Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lose-Lose: 1,400 stormtroopers evict Occupy LA

Wisdom Quarterly (REPORTING)
Protective crowds gather to face violent LAPD police (CC Liu/Wisdom Quarterly)

Los Angeles police amassed at Dodger Stadium and turned it into a makeshift Guantanamo processing center. Homeland Security along with armed, white-clad LAPD (HazMat) agents destroyed property as was done during the removal of Occupy Wall Street claiming it was "contaminated" and could therefore not be held in custody for people to retrieve. Not since Israel last bulldozed Jenin (Janine) have authorities let loose such a show of force representing the powers of the police state.

Projectile shotguns pointed at unarmed peaceful demonstrators: Resistor in treehouse shot twice, breaking arm. If hit in the eye, one is blinded, if hit in head, concussion or death.
  • The Battle/Massacre in Jenin took place in a West Bank camp. It was launched by Israeli paramilitary forces (IDF). They crashed the camp during the Second Uprising, as part of the euphemistically named Operation "Defensive" Shield. The camp was targeted because Israel claimed it was a launch site for terrorism. Israel used excessive force with infantry, commando forces, and assault helicopters. The victors write history...and use armored bulldozers to add the finishing touch.

While peaceful demonstrators faced off with a police line at the southeast intersection, additional troopers rushed in through City Hall. They fanned out trapping demonstrators, observers, and media. They encircled the camp and refused to let anyone pass out of the demonstration zone. They were fully armed and saw fit to shoot less-lethal projectiles at four tree house squatters, which could easily have blinded them.
Five helicopters hovered overhead for hours. The media lined up on 1st St. facing the southside steps. And an estimated 100,000 dollars worth of property was sent to the dump. As heavy handed and fear-based as the authoritarian action was, it was also relatively restrained for the usually indiscriminately violent Los Angeles police.

Police Chief Beck should be lauded for this light handed approach in spite of pressure from conservatives and right wing fanatics to use violence. Bail is set unusually high at $5,000 (no O.R.) for misdemeanor charges of not dispersing from an assembly police have labelled illegal.
  • The Occupy LA General Assembly will reconvene at 4:00 pm, Wed. Nov. 30, 2011 at 535 Main St. The meeting is slated for Pershing Square at 7:00 pm.
  • There were no dispersal orders until after the officers rushed in and began to tear up the encampment.
  • Those who managed to run out and disperse on their own after being kettled (corralled) were then ordered to disperse again even though they were not in the park. Standing anywhere made people "illegal assemblers."
Occupiers engage in civil disobedience protecting a symbolic central tent (Ashley Well/WQ).

Meditators arrested for going against the stream by promoting peace and unity in the OM.

Margaret Prescod (R) of Sojourner Truth with Veterans for Peace (Ashley Wells/WQ).

Helicopters above, jack booted rioters below, peaceful demonstrators caught in the middle (Reuters/Lucy Nichols).

Peaceful people run as helicopters and phalanxes of violent riot police chase them through downtown streets, eventually ending up in the heart of Skid Row (Reuters/David McNew).

Run, Occupiers, Run...and Regroup

(Reuters) Armed police in riot gear and biohazard suits removed anti-Wall Street activists from their LA camp at City Hall on Wednesday, arresting people and fencing off the area.
On the East Coast, about 100 Occupy Philly protesters in Philadelphia swiftly and peacefully vacated their encampment overnight, but police later arrested 52 around the city on charges ranging from obstructing a highway to assaulting a police officer, officials said. More

Burma: Hillary storms home of "1984" (video)

BBC News; Wisdom Quarterly
US Sec'y of State lands in new capital of Naypyidaw (nationalpost)

She came, she saw, will somebody die?
US Secretary of State [failed US presidential candidate, and Libyan leader denouncer] Hillary Clinton has arrived in Burma on the first visit by such a senior American diplomat in 50 years. Is it 1984?

Mrs. Clinton [wife of former president Bill Clinton] says she is "quite hopeful" that reforms undertaken by the government could lead to a broader "movement for change." She is due to meet Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein on her two-day visit.

