Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fritjof Capra: Science gets closer to Buddhism

Eds., Wisdom Quarterly; Maria Armoudian, Prof. Fritjof Capra (Scholars’ Circle, 8-31-14)
The Buddha under a vast sky, Battambang, Cambodia (Samantonio/flickr.com)
Amazing visionaries from the Buddha to the guardians and more (Pete Karnevil/flickr)
The Systems View of Life: a Unifying Vision

(Scholars' Circle) Fritjof Capra, the world-famous author of The Tao of Physics, talks about his more recent work, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision.
Capra, who is for all practical purposes now an Eastern mystic and one of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest proponents, also researched and wrote: The Turning Point, The Web of Life, The Hidden Connections, The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance, and Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius.
Dr. Capra is an eminent physicist, system theorist, science writer, and the founding director of Center of Ecoliteracy.
Feeding students, sustainable living, thinking about ecosystems (ecoliteracy.org)
The Systems View of Life
Over the past three decades, a new conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science: New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organization leading to a novel kind of "systemic" thinking. Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi integrate the ideas, models, and theories underlying the systems view of life. They put it all into a single coherent framework Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, the authors examine the appearance of key concepts such as autopoiesis, dissipative structures, social networks, and a systemic understanding of evolution. The implications of the systems view of life for health care, management, and our global ecological and economic crises are also discussed. It is for college students and essential reading for graduate students and researchers interested in the new systemic conception of life with implications for a broad range of professions -- from psychology and law, economics and politics, to medicine.

KPFK (90.7 FM) Host Maria Armoudian (armoudian.com, The Scholars' Circle)
Kill the Messenger: The Media's Role
  • Pacifica Radio host and producer Maria Armoudian (The Insighters, The Scholars's Circle) is author of Kill the Messenger: The Media's Role in the Fate of the World and a fellow at USC’s Center for International Studies, a doctoral candidate at the Univ. of Southern California, and a board member for the L.A. League of Conservation Voters.
  • fritjofcapra.net
Thinking Like an Ecosystem (Frances Moore Lappe/ecoliteracy.org)

U.S. and Israel push a world to war (video)

Ashley Wells, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Seth Auberon, Sheldon S., Wisdom Quarterly; Nermeen Shaikh, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez (democracynow.org, Sept. 1-2, 2014)
"Fight War, Not Wars" Smurf cartoon crying over killing of children (Unicef/myspace.com)
"No War" (Spanish Guerra No) written on hands of child (puppetgov.com)

Israel's war crimes in Palestine and US military-industrial complex (palestina.tumblr.com)

Israel's critics must be self-hating Jews!
Former executive director of the American Jewish Congress (AJC), Henry Siegman, condemns Israel's excesses and crimes against humanity.

The AJC has long been described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations -- along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.

Henry Siegman was born in 1930 in Frankfurt, Germany. Three years later, the Nazis came to power. After fleeing Nazi troops in Belgium, his family eventually moved to the U.S. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement, pushing for the creation of a Jewish state [in addition to the one that already existed in the Russian oblast].

U.S. launches more drone strikes (TMW)
In New York, Siegman studied and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He later became head of the Synagogue Council of America.

After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. Over the years, Siegman has become a vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territories and has urged Israel to engage with Hamas.
He has called the Palestinian struggle for a state "the mirror image of the Zionist movement" that led to the founding of Israel in 1948. In July, wrote an op-ed for Politico headlined, "Israel Provoked This War." Democracy Now! hosts Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh sat down with him on July 29 -- in the midst of Israel’s offensive in Gaza. More

U.S. kills children
(Nation) "Blackwater's Youngest Victim" - the senseless killing by American mercenaries/"contractors" for Blackwater, Inc. in Iraq for fun and target practice and to train to be police officers in the U.S. in the future, which may explain Ferguson and other murders.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bhakti Fest 2014 (music/yoga in Joshua Tree)

Crystal Quintero, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; BhaktiFest (Facebook)
September 1-7, 2014, Joshua Tree, California (bhaktifest.com)
Bhakti OMWOODS, Earth-Devi
Bhakti means "devotion." This outdoor festival in Southern California's Joshua Tree, a world-famous high desert sanctuary, includes YOGA, kirtan (devotional, call-and-response chanting), dance, music, and more.

