Thursday, July 30, 2020

Offensive cartoons (animation)

Seth MacFarlane (Fox TV animation) via Family Guy; Editors, Wisdom Quarterly

Like kelp in the ocean (Insight LA)

Founder Trudy Goodman (; Ashley Wells, CC Liu (eds.). Wisdom Quarterly

Jack Kornfield + Trudy Goodman
The Pacific Ocean has been cool again this week, good weather for kelp. In ideal conditions kelp can grow 12 inches to 18 inches a day. Kelp stores carbon as efficiently as tropical rainforests.

Kelp in the Pacific nourishes thousands of species who graze on the blades (leaves); it shelters fish, seals, sea lions, and whales who seek safety and refuge in the forest fronds; the anchoring roots are home to anemones, sponges, and starfish. Sea otters take naps wrapped in kelp frond hammocks so they won’t drift out to sea while sleeping.

One of the great joys of life is watching folks who practice meditation grow like kelp, in insight and metta. Insight or mindfulness meditation is a way to transform the experience of suffering (disappointment) and let go of what is not needed in life.

Humans are a different species, obviously not brown algae like kelp, but all life needs certain conditions to exist and thrive. The ideal conditions for kelp to grow – upwelling cool water to bring nutrients to the kelp forest, strong rock foundation to anchor it during storms, light for photosynthesis – all reminiscent of what’s needed to cultivate strong mindfulness.

Loving kindness (metta) in awareness is the cool water, the upwelling of nourishment for our hungry hearts, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are the rock that anchors stability of presence-of-mind when the heart wants to turn away, so that mindful awareness illuminates life.

Like the refuge of the kelp forest, a steady meditation practice shows us how to rest and relax with things just as they are, without getting uprooted and drifting away lost at sea. Nature, the ocean, the teachings of loving kindness can provide shelter from stormy weather and global uncertainty.

Understanding the conditions needed to be of benefit, we humans, like kelp, can be an ecological treasure. Nourishing ourselves with a regular practice, we flourish and become a treasure -- nurturing all those around us.

Trudy Goodman
Founder of

Let's connect. Register now for these upcoming Special Events, Affinity Groups, and Practice Groups.

Featured Special Event

This Vulnerable Human Life

with Frank Ostaseski​

Saturday, August 15, 2020 | 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM PT

More Special Events and Series


Mindfulness of Body, Energy, and Emotions: An Introduction to the Nine Bodies with Phillip Moffitt and Tuere Sala
Saturday, August 1, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM PT

The Antidotes for Our Collective and Individual Burnout with Eve Ekman, PhD
Sunday, August 2, 2020 | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT


Fierce Self-Compassion 2-Day Workshop with Kristin Neff, PhD
Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9, 2020 | 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM PT

The Relaxed Mind with Beth Sternlieb and Kate Lila Wheeler
Saturday, August 22, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM PT

Intro to Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication with Meenadchi
Monday, August 24, 2020 | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM PT
BIPOC: Intro to Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication with Meenadchi
Monday, August 31, 2020 | 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM PT

An Evening with Dan Siegel MD and Trudy Goodman PhD
Tuesday, September 1, 2020 | 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM PT

The Dharma of Anxiety and Uncertainty: Finding the Inner Trust Fund
Saturday, September 5, 2020 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM PT

Real Change: Mindfulness To Heal Ourselves and the World
Saturday, September 12, 2020 | 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM PT

Affinity Groups

Mindful Parents Practice Group: Fridays, 1 - 2 PM PT
Managing Stress and Emotions from Job Loss: This Saturday, 8:30 - 9:30 AM PT
Mindful Writer's Practice Group: This Sunday, 1:30 - 3:30 PM PT
Chronic Pain and Illness Practice Group: Sundays, 1:30 - 3:30 PM PT
Meditación en Tiempos Difíciles: Los Lunes, 6:30 - 7:30 PM PT 
BYOD: Supper with Old and Older Friends: This Tuesday, 5:45 PM - 7 PM PT
Men’s Wednesday Morning Practice Group: Wednesdays, 7 - 8:30 AM PT
Meditación Calmando la Mente y el Corazón: Los Miércoles, 9 - 9:45 AM PT
Mindful Aging: Wednesdays, 10:15 - 11:45 AM PT
Chronic Pain and Illness Practice Group: Wednesdays, 2:30 - 3:30 PM PT
Summer Hang Out: Mindfulness for Teens: This Wednesday, 4 - 5 PM PT

