Saturday, June 29, 2013

Science: Why men love breasts...

Wisdom Quarterly; Dr. Larry Young;; Joanna Kakissis (
Fashion challenge: How to find a bra that fits (
With support to draw even more attention
HOLLYWOOD - Why do straight men devote so much headspace to those big, bulbous bags of fat drooping from women's chests?
Scientists have never satisfactorily explained men's curious breast fixation.
But now a neuroscientist has struck upon an explanation that he says "just makes a lot of sense."
A closer look (DK Publishing)
Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University who studies the neurological basis of complex social behaviors, thinks human evolution has harnessed an ancient neural circuit that originally evolved to... 
The result? Men, like babies, love breasts.
When a woman's [CENSORED] are stimulated during breast-feeding, the neurochemical oxytocin, otherwise known as the "love drug," floods her brain, helping to focus her attention and affection on her baby. But research over the past few years has shown that in humans, this circuitry isn't reserved for exclusive use by infants. More
Huh... What?
Inca teen mummy discovered
She lived 500 years ago (Angelique Corthals)
PERU - The so-called Maiden mummy of a 15-year-old Incan girl who was sacrificed 500 years ago is giving up some secrets, revealing the teenager suffered from a bacterial lung infection at the time of her death, scientists report Wednesday (July 25, 2013). The researchers analyzed tissue proteins, rather than DNA, from the Maiden and another young Inca mummy who died at the same time. Over the last decade, DNA techniques have proven useful in helping solve ancient mysteries, such as how King Tut died. But... More

Archaeologist Ivan Sprajc at new Mayan site (Nat'l Inst. of Anthropology and History)
Ruins of Maya city discovered in remote jungle
Pyramid of light (escueladelamadretierra)
MEXICO - An entire Maya city full of pyramids and palatial complexes has been discovered in a remote jungle in southeastern Mexico, archaeologists report. Covered in thick vegetation, the ruins were found in Campeche, a province in the western Yucatán peninsula that's littered with Maya complexes and artifacts. The newfound site is dubbed Chactún, and it... More

Rebuilding Buddhas of Bamiyan
Joanna Kakissis (NPR/, 2011)
AFGHANISTAN - The [CIA's] Taliban destroyed the historic statues a decade ago [2001]. But in a painstaking process, the two giant carvings of the Buddha are being reconstructed on the side of a cliff in central Afghanistan [Bamiyan].
When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan a decade ago, they were fanatical about eliminating everything they considered un-Islamic.
Their biggest targets -- literally and figuratively -- were the two monumental Buddha statues carved out of the sandstone cliffs in central Afghanistan. One stood nearly 180 feet tall and the other about 120 feet high, and together they had watched over the dusty Bamiyan Valley since the sixth century, several centuries before Islam reached the region.
Despite international opposition, the [CIA instigated the] Taliban destroyed the statues... More

The Best Pizza (contest)

CC Liu, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly, P. Gautam, Animal Advocacy Museum, Pasadena

Compassionate food tastes better
On Saturday June 29th, Amber Larson is entering a cooking contest to determine the Best Vegan Pizza ever. Yes, the creators of the Vegan Bake-Off in 2010 and the Vegan Mac n' Cheese Contest of 2012 have teamed up for a contest to end all contests! On this one day, attendants at the AAM will decide who makes the BEST vegan pizza. Each attendee will cast a vote for the Audience Choice Award, but a select panel of expert judges will vote for Judge's Choice. Open to all.

Cheaters never prosper in the pizza world
WARNING: Judges, one of our male editors plans to cheat by bringing in a "Berkeley Vegan" from Z Pizza using Daiya vegan cheese. (You'll know it's his because he's slicing it into the shape of a pentagram). Due to the large anticipated turnout, tickets should have been secured by June 24th. But come anyway; it encourages them. More

"Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands"

Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Tamara Levitt (Begin Within)
Look around to learn more about the who, what, and why behind Begin Within.

Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands is a a modern-day story about the search for happiness and a girl's discovery that even in the face of failing, peace can be found. Praise for the book appears at Amazon with five-star reviews like:

Important message for children and the adults who love them
Rick Fields on American Buddhism
"Tamara Levitt brings to readers of all ages a delightful tale with a message that resonates with everlasting value. Her whimsical images and fun language create a beautiful vehicle for teaching us all such an important life lesson. As a seasoned educator, parent, and grandparent, I would certainly recommend this book to other parents and teachers. I look forward to future tales from this author's heart-led pen. What a great book!" - Julie Nierenberg

AWE-MAZING A story every child should read
Tamara Levitt
What I'm trying to say is begin within
"WOW, not since The Giving Tree has a message so profound been aimed at children who need to learn it before they develop bad habits of thought! Tamara's art and colors and loving message exudes her loving intent to all!! It is a jewel in the desert for sure!" - O-Shen Christ
Especially good for kids with challenges (and who doesn't have challenges?)
"This book is AWESOME, especially for special needs kids. It's beautiful with a great message. I've read a lot of books like this and the moral seems to always be 'and then one day, they could!' But a book that tells kids they are OK even if they can't is a rare treat. Thank you Tamara Levitt!" - Shasta M. Kearns Moore. More

Friday, June 28, 2013

Which would become enlightened, Cat or Dog?

Maya, Seven, Amber Larson, CC Liu, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly (ASK MAYA)
That dog would sit there for hours and just stare (Catgirl/
Humans are so silly (katzendogz)
Ever wonder, if enlightenment were possible among animals, which would it be? Who would be more likely to reach enlightenment, Tabby or Rover, patient waiter or eager chaser?

What a stooopid question! Everyone knows cats and dogs can't attain. For those who attain are freed of the liability of ever falling into any kind of rebirth below the human world, the lowliest of fortunate destinations. (Stream enterers, by a dhamma-niyama of the way the universe works, have at most only seven more rebirths before they are permanently and finally free of ALL suffering).

Felix the Cat is calm cool, and collected
This is just a thought experiment, guys and gals, so settle down and enjoy it. Maya only gets questions about the personal lives of Wisdom Quarterly writers, and when is Ashley Wells coming back from vacation, and why does CC Liu put up so few stories in a day? Finally, there comes a pet question that is really not about pets so much as it is about our favorite subject:

ENLIGHTENMENT. Wisdom (paññā, "liberating-insight") and learning (suta-mayā paññā, "knowledge based on learning") are just a means to awakening, not awakening itself.

Pretentious Brain owns a Prius ("Family Guy")
In North America, it should be explained to the rest of the world who will be surprised, we keep animal companions as slaves and alarm systems. Yes, those filthy, mangy mutts running around in other countries are prized family members here, cats do what they like, and while humans starve elsewhere, our four-footed best friends grow fat with us. Sorry.

Believe it or not, this dog really is driving this car. That's how Rovers are, always roving.
Cat girl (
That having been said, we must begin to stereotype. No cat runs to the door to greet us, bowls us over, and starts licking. But there are few dogs that don't. Cats are aloof and quiet, feisty and self-sufficient. Dogs are wolves in sheepish clothing getting what they can by graft and charm, lazy and cantankerous, fun-loving and loud.

Reader, who would you think is going to make it to the stream first? I know it's not a race, but we would like to stop harming (ahimsa) and make an end of all suffering in this very life (nirvana), too.

Brian is all talk (97.1 FM)
The funny thing is, and what makes this a worthwhile topic is that Americans are like animals, and we mainly fall into two camps -- Team Feline and Team Canine.

Who fits the profile better? The Buddha said that this Dharma (Teaching) is for those who can withdraw rather than clinging to companionship, who can give up material things rather than clinging to possessions, who can relinquish views rather than clinging to opinions and speculations...
"The Truth About Cats and Dogs"

Calm cats can sit, stay (etsy)
Cats just walk away. Dogs come back, whether called to or not. Cats quietly stare at the mouse hole, waiting -- premeditating, outmeditating, mismeditating, but meditating (MN 108). Dogs run then sleep, eat then sleep, bark then sleep, mate then sleep -- a lot of sleeping.

What are the causes-and-conditions that bring about the flash of insight that leads to a glimpse of nirvana and enters one upon the Path to enlightenment? The first stage of enlightenment comes about for four reasons: association with the noble/wise, listening to the True Dharma, giving appropriate attention, and/or practicing in accordance with the Dharma.

