Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Dalai Lama visits Los Angeles (USC)

Hosted by Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling


The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) speaks on:
"Secular Ethics and Meditation"
  • Sunday, May 1, 2011, 2:30 PM
  • Long Beach Convention Center, Terrace Theater
  • General public tickets: $46.20-$104.65
  •, (657) 229-4435,

  • May 3, 2011, 9:30 AM-11:00 AM and 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
  • USC Galen Center and USC Bovard Auditorium
  • University of Southern California,
  • Tickets: $20-$125

Excavating the Heart through Meditation

I heard things like "love is your true nature" or "the heart has a natural tendency toward compassion." Now I had already been meditating for some time, examining my inner-world through mindfulness, and I didn't see any of the love and compassion of which these teachers spoke.

When I looked into my heart and mind I only saw fear, anger, hatred, judgment, more fear, and a lot of lustful cravings. When I sat quietly, paying attention to my breath, my attention was repeatedly drawn into fantasies of vengeful destruction or pornographic sex:

One moment I was bashing in my stepfather's head with a Louisville slugger, the next I was in a threesome with Madonna [pictured here in green cap] and Traci Lords [against wall].

I was pretty sure that was all that was in there. Mindfulness helped me deal with my inner confusion. It allowed to me to ignore my mind at times or not take it so personally at others, but it didn't seem to be magically creating a loving heart out of my inner-critic/terrorist/pervert/tough guy.

In the early days of my meditation practice I was only interested in mindfulness. I was introduced to breath awareness meditations and as a result I experienced the direct benefits of concentration and mindfulness. I immediately found temporary relief from fear of the future and shame about the past.

Learning to train my mind to pay close attention to the present moment was difficult, but fruitful. I experienced the immediate, if only momentary, relief from the suffering I created with my mind's tendency to be lost in the future and past.

Before I began my meditation practice, when my mind started to worry about what would happen in the future, I would get completely sucked into the fears and often become convinced that the worst-case scenario would play out.

Mindfulness gave me the tools to let go of those thoughts and to bring my attention into the body's experience of the breath. Mindfulness made sense to me and it wasn't difficult to gain a verified faith [saddha] in that aspect of Buddhism. For me, mindfulness proved to be the doorway to the rest of the Buddha's Dharma, or teachings. I came to believe that it was going to be possible to train my mind, but I still had no hope for my heart. More

"Meditate and Destroy"

Introduction: How to Meditate (video)

Why Meditate?
Wisdom Quarterly
How does one meditate? It is the easiest thing to learn yet one of the hardest to practice. Ven. Yuttadhammo explains how in the first video in his series. But why meditate?

There are profound benefits, but that meditation eventually becomes extraordinarily pleasurable and self-healing is reason enough. "There is no way to happiness because happiness is the way!" Even enlightenment is attainable in no long time. But before freedom, there is calm and natural happiness emerging from within.

It's easy to learn, so the question is, Why should it be so hard to do? The answer is easy: It's simply because it goes against the grain of our mental habits.

Physically, we do not want to sit still without sleeping. Mentally, we are restless or lustful, angry or fearful, bored and confused. So a practice that brings clarity, energizes us, and somehow brings relaxation and serenity? The mind will say, "Impossible! I can do it better" as it thinks us into a tizzy or a dead end.

The breath is the way to the present moment, and it also allows us to peer into the mind emotional states. (How we are breathing directly mirrors our state of mind/heart).

Mindfulness frees us from discursive thinking, worry, and confusion: "Be here now!" And if the mind slips away, that's perfectly okay as long as it is brought back. Bare attention (dispassionate observation) -- detached from states of greed/craving, hate/resentment, and delusion/inattentiveness -- frees the heart/mind.

Learning Buddhist Meditation
() This video discusses a simple technique of sitting meditation. Second (of six) in a series of videos on how to practice meditation free of religious dogma and spiritual mumbo-jumbo.

Buffalo (New York) Yoga Fest

Yoga is truly for everyone -- from those who are mildly curious to those who are deeply into the yoga lifestyle, kids included. Need more strength? Maybe better concentration? Or what about connecting body, mind, and spirit? Need to be elevated and taken into a new dimension? Whether we practice yoga in the comfort of our home, at a neighborhood yoga center, or on Sundays at the Inner Harbor, there is no escaping a phenomenon that has swept through the country. More

Ancient Buddhist Model for Today's World

Lewis Richmond (Huffington Post)

In my ongoing effort to find ways to adapt Buddhism to modern American life, I have long been influenced by the example of Vimala-Kirti, the "householder sage" of ancient India (pictured).

According to the Vimala-Kirti Sutra ("scripture"), Vimala-Kirti was a wealthy layperson or householder who was one of the Buddha's leading lay disciples. Although he was a householder, his wisdom was said to exceed that of all of the Buddha's leading monastic disciples.

