Wednesday, August 31, 2016

There's no such thing as a "weed" (video)

Muralist Mona Caron (Ali Budner, The World, Aug. 31, 2016,; Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Alternatives germinate at the margins, sending cracks into the hardest things to change. Paved-over utopias, rise up like WEEDS (pernicious invasive species). There are things that are out of place and therefore unable to fulfill their function so go on to interrupt others' function, but there are no such things as "weeds." This analog animation and mural series is inspired by the resilience of urban weeds.

The monk and the weeds
Young novice, Burma (Anek Suwannaphoom)
There is an old apocryphal story of a Buddhist monk who wondered what the purpose of a "weed" was.
Perplexed, he went to the old meditation master and asked. The master tasked him to find a single plant that was a "weed," that is to say, one that had no beneficial medicinal use.
The young monk took the challenge and traveled the region and eventually the world in a caravan in search of one, compiling an impressive botanical catalog in the process.
He was unable to find one, not a single plant. For everywhere he went, for the people there, each plant had a benefit.
Every "weed" is a lotus waiting to be found.
What was regarded as a "weed" in one place was certainly not considered so elsewhere. When the pharmacopeia, or archives of Chinese medicine, could reflect that, every plant came into use. Even a "poisonous" plant could be medicinal when utilized correctly.
What was seen one way and regarded as so in ignorance turned out another way, the monk found again and again. With wisdom the plant realm was seen for what it was, a benefit to beings in other realms, such as the human, animal, and the unseen beings.
  • What's happening in gardening? The Thursday classes at the Los Angeles Arboretum (
Muralist painting weeds to represent margins of society 
Caron paints Platago lanceolata in SF.
(PRI) If you’re wandering around, say, Sao Paulo, Brazil, or Athens, Greece, or San Francisco, California, you just might stumble upon a weed grown as tall as a building…on the building, that is.
Mural artist Mona Caron ( uses city walls all over the world as canvases for her magnified portraits of wild plants. She says they represent what survives at the margins of society. And she wants us to pay closer attention.
Mural artist Mona Caron, uses city walls all over the world as canvases for her magnified portraits of wild plants.
Mona Caron (Andrea Laue/
Caron lives in San Francisco but hails from the Italian part of Switzerland. She started out her career doing sweeping bird's-eye views of cities and has been known as the cityscape artist for a long time.
But then something happened a few years ago. She began doing the opposite -- painting tiny things large. Specifically, it was the weeds, the little wild plants that grow in sidewalk cracks everywhere, the plants that people step on.

"The less attention we pay it," Caron explains, "the larger I’m going to paint it." "I don’t paint dainty little grandmotherly botanical illustrations," Caron says. To her, weeds are plants that have power. More

(Nick Kasimatis) Mona Caron mural tour, Noe Valley

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Instructions for seated Zen (video)

Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Yokoji Zen Mountain Center ( Zen Mountain Center/; text Abbot Muho Noelke, Antaiji (YouTube), Dogen-ji

Zen meditation instruction from Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, a Zen Buddhist training facility
What is zazen good for?
Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 (1200-1253)
The answer is simple: Zazen isn’t good for anything.

We are always looking for something. Some chase after money, others want love or sex. We study to get a good job, make a career, and become a “success.” But in the end -- what do we really want?

I think what we are really looking for is “happiness.” We miss that feeling of being truly happy and satisfied. The crazy thing is that the more we chase after happiness, the farther away it seems to escape us. Did we not only lose sight of happiness, but also of ourselves long ago?

Zen in the city (mwaltonphoto/flickr)
The harder we try to be happy, the less we understand what happiness actually means. Have we forgotten that we actually have all we need in this moment? Maybe happiness isn’t waiting for us somewhere “on the other side” but is right here and now?

Let’s just stop for a moment. Stop chasing, stop running away. When we practice zazen... More

How to sit
Yokoji ZMC (, situated in the mountains of California, has affiliates in Long Beach, Pasadena, and Redlands; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona. The video above contains instructions on seated meditation (zazen) in various positions like full-lotus, half-lotus, Burmese, kneeling, and using a chair with tips on breathing and how to go in to and out of meditation periods.