It celebrates the "devotional path" to the divine (as opposed to the paths of action/karma or wisdom, which is known as the jnana-marga), which has its roots in yoga, kirtan, and meditation.
It embraces ancient and modern sacred wisdom and traditional and non-traditional spiritual practices.

Bhakti Omwoods -- a vegan who loves hoopdance, meditation, music, and all things creative, spiritual, and fairy-related -- in Paradise. Originally from Finland living in the mystical, hidden desert dimension under the U.S. -- in Paradise (Bohopage.etsy.com/Omwoods)
Gypsies like travel (bohopage.com)
The festival is a vehicle for the rapid evolution of human consciousness through a heart-centered revolution. Bhakti Fest builds an eclectic community of people drawn to follow the path of the heart -- cultivating a devotional, prayerful, loving, healthful, respectful approach to humanity as a family. 

All of the artists, presenters, and vendors embody, practice, and share the spirit of bhakti through a variety of ways, including:
  • Yoga Classes
  • Continuous Kirtan Music
  • Meditations and Prayer
  • Teachings and Workshops
  • Fire Ceremonies (Pujas)
  • Hanuman Chalisas
  • Eco-Friendly, Holistic market place
  • Vegetarian, Vegan, and Raw Vegan Cuisine
  • Wellness Sanctuary: massage, bodywork, energy work, intuitive readings, and other health enhancing modalities.
The fest encourages the spirit of service and offers a work exchange Seva program and donates monies to a variety of non-profit organizations that provide housing, food, education, medical, and environmental beautification programs around the world.

What People Say...
"Truly honored to have been part of such a magical weekend. Endless gratitude from my heart to yours."
- Luna Kristin Ray

  "This was a glorious weekend, very intimate and overwhelming BHAV!!!"
- Ishwari Lynn Keller

  "Thank you to the staff and volunteers, for giving us this wonderful and amazing space to share our hearts. I started crying on so many occasions - the love is so openly available and I was bathing in it. As a newcomer musician having our first-ever set this weekend, I felt so much part of the Bhakti Fest family. My sincere gratitude."
- Pascale LaPoint

  "Absolutely fabulous!!! Thanks to all who contributed, organizers, crew, vendors..wallahs and bands... teachers...and all who danced and sang us into the bhav. Many fests, many retreats thru the years, none quite like this."
- Mark Rubin

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Miss Tibet winner is from Wisconsin (video)

Amber Larson, Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; The World (pri.org)
"Miss Tibet" Tenzing Lhamo was the only contestant in the war-torn region, not that she's ever been to the war-torn region. She lives in Madison, WI (Lobsang Wangyal/pri.org).
"Nowhere to Call Home" a film by Joceyln Ford: a new perspective on Tibet (Forbes Asia)
When most people think of Tibet, they think of peaceful "Free Tibet" demonstrations, violent Chinese crackdowns, vocal protests abroad, shocking self-immolations, and Buddhist monks emerging from holy monasteries to join in the anti-Han Chinese resistance. People do not think of beauty pageants. But this summer, the Miss Tibet pageant crowned its twelfth winner. Miss Tibet No. 11 is from Wisconsin and, like many of the contestants, has never been to Tibet.

Shocking sexism: The name for "female" in Tibetan
translates as "inferior birth."

