Friday, November 30, 2018

Ajahn Chah: The Key to Liberation (audio)

Ajahn Chah ( via 1983dukkha; Ellie A., Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Ajahn Chah, although Thai, had the remarkable supernatural power of instruction.

That is to say, of all the supernatural powers the Buddha knew -- and he knew many siddhis, psychic powers and working of wonders -- he regarded the "power of instruction" as supreme. He regularly practiced it, while avoiding as much as possible the working of other miracles, marvels, and mind-bending violations of our physics.
Ajahn Chah was a Thai Theravada Buddhist monk of the forest tradition who had the remarkable capacity to effectively teach Westerners who came to Northeast Thailand in search of wisdom and liberation, enlightenment (bodhi, "awakening") and nirvana.

In this translated talk, delivered by a Western Buddhist monk of British origin and brought to us by YouTuber 1983dukkha, remembered by another student of Ajahn Chah, we come to the key, the essence, the most important thing to gaining liberation and freedom from all suffering.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Happiness and Hugging Meditation (Nov. 29)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The secret to happiness is to get off of addictive dopamine (dope derived from the use of our cell phones, social media, white sugar, etc.)

Dr. Lustig's scientific research
Instead, we get onto serotonin, as Dr. Robert Lustig, MD's research amply shows (

Buddhist meditation is founded on long-term happiness, contentment, and a kind of supersensual bliss called piti that corresponds to Dr. Lustig's findings.

There are The Four C's to apply. One of them is to connect face to face, seeing others deeply, hugging.
  • Happiness and Hugging Meditation
  • FREE, 7:00-8:30 PM, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
  • Dharma Meditation Initiative, Los Angeles
  • Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove, Pasadena
Dharma Meditation Initiative - MARC UCLA- Disclosure Project - Dharma Punx

Buddhism arrives in America: Kung Fu (TV)

David Carradine, Kwai Chang Caine (Kung Fu) via Grasshopper, 4/28/18; Wisdom Quarterly
Master and Grasshopper in Shaolin Buddhist temple where Kwai Chang Caine was trained

Kung Fu: Caine vs. Apache Leader (Part 1)
This clip taken from the episode in Series 1 called "Dark Angel," starring David Carradine as Caine, Keye Luke as Master Po, Paul Harper as Davey Peartree, and Larry Duran as the Apache leader.

Guide to Buddhist America (Morreale)
Kung Fu probably had more to do with the sudden popularity of Buddhism in North America than WW II and the discovery of Zen Buddhism and Japanese customs by U.S. troops overseas.

D.K. Suzuki and other translators, and the great British cultural translator, Alan Watts, may also have had a great deal to do with it. But for popularity's sake, this brought the Dharma to the West and incited a martial arts craze.

Kung Fu is an American action-adventure martial arts western drama television series starring David Carradine (as the grown up "Grasshopper"). The series follows the adventures of Kwai Chang Caine.

He's portrayed by David Carradine as an adult, Keith Carradine as a teen, and Radames Pera as a boy.

The character is a Shaolin Buddhist monk who travels through the American Old West, armed only with his Buddhist spiritual training and his skill in martial arts, as he seeks Danny Caine, his half-brother.

Many of the aphorisms used in the series are adapted from or derived directly from the Tao Te Ching ("The Book of Changes"), a famous text of ancient Taoist philosophy attributed to the sage Lao-tzu. More

Buddhism is more "Western" than you think

Robert Wright); Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
“Golden Buddha, 2005” by Nam June Paik (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
Why... (
Not long ago I was accused of something I hadn’t realized was a bad thing: clarity.

Adam Gopnik, reviewing my book Why Buddhism is True, in The New Yorker in August (2017), wrote:

“He makes Buddhist ideas and their history clear. Perhaps he makes the ideas too clear.”

Underlying this allegation (which I vigorously deny!) is a common view: that Buddhist ideas defy clear articulation — and that in a sense the point of Buddhist ideas is to defy clear articulation. After all, aren’t those Zen koans — “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” and so on — supposed to suggest that language, and the linear thought it embodies, can’t capture the truth about reality?
Gopnik seems to think that this drift of Buddhist thought — its apparent emphasis on the inscrutability of things — largely insulates it from scrutiny. Buddhist discourse that acknowledges, even embraces, paradox may “hold profound existential truths,” Gopnik says, but by the same token it has, as a kind of built-in property, an “all-purpose evasion of analysis.”

So apparently people like me, who would like to evaluate Buddhist ideas in the light of modern science and philosophy, should save our breath.

