Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Ultimate Reality in Buddhism (video)

Dr. G.P. Malalasekera, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Buddhism (, Wheel #127), Essays in East and West Philosophy, U. of Hawaii Press (BPS 1951/2008) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
A buddha is a supremely enlightened teacher. When Wisdom Quarterly refers to the Buddha, we mean the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, "Sage of the Shakya Clan."

The School of Life(The School of Life) But I don't like intellectual discussions of Buddhism! Say it in a way we can understand! Say it like the Buddha would say it! Okay, here's the story in brief from The School of Life: The Buddha's "philosophy" or Dharma teaches us that craving, which is rooted in ignorance and accompanied by aversion, is at the root of our suffering and restlessness - and that calm can be achieved through serenity (jhana) and insight (vipassana), systematic contemplation founded on a base of calm-collected-concentration. If this explanation is too easy or silly, try this:
Aspects of Reality as Taught by Theravada Buddhism
Meditation beats philosophizing.
In regard to the question, “What is ultimate reality?” different schools of philosophy or systems of thought fall into two main divisions. Some of them say that ultimate reality is one: They believe in a permanent unity behind all the variety and change of the world.
  • [Theravada is the "Teaching of the first Elder Enlightened Disciples of the Buddha." It is the current expression most closely associated with the practice of early Buddhism. It should not be confounded with the pejorative Hinayana or "Lesser Vehicle" schools, like the Sarvastivada, all of which went extinct. Later Mahayana Buddhism tries to teach the same thing in a different way with invented sutras and lengthy "Perfection of Wisdom" (Prajna Paramita) literature, most pithily expressed in the beloved but rarely understood Heart Sutra, which is about anattā or "not-self" as ultimate wisdom but expressed as śūnyatā or "emptiness."]
These are the  eternalists, theists, dogmatists, monists, animists,  traditionalists, fideists, ontologists, realists, idealists, and energists. All of these schools, though distinct among themselves and even opposed to each other on many points, nevertheless have this in common:
They accept an ultimate reality that is an entity, in the metaphysical sense, whether that entity be called essence or soul, God or Force, categorical necessity or whatever other name may yet be invented. They may be said to follow a subjective method, molding reality on concepts. Hence theirs is mostly a method of conjecture.

"What's science ever done for us?"
The other schools say, some of them not very explicitly but implicit in their doctrines, that ultimate reality is plural. They follow an objective method, molding their conceptions on observations. They generally deny a unity behind or within nature’s plurality.
These are the annihilationists, atheists, materialists, rationalists, dualists, pluralists,  nominalists, relativists, positivists, phenomenalists, occasionialists, transformists, progressivists, and so on. Here again, all of these schools, though differing among themselves on many points, have this in common: They reject a metaphysical entity.
  • Now do that to your mind (WQ).
    [Wisdom Quarterly: "ultimate reality" in Buddhism may be defined as direct realization of the Three Characteristic Marks of Existence: ALL things are impermanent, incapable of yielding satisfaction/fulfillment, and impersonal. Moreover, if one understands that the ultimate problem of existence is ignorance (along with its constant companions greed and aversion), one will realize that the ultimate solution is enlightenment and strive to achieve it without hesitation. If one would rather get swamped down in details, it may be endlessly interesting to study Buddhist psychology and physics (Abhidharma) in terms of the ultimate constituents of reality, namely, cittas and kalapas or "thought moments" and "material particles" as we often discuss in variety of posts.]
Now, what is the place of Buddhism among these different “ists and isms”? The answer is that Buddhism does not belong to either group. The ultimate reality of the phenomena in the universe (the chief phenomenon around which all others center) being the “I,” “me,” the “self,” is, according to Buddhism, NEITHER plural nor one, but none!
  • [Anattā ("not-self," non-ego, impersonality) is the ultimate teaching that neither within the bodily-and-mental process of existence nor apart from these phenomena can there be found anything that -- in an ultimate sense -- can be regarded as a real self-existing ego or entity, soul or any other abiding essence.  This is Buddhism's central doctrine. Without understanding it, real knowledge of Buddhism is impossible. It is the only specifically Buddhist doctrine, with which the entire structure of Buddhism stands. All other Buddhist doctrines might, more or less, be talked about in other philosophies or religions. But the doctrine of the impersonality of all things is clearly and unreservedly taught ONLY by buddhas...]
In religion and philosophy as well as in metaphysics, the words “reality” and “real” express more than one aspect of things: the actual as opposed to the fictitious; the essential as opposed to the accidental; the absolute or unconditioned as opposed to the relative or conditioned; the objectively valid as opposed to the ideal or the imagined; that which ultimately and irreducibly is opposed to that which by means of various names signifies the mind’s stock of knowledge.