Much of the sutra is spent recounting arguments between Vimala-Kirti and the monastic disciples about Buddhist doctrine -- disputes which Vimala-Kirti invariably won. The notion of a layperson's wisdom exceeding that of a monastic is only one of many radical notions put forward by the sutra.

There are several English translations of the Vimala-Kirti Sutra. The one I like best is by Dr. Robert A. Thurman entitled The Holy Teaching of Vimala-Kirti. Dr. Thurman's translation is from the Tibetan, as the Sanskrit original has been lost.

Like the better-known Heart and Diamond Sutras, the Vimala-Kirti Sutra was an important text for the Zen traditions of China and Japan. In many Japanese Zen monasteries even today there is an alcove with a statue of Vimala-Kirti, wearing the hair and clothing of a layperson, expounding the teaching.

In Zen, Vimala-Kirti is best known for his "thunderous silence," referring to the time when he ended a long debate about the essence of wisdom by saying nothing at all. Vimala-Kirti was a popular figure among the ruling classes of ancient China, who could identify with his role in society.

The highest spiritual stage in Zen is called "return to the marketplace," in which the spiritual adept, after long years of spiritual training, returns to society to live as an ordinary person and teach others. Vimala-Kirti is traditionally seen as the embodiment of this highest stage.

This is how the sutra describes Vimala-Kirti's lifestyle:

  • He wore the white clothes of a layman, yet lived impeccably like a religious devotee...
  • He had a son, a wife, and female attendants...
  • [He] made his appearance at the fields of sports and in the casinos, but his aim was always to mature people [there]...
  • He engaged in all sorts of businesses, yet had no interest in profit or possessions...
  • He visited all the schools to help develop children...
  • He was honored as the official among officials because he regulated the functions of government according to the Dharma. More

Japanese to look to ancient traditions for strength
Japan Earthquake 2011: Emperor Akihito addresses nation
Reactors at heart of Japanese crisis raised concerns in 1972
American tsunami survivor, walks 20 hours to find girlfriend

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding (comedy commentary)

Amber Dorrian and the Editors (Wisdom Quarterly)
Monty Python comically explains what British and American governing options evolved from, the "divine right" of holy dictators.

"Ironic. The middle-class Middletons looked fabulous -- elegant, restrained, classy, and the Royals looked like a bunch of chavs. Beatrice and Eugenie -- the goggle eyed kids of the Porks -- looked liked they thought they were going to 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.' One of them looked like she'd shot a deer and worn the antlers. Wow, too much money, no looks, and zero taste is a bad combination. Sam Cam, fabulous" (Sukisue in The Telegraph).

(BBC Worldwide) The stereotype of the medieval British peasant is that of an ignorant wretch. Monty Python's Terry Jones discovers that peasants were in fact literate, emancipated, highly political and legally savvy, house proud and healthy, and responsible for the peasants revolt of 1381.

How wonderful for Kate and commoners everywhere. Yay! One of us makes it to the top by inheriting a nation of subjects and serfs! That's some prince charming.

It makes me wonder though, why do we unquestioningly buy into this terrible fantasy? Every girl wants to be looked up to, but do we want to rule and be worshiped as "royalty"?

Whereas we're the United States, Britain one once the United Kingdom, a multinational EMPIRE that did not keep its hegemony and tyranny a secret. We keep ours a secret, built in secret by economic hitmen and jackals. Of course, it's not us and it wasn't them; we're all victims of our governments do in our name. More cake and parades for everyone!

I want to be rich and famous, too, like Evita singing Don't cry for me, Argentina! But not on the backs of "commoners," which by default means everyone but royals. I prefer castles and mansions everyone can visit and hang out at over a "to the manor born" attitude that means everyone else sleeps in a barn with the livestock.

The wealth on parade -- the royal grounds, jewels, cars, carriages, and architecture -- was all stolen. It is the booty of war, invasions, and conquests, not to mention working on the backs of the Island's own peasants, lords, and patriots.

Miss USA molested by airport TSA

Former Miss USA: I was "molested" by the TSA
Former Miss USA Susie Castillo protested after an enhanced pat-down by a TSA screener at DFW. She says she was "molested" by a TSA screener at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport after declining to go through a body scanner due to radiation concerns.

Once in Aztec, New Mexico (video)

Wisdom Quarterly
Recently, the FBI opened "The Vault," revealing memos it has denied for decades. Not only has the government been lying to us, which is hardly news to anyone in the United States, there is absolutely no doubting that it has been deceiving us.

We've been spied on, disappeared, discredited, and duped into believing that we are all alone in the universe on the surface of this randomly-arisen watery globe. Worse yet, the scientific and academic communities have been co-opted. While some were bought outright, many more simply went along with the closed-minded culture and orders from superiors while claiming objectivity and inviolable integrity.

We all laugh at the mention of "Roswell." The April 28, 2011 Coast to Coast guest host explained just what happened according to her research and interviews in great detail. There is something to it, but less is known about the more mysterious occurrences in Aztec.


