Thursday, April 29, 2010

L.A. Garden Show (April 30 - May 2)

The L.A. Garden Show is the largest outdoor gardening event on the West Coast that has evolved into a prestigious community gathering, as well as a premier industry event for green gardening in Southern California and beyond. The event illustrates innovative and environmentally responsible garden design and shares knowledge of eco-gardening practices through workshops, lectures, and demonstrations. It also provides specialty plants, books, and home gardening elements.

This year’s event is a tribute to the home gardener and will be an active “How to” guide for living a green gardening lifestyle in Southern California. Workshops, lectures, and demonstrations will range from creating edible gardens to designing with California-friendly plants, to composting and making water-wise choices in home gardens. More>>

The Permasphere: On Friday at 10:00 am, discover a growing revolution in sustainable gardening where overlooked materials become free resources, yields increase, work is minimized, and the mutual support between people and the local environment is restored. From creating natural raised beds just outside your door to covering the back forty, sheet mulch and seed balls are all you need to bring to life extremely beautiful, low-maintenance, low-cost gardens. You’ll come away with two incredibly productive and versatile techniques to use everywhere imaginable. Or learn to do it yourself:

Jhana: Guided Visualization (video)

(Freedombeyon) Help on the road to meditative absorption (jhana) with the voice of Jon Kabat-Zinn: a guided meditation corresponding to the first two stages of Ajahn Brahm's meditation technique:

  1. Letting go of past and future, placing attention on the body
  2. Letting go of inner-chatter, placing attention on sounds
  3. Letting go of diversity, placing attention on the breath only

Asteroids gave Earth water: study

PARIS (AFP) – Astronomers have for the first time detected ice and organic compounds on an asteroid, a pair of landmark studies released on Wednesday says. The discovery bolsters the theory that comets and asteroids crashing into Earth nearly four billion years ago seeded the planet with water and carbon-based molecules, both essential ingredients for life. Working separately, two teams of scientists using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii found that the 24 Themis, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, is literally covered in a thin coating of frost. More>>

"Peace comes from within"

Final Buddha.. by zoe green.
(Zoe Green)

Symptoms of Inner-Peace
(Wildmind) I came across the following in my chiropractor’s waiting room. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world. Some signs and symptoms of inner peace: More>>

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The US's secret attacks on China

America would seem to be at war with China, testing HAARP, causing catastrophic earthquakes, and engaging in mind control tactics. That would be a reasonable assessment of otherwise irrational acts meant to shock, startle, and terrorize a country the US feels is attacking it via the Internet. But, of course, such things are impossible.

No technology can induce seismic activity or provoke Manchurian candidates. That would be a secret psychological operation too big to countenance.

There must be another explanation, like, maybe the kids were being too loud and the man was only trying to quiet them down with a fancy Ginsu knife, which can do just about anything. Two separate incidences in two days? Coincidence! America would never do that anyway. We're a peace-loving, debtor nation (grateful to China for lending us more money than we will ever be able to repay it) with no reason to be aggressive or flex terrorist military might.
  • UPDATE: New hammer attack, 5 children hurt
    BEIJING – A farmer attacked and injured five kindergarten students with a hammer in eastern China before burning himself to death Friday in the latest in a string of horrific assaults on children at Chinese schools, state media reported.
Man stabs 28 children at kindergarten in China
BEIJING – A knife-wielding man wounded 28 children — most just 4 years old — and three adults Thursday at a kindergarten in eastern China, the second such violent assault at a Chinese school in as many days.... The violence was the latest in a string of attacks on young children at Chinese schools. The day before, a man broke into a primary school in Guangdong province in southern China and wounded 15 students and a teacher in a knife attack.

Meditative Absorption: The First Jhana

A jhana or "absorption" is a meditative state of profound concentration and stillness in which the mind becomes fully immersed and literally absorbed in the chosen object of attention. It is the cornerstone in the development of Right Concentration.

