Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tibetan meditation for beginners (Oct. 18)

Ananda M., Dhr. Seven, Jen B. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan are all rich in the Dharma (Vajrayana), albeit distorted through the prism of Brahminical Indian teachings of magic, tantra, yoga, and goddess worship.
Before the complex visualizations, esoteric teachings, and magical emanations, there is the basic practice and getting good at dealing with the "Monkey Mind." Mingyur Rinpoche explains.

How do we calming the mind in meditation and deal with shenpa to get, as Pema Chodron says, "unhooked"? How we get hooked.


Culture Wars: Ep. 69, Sam Bee (comedy)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS); Crystal Q., Seth Auberon, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
(Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS, October 17, 2018) Act 1, Culture Wars, Define "Mob."
 
Culture Wars: Episode 69
Sam Bee
It's brother against brother here in the culture war, but what do voters care about more? Shouting and pussy hats or health care? Watch Full Frontal with Samantha Bee all new on Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30 PM (Central) on TBS! YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, SamBee.com (#SamanthaBee). And remember, Ivan Ka, see you next Tuesday, b*tch (lol). It's the end of civility under Trump.

"Homeless People Bother Me" (cartoon)

People Watching, Season 2, Episode 3; Crystal Q., CC Liu, Sheldon S., Wisdom Quarterly
WARNING: F-word, cussing, and sensitive issue being dealt with in an in-your-face way!
 
(Cracked) People Watching Season 2, Episode 3, Aug. 27, 2018. Check out the shop for People Watching swag. Follow on Facebook (subnormality). Join the discussion with the "Secret Losers Anonymous" group. Twitter, Instagram.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New thinking needed for a sustainable city

Christopher Nyerges via Pasadena Weekly; Dhr. Seven, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Learn from Native people: "Turn in your arms: The government will take care of you."

Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants
Growing up in Pasadena I did not have an immediate knowledge of where our food and water came from.

I turned on faucets for water, plugged in cords for electricity, and went to stores for food. My city had been engineered for me. And I was mindlessly playing my role.

At a young age I felt that there was something wrong about my ignorance. But no one else seemed to be aware of our collective lack of awareness.

How will we survive this?
Everything here came to us from somewhere else. One salvation for me was that my mother grew up on a farm and would tell me tales of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl when many people had no food. Some starved to death.

Her family was poor, by the standards of her time, but they had 51 acres in rural Ohio. They fed themselves and many others. My mother’s stories inspired me to become an ethnobotanist to learn about how plants were used in the past.

I did not pursue the path of “urban planning.” I realized I had many choices within the framework of a suburban existence to ecologically engineer my life.
Personal choices
Teaching food workshop, Hahamongna Park
My first teenage experiences were in the backyard, gardening and raising chickens in a tiny space. I wanted freedom from dependence on commercial chemical fertilizers and deadly bug sprays. But how?

I learned age old methods of agriculture, methods people today have taken to calling “organic” or “permaculture.”

I learned that, indeed, anyone can produce at least some of his/her food in a small city space.

By my late teens I had critics who told me it was impractical to grow food without artificial fertilizers and pesticides. "Really?" I dared to ask. I followed the ancient path of Masanobu Fukuoka* and his Japanese “One Straw Revolution.” I followed the Rodale Family, who insisted on growing everything with nothing artificial.
  • *Fuk Uoka: farmer-philosopher celebrated for natural farming and re-vegetation of desertified lands; proponent of traditional no-till, no-herbicide grain cultivation farming methods from many indigenous cultures; created a particular method of farming commonly referred to as "natural farming" or "do-nothing farming"...More
What about nuclear farming? Scorched earth
I learned to keep down the bug population by natural methods practiced worldwide for millennia.

I knew that any so-called "Green Revolution" based on petroleum-based fertilizers and chemical pesticides was partly a fraud and completely unsustainable.

