Monday, April 6, 2020

Get paid without working from home (funny)

Bailey253 (imgur.com); Ananda (Dharma Buddhist Meditation), Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
Weekly online meditation sessions via Zoom: Dharma Buddhist Meditation, Los Angeles
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Meditation? Should I take notes, or just sit?
This is how not to do your online conferences. Online meditation practice is different. For one thing, meditation is voluntary. For another, meaning makes all the difference. A bullsh*t job kills us, whereas meaningful meditation elevates us.

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
Audiobook with Christopher Ragland
From bestselling writer David Graeber comes a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs and their consequences.

Does your job make a meaningful contribution to society or the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled "On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs."

My work gives my life danger but meaning (CCupps).
It went viral. After a million online views in 17 different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer.

There are millions of people -- corporate analysts, consultants, marketers, adjusters, assistants, co-managers, coordinators, rubber stampers, lawyers -- whose jobs are useless and, tragically, they know it!

I don't give a sh*t about my job. *Burp*
These people are caught in "bullshit" jobs. Graeber explores one of society's most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln.

Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation. More

American Buddhists do 3 years of silence

Los Angeles Times via Mercury News (mercurynews.com, 9/15/09); Eds., Wisdom Quarterly
Dozens of American Buddhists prepare for 3 years-plus of silence to heighten inner awareness
BOWIE, Arizona - Deep in a remote desert valley, Stephane Dreyfus and several dozen other American Buddhists are preparing to undergo a mind-altering journey: three years, three months, and three days of silence.

There will be no word from the outside world during the Great Retreat, only the deafening quiet of sand, rock, and cactus, with seemingly endless time to ponder the emptiness [impersonal and therefore liberating nature] of life.

Dreyfus and his fellow adherents hope to find enlightenment in the silence, a gift they plan to share when they emerge from their long seclusion.

They know that outsiders might dismiss them as eccentrics, but their résumés suggest otherwise. Among them are an airline pilot, a dermatologist, a retired biochemist, and a former television editor.

They’re jettisoning the trappings of their lives to carry on a Tibetan Buddhist tradition that traces its lineage through the Dalai Lamas of Tibet. For many, that means leaving behind six-figure incomes, young children, or aging parents for the solitude of cramped cabins made of adobe, wood, and hay bales.

Prolonged silence, they believe, is the only way to reach the deep level of inner awareness required to bring true happiness to the world. “If I can get to the position of being perfectly free of suffering and develop high levels of mental clarity that cause enlightenment, I can show others how to get there perfectly, quickly,” says Dreyfus, 32, who left a job as an assistant editor on the prime-time show “The Bachelor” to teach yoga and prepare for his undertaking.

Dreyfus, a Berkeley native, will be joined by his fiancee, Jessica Kung, a Yale graduate and also a yoga teacher. When they start the retreat, they will be newlyweds, sharing a 500-square-foot cabin, communicating only through gestures and facial expressions and refraining from physical intimacy.

Such physical pleasure, they both say, would dissipate prana — [lit., "breath," chi, spiritus, invisible life force] inner energy — distracting from the important karmic work at hand.

“I feel a desire to have some serious Ph.D.-like study in yoga meditation,” says Kung, 27. “There is nothing better to do with my youth.”

Families bewildered, angry, skeptical
Padmasambhava Rinpoche, 

Such talk provokes bewilderment, skepticism, and even anger from the family members of many of those who will join the retreat. Prof. Hubert Dreyfus, who teaches existential philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, worries that his son, Stephane, is wasting his talent for writing and filmmaking to pursue [spiritual] ideas he sees as irrational.

The elder Dreyfus admits his son is happier than ever. Still, he can’t understand why anyone would leave loved ones behind to disappear into the desert — in this case, for 1,190 days. “I’m just torn,” says Dreyfus, 79. “I want grandchildren.”

Each retreat participant will need $60,000 to $75,000 to build a cabin and pay for three years of food and supplies. Some already have set aside the money. A few are searching for sponsors at yoga and meditation seminars or relying on the generosity of others on the retreat.

Those on retreat will cook for themselves in cabins equipped with kitchens and bathrooms. Power will be supplied by solar panels or propane tanks, and members will probably have air horns to summon help if something goes wrong. Volunteer caretakers, fellow American Buddhists who live nearby, will help by growing or shopping for food and dropping it off twice a week.

David Stumpf, a retired plant biochemist from the University of Arizona who is planning to join the retreat, is in charge of installing a water supply system in the valley. Dr. Stumpf has nearly finished building the 600-square-foot cabin he and his wife, Susan, will share on a small patch of earth surrounded by paddle cactus and ocotillo plants.