By being without worry or remorse over things done (having practiced blameless morality), one sits and focuses on a meditation subject. If the breath -- a popular choice because it is what the Buddha had taken up when he became enlightened -- is chosen, one focuses completely just under the nose. One is aware of the breath coming in and out. And one remains undistracted, unagitated, and wakeful. Eventually, one will see the breath.

It appears as a tuft of cotton, a glow, or a bright moon released from clouds. Yet, one keeps applying attention only to the spot under the nose not turning attention to anything else. One is "mindful" just of the breath in that area outside the nose. By ignoring the light, the light will approach where attention is being paid. In time, it will become the breath. It is very important to remain quiet, still, undistracted by others. Even when one gets up to rest or attend to affairs, the attention remains on the breath at that spot. That is mindfulness of the breath.

With constant mindfulness applied just there, dropped only when sleeping but otherwise maintained most hours of the day, that "sign" (nimitta) will strengthen and brighten. Since the attention has not changed places and the focus has remained the breath, the sign (an internally created light that becomes visible even with eyes open) will become steady. The body and mind become suffused with temporary states of purity, collectedness, rapture, joy, and bliss. Yet attention remains at the same spot.

  • How long will it take to get to jhana? For some it may seem instant. The reasons for this are easy to understand but terribly difficult to believe. For most people, it takes intensive and consistent effort of more than a month, which is why a retreat is so very helpful. Other vital ingredients are silence, withdrawal, undistractedness, good sleep, consistency, little food intake, and above all a balancing of effort and ease. The company of concentrated people is very helpful but, of course, difficult to find.

Then, when the light is steady, brilliant, and one is able to control it making it bigger or smaller by simply determining that it be so, one is ready to "absorb." One literally does so by forming the intention and making the determination to merge. One becomes one with the light. And in doing so, one has "entered" the first absorption. What is jhana?

"There is the case where a meditator — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful states of mind — enters and remains in the first jhana, experiencing: mental rapture and bodily pleasure born of withdrawal, accompanied by applied-attention and sustained-attention.
  • The five jhana factors are: (1) Initial application of the mind to the object (vitakka or applied attention), (2) sustained application (vicara), (3) joy (piti), (4) happiness (sukha), and (5) one-pointedness (ekaggata). The result in equanimity (upekkha or serene impartiality).
One permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of mental and physical withdrawal. There is nothing in this entire body left unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal.

"It is just as if a skilled bath attendant or apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that this ball of bath powder — saturated, laden with moisture, permeated within and without — would become a ball of soap and not drip. Even so, the meditator permeates, suffuses, and fills every part of this body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing in this entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal...

Why would anyone want to do this? The Buddha's definition of Right Concentration in the Noble Eightfold Path is the first four jhanas. In order to successfully practice mindfulness for liberating insight (described in the commentaries as vipassana) as well as the Divine Abidings (Brahma Viharas), one needs a powerful concentration (calm, serenity, or collectedness known as samadhi). In this way, wisdom can be cultivated and developed that results in enlightenment.

"Mindfulness" (sati) without sufficient concentration (samadhi) is a hard and often futile effort. However, it is said that a very intensive "dry insight" practice gives rise to weak but sufficient form of "momentary" or "access" concentration. This is unstable concentration is a very frustrating, brittle, hit-and-miss substitute for Right Concentration. But on account of it, countless meditators have neglected jhana, which the Buddha praised in countless sutras.

Some even believe that Right Concentration is no longer possible in this dissolute and distracted age. It is more difficult to be sure, but we guarantee it is possible. Otherwise we would not speak of it. But meditators at Wisdom Quarterly and their teachers have verified the sutras and commentaries (such as the Path of Purification) and can say with perfect assurance that it is possible for one practicing in the correct way to experience what is recorded.

Buddhist Meditation (Google Talks)

(AtGoogleTalks) The book Focused and Fearless speaks to ordinary meditators who wish to attain non-ordinary states with ease. It offers a creative and contemporary slant to Buddhism's ancient path of happiness and wisdom. Blended with contemporary examples, pragmatic exercises, and how-to instructions anyone can try, this book provides a wealth of tools to cultivate non-distracted attention in daily life and retreat.