Sexism in Tibet: "Nowhere to Call Home"

A new documentary shows the hidden, sexism-ridden lives of Tibetan women
American reporter Jocelyn Ford only set out to snag some contact in inaccessible Tibet. Instead, when she sat down to talk to a Tibetan woman named Zanta, she ended up as part of her own story, experiencing Zanta's struggles and the deeply-ingrained sexism of Tibetan society.
The Story of "Miss Tibet"
The world's most magnificent pueblo is Potala Palace, Tibet's "Vatican" (Adam Lai/flickr)
Shocking monastic self-immolation suicide
(PRI AUDIO) How does we have a national beauty pageant when, according to some officials, we do not even have a nation? Or when the core identity of the nation might not really welcome a beauty pageant at all?

This Tibetan gompa is actually a pueblo in NM.
China considers Tibet to be part of China [a massive empire extending into the Himalayan plateau], not an independent country. And there are those who say the very idea of a beauty pageant betrays Tibet’s [animist Bon and monastic] Buddhist roots. In 2004, the prime minister of the government-in-exile declared it to be “un-Tibetan.” 

Though the [current] Dalai Lama does not seem to mind. He would just like to see the pageant be a little more equal in gender. [Young men in bathing suits? Some former baby novices or tulkus like that shocking scene in Unmistaken Child no one in the West talks about?]

"If more people want that, go ahead. I think it should not be only female, but male also," the Dalai Lama said.
Are these the sort of "contestants" the 14th Dalai Lama has in mind? (Groobo/flickr)
[Now why would a man in a men's monastic system, where only men can gain political prestige and power, not unlike the inner workings of the Vatican with its cardinals and bishops like the Tibetan rinpoches and lamas, which shares tastes in hats and ceremony, want to see handsome men in a pageant on display to be admired for their looks and nominal talents? Odd that.]
You going to sign up? - I'm thinking about it.
The Miss Tibet pageant was founded in 2002 by a journalist and event producer named Lobsang Wangyal. He started it, in his words, to give Tibetan women a platform to showcase their aspirations and [nominal] talents” -- and [of course] to bring international attention to Tibet. Tenzing Lhamo is Miss Tibet 2013.

Filmmaker Jocelyn Ford (Nowhere to Call Home) and Zanta, a Tibetan woman (pri.org)
She’s never actually been there [to the country of Tibet or, perhaps, even the once-walled empire of China] though. And very few of the Miss Tibet contestants have. They have grown up scattered around the world  -- in India, Australia, Switzerland, and the U.S.
Tenzing spent her childhood in a Tibetan settlement in Southern India [where many Tibetans live in more or less permanent exile waiting for the right of return to a place they have never been. But not having been there, they nevertheless have recreated it in Himalayan India, particularly in Ladakh].

Do I think the young stars are mailed, your holiness? - No, are they males? (VSauce)
"I knew about the Miss India contest, and I always thought that was so cool. But we were, like, 'We’re not Indians; we can’t participate in all that,'" Lhamo said.
She first heard about the Miss Tibet pagent in 2002 after she moved to Madison, Wisconsin. "The Tibetan community is so small, nothing really gets around without everybody knowing about it."

You're Tibetan? Well, I'm Chinese!
Beauty pageant contestants will give lots of reasons why they’re competing: for the money, for their modeling career, for world peace [or at least an end to police brutality in racist parts of the U.S. and Chinese Tibet]. Tenzing Lhamo wanted to bring attention to the Tibetan people. And she thought the sash and crown could do it:
"If I go around saying, 'Hey! My name is Tenzing. Do you want to learn about Tibet?' People wouldn’t pay as much attention as if I say, 'Hey, I’m 'Miss Tibet,' and I want to talk about Tibet.'"
"Tibet Burning: Enough China"!
Last winter, she mustered the courage to apply [for the pageant] online. But when the organizer got in touch with her, she found out it wouldn’t be a typical pageant, with disco balls and dance numbers [There might be bathing suits, however, at least sexy dresses].
"He kind of hinted, 'You might not have any competition,'" she said. More (from PRI's The World with support from the BBC).