The question Gopnik is raising isn’t just an academic one. Every day, millions of people practice mindfulness meditation — they sit down, focus on their breath, and calm their minds. But the point of mindfulness meditation isn’t just to calm you down.

Light Morning Meditation in Floyd, Virginia 2017 (Lori Marsh/Light Morning Community)
Rather, the idea — as explained in ancient Buddhist texts — is that a calm, contemplative mind can help you see the world as it really is.

It would be nice to critically examine this powerful claim, but if we can’t say clearly what Buddhists mean by “the world as it really is,” then how can we examine it? How can we figure out — or even argue about — whether meditation is indeed drawing people closer to the truth about reality?

The cultural critic Edward Said famously used the term “Orientalism” to refer to a patronizing way Westerners sometimes think of Eastern cultures and ideas — as charmingly exotic, perhaps, but as deficient in various Western virtues, including rationality and rigor.

Said was talking mainly about Middle Eastern cultures, but much the same could be said of Buddhism: Western thinkers may cherish its art and its cryptic aphorisms, and may see meditation as therapeutically useful.

Why Buddhism is True (Robert Wright)
But many of them don’t imagine Buddhist thought playing in the same league as Western thought; they don’t imagine a Buddhist philosophy that involves coherent conceptual structures that can be exposed to evidence and logic and then stand or fall on their merits.

This condescension is unfounded. Not only have Buddhist thinkers for millenniums been making very much the kinds of claims that Western philosophers and psychologists make — many of these claims are looking good in light of modern Western thought.

In fact, in some cases Buddhist thought anticipated Western thought, grasping things about the human mind, and its habitual misperception of reality, that modern psychology is only now coming to appreciate.

Consider a quote that Gopnik employs in suggesting that appraising Buddhist philosophy may be a fool’s errand. It is from a Zen Buddhist who, in analyzing a famous text called the Heart Sutra, wrote this: “Things exist but they are not real.” More

Moonlit: The Punch in the Head (sutra)

Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Aloka (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly, Ven. Thanissaro (trans.), Juñha Sutra, "Moonlit Sutra" (Verses of Inspiring Uplift, The Udana 4.4)

Help, this shapeshifting yakkha is after me!
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha (Rajgir) at the Bamboo Grove in the Squirrels' Feeding Ground.

On that occasion Ven. Sariputra and Ven. Maha Moggallana were staying in Pigeon Cave. On a moonlit night, Sariputra with his head newly shaven was sitting outside in the open air, absorbed in concentration (samadhi).

I want to beat on his bald head. - No, friend!
Just then two companion ogres (yakkhas, maras, asuras, jinn) were flying north to south for one reason or another. They saw Sariputra with his head newly shaven. And seeing him, one ogre said, "I'm inspired to give this wandering ascetic a blow on the head."

When this was said, the other ogre replied, "Enough, friend! Do not lay a hand on that wandering ascetic, who is outstanding, of great power and might."

A second time and third time, the ogre repeated his wish, and a second and third time, the other replied, "Enough, friend! Do not lay a hand on that wandering ascetic, who is outstanding, of great power and might."

I'm an ogre, so I do what I want when I want.
The ogre, ignoring his friend, gave Sariputra a severe blow on the head. That blow might have knocked over an elephant of seven or eight cubits (the length between elbow and fingertips) tall, or split a great rocky crag. Right there and then the ogre -- crying out, "I'm burning!" -- fell into the Waveless Deep (Great Hell).

Now, Maha Moggallana -- using his psychic powers, the purified divine eye that surpasses the human -- saw the ogre strike Sariputra on the head. Seeing this, he went to Sariputra then said to him, "I hope you're well, friend Sariputra. I hope you're comfortable and free of pain."

"I'm well, friend Moggallana, and comfortable. But I do have a slight headache."

"How amazing, friend Sariputra, how astounding, how great your power and might! Just now I saw an ogre give you a blow on the head. So great was that blow that it might have knocked over a tall elephant or split a rocky crag. But all you say is, 'I'm well, friend Moggallana, and comfortable. But I do have a slight headache.'"

"How amazing, friend Moggallana, how astounding, how great your power and might! Where you saw an ogre just now, I saw not even a whirlwind!"