If persistent dogs would meditate (
It would be a very disciplined dog that could do that. An unhedonistic cat might. For some of us the Path is harder or easier; in either case, we strive and in no long time come upon a verifiable confidence in the truth and realize that, indeed, the Buddha's words were not empty. The Dharma invites us to come and see for ourselves. So, come kitty! Here, boy! Even an animal accrues karma that makes it possible, after a long interval, to be born into the human world to hear the Dharma.
We've entered the stream, now let's follow him in the world.

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead" (video)

Bela Larson, CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Voices from the Bardo Thodol
(Part 1/5) The Great Liberation follows an old lama and novice as they guide a Himalayan villager into the next life using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The dead's 49-day journey to rebirth uses actual photography of rarely seen Vajrayana rituals interwoven with groundbreaking animation by acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.

A vigil for the dying in Tibet
The bardo is the "intermediate state" between death and rebirth. Like the life one has lived, what happens there is a strong determinant of where one will be reborn. At any time adventitious karma (seed of past actions) may assert themselves and serve as the basis for a new life on a particular plane of existence with qualities and features appropriate to other actions will, carried out, and accrued as "merit" (a blessing) and "demerit" (bearing an unwelcome result). The Tibetans, Vajrayana (or esoteric tantric Mahayana) Buddhists still engaged in an admixture of Bon magic and the Dharma, thought that an individual could be guided to a good destination if, at death, one were to follow advice on what one will see in the weird world of spirits just on the other side of our world. Past the hungry ghosts, titans, demons, animals, chimeras, and hellions, there are pleasant spirits, aides, and helpers. The worlds are partially are own creation. Realizing this we may be able to overcome fear, attachments, and delusions to see what is best for our progress with an eye to the limited options we have created for ourselves by our deeds in this and uncountable past lives.

The former Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet now overrun by invaders

Alphabetical 26-genre song (video)

Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly

Andy and Dave (Boy in a Band) take us on a tour of modern musical genres to discover what sound "speaks" to us given that music defines personality. The genres explored here are: 1. Ambient, 2. Baroque, 3. Chiptune, 4. Dubstep, 5. Emo, 6. Folk, 7. Grunge, 8. Horrorcore, 9. IDM, 10. Jazz, 11. K-Pop, 12. Latin, 13. Math Metal, 14. Noise, 15. Opera, 16. Polka, 17. Quan Ho, 18. Reggae, 19. Ska, 20. Trap, 21. UK Garage, 22. Viking Metal, 23. Wonky, 24. Xoomii, 25. Yodel and, of course, 26. Zouk.

How's that MARRIAGE working out? (cartoon)

Dhr. Seven, Bela Larson, and CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Stewart and Olivia Griffin ("Family Guy"); Anna Bowen; Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda
It is the biggest commitment two individuals will ever make to one another. But is it really “for better or for worse?” 
In the book Me + You," Anna Bowen examines the trials and tribulations that go along with saying “I do” as well as the inspiring and heartfelt explanations of why two individuals decide to spend even part of their lives together.
Ranging in age from 30 to 87, different couples share their stories of love, hardship, and why they stay together through it all. More
A Happy Married Life: Buddhist Perspective
Ven. Sri K. Dhammananda, Ph.D.
The Reality of Married Life 
John J. Robinson in his book Of Suchness gives the following advice on love, sex, and married life.

"Be careful and discreet; it is much easier to get married than unmarried. If you have the right mate, it's heavenly, but if not, you live in a twenty-four-hour daily hell that clings constantly to you; it can be one of the most bitter things in life. 

"Life is indeed strange. Somehow, when you find the right one, you know it in your heart. It is not just an infatuation of the moment. But the powerful urges of sex drive a young person headlong into blind acts, and one cannot trust his feelings too much. 