Hidden, sexism-ridden lives of Tibetan women

How terrible are sexism and misogyny
Veteran radio journalist Jocelyn Ford admits she had an ulterior motive when she sat down on a Beijing sidewalk to chat with a Tibetan woman selling jewelry. (This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.) Ford was trying to report about life in Tibetan areas of southwest China, which are generally off-limits to foreign reporters. She hoped the woman might have contacts who could help her out, so Ford bought a bracelet as an excuse to make conversation. But Zanta, a widowed migrant who had traveled to Beijing from a remote Tibetan village, had a very different understanding of that first meeting. “She concluded that since I was the first foreigner to stoop down and talk to her...that we must have been related in a past life," Ford says. More

Tibet was once a beautiful place, then the Han Chinese arrive (AP/Xinhua/Chogo)

Made in America Fest (Los Angeles)

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; Randall Roberts (latimes.com)
Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Iggy Azalea
Made in America lineup is a vivid look at rap's competing interests (LAT)
"We Need a Revolution." What we get instead is a corporate rap concert (Bhakti Omwoods).
Summer night in city that sometimes sleeps
Going to #MadeinAmerica in L.A.? Catch Chance the Rapper, the most promising young artist in hip-hop.

Will Kanye tease new music at #MadeinAmerica? And what will the topic of his requisite spoken rant be [fatherhood, his wife gaining weight, shopping at Target]?
Iggy Azalea is playing #MadeinAmerica in L.A. How will she [an Aussie and a model] fare in a town that takes hip-hop very seriously?
Would a Pussy Riot be better than a Rap Fest?
What L.A. needs is a Pussy Riot
When it was first announced, the lineup for this weekend's Made in America festival in downtown L.A. seemed an unfocused commercial mix-and-match of mass-market rock, electronic dance, and hip-hop.
On second and third glances, it mostly is, at least at the top of the bill.

The first West Coast installment of a music gathering born in Philadelphia two years ago, the two-day, multi-stage concert feels like a stab at pleasing all of the people all of the time, filled with acts who are regulars on the festival circuit, many of whom have gigged in L.A. a few times already this year.

Did someone say "riot"? Occupy and Ferguson ain't seen nothing yet. The LAPD has a paramilitary riot squad to rival forces operating in Kiev, Ukraine (Sergei L. Loiko/LAT)
It is co-presented by two big [corporate] brands, [alcohol distributor] B*dweiser and [concert promoter] LiveNation, and as a result feels as much a branding opportunity as a curated look at the best in popular music. As [one] plots the musical weekend, restock the [toxic, cancer-causing chemical] sunblock, and scour Spotify for tips, here's hoping the assumptions are wrong.
Made in America was co-founded by Jay Z and will be the biggest gathering so far at Grand Park, where on Saturday and Sunday the blocks at the foot of the Civic Center will hold three stages and more than 40 acts.
The best of them will be rapping, and that's what [people are] most anticipating as the newest of Southern California's many music festivals debuts. More

How to die of cancer

First things first: In order to die of cancer, you have to contract or develop cancer. That shouldn't be too hard in this contaminated environment. But maybe you've been chelated. Have you cleansed? Juicing, eating good greens, it all helps. Avoid the very things that lead to the cells going out of harmony. The body is a symphony, and we sing the body electric. Stay away from disruptive energy fields. But things are in mind before they're in body.

"Fighting" it? "Fight" cancer? Fighting is no way to be well again. Our very thoughts do much to disrupt our health, to lose motivation to do anything about it, to make healthy choices. And is the mainstream media helping or harming? Are doctors obligated by law to offer only three "treatment" options? Cutting, irradiating, and poisoning. Next year they may bring back leeches and drowning, amputations, and drilling small holes in the head to release bad spirits. (They still do amputations when so many body parts can be saved?)

Will there ever be an alternative cancer CURE? There are many. There have been for years. You weren't told? Oh what a surprise. You mean someone is making money hand over fist from selling ineffective "treatments" that usually kill cancer patients who would have lived otherwise? Fear is the major problem leading to rash treatment decisions? Helplessness sets in and then we do whatever the Medicine Doctor suggests -- chemicals, surgical amputations, or exposure to carcinogenic radiation?