No US politician of her seniority has visited since an army takeover in 1962. Burma has been largely isolated since then, under an autocratic and unpredictable military regime.

The military oversaw elections last year that transferred power to a military-backed, nominally civilian government. But the new government under Thein Sein -- a former general -- has undertaken some steps towards reform. More

"Shame" - gang rape for honor (trailer)

Mukhtar Mai; Skirball Cultural Center;

"Shame" is a fascinating documentary about Mukhtar Mai, an internationally-renowned spokesperson on women’s rights in Pakistan. Mai overcame a horrifying act sanctioned by her local tribal council. She is now a leading educator and force for positive change.

Mai’s remarkable story started in 2002 after she was violently sexually assaulted in retaliation for her brother’s decision to become involved with a girl from a different tribe.

US soldiers involved in mass rape of children, women
Instead of committing suicide as expected, Mai survived this unspeakable crime and took her assailants to court where she won reparations. She used them to build the first schools in her village, repaying those who had betrayed her with kindness. And she founded the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization. More

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bhikkhu Bodhi supports Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Faith NYC is a coalition of over 100 religious leaders from around New York that support the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Last night [Nov. 16, 2011] they held a press conference at Judson Memorial Church near Washington Square to announce that five churches will open their doors for dislocated occupiers following the police raid at Liberty Square (formerly Zuccotti Park).

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi -- a prominent Theravada Buddhist monk, member of Occupy Faith, and quite likely the greatest Western Buddhist scholar alive today -- delivered an eloquent endorsement of the Occupy Movement.

The following is a short clip of his speech, during which he compares our current global situation to a man driving a car towards a cliff:

  • 9 Minute Enlightenment How to address the issue of awakening by laypeople caught up in day-to-day activities? Joseph Goldstein has come up with a plan: "The nine-minute-a-day turbo-charged path to enlightenment!"

YaCy: Ya See? We don't need Google

DIY search engine takes on Google

(BBC) Backed by free software activists, YaCy aims to literally [take it out of Google's manipulating hands and] put search into the hands of users by distributing its indexing engine around the Net.

Anyone can download the YaCy software and help the search system improve and spread the load of queries.

Its creators also hope YaCy will be much harder to censor than existing systems that pipe queries through centralized servers.

The YaCy search page was opened to the public on Nov. 28, 2011 and currently has about 600 participants or peers that share the load of queries and the task of indexing information.

"Most of what we do on the internet involves search," said Michael Christen, YaCy's project leader in a statement. "It's the vital link between us and the information we're looking for."

"For such an essential function, we cannot rely on a few large companies, and compromise our privacy in the process," he said.

YaCy (pronounced "Ya See") is supported by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) which campaigns on digital rights and tries to help people control their own digital destiny. More

The Buddha's "Second Coming" (Maitreya)

Seven Dharmachari, Ashley Wells, Amber Dorrian (Wisdom Quarterly) (Fabrizio_Gravity/Flickr)

In a space world named Tusita, devas (literally, "shining ones") implored Setaketu (Sanskrit, Śvetaketu or "White Banner") to be reborn on Earth to become a fully enlightened buddha.

The Bodhisatta Santussita deva accepted the challenge at their behest after reviewing the Five Great Considerations (vilokana):
  1. a suitable time in history
  2. continent
  3. territory
  4. clan
  5. and lifespan of a mother (phramick).
  • vilokana: (Sanskrit, glancing) looking at, investigation, reflection, prognostication usually Five Objects of Reflection as to when, where, how one shall be reborn, consisting of kāla, desa, dīpa, kula, mātā (the latter as janetti -- āyu i.e., mother and her time of delivery at Jataka i.48) or time (right or wrong), continent, sky (orientation), family (or clan), and one's (future) mother: Jat i.48, 49; DhA i.84; as 8 at Miln 193, viz. kāla, dīpa, desa, kula, janetti, āyu, māsa, nekkhamma (i.e., the five plus period of gestation, month of birthday, and renunciation)...(Pali-English Dictionary, Rhys Davids & Wm. Stede).

