Friday, September 29, 2017

L.A. Chinatown Mid-Autumn Moon Fest; CC Liu, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
The annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival celebrates the full "harvest moon." It is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, to celebrate and share the generous bounty with family and friends. It is a celebration for the entire Los Angeles family, Chinatown-style! Traditional Chinese cultural demonstrations alongside hot local bands and DJs mark a celebration that is both characteristically Angeleno and uniquely Chinatown. Come see the annual Dessert Eating Competition, taste Mooncake samples from Chinatown’s popular bakeries, and take a peek at the full moon in all her glory through scientific telescopes! More

Harvest Moon 2017: When is it?, Sept. 28, 2017
Harvest Moon 2017
Harvest Moon 2017: This year’s Harvest Moon will occur on October 5 (Getty Images)

The Harvest Moon, traditionally marking the changing of the seasons, is due to rise in October this year.

The full moon usually occurs in September, but this year it will make a later appearance in October. The symbolic event will take place at 6:40 pm on October 5th, and the moon will be at its brightest at around 7:40 pm. Full-looking moons near the horizons after sunset will also be visible for a few days before and after the October date. The term "Harvest Moon" refers to the full moon that falls nearest to the autumnal equinox, which took place on September 22. More

NASA's new CGI topographic map of the moon shows elevation of craters More

Sex is causing Bali volcano's eruption

Climbers having sex on Mt. Agung angers the volcano which will lead to an eruption.
What have the bule done to our land?
Foreigners have disrespected the mountain which has angered Agung, "the Beast," and this is why it is about to erupt, residents living near to Mt. Agung insist.

The Indonesian volcano looks set to blow as up to 400 earthquakes have hit the region over the last few days, causing 75,000 people to flee the danger zone.

Bali volcano update: Climbers having SEX on Agung are to blame, say locals.

While the imminent eruption is a natural phenomenon, a priest of a nearby village, Muntig, a Balinese village inside the volcano evacuation zone, says that the mountain is angry because the “bule” -- white people [actually any “foreigner”] -- have been having sex and menstruating on it, according to Australia’s Fairfax Media.

Jaya, the priest of the village, said: "The climbers did that.”

No-one can predict when Agung will erupt, say the villagers but the biggest warning sign will be when the animals start fleeing.
Another local, Ketut, said: "The old people advised us the heat from the mountain will make them flee. All kinds of animals -- deer, snakes, wild cows, anything.” More

"Climbers did that"!
, (Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 27, 2017)

Jaya's priest said Mount Agung -- the largest and most sacred mountain in Bali -- is wrathful because the "bule" (white people) had sex and menstruated on the mountain. "The climbers did that," Jaya said. Mt. Agung looked deceptively calm on Wednesday, with a puff of white cloud hovering above the peak. More
A Bule in Bali: American in Indonesia
Bule Neal From,

Indonesia on the other hand, that’s a place that doesn’t really come up much in everyday American life.

China, Russia, India, sure, I know those places. I read about them. Sometimes stuff that happens there shows up on my Facebook feed. I can even show you where they are on a map.
Indonesia, however, I’ve seen it on some t-shirt tags, and that’s about it. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, but to a lot of us, that’s just that place that had that tsunami. Or at least, that’s what it was to me when I agreed to go live there. See, Americans... More

Thursday, September 28, 2017

We are "able to control weather using lasers"

Sean Martin,; Editors, Wisdom Quarterly

Scientists control weather using lasers
We've been doing it in secret for years.
Scientists have discovered a bizarre way to potentially control the weather using laser beams and could potentially beat the threat of droughts, it has been revealed.

A six year drought in California was finally declared over this year, but the threat for the south-western state as well as other locations in the world remains the same.
Weaponizing hurricanes, US against US
But scientists may now be able to induce rain and lightning storms using high energy lasers in a breakthrough that could potentially eradicate droughts throughout the globe.
The possibility of condensation, lightning, and storms are ever present in the clouds and are contained through high amounts of static electricity.