Enter the CANCER CONTROL SOCIETY. It is having it's annual convention. It's the place to visit since most of us will face cancer in our lifetime -- by design. It's no accident people come down with the C-word and opt for the treatments that kill.
We don't pay doctors to keep us well. Maybe we should. We pay them to act like they know best, to treat us like impersonal projects, and to never mention nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and inexpensive alternatives. And they pay a large government organization to make sure no "cures" are ever legally offered in this country. Look into it. Or die of cancer and watch others succumb.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Greek King's Questions (Milindapanha)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; John Kelly (trans.), Questions of King Milinda (excerpt, Miln 3, PTS: Miln 71-72; 82-83; 84BUDDHISM IN ANCIENT AFGHANISTAN
Kapilavastu, capital of Shakya-land, was beyond the northwest frontier of ancient India, which later became an ancient Greek empire, the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom of King Milinda.

Questions on Distinguishing Characteristics
Miln III.5.5: Transmigration and Rebirth {Miln 71}
Afghan Buddha (Gandhara)
KING MENANDER'S PALACE, Bactria (Afghanistan) - The king asked: "Venerable Nagasena, is it so that one does not transmigrate [sankamati, to transmigrate, pass over; go, cross over] yet one is reborn?" [patisandahati: to be reborn, rebirth, undergo reunion, relinking.]
"Yes, your majesty, one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."
"How, Venerable Nagasena, is it that one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn? Give me an analogy."
"Just as, your majesty, if someone kindled one lamp from another, is it indeed so that the lamp would transmigrate from the other lamp?"

Shakyan/Bactrian princess, gold
[In other words, Would the flame die from the first candle, transmigrate, and be "reincarnated" in the new candle?]
"Certainly not, venerable sir."
"Indeed, your majesty, just so; one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."

"Give me another analogy."
"Do you remember, your majesty, when you were a boy learning some verse [lesson] from a teacher?"
"Yes, venerable sir."
"Your majesty, did this verse transmigrate from the teacher?" [Did it go from the teacher to be reincarnated in the student?]
Hindu Kush is part of Himalayan range
"Certainly not, venerable sir."
"Indeed, your majesty, just so; one does not transmigrate yet one is reborn."
"You are clever, Venerable Nagasena."

[Is there a "soul"?]
Miln III.5.6: Soul {Miln 71}
"Soul" of Tibet is Hindu (fashionstinks.com)
The king asked: "Venerable Nagasena, is a soul [vedagu, a "knower," a permanent subject of experience, a permanent self or soul] to be found?"
The elder Buddhist monk replied: "According to ultimate reality, your majesty, no soul is to be found."
"You are clever, Venerable Nagasena."
 [One may make an argument for it in conventional reality, and it indeed exists in normal terms of our experience. But what in the ultimate sense is being referred to?
Afghan monks discovered America
[That is what prevents liberating insight, "sainthood" (arhatship), enlightenment, and nirvana -- clinging to notions of a self. And what is the self in conventional terms? The Buddha talked about it the atta (a idea central to the concept of anatta, not-self), in terms of the Five Aggregates of Clinging.

These are the five composite categories of something regarded as unitive, unitary, noncomposite: form, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousnesses. Whereas form is the physical, the remaining four aggregates or heaps are mental or psychological, matter and mind, body and "soul," self as these four invisible processes.]

Vedagu is an interesting word, originally a Brahminical term related to mastery of the Vedas [the ancient sacred texts inherited by India and Central Asia from the much more ancient Indus Valley Civilization].

The Buddha appropriated the word to mean, "one who has attained highest knowledge," that is, synonymous with "arhat" [fully enlightened, accomplished disciple of the Buddha]. However, as the PED notes: "A peculiar meaning of vedagu is that of "soul" (lit. attainer of wisdom) at Miln 54 & 71."