Learning the hard way
Learn the hard way: Treatment of Native people proves government must be distrusted.
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I learned the uses of wild plants from Native American sources. To my surprise I found that all of the food used by the indigenous people of Los Angeles [the Tongva or Kizh called "Gabrielenos" by Spanish invaders] can still be found throughout the land.

But to find it it is now necessary to search a bit more because of all the houses, roads, and impractical landscaping that have taken over the land. The engineering of the concrete city destroyed much of the terrain where these native foods once grew in abundance. But they were not entirely gone.

I began to eat wild plants, which have sustained people for more than ten thousand years. I incorporated them into my regular diet. I began to share my excitement of these treasures with others. But I faced apathy in response, sometimes scorn, sometimes pity. I was amazed.

Re-engineering my own mind
In the mid-1970s in Los Angeles County, I began publicly teaching and writing about the practical skills of self-reliance and urban survival. I was not engineering the city; I was working to engineer a new mindset: We can live ecologically (and economically) in the city. More
 
What's an "invasive" species?
Angel fish, devil fish, invasive species (Illustration by Kelsey Dake)
 
What happens when humans fall in love with an invasive species?

On a rocky strip of Lake Superior beachfront, the rites of spring begin at dusk and involve fish. Lots and lots of fish.

Every year, like clockwork, slender, silvery rainbow smelt, each no longer than a hand, return from deeper waters.

They arrive just as the crust of winter ice on the water breaks apart, looking to spawn in the frigid creeks that run out of the hills north of Duluth, Minnesota. For three or four nights, maybe a week, thousands of smelt jostle their way out of the lake.
 
And that’s where [killer] humans are waiting. On this night in early May, on the narrow mouth of the Lester River, there are only about a couple dozen people present.

They stand around, bundled in hooded sweatshirts layered under thick rubber overalls that cover their bodies from toe to nipple. The smelt have not yet arrived and the beach is quiet. Waves lap the shore. Someone kicks a rock.
 
But 40 years ago, smelt fishing on the Lester River was something else entirely. “There were people all over the place, bumper to bumper on London Road,” said Don Schreiner, fisheries... More

The Simpsons used to be funny (cartoon)

Matt Groening (The Simpsons, Season 4); LastWeekTonight; Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly
The show was originally subversive, showing us ourselves with warts and all. It was like half a class of American anthropology every week when it was must see TV. Now we have to rely on comedy-news:


Saudi Arabia: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
(Oct 14, 2018) Following the alarming disappearance into a diplomatic mission of a Saudi American-resident journalist and political dissident, John Oliver examines America's uncomfortably comfortable relationship with extremist-Muslim Saudi Arabia.

Secretive fitness society pushes human limits

K

Andy Weinberg
A little snow never killed anyone, but a lot...
This secretive fitness society pushes the limits of human endurance and nothing — not even frostbite — can stop its creator, Andy Weinberg.
 
Weinberg’s feet looked like they were dunked in lava. His toes were ashen black and blue with frostbite. The pictures of his feet on his phone didn’t seem real.

But with Weinberg, one of the founders of the Endurance Society and former co-founder and partner in the Spartan Empire, this wasn’t a joke. An injury like that was bound to happen. What’s remarkable is it took this long.

Andy Weinberg
Weinberg summits snow covered mountain.
Weinberg got frostbite during a weekend in the Adirondack Mountains with a crew of 15 people he led on a 48-hour hike through snow- and ice-covered trails in sub-zero temperatures for fun. It was the Endurance Society’s annual Extremus event, a weekend-long hike in the middle of the winter over some of the Northeast’s toughest and tallest peaks.
 