Experts from the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona believe that by firing a series of laser beams, they can activate the static electricity and induce rain and storms. More

Life after Death: this is what it feels like

(; Dhr. Seven, Ananda, Amber Larson,(eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
This is what it feels like to die (Getty Images via
Life after death: panic or peace? 

This is dying (by plunging) a painful end.
People who have come back from the dead have been sharing their experiences online as they reveal what it feels like to die. 

Reddit users have taken to the social news aggregator site with some claiming their world "became soft and foggy."
For some people, death is not the end. Thanks to medical advance-ments, doctors are now able to bring some patients back from the dead after their heart has stopped beating and brain activity has also ceased.
There are a few who have been resuscitated and live to tell the tale, and some of them have gone to Reddit to share their experience.

This is just a body in a box, left behind, as life (jiva) takes up elsewhere right away.
One person on the site said they were getting an angiogram -- a procedure which sees doctors inject a special dye into the blood so they can x-ray blood flow and arteries -- but during the procedure their heart stopped. More

Buddhism on rebirth: life after life

In Buddhism rebirth (not "reincarnation") is called relinking (of consciousness) or again-becoming.
If we fail to strive and achieve liberation from samsara, we will certainly be alive and conscious a sub-moment after "death." Death is not dying, not an end that sticks. It leads on life after life ad nauseum. It will not stop without intervention.

There will be no getting off the carousel without effort to realize the truth. Truth? Things are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal; therefore, ALL that we cling to falls away, disappoints us, and was never us.
Choose a religion.
What "all"? The Buddha explained that this all can be summarized as five "groups" or "aggregates." An aggregate is a heap or group of similar things.
The "body" or form is a collection of four group consisting of heaps of the Four Elements. "Mind" or mentality is a collection consisting of four other groups: feelings (sensations), perceptions, mental formations (such as volition), and consciousness.
This is what "self" is. This is what "ego" is. This is what gets called the "soul" (the atta or atman). It is the "all" the Buddha was referring to.
By meditation and insight, consciousness can recognize the empty (impersonal) process, and the mind/heart will with retract and retract at the sight, freeing one as one glimpses the Truth. The Truth will indeed set us free. But we will not see the Truth by accident.

Buddhist pictorial  depiction of samsara, the Wheel.
Carrying on in this way, as we do now, we are born confused, die confuse, and are reborn confused. We continue wandering on (chasing after pleasure first here then there, from life to life, running from the painful, confused and benighted in our endless search). And this "continued wandering on" is exactly what the Buddha called samsara, the Wheel of Life and Death.

The Buddha taught the end of all rebirth and suffering by enlightenment and nirvana. But out of foolishness and clinging, we fear liberation from suffering. We instead cling to the things that bring suffering, that are unsatisfactory, that are incapable of fulfilling us.
We fail to recognize that they are constantly changing, radically impermanent, in flux, hurtling toward destruction. So we never even begin to suspect that it's all an impersonal process rather than an actual being. We fear for a "being" that does not, in the ultimate sense, exist. And this ignorance (avidya), the illusion (maya), fuels the impersonal process.

I want a better "theory"! Here are some:

Elaine's breasts; Dia Muertos; Seinfeld (video)

Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; NBC News LA; LAMC
Look, Elaine, we have it, too! No, not really, not yet. Whoo-hoo! Yeah-yeah!
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, which is undertaking a "Day of the Dead" show, recently tackled Carmina Burana, one more important than the other to accompany Elaine's dramatic announcement. (Psst, don't go the way of Angelina Jolie, who has such body dysmorphic disorders that she is now wasting away and as emaciated as a starving actress). More
"Elaine," comedy legend Julia Louis-Dreyfus, announces she has breast cancer.
Guest Conductor María Guinand leads a spirited program exploring Latin American choral music in a concert timed to coincide with Mexico’s vibrant El Día de los Muertos ("The Day of the Dead") celebrations.
Jerry Before Seinfeld: 2017 comedy special
(Netflix) Trailer: Jerry Seinfeld takes people back to before they called him king, legend, or the-guy-from-that-thing. Jerry Before Seinfeld is now streaming without Elaine.
Jerry Seinfeld talks with Rich Eisen about Netflix special (9/20/17)
Elaines' breasts are in trouble

(WQ) "Seinfeld" and "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus lets the world know it happens to the super rich, too.