Practice Groups

Calm the Mind: Fridays, 12 - 12:45 PM PT
Morning Community Sit – Guided Meditation: Monday - Friday, 7:30 - 8 AM
Listening to the Wisdom of the Heart: Mondays, 12 - 12:45 PM PT
Stillness in a Chaotic World: Tuesdays, 6:15 - 7 PM PT
Community Practice Group: Tuesdays, 7:30 - 9:15 PM PT
South Bay – Redondo Beach Practice Group: Tuesdays, 7:30 - 9:15 PM PT
Compassion and Resilience in Difficult Times: Wednesdays, 12 - 12:45 PM PT
Be With the Body: Wednesdays, 6:15 - 7 PM PT
Deepening Your Practice (Peer Led): Thursdays, 7 - 8:30 AM PT
Thursday Evening Practice Group: Thursdays, 7:30 - 9:15 PM PT

Free: Virtual LOLLAPALOOZA (live-ish)

Lollapalooza (YouTube) 7/30-8/1/20; WTVO WQRF News, Chicago; Eds., Wisdom Quarterly

Virtual Lollapalooza: Lolla2020
5:00 pm: Tenacious D (2019), Gunna (2019)
5:20 pm: Ana Cristina Cash & John Carter Cash
5:35 pm: Gus Dapperton
5:40 pm: Jac Ross, Wynne, Royal & The Serpent
6:05 pm: The Era Footwork Crew
6:10 pm: mxmtoon Live From Toyota Music Den
6:30 pm: Kind Heaven Orchestra
6:40 pm: Lars Ulrich
6:45 pm: Metallica (2015), Lupe Fiasco (2008)
7:10 pm: The Ivy, LADIPOE, Cults, SHAED
7:40 pm: Chicago Bulls Presents: Polo G, J. Ivy and Tarrey Torae
8:00 pm: Kehlani (2016), The Cure (2013)
8:15 pm: What Shapes Us: Marc Rebillet
8:25 pm: Marc Rebillet, The Front Bottoms, Milky Chance
9:05 pm: Salesforce’s Make Change: LL COOL J Presents The Art of MCing
9:20 pm: Chuck D
9:25 pm: Chance The Rapper (Headline Set 2017)
10:45 pm: Mark Bowen from IDLES, Elohim
11:15 pm: Alison Wonderland (Live Set)
11:25 pm: YehMe2
11:45 pm: G Jones B2B Eprom
12:05 am: ZHU presents Coral.PINK

All times CDT (Chicago time). All times approximate and subject to change.

Feds to try to stop using violence (video)

Bloomberg QuickTake News, July 30, 2020; Associated Press ( via, July 29, 2020); Fox News; Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Federal court to review "protest bans" in Portland arrests: U.S. court officials in Oregon are reviewing bans on future protesting that were placed on some citizens arrested during demonstrations in Portland after some raised concerns that the prohibitions violated the First Amendment. More

Feds will withdraw from downtown Portland following agreement, says Oregon Gov. Kate Brown
Oregon has struck a deal with the Trump administration to end weeks of clashes between paramilitary federal agents and peaceful demonstrators in downtown Portland that Pres. Donny Trump has made a focus of his re-election bid.

But federal and state officials gave conflicting accounts of the agreement amid continuing demonstrations and protests in the city over police brutality and police racism.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters that police agents who were sent in an Afghan-style "surge" to Portland will now withdraw from the city when it’s clear to them that state and local law enforcement can secure downtown streets and prevent property destruction and violence at the federal courthouse, a focal point of demonstrator’s grievances.

Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said in a tweet that starting on Thursday [July 30, 2020], all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement wing of the federal army used against civilians would leave downtown and return to their camps soon after.

A violent federal law enforcement presence in Portland drew national attention after U.S. agents, some wearing military-style fatigues and driving unmarked vehicles, began patrolling Oregon’s largest city.

(Fox News) Federal government has agreed to withdraw feds from Portland

Reports are that they have been whisking away bystanders, civilians, demonstrators, and protesters, using aggressive tactics akin to random armed kidnappings and ultimately sparking even larger demonstrations and opposition from local leaders.

“These federal officers have acted as an occupying [militant] force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community,” Gov. Brown said in a statement.

Sec'y Wolf told reporters that his agents will remain in Portland “until we are assured that Oregon state police and the plan that the governor has put together is successful.” Federal officers will resume their operations to offensively surround the courthouse if needed, Sec'y Wolf said.