It must be admitted that in the sutras (discourses) attributed to the Buddha, we do not find any terms exactly corresponding to “real” and “reality,” but all of the above antitheses do occur and find expression in a variety of ways.
  • What is ultimate reality Buddhism? It is "Truth that is true in the highest or ultimate sense" (para-mattha) as contrasted with "conventional truth" (vohāra-sacca), which is also called "commonly accepted truth" (the consensus reality, sammuti-sacca or Sanskrit samvrti-satya). The Buddha, in explaining his Dharma or doctrine that leads to enlightenment (awakening) and nirvana (the "end of all suffering"), sometimes used conventional language and sometimes a philosophical mode of expression in accordance with undeluded insight into reality. In that ultimate sense, existence is a mere process of physical and mental phenomena within which, or beyond which, no real ego-entity nor any abiding substance is to be found. So whenever the sutras speak of a person, or of the rebirth of a being, this must not be taken as being valid in an ultimate sense, but as a mere conventional mode of speech.]
The Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) are more deeply and directly concerned with truth and the pragmatic importance of things, more with what might be called “spiritual health” than with theories. There are certain facts regarding spiritual health, however, about which it is necessary to have right views in order that action (karma) may be taken accordingly. These are the actualities (ultimate realities); other things are of very much less value.

The true is, therefore, the actual, that which is. It is expressed by the Pali word sacca (Sanskrit, satya), which means “the fact” or “the existent.”

(Z1DO4U) Peer Gynt In the Hall of the Mountain King (a troll) by Mel-O-Toons
It must always be borne in mind that Buddhism is primarily a way of life and, therefore, that it is with the human personality that it is almost wholly concerned. Various metaphors are used to describe the essential nature of the personality (the "self" in conventional rather than ultimate terms):
  • For example, “To regard the body as something of worth would be like taking frescoes to be real persons.” Or again, “As one would view a bubble, as one would view a mirage, so should the world be looked at.” (Dhammapada Verse 170.) “The world is like a dream” (Saṃyutta Nikāya, S III 141).
They are meant not so much to indicate the ontological unreality of objects and sense impressions (like the māya, or illusion, which we come across in Brahminical/Hindu Vedānta) as to express a repudiation of permanence, a sense of happy security, a superphenomenal substance or soul underlying them. They are also meant as a deprecation of any genuine, satisfying value in spiritual life to be found either in “the pride of life” or in the lust of the world.
At the time of the Buddha there were in "India" (Jambudvipa) views similar both to those of the Parmenidean (Parmenides/monist) school of Greater Greece (that the universe is a plenum of fixed, permanent existents) and to that other extreme field by Gorgias and the Sophists (that nothing is).

In all things the Buddha’s teachings or Dharma represent what he terms the Middle Way (majjhima paṭipadā), the doctrine of the golden mean, the theory of conditioned or causal becoming, the most succinct statement of which is to be found in the Saṃyutta-Nikāya:

The Buddha standing, fearless mudra (Nippon_newfie)
“'Everything is' -- this, O Kaccāyana, [is the first] extreme. 'Everything is not' -- this is the second extreme.”
  • Saṃyutta Nikāya, S II 17. See Mrs. Rhys Davids trans., in F. L. Woodward, Kindred Sayings (London: Oxford University Press 1926), Vol. IV, p. 13.
“The Tathāgata [the "Wayfarer" or "Thus Come One," "Welcome One," and "Well Gone One"] (the term the Buddha used when speaking of himself), not accepting these two extremes, preaches the doctrine of the Middle Way.”
The followers of the first extreme were known to the Buddha as eternalists (sassatavādino). Some of them stuck to the old sacrificial [Vedic] religion, which [like the Old Testament Judaism at the root of Christianity] promised blissful existence in heaven after death.

