Sunday, September 20, 2020

Alan Watts on Suchness, Flow (video)

Alan Watts ( via T&H Inspiration and Motivation, 10/9/13; Wisdom Quarterly

"You're it," points out Alan Watts in an inspiring and profound extract of a speech called "Zen Bones and Tales" courtesy of In another original lecture, "Swimming Headless (1-2) that sells, he talks about going with the flows. Watts has written incredible books as well:

Saturday, September 19, 2020

12 incredible archeological finds (videos)

Amazing Stock, July 21, 2020; Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells (eds.). Wisdom Quarterly

12 most incredible recent archaeological finds
There's rarely a day that goes by without an archaeologist finding something interesting hidden away somewhere in the world, and AS likes bringing