Author and speaker Shaila Catherine is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay based in Mountain View, California. She has been practicing meditation since 1980, with seven years of accumulated silent retreat experience. She has been teaching since 1996 in the USA, India, Israel, England, and New Zealand.

Shaila studied at the Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies in England and dedicated six years to studying with masters in India, Nepal, and Thailand. Her current focus is the development of concentration and the deep states of absorption (jhana) with the world's foremost living meditation master, Pa Auk Sayadaw.

Thai soldiers kill soldier, clash with protesters

BANGKOK – Thai troops clash with protesters. They fired rifles and threw tear gas at a crowd of anti-government protesters riding motorbikes down a busy expressway Wednesday, blocking their effort to take the demonstrations that have paralyzed central Bangkok into the suburbs. The hours-long confrontation killed one soldier — apparently from friendly fire [meaning the soldiers, not the demonstrators, killed him] — and wounded 18 other people as it transformed the suburban streets into a battle zone. Heavily armed troops took cover behind terrified commuters' cars. And one driver clasped her hands in prayer as the soldiers wove their way through traffic. Security officials suggested [they would like to see] the possibility of an escalation in the violence. More>>

US Bin Laden Propaganda news

American propaganda: "Bin Laden had 'no clue' 9/11 retaliation"
WASHINGTON - Boogeyman/Emmanuel Goldstein stand-in Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would [use the false flag operation attributed to him, when he and his billionaire family were paid off to accept the mantle of world's most wanted man and Islamic hero, to] hit [the all-pervasive hidden enemy called] al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview. "I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen [or else he would never have sold out the Islamic republics of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq]," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000. "What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hawking: Aliens should stay away from Earth

LONDON (AFP) – Space aliens may exist but mankind should avoid contact with them as the consequences could be devastating, British scientist Stephen Hawking warned Sunday.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," said the astrophysicist in a new television series, according to British media reports.

The programs depict an imagined universe featuring alien life forms in huge spaceships on the hunt for resources after draining their own planet dry. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach," warned Hawking. More>>

How did the Earth get its name?
When was our planet given its formal title, and what are the origins of the word? The name Earth originates from the 8th century Anglo-Saxon word erda, which means ground or soil. In Old English the word became eorthe, then erthe in Middle English. Earth was first used as the name of the sphere of the Earth around 1400. It is the only planet whose name in English is not derived from Greco-Roman mythology. Source

100 years old and does not get angry

SRI LANKA - If one does not get angry, he or she is said to have attained full enlightenment (Arahatship or sanctity). The fast track way to nirvana is to rid oneself of anger without any residue, a well- known Buddhist teacher in the Theravada Forest Tradition, Ven. Ajahn Brahm of Australia once said. To reach this milestone one has to follow the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. But what will happen to someone who rarely gets angry? Daisy Rodrigo, aged 100, has been an lay devotee of Amunudora Bandarawela Temple. She rarely gets angry, say her sons and daughters. She celebrated her 100th birthday on April 22, 2010. She plans to go to temple as usual to chant Pali hymns at the feet of the Buddha. More>>

Tibetan Nomads: Remote in a Remote Land

(LENS, NY Times) “I have such admiration for people who just live off the land and people that are self-sufficient,” Alison Wright said, explaining why she has been focusing for the last five years on nomads in remote areas of Tibet.

Everest trash to be picked up for first time
(Xinhua via AP) The "death zone" of the world's highest garbage dump — Mount Everest — is about to be cleaned up for the first time since Edmund Hillary conquered the 29,035-foot peak almost 60 years ago. Global warming has exposed the more than 2 tons of trash that had been buried under snow. This week, 20 Nepali climbers are headed to the "death zone," the region above 26,246 feet, to pick up more than 2 tons of climbing gear left behind, Reuters tells us. Some of the trash — mostly empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, torn tents, ropes and utensils — dates to Hillary's time and has been exposed by melting snow. More>>