Others favored a monistic view of the universe and believed in the attainment of a supreme bliss which consisted of the dissolution of personality in an impersonal, all-embracing Absolute.

There were others who held the idea of an eternal, individual soul, which after many existences [rebirths] would return to its genuine condition of [permanent] spirit as a result of accumulated merit.
These various views are described in the "Net of All-Embracing Views" (Brahmajāla Sutra of the Long Discourses of the Buddha or Dīgha-Nikāya).
  • The first discourse of the Long Discourses (Dīgha Nikāya). See T. W. Rhys Davids,  trans., Dialogues of the Buddha (London: Oxford University Press, 1901), Vol. I.
"All things proceed from a cause, and I make that cause known and also its cessation."
It is interesting to note from these descriptions that the various schools of idealism, which later appeared in the West, had their counterparts in the India of the Buddha, for example, subjective idealism (which holds that it is the “I” alone which exists, all the rest being a modification of my mind), objective idealism (which holds that all, including the “I,” are mere manifestations of the Absolute), or the absolute idealism of Hegel (which informs us that only the relation between the subject and object is real).

All of these varieties of idealism the Buddha held to be “painful, ignoble, and leading to no good, because of their being intent upon self-mortification.”
  • Saṃyutta Nikāya, S IV 330f.  Dhammacakkapavattana  Sutra.  See Lord Chalmers, trans.  Further Dialogues of the Buddha (London: Oxford University Press 1926).
"Suffering has an origin and a cessation."
Idealism, according the Buddha, has but one reality, that of thought, and strives for but one end, the liberation of the thinking self.
Addiction to self-mortification is merely the practical side of the speculations of idealism, in which the “self” is sublimated, with the natural consequence that the “self” must be liberated from matter, the “soul” must be freed from the bonds of the body. The passions of the body must be subdued even by force. Body becomes the eternal enemy of the spirit to be overcome by prayer, fasting, and other austerities.
The followers of the second extreme, who denied any survival of the individual after death or any retribution for moral and immoral deeds (karma), the Buddha called annihilationists (ucchedavādin).
The annihilationists, too (or, as they came to be called later, the materialists) [who teach that the self is annihilated at death with the breakup of the physical body], had many varieties of belief in ancient India.

(Askathor) Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" (Suite No. 1, Op. 46), Liepzig Orch.

Some, like the Epicureans, denied any external Agency as the cause of matter and maintained that the highest good was pleasure. Others, very much in the manner of Hobbes, Comte, or John Stuart Mill, held that only the sensuous could be an object of knowledge.

But all of them saw only one origin, matter, and strove only for one end, material well-being. Increase of comfort, said the Buddha, only leads to desire for still more, and the desire for more leads, and will always lead, to conflict and conquest. He, therefore, condemned materialism as “despicable, vulgar, ordinary, base, and leading to no good (Ibid.)
In the Buddha’s view, both idealism and materialism, though theoretically opposed, converge both in their starting point and in their goal. For “self is their beginning and satisfaction their end.”
Between these two extremes, therefore, of materialistic self-indulgence and idealistic self-denial (not as a compromise but “avoiding both”), the Buddha formulated the Middle Way, “the way of knowledge and wisdom,” not in the wavering of speculation, or in the excitement of discussion, but “in tranquility of mind and penetrative insight, leading to enlightenment and deliverance [from all suffering], enlightenment with regard to the real nature of things and deliverance from suffering and its cause” (Ibid.)

In following the Middle Way, the Buddha realized that part of eternalism's doctrine is correct -- the gradual accumulation of merit in a series of existences (rebirths). But he saw as incorrect the doctrine of an eternal spiritual principle. He saw a contradiction in assuming an eternal, pure, spiritual principle, which for incomprehensible reasons became polluted with the filth of mundane existence only to revert later to original purity.

Samsara (the Wheel of Rebirth) is a long and painful round until enlightenment.
Along with annihilationism the Buddha saw that every permanent thing is actually in flux and therefore impermanent.