At one point during this year’s version, Weinberg had to stand out in the open, no longer under the cover of trees that blocked the life-threatening wind chill, and directed people over cliffs along the Great Range. The team hiked 20-plus miles over eight peaks. It was one of the coldest weekends of the year and, according to Weinberg, no one except he and a friend, also named Andy, got injured. More
 
Some people are conquering mountains; the rest of us are getting fat (menshealth.com).
 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Canada is world's largest legal pot market

Associated Press (ap.org); Buzzcocks; Seth Auberon, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(Buzzcocks) What could go wrong? "Something's Gone Wrong Again"

Canada now world's largest legal marijuana marketplace
TORONTO, Canada - Ian Power was among the first to buy legal recreational cannabis in Canada, but he has no plans to smoke it. He plans to frame it. Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. Power was first in line at a store in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Depiction of cannabis bud hangs from ceiling as a band plays at Leafly's countdown party in Toronto, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, as they prepare to mark the legalization of Cannabis across Canada (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP).
No amount is too much = Addiction.
A formal announcement was planned for later Wednesday. The official, who was not authorized to speak public ahead of the announcement, said those who want to take advantage of the pardons will have to apply.
 
Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has spent two years working toward expanding that to include recreational marijuana. The goal is to better reflect society's changing opinion about marijuana and bring black market operators into a regulated system.
 
Uruguay was first was the first country to legalize marijuana. In St. John's, Newfoundland, hundreds of customers were lined up... More

As Canada legalizes marijuana, other countries likely to follow
SEATTLE, Washington (Oct. 18, 2018) - More than two dozen countries (13+) have relaxed their cannabis or other drug laws, and a number could consider legalizing weed in the not-too-distant future. The South American nation of Uruguay was first to legalize pot in 2013. Canada became the second on Wednesday (Oct. 17), and its size and global standing likely will encourage others to follow. Here's a look at other nations that could be influenced by Canada's legalization: More

How we get hooked, unhooked: Pema Chodron

(LionsRoar.org, hook shenpa pema chodron Lion's Roar Buddhism Shambhala Sun

The following is Pema Chödrön on shenpa -- the urge, the "hook," that triggers our habitual tendency to close down.

We get hooked in that moment of tightening when we reach for relief. To get unhooked, we begin by recognizing that moment of unease and learn to relax in that moment.

We’re trying to make a point with a co-worker or our partner. At one moment her face is open and she’s listening, and at the next, her eyes cloud over or her jaw tenses. What is it that you’re seeing?

Someone criticizes us. They criticize our work or our appearance or our child. At moments like that, what is it we feel? It has a familiar taste in our mouths, a familiar smell. Once we begin to notice it, we feel like this experience has been happening forever.

The Tibetan word for this is shenpa. It is usually translated “attachment,” but a more descriptive translation might be “hooked.” When shenpa hooks us, we’re likely to get stuck.

We could call shenpa “that sticky feeling.” It’s an everyday experience. Even a spot on our new sweater can take us there. At the subtlest level, we feel a tightening, a tensing, a sense of closing down.

Then we feel a sense of withdrawing, not wanting to be where we are. That’s the hooked quality. That tight feeling has the power to hook us into self-denigration, blame, anger, jealousy, and other emotions that lead to words and actions that end up poisoning us.
  • Shenpa is usually involuntary, and it gets right to the root of why we suffer.
Remember the fairy tale in which toads hop out of the princess’s mouth whenever she starts to say mean words? That’s how being hooked can feel. Yet we don’t stop -- we can’t stop -- because we’re in the habit of associating whatever we’re doing with relief from our own discomfort.

Dharma Meditation Initiative, Los Angeles
This is the shenpa syndrome. The word “attachment” doesn’t quite translate what’s happening. It’s a quality of experience that’s not easy to describe but which everyone knows well. Shenpa is usually involuntary and it gets right to the root of why we suffer. More

Monday, October 15, 2018

"Flexitarian" diets will feed a warming world

(bbc.com/news/science); Crystal Q., Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