"This is especially true if one drinks and gets befuddled; the most lousy sl-t in a dark bar can look like a Venus then, and her charms become irresistible. Love is much more than sex though; it is the biological foundation between a man and a woman [or any couple]; love and sex get all intertwined and mixed up."
Marriage vow: "...For better or, but not limited to, worse?" (baloo-baloosnon)
Almost every day we hear people complaining about their marriages. Very seldom do we hear stories about a happy marriage. Young people reading romantic novels and seeing romantic films often conclude that marriage is a bed of roses. 
Unfortunately, marriage is not as sweet as one thinks. Marriage and problems are interrelated, and people must remember that when they are getting married, they will have to face problems and responsibilities that they had never expected or experienced before. 
People often think that it is a duty to get married and that marriage is a very important event in their lives. However, in order to ensure a successful marriage, a couple has to harmonize their lives by minimizing whatever differences they may have between them. 
Marital problems prompted a cynic to say that there can only be a peaceful married life if the marriage is between a blind wife and a deaf husband, for the blind wife cannot see the faults of the husband and a deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of his wife.

Sharing and Trust
One of the major causes of marital problems is suspicion and mistrust. Marriage is a blessing, but many people make it a curse due to lack of understanding....
Blinded by Emotions
"Never change, and I will always love you."
When two people are in love, they tend to show only the best aspects of their nature and character to each other in order to project a good impression of themselves. Love is said to be blind, and hence people in love tend to become completely oblivious of the darker side of each other's natures.
In practice, each will try to highlight his or her sterling qualities to the other. And being so engrossed in love, they tend to accept each other at "face value" only. Each lover will not disclose the darker side of his or her nature for fear of losing the other. Any personal shortcomings are discreetly swept under the carpet, so to speak, so as not to jeopardize their chances of winning each other. People in love also tend to ignore their partner's faults thinking that they will be able to correct them after marriage, or that they can live with these faults, that "love will conquer all."
However, after marriage, as the initial romantic mood wears off, the true nature of each other's character will be revealed.
Then, much to the disappointment of both parties, the proverbial veil that had so far been concealing the innermost feelings of each partner is removed to expose the true nature of both partners. It is then that disillusion sets in.

Material Needs
"You better start manning up, and stop blaming the economy!" - "But..." (thinkstock/shine)
Love by itself does not subsist on fresh air and sunshine. The present world is a materialistic world, and in order to meet our material needs, proper financing and budgeting is essential. Without it, no family can live comfortably. Such a situation aptly bears out the saying, "When poverty knocks at the door, love flies out the window."
This does not mean that one must be rich to make a marriage work. However, if one has the basic necessities of life provided through a secure job and careful planning, many unnecessary anxieties can be removed from a marriage.
The discomfort of poverty can be averted if there is complete understanding between the couple. Both partners must understand the value of contentment. Both must treat all problems as "our problems" and share all the "ups" and "downs" in the true spirit of a long-standing life partnership.
Pre-marriage Advice
The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Anguttara Nikaya) contains some valuable advice the Buddha gave to young girls prior to their marriage.

Realizing that there could be difficulties with the new in-laws, the girls were enjoined to give every respect to their mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law, serving them lovingly as their own parents. They were expected to honor and respect their new husband's relatives and friends, thus creating a congenial and happy atmosphere in their new homes.
They were also advised to study and understand their husbands' natures, ascertain their activities, characters and temperaments, and to be useful and cooperative at all times in their new homes. ...