Nepal Maoists call indefinite strike

(IANS/Sify) Close on the heels of the UN expressing deep concern at the loss suffered by Nepal's children due to mounting strikes called by the political parties, former Maoist guerrillas Sunday began an indefinite closure of public schools countrywide, demanding a rollback in new fees. Almost 8,000 schools were forced to close by the students wing of the Maoists, the All Nepal National Independent Students' Union (Revolutionary), with the fate of nearly 1.5 million students hanging in balance. More>>

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Vipassana Rap (song)

(DragonYitzi) A rap performance at the close of a recent vipassana (insight) meditation retreat. The performer is not affiliated with Goenka-ji. More on Vipassana.

8,000 monks homeless after China quake

Tibetan monks gather outside their destroyed monastery in Jiegu, Yushu county, in China's northwestern province of Qinghai last week. The quake in China's remote northwest has left more than 8,000 monks homeless after damaging nearly 90 monasteries, state media said Monday (AFP/Str).

BEIJING (AFP) – The quake in China's remote northwest has left more than 8,000 monks homeless after damaging nearly 90 monasteries, state media said Monday, as the focus of relief work moved onto resettling survivors. Authorities in the province of Qinghai said repairing monasteries would be a priority in reconstruction efforts, the state-run China Daily said, nearly two weeks after the 6.9-magnitude earthquake, which killed over 2,200 people. "By the end of this year, we hope to restore the living quarters of the monasteries for more than 8,000 monks now living in makeshift tents," Leshi, head of Yushu's ethnic and religious affairs committee, was quoted as saying. More>>

Teen sailor abandons around-the-world quest

Teen sailor Abby Sunderland abandons nonstop around-the-world quest
Pete Thomas,
Abby Sunderland, one of two 16-year-old girls on different quests to sail around the world alone, nonstop and unassisted, has announced she will head to Cape Town, South Africa, to repair a faulty autopilot system. The high-school junior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., stressed on her blog that she will continue her journey after making repairs and seek to become simply the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat. Jessica Watson, Sunderland's Australian counterpart, is expected to complete her nonstop circumnavigation attempt in late May. More>>

Listening to the Dharma

To attain realization of the Dharma while listening to a sermon, one must have a settled mind. For it is only through concentrated attention with a settled mind that one can attain concentration (samadhi). And only concentration can still the mind for insight.

If the mind wanders while listening to the Dharma -- whether over domestic, economic, or other affairs -- samadhi will not be attained. If anxiety sets in, it is all the worse. If distraction and anxiety crop up, the essence of the Dharma will slip by. As samadhi is lacking, there will be no insight. And if one cannot attain insight for vipassana, how can one attain realization of the Dharma?

Concentrated attention while listening to a sermon is, therefore, an important factor. The listener must listen carefully, with full mental involvement, and the words of the Dharma must be adhered to in practice. If one attends to a sermon in this way, one's mind will be calm and absorbed in what is being said. One will be free from interference and thus attain purity of mind.
Facebook: Discourse on the Hemavata Sutta

Jon Stewart wades into "South Park" flap

Jon Stewart wades into "South Park" flap
The host unleashes a searing 10-minute response to the censorship controversy. Bleeps not a "meta-joke" - Past controversies - Stewart feud heats up feud heats up

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spiritual Sexuality? (video)

WARNING: Although not graphic, this video may contain content inappropriate for some!

(WQ) The bottom line on sex is that nearly everyone is interested. It is the defining characteristic of this realm. The Kama-loka or "Sense Sphere" includes the lowest celestial worlds (beneath the Brahma worlds), the human and animal planes, and the very miserable planes.

Craving for sensual pleasures is what binds beings to this realm with its instability and attendant degrees of suffering. It is likened to a charioteer who can either control the five powerful horses of the senses or be completely at their mercy.

In order to gain liberation from Samsara, or at least from the Sense Realm (Kama-loka), it is necessary to withdraw mind and body from it completely. This withdrawal need only be temporary -- while the mind settles, concentrates, becomes blissful and bright, allowing one to successfully practice towards the gaining of liberating insight.

