Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beset by birth, illness, death (Ayya Khema)

German Theravada Buddhist nun Sister Ayya Khema, All of Us: Beset by Birth, Decay, and Death (accesstoinsight.org); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
A celestial scene, as from the space World of the Thirty-Three (Chantip Charoen/flickr.com)
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I. The Dharma of the Blessed One is Perfectly Expounded

The Dharma of the Blessed One
is rightly expounded,
[visible] here and now,
not dependent on time
[i.e., immediately effective]. 
 
Western Theravada nun Ven. Ayya Khema
The first line of this Buddhist chant proclaims real confidence in the Dharma/Dhamma (the Buddha's teachings). It is not about believing without inquiring, but an inner relationship of trust. When one is faithful to someone, one trusts, one places oneself in that person's hands, has a deep connection and an inner opening.

How much more is this true of the confidence and faith in the teachings of the Buddha? Those aspects of the Dharma which we do not yet understand can be set aside for the moment. That does not shake our confidence, faith, and trust.
 
If we feel the teaching is completely, perfectly, and "rightly expounded," we are very fortunate, for we know that one thing in this universe is right. There is nothing else to be found that is without blemish, nor is there anything that is becoming perfect.

If we have that trust, faithfulness, and love towards the Dharma and believe it to be rightly expounded, we have found something beyond compare. We are blessed with inner wealth.
 
The results "to be seen here and now" are up to each of us. The Dharma has been made clear by the Enlightened One, who taught it out of compassion. We have to see it for ourselves with inner vision.
"Here and now" needs to be stressed because it means not forgetting [the very definition of sati or "mindfulness, memory, vigilance, watchfulness, conscientiousness], being aware of phenomena (dharmas)/the Dharma in each moment. 

This awareness helps us to watch our reactions before they result in unskillful intentions, words, or deeds (the three kinds of karma) -- seeing the positive within us and cultivating it, seeing the negative and substituting it. 

When we believe all of our thoughts and claim justification for them, we're not seeing the Dharma, the Truth. There are no justifications, there are only arising phenomena which quickly cease again.
 
"Not a matter of time" or "not dependent on time" means that we are not dependent upon the Buddha or any buddha being alive in order to practice the Dharma. Although this is a widespread misconception, we can undertake the path-of-practice right now.

Some people think there has to be a perfect situation or a perfect teacher or perfect meditation technique. None of that is true. Mental and physical phenomena (dharmas) are constantly coming, changing, and going (arising, turning, and falling), altering without pause. When we cling and try to hang onto them or consider them our own, we will believe any story our mind tells us without wise discrimination.

We consist of body (form), feelings (sensations), perceptions, mental formations (fabrications), and consciousness, which we grip tightly believing them to be "I," "me," and "mine." We need to take a step back and be a neutral observer of the whole process. These are processes, not things.
Inviting one to come and see,
leading inwards.
 
The understanding of the Dharma leads to inner depths of awareness. We are invited to "come and see" what is really there. We are not being asked to "come and see" a meditation hall, Buddha statue, stupa (dagoba), or shrine. We are invited to "come and see" the phenomena (dhammas) arising within us. The defilements as well as the purifications are to be found inside one's own heart and mind. More

Friday, September 23, 2016

Roots of Buddhist Psychology (Jack Kornfield)

Jack Kornfield (spiritrock.org), SoundsTrue.com (video); Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly
(Diamond Mind) Three-part guided meditation on "Buddha Nature" [our innate potential for enlightenment], forgiveness, and equanimity with insight meditation instructor Jack Kornfield.
Psychotherapy 2.0 2016: Online Training Summit (soundstrue.com)

iHeart Fest, Ozzfest, Knotfest, Rhyme Fest

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; ozzfestmeetsknotfest.com
iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas and broadcast on The CW (kfiam640.iheart.com): The show is tonight (9/23/16) at this website: CWTV.com

Ozzfest is Saturday (9/24/16) and Knotfest follows on Sunday (9/25/16)
Rhyme Fest comes to Los Angeles Sept. 29, 2016 (rhymefestla.com)

Festival Supreme COMEDY extravaganza comes to Shrine (at USC), Los Angeles
Not your dad's rock 'n roll show. Oh, wait, yes, your dad's show (955KLOS.com).
Los Angeles Podcast Festival: Sofitel Hotel, Beverly Hills, Sept. 23-25, 2016 (LAPF)
What happens when Ozzfest meets Knotfest? (955klos.com)
 
Hillary (left) and Donald want imperial rule
Die Antwoord came to Hollywood last night for a sold out show at the Palladium and plays tonight at the Observatory in Orange County before continuing their tour. But the real news is a surge in "festivals" as temperatures soar and infamous Santa Ana winds kick up. Everyone is coming down with something as the weather moves in fits and starts from summer to fall. Demons must be delighting and the dead awaiting their turn to pierce the veil around Halloween. Something strange is in the air (smog, dust, gloom), and it is epitomized by the pop rock extravaganza in tinsel town tonight, not the Strumbellas and Cold War Kids in Hollywood but the iHeart Music Fest in Vegas. Oktoberfest (which really takes place in September) means drinking. Then the two devils meet on Monday in the OC -- The Donald versus La Hillary in a blood match the whole nation will be watching. Is it any wonder people need spectacular distractions like music?