10. Premarital Sex
"Hey, baby, got any money on you?" - "Huh, what?" (
Premarital sex is a [pleasure and] problem much discussed in modern society. Many young people would like to know the [Buddhist] opinion regarding this sensitive issue....
In the past, young boys and girls were not allowed by their parents to move around freely until they were married. Their marriages were also arranged and organized by the parents. Of course, this caused unhappiness in some cases [and happiness in other cases] when parents chose partners on the basis of money, social status, family obligations, and related issues.
But generally, the majority of parents did try very hard to choose partners who would be acceptable to their children.
Today, young people are at the liberty to go out and [see how easy it is to] find their own partners. They have a lot of freedom and independence in their lives. This is not a bad thing in itself, but some of these people are just too young and too immature to see the difference between sexual attraction and true compatibility. That is why the problem of pre-marital sex arises.
"You sure do got a pretty mouth." - "Ugh, what was I thinking!?" (WQ)
Too much laxity in matters concerning sex has also given rise to social problems in modern society. The sad part is that some societies do not express liberal attitudes towards unmarried mothers, illegitimate children, and the divorcees yet they are quite liberal about free sex
As a result, young people are being punished by the same society which encourages free mixing of the sexes. They become social outcasts and suffer much shame and humiliation. Many young girls have become victims of their own freedom and have ruined their future by violating age-old traditions which were valued in the East as well as in the West.
...While Buddhism holds no strong views either for or against such action, it is thought that all Buddhists, particularly those in love and contemplating marriage, should adhere to the age-old traditional concept that they maintain chastity until the nuptial date. [Or experiment now and calm down later].
The human mind/heart is unstable and forever changing, with the result that any illicit action or indiscretion may cause undue harm to either party if the legal marriage does not take place as expected. 
It must be remembered that any form of sexual indulgence before a proper marriage is solemnized [may] be looked down upon by the elders who are the guardians of the young people.
Sexual Misconduct
Laypersons are advised in the Buddha's Teaching to avoid sexual misconduct. That means, if one wants to experience sex, one must do so without creating any violence or by using any kind of force, threat or causing fear
A decent sex life which respects the other partner is not against this religion; it accepts the fact that it is a necessity for those who are not yet ready to renounce the worldly life.
According to Buddhism, those who are involved in extramarital sex with someone who is already married, who has been betrothed to someone else, and with someone under the protection of their parents or guardians are said to be guilty of sexual misconduct.
This is [partly] because there is a rupture of social norms, where a third party is being made to suffer as a result of the selfishness of one or the other partner.
Irresponsible Sexual Behavior
The Buddha also mentioned the consequences that an elderly man would have to face if he married without considering the compatibility of age of the other party. According to the Buddha, irresponsible sexual behavior can become the cause of one's downfall in many aspects of life.
All the nations of the world have clearly defined laws concerning the abuse of sex. Here again, Buddhism advocates that a person must respect and obey the law of the country if the laws are made for the common good.
The East and the West
The following are extracts from a book by the celebrated Japanese author, Dr. Nikkyo Niwano. In his book The Richer Life, Dr. Niwano deals with matters relating to love and marriage, both from the Eastern and Western points of view.... More

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Buddhism arrives in Sri Lanka (Poson)

Sri Lanka has long been important as a repository of the Buddha's teaching.

Today is the Poson (June) full moon observance day commemorating when the Arhat Mahinda together with his enlightened sister, Ven. Sanghamitta, children of the Indian Buddhist Emperor Asoka, brought the Dharma from India to the island of Sri Lanka.

They arrived in what is now the hamlet of Mihintale (Ambastala) with the monastics Ittiya Uttiya, Sambala, Bhaddasala, and the novice Sumana and the lay disciple Bhanduka.
The Buddhist Chronicles, the Mahavamsa, state that following the first Buddhist Council held under the patronage of King Dharmashoka, Buddhist missionaries were sent to sent countries. They were most successful in Sri Lanka as the then King Devanampiyatissa and the local people were very receptive. A revival took place in the religious, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the country with the spread of Buddhism. It was through the light provided by Buddhism that Sri Lankans could stand independently.

The full moon observance day Dharma sermon (bana) regularly organized at the Temple Trees was held at the President's House in Anuradhapura. The Chief Abbot (Sangha Nayaka) of the Ramanna school in the north-central province, Ven. Pothane Dhammananda Thera, delivered the sermon. 

Pres. Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, ministers, and parliamentarians were present. A gold plated Buddha statue donated by the Sri Lanka-Korea Friendship Foundation for World Peace was presented to the President. The special observance day program of ITN's "Savanak Ras" was broadcast from the great royal Situl Pawwa Raja monastery today. Various religious program were organized under the patronage of Ven. Mataramba Hemaratana Thera. Meanwhile, the Sasanaloka ["Dharma-in-this-world"] program organized by Lakhanda Radio was held at Situl Pawwa monastery. Dharma books were offered to novices, while lay devotees were given white cloth and Buddha statues. ITN staff also participated in the religious program. (Source)

7-Day Insight Retreat (Gil Fronsdal)

Wisdom Quarterly; Gil Fronsdal, Richard Shankman

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My X with ASMR: "I Remember" (video)

Wisdom Quarterly, Some People Really Do Find Enlightenment (EDITORIAL)

The girl's not what she seems
LAS VEGAS - EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) has come and gone. And I remember. One didn't used to have to travel this far into the desert. It was right in the center of L.A. Then one accident later, it's out and the drive is long.