As mirrored by Christianity and Judaism -- awaiting the Messiah -- many Buddhists await Maitreya (Pali, Metteya, "loving-friend"). He is the buddha-to-come.

This will not, however, be a second coming. It will be an entirely different buddha. The historical Buddha, like all liberated beings, has gained liberation from ALL birth and death.

The meaning of "liberation" (moksha) is that one is finally free of all forms of suffering having gained release from the round of rebirth (samsara).

But if Shakyamuni Buddha will not come again, who will? The Buddhaspoke of the next supremely enlightened teaching-buddha. Theoretically, one can visit this future-buddha either by space travel or meditation.

Both methods are unlikely. So people wait. Who is he, and when will he be coming?

The Second Coming

His name will be Maitreya. His name is currently Nātha (Sanskrit, "Protector"). He now resides in the delightful space world of Tusita with a sure prediction from the historical Buddha that he will be the next buddha to appear on Earth.

There are three kinds of buddhas: personal (arhat), nonteaching (pacceka), and teaching (samma-sam).

Humans in this great-aeon (maha-kalpa) are said to live in a fortunate age because it has seen the appearance of more than one "supremely enlightened" teacher. This kind of buddha rediscovers and establishes the Dharma, the path to liberation.

Unfortunately, the staggering time spans between teaching-buddhas could, it is said, be measured in geological time.

Time races when one is having fun in exalted worlds, yet even the longest long lifespan is too soon exhausted. Relative to Earth time, it could be epochs before the "second coming" of a buddha.

The hsitorical Buddha Gautama named 24 teaching-buddhas who had lived in previous ages be. How long will that be exactly? This was explained to Visakha:

  • "Visakha, that which among humans is currently four hundred years is but one celestial night and day in the world of the Tusita devas. Their celestial month has 28 of those days, their year 13 of those months. And the lifespan of the Tusita devas is 4,000 of those celestial years..." (AN 8.43, Wisdom Quarterly translation, Visakha-Uposatha Sutra: Discourse to Visakha on the Lunar Observance Day and the Eight Practices).
So how long will Natha (the future Maitreya) be tied up in the bliss of the Tusita world?*

The description of time here sounds very specific. Many Buddhists behave as if they are awaiting a "second coming." The mainstream media made it sound as if he had already arrived in Nepal in the form of "Buddha Boy" (Ram Bahadur Bomjon, aka Ven. Palden Dorje).

These misunderstandings and the expectations that arise on account of them lead to messianic religious tendencies. This is particularly pronounced among Tibetan Vajrayanists and Buddhists in other traditions (Mahayana, Theravada, Shingon).

The Time to Practice
Many individuals seem to think it is better to wait to practice meditation until Maitreya's return, when they have a buddha to practice under. How they imagine they will have a rare human rebirth, or meet with the Dharma again, or meet a buddha is hard to understand.

Merit makes it not impossible, but it would still be extraordinarily good fortune. It will surely extend their suffering by delaying their practice and realization.

Why would anyone ever think him or herself lucky enough to be living on Earth or as a nearby deva capable and interested in practice, or to be healthy and in possession of all one's faculties (which is rare), or to hear the Dharma (the rarest of all opportunities) at that crucial time?

To be alive and residing in the "Middle Country" anywhere near the Buddha Maitreya and to come into any kind of contact with him, or even to hear of the Teaching and recognize it as true is beyond unlikely.

It would be far better to practice now and be reborn as a deva with an incredibly long lifespan. That would increase one's chances by far. And it would benefit them and make it much more likely that they would have an affinity with such a teacher when he born in the world.

It cannot be overstated how rare it is to ever be a human, much less a virtuous, healthy one, who even hears of the Dharma. All of these stack the odds against us. The Buddha frequently emphasized this to spur followers to practice without delaying or waiting for better circumstances.

The Buddha gave a famous analogy on the likelihood of ever being reborn as a human being: Say one were to throw a ring in the ocean, which was then tossed about by wind and waves. And say at the same time a sea turtle were to jump in that ocean and swim freely about only sticking its head up out of the water once every 100 years. Given these two events:

  • What is the chance that turtle would fortuitously, by sticking its head out once a century, put its head through the ring?
Well, according to the Buddha, that would sooner happen than one would again have the opportunity to be reborn as a human being.