"Flexitarian" diets key to feeding people in a warming world
If the world wants to limit climate change, water scarcity, and pollution then we need to embrace "flexitarian" diets, say scientists.
  • What does "flexitarian" mean? "We can eat a range of healthy diets, but what they all have in common, according to the latest scientific evidence, is that they are all relatively plant-based," says lead author at Oxford Dr. Marco Springmann. "You can go from a diet that has small amounts of animal products, some might call it a Mediterranean-based diet, we call it a flexitarian diet, over to a pescatarian, vegetarian , or vegan diet. We tried to stay with the most conservative one of these, which in our view is the flexitarian one. But even this has only one serving of red meat per week."
Be flexible: Eat the rainbow!
This means eating mainly plant-based foods. It is one of three key steps towards a sustainable future for all by 2050, they say.
 
Food waste will need to be halved and farming practices will also have to improve, according to the study.
 
Without action, the impacts of the food system could increase by up to 90%.
 
Fast on the heels of the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comes this new study on how food production and consumption impact major threats to the planet.
The authors say that the food system has a number of significant environmental impacts including being a major driver of climate change, depleting freshwater, and pollution through excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous. More

Humor in Religion: Alan Watts (audio)

AlanWatts.org via Roy of Hollywood Tuckman (archive.KPFK.org); Editors, Wisdom Quarterly

Buddhist Radio comes on Pacifica Los Angeles (kpfk.org) and plays Alan Watts on Sunday mornings at 8:00 am.

What is the real cause so we can prevent it?
Roy of Hollywood Tuckman's "Something's Happening A and B" comes on most weeknights from midnight to 6:00 am, when we enjoy DemocracyNow.org with Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and Nermeen Sheikh.

Precious Buddhist talks about meditation and spirituality come on, often courtesy of SoundsTrue.com with Tami Simon. Many famous authors -- such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Shinzen Young, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Pema Chodron, Joan Halifax, and Alan Watts -- are featured. They are then also available in the Pacifica Archive (archive.kpfk.org) under "Something's Happening" for a few weeks.

There is an industry more interested in making money from disease than "curing" anything.
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The show goes on for hours, often tackling some of the most important medical issues of the day: vaccines, cures for many "incurable" diseases, wonderful treatment, natural remedies, and things your doctor and dentist will never tell you about because it is not in the financial interest of the medical associations that license and therefore govern all licensed doctors. A doctor would have her/his license pulled and open her/himself to prosecution and censure for telling a truth that cut into the paychecks of colleagues, no matter what harm silence is doing to patients and us all. KPFK
 
Scroll down to Sunday, September 16, 2018 8:00 am show at archive.kpfk.org.

Opening Meditation: Sharon Salzberg (video)

SharonSalzberg.com at Wisdom 2.0, Dec. 30, 2014; Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly
Opening meditation led by Sharon Salzberg at Wisdom 2.0 Europe 2014 (wisdom2europe.com).

Climbers die in Himalayan storm, Nepal

Associated Press (ap.org, Oct. 15, 2018); Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Mt. Everest beckons climbers like a magnet.
KATHMANDU, Nepal - The nine climbers who died during the worst disaster on a Nepalese mountain in recent years included the first South Korean to summit all 14 Himalayan peaks over 26,247 feet (8,000 meters) without using supplemental oxygen.
An official from the South Korea's Corean Alpine Club said the bodies of Kim Chang-ho and four other South Koreans killed will arrive in South Korea on Wednesday. Four Nepalese guides were also killed when a storm swept the climbers' base camp on Gurja Himal Mountain (Dhaulagiri) Friday.
 
Sudden weather changes are common.
Rescuers had retrieved the climbers' bodies on Sunday after weather cleared. The body of one of the guides was taken to his village, while the eight others were flown to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

"It was the worst mountaineering disaster in Nepal in recent years and an unimaginable one," said Rameshwor Niraula of Nepal's Mountaineering Department, which issues climbing permits and monitors expeditions.
 
Niraula said officials were still gathering details of what exactly happened. But from what rescuers described, the climbers were blown over by the blast of the blizzard-like wind conditions. More