Friday, January 26, 2018

What is the solution to death?

Ven. Nyanatiloka (B. Dictionary); Ananda M., Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Craving and clinging condition rebirth and pain
"Death," in ordinary usage, means the disappearance of the vital faculty confined to a single lifetime.

This means the psycho-physical  (mind-body) life-process conventionally called "self, soul, ego, personality" comes to an end.

Strictly speaking, however, death is the continually repeated dissolution and vanishing at each moment. Who or what vanishes? It is not a "self" but every component (Five Aggregates that are clung to as "self") of the physical-mental combination.

This takes place at every moment. Not the eventual dissolution but this radical impermanence (anicca) is what the Buddha was talking about.

Babies die before living? Yes. Why?!
About this momentariness of existence, it is said in The Path of Purification (Vis.M. VIII):

"In the absolute sense, beings have only a very short moment to 'live,' life lasting as long as a single moment of consciousness lasts.

"Just as a cartwheel, whether rolling or at a standstill, at all times only rests on a single point of its periphery, even so the life of a living being lasts only for the duration of a single moment of consciousness.

"As soon as that moment ceases, the being also ceases. For it is said:
  • "'The being of the past moment of consciousness has lived, but does not live now, nor will it live in future.
  • The being of the future moment has not yet lived, nor does it live now, but it will live in the future.
  • The being of the present moment has not lived, it does live just now, but it will not live in the future.'"
Wait, there's a solution to death?
In another sense, the coming to an end of the psycho-physical life process of the liberated or fully enlightened person (noble ones), at the moment of passing away may be called the final or actual death/cessation.

In This Very Life (U Pandita)
For up to that moment, the impersonal psycho-physical life process [which is empty in that it is devoid of self] would still be going on from life to life (Life After Life) in "the continued wandering on" of samsara.
Death, in the ordinary sense, combined with old age, forms the twelfth link in the formula of Dependent Origination.

For death as a subject of meditation, see the "contemplation of death" or maranānussati; as a function of consciousness, see viññāna-kicca.

The solution is liberation
What is liberation (bodhi)? Awakening from this illusion is "enlightenment," for it is liberation (moksha) from all further rebirth and every kind of suffering.

When one sees this, one develops a sense of urgency about waking up and being free here and now In This Very Life (read it free).

Free Hemi Sync Guided Meditation (video)

Listen and enjoy this binaural beat Hemi-Sync® guided meditation for deep relaxation.

The Doctrinal Context of Absorption (Jhana)

To develop the absorptions.
The Buddha says that just as in the great ocean there is but one taste, the taste of salt, so in this Dharma (the Buddha's doctrine and discipline) there is but one taste, the taste of freedom.

The taste of freedom that pervades the Buddha's teaching is the taste of spiritual freedom, which from the Buddhist perspective means freedom from suffering.

In the process leading to liberation from suffering, meditation is the means of generating the inner awakening required for freedom.
The methods of meditation taught in the Theravada Buddhist tradition are based on the Buddha's own experience, forged in the course of his own quest for enlightenment.

They are designed to recreate in the disciple who practices them the same essential enlightenment that the Buddha (the "Enlightened One") himself attained when he sat beneath the bodhi tree, the awakening to the liberating Four Noble Truths.

The various subjects and methods of meditation expounded in the ancient Theravada Buddhist scriptures -- the Pali language canon and its commentaries -- divide into two interrelated systems. 
One is called the development of serenity (samatha-bhavana), the other the development of insight (vipassana-bhavana).

The former -- the development of tranquility -- also goes under the name of development of concentration (samadhi-bhavana), the latter the development of wisdom (pañña-bhavana).

The practice of serenity meditation aims at developing a calm, coherent, concentrated, collected, unified mind/heart as a means of experiencing inner-peace and as a basis for wisdom.

The practice of insight meditation aims at gaining a direct understanding of the real nature of phenomena. More

What Plants Talk About (full documentary)

What Plants Talk About (full documentary); Kelly Yani, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly

Monsanto told me to shut up.
When we think about plants, we don't often associate a term like "behavior" with them. But experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that.
The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives.
What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we ever thought!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Trump brought down by Mueller under oath?

