questions

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, “If even a single monk has any doubt or indecision concerning the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha, the path or the practice, ask. Don’t later regret that ‘The Teacher was face-to-face with us, but we didn’t bring ourselves to cross-question him in his presence.’”

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Skill in Questions"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Copied and pasted from a friend's page.

I listened as you called my President a Muslim.
I listened as you called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as you said he wasn't born here.
I watched as you blocked every single path to progress that you could.
I saw the pictures you made of him as Hitler.
I watched you shut down the government and hurt the entire nation, twice.
I watched you turn your backs on every opportunity to open a worthwhile dialog.
I watched you say that you would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as you openly said that you will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as you did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
To move forward.
To denounce protesters.
To "Get over it."
To accept this...
I will not.
I will do my part to make sure, this great American mistake, becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
I will do this as quickly as possible, every chance I get.
I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to you.
The people who voted for him. Yes you, the ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
I will do this so that you never forget.
And you will hear me.
You will see it in my eyes when I look at you.
You will hear it in my voice when I talk to you.
You will know that I know who you are.
You will know that I know what you are.
Do not call for my tolerance. I've tolerated all I can.

Now it's your turn to tolerate the ridicule.
Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day forward is now Trump's fault just as much as you thought it was Obama's.

I find it unreasonable for you to expect from me, what you were entirely unwilling to give.

Via Daily Dharma / An Enlightened Vision of the World:

I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars.

—Zen Master Dogen, "In Search of the Sacred"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Via Ram Dass

One dies as one lives...Once that starts to fall into place, then the question is how you use the moment-to-moment experiences of your life as a vehicle for awakening.

Via Daily Dharma / The Evolution of Understanding:

When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance, I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.

—Qingyuan Weixin, "First There Is a Mountain (Then There Is No Mountain)"


Viva Hans Rosling!

Woke up to find that dear, dear Hans Rosling, has passed away. The world has lost a good, decent man who offered us all a postive message using data... I am crushed.

Take time today to listen to him. Viva Hans Rosling!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WALK WITH ME - International Trailer

Via Shambhala Publications: Pema Chödrön

Relaxing in the midst of chaos,
learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.

Disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away.
—Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart


Via FB: From Scott Mednick, when a Trumpster Facebook friend told him, "We suffered for 8 years. Now it’s your turn.”

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From Scott Mednick, when a Trumpster Facebook friend told him, "We suffered for 8 years. Now it’s your turn.”

Scott's reply: "There will never be a President who does everything to everyone’s liking. There are things President Obama (and President Clinton) did that I do not like and conversely there are things I can point to that the Presidents Bush did that I agree with. So I am not 100% in lock step with the outgoing President but have supported him and the overall job he did.

And, if you recall, during the Presidential Campaign back in 2008 the campaign was halted because of the "historic crisis in our financial system."

Wall Street bailout negotiations intervened in the election process. The very sobering reality was that there likely could be a Depression and the world financial markets could collapse. The United States was losing 800,000 jobs a month and was poised to lose at least 10 million jobs the first year once the new President took office. We were in an economic freefall. So let us recall that ALL of America was suffering terribly at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency.

But I wanted to look back over the last 8 years and ask you a few questions. Since much of the rhetoric before Obama was elected was that he would impose Sharia Law, Take Away Your Guns, Create Death Panels, Destroy the Economy, Impose Socialism and, since you will agree that NONE of this came to pass,I was wondering: Why have you suffered so?'

So let me ask: Gays and Lesbians can now marry and enjoy the benefits they had been deprived of. Has this caused your suffering?

When Obama took office, the Dow was 6,626. Now it is 19,875. Has this caused your suffering?

We had 82 straight months of private sector job growth - the longest streak in the history of the United States. Has this caused your suffering?

Especially considering where the economy was when he took over, an amazing 11.3 million new jobs were created under President Obama (far more than President Bush). Has this caused your suffering?

Obama has taken Unemployment from 10% down to 4.7%. Has this caused your suffering?

Homelessness among US Veterans has dropped by half. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama shut down the US secret overseas prisons. Has this caused your suffering?

President Obama has created a policy for the families of fallen soldiers to have their travel paid for to be there when remains are flown home. Has this caused your suffering?

We landed a rover on Mars. Has this caused your suffering?

He passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Has this caused your suffering?

Uninsured adults has decreased to below 10%: 90% of adults are insured - an increase of 20 Million Adults. Has this caused your suffering?

People are now covered for pre-existing conditions. Has this caused your suffering?

Insurance Premiums increased an average of $4,677 from 2002-2008, an increase of 58% under Bush. The growth of these insurance premiums has gone up $4,145 – a slower rate of increase. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama added Billions of dollars to mental health care for our Veterans. Has this caused your suffering?

Consumer confidence has gone from 37.7 to 98.1 during Obama’s tenure. Has this caused your suffering?

He passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Has this caused your suffering?

His bi-annual Nuclear Summit convinced 16 countries to give up and destroy all their loose nuclear material so it could not be stolen. Has this caused your suffering?

He saved the US Auto industry. American cars sold at the beginning of his term were 10.4M and upon his exit 17.5M. Has this caused your suffering?

The deficit as a percentage of the GDP has gone from 9.8% to 3.2%. Has this caused your suffering?

The deficit itself was cut by $800 Billion Dollars. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama preserved the middle class tax cuts. Has this caused your suffering?

Obama banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. Has this caused your suffering?

He signed Credit Card reform so that rates could not be raised without you being notified. Has this caused your suffering?

He outlawed Government contractors from discriminating against LGBT persons. Has this caused your suffering?

He doubled Pell Grants. Has this caused your suffering?

Abortion is down. Has this caused your suffering? Violent crime is down. Has this caused your suffering?

He overturned the scientific ban on stem cell research. Has this caused your suffering?
He protected Net Neutrality. Has this caused your suffering?

Obamacare has extended the life of the Medicare insurance trust fund (will be solvent until 2030). Has this caused your suffering?

President Obama repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell. Has this caused your suffering? He banned torture. Has this caused your suffering?

He negotiated with Syria to give up its chemical weapons and they were destroyed. Has this caused your suffering?

Solar and Wind Power are at an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?

High School Graduation rates hit 83% - an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?

Corporate profits are up by 144%. Has this caused your suffering?

He normalized relations with Cuba. Has this caused your suffering?

Reliance on foreign oil is at a 40 year low. Has this caused your suffering?

US Exports are up 28%. Has this caused your suffering?

He appointed the most diverse cabinet ever. Has this caused your suffering?

He reduced the number of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Has this caused your suffering?

Yes, he killed Osama Bin Laden and retrieved all the documents in his possession for analysis. Perhaps THIS caused your suffering?

From an objective standpoint it would appear that the last 8 years have seen some great progress and we were saved from a financial collapse.

Things are not perfect. Things can always be better. We are on much better footing now than we were in 2008.

I look forward to understanding what caused you to suffer so much under Obama these last 8 years."

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Via Daily Dharma / Words of a Perfect Teacher

When others are proud, you cannot please them easily. When you are being very proud, you always find fulfillment difficult, your expectations are high, and you take things very personally.

—Kyabgon Phakchok Rinpoche, "Six Lessons from Patrul Rinpoche"

  1. “The proud will never be pleased”
  2. “The jealous will never be happy”
  3. “The greedy will never be satisfied”
  4. “The hateful will never be reconciled”
  5. “The stingy will never have enough” 
  6. “The ignorant will never accomplish”

Monday, February 6, 2017

Via Daily Dharma / Correct Views:

Shunyata is “the exhaustion of all theories and views.” Making it into a metaphysical theory is like grasping a snake by the wrong end–look out! Nagarjuna emphasizes that the meaning of shunyata itself is relative: having used it to let go of other concepts, we should let go of shunyata too.

—David Loy, "The Dharma of Deconstruction"

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Via Metroweekely: Gil Steinlauf: Dear President Trump

Dear President Trump,

As a Jew, as a rabbi, as a gay man, I have something to say to you: you don’t know me, but I know you. We have met, in fact, many times. We have met in this lifetime, and across countless generations. In my lifetime, I have heard your hateful words and felt your contempt in the expressions of bullies and mean-spirited children who taunted me and beat me and called me “faggot” in the hallways and classrooms of my junior high school. The day after you won the election, your spirit was in the man who approached my partner and me as we walked down the street holding hands, as he pantomimed gunning us down with a semi-automatic weapon.

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf — Photo by Todd Franson / File photo

My Jewish people know you so very well. In fact, we tell the story of you at our Passover seders. In the Haggadah, we read how you rise up in each and every generation — either to destroy us literally, or to destroy everything that we stand for. And what is it that we stand for? “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him…You shall not ill-treat any widow or orphan…” (Exodus 22:21-22). The stranger, the widow, the orphan — these represent all the people in society who are vulnerable, who do not have privilege. In our time, that list extends to black people, to LGBTQ people, to Muslims and to immigrants, to Jews, to women, to the disabled.

I know you so well, Mr. Trump, because in every generation, you hate and seek to destroy us for exactly the same reason: deep down, you are afraid of us. We threaten everything that you understand about yourself. For you, life is a nightmare where you cannot feel the nearness of Divine love, no matter how much wealth and acclaim and privilege you hoard, no matter how many of us you attack for the momentary relief of feeling powerful at the expense of the less powerful.

But I also know one more thing about you, Mr. Trump. In every generation, you may rise up to extraordinary power. You may wreak terrible destruction. But you always fall. Always. You see, the power of Divine love lives with us “strangers, orphans and widows.” And that Divine love is the only real power there is. And that love will give us strength to organize, to stand tall and proud, and to resist you.