Zen instructions
Practicing Zen means zazen. A quiet place is most suitable for doing zazen. Place a thick mat on the floor.

Ancient sages sat on the diamond seat or on a large rock. They all laid grass thickly and sat on it. 

Do not allow drafts or mist to enter the room. Do not allow rain or dew to leak in. Protect the place where you sit; keep it in good condition.

Enso (
Keep the place where you sit well-lit. It should not be dark either during the day or at night. It is essential that it be warm in winter and cool in summer.

Let go of all relations, and set all affairs at rest. Do not think of good; do not think of evil.

Zazen has nothing to do with the function of [discursive thinking] intellect, volition, or consciousness, nor with memory, imagination, or contemplation. Do not seek to become a buddha. More

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change"
- Charles Darwin

Introduction to actual practice
(Ptyica) Zen: Introduction to Zen Practice (full version) with Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi with subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, German, Danish, Italian, and Hungarian (by turning on caption option on lower left of player).

( This is a short film for beginners about Zen Buddhist meditation by Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi, who is the abbot of Sogen-ji Zen monastery in Okayama, Japan.

Four Ways to Let Go (Ajahn Brahm)

Straight from teaching a meditation retreat, the enlightened British monk trained in the forest tradition of Northeast Thailand, Ajahn Brahmavamso, explores four ways of letting go.

Those who enjoy this and similar talks may be interested in supporting the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, which runs a nunnery and monastery, in order to make these talks available to a wider audience.
Consider offering a donation at These Dharma talks are recorded by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre in Perth, Western Australia. More resources are available at

Life in a Zen monastery (video)

(Sen Baba) Peter Barakan interviews Abbot Muho Noelke, the German abbot of Antaiji.
Stop. Sit. Watch the breath.
Antaiji is a Zen Buddhist monastery located deep in the mountains, close to the Japanese sea. The monastery commits itself to the practice of seated meditation and the study of the Buddha's teachings in the tradition of Dogen Zenji and Sawaki Kodo Roshi. The monastic community also cultivates the fields around the monastery, cuts grass and trees, and does construction work to stay self-sufficient [which runs counter to the historical Buddha's teachings but is in line with North Asian custom.] In the interview, Abbot Muho explains zazen (seated meditation), community life, and the relation between teacher and student, guru and chela or disciple. Another controversial topic is their precept of not-killing living beings or eating meat.

Various space alien "races" (video)

Fact: 45% of those abducted are Native American, Irish, or Celtic, and families are taken.
(C2C/Considering Reality) Alien expert and private investigator Derrel Sims discusses his latest work hunting aliens and attempting to track down the pilots, the Men in Black (MiB). He is out to uncover the truth behind abductions, alien implants, and DNA prints.

The various alien races are models
Sims shares details of an encounter with aliens as well as his own abduction experiences, the last event involving negative entities. Implants are not for tracking, Sims reveals: These beings find their human subjects via neural imprints. They often abduct people from the same family tree, he explains, stating that his son is also an abductee.

Derrel Sims, "The Alien Hunter," is the world’s leading expert on alien abductions. His 38+ years of field research has focused on physical evidence and led to his groundbreaking discoveries of alien implants and alien fluorescence.

I'm not an alien! Look away, look away!
As a former military police officer and CIA operative, Sims has a unique insight to the alien organization which he believes functions similarly to an intelligence agency.
Sims is also a compassionate and skilled therapist and Certified Master Hypnotherapist who has helped hundreds of alien experiencers all over the world come to terms with what they’ve witnessed… More about Derrel Sims

Maybe it is better to think of them not as different "races" but rather as various models.
Coast to Coast for
Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, Professor Emeritus at Montana State University, has dedicated her life and career to working with indigenous populations and spent seven years traveling through Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico collecting stories of encounters with "sky gods," space aliens, giants, and little people.