Editors, Wisdom Quarterly;;;;
Pres. Trump is not a smart man, not a reasonable man, but a man ruled by temper.

AngeladavisAngela Davis on resisting Trump: Watch the full speech by Angela Davis at the Women’s March on Washington in 2017.
 s3 keeanga how we get freeKeeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: What We Can Learn From the Black Feminists of the Combahee River Collective. DN! speaks with the Princeton University professor about her new collection of essays.
A dn job post 640x360Now accepting applications for DN! News Production Fellowship: Apply today for this one-year PAID fellowship working with the team that produces Democracy Now! every day.

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    Oil company secrets; depression, anxiety

    Johann Hari, Lindsey Williams ( Jan. 24, 2018); Editors, Wisdom Quarterly

    Minister Lindsey Williams obtained executive access to secret oil company documents as a chaplain to the workers building the Alaskan oil pipeline in the 1970s.
    He shared his insider-knowledge (through a contact he's maintained from that era) of what the "Global Elite" have planned for the world.

    The Elite or New World Order (NWO), he said, were quite confident that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, would easily defeat Don Trump. They were shocked when she lost. His victory was due to an intervention from "God," Williams asserts. Because of this, the NWO has been set back years from their agenda.
    But now the Elite are using Trump's business-friendly policies to increase their wealth and power, says Williams, adding that they plan to "panic up" the stock market to around 35,000-40,000 before getting out prior to a big CRASH.

    One of the best investments will be in America's oil production, which is far outpacing the Middle East, Williams claims, adding that according to his contact, there is enough natural gas and oil in parts of Alaska [because it is a toxic but abiotic "renewable resource" made in the earth, as the Nazis well understood and published in great detail and as the oil industry well knows] to supply the United States for 200 years.

    Johann Hari on Depression, Anxiety, Addiction
    "Crying Girl" (Roy Lichtenstein/
    Research journalist for the Independent in London for over ten years Johann Hari discussed the current epidemic of depression.

    Depression is NOT generally caused by a "chemical imbalance," Hari's research revealed, and that's why pharmaceutical antidepressants either don't work or stop working [when the strong placebo effect wears off] for patients, as it soon did for Hari when he was prescribed Paxil as a teen.

    Hari found nine main causes for depression and anxiety: two of them biological and the other seven related to the way we live, that is, to lifestyle choices.

    Some of these conditions, he points out, are increasing in our society. The main one is loneliness, a sense of isolation in our allegedly more connected world. On top of that, there's lack of meaning and lack of authentic connection.
    One of the most significant sources of mental health problems come from people's employment. A survey indicates that 24% of workers hate their jobs, and 63% are just sleepwalking through them. A full 87% are dissatisfied.

    Only 13% actually like and look forward to doing their job. Sure, it may be nice to have work, but how much nicer it would be to have work we didn't hate?

    A program in East London for depressed and/or anxious people went as follows. Instead of drugs, they were asked to develop unutilized land, to do something with it. They were to decide what because it is exactly this sense of agency and choice that makes work meaningful.

    They also connected with each other in this project, saw something get accomplished, and they got feedback from others. They chose to create a garden -- without any of them knowing how to garden. So they had to learn.

    It was successful as a community garden and in turning their lives around, Hari found, as was a similar experiment in Norway that was said to be twice as effective as antidepressant drugs.

    If it's a surprise that depressed or anxious people are not crazy, that these symptoms are not signs of craziness, Hari remarked, it's because this is neither reported by the drug companies nor by the mainstream media. What is depression? "[It's] a sign that your deepest needs are not being met." More + AUDIO

    Buddhist EXORCISM: The Jewel Sutra

    Ven. Piyadassi (trans.), Ratana Sutra (Sn 2.1) edited by Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

    Ven. Ananda, the Buddha's attendant
    The occasion for this sutra, according to the Commentary, is that in the city of Vesali there was a famine afflicting everyone, particularly the poor. Due to the presence of decaying corpses, unclean or "evil" spirits begin to hang around the city. What follows is a pestilence. Plagued by these three fearful things -- famine, unclean spirits, and pestilence -- the citizens seek the help of the Buddha, who is residing in Rajagaha.