Impossible VEGGIE burger "bleeds" (audio)

Sally Herships (PRI.org); NoMDforMe.com; Crystal Quintero, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Both Beavis and Butthead worked at Burger World and ate dead cows from the garbage.

 
Veggie burger that "bleeds" might convince even carnivores to eat green
Humans [used to be vegetarian during the cyclical golden ages of the past and future but] have [allegedly] been eating animals since, well, before we were human [in this cycle of devolution; see Michael Cremo].


Veggie burger (Bridgette Burkholder/PRI's The World)
But there are now so many people on the planet eating so much meat that feeding and slaughtering all of  those animals [more than 1,000,000 a day in the U.S.] is having a big impact on the global environment, including our climate.
 
That has people around the world scrambling for better meat substitutes, something better than those dry or bland veggie burgers.
 
Patrick Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, thinks he's hit the jackpot. His company invented a veggie burger that claims to taste, feel, and even bleed like a real dead animal in your mouth.
 
It’s already on the menu at the trendy New York restaurant Momofuku Nishi.
 
Bartees Cox is from Oklahoma. He’s one of eight diners who convened at Momofuku Nishi to test out this new burger. He says his family grew up buying whole dead cows from a rancher and storing them in an extra freezer.
 
“You put it in the garage,” he says. “You could put a Fiat [car] in this freezer.”
 
Joining him at the table are Chris Berube and Bridgette Burkholder. Both are vegetarians and both are nervous about the impending food tasting.
 
“Everything I've read about it says [that] it bleeds like a hamburger,” Berube says. “So when you bite into it, there are all [of] these liquids that come out. I'm actually very anxious about this in a way that I didn't think I would be.”
 
"It’s a little weird. The idea of biting into a slab of meat-like substance is a little weird," Burkholder adds.
 
The bar for pleasing all three of these folks is high. But on the other side of the table it gets even higher. More

The 10 Bad Foods to Avoid
 
Dr. Joel Wallach and Dr. Peter Glidden say everybody must ELIMINATE these ten harmful foods from our diets:
  1. No Gluten
    Grain damage
    Wheat
  2. barley
  3. rye
  4. oats, oatmeal – even if it’s gluten free.
  5. fried foods – nothing fried! Boil, broil, or bake and never more than medium rare for flesh.
  6. oils – and this includes olive oil! No canola, corn, soy, or even virgin coconut oil. If oil is in the name, eliminate it. This includes everything made from oil, such as salad dressing. Dr. Wallach recommends using sea salt and lemon juice as a better salad dressing. Margarine, combo spreads, mayonnaise, eliminate everything made from oils.
  7. burned fats – If food is grilled, place something between the food and the fire (such as aluminum foil) so juice does not drip onto the flame and deposit dangerous chemical byproducts on food.
  8. nitrates/nitrites added to meat – (such as deli meats, cold cuts, jerky).
  9. carbonated drinks of any kind an hour before, during, or after meals.
  10. skin of baked potato (yam, sweet potato). Skins of boiled potato are good.
To watch a detailed webinar on the 10 Bad Foods by Dr. Peter Glidden, email (dmoi@youngevitybc.com) and request a free link.

Sex, high school, assault ("Audrie & Daisy")

Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Netflix; AudrieAndDaisy.com (twitter.com/audrieanddaisy); DemocracyNow.org; Ondi Timoner (LipTV)

Uh, charges were dropped and our attorney told us to keep shutted up 'bout it.

The documentary "Audrie & Daisy" is the story of Daisy Coleman, who in early January 2012 was a 14-year-old high school freshman. Coleman and her 13-year-old friend, Paige Parkhurst, were invited to a small party of high school athletes. The girls had already been drinking when the boys came to pick them up. Daisy blacked out at the party. She says Matthew Barnett sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious, while Jordan Zech, a star high school wrestler, videotaped (Democracy Now!)
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Will Hillary Clinton's lover's husband be watching? Probably not. Disgraced politician and new father Anthony Weiner has more sexting to do with random teens, and his wife, Huma Abedin, is busy with the election of her gay partner. But everyone else with Netflix can watch this powerful new documentary about high school rape culture.