The 1948 Aztec UFO Crash
In 1950, controversial author Frank Scully released the book, "Behind the Flying Saucers." This effort, written during the beginnings of UFO awareness in the United States, was considered to contain fabricated, or sensationalized accounts of four UFO crashes.

One of the accounts covered an alleged crash at Aztec, New Mexico in 1948, only a brief period of time after the famous Roswell incident.

Scully's information came largely from a mysterious Dr. Gee. Depending on which commentary you read, the identity of this physician is attributed to either a real doctor, or a fictitious person who was composed of elements of several different witnesses.

Scully described the Aztec crash as that of a craft which was measured at exactly 99.99 feet in diameter, covered by a material which resembled a light weight, shiny metal that possessed incredible strength and durability. It seems that nothing on this earth could penetrate or damage the hull of this craft from another world. More

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Karma: The Royal Wedding Dress (photos)

Wisdom Quarterly
How better to make a splash than to employ a little shock value? It would not be the first time, as Kate's see through college dress (right) shows. Her official selection was see through but longer than expected:

The most photographed woman on Earth, the beautiful Princess Kate Middleton (not to be her official title due to House of Windsor technicalities), has to surprise the world. And what better way than following on the heels of her last runway modeling adventure? We predict that she will be showing off her youthful form. Not since Jackie O's , Jennifer Aniston's hair, or Princess Diana's dress has there been this much made of a fairytale wedding.

But "commoner" Catherine Middleton's story is better because she is descended from coal miners and her prince, combat-ready William, is second in line for the throne. He could actually become monarch of one of the world's great super powers. It is not the US alone but the Old World banking interests (along with Germany) that rule the world by proxy. Weddings are wonderful! Marriages, not so much. Kate Middleton will be the epitome of a British Berketex bride:

British pro-feminist punk mavericks, Crass, perform "Berketex Bribe"

PHOTOS: 1. Sexy, see through wedding dress (fashion-gallery blog); 2&6. Kate's St. Andrew's University fashion show see through dress used to first attract Prince William Spencer ( &; 3. first view of the partially see through wedding dress by Sarah Burton for Alexander (SkyNews/; 4. new wedding dress options (; 5. sexy wedding dress (; 7. Prince William and Catherine Middleton (AP); 8. "Love at first sight" (Lin Pernille); 9. official photograph of the wedding dress (; 10. "Heartbreak" (
Why Kate, Why Not Me?
Karma distinguishes beings -- high and low, beautiful and homely, rich and poor, smart and slow, long-lived and short-lived, coupled and alone, and so on.

In the "Smaller Exposition on Karma Discourse" (Culakammavibhanga Sutta), the Buddha states the following:

"Beings are the owners of their karma [their store of intentional deeds, whether physical or verbal or mental, both those ripening in happiness or suffering], heirs of their karma. They originate from their karma, are bound to their karma, have their karma as their guide."

The Buddha urged disciples to tear down the forest of defilements -- states and traits within the categories greed, hatred, and delusion -- the roots of all suffering. In their place, he encouraged them to cultivate such habits as generosity, compassion, and wisdom.

We reap what we sow: Karma
When we experience the fruits and results (states and circumstances) of seeds (actions) we planted, it is because what we planted is finally coming to fruition. Actions ripen opportunistically -- as soon as they meet the right causes and conditions, even tens of thousands of years later.

Without them as the basis, good things do not arise for us. When that good is exhausted, as it inevitably must be, pleasant and welcome circumstances fall away.

"Love at first sight" is no accident but the result of karma (Lin Pernille/

Good karma is easy to accept, and we have no trouble accepting credit even if we do not remember what we did to deserve our good fortune (because it is usually not done in this life).

It is far more amazing and difficult to believe, but when a thief and criminal enjoys ill-gotten gains, it is only because of former good karma.

"Crime does not pay" because when this bad karma ripens, it will ripen in suffering. It is not ripening immediately. The good one is experiencing is not due to stealing!

It is impossible that it should be otherwise: All the good one is experiencing is being experienced due to good karma. All that we are doing is our present karma, the results of which will be experienced later.

(This clarifies the apparent contradiction that crime does obviously pay since criminals sometimes go a long time without meeting with the negative repercussions of their choices. It is only an apparent contradiction. In reality, good results in what is welcome and pleasant, bad in what is unwelcome and difficult to bear).

Understanding this, beings are wise to engage again and again in meritorious deeds (good karma, any actions motivated by nongreed, nonhatred, and/or nondelusion). It is not every world that one has the opportunity to make good karma -- whether by negligence in superior worlds of pleasure or preoccupation with pain in inferior worlds.

Like attracts like: Good begets good, and bad begets bad. "Good" and "bad" are very unfortunate translations since we have an aversion to oversimplifications. Skillful, wholesome, profitable are all translations for kusala, the opposite being akusala.