    Bringing a large number of monastics including his attendant, Ven. Ananda, the Buddha goes to Vesali. When he arrives, there come torrential rains that sweep away the decaying corpses. This purifies the atmosphere and makes the city clean. Then the Buddha delivers this "Jewel or Treasure Discourse" (Ratana Sutra) to Ananda.

    He then gives him instructions as to how to tour the city with the Licchavi citizens reciting the sutra as a mark of protection (paritta) to the people of Vesali.

    Ananda follows the instructions and sprinkles the sanctified water from the Buddha's own alms bowl. As a consequence the unclean spirits are exorcised and the pestilence subsides. Thereafter, Ananda returns with the citizens of Vesali to the Public Hall where the Buddha and his disciples have assembled awaiting his arrival.
    • [NOTE 1: Ratana means "precious jewel, gem, treasure." Here the term is applied to the Triple Gem, Three Guides, or Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.]
    There the Buddha recites this Jewel Sutra to the gathering:

    The SUTRA
    1. "Whatever (non-human) beings are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, may they have peace of mind, and may they listen attentively to these words:
    2. "O, beings, listen closely! May you all radiate loving-kindness to those human beings who, by day and night, bring offerings to you (offer merit to you). Therefore, protect them with diligence.
    3. "Whatever treasure there be either here or in the many worlds beyond, whatever precious jewel there be in celestial worlds, there is none comparable to the Tathagata (the Perfect One, the Wayfarer). This precious jewel is the Buddha. (Literally, in the Buddha is this precious jewel.) By this (asseveration of) truth may there be happiness.
    Unclean spirits (Hieronymus Bosch)
    4. "That Cessation, that Letting Go, that Deathless State (nirvana) supreme, the calm and collected Shakyan/Scythian Sage (Shakyamuni the Buddha) realized. There is nothing comparable to this (nirvana) Dharma. This precious jewel is the Dharma. (Literally, in the Dharma is this precious jewel.) By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness. 
    5. "The supreme Buddha extolled a path of purification (the Noble Eightfold Path) calling it the path that unfailingly brings coherence (samadhi). There is nothing comparable to this coherence. This precious jewel is the Dharma. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    6. "The eight persons extolled by virtuous people constitute four pairs. They are the disciples of the Buddha and are worthy of offerings. Gifts given to them yield [exponentially] rich results. This precious jewel is the Sangha. (Literally, in the Sangha is this precious jewel.) By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    7. "With a steadfast mind and applying themselves well in the dispensation of the Buddha Gautama, free from (defilements), they have attained to that which should be attained (the stages of enlightenment culminating in arhatship) encountering the Deathless. They enjoy the peace of nirvana freely obtained (i.e., obtained without payment, avyayena, KhpA). This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    8. "As a post deeply planted in the earth stands unshaken by winds from the four quarters so, too, I declare is the righteous person who comprehends with wisdom the Four Noble Truths. This precious jewel is the  [Noble or Arya] Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    9. "Those who realized the Four Noble Truths well taught by the one profound in wisdom (the Buddha, the "Awakened One"), even though they may be exceedingly heedless, they will not take an eighth rebirth* (in the realm of sense spheres). This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    • [*The reason it is stated that there will be no eighth rebirth for a person who has attained the stage of stream entry, the first stage of enlightenment, is that such a being -- now cleansed of some of the defilements (kilesas), taints (asavas), bonds (samyojanas), and corruptions (upakkilesas) that bind one to rebirth -- can at most only be reborn seven times (in the realm of sense spheres, according to Ven. Piyadassi but nowhere corroborated by the texts that we can find) before attaining full enlightenment and complete and final liberation from all rebirth and suffering.]
    10. "With his gaining of insight one abandons three states of mind, namely: self-illusion, doubt, and clinging to mere rites and rituals as a means of trying to gain enlightenment (sīlabbata-parāmāsa), should there be any. One is also fully freed from the four states of woe and is, therefore, incapable of committing the six major wrongdoings.* This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    • [*Six major wrongdoings: i. matricide, ii. patricide, iii. the murder of arhats (fully enlightened beings), iv. the shedding of a buddha's blood, v. causing a schism in the Sangha (anantarika karma), and vi. pernicious wrong views or false beliefs with fixed destiny/results (niyata micca ditthi).]
    11. "Any harmful action a stream-winner* may still do by deed, word, or thought, one is incapable of concealing it since it has been proclaimed that such concealing is impossible for one who has seen the Path (to Nirvana). This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    • [*A stream-entrant (sotapanna), the first stage of enlightenment.]
    Woodland terrestrial-devas gathered round.
    12. "As the woodland groves though in the early heat of the summer months are crowned with blossoming flowers, even so is the sublime Dharma leading to (the calm of) nirvana that is taught (by the Buddha) as the highest good (blameless and beyond the reach of any further suffering). This precious jewel is the Buddha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    13. "The Peerless Excellent One (the Buddha) the Knower (of Nirvana), the Giver (of Nirvana), the Bringer (of the Noble Path), taught the excellent Dharma (Teaching, Doctrine). This precious jewel is the Buddha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    14. "Their past (karma) is spent, their new no more arises [an arhat makes only kriya not karma], their mind/heart to future becoming no longer clings. The seed (of rebirth-consciousness) has evaporated; they have no more craving for rebirth.
    Those wise beings fade out (of this "continued wandering on" of samsara through rebirth and suffering) as the flame of this lamp (which has just faded away). This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness.
    • [9:  These last three stanzas are recited by Sakka King of the Devas (KhpA).]
    Sakka is Indra is St. Michael.
    15. "Whatever (non-human) beings are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, come let us salute the Buddha, the Perfect One (Tathagata), honored by devas and humans. May there be happiness.