UFOs/aliens abduct Natives
Dr. Clarke details the UFO stories of "Urban Indians" who live off reservation. Part One featured Greg Palast talking about the rigging and fixing of US elections. More

Dr. Clarke, a noted American Indian researcher, offers a collection of intimate narratives of encounters between contemporary Native Indians and the "Star People." These first-person accounts are described as conscious experiences without hypnotic regression... More

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder, Juan Gabriel pass away (video)

Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; HitFix; Kryz; The Firewall
In honor of the legendary actor, here are some favorite moments from his best films.
(Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks' "The Producers") "Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Deutschland is happy and gay/We're marching to a faster pace/Look out, here comes the Master Race/Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Winter for Poland and France/Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Come on Germans, go into your dance."

Jerome Silberman (June 11, 1933-August 29, 2016), known professionally as Gene Wilder, was an American stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author. Wilder began his career on stage, and made his screen debut in the TV-series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. More

Best of Wilder

June 11, 2016 was the 83rd birthday of actor, writer, director Gene Wilder (RIP), one of the best-loved actors of his generation. While it has been almost 15 years since the world last saw Wilder on the screen, his talent is remembered fondly by fans. Here are The Firewall's Top 10 Gene Wilder Movies.

Mexican Elvis passes away: Juan Gabriel

Well, he was more of a flamboyant gay icon* ala Liberace, Michael Jackson, or honorary-Mexican Morrissey, who lived in L.A. (Santa Monica), recorded here, while selling more than 100 million albums around the world, mostly of the sentimental sort. He was so L.A. that he just wrapped up two sold out nights at the L.A. Forum 48 hours beforehand, playing a 3 hour final show that may have done him in, along with the weight and long-simmering heartbreak.

*Juan Gabriel was Mexico's gay icon — but he never spoke of his sexuality
(Los Angeles Times, Aug. 29, 2016) reporting from Mexico City
"Don't ask what you already know." (HC)
With his glittery capes, slinky dance moves and ultra-romantic lyrics, Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel was an unlikely king in a country known for its machismo. He never spoke about his sexuality, yet was widely assumed to be gay. It’s no surprise that the singer was an icon in Mexico’s gay subculture. But how was it that he came to be celebrated by the country’s Catholic, conservative and often homophobic mainstream? More

The Buddha's relics to go on display (L.A.)

Lu Mountain Temple (; Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
(Relics Tour) A larger collection of  Buddhist relics (shariras) than the Tibetan collection that toured the world will go on display in Los Angeles at Lu Mountain Temple.

Master YongHua shows relics in crystal containers to devotees in Rosemead, CA (MS)
Ancient stupa with arhat relics protected by devas and devotees, oil candles and Milky Way light, Kamphaeng Phet Park, Thailand (Pakphipat Charoenrach/
The MahaStupa Project
Wat Phra That Luang, Laos (Bugphai)
The "10,000 Relics Collection" is intended for the benefit of all beings. So Bodhi Light International has launched the Maha Stupa Project to build a stupa (sacred Buddhist reliquary/burial mound) complex for the protection and preservation of these sacred artifacts. The Maha Stupa serves as a major monument to Mahayana Buddhism in Southern California.

Experience the Healing Energy of Buddha’s Relics
The next display of the 10,000 Buddha Relics Collection will take place from Friday, September 2, 2016 through Monday, September 5, 2016 at Lu Mountain Temple in the City of Rosemead, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County. Read more for detailed showing schedule.

Gangteng Monastery, Bhutan, Himalayas

Tapas Ghosh (tapasphotography/; Crystal Quintero, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly

Gangtey Monastery
The Dalai Lama, Thurman,
Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, Gangteng Monastery (aka Gangtey Gonpa) is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of Bhutan’s Black Mountain’s Phobjikha Valley.

View of Phobjikha Valley, aka Gangtey Valley, Bhutan, at  sunset (Milon/Wiki)
Padmasambhava Rinpoche (Wiki)
It is also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in all of Buddhist Bhutan. The monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by families of the 140 gomchens who take care of the monastery.

Gangteng was founded by Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa sage (bodhisattva) of Bhutan.