These actions are not "rewarded" and "punished" as such; they follow an impersonal law of attraction. They rarely ripen immediately but are able to lay dormant for aeons. Therefore, one should not judge another as "good" or "bad" based on circumstances. For we all have seeds of good and bad, and any ripening is burning that karma off (exhausting the good and lightening our load of bad). The potential we have is incredible. The opportunity we have to do good now, to plant seeds now, to make the most of what we have is even more incredible.

That one should become a queen is not unusual. It would not be possible if she did not deserve it. Envying her or being jealous is demeritorious karma for us. Rejoicing in her good fortune, the ripening of former well done deeds, profitable and ripening in pleasure, is good karma for us now. Sovereignty in the human world is not a very high thing relative to other possibilities: it is short-lived, often mixed with strife, and uncertain.

That same good karma could have ripened in superior worlds where it would last longer, be purer, and be more stable. It is, to give a simile, like being beautiful only in elementary school as opposed to blossoming in high school. We would all wish to be beautiful everywhere at all times for all the benefits it brings, but life becomes more important and significant. For all the good it does Kate Middleton to become a real life princess (actually Duchess of Cambridge), how much better might her good karma have ripened later on?

We do not want to wait, desiring immediate gratification. But waiting would often benefit us, whereas rushing soon leaves us disappointed, unfulfilled, and un-actualized.

Will I Ever Find My Prince/Princess?
An elderly couple once came to the Buddha. They expressed their love for one another, having been promised in marriage to each other from a young age.

Their wish was to meet again, to be reborn together, to be a couple again. The Buddha told them how they could accomplish this and thereby become "twin flames" or "soul mates" in a future life:

The "ideal couple," as they were called, once came to the Buddha and said, "Venerable sir, we married after being acquainted from childhood, and there has never been a cloud on our happiness. Please tell us if we can be married in the next life?"

The Buddha answered, "If you both have exactly the same faith, both receive the same teaching [regarding morality] in exactly the same way, and if you have the same wisdom, then you will have the same mind in the next birth."

Whether or not all of this is done, those bonded by the karma of love and hate (attachment and aversion), will meet again as they have met many times. The business started now is not finished now but rises like flames out of embers again and again. Far wiser is it to let go, forgive, and abandon these habits unless we wish to again meet one another with an instant attraction or animosity.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Are All One... or are we? (video)

What does it mean to say "We are all one"? A very spiritual girl I knew scoffed at the notion. Even after becoming an expert Buddhist meditator, she did not speak of nonduality, Oneness, or unity. She could see through the delusion of separation, yet she would not make the claim of all being one. She asked, "Do you think we're all one? What does that even mean?"

"Of course," I answered emphatically. "It's not even that hard to understand." One needn't be St. Francis or Thich Nhat Hanh (or "Nitch Natch Hans Christian Anderson" as we would refer to him, never being able to get our Vietnamese or Thai lessons to stick) to understand the unity (nonduality) concept.
It was not by direct mystical experience that I understood it. But there's almost no one I know who hasn't had intimations of sensing how we are all interconnected.

Official trailer for Tom Shadyac's film, "I AM" now in theaters:

  • On a subatomic level, we're all constantly exchanging ions (and not just the living beings, but rocks, streams, blades of grass...unseen emanations of energy).
  • On a social level, we're all going through the same thing -- even as we experience it differently according to our attention, intention, and habitual reaction patterns).
  • On a physiological level, we are all more or less the same: subject to the same follies, mortal, morbid (when we get a boo boo, we instinctively exclaim ouch).
  • On a psychological level, we have the same neurotic tendencies and stumble into the same thought traps.
  • On an emotional level, we can empathize with one another (by force of our mirror neurons being triggered before we're even consciously aware of it).
  • On a biological level, we're all built up out of DNA, cellular material, the Four Great Elements, subatomic particles, properties, name-and-form (nama-rupa)
  • On a spiritual level, we all have the same potential (enlightenment, buddhahood, basic goodness, Buddha Nature, humanity, self-actualization, altruism)

It might be better to ask, In what way are we actually different? Take a set of building blocks and build something. Everything tangible is the same. Everything intangible (the arrangement of all the tangible things) is within the potential of others.

When we're in love, we love connecting, merging, losing our burdensome ego (our sense of separateness or isolation). But even when we hate someone or something, we are bonding with it by our attention/intention, and so we run into it again and again. How great, then, to cleanse the heart of bias and partiality and accept everything with the same equanimity and peace of mind that still allows us to act and respond appropriately without getting snared and entangled.

Our main separation -- and our main problem -- is the delusion that we are apart, independent actors, isolated, alone, abandoned, forgotten, or left behind. We are not.

We are united (whether we like it or not at any given moment), we are together, we are in the same boat (Earth as our own Easter Island, and we all know what happened there -- and if not, we can all get on the same Network and find out), we are inter-dependent, we are All One in this sense and probably many others.

And it is possible to glimpse in a mystical/shamanic/DMT (the spirit molecule)-fueled state that this is literally true at all times and in all situations even though we now look back and feel we were alone a lot of the time. We were never alone. She agreed.