Sorry to break this news to you, Mr. Trump. Sorry that your power and privilege shuts your eyes and covers your ears to the truth. But we have been around the block with you for thousands of years, and it always ends the same way. Enjoy your power grab and your rampage of hate — yet again. And when Love and Justice vanquishes your regime of intolerance once more, I only ask that you try to remember, once and for all, that it was never us whom you needed to fear. It was your own hardened heart — feeling powerless and closed off to the world — that you projected onto us and called “enemy.”

But whether or not you are capable of learning this lesson, we are here. We are stronger than you can imagine. And we are ready for you.


Gil Steinlauf
Senior Rabbi
Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, D.C.


Rabbi Steinlauf’s words here represent his views only, and he does not speak on behalf of Adas Israel Congregation.

Make the jump here to read the original and more here

Via Ram Dass

The only way you can keep you heart open is by living simultaneously on more than one plane of consciousness. When I was in India, there was a time in Bangladesh when things were just falling apart, and I wanted to take my VW and use it as an ambulance. My guru didn’t tell me to or not to, but he saw how agitated I was, and he said, “Ram Dass, don’t you see it’s all perfect?” and I said “Perfect?!” – I was outraged because people were dying and suffering.

My self-righteousness was outraged. How could it be perfect if people were being violated, and there is injustice?

Yet he would cry over the suffering, and he would do things to alleviate suffering, so I began to try to embrace the paradox of the planes of consciousness, in which there are inconsistencies. It involves the evolution of the individual soul through all kinds of learning experiences that involve suffering and death, but if you are looking at it through the eyes of your separateness, through your individual rational mind, it becomes a trap where you cannot see that it is all simultaneously perfect and it stinks.

Via Daily Dharma / The Jewel of Community:

The sangha literally embodies the Buddhist tradition; it transcends the self-concerns of any individual, especially the concerns that arise from placing our inner life at the center of the universe.

—Robert Sharf, "Losing Our Religion"

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Via JMG: Tony Perkins: It’s “Fake News” To Claim Religious Liberty Executive Orders Would Legalize Discrimination


Via press release from hate group leader Tony Perkins:
The Left’s cabal is in an uproar over word of new religious liberty protections potentially coming from the White House. What they consistently refuse to recognize, however is just how much of this fundamental first freedom we need to restore in the wake of the Obama regime.
The hysteria stems from word of a draft executive order that was leaked to The Nation, who claims that the order would create “wholesale exemptions for individuals and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity.” Like most of the Left’s fake news, this is more about advancing their anti-Christian agenda than it is reporting real news.
What would the executive order on religious liberty do and why is it needed? It would create a general directive for all federal agencies to adhere “to the extent permitted by law” to religious freedom laws and principles in agency actions, regulations or policies. It properly recognizes that religion should not be confined to a home or house of worship alone, but to “all activities of life,” such as those that involve social services, education, health care, employment, obtaining “grants or contracts,” or otherwise participating in the “public square.”
Religious expression has every right to exist in the public square as do other forms of expression. The order also directs federal agencies to implement the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, along with the Title VII religious protections for federal employees, religious organizations, and schools.
As I said yesterday, President Trump has been very clear on the importance of religious liberty. The free exercise of religion has suffered greatly under the policies and orders of President Obama. I am confident that the Trump administration will protect this first and most fundamental freedom.
Perkins has been making the rounds on cable outlets to press for the executive order, no doubt in the hope that Trump will see him.

Make the jump here to read the original and more at JMG

Via Daily Dharma / Elements of Stability

The transformative power of Buddhist meditation occurs when the stability and vividness of shamatha is unified with the penetrating insights of vipashyana. Shamatha by itself results in a temporary alleviation of the fundamental causes of suffering, and vipashyana by itself provides only fleeting glimpses of reality.

—B. Alan Wallace, "Within You Without You"


Friday, February 3, 2017

Via JMG: REPORT: Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner Worked To Convince Trump Not To Revoke Obama’s LGBT Order


Politico reports:
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump helped lead the charge to scuttle a draft executive order that would have overturned Obama-era enforcements of LGBT rights in the workplace, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO.
A draft executive order on LGBT rights that outlines how to roll back former President Barack Obama’s protections and expand legal exemptions based on religious beliefs has been circulating among journalists and worried progressive groups this week.
But two sources close to Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who have a record of supporting gay rights, said the couple favored putting out a clear statement from the president, promising to uphold the 2014 Obama executive order and stopping the momentum for the turnaround in its tracks.
On Tuesday night, the White House released a statement saying that “President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.”
As the above-linked article notes, hate group leaders such as Tony Perkins remain confident that a separate “religious liberty” order will be issued.

 Make the jump here to read the full story and more hereon JMG