She was born rich. She got richer as she got famous on TV. And this happened to her because of diet and lifestyle, but that's not what doctors and scientists tell us.

Maybe it was her genes. Maybe she's defective. Maybe there's no such thing as epigenetics -- the gene instructions that tell which genes to express, to turn on and off, because they are "above" (epi-) "genes" (genetics).

Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus has breast cancer
Kill your TV before it kills you.
(NBC) Earlier this month, Louis-Dreyfus won her sixth straight best actress in a comedy Emmy for her role in "Veep"

Comedian and actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus [56, "Selina Meyer" on Veep] announced today that she has breast cancer. And she used the announcement to advocate for universal health care.
The "Seinfeld" and "Veep" star tweeted a statement saying she is among the "one in eight women who get breast cancer."
She said she has "the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union."

But she noted that not all women have that, "so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality." More

    Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    Hugh Hefner of "Playboy" DIES in mansion!

    Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; PR Newswire; City News Service; KFI AM

    A $50 photo of Marilyn Monroe launched Playboy and Hefner's career as a pornographer.
    Pervert Porn entrepreneur Hugh Hefner, 91, dies of "natural causes" in Los Angeles.

    The American popularizer of pornography ("tastefully" nude pictorial spreads) with his 1953 breakthrough magazine Playboy is dead. He died peacefully, possibly of exhaustion or priapism (an unconfirmed speculation), surrounded by loved ones no doubt eager to divide up his worldly fortune.

    Mara: I waited a long time for this one. He brought many to me prematurely (WQ).
    American icon and Playboy founder, Hugh M. Hefner, has died, Sept. 27, 2017
    The young pornographer Heff
    BEVERLY HILLS, California - Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine [the first edition of which featured iconic sex symbol Marilyn Monroe] and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.  He was 91 years old.

    He gave bunnies a bad name.
    Starting from his kitchen table 64 years ago, Mr. Hefner's uncompromising vision drove the creation of not just the iconic and groundbreaking magazine, but what has become one of the world's most enduring and recognizable brands.  In the process, Playboy became the largest-selling and most influential men's magazine in the world, spawning a number of successful global businesses. To this day, the magazine is published in more than 20 countries around the world and products featuring the company's trademarks drive more than $1 billion in sales annually.  More
    Our boss is dead. He may have exploited us, but we loved it. We needed the money.
    Used to like moneylovin twins
    He recently sold the famous Playboy Mansion for more than $100 million US dollars with the stipulation that he be allowed to live in it for free for the rest of his (short) life. His neighbor bought the property with the intention of tearing down and expanding his Holmby Hills estate.

    Hefner wasted no time in dying after creating an aspirational lifestyle and brand. He gave rise to harder core copycats like Larry Flynt (Hustler) and Bob Guccione (Penthouse). That lifestyle was very alluring, with Bunny Clubs and all; even Don Juan (John) Trump got into the action:

    See this fizzing bottle I "shook" with my small hands, girls? It's just like Li'l Don. Get it?

    DACA: Meet "Dreamer" Dulce Garcia (video)

    Dulce Garcia, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez (, 9/19/17); Wisdom Quarterly

    Immigration lawyer sues Trump over DACA

    Not self: Why the Buddha still said "I" (sutra)