It's easy to forget this growing up in our competitive society watching "Survivor" and wondering why Donald Trump seems to get off firing people and feeding a scarcity mentality. But even Christians have an easy reference to this universal truth in theistic terms: There's that poster in the bathrooms of footprints in the sand; when we felt most alone and look back to prove it, we were actually being carried.

Police state bans plastic bags in Burma

The Orwellian junta, or group of generals enforcing military rule in Burma are going least in the main city (no longer the capital) by banning plastic, according to state's media outlet.

RANGOON, Burma (AFP) — Authorities in Rangoon (now Yangon) have banned plastic bags, state media said Tuesday, in an attempt to stop non-degradable waste from polluting Burma's main city.

"Production of polythene bags and ropes, and storage and sale of those items at stores and groceries in the townships are not allowed starting from 22 April," the New Light of Myanmar [the state's propaganda] newspaper said.

Dictator Gen. Than Shwe, head of Burmese junta of military figures involved in coup

It said polythene bag factories that failed to close would lose their operating licenses and face legal action. The move comes two years after authorities in Burma's central city of Mandalay successfully prohibited polythene bags to protect the environment.

"It's a good idea. We use these bags everywhere too easily. Whenever I saw these unrecycled polythene bags in the garbage, I worry for our environment," said Mya Mya, a 60-year-old housewife in Rangoon. Some department stores in Rangoon sell recycled shopping bags, but most shoppers still use polythene bags.

The Bond by Lynne McTaggart unites us all
San Franciso bans plastic bags, CA may follow
Plastic bag ban is milestone for Oregon
Celebrating Hitler's birthday in Littleton, CO
UFO Digest: Unexplained Mysteries
Fascism: Looking back from 1984

Does the Mayan Calendar explain it? (video)

Sean David Morton "Prophecy 2012: Road to Tomorrow and Beyond"

In this amazing talk framed in terms of Mayan calendar prophecy, a talk also given at the October 2010 Conscious Life Expo, Sean David Morton makes sense of what is really going on.

Some ideas may sound so outlandish as to put mainstream listeners off until these ideas are combined with irrefutable facts: Much of what Morton was saying in 2009 that was unbelievable then has already come true!

The rest of what he is saying, therefore, becomes more believable. He is not giving breaking news on specifics (that was already done by others, and each key term such as "FEMA camp" or "Promise 2 software" can be fruitfully explored with any browser).

He is tying together an incredible array of specifics from a spiritual perspective, as contrasted with the scientific perspective provided by his co-presenter in another talk.

"Karma to Nirvana" premiers at NY filmfest

Karma: The New Revolution
A new film titled Karma: The New Revolution explains the role of Karma in golfer Tiger Woods’ apology. It explains the role karma played in the death of entertainment icon Michael Jackson and highlights how Karma Yoga has helped individuals overcome the credit crunch, cancer, and crime. Filmed in over a dozen countries, it is presented by Acharya Zen, who was reportedly quoted as saying: Karma and redemption go hand in hand and in Verse 173 of The Dhammapada, the Buddha states that "a person who makes amends for mistakes can light up the world like the Moon emerging from clouds." This suggests that Tiger Woods can redeem himself by following the Buddha’s last words "Be lamps unto yourselves" (Appo deepo bhava) or, as the film's tagline runs, “Take Charge of your Destiny!”

SETI will survive, claims astronomer

Obama releases birth certificate

Wisdom Quarterly (ANALYSIS)

It's not clear how this "settles" anything. It might have been better to convincingly answer why it was so hard to produce this evidence until now, or to explain why millions of dollars were spent on behalf of Obama to cover his history and paper trail. Try to interview anyone or to follow his meteoric rise from a poor school in Hawaii to Harvard. The best explanation was provided by Dave Emory, suggesting that Obama was groomed for many years by clandestine services and installed.

How does providing a government document from a corrupt government prove anything? After all, how hard is it for the CIA to produce the necessary documents to prove anything they want? Spy organizations do it all the time. The fix is in, and it has been for years.

They already pulled strings to make him a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Never mind that he abandoned his campaign promises to pull out of Afghanistan and close the US torture facility/prison at Guantanamo. Far from becoming more peaceful since being crowned a Nobel Peace laureate, he has orchestrated more war and causes of war:

  • launching drones to attack Pakistan
  • fomenting dissent in the geopolitical Middle East, particularly Iran, abusing the executive office just like Bush to depose Libyan leader Qaddafi while saying the goal was not remove him from office then saying that was the goal, and claiming there would be no "boots on the ground" when in fact he had already signed an order to put CIA agents' boots on Libyan ground
  • pouring billions into war on Iraq
  • pouring even more money into war on Afghanistan
  • growing the deficit (our national debt)
  • spying on Americans
  • continuing funding on all the secret or "black" budget operations engaged in by the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex
  • sinking the US dollar
  • promoting nuclear power even after Japan.