The Buddha’s liberating realization came from seeing the insubstantiality in all things, understanding that "the world" is a process -- a progression of discrete, radically evanescent elements (kalapas and cittas), some physical, some metaphysical.

The Buddha's discovery was not an immediately apparent one because he had also to find a theoretical basis to preserve the vital necessity of virtue, ethics, and morality (sila). He was faced with the apparent contradiction of a moral law without a person on whom the law was binding, liberation with nobody to reach the goal of nirvana.

How he discovered the solution to this apparent problem will appear in the sequel. The shortest statement of the Buddha’s teaching is contained in a formula which has come to be regarded as the Buddhist credo succinctly expressing the Four Noble Truths:

“Whatsoever things proceed from a cause, the Tathāgata [the Buddha] has declared the cause thereof; he has also explained their cessation.”

This is the doctrine of the shraman. It declares, in other words, that the Buddha has discovered the elements and their causal connection and a method to suppress their active efficiency and secure their quiescence.
The Buddha claimed that the Dharma is a practical teaching: its objective is to guide the way of escape from the ever-revolving round of rebirth-and-death (saṃsāra) and which is considered a condition of degradation and suffering (dukkha).

This path of escape from suffering was meant primarily for human beings [and devas, so another title of the Buddha was "teacher of gods and men," shasta deva manusanam, which means "instructor of devas and human beings"]. More

Light arose, knowledge arose, wisdom arose - when I practiced in the cave of ignorance!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Overcoming DEPRESSION (sutra)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (editors), Wisdom Quarterly; Helmuth Hecker, Sister Khema (trans.), Kosala Sutra: (What Cannot Be Got) The Kosalan (AN 5.49); Marshall Rosenberg (NVC)
From Buddhist Women at the Time of the Buddha (BPS, Wheel #292, 1982) translated from Pali by Helmuth Hecker and Sister Khema ( edited by Wisdom Quarterly.
Future king (Dboo/Nick Dewolf)
At one time the Blessed One (the Buddha) was staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove, in the monastery donated by Anathapindika.
Then King Pasenadi of Kosala approached, paid his respects, and sat down nearby. Because at that time Queen Mallika died, a certain man approached the king and whispered in his ear: "Your majesty, Queen Mallika has died."

At those words King Pasenadi was filled with grief and depression.

I'll be back for your wife (countryfried).
And with shoulders drooping, head down, he sat glum with nothing to say. The [Buddha] saw the king sitting there in that way and spoke to him in this way:
"Great king, there are these five circumstances not to be obtained by ascetic (shramana), Brahmin priest (brahmana), deva (fairy, light being), mara (obstructive spirit), brahma (divinity), or anyone in the world. What are the five?
A sweet, innocent child loves Death.
1. "That what by its very nature is to decay will not decay is a circumstance not to be obtained by an ascetic...or anyone in the world.

2. "That what by its very nature will fall ill (be diseased) will not fall ill is a circumstance not to be obtained by an ascetic...or anyone in the world.
3. "That what by its very nature will die will not die is a circumstance not to be obtained by an ascetic...or anyone in the world.

4. "That what by its very nature will be exhausted will not be exhausted is a circumstance not to be obtained by an ascetic...or anyone in the world.
5. "That what by its very nature will be destroyed (fall apart) will not come to destruction is a circumstance not to be obtained by an ascetic...or anyone in the world.
What about great queens? (MO)
"Great king, for an uninstructed ordinary person (worldling) what is of a nature to decay does decay, what is of a nature to fall ill does fall ill, what is of a nature to die does die, what is of a nature to be exhausted is exhausted, and what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart.

"And when these things happen, one does not reflect, "It is not only for me that what is of a nature to decay does decay...that what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart. But wherever there are beings coming and going, dying and being reborn [according to their karma] -- for all of those beings, what is of a nature to decay does decay...what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart.

"And if I, when there is decay in what is of a nature to decay...when there is falling apart in what is of a nature to fall apart should grieve, pine, and lament, and crying beat the breast and so fall into delusion, food would not be enjoyed, my body would become haggard, work would not be done, and enemies (adversaries) would be pleased, while friends (fans) would be depressed.