The Blessed One -- with his purified divine ear that surpasses the human -- heard his two great male disciples (counterparts to the great Buddhist nuns Ven. Khema and Ven. Uppalavanna) conversing. And realizing the significance of what they were saying, he exclaimed:

Whose mind, standing like a rock, shakes not
With dispassion toward things that ignite passion,
Unprovoked by things that ignite provocation:
When one's mind-heart is developed in this way,
Whence will there come to disappointment or pain?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Global Day of Giving (#GivingTuesday); Editors, Wisdom Quarterly, SUPPORT: Dharma Meditation Initiative

Holiday To-Do List (oasisnyc)
#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving (Buddhist dana).

A team of "influencers" and founding partners joined forces, collaborating across sectors, offering expertise working to launch #GivingTuesday. They have continued to shape, grow, and strengthen the movement.

This was the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y -- a cultural center in NYC has been bringing people together since 1874 around the values of service and giving back. More 
Giving in Buddhism
Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia edit

Dāna is the act and practice of giving, generosity, letting go. It is a profitable thing to do, although its benefits are immediately sublime and with time ripen later to tangible results in our conditions and situation.

Giving to moral people is a cause of more merit, so giving is often directed at monastics or spiritually-developing people.

In Buddhism, it has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind of the giver reducing and eliminating ego and relieving the giver of clinging and the suffering that arises from holding wrong views and actions.
Generosity developed through giving leads to the experience of material wealth and future rebirth in fortunate states. In the Pāli language canon's Dighajanu Sutra, generosity (Pāli cāga, synonymous with dāna) is identified as one of the four traits conditioning happiness and wealth in this and future lives.

Conversely, nongiving, not letting go, grasping, clinging leads to unhappy states and poverty.

Dāna leads to one of the pāramitās or "perfections," the dāna pāramitā. This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.

It is better to give without grasping after results, but even giving with the right view that such karma bears wished-for and welcome results is very good. If it feels good to do good, the Buddha encouraged the world to keep doing it and to do more of it.

Buddhists believe that giving without seeking anything in return leads to greater spiritual wealth. Moreover, it reduces the acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to continued disappointment/suffering from egotism. More

Behind the Scenes: "I Dream of Jeannie" (video)

Vintage RC; Dark Element; Seth Auberon, Crystal Q., Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
I Dream of Jeannie: American fantasy sitcom starring Barbara Eden as a 2,000-year-old genie and astronaut Larry Hagman (Dallas), her "master." They fall in love and eventually marry. Produced by Screen Gems, it originally aired 139 episodes on NBC from 1965-1970.

The History of the Djinn edited and expanded by Wisdom Quarterly
In Buddhism and Hinduism, genies (jinn) are rakshasas, yakshas, asuras, nagas, pretas.
Imam Ali Conquers Jinn, unknown artist, Ahsan-ol-Kobar (1568) Golestan Palace (Wiki)
Genies, shapeshifters, attack the Buddha.
Who or what are "genies"? In Buddhist cosmology, they are called rakshasas, yakshas, asuras, nagas, or pretas. The Arabic word jinn, Romanized as djinn, is from the verb "janna," which means to hide or conceal.
They are intelligent/crafty spirits with a sordid history of uprising, banishment, and demonic behavior.

The first stories of the djinn emerged from early Arabian culture and were later adopted by Islamic theology.

Also known as jinn/genies, they are a lower rank of angels that can appear in humanoid, shadow, and hybrid-animal forms. They are able to possess humans.
Sign it, SOB, or I'll take your power!
They were without original form, invisible spirit beings made of a scorching, smokeless fire, which in today's terms would probably be described as a plasma.

It is said that they are masters of shapeshifting, with the ability to adopt any form they like. In Islam, genies are often spoken of as taking the forms of snakes (nagas), dogs, and human shaped shadows.
Infection: evil spirits, like jinn, can cause toothaches, Ottoman Manuscript 1880s.
According to legend, they inhabited the earth before humankind, approximately 2,000 years prior to the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Originally they were equal to angels (devas) in stature.

O, look what this Shaytan as a snake has done!
When Gods [a group of creator gods] created Adam [the Adamaa of Adama, one iteration or generation of humans], they told the angels to bow to him [to humans], and the angels respected this request.

But the leader of the djinn, a spirit known as Iblis (also known as Shaytan/Satan), refused and proclaimed he would not bow to a being that was inferior to his own race. More

Monday, November 26, 2018

U.S. Mars' landing a success! (photos)

SomethingIsHappening; Associated Press ( via; Editors, Wisdom Quarterly
(Gaia/Anonymous) Is something hidden happening on Mars? ● Anonofficial.comFacebook

Mars landing looms for NASA; anxiety building a day out
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - NASA's InSight spacecraft aimed for a bull's-eye touchdown on Mars [and made it today], zooming in like an arrow with no turning back.

InSight's journey took six months and [allegedly] 300 million miles (482 million km) comes to a precarious grand finale Monday afternoon.

The robotic geologist [shown on right] -- designed to explore Mars' insides, surface to core [but has no capacity whatsoever to detect signs of life, present or ancient] -- must go from 12,300 mph (19,800 kph) to zero in six minutes flat as it pierces the Martian atmosphere, pops out a parachute, fires its descent engines and, scientists hope, lands on three legs.

It is NASA's first attempt to land on Mars in six years, and all those involved are understandably anxious. NASA's top science mission official, Thomas Zurbuchen, confided Sunday that his stomach is already churning.

Secret: Earthling-humans are already present
The hardest thing is sitting on his hands and doing nothing, he said, except hoping and praying everything goes perfectly for InSight.

"Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration," noted InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt. "It's such a difficult thing, it's such a dangerous thing that there's always a fairly uncomfortably large chance that something could go wrong."

How fake must it be for anyone to notice?
Earth's success rate at Mars is 40 percent, counting every attempted flyby, orbital flight and landing by the U.S., Russia and other countries dating all the way back to 1960. But the U.S. has pulled off seven successful Mars landings in the past four decades. More

NASA spacecraft lands on red planet after six-month journey
This is more fake than the stuff I'm famous for
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - A NASA spacecraft designed to burrow beneath the surface of Mars landed on the red planet Monday after a six-month...journey and a perilous, six-minute descent through the rose-hued atmosphere. More

The AP story changes

"Flawless": NASA craft lands on Mars after perilous journey
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - A NASA spacecraft designed to drill down into Mars' interior landed on the planet Monday after a perilous, supersonic plunge through its red skies, setting off jubilation among scientists who had waited in white-knuckle suspense for confirmation to arrive across 100 million miles of space.

Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, leapt out of their chairs, screaming, dancing, and hugging, upon learning that InSight's had safely arrived on Mars, the graveyard for a multitude of previous missions.

FEMEN: topless protesters for women's rights

Women and male allies (; Daily Caller (video); Wisdom Quarterly

Topless protesters block Trump
(TheDC Shorts) Topless FEMEN protesters blocked Pres. Trump while he was in Paris for the 100th anniversary of WWI armistice. Protesting in the nude has become trendy for activists.

With seven branches, more than 150,000 followers, dozens of actions, conferences, hundreds of media reports over the last year, FEMEN is here and will continue to be here in spite of the personal issues of any former members.
7 отделений в мире, десятки акций и конференций, 150 тыс симпатизирующих и сотни медиа заголовков в 2016. ФЕМЕН существует и ФЕМЕН будет существовать вопреки проблемам его экс-членов. More

Bad karma: Delusion is the worst thing

Ajahn Lee, Thai Forest Tradition, via Ven. Sujato; Dhr. Seven, Aloka (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

I'm not deluded. I'm just high.
Delusion seeps into us the way blood seeps throughout every part of our bodies.

When we do unwholesome things (the kinds of karma/actions that bring unwished-for results), we're deluded. When we do mundane good, we're still deluded.
Even though we're well-versed in the Dharma, we cannot yet escape from the overwhelming power of delusion.

No matter how hard we resist, it stays right on our heels. We may want to make merit (karma that produces wished-for results), but when we're deluded, we do not know what to do and what to leave undone.
OK, I'm deluded and buzzed.
We simply want the merit. We observe the precepts because we want to be good, but we're trying to do it without knowing what real virtue is.

It's the same when we practice to concentrate. We want results, but we can't distinguish right-concentration from wrong-concentration. We simply keep wanting samadhi and being disappointed.
This is called "delusion" insofar as our knowing is not in line with the truth. It's not that we don't know anything. We know, but what we know is at variance with reality, away from truth.

We're like a wayward person who has lost his/her way: We can keep going; it's just that were not on the right path.
Suppose, for example, we want to go to Bangkok, but we get confused about the way and start heading toward BangPuu. We're off the path as far as Bangkok is concerned, but we're on the "right" path for BangPuu. We can keep going.

Shut the hell up. Keep partying.
It's not the case that when on the wrong path we can't go. We can, but it's the "wrong" path as far as the result or destination we want.
We're simply going to end up disappointed. This is why delusion is called a "demon." It's the worst thing. This is also why wisdom -- knowing and seeing -- is the best thing. We awaken.