Obama has backed more corporate exploits and has successfully done more to further Bush administration policies than a President Dick Cheney ever could have.

Pres. Obama may not, legally speaking, be president of the United States as we know it. But, according to investigator and analyst Sean David Morton, he is president of the Corporation of the United States (US, Inc.). According to investigator and analyst Sean David Morton, that is why he "fumbled" the public oath of office and then did a re-do in closed chambers. There was no chance the Donald Trump was going to depose the possible future leader of the unfree world, a world-president.

What this public display between Birthers and Apologists reveals is amazing: It is not Republicans vs. the USA, nor is it Democrats vs. the USA. Both parties are partly in collusion and partly in the dark.

There is a "shadowy government" (Sen. Inouye) and a "military-industrial complex" (Pres. Einsenhower) that makes the decisions regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican is in office.

They select who holds office, then they tell them what to say not by force but through advisers and pulling the strings of the media, industry, banking, and clandestine services (American spying agencies).

The hope that by voting for "change" we'll get actual change is revealed as a fantasy.

We're lucky to have a handsome, thoughtful, well-spoken fraud in Barack "Barry Soetoro" Obama.

What will we be offered as an "alternative" in 2012, a Sarah Palin/Donald Trump ticket? The bottom line is, We don't need a third party. We need a second one.

  • The Mayan calendar is used as a template to explain what will happen in the US -- banking crisis, debt, war, "natural" disasters, second coming, Barack Obama (born in Africa, made president of the US, Inc. ), FEMA camps, astrological chart, Quetzecoatl, and so much more.

The Buddha's Last Disciple

Mahaparinibbana Sutra ("Great Final Passing Discourse")

KUSHINAGAR, ancient India - The Buddha had decided to enter nirvana (without-remainder) near a podunk town. Ananda, who was already distraught, could hardly believe it. But the Buddha explained that in the distant past the area had been a significant site for previous buddhas. Moreover, it was in territory no kingdom could outright claim to the exclusion and consternation of others. Before passing, the Buddha answered one final question.

Last Days of the Buddha
Sister Vajira & Francis Story (DN 16) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
51. Now at that time a wandering ascetic named Subhadda was dwelling at Kusinara. And Subhadda the wandering ascetic heard it said: "Today in the third watch of the night, the final passing (parinirvana) of the ascetic Gautama will take place."

52. And the thought arose in him: "I have heard it said by old and venerable wandering ascetics, teachers of teachers, that the arising of Wayfarers (tathagathas), Liberated Ones (arhants), Fully Enlightened Teachers (buddhas) is rare in the world. Yet this very day, in the last watch of the night, the final passing of the ascetic Gautama will take place. Now there is in me a doubt. But to this extent I have faith in the ascetic Gautama -- that he could so teach me the Dharma so as to remove that doubt."

53. Then the wandering ascetic Subhadda went to the Sal tree grove, the pleasure park of the Mallas, and drew near to the [sad and preoccupied] Ven. Ananda, and told him his thought, saying: "Friend Ananda, it would be good if I could be allowed into the presence of the ascetic Gautama."

54. But Ven. Ananda answered him, saying: "Enough, friend Subhadda! Do not trouble the Wayfarer. The Blessed One is weary."

55-56. Yet a second and a third time the wandering ascetic Subhadda made his request, and a second and a third time Ven. Ananda refused him.

57. The Buddha heard the talk between them, and he called Ven. Ananda and said: "Stop, Ananda! Do not refuse Subhadda. Ananda, Subhadda may be allowed into the presence of the Wayfarer. For whatever he will ask me, he will ask for the sake of knowledge, not as an offense. And the answer I give him he will readily understand."

When the Buddha was passing from the danger of samsara to the blissful peace of nirvana with devas and the Sangha on hand

58. Then Ven. Ananda said to the wandering ascetic Subhadda: "Go then, friend Subhadda, the Blessed One gives you leave."

59. The wandering ascetic Subhadda approached the Buddha, saluted him courteously, and having exchanged with him pleasant and civil greetings, he seated himself respectfully at one side, saying: "There are, Ven. Gautama, wandering ascetics and brahmin priests who are heads of great companies of disciples, who have large retinues, who are leaders of schools, well known and renowned, held in high esteem by the multitude, such the teachers
  • Purana Kassapa
  • Makkhali Gosala
  • Ajita Kesakambali
  • Pakudha Kaccayana
  • SaƱjaya Belatthaputta
  • Nigantha Nataputta [Mahavira, the founder of Jainism].

Have all of these attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or has none of them, or is it that some have attained realization and others not?"

60. "Enough, Subhadda! Let it be as it may, whether all of them have attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or whether none of them has, or whether some have attained realization and others not. I will teach you the Dharma, Subhadda; listen and heed it well, and I will speak."

"So be it, venerable sir."

The Buddha's Lion's Roar
61. And the Buddha spoke, saying: "In whatsoever teaching (dharma) and discipline, Subhadda, there is not found the Noble Eightfold Path, neither is there found a true wandering ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of enlightenment (saintliness).