    Maurice O'Connell Walshe (trans.), Arahan Sutra: "Arhat" (SN 1.25) edited and expanded by Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
    The Buddha is golden and marked with a Vedic swastika, a traditionally auspicious symbol (appropriated by Hitler and Nazis) that indicates enlightenment/noble state of an arhat.
    Perhaps Semjase the deva asked.
    [A certain deva asked:]
    One who is an arhat [Pali arahant],
    Work complete [goal achieved],
    Free from taints, clad in final body,
    That person still might still use such words as "I,"
    Still perchance might say: "They call this 'mine'."...
    Would such a person be prone to these conceits?
    • [WQ: There is no self. All things are impersonal, egoless, devoid of self ("empty"). There is no permanent thing in the Five Things Clung to as Self. An enlightened person, even at the first stage, directly realizes that and is thereby awakened, freed, liberated, emancipated, and makes an end of all suffering. So how can such a person still use the word "I" or speak of things as "mine"? This would be due to a very subtle habit of speaking in a non-ultimate or "conventional" way to get some meaning across and be understood. But there would be no chance of a fully enlightened person, like the Buddha or arhats, being confused by the use of such words or knowing them by direct insight to be illusory, vain, unreal. Why? It is because all "things" (dharmas) are marked by Three Characteristics of Existence: they are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal/empty.]
    Oh, now that makes sense!
    [The Blessed One/the Buddha answered:]
    Bonds are gone for one free of all conceits.
    All delusion's chains are cast aside:
    Truly wise, one has gone beyond any such thoughts.
    • Walshe 1: Yam matam, "whatever is thought." Mrs. Rhys Davids's emendation of yamatam in the text (paraphrased as "conceits and deemings of the errant mind," following the Commentarial maññanam "imagining").
    Yet, that person still might use such words as "I,"
    Still perchance might say: "They call this 'mine'."
    Well aware of common worldly speech,
    One would speak conforming to such use.
    • Walshe 2: Cf. DN 9: "These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Tathagata ["the person who has arrived and who has gone beyond"] uses without misapprehending them." [There is a difference between common or "conventional" and "ultimate" truth/speech.]
    What do you mean there's NO self?
    What the h*ll are you talking about, Gautama?! The self is the eternal atman (soul)!
    "All beings subsist on nutriment" (Khp 4).
    • [That "nutriment" is not necessarily physical food but different sorts of things -- like one's latent store of karma, or joy for certain devas, or contact/sense impression.]
    Then Ven. Radha went to the Blessed One, bowed, and sat respectfully to one side. As he sat there he ask the Blessed One: "A 'being' (satta or Sanskrit sattva] venerable sir, a 'being,' it is said, but to what extent is one said to be a 'being'?"

    You'll see. The truth will set you free.
    [The Buddha responded:] "Radha, any desire, passion, delight, or craving for [physical or fine-material] form, when one is caught up (satta) there, tied up (visatta) there, one is said to be a 'being' (satta).
    "Radha, any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling (sensation)... perception... formations... consciousness, when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be a 'being'" (SN 23.2). 
    • [What we call a living being is in fact a collection of groups that are clung to. Ignorance clings to them and takes them to be a "self, ego, soul, personality, or essence." They are not that, but the Enlightened One realized that these impersonal, impermanent, and unsatisfactory things (aggregates, heaps, constituents) are what beings cling to as a self. This is perhaps the hardest thing to understand in all of Buddhism, but it is what distinguishes an ordinary worldling from an enlightened (or noble and therefore liberated) one.]
    "I am" is the greatest conceit. There is no self.
    Few Buddhists seem to realize that in Mahayana Buddhism, the most famous apocryphal discourse is the Heart Sutra (Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sutra or Heart of Wisdom Discourse) tackles this deep, profound, subtle, and exceedingly difficult topic. All of the 100,000 lines are dedicated to explicating this teaching. But it is only the direct realization, the liberating insight into it, that liberates one. Upon realization, one becomes a stream enterer, the first stage of enlightenment. Without it, there is no Buddhist "enlightenment" (bodhi) and therefore no glimpse or touching of liberation (nirvana). There may be many things, but there will not be freedom from all suffering.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2017

    Do pleasurable things cause desire?

    Dhr. Seven, Ananda, Amber Larson; Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly; Lana Del Rey, "Noir"
    It's not that I'm addicted. I just love pleasure. I have an unquenchable craving for it.
    Answers? Inquire within.
    Is the cause of suffering "desire" (tanha, addiction, craving, literally, "thirst")?