The moral of the story? Practice NOW when the chance is at hand! This is an unbelievable opportunity. One will never regret the profitable karma one has stored up or the unskillful deeds one left undone.

The progress achieved towards the unparalleled bliss of enlightenment and nirvana can hardly be compared to any worldly or heavenly wealth. Moreover, sincere practice gives one the best chance to meet a buddha in the future.

  • *Lifespan of devas in Tusita is said to be 576,000,000 human years [using European solar calendar assumptions, which Wisdom Quarterly has rectified below]. See story in the Dhammapada Commentary (translated in Buddhist Legends, Pali Text Society, London, 1969) called "Husband-honorer," which brings to life this comparative time scale.
  • Part II: "Celestial Time and Math"

Celestial Time and Math

PART II: The Buddha's "Second Coming" (Maitreya)

India and the rest of the world, having been well educated from space visitors on how to track time, use a lunar not a solar (Gregorian) calendar.

It is the natural way to count, which even the Mayans (Maya) knew about. Our Moon was placed exactly where it is for a reason, not by a creator God but by space-devas presumably with the approval of Chandra, who holds sway on the Moon, a deva recognized by Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, and consequently much of Asia.

Those visiting beings not only gave the world a natural means of reckoning and agrarian and astrological calendars and synchronaries, but also languages (such as Sanskrit), advanced mathematics and geometry, and Knowledge Books (like the ancient Indus River Valley Civilization Vedas, from vidya, "knowledge" the opposite of avidya, "ignorance").

  • a week has seven days beginning with Moon-day
  • a month (Moonth?) four weeks, a full moon, and 28 days
  • a year has 13 full moons and (13 x 28) 364 days + 1 free day

This lunar year cycle serves as the basis of a very reliable calendar. It has served cultures around the world for millenia (aeons perhaps). Why an alien group or groups, of which there are many who visit to promote their own often selfish agendas, with the help of Church hegemony replaced that system with the irregular count of the solar calendar is anyone's guess.

India and the Maya had a synchronary and other "calendars" and almanacs for the charting the seasons for farming, vital to the success of agrarian societies, and for keeping cosmic time, which is important to extraterrestrial aliens.

  • 1 Tusita deva day and night = 400 human years
  • 1 Tusita deva month has 28 days (28 x 400) = 11,200 human years
  • 1 Tusita deva year (13 x 11,200 + 400) = 125,440,400 human years
  • 1 Tusita deva lifespan (4,000 x 125,440,400) = 584,000,000?
  • Check our work (365 x 400 x 4,000) = 584,000,000 human years!
  • Consider: We don't know when he arrived or if he'll leave early.
  • Conclusion: Maitreya won't be coming for a while.

Wisdom Quarterly's resident math geek and linguist are not here to verify our calculations or to read the Vedas' Ganita Sutras. And we are not trying to be like the Bible student who calculated that creation took place roughly 6,000 years ago at about 9:00 am. (This is not a joke).

What we are attempting to emphasize is that waiting for Maitreya is like Waiting for Godot! Practice now and practice then. Practice is always of benefit.

The people who quickly attained when the Buddha said but a few words to them did so because they had practiced a great deal of development (meditation) for a long time before that. Study and put those studies into the practice of the Path. That is why it is there.

So when is the Second Coming?
When will Maitreya Buddha arrive and begin teaching the Dharma? The Bodhisattva Natha will leave Tusita and take final human rebirth when the Five Great Considerations prompt him to do so.

It is not a matter of exhausting his supporting karma in Tusita. Noting that the former dispensation has completely disappeared, it will be what Natha sees happening on Earth when he reviews those five things.

Husband Honorer: A Devoted Wife (The Harvard Classics, 1909–14, "The Devoted Wife" translated from the Dhammapada and Buddhaghosa’s commentary); Wisdom Quarterly (images and editing)

While eagerly a human culls life’s flowers,
With all faculties intent,
Of pleasure still insatiate --
Death comes and overpowereth one.