“We will surge up, and we will surge down over time depending on the circumstances,” Sec'y Wolf added.

Trump has repeatedly called attention to the often peaceful and sometimes violent protests in Portland, blaming Democrats and "anarchists" as he has tried to cast himself as a Hitleresque "law-and-order" dictator.

The president tweeted Wednesday that without federal agents’ presence “there would be no Portland” and threatened to send armed federal militants into the city to do local policing, just as Obama and Biden made possible when they signed the NDAA against the wishes of civilians, constitutional scholars, and groups like the ACLU.

Democrat Joe Biden pretended to condemn the Homeland Security Department’s presence in Portland, saying the agents had no clearly defined mandate or authority. [It seems he will send them in with the NDAA as his authority and a clearer mandate to violently clampdown on demonstrators.]

Trump’s decision to send federal agents to Portland and other cities to "quell unrest" as if it were an native uprising in the time of imperial U.S. expansion across the Southwest and combat crime has raised questions about whether the move violates the Constitution. It has reignited a national debate on the militarization of civilian police.

Federal officials had said that their use of unmarked vehicles is a standard practice, because demonstrators target patrol cars. Officials said that all officers in Portland wore uniforms that say “police,” not their names to personally identify them. This cuts down on civil lawsuits and criminal charges against the agents when they are accused or filmed abusing civilians and violating their rights.

Sec'y Wolf said he was encouraged that Gov. Brown and other state and local officials have offered a plan to end violent confrontations between federal police and peaceful demonstrators at and near and sometimes far from the courthouse, which merely serves as the pretext for their presence.

“I’m glad that they are finally seeing the errors of their ways,” Sec'y Wolf said, “and stepping up and doing what they should have been doing for the past 60 days, and that is partnering with federal law enforcement to do their job.”

Gov. Brown said that state police will remain in downtown with military-grade weapons and tactics to protect free speech and keep the peace even if it means demonstrators get arrested, wounded, or killed.

“Let’s center the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands for racial justice and police accountability,” she tweeted. “It’s time for bold action to reform police practices.”

Many local businesses had sought the departure of the federal agents, led by the Portland Business Alliance, the area’s chamber of commerce. Stacey Gibson, who co-owns a Subway franchise downtown, a few blocks from the courthouse, said she’s hopeful violence would subside.

“Hopefully it will all calm down,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll see an improvement in the violence.”
Federal court to review "protest bans" in Portland, Oregon, arrests (AP).
John Lewis' funeral set for Atlanta, Georgia church that MLK once led (AP).

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sexual misconduct, good/bad, karma (video)

Sue Tissue/Suburban Lawns ("Janitor"); Whitney Cummings; Ven. Nyanatiloka (Anton Gueth), Buddhist Dictionary; Ananda (Dharma Buddhist Meditation), Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

I want to be sexy, sensual, and live it up.
I want to be good. Everyone, especially my mom, tells me to. But what in the world does "good" mean? It's ALL relative...isn't it?

The Buddha taught that intention (cetana, volition, underlying motive) distinguishes "good" from "bad." There are only six root-motivations for good and bad deeds. These motives color karma (our actions of thought, speech, or deed), making them skillful or unskillful, wholesome or unwholesome, bearing desirable or undesirable results, ripening in pleasure or pain, good or bad:
  1. nongreed (letting go, generosity)
  2. nonhatred (loving kindness, compassion)
  3. nondelusion (wisdom, insight)
  4. greed (liking, clinging)
  5. hatred (disliking, aversion)
  6. delusion (ignorance, wrong view).
When one knows and sees, one agrees with the B
Why did the Buddha call any act "good"? It's good because it ripens in happiness when it finally ripens (which can be many lifetimes from now). It's "bad" because it ripens, when it finally ripens, in disappointment/suffering.

When we do something, we feel either good, bad, or neutral as a result, but that karma has not yet born fruit. When it does, that's what the Buddha was talking about. For example, kill or steal and you may not feel bad about it now. But you sure will when that karma of killing or stealing comes to fruition with unfortunate rebirths in miserable destinations, shortened lifespans, sickliness, poverty, and so on.

It is NOT one to one, one cause to one effect. A single act produces an exponential number of results. (Why? There are many "mind moments" or cittas behind an act, each leaving a trace or seed that bears fruit, or so the Abhidharma explains. Karma is the action, and the results are called the vipaka and the phala, the karmic resultants and fruit).