Long ago, I knew a woman with great focus -- attention somewhere along the Aspberger's Spectrum with possibly more than a touch of ASMR (which according to means "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response").

Artist Claire Duguid (Caters News/Yahoo)
I should have realized there was something special going on when we saw "The Last Mimzy."
Her head tingled ecstatically when the Mimzy spoke -- more sort of beeped and chortled in tonal whispers as in a consonant-rich devic language of the stars landed on Earth and spoken among soothing faeries (bhumi-devas), somewhat like Sumer, Sanskrit, or Gaelic.

We practiced Buddhist meditation without success in concentration (samadhi). Then she far surpassed me, mastering the eight meditative absorptions (jhanas).
"How?" I asked. There was no answer really, nothing that had not been heard countless times before. One intends, lets go, expecting nothing, one sinks in (as the mind coheres, collects, and becomes what it naturally is with the light of wisdom). Thinking (questioning) is anathema.

And from (absorption) jhana, successful vipassana (liberating-insight) is not far if one practices according to the historical Buddha's instructions. I still wonder how it happened, how it could be that the instructions and descriptions are right there in the sutras, and nearly everyone is missing it, choosing instead their speculative "views" (ditthi), philosophies, and preferences.
  • ALERT: There are actual literally "enlightened" people in the world today, and not all of them are sitting in forests or wearing saffron robes. However improbable this may seem, it should not be held as such. Read the texts. For example, look at the case of Queen Samavati and her ennobled maid.
One piece of advice I did get was that this song helped, for she first attained through in-and-out breathing (anapanasati) meditation. How could a song, any song, help? When one sits there are periods of just sitting before anything happens. One inclines to giving up, taking a break, or completely giving up. She told me she remembered this song, and it pulled her through those times, until the meditation "worked," that is, until what was meant to happen actually happened.

"Just Breathe" (Telepopmusik) Deva music for devas among us -- with Mimzy-like beeps and clicks that inspire ASMR for tranquility (shamatha) over thinking and wanting

What is ASMR? Ira Glass, Andrea Siegel, and Bob Ross explain:

Act Two. A Tribe Called Rest.
Ira Glass: Act Two, A Tribe Called Rest. You know, sometimes it can be easy to believe that you are in a tribe of one -- alone there by yourself. Andrea Seigel tells this story about finding out that she is undeniably not alone.
Andrea Seigel: In the fourth grade, I had this one friend Mindy. She was okay to hang out with and all. But what was really great about her was that she would always want to see whatever stuff I had in my room. If I sat her down in front of my shell collection, she would delicately go through it one shell at a time. She'd murmur to herself what she liked about each shell, and I'd get this tingling throughout my skull.
I know how weird that sounds. But it was like starbursts in my head. Starbursts that open on the crown and then sparkle down at the nape like this warm, glittering water rushing under your scalp.
I'd seek this feeling out, starting when I was seven. I'd go to the library so I could sit in a big, quiet room, and listen to pages being turned. There was a boring librarian who everyone in fifth grade hated. But I loved her, because when she would read us stories in her soft voice, she'd turn my head into a snow globe.

"The Last Mimzy" with "Dwight" as Rainn Wilson amidst swirling, spiraling energy that must be Vril
Maybe the "energy" is Vril
I was an anxious kid. I worried about getting homework finished, even back when homework didn't count for anything. But while I was getting this tingling in my head, my anxiety just magically fell away. And afterward, I'd actually feel kind of good for a half hour.
Then I found this public access lady on TV who used to show you how to stencil flowers on a wall. She gave me the tingling. I'd also get it watching the late, great Bob Ross teach how to paint mountains on PBS.