Thereafter, one can again indulge if one wishes: While a person has not yet attained the third stage of enlightenment (non-returning), one will still be interested in sense pleasures and sex when the mind turns to delightful sensual objects, images, and thoughts.

Given our incessant interest in this distraction and obstacle to peace and wisdom, Can there be any spiritual use for sex? Yes. For example, it can sensitize one to others and their co-development, help one gain a sense of merging and "oneness," intimacy, vulnerability, and empathy. But our society (like most societies) has so many hang ups about sex, good luck.

When sex cannot be set aside even for a few months to meditate intensively, as for example at a retreat, tantra and similar practices may be good to explore. What is the alternative -- porn, selfishness, compulsive indulgence, unresolved issues, shame, hypocrisy, and acting out? Better that one might try to transmute sensual desire into something spiritually beneficial.

Tourists make it a real spring for Kashmir

Basharrat Masood (

The Jammu and Kashmir (an Indian state) government is keeping its fingers crossed as tourist figures rise in the Valley this spring, particularly the number of foreign visitors.

While the Tourism Department is relucant to release figures, wary of making any connection between peace in the disputed Valley and the tourism upsurge, according to local operators, the figure has already crossed 100,000.

“If all goes well, we are expecting the tourist number to go up by more than 20 percent and anticipating more than one million tourists this season,” says Rauf Trumboo, president of the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir.

Kashmir’s tourist season usually starts from April 15. But the premature heat in the plains and Asia’s largest recreational tulip garden in Srinagar are attracting a large number of tourists to Kashmir.

According to G.S. Naqah, Director, Floriculture, “So far 70,000 tourists have visited the tulip garden this year. Though the tulip season is over, we have turned it into an all-weather garden and it will remain open throughout the year.” Source

Thai "Red Short" Protests Intensify

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Bangkok braced on Sunday for more unrest a day after the Thai government rejected a peace overture from demonstrators offering to end increasingly violent protests in return for early polls. The red-shirted supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra told thousands of supporters to expect a crackdown and rescinded their offer to end a three-week occupation of Bangkok's main shopping area if the government called elections in 30 days. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is sticking with an offer to call elections in December, a year early. The "red shirts" returned to their previous demand for immediate polls. More>>

Friday, April 23, 2010

China says monks advised to leave quake area

Tibetan monks attend a cremation ceremony for an earthquake victim at the earthquake-hit Gyegu town of Yushu county, China, April 21, 2010 (Reuters/Stringer).

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese authorities said Friday that Buddhist monks had been advised to leave an earthquake zone in a Tibetan region because specialized personnel were needed for reconstruction work, rejecting accusations that they had been told to leave for political reasons.
The death toll from last week's earthquake rose to 2,187, with schoolchildren accounting for some 200 deaths. The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a statement in response to The Associated Press' questions about why Tibetan monks were told this week to leave Yushu county, the epicenter of the quake in a remote corner of western Qinghai province. More>>

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Putting Knowledge into Practice

Discourse on To Nirvana via the Noble Eightfold Path

According to the Buddha, knowledge relating to the Noble Path transports one to the stage of all suffering or unsatisfactoriness ceasing. But it must always be borne in mind that the Path offers liberation only to those who actually practice it.

In your travels a vehicle takes you to your destination, while those who stand by it are left behind. Knowledge about the Noble Path is like that vehicle. If you ride in it, you will be conveyed to your destination; if you merely stand by, you will be left behind.

Those who desire to be liberated from all suffering should use that vehicle. That is to say, they should use knowledge gained for practical purposes. The most important task for someone born into a rare historical period when the Buddha's Dispensation exists is to practice Dharma so as to reach nirvana when all suffering ceases.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Eliminate Wrong Views

The Doctrine of Dependent Origination edited by Wisdom Quarterly

The Buddha said that the root cause of falling into woeful and miserable planes of existence (apayagati) must be uprooted. The root cause is the manifestation of wrong view (miccha ditthi). Those who have wrong view inherent in them have no compunction to

  1. take the life of a being
  2. steal
  3. commit sexual misconduct
  4. commit matricide or even
  5. shed the blood of the Buddha.