But in whatsoever dharma and discipline there is found the Noble Eightfold Path, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness.

Now in this Dharma and Discipline, Subhadda, is found the Noble Eightfold Path. And in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of enlightenment.

Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the recluses live rightly, the world will not be destitute of saints.

62. "In age but 29 was I, Subhadda,
When I renounced the world to seek the Good;
Fifty-one years have passed since then, Subhadda,
And in all that time a wanderer have I been
In the domain of virtue and of truth,
And except therein, there is no saint
(of the first degree).

Siddhartha renouncing the world at age 29 with his charioteer Channa and his beloved white stallion Kanthaka on the outskirts of the Shakyan territory (ancient northwest Indian frontier).

"And there is none of the second degree, nor of the third degree, nor of the fourth degree of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the recluses live rightly, the world will not be destitute of saints."

63. When this was said, the wandering ascetic Subhadda spoke to the Buddha, saying: "Excellent, O venerable sir, most excellent, O venerable sir! It is as if, venerable sir, one were to set upright what had been overthrown, or to reveal what had been hidden, or to show the path to one who had gone astray, or to light a lamp in the darkness so that those with eyes might see -- even so has the Blessed One set forth the Dharma in many ways [suggesting he must have said more than is recorded here]. And so, O venerable sir, I go for guidance (sarana) to the Blessed One, the Dharma, and the Community of wandering ascetics. May I receive from the Blessed One admission to the Community and also the higher ordination."

64. "Whoever, Subhadda, having been formerly a follower of another creed (dharma or teaching), wishes to receive admission and higher ordination in this Dharma and Discipline, remains on probation for a period of four months. At the end of those four months, if the recluses are satisfied with him, they grant him admission and higher ordination as a recluse. Yet in this matter I recognize differences among people."

65. "I... will remain on probation for a period of four years. And at the end of those four years, if the recluses are satisfied with me, let them grant me admission and higher ordination as a recluse."

66. But the Buddha called Ven. Ananda and said to him: "Ananda, let Subhadda be given admission into the Community." Ven. Ananda replied: "So be it, venerable sir."

67. Then the wandering ascetic Subhadda said to Ven. Ananda: "It is a gain to you, friend Ananda, a blessing, that in the presence of the Buddha himself you have received the sprinkling of ordination as a disciple."

68. So it came about that the wandering ascetic Subhadda, in the presence of the Buddha, received admission and higher ordination. And from the time of his ordination Ven. Subhadda remained alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute [determined to reach the ultimate goal].

And before long he attained to the goal for which a worthy person goes forth rightly from the household life into homelessness, the supreme goal of the monastic life. And having by himself realized it with higher knowledge, he dwelt in it. He knew, "Destroyed is birth; the higher life is fulfilled; nothing more is to be done, and beyond this nothing more remains." Ven. Subhadda became yet another among the saints, the last disciple liberated by the Buddha himself. More

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 4: Thailand, Cambodia battle on border

Why does the Thai-Cambodian border dispute continue?

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) – Thai and Cambodian forces battled for a fourth straight day along their disputed border Monday [April 25], as Cambodia accused its neighbor of damaging two ancient temples in weekend clashes.

Southeast Asian diplomats are struggling to end the repeated deadly flare-ups, but Thailand's prime minister appeared to reject outside help Monday, saying the two countries have to resolve the dispute alone.

The fighting on land around temples and several other crumbling stone monuments is rooted in a long-running dispute over where the border should be drawn and has fueled profound nationalistic fervor in both countries for decades.

Field commanders on both sides reported heavy exchanges of fire after nightfall Monday around Ta Krabey temple. Cambodian Col. Suos Sothea said from the front that both sides had fired artillery, mortars, and rifles.

Thai army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd confirmed that account, saying "we could not stay still and allow them to attack. We had to counter responsively."

Both sides have accused each other of starting the latest battles, which by Sunday had killed at least 12 soldiers on both sides and forced 30,000 people in Thailand and another 17,000 in Cambodia to flee. More

The Buddha's Forest Tradition

Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha lovingly bundled beholding the Himalayas from behind, Ladakh, India

The wonderful thing about Buddhism originally (the Dharma as taught by the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama) is that it was a forest tradition.

Siddhartha left Kapilavastu, the territory of his family, cut off his hair, discarded his fine clothes, crossed the river in a simple garment and went in search of yogis in the wilderness.

He found Alara Kalama and then Uddaka Ramaputra, wandering ascetics who taught him to meditate in the tradition of mental serenity. This led to a great accomplishment -- self control and a clear heart/mind.

But he left it behind as well because he realized that serenity in itself -- even to the tranquil depths of full absorption -- did not lead to final and complete liberation (moksha).

India had found many routes to the heavens. And many seers could see no further than this. Uddaka Ramaputra's teacher, Rama, had reached the zenith of worlds beyond form. But even that was not outside of samsara, the interminable Round of Rebirths.