    The enlightened Buddhist nun, Sayalay Susila, once asked us: "We get stuck to pleasant sights, sounds, and sensual feelings. Is it their 'stickiness,' or our desire, or what is it that holds us?"
    Well, clearly, anyone who's ever been in love with or addicted to a sight, sound, or sensual feeling (associated with a person, drug, or habit) will say that it's THAT PERSON or THING that captivate us like Cupid (Mara Devaputra, Eros, Kama-deva) with an arrow or a Siren with a irresistible song.

    "Oh, baby! Guys, release me! Let me loose!" Ullyses from Homer's Odyssey (by H.J. Draper)
    The nun nodded her head, said "Mmm hmm," and asked this follow-up question:

    Cupid deva (Mara, Eros, Kama)
    "Fully enlightened beings also experience pleasant sights, sounds, and sensual feelings. Do they get stuck? When shot by Cupid's arrow, are they captivated, trapped in Mara's snare, held in bondage, obsessed, addicted?"

    "No!" we shouted.

    "They're free!" we added. They're completely free. They're liberated, emancipated, nirvana-ed (quenched, cooled, utterly having gone out, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond all that can upset).
    A beautiful Buddhist goddess
    At that very moment we collectively realized that the things in and of themselves do NOT have the power to hold us. They are not sticky. "Stickiness" happens through our flawed interaction with them, our misapprehension (seeing the as they are not, as permanent/enduring, pleasurable/capable of fulfilling us, as personal/essential).

    But the true nature of reality is that they are anicca, anatta, and dukkha -- hurtling toward destruction (impermanent), disappointing (incapable of fulfilling us), and impersonal (empty, devoid of independent existence apart from their constituent parts).
    Vedic Lord Shiva turns Kama (Cupid) to ashes (Madan-Bhasma,
    Cupid as Kamadeva (Bertel Thorvaldsen)
    How do we interact when we misunderstand -- beset as we are by wrong views, preferences, and aversions/fears?

    When we miscomprehend things, we cling to them, repel/fear the loss of them. We habitually run away from whatever we perceive as being unpleasant (or boring if it's neutral) and habitually run toward whatever we perceive of as being pleasant.

    But although we have become addicted, things themselves are not addictive. It's an inside job.

    Therefore, freedom from all suffering is also an inside job! It cannot be otherwise. We can get help, we better get help (a teacher, book, or noble friend to point this out), and we will still have to actually do the freeing ourselves (from greed, hatred/fear, and delusion). Why? Buddhas, Awakened Ones, only point the way.
    “No one saves us but ourselves.
    No one will, and no one may.
    We ourselves must walk the Path.
    Buddhas only point the way!"
    (The Dhammapada Verses 165, 276)
    -- This is an excellent summary of what Budh-ism (Awaken-ism) is for.

    The Buddha said thing in a slightly longer Buddhist verse translated into beautiful English by Paul Carus in Karma: A Story of Buddhist Ethics (1894). It is a summary of the full quotation derived from the Dhammapada:
    By ourselves is harm done,
    By ourselves we pain endure,
    By ourselves we cease from wrong,
    By ourselves become we pure.
    No one saves us but ourselves.
    No one [will] and no one may.
    We ourselves must walk the path:
    Buddhas only show the way.
    A more literal modern translation might go something like this from
    By oneself is harm done;
    by oneself is one defiled.
    By oneself is harm left undone;
    By oneself is one made pure.
    Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
    No one can purify another.
    Karma: Story of Buddhist Ethics
    In other words, we are responsible for our own karma (profitable, unprofitable, and neutral actions). Not the Buddha, not God, not the devas, not saints, angels, teachers, parents, friends can save us -- even though they would want to. We can save ourselves, by our actions (our intention and follow through to develop some things and let go of other harmful actions by leaving them undone). We have to save ourselves because no one else is going to nor can they.

    NOTE: Excessively devotional Pure Land Buddhism (a Mahayana sect), like messianic Catholicism/Christianity, teaches that enlightenment (salvation, deliverance) is only possible through the grace of a divine being, in this case Amida Buddha (Amitabha), But it’s necessary to acknowledge that this savior approach to liberation contradicts what the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) taught -- which is that buddhas (fully awakened teachers) only point the way, and that we must ourselves walk the path pointed out by those who awakened before us.