All sorts of wrongdoings and misdeeds are the outcome of wrong view. Therefore, the Buddha said the root cause of falling into woeful states must be uprooted.

The majority of people consider that it is unwholesome (akusala) karma responsible for an unfortunate rebirth. But thorough examination reveals that the real culprit is wrong-view. There is no doubt that it is the hangman who executes the condemned person. But the real power is the judge who hands down the sentence.

In the same way, it is the view that sends the sentient being (satta) to a miserable rebirth. Karma only hurls one and is not the real culprit. Hence, views are harmful and deleterious. Why one's view is the root cause may be explained as follows:

There arises thought for eating, thought for sleeping, thought for speaking, but all sorts of thoughts that arise are mistaken for personality: I want to eat, I want to sleep, I want to speak, and so on.

  • See anatta for the Buddha's liberating teaching of "egolessness."

Such a mistaken notion develops into personality or ego as I -- "I am" or mine -- on the arising of each mental phenomenon. A thought or consciousness arises as the result of the impact of an object on a sense door. This is how and from where the idea of personality, I, ego, mine, and me comes in.

Therefore, we must be careful not to misconceive seeing as "I see" or hearing as "I hear." There is no seer, hearer, or doer. This is only the resultant effect of causal law. When hatred or craving arise, they are to be understood, observed, and cognized as hate-consciousness (citta or "thought moment"), greed-consciousness, deluded-consciousness, and so on. It must be understood that they arise in accordance with their own impersonal function.

After some practice it will occur to the yogi that there is nothing but consciousness. At this stage, more emphasis should be given to the experience that the arising of mental states is merely phenomenal. There is nothing but consciousness. There is no I, ego, me, or mine!

Again, there will arise jealousy or thought for almsgiving. Whatever thought or consciousness may arise it is to be understood and noted that it is only a mental state. When a thought for smoking arises, it should be understood and noted that it is a thought or consciousness only, not "I" who want to smoke. More>>

Dark Side of Former LAPD Police Chief

Uprising Radio
The Los Angeles Police Department’s most controversial police chief in recent history, Daryl Gates, died last week at the age of 83 from cancer.
He started his career as police chief in the late 70s, at a time when many social and political movements for equality were at their peak. Under Gates’ tenure in the 80s, violent crime grew rapidly. In response, [he developed SWAT and the use of paramilitary forces to police civilian populations adopted by cities around the world]… More>>

Why atheists care about religion (video)

Invitation to Free Inquiry: Kalama Sutra

The Kalamas, inhabitants of Kesaputta, said to the Buddha:

"There are some ascetics and brahmins, venerable sir, who visit Kesaputta. They expound and explain only their own doctrines, whereas the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces.

"Other ascetics and brahmins, venerable sir, also come to Kesaputta. They also expound and explain only their own doctrines; the doctrines of others they despise, revile, and pull to pieces. Venerable sir, there is doubt, there is uncertainty in us concerning them. Which of these reverend ascetics and brahmins spoke the truth and which falsehood?"

"It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain. Uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumor, nor upon scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon axioms, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon a preference for a notion pondered over, nor upon another's seeming ability, nor upon the consideration, 'The guru is our teacher.'

"Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are harmful, these things are blameable, these things are censured by the wise. Undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them...." More>>

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On 4/20: Sensible Legalization?

Great wisdom or tricky delusion?

(WQ) "420" is code for cannabis. So the date is used as a focal point for related news items, concerts, and even laws.

California recognized the medicinal potential of cannabis and the deception of a set of anti-drug laws called a war. The purpose of the federal imperialistic "war" and "czar" is making money, not eradicating drug use. But the promise of eradication, fueled by fear, is used as an excuse for spending.

It is debatable whether cannabis has any real spiritual benefits. Some varieties with very sparse use may. Dreadlocked Indian hermits often become addicted. Some medicinal benefits have been established. Here, too, variety and light use is key. But abuse (including recreational use) enlivens an illicit market and, judging by a look at chronic users, is harmful. It need not be this way.