“While eagerly man culls life’s flowers.” This instruction was given by the Buddha while dwelling at Savatthi. It was concerning a woman the monks called “Husband-honorer.” It began in the space world (celestial heaven) of the Suite of the Thirty-Three.

They say that a deva of that heaven named “Garland-wearer” went to his pleasure-grounds in company with 1,000 celestial nymphs. Five hundred [i.e., “a large number”] of these devis ascended trees and threw down flowers, while 500 picked up the flowers that were thrown down and decked the deva therewith. One of these devis, while on the bough of a tree, fell from that existence [passed away], her body vanishing like the flame of a lamp.

Then she was reborn in a high-caste family of Savatthi. She was born with a memory of her previous existences. And saying to herself, “I am the wife of the deva Garland-wearer,” she made offerings of perfumes, garlands, and the like, with the aspiration that in her next rebirth she might again be with her husband. When at the age of 16 she married into another family, with alms-food, and fornightly [special celebration] food, she continued to give saying, “May this prove efficacious in bringing about my rebirth with my husband.”

Thereupon the monks gave her the name Husband-honorer, for they said: “She works early and late, and her only desire is for her [present] husband.”

Husband-honorer continually took care of the monastery where the monks sat. She brought drinking water and spread the mats to sit on. When other people desired to give ticket-food and other alms, they would bring it to her, and say, “Dear lady, prepare this for the congregation of monks.” By going about in this manner, she acquired the 56 salutary qualities all at one time.

Then she had a baby at the end of ten lunar months, bringing forth a son. And when he was old enough to walk, she had another until she had four sons in all.

One day -- after she had given alms and offerings and had listened to the Dharma (Doctrine) and had kept the precepts -- she passed away toward nightfall from a sudden disease, and she was reborn into the presence of her husband.

The other devis had continued to deck the deva throughout the whole interval.

“We have not seen you since morning,” said Garland-wearer. “Where have you been?”

“I fell from this existence, my lord.”

“Are you in earnest?”

“It was precisely so, my lord.”

“Where were you reborn?”

“At Savatthi, in a family of high caste.”

“How long were you there?”

“My lord, at the end of ten months I issued from my mother’s womb. And at the age of 16, I married into another family. And having given birth to four sons, and having given gifts and done other meritorious deeds with the aspiration that I might again be with you, I have been reborn into your presence.”

“How long is the life of humans?”

“[At this time,] Only 100 years.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“If that is the length of life to which humans are born, tell me, do they pass the time asleep and reckless, or do they give gifts and do other meritorious deeds?”

“Nothing of the kind, my lord. Humans are always reckless -- as if they were born to a life of an incalculable number of years and were never to grow old and die.”

At this the deva Garland-wearer became exceedingly agitated.

“Humans, it appears, are born to a life of only 100 years, yet they recklessly lie down and sleep away their time. When will they ever get free from misery [even temporarily through rebirth in better worlds]?”
  • One hundred of our years make one day and night of the devas of the Suite of the Thirty-Three;
  • 30 [28] such days and nights their month [4 weeks];
  • 12 [13] such [lunar] months their year.
  • And the length of their lives is 1,000 such celestial years, or in human notation 36,000,000 (36 million) years.
So for Garland-wearer not one day has passed, but the interval of his wife's absence had seemed to him but a moment. He thought, “Recklessness for short-lived humans is extremely unsuitable.”

On the next day, when the monks entered the village, they found the hall had not been looked after; the mats had not been spread, and the drinking water had not been placed. Then they inquired:

“Where is Husband-honorer?”

“Venerable sirs, how could you expect to see her? Yesterday, after you venerables had eaten and departed, she died that evening.”

When the monks heard this, the unenlightened ones among them, calling to mind her kind support, were unable to restrain their tears. Even the enlightened ones [having overcome the defilements and the delusion of clinging to and identifying with the Five Aggregates of Being] experienced agitation.