    16. "Whatever beings are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, come let us salute the perfect Dharma, honored by devas and humans. May there be happiness.
    17. "Whatever beings are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, come let us salute the perfect Sangha, honored by devas and humans. May there be happiness."

    Ancient Aryans and the Ramayana (video)

    Robert Sepehr (Atlantean Gardens); Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    The Ramayana is an ancient epic poem of the Vedic period that remains famous in modern India and Southeast Asia.

    The story is about King Rama who must save his kidnapped wife from the demon (Asura) King Ravana of [Sri] Lanka.

    Aided by an army of monkeys, Rama reaches the end of subcontinent land and wants to cross over the strait to the island of Lanka.

    Among his army a monkey-hybrid named Nala then leads the construction of a causeway across the ocean to Lanka, collecting logs of wood and giant boulders the monkeys cast into the water to build this bridge.
    The actual land bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka as identified from air/space.

    King Rama and the monkey chiefs on the bridge to Lanka (

    Violent LAPD cop goes uncharged in OC

    KPCC (; Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    Orange County prosecutors said in a decision document today that they would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that LAPD Officer Kevin Ferguson used excessive force [not that they would be that aggressive in the prosecution of one of their own residents anyway, so why even go through the motions?]

    DEPRESSION: real causes, real solutions (video)

    Johann Hari, Sonali Kolhatkar (Rising Up); Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

    Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression -- and the Unexpected Solutions
    Nearly every single one of us knows someone who suffers from [clinical] depression. Perhaps we have been diagnosed ourselves.

    Nearly 7% of the American population is estimated to have had at least one depressive episode in their lifetimes.
    It's social, shame, sexual, NOT all in our heads.
    Scientists have for years acted as if depression arises from a "chemical imbalance" in the brain -- not enough of the happy brain chemical serotonin.

    So pharmaceutical companies began offering toxic chemical answers in the form of anti-depressants like Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft.
    But what if this conventional view of depression and anti-depressants is wrong?

    Award-winning journalist Johann Hari -- whose powerful book about addiction, Chasing the Scream, became a New York Times bestseller -- has set his sights on depression, coming at it from the point of view of someone who spent years taking toxic anti-depressants.

    What he found through his years-long global journey and hundreds of interviews with experts is distilled into a new book called Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions.
    Johann Hari: The New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and others. His TED talk, "Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong" has been viewed over 21 million times.