Even "great kings," maharajas, suffer.
"Then when there is decay in what is of a nature to decay, disease in what is of a nature to become diseased, death in what is of a nature to die, exhaustion in what is of a nature to be exhausted, destruction in what is of a nature to be destroyed, one grieves, pines, and laments, and crying beats breast and so falls into delusion.
"This is called an 'uninstructed ordinary person (worldling).' Pierced by the poisoned dart of grief, one just torments oneself.

"Great king, for the instructed noble disciple what is of a nature to decay does decay...and what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart...and when these things happen, one reflects, "It is not only for me that what is of a nature to decay does decay...that what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart.

"But wherever there are beings coming and going, dying and being reborn -- for all of those beings, what is of a nature to decay does decay...what is of a nature to fall apart does fall apart.

Great African kings, pharaohs, still died.
"And if I -- when there is decay in what is of a nature to decay...when there is destruction in what is of a nature to come to destruction -- should grieve, pine, and lament, and crying beat the breast and so fall into delusion, food would not be enjoyed, my body would become haggard, work would not be done, and enemies would be pleased, while friends would be depressed.

"Then when there is decay in what is of a nature to decay, disease in what is of a nature to be diseased, death in what is of a nature to die, exhaustion in what is of a nature to be exhausted, destruction in what is of a nature to be destroyed, one does not grieve or pine or lament, one does not beat one's breast or fall into delusion.
Noble disciples like Sariputra
"This is called an instructed noble disciple. Drawn out is the poisoned dart of grief with which the uninstructed ordinary person brings about self torment. Freed of grief, freed from the dart, the noble disciple has been quenched completely."
"Great king, these are the five circumstances not to be obtained by an ascetic, Brahmin priest, deva, mara, brahma, or by anyone in the world."
"Do not grieve, nor lament.
Herein, what good is gained?
None at all, indeed,
And adversaries rejoice to see
One writhe in pain and grief.
But when misfortune shakes not the wise --
That one who knows well how to seek the good,
Then adversaries -- because of that -- are pained,
Seeing one's face as formerly, unstrained.
"Wherever and whatever good may be gotten, 
Be there, and just there try for that by study (suta),
Wisdom, and well-spoken words,
Unpracticed so far, and tradition, too.
But if one knows, "This good can be obtained
Neither by me nor any other too"
Then ungrieving one bears it all (and thinks),
"Now how to use my strength for present work*?"

*Work: (kammatthānā) this term, as a designation for meditation (self-development) exercises or bhāvanā, is found only in the Commentaries (tika). In the discourses (sutras), the word is only used in a concrete sense for "field of work, activity (action=kamma, karma), or occupation," as agriculture, trade, and so on.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Speaking to Sasquatch (Bigfoot tribe)

Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; investigator Mike Paterson, Sasquatch Nephatia, telepath Kathleen Odom, inter-species communicator Jann Weiss ("Sasquatch and Us")

Mike Paterson of "Sasquatch Ontario" is interviewed in this episode. Afterwards, trance medium channel Kathleen Odom reads a transcript of the telepathic communication session that she facilitated between the American man Mike and the Sasquatch Nephatia, with whom he regularly interacts.
Strikingly, the words received by Kathleen concerning the name of a Sasquatch youngster were vocally confirmed several days later in the field by Nephatia and recorded by Mike.

The gov't would tell us if they were real.
The episode concludes with a tribute to noted inter-species communicator, author, and lecturer Jann Weiss, who died last December. Her consciousness continues to be warmly felt. 

See Jann's complete, unedited interview from the 2012 documentary "Sasquatch and Us."
( Retired U.S. Forest Ranger Charles Branson knows Sasquatch is real
  • SPEAKING OF SASQUATCH (FirAndCedar) is a monthly webcast that offers a counterpoint to the popular media's often sensational and inaccurate representations of Sasquatch. It is a forum for the Sasquatch people to address hairless humans directly by way of trance mediums and sensitives. Comment on Facebook. Contact Kathleen Odom at Webcast reported by filmmaker Christopher Munch ("Letters From the Big Man"). © 2014 Antarctic Pictures LLC • All Rights Reserved.
When seeing is still not believing
Mysterious Encounters with Autumn Williams featuring Bob Gimlin