Leaving behind these great teachers, Siddhartha plunged himself into the forest to practice austerities. Everyone understood that this had to be the way to break free of sensuality, the body, and all its temptations and bonds.

What the Buddha realized is what "everybody" knows now: The body is not to blame, but rather attachment and clinging, which are defilements of the mind/heart. Insight brought Siddhartha to this realization. And that realization made him the Buddha.

Siddhartha did his striving almost exclusively in the quiet and nurturing atmosphere of the forest, attaining buddhahood in a grove of Bo trees (Bodh Gaya).

Legend has it, that on becoming a supremely enligthened teacher (samma-sam-buddha) he remained in the forest, in the vicinity of the Bodhi tree (the sacred and sheltering fig tree), staring at unblinkingly in admiration.

Woodland sprites (fairies, earthbound-devas) had offered to save his life when his fasting had becoming so extreme that he looked dead. "He's dead," one said. The other explained, "No, this is how ascetics behave." "We should feed him deva food through his pores," they concluded.

"No," Siddhartha aware of their conversation said to them, "that won't be necessary. People think that I am fasting, and were I to be living on subtle deva nourishment, it would be deceiving them." But this encouraged Siddhartha to nourish his body with human food.

He came to understand that it was not by rejecting the world and such facts as the constraints of materiality (e.g., the need for nutrition) that one finds freedom. Instead, it is by practicing serenity-and-insight, Zen and Vipassana one can say. The first prepares the mind/heart through concentration (calm, collectedness, intensification, and focus). The other aims the laser singularity of consciousness on mindful contemplation of four things that lead to freedom here and now.

They lead the heart to realize nirvana and the complete end of suffering.

Realizing it and deciding to teach others the path of purification, the path to freedom, he walked to another forest in Sarnath, in a deer park outside of the famous ancient Indian city of Varanasi. There he instructed the first Five Disciples, who had formerly practiced austerities with him trying to reach liberation.

Siddhartha returns to the Five Ascetics as the Buddha and sets rolling in motion the Wheel of the Dharma by teaching them the path to enlightenment (History of Buddhism).

When the Five Ascetics reached enlightenment by hearing the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutra ("Turning the Wheel of Dharma"), the Buddha began a forest tradition of recluses. Whether lay people came to him or wanderers on a quest for enlightenment, the Buddha's essential advice was the same:

"Here in this Dharma (this Teaching), a meditator who has gone to the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down cross legged, holding the back sustainably erect [not too stiff, not too lax], arousing mindfulness in front."

Of course, before there can be real insight into those four things mentioned before, there must be serenity. Mindfulness is not thinking. There is contemplation and reflection and reviewing (anussati), but that occurs as one emerges from the purifying absorptions (jhanas, zens, ch'ans as it were).

To gain concentration (samadhi) to the level of full-absorption one needs mindfulness, which simply means constant-bare-awareness, nonjudgmental attention, non-evaluative holding in consciousness. One avoids two extremes, rigidity and laxity, and balances in the blissful middle, awake but serene.

The Buddha often taught lay people and rulers outside of cities, villages, and hamlets while residing in groves and orchards.

Then the Buddha moved from grove to grove -- bamboo, mango... -- from glade to glade, staying outdoors, enjoying the freedom of the left-home life. He developed a great following. He said the home life was constricted and dusty, but renunciation (which need not mean getting rid of anything but simply letting go of the attachment to everything) was open and free:
  • "Household life is crowded, constricting, and dusty! A life gone forth is wide open. While living at home, it is not easy to carry out this noble life utterly perfect and pure as [the milky luminous lustre of a] polished conch shell... But suppose I cut off my hair and beard, don a saffron robe, and go forth from home into homelessness? What if I leave behind my fortune, small or large, leave behind my circle of family and friends, small or large? Then doing so out of verifiable-confidence (saddha) in this Teacher or this Teaching or these well-taught disciples, after past lives of accumulating the right conditions for attaining the expeditious state of a recluse in the Buddha's lineage, surely one has found the surest means of winning the stream that runs towards and merges with the deathless nirvana!"

Before monasteries were built, the Buddha sent his disciples into the forest to live, in no way harming nature, taking their ceramic bowls with them to gather alms food which delighted the people of India to give in a longstanding tradition of dana. After monasteries were built, the Buddha sent his disciples into the forest to practice. Even at the end of his days before his final passing into nirvana without remainder outdoors in a grove between twin Sal trees, he advised his deva and human disciples who had gathered in the tens of thousands (mostly devas):

The Buddha in a bamboo grove, Malaysia(Esani/

If you would maintain in purity the [monastic] precepts, you should not give yourselves over to buying... You should not covet fields or buildings, nor accumulate servants, attendants, or animals. You should flee from all sorts of property and wealth as you would avoid a fire or a pit. You should not cut down grass or trees, neither break new soil, nor plough the earth. ...All of these are things which are improper (for a recluse).