Surveying the rolling landscape and cloud-streaked sky, the 56-year-old proclaims the setting ideal for deep meditation. “This place is stunning at sunrise,” he says. “The lighting on the hillside is just magical.”

To reach “retreat valley,” participants drive 107 miles east from Tucson on the Interstate 10 Freeway through stretches of desert to the small town of Bowie then head south on a narrow asphalt road.

From there, a rutted dirt road leads to Diamond Mountain University, a nonprofit Buddhist campus where footpaths connect an adobe temple, a tented student lounge, and round Mongolian-style yurts. Another short road from there to retreat valley is even more primitive, coursing through brush-covered hillsides once home to a cattle ranch.

In the heart of the valley is a single yurt within sight of several cabins under construction. This is the home of Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally, the university’s founders. [What could go wrong? Certainly not Murphy's Law, which is unerring in these situations.] More

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Pope Francis' Palm Sunday Mass in 1 minute

Vatican News English; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Seth Auberon (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
(Vatican News English, April 5, 2020) Pope Francis' Palm Sunday Mass in 1 minute: Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Palm Sunday and prays the Angelus in an empty St. Peter's Basilica, focusing his homily on love and service. Watch the Holy Roman Empire's entire pomp and circumstance mass hypnotic induction ceremony as it holds sway over 1/3rd of the planet with its corporate patriarchy.

Sid, it sucks being famous. - I know, Jess.
As we explore the Abrahamic faiths, let's start with Jesus Christ Superstar (Yesu of Nazareth, St. Issa) instead of the Mo's. Today is "Palm Sunday" and the Vatican Propaganda Office, located in the Holy See [built to worship Mithra (Maitri = Maitreya = Messiah) before converting to the composite figure of Jesus Christ (Y'shua, Joshua, Iesous, Issa, Isa) is milking the cow liquid out of it.

Getting with the times, the Vatican PR Department has condensed a 1:42:06 minute ritual to an empty house in a locked down palace down to a manageable (i.e., wordless) one-minute.

Zealot (Reza Aslan)
It's suitable for Instagram, FB, TikTok, even Twitter. The tiny country called the "Holy See" in the center of sickly Rome is the current city-state-cum-capital of the Church's worldwide Holy Roman Empire. It claims to have 7 coronavirus cases in a total population of about 1,000 mostly gay and bisexual bishops, carnal cardinals, pervey priests, Swiss guards, functionaries, and bankers.

The CEO, Papa Francisco (Pope Francis I), is trying to hold it down as Rome burns with disease along with the rest of the world suffering the new "plague" or "crown of death." But we're all friends in the afterlife, so for Holy Week we ask, Who was Jesus of Nazareth? And where was he for those 18 "lost years"? The years excised from the official imperial version of the Bible, fabricated by the Neo-Flavian dynasty also called the Constantinian dynasty and its power-hungry Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea?

BBC: "Jesus was a Buddhist monk"

Mtn climbing and skiing in living room (video)

MyFrisk #StayAtHome (imgur.com/gallery/bs4PfBl); CC Liu, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

"Holy" Week, Easter, Ramadan, Passover

JCSS; Sheldon S., Crystal Q., Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

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I'm better when I meditate. :)
There are three post-Zoroaster/Mithra "Abrahamic [non-Brahmanic] religions" (plus Yazidism). And there are three Dharmic religions: Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism (plus Sikhism).

This is a big week for Christianity, Islam, and Judaism as Christians, Muslims, and Jews enjoy the holiest time of year, even holier than Christmastide, the pale Christian version of joyous Saturnalia.

Paper Tiger: "Donny the would-be Dictator"
What are people up to in this time of universal quarantine, mandatory house arrest, police state powers flexing their muscle (to "protect" us), curfews, beatings, public shaming, neighbor-denouncing (paid reporting/snitching), enforced mask wearing, distancing, demoralizing autocratic leadership, and all that good stuff we love as a free country craving a military-dictatorship and centralized government (*Irony*).

It's at times like these that the real "essential services" are determined. The freedom to practice whatever form of spirituality/religion we choose is paramount.

Islam: Ramadan
Ramadan, also referred to as the "Fasting Month," is observed by Muslims worldwide in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar year. Ramadan in Arabic means "scorching heat."

Ramzan's "scorching heat." Purify your gaze!
This is possibly because the holiday falls in a time when the temperatures are quite high in that part of the world [or more likely because of the heat of the austerities or Sanskrit tapas of religious exertion].

Let us remember our own hypocrisy and bias.
During this holiday Muslims are not supposed to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset.

Fasting [which is also practiced by Buddhist monastics and intensive-meditators, whose restraint is to eat by day but only until noon and never at night] is one of the five pillars of Islamic principles.