 
No one prepared me for this.
(TheLipTV) AUDRIE & DAISY explores teenage sexual assault, trauma, power, and coming-of-age in the world of social media through victims Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman.

Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk share clips from the film and detail the role sexting and social media have played in the growing rates of sexual assault among teenagers. Cohen and Shenk also discuss how they got involved in the film, interviewing the perpetrators and protecting anonymity in this Sundance edition of BYOD hosted by Ondi Timoner.
  
(DL) CNN's story on sexual assault in Missouri, Melinda and Daisy Coleman
 
WARNING: Strong content! Pornography.
The girls, two high school girls in different towns across America, were sexually assaulted by boys they thought were their friends. Both girls experienced social media bullying and were stigmatized -- and both attempted suicide.

Tragically, Audrie takes her own life, but Daisy survives, and her story becomes a journey to keep living. By juxtaposing their stories and drawing connections between the two teenage girls, bold filmmakers Cohen and Shenk illuminate the larger societal epidemic of sexual assault that has been exacerbated by today’s technologies.

I won't be watching! I don't have Netflix.
Rather than paint a simple picture, they also give voice to the spectrum of male perspectives involved in Daisy’s case: her assailants, the small-town sheriff, and her brother, who now works to change the next generation of boys. More

See "Idiocracy" with Mike Judge (Sept. 24th)

Host Alex Cohen, activist Amanda Fairey, actor Terry Crews (TakeTwo.org); creator Mike Judge, Conan O'Brien (Conan); CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
DUMB IS OVER! (IF YOU WANT IT) #MakeAmericaSmartAgain (govotemasa.com)


What "Idiocracy" can teach us about the 2016 election
Mike Judge created "Beavis & Butthead"
The film "Idiocracy" debuted 10 years ago this month. It stars Luke Wilson as an Army librarian picked for an experiment: to be sealed in a chamber for a year.

The experiment is abandoned and Wilson wakes up in the year 2505 to find a world that is radically different. Crops are dead because they’ve been fed electrolyte drinks instead of water. Americans speak a dumbed-down version of English, where every other word is an obscenity. Then there’s the president, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, played by actor Terry Crews. He's a gun-toting, motorcycle-riding former wrestler.
Amanda Fairey at KPCC
Actor Terry Crews will appear at a special screening of "Idiocracy" live with Mike Judge at the Echo Park Tennis and Recreation Center, along with director Mike Judge and co-star Dax Shepard. It's all part of a movement called #MakeAmericaSmartAgain, thought up by Shepherd and Amanda Fairey (shown at left), which aims to increase non-partisan voter education and participation. Crews and Fairey joined host Alex Cohen to talk about the event.

What is the purpose of #MakeAmericaSmartAgain, and how does "Idiocracy" fit into this movement?
Amanda Fairey: "My husband Shepherd Fairey and I one day were watching TV, and 'Idiocracy' was on. I looked over at him and I said, 'Make America great again? Make America smart again? What the heck is going on?' This movie is so relevant now and we've been watching it for about 10 years... It just made us realize that there is a lot of voter apathy, and the spread of a lot of miscommunication among the American citizens. Our concern for this lead us to create this call to action that would encourage voter education and motivate voter turn out.
Don't vote for Jill Stein. Vote for us!
It's a non-partisan movement to promote education on all issues and not align with or disparage any candidates. So, really, we just want to make American smart again, and we thought doing screenings of 'Idiocracy' would be the perfect way to get people fired up over this and to go out there and find out for themselves what everybody's talking about, what all the candidates are talking about, and make a real decision on their own without being swayed by misinformation."  More
(US Chronicle/InfoWars) Mike Judge invited Alex Jones to his Austin, Texas home for a one-on-one interview. Judge covered an IRS scandal, Jones' epic interview on Piers Morgan, and the Second Amendment debate, giving insights into his groundbreaking animation, movies (like "Office Space," "Idiocracy" and the very disappointing "Beavis & Butthead" feature, but now he wants to make a live action version to make up for it), and style of satire that is proving to be prophetic. He discloses the origins of Beavis and Butthead, Dale Gribble, and behind the scenes of the movie that Hollywood tried to kill, "Idiocracy."

Meet 5 SoCal "genius" grant recipients

KPCC Staff (scpr.org, Sept. 22, 2016); Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
Don't think about sex. How are you going to be a genius? More education=less sex.