"Mysterious Encounters" (hosted by scientist Autumn Williams, founder of was the first Bigfoot TV series, which ran for 13 episodes in 2003-04 on OLN. Producer Doug Hajicek, Co-producer Matt Moneymaker.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

HIKE: #OptOutside on Buy Nothing Day (video)

Xochitl, Wisdom Quarterly; Tim Martinez (Arroyo Sage);

Los Angeles and Orange County hikers gather to learn about the Foothills of the Angeles Forest above Pasadena with Tim Martinez of the Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy (WQ).
Rubio Canyon (Photo -
Fresh water pooling along the creek in Rubio Canyon (

The Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy and REI are teaming up for a FREE #OptOutside hike on Black Friday (Nov. 27, 2015).
Learn the medicinal, practical, and food uses of native plants and  explore the historic trail through Rubio Canyon Nature Preserve in the Los Angeles foothills above Pasadena.
The trail into Rubio Canyon follows the right-of-way for the former Mount Lowe Railway, taking hikers on a shaded walk that leads to a series of waterfalls.

Save the fish and their LA habitat (ASF).
The trail passes the site of the Rubio Pavilion Hotel and the beginning of the historic Rubio Incline -- a funicular that transported residents of the San Gabriel Valley to popular mountain resorts over 100 years ago. Bring water and dress appropriately. More
Previous class taught by Tim Martinez, the Arroyo Sage

Healing sounds for relaxed meditation (audio)

Tibetan Healing Sounds #2, 11 Hours of Tibetan Buddhist bowls for meditation and healing

"Families are like fudge...mostly sweet with a few nuts." (
Now if I could only concentrate! (Mishel Breen)
Sometimes family can drive one mad and make one yearn for a simpler life -- like living the life of a severe ascetic in the Himalayas, preferably in a cave without air conditioning, and only silent companions to cheer one on by example during the interminable hours of meditation, pacing, studying, and chanting living on meager food of roots, berries, shilajit, and rice seasoned only with pink Himalayan salt, struggling for enlightenment with the help of the Mountain and a distant guru who's living the good life in Dharamsala or Lhasa... On the other hand, maybe family life isn't so bad. But a person can dream and listen to the sweet, uplifting sound of singing bowls, ancient mantras, and a chorus of scriptures intoned for maximum impact on the psyche.
Tibetan Healing Sounds: Singing Bowls and natural sounds, gold for meditation and relaxation

The [Wells'] Dysfunctional Family Tree (Dan Collins/

Gratitude on Thanksgiving (sutras)

Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero (editors), Wisdom Quarterly, Kataññu Sutras (AN 2.31-32) based on Ven. Thanissaro, a.k.a. Geoffrey DeGraff (trans.),
(Saturday Night Live, November 2015) Surviving family: Adele's Thanksgiving Miracle ("Hello")
"Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given." - Gautama Buddha
SUTRAS: Gratitude
Kataññu Sutras (AN 2.31-32)
As video above shows, it's all about gratitude.
"Disciples, I will teach you the level of a worthy person and the level of an unworthy person [in terms of worthiness of offerings, reverence, hospitality, merit, with the fully enlightened person being the most worthy, one ennobled by one's own action, for which offerings are most meritorious]. Listen, heed well, and I will speak."
The Buddha in Himalayas
"Very well, venerable sir," they replied.
Then the Blessed One [the Buddha] spoke: "Now what is the level of an unworthy person? An unworthy person is ungrateful and does not gives thanks. This ingratitude, this lack of appreciation (thankfulness), is advocated by regressive people. It is entirely on the level of unworthy persons.

The Buddha, Bimaran casket
"A worthy person [on the other hand] is grateful and appreciative (thankful). This gratitude, this appreciation is advocated by progressive people. It is entirely on the level of worthy persons."
{II,iv,2} "I tell you, meditators, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Who? One's mother and father. Even if one were to carry mother on one shoulder and father on the other shoulder for a century, and one were to look after them by bathing, anointing, massaging, and rubbing their limbs, and even if they were to urinate and defecate right there [on one's shoulders as infants do on parents], one would not thereby pay or repay one's parents.