Who Speaks for Islam?
They are also instructed to avoid evil thoughts and sinful behavior such as cursing, lying, [masturbating or viewing pornography and instead "purifying their gaze"], and fighting (except in self-defense).

Normally, the sighting of the crescent moon marks the end of the Holy Month. Muslims break their fasting by sharing meals with family and friends in a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr or the "Feast of Fast-Breaking."

What is the history [origin] of Ramadan? According to the Islamic belief, the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the holy month of Ramadan as he meditated in a cave outside the holy city of Mecca. More

Jews: Passover
It's not. But it is very poor framing that sounds defensive (jewishvoiceforpeace.org).
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"I'm only Jewish on my parent's side" - Ram Dass
(USA Today) Typically at sundown [at the beginning of this holiday], Jewish people around the world would gather at a table to commemorate Passover, one of the most important and widely observed Jewish holidays of the year.

The festival typically brings friends, relatives, and even [non-Jewish] strangers together for a celebration of freedom highlighted by a seder [lit., "order," like the famous Last Supper] dinner.

But this year, like many other events and celebrations, Passover plans probably will be cancelled because of the spread of the coronavirus. But what is it?

I'm the face of Judaism, right? - Well, Bibi...
Passover is an eight-day [African] holiday that commemorates [the passing over" of your house by rubbing blood on the door during] the departure [exodus] of the Jewish [or Canaanite] people from slavery in Egypt [in North Africa] more than 3,000 years ago.

The name is a reference to their holy book (Exodus 12:13), where it says their tribal God inflicts ten plagues on the Egyptians after the king (pharaoh) refuses to free the Israelites [or Canaanites, of neighboring Israel, North Africa].

God (YHWH) used to have a wife: Asherah.
During the final "plague," the killing [or purposeful murder] of the firstborn sons, their war-like tribal God “passed over,” or spared, the houses of the Israelites/Canaanites who rubbed blood of innocent slaughtered lambs on their doors, as their tribal God instructed them. [Why did the God want it to be innocent blood? Magic is magic, and the spirits demand specific ingredients for the magic to work.]

Thou shalt not mention my wife or Eve 1: Lilith
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism (urj.org), the largest stream of Judaism in North America, explains: "When we ask people, 'What is the most important part of your Jewish identity?'" one answer stands out. "The dominant answer is, 'Standing up for equality, pursuing justice, and standing up for the rights of the marginalized.' These are core Jewish commitments. And if you ever had a ritual that teaches those commitments, it is Passover."
Christians: Easter
It's like neopagan Easter for Eostre when England celebrates The Lady of Cornwall.
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All Christians were forced to cover their heads
"Easter" began as the worship of sexy and fertile Eostre (the source of our English word estrus), a pagan fertility goddess appropriated by Christian yahoos.

Pagan Anglo-Saxons held feasts in Ēostre's honor, but the tradition died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection (rebirth) of Jesus during Paschal ("Easter") month, during the time of renewal called spring. Astrotheology and archetypal religious themes explain it all.

What is a "Christian"? There are three types -- Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox. Catholics are far and away the most numerous, and Eastern and Greek Orthodox are likely the closest to the real thing, but the Protestants are revivalist movements trying to get back to the original form, as if there were one that weren't Jewish pre-Emperor Constantine.

Russian Orthodox: Story of  Easter with black African Jesus
Easter (pagan Eostre Feast), Pascha in Greek and Latin, or "Resurrection [Rebirth] Sunday," is an old pagan festival and Christian holiday.

It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament [the Roman Empire's new version of the Bible, which created "Caesar's Messiah," the blond Jesus we all know] as having occurred on the third day after his entombment following crucifixion for political crimes by the ruling Romans at Calvary circa 30 AD.

Easter is the culmination of the "Passion [Suffering] of Jesus," preceded by Lent or Great Lent, a 40-day period of austerities like vegetarian fasting, prayer, and penance.

Easter (Eostre, Ostara, Austro)
Today is Palm Sunday. Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week," which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension. More

Visiting Czech Buddhist abbey Karuna Sevena

M.S. (Karuna Sevena, Oct. 31, 2018); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Visiting a European Buddhist abbey
Summer, art nouveau (Alfons Mucha)
I walked into the monastic dwelling or ārāma called Karuṇā Sevena in the Czech Republic for the first time in my life a few months ago.

I was injured, chronically tired, sleep deprived, and overwhelmed with obligations and aspirations. I am a mom, a wife, and an entrepreneur.

I'd been involved in many projects which I enjoyed but was overwhelmed with choices and stretched thin on time.