What is "genius," and how do I do/get/be it? (Grant Snider/redlemonclub.com)


The staff at Wisdom Quarterly was overlooked again this year. MacArthur people, are you paying attention? But the 2016 list of winners includes five locals, writers, a poet, obscure researchers, everything we love and strive for. Pasadena's Caltech gets accolades, as does nearby USC, the ACLU, and Claudia Rankine. Karma is sweet (when it comes to fruition).

AUDIO: Poet Claudia Rankine named a MacArthur genius
Poet, author Claudia Rankine
The 2016 class of MacArthur Foundation Fellowship honorees has been announced. Among them was [black] poet Claudia Rankine. Her book, Citizen: An American Lyric, is a provocative meditation on race in America. Through a series of vignettes, she tells the stories of everyday racism that people of color face on a daily basis. The poems are largely based on actual incidents of passive bigotry and prejudice that Rankine and her friends have personally experienced (The Frame/scpr.org).

ACLU attorney American-born Sri Lankan Tamil "genius grant" recipient says the principles he fights for are clear and uncomplicated (PRI's The World).
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Meet 5 SoCal recipients of 2016 MacArthur "genius" grants
Genius at work, Caltech: Dianne Newman
A composite image shows the five Southern California recipients of this year's MacArthur "genius" grants.

Five Southern Californians are among this year’s MacArthur fellows, recipients of its “genius” grants.
 
Do geniuses have skeletons in the closet?
The fellows, announced Thursday [9/21/16] by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, include USC professor and cultural historian Josh Kun, ACLU human rights lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham, nonfiction writer Maggie Nelson, and two scientists with Caltech (the California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena -- microbiologist Dianne Newman and geomicrobiologist Victoria Orphan.
 
The grants are meant to recognize individuals “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the MacArthur foundation.

Each fellow receives a no-strings stipend of $625,000 paid out over five years. More + VIDEO

Meet all 23 extraordinarily creative people who inspire us all (macfound.org)

 
Meditation is monotasking to realize the mind's potential (Grant Snider)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer Ends, Fall Begins: Autumnal Equinox

Almanac.com; Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly

These are the dates and times for the four seasons (Eastern Time).

Seasons of 2016
SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 12:30 AM EDT
SUMMER SOLSTICE June 20, 6:34 PM EDT
FALL EQUINOX Sept. 22, 10:21 AM EDT
WINTER SOLSTICE Dec. 21, 5:44 AM EST
 
Why Do the Seasons Change?
Equinox solstice cycle
On the assumption of a spherical and revolving planet, rather than a flat stationary one, this is a plausible explanation for seasonal change and sunlight duration patterns (NASA).

The four seasons are determined by shifting sunlight (not heat) -- which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis.
  • On the vernal equinox, day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. See First Day of Spring.
  • On the summer solstice, we enjoy the most daylight of the calendar year. The Sun reaches its most northern point in the sky at local noon. After this date, the days start getting “shorter,” that is, the length of daylight starts to decrease. See First Day of Summer.
  • On the autumnal equinox, day and night are each about 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days after the autumnal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going southward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. See First Day of Fall page. More
First Day of Fall?
Autumnal Equinox (TimeAndDate.com) In the Northern Hemisphere, the fall equinox marks the first day of fall (autumn) in what are called astronomical seasons. There's also another, more common definition of when the seasons start, namely, meteorological definitions, which are based on average temperatures rather that astronomical events.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Protests: Cops kill 193 blacks this year (video)

DemocracyNow.org; Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Xochitl, Wisdom Quarterly
I'll shoot just as soon as look at you 'cos you're black. Got it? - Got it. Handshake? (AP)

Charlotte under emergency for second night of protests against cop killings (AP/Mail)
According to a count by the British news outlet The Guardian because no one keep count in the U.S., police have extrajudically executed 193 blacks in the United States so far this year
See a roundtable on police killings of black men. Protests escalated protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, overnight when hundreds took to the street and blocked Interstate 85 to express outrage over the police shooting [murder] of 43-year-old African American Keith Lamont Scott yesterday.

Video footage shows people blocking the highway, where fires were lit. This comes as police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have released a video -- some of it from a helicopter filming the scene from above -- showing a white police officer (Betty Shelby) shooting 40-year-old African American Terence Crutcher to death while his hands were in the air and other officers were Tazing him.

Democracy Now! is joined by Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Bree Newsome, artist and activist from Charlotte who scaled the 30-foot flagpole on the South Carolina state Capitol and unhooked the Confederate flag last year; and Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change.

Robinson has launched a new petition called "Terence Crutcher died for being Black. Indict Officer [and Killer] Betty Shelby." More

Males, females, we'll shoot 'em just the same. Black is black (Austin Police Dept.)