Bob Ross: So we have black, blue, crimson, little bit of brown. Now then, barely touch the canvas.
How must the devas with their foibles live among more "mortal" humans? (WQ)
Andrea Seigel: So there's Bob Ross. And I'm eight and sitting on the carpet in the den, watching him delicately mix paint colors in close up. And I am going into a trance. My jaw kind of goes slack. My eyes are probably a little glassy. And my head is a globe.
Bob Ross: Take a little blue and white here -- just mix it together. And once again, flap our little tiny roll of paint.

Andrea Seigel: So as I grew up, I never told my parents about this. Never talked to anybody. I assumed the tingling was an almost pervy way I was miswired. I felt ashamed about it, and all I understood was that I didn't want anyone to know.
It became even more extreme as an adult. As a kid I was only allowed to watch a certain amount of television. But once I was old enough to own my own TV, I would stay up until 4:00 am watching home shopping network night after night. Soft-spoken women talked about the jewelry in very detailed, intricate, precious ways, and I loved it. People were confused about why I watched so much home shopping, because I never bought anything.
But the starbursts worked as well as an adult as they had as a kid. They calm my anxiety. And calming is important, because I'm still an anxious person. In fact, I'm way worse as an adult -- there's a lot more to be anxious about.

She rose above the devas to be an arya-devi
And I still never told anyone about what was going on inside my head, not even my boyfriend Brent. We've been together for years. We have a kid together. We tell each other everything. I've told him some really horrible, embarrassing things about myself, but I didn't tell him this. Like, I would never turn to him during dinner and ask, so when the fork just delicately pinged against the knife, did you get tingles throughout your brain, too?
Lesson? Aspberger's and ASMR can help
A few years ago, I started seeking out this stuff on YouTube. I began with makeup tutorials, because I love to hear the tapping of a brush on a Mac pigment bottle, or the clicking up of an eyeliner pencil. That's how I moved on to this woman named Senada, who does something called haul videos, that's H-A-U-L, which are just her talking about what she bought on a shopping trip. These kind of videos are actually really popular -- there are tons of them. More

Do you know where you're going to? (video)

Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; "Mulan" (Disney) via BeautyfulDawn

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

As long as you LOVE me (cartoon)

Wisdom Quarterly; Gary Larson (cartoonist); American monk Ven. Nyanasobhano (Leonard Price), Louisville, Kentucky, BPS Bodhi Leaves 124;
Fictional story Siddhartha (rustysgodblog)
If it is possible to live with a purpose, what should that purpose be? A purpose might be a guiding principle, a philosophy, or a value of supreme importance that informs and directs our activities and thoughts.

To have one is to live seriously -- though not necessarily wisely -- following some track, believing in a hub to the wheeling universe or a sea toward which we flow or an end before which all the hubbub of civilization subsides.

What is your purpose, friend, or what should it be?

Lotus rebirth of Uppalavana (
Perhaps most of us do not come to a clear conclusion in the matter, but this does not mean we have no purpose, only that we do not recognize it or admit it or even choose it for ourselves.

In the unhappiest case nature simply takes its course, which is a turbid meandering through the swamps of desire. If life means nothing then only pleasure is worthwhile; or if life has meaning and we cannot get at it then still only enjoyment matters -- such is the view of brutes and some sophisticated philosophers.

It slips into the unconscious by default when we hold no other, but we are reluctant to entertain it and will rather, if we think about it, take as our purpose support of family, search for beauty, improvement of society, fame, self-expression, development of talent, and so on.

Relationships are no refuge (thinkstock)
But it might be fair to say that apart from these or beneath these the fundamental purpose of many of us is the search for love, particularly romantic love.