Our culture says, "You reap what you sow" or "What comes around goes around." These are apt descriptions of karma because one seed leads to many fruits, and what goes around goes around many times. This revolving around making karma and reaping the results is called samsara, the Wheel of Life and Death.

Karma is not one and done. "Cast your bread upon the water" and watch it multiply. But this is actually good news if we use the knowledge skillfully: Doing good produces many more wished for results: one seed, many fruits. Plant many good seeds now when it's possible. There comes a time, reborn in certain places, that it is not possible to do any good. This is the place to plant. "Karma: It's everywhere you're going to be."

Ten deeds are very "good" because they bring about desirable results, wished for outcomes, fortunate destinations.

In one sutra in the Book of Sixes (Numerical Discourses), the Buddha lists six wished for things that are hard to come by. He teaches that they cannot be obtained by wishing, for if they could, Who would not already have them?

The Ten Courses of Action or karma-patha are ten kinds of wholesome deeds and their opposites, the ten unwholesome actions:

I. Ten wholesome courses of action (kusala-kamma-patha)
  • Yeah, but what is "sexual misconduct" exactly?*
    three bodily actions: refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct;
  • four verbal actions: refraining from lying/bearing false witness, slandering, speaking harshly, and foolish babbling (and instead engaging in true, conciliatory, mild, and wise speech);
  • three mental actions: letting go (unselfish giving), friendliness, developing right views.
Both lists occur repeatedly, for example, in A.X.28, 176; MN 9; they are explained in detail in MN 114, and in the Commentary to MN 9 (R. Und., p. 14), Atthasālini Tr. I, 126ff.

NOTE: To really do the Pali language terms justice in translation, it would be necessary to include the positive English words. It is not simply a matter of refraining from doing harm, as there is also the active-good implicit in each of the six terms. "Nongreed" literally means letting go, liberality, giving, generosity, unselfishness, sharing. "Nonhatred" means more than the absence of anger and animosity; it means the presence of loving-kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, and goodwill. "Nondelusion" means wisdom, right views, insight, knowing, understanding, penetrating the truth.

II. Ten unwholesome courses of action (akusala-kamma-patha)
  • three bodily actions: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct;
  • four verbal actions: lying/bearing false witness, slandering, speaking harshly, foolish babbling;
  • three mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, wrong views [also called the Three Poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion or passion, aversion, and confusion all rooted in ignorance].
I'm going vegan, recycling, avoiding synthetics.
Unwholesome mental courses of action comprise only extreme forms of defiled thought: The greedy wish to appropriate others' property, the hateful think of harming others, and the foolish cling to pernicious wrong views.

Milder forms of the mental defilements are also unwholesome, but they do not constitute "courses" of action, which have the power to lead to a fortunate or unfortunate rebirth.

"Sexual misconduct" DEFINED
WARNING: Profanity, graphic sexual references, loving relationships, marriage, divorce, and sex!

So then sex between consenting adults is OK?
The meaning of SEXUAL MISCONDUCT (kamesu micchacara) is "to conduct oneself unskillfully (badly, wrongly) in matters of sensuality." The Buddha got much more specific. At a minimum, it means not having sexual intercourse with any of these ten "out of bounds" persons:
  1. those under the protection of a father,
  2. under the protection of a mother,
  3. of a father and mother,
  4. of a brother,
  5. of a sister,
  6. of extended family,
  7. of their religious community (a),
  8. or those promised in [an arranged] marriage (b),
  9. or those forbidden (c),
  10. or those betrothed [engaged] with a garland (d).
One gives up sexual misconduct and abstains from it. One does not have sexual intercourse with any of those ten "off limits" people. In this way, there is success [in living] rather than tainted failure.
  • a) Dhamma-rakkhita. Commentary: sahadhammikehi rakkhita, "protected by one's co-religionists."
  • b) Promised at birth or in childhood.
  • c) Sa-parida.n.da: literally, "under punishment." Commentary to MN 41: "This refers to a [person] about whom [the authorities] announce in the house, street, or village, 'One who consorts (sexually) with a person of such-and-such a name will be punished.'" — An alternative interpretation: "convicts" [who are being punished and are therefore off-limits and "forbidden" by the community or local authority].
  • d) Commentary to MN 41: "One whom another has garlanded [engaged by some token such as a flower-garland or ring] to express the intention, 'This person will be my spouse.'"