Something's Happening: Caroline Casey on Marijuana
Continuing Jack Gariss "States of Consciousness" (1982), J. Krishnamurti at Stanford (1 of 4), Caroline Casey "Visionary Activist Show" from KPFA, April 15th show with Mariavittoria Mangini on the therapeutic uses of durgs and Valeria Corral, founder of WAMM – Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (Friday, 2:30 am, April 16, 2010).
What Sensible Legalization Looks Like
Uprising Radio (KPFK)
Medical marijuana users and advo-cates for legalization gathered this weekend near San Francisco for the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo.
The two-day event attracted more than 15,000 attendants at the Cow Palace Arena in nearby Daly City for vendor displays of various medicinal-marijuana related products. The expo was also historic insofar as, after a four-year organizational fight, it became… More>>

VIDEO: Jhana Meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

A guided meditation corresponding to the first two stages of Ajahn Brahm's meditation technique:
  1. Letting go of past and future, placing attention on the body.
  2. Letting go of inner chatter, placing attention on sounds
  3. Letting go of diversity, placing attention on the breath only.

Protesters fortify camps in heart of Bangkok

Thanyarat Doksone (AP)
Soldiers look on as monks make their rounds near an anti-government rally site (AP).

BANGKOK – Thai protesters said Tuesday that they would fortify their sprawling encampment in Bangkok's upscale hotel-and-shopping district before venturing out to "wage a big war" to topple the government they decry as illegitimate. Soldiers in full combat gear guarded other nearby sections of the capital in an increasingly tense standoff that has shuttered 5-star hotels and glitzy shopping malls and threatens to damage Thailand's sunny image as a tourist paradise. Source
But Reuters is reporting that protesters have now said they would not march on the Silom business district in Bangkok on Tuesday to avoid a confrontation with armed soldiers defending the area. "We will not be going to Silom today because the government has already deployed troops. When those troops are withdrawn, we will march to Silom," Nattawut Saikua, a red shirt leader, told a news conference. Source

Friday, April 16, 2010

Earthday 2010: April 16-17, 22

Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity -- an opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean-energy economy now for the future.

Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day. More>>

Los Angeles Events April 16-17, 2010

The Marvel of Science
PHYSICS 21: Science from Superheroes to Global Warming
Putting free courses online was the first step in reimagining education. For those who find ideas in Physics for Future Presidents overwhelming, Science From Superheroes to Global Warming may be a better fit. Not that there aren’t plenty of ideas in this course... Syllabus Sampler

An Open Mind - What They’re Watching - Economics Yale: My Teacher Is an Index - French Carnegie Mellon: VoilĂ ! A Better e-Course - Music Connexions: The Music Lesson - Psychology Yale: Why We Go Cuckoo for… - History M.I.T.: Asian Culture Through a Lens - Psychology Yale: Smiles, Sex and Object Permanence - Genetics U.C.L.A.: Decoding DNA - Physics U.C. Berkeley: Atoms and Antimatter - Linear Algebra M.I.T.: The Matrix - Computer Science Stanford: They Have a Class for That - Anatomy U.C. Berkeley: The Inner Body

Buddhist monks help save Earthquake victims

Text by Anita Chang (AP)
Tibetan Buddhist monks and rescuers save woman after hearing her cries PHOTOS

JIEGU, China – Tibetan monks in crimson robes dug through earthquake rubble alongside government rescue workers Friday, a startling image for a Chinese region long strained by suspicion and unrest. The central government has poured in troops and equipment to this remote western region, but it is the influential Buddhist monks who residents trust with their lives — and with their dead.
As the death toll climbed to 1,144, there was tension and some distrust over the government relief effort, with survivors scuffling over limited aid. "They have a relaxed attitude," said Genqiu, a 22-year-old monk at Jiegu Monastery, of the government-sent rescue workers. "If someone's taking their photo then they might dig once or twice." More>>

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