In 1613, Pema Trinley established the monastery and became the first Gangteng Tulku (recognized incarnation of a prominent lama). The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa are still taught here.

The second tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645-1726), enhanced the size of Gangteng while keeping up good relations with the Drukpas and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a dzong ("fortress"). More

Nat'l Park Service celebrates 100th birthday

Associated Press (; Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly
Sunrise over Crater Lake, Oregon, Crater Lake National Park, which sits in a caldera of an ancient volcano called Mount Mazama that collapsed 7,700 years ago, according the NPS. It is the deepest lake in the US and is famous for its vivid blue color and clarity (Marc Adamus/The Register-Guard via AP).

Park Service marks centennial with new citizens, monument
The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday on Thursday with events across the U.S. including the creation of a giant, living version of its emblem in Washington, D.C., a naturalization ceremony on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and an outdoor concert at Yellowstone National Park.
Speaking below the Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana on Thursday night, Jewell said Americans from all walks of life should see themselves in the country's public lands. It was a full night of speeches and singing as about 6,000 people gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.
The Billings Gazette reports two-time Grammy winner John Prine sang "Paradise" in honor of his father, who used to take him to state and national parks. Next, Emmylou Harris and a stage filled with musicians sang Woody Guthrie's [originally very radical] "This Land is Your Land" as the crowd sang along. More

Saturday, August 27, 2016

US military operations on Moon and Mars (audio)

USMC Captain Randy Cramer (, Host Jimmy Church (, Aug. 26, 2016); Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly

Secret Military Operations on Mars () Captain Randy Cramer claims to be an officer who has been given authorization to address the public on behalf of a covert "special section" of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Captain Cramer joined C2C guest host Jimmy Church to discuss his 17-year off-world tour of duty on the Moon and Mars, and his years serving aboard a secret US space fleet. It's unbelievable, but he has proof and permission to discuss it in public. American forces are at war on Mars against reptilian and reptoid foes (nagas, "dragons") just as the movie "John Carter" and other sci-fi classics like "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" have been telling us in fictionalized "Hollywood" terms.
Show details

Captain Randy Cramer is authorized to address the public on behalf of a covert "special section" of the United States Marine Corps. He had a 17-year tour of duty off-world on Mars and his served aboard a secret US space fleet. For those who may question his extraordinary story, Cpt. Cramer pointed out that it is a felony to impersonate an officer and to lie about military duty stations. He noted the USMC has not disputed his story nor have they stopped him from speaking out publicly about it as, according to Cramer, he was appointed this task by a brigadier general within the clandestine program.
Selection for the program began before birth during a 300-subject, soldier augmentation experiment called Project Moon Shadow, Cramer says. A team of human scientists assisted by extraterrestrial engineers genetically-engineered the participants for rigors of off-world duty, he explained. "I jokingly sometimes say that I was a Marine since I was a baby, but that is actually legally true," Cramer said. He revealed what it was like serving in the Mars Defense Force fighting aliens while boosted on a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs. "When you're fighting you don't care... you feel pretty aggressive and you're just happy to be there stomping and killing things," he recalled.

Mars is a lot like Earth, with more iron oxide but blue skies, water, and civilization.
The main territorial conflict on Mars is with the indigenous reptoid and insectoid species, Cramer reported. He shared details of fighting in the Draconian (reptoid) invasion as well as his time piloting an Airwing aboard the intergalactic air carrier EDF SS Nautilus. Cramer estimated he has had his body replaced several dozen times because of dangerous and harsh conditions on Mars and in space. The process involves hatching a fresh clone and pumping it with the soul, which he described as a quantum fluid. After his service, he was again placed in a newly cloned body that was physically the same age as when he was deployed.
When asked about how he knew definitively his recollections were accurate and whether he may have been part of mind control experiment that implanted false memories, Cramer suggested his thousands of hours of therapy have shown it was an authentic experience. "I feel really confident that we're talking about solid and real memories," he said. Cramer also warned about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (an "impotent virgin who still suckles from a wet nurse"), who he suggested may attempt a large-scale Jim Jones-type of ending for his life.