After breakfast they returned to the monastery and made inquiry of the Buddha:

“Venerable sir, Husband-honorer worked early and late doing many kinds of meritorious deeds, and she aspired only to be reborn with her husband. Now she is dead. Where, praytell, has she been reborn?”

“With her husband, O monks.”

“But, venerable sir, she is not with her husband.”

“O monks, it was not her human husband she was praying for. She had a former husband named Garland-wearer, a deva of the Suite of the Thirty-Three. She had fallen from that existence while he was decorating himself with flowers. Now she has returned and been reborn again at his side.”

“Venerable sir, is it really so?”

“Assuredly, O monks.”

“Alas, venerable sir, how very short is the life of all creatures! In the morning she waited on us, and in the evening a grave disease attacked her and she died.”

“Assuredly, O monks,” said the Buddha, “the life of creatures is short. And thus it is that death gets creatures into his power, drags them away howling and weeping, still unsated in their senses and lusts.”

So saying, he pronounced the following stanza:

“While eagerly a human culls life’s flowers,
With all faculties intent,
Of pleasure still insatiate --
Death comes and overpowereth one.”

"Tizzy" the Traveling Priestess (video)

"Travelling-Priestess" Tiziana Stupia (
() In the footsteps of Alexander the Great: adventurer Michael Wood embarks on a 2000-mile journey from Greece to India with Afghan guerrillas to the Kalasha.

I am a Sicilian-German woman who lived in the UK for 15 years. I left England in 2007 for an overland trip (mainly by train) to northern Asia that has taken me far from Leamington Spa.

I traveled through [Christian and Pagan] Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, [to Buddhist] Siberia, Mongolia, China, Tibet, Nepal, and [Muslim] Pakistan, where I celebrated the Winter Solstice festival with the [Pagan European] Kalash tribe in the Hindu Kush mountains.
I then spent five months in north India, studying yoga, meeting mystics, learning ancient [Brahminical] fire ceremonies, and working as an English teacher.

I never really settled again after that and have been living in different places in Europe.

In the autumn of 2010, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean by cargo ship from Germany to Charleston, South Carolina.

I then made my way through the USA by train to New Mexico, where I lived for nine months to study at The Ayurvedic Institute.

I have just completed another big trip and crossed the Pacific Ocean by cargo ship from Savannah, USA to Sydney, Australia. I currently live in Queensland.

It is my dream to travel the whole world without flying, to appreciate the journey and not just the destination. I am an Ayurvedic consultant, yoga teacher, writer, and priestess.

So my focus on these trips is usually on the ancient rituals and customs of the indigenous tribes and current population of the countries I visit. I spend much time connecting with sacred sites and energies of the land.
Hidden India has many Buddhist treasures
Recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the 1,000-year-old Tabo Buddhist monastery, situated in northern India's Spiti Valley by the Spiti River, sits at an altitude of 13,000 feet. It is located in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is full of treasures like 1,000-year-old wall paintings on its walls drawn in the same style as the Ajanta and Ellora caves. They are preserved by the cold, high mountain air with little rainfall.

Pepper spray inventor speaks out (video)

The New York Times and Boing Boing
They used to deploy firehoses and attack dogs against peaceful CRM demonstrators. Now there's pepper spray in the hose, "an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents [against OM]," according to Loghman.[22]

Kamran Loghman, the man who helped the FBI make it a weapon in the 1980s, has denounced its use against peaceful student protesters on the campus of UC Davis. In an interview, Loghman said "I have never seen such an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents."

Loghman, who also helped to create guidelines for police department use of the spray, added that use-of-force manuals mandate that it should only be used if someone poses a physical threat. There's nothing intimidating about a bunch of kids sitting in a circle, but this brings up an interesting argument: would people be satisfied if physical force had been used rather than pepper spray?

The way we see it, serving facials to a group of non-violent students constitutes as excessive force, especially considering the potency of the pepper spray and the distance at which it was. Again, the recommended minimum distance is 6 feet, and campus police officers were right in the faces of those kids. In an interview conducted last weekend, one student said he caught a throat full of pepper spray. Although he couldn't confirm it, he mentions that others said they saw Lt. John Pike intentionally spray down his throat.