See how much I love you, mom and dad! (RSK)
"Moreover, if one were to establish one's mother and father in absolute sovereignty over this planet, the great earth, abounding in seven treasures, one would not thereby pay or repay one's parents. Why? It is because mother and father do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them, introduce them to this world.

Be content. Buy Nothing Day
"But anyone who rouses one's unbelieving mother and father, settles, and establishes them in confidence (conviction, saddha, faith), rouses one's unvirtuous mother and father, settles, and establishes them in virtue (sila, beneficial conduct), rouses one's stingy mother and father, settles, and establishes them in generosity (dana, charity, liberality, openhandedness, giving), rouses one's foolish mother and father, settles, and establishes them in wisdom (insight, knowledge, discernment) -- to this extent one indeed pays and repays one's mother and father."

The Lessons of Gratitude
Ven. Thanissaro (ATI)
Put me down, dad! I can raise myself! (GWR)
Two people are hard to find in the world. Who? The one who is first to be kind, and the one who is grateful and thankful for kindness."
— AN 2.118

In saying that kind and grateful people are rare, the Buddha is not simply stating a harsh truth about the human race. He is advising us to treasure these people when we find them, and -- more importantly -- showing how we can become these rare people ourselves.

Kindness and gratitude are virtues we can cultivate. They have to be cultivated together. Each needs the other to be genuine -- a point that becomes obvious when we think about the three things most likely to make gratitude heartfelt:
  1. You've actually benefitted from another person's actions.
  2. You trust the motives behind those actions.
  3. You sense that the other person had to go out of his or her way to provide that benefit. More

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Protests: police murder of black teen (video)

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval (editors), Wisdom Quarterly; ; AP (White Chicago cop charged with murder of black teen) UPDATED
WARNING: Extremely distressing needless police execution! Dashcam video shows Officer Jason Van Dyke executing black teen Laquan McDonald. This evidence was suppressed by Chicago Police Dept. to protect the murder until a judge demanded its release.

Chicago leaders urge calm before police shooting video released.
  • Ashley Fantz-Profile-Image
    "We're hoping that these protests and demonstrations will be peaceful. We know they are coming," says Chicago pastor.
  • A judge has ordered the city of Chicago to release the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke by November 25.
  • The 17-year-old was shot 16 times by an officer who just arrived on the scene six seconds before after other police already had him corralled while he was holding a knife and walking away.
I'm willing to murder blacks and protesters.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) Leaders in Chicago are calling for calm ahead of the expected release of a video that reportedly shows a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times [most of them while he was paralyzed and bleeding on the ground].

Laquan McDonald was walking down a Chicago street the night of October 20, 2014, carrying a 4-inch knife and behaving erratically [i.e., disobediently], authorities said.
A police state keeps me working.
A police officer told the 17-year-old to drop the knife, but he didn't listen and the officer [sought to murder him so] fired on him [using the catchall after-the-fact excuse that it was] out of fear for his life, according to a police union spokesman. 
On Thursday, a judge in Chicago ordered the city to release by this Wednesday the police dashcam video that shows the shooting. For months, the city has fought attempts to have the video released to the public, saying it could jeopardize any ongoing investigation [by having the truth out while we're busy trying to cover it up to protect our officers from successful prosecution].
Our silence would be complicity with racist police crimes (
They'll never convict, so suck it.
"Chicago is on the tipping point," the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins said, according to CNN affiliate WLS. "We could be just like Ferguson."
Watkins was referring to Ferguson, Missouri, which imploded in protests and riots after a white police officer shot to death unarmed black teen Michael Brown in 2014. Unrest in the St. Louis suburb lasted for weeks.

Remember the Ferguson or Fergistan protests? (Tom Tomorrow/
Initially Chicago city officials tried to prevent the release of the video. But Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama denied a request by the city's attorneys to issue a stay in his decision while they appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.
The officer who shot McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, has not faced charges and still [gets paid by] the police department in a "limited duty position."

"Protests are imminent"
Anti-Ferguson police brutality demonstration, Berkeley (Dec. 6, 2014/AP).
On Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with various activists and community leaders to discuss the release of the video and what it might mean for the city.
His office has not released details on when or how it plans to release the video. But some in the city are bracing for protests and unrest. More + updated video of protests