The love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man is often the floor to which people fall after the collapse of other dreams. It is held to be solid when nothing else is, and though it frequently gives way and dumps them into a basement of despair... More

"Our actions are all led by the mind [heart];
Mind is their master, mind is their maker.
If one acts or speaks with a defiled state of mind,
Then suffering follows like the cart-wheel
that follows the foot of the ox.
"Our actions are all led by the mind;
Mind is their master, mind is their maker.
If one acts or speaks with a pure state of mind,
Then happiness follows like a shadow
that remains behind without departing."
- (Dhammapada 1 and 2)

Seeing the Unseen (cartoon)

Wisdom Quarterly; "The Simpsons," Season 8, The Mysterious Voyage of Homer (FOX TV)

Monday, June 24, 2013

What the Buddhist saint said to the king (Poson)

Dhr. Seven and Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly translation, Dharma Vijaya Vihara (Cula-hatthipadopama Sutta: Shorter Elephant Footprint Simile, MN 27)
Adam's Peak, the highest point on the Buddhist island of Sri Lanka (
Mahintale (
PART 1: The Buddhist saint (arhat, fully enlightened) Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka of India, ventured with his saint sister Sanghamitta to the island of Lanka. There he met the king and delivered a discourse based on The Shorter Elephant Footprint Simile. So moved was the king that he and the people of the island converted to Buddhism. This took place on Poson more than 2,000 years ago, the full moon observance day in June.
Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove in Anathapindika's abbey.
Now at that time, the Brahmin Janussonin was driving out of Savatthi in the middle of the day in a white chariot. He saw Pilotika the wanderer coming from afar and on meeting him said:
"Now where is Master Vacchayana [his clan name] coming from in the middle of the day?"
"Sir, I have come here from the presence of the recluse (wandering ascetic) Gotama [Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha]."
"And what does a wise person think about the recluse Gotama's wisdom?"
"Sir, who am I to know the recluse Gotama's wisdom? Wouldn't one have to be his equal to know his wisdom?"
"Master Vacchayana praises the recluse Gotama lavishly indeed!"
Visiting a modern wonder - Lions's Rock, Sigiriya (NH53/
"Sir, who am I to praise the recluse Gotama? He is praised by the praised as the best of beings, both human and deva."
"Seeing what reasons does Master Vacchayana have such high confidence in the recluse Gotama?"
"Sir, suppose an elephant tracker were to enter an elephant forest and see there a large footprint, long in extent, broad in width. That tracker would come to the conclusion, 'What a big bull elephant!'

"In the same way, when I saw four footprints of the recluse Gotama, I came to the conclusion: 'The Blessed One is truly awakened, the Dharma is well-taught by the Blessed One, the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practicing in a good way.' What are the four?
Lion's Rock fort, Sigiriya, a former Buddhist hermitage (

"In one case I see noble warriors (kshatriyas) who are pundits, subtle, skilled in debate, like hair-splitting marksmen. They prowl about, as it were, shooting philosophical positions to pieces with their dialectic. They hear:

"'The recluse Gotama, they say, will visit that village or town.' They formulate a question like, 'Having gone to the recluse Gotama, we will ask him this question of ours. If, having been asked like this, he answers like that, we will refute his teaching this way. If having been asked like that, he answers like this, we will refute his teaching this other way.'
"They hear, 'the recluse Gotama is visiting such and such village or town.' They go to him, and he instructs, urges, rouses, and encourages them with a talk on Dharma. Having been instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged by him with a talk on Dharma, they do not even ask him their question, so how could they refute him? As it turns out, they become his disciples.

"When I saw this first footprint in the recluse Gotama, I came to this conclusion: 'The Blessed One is fully self-awakened; the Dharma is well-taught by the Blessed One; the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is practicing in a good way.'

I. First footprint: Clever, learned Brahmins visit the Buddha with the intention of refuting his Dharma (Teaching). But after they have been instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged they do not ask questions. They ask to become disciples.

II. Second footprint: Clever, learned householders (laypersons) visit the Buddha, are instructed, have no more questions, and ask to become disciples.

III. Third footprint: Clever, learned householders visit the Buddha and end up asking to become disciples.

IV. Fourth footprint: Clever, learned Brahmins go see the Buddha, end up having no more questions and instead ask to becomes disciples, the not long after -- by realizing the Dharma for themselves -- they become arhats (enlightened/liberated beings).

The Brahmin Janussoni then went to visit the Blessed One. With regard to the elephant's footprint, the Buddha told him that a wise person would follow the footprints and other markings left by the elephant until actually seeing that it was a big bull elephant.

What are the footprints of an intrepid Wayfarer (Tathagata) like the Buddha? The first footprint of the Tathagata is... CONTINUED IN PART II