Voluntary work projects were hitting walls. I was disappointed, burnt out, and confused. In other words, I’d say I was an average ambitious person for my age and situation trying to help others in an average developed country. A few days later I left the ārāma.

Map of the Czech Republic, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia united under Prague (wiki)
The former Czechoslovakia is now the Bohemian Czech Republic next to Germany.
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The first thing I wanted to do was go back to the temple. For it was a place of acceptance,
  • where I could be what I am,
  • where there seemed to be no expectations,
  • where I could give freely and receive freely,
  • where I felt genuine cared for and genuinely cared for others,
  • where I wasn’t afraid of any hidden agendas.
  • where others happily accepted my little contributions.
Northern Czech Republic (Marek Stransky)
I would wake up as if I were in my mom’s arms, happy and safe. My children were welcome, and their noises were welcome, too. There was no need to worry.

When I walked out, I noticed how much my outlook had changed. I was suddenly OK with the chaos of the choices at my disposal. I was OK with my obligations. I was OK with my aspirations.

Historic Prague, UNESCO World Heritage Site
I wasn’t afraid of people’s agendas. I got some sleep. I took care of my injury. I rested. I became more present.

I was more lovingly kind toward my kids. I was more lovingly kind toward my husband. I was there for them. And they noticed it, too. It was subtle, yet it profoundly changed my world.

Czech Venus of Dolni (29-25K BCE)
I am grateful to Bhikkhunī Visuddhi [Buddhist nun "Purification"], who despite her illness was still available for visits. I am grateful for her listening, her advice, and her warm and welcoming presence.

I know I’m just one of many for whom her listening and advice (spiritual guidance) has this kind of influence.

I’ve witnessed others, such as a lady who left her job to help support immigrants stuck in Greece, on the verge of burn out.

Autumn (Alfons Mucha)
In just one meeting with Ven. Visuddhi, she seems to have gotten calmer, more energized, and inspired. It was as if she herself found a new direction. All she needed was Ven. Visuddhi’s presence, patience, and occasional advice.

Ven. Visuddhi lives in the abbey Karuṇā Sevena, which needs repairs so others can continue to receive the benefits of her free and patient giving of herself.

If you are interested in supporting her, follow this website. - M.S.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Laugh Aid: Comedy Central (video)

Laugh Aid (Comedy Central); Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


LIVE NOW: Laugh Aid
(Comedy Central) Comedy stars raise money for comics struggling during the pandemic fundraiser. Welcome to Laugh Aid, where comedy stars -- including Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, and Hannibal Buress -- are coming together (while staying safely at home) to help out rising comics who are struggling to make ends meet during this crisis.

This multi-hour livestream fundraiser is brought to you by Comedy Central and Comedy Gives Back, and features stand-up, podcasts, interviews, sketches and sneak peeks of unseen projects. (Contains strong language!) DONATE HERE: cc.com/laughaid. For more info about Comedy Gives Back: comedygivesback.com.

Emptiness is the Greatest (Ajahn Brahm)

Imgur;Ajahn Brahm (BSWA); Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon, A. Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(Imgur.com, 3/28/20) APCs shipping through the high desert [heading toward Los Angeles, CA]

Emptiness is the Greatest
Ajahn Brahm spoke on March 26, 2020 at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia (BSWA). This Dharma talk on "emptiness" (sunnata = anatta, the egoless, selfless, and impersonal nature of all things) is from a series of daily meditation and Dhamma teachings offered by the monks at Bodhinyana Monastery to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic. To support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Listen, Liberal: Dems screw us (comedy)

Jimmy Dore (TJDS); Family Guy; Thomas Frank; S. Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly
WARNING: F-word, obscenity-laced, angry rant! Maverick comedian Jimmy Dore calls everyone out.

Bestselling author Thomas Frank takes a close look at "liberals." It asks, What's the matter with Democrats?

As liberals we think, "If only Democrats dominate national elections, if only we beat those awful Republicans into submission, the country will be fine." To think so is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic party.



What's the Matter With America?
Drawing on years of research and firsthand reporting, he points out that Democratic politicians have done very little for liberal goals:
  • expanding opportunity
  • fighting for social justice
  • ensuring workers get a fair deal.
These Democrats have barely dented the consensus that a free market is the answer to everything. It's not for lack of being in a position to: Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the past 24 years up to 2016. Meanwhile, the decline of the middle class has only accelerated.

Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi wants tax cuts for the rich. WTF?!
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Bernie Sanders: I just want to fit in for once.
Wall Street gets bailouts, wages keep falling, and free trade deals keep coming. With sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank lays bare the essence of the Democratic party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years.

Corporate and cultural elitism has eclipsed the party's old working class commitment. For favored groups, this has meant prosperity. For the nation, it has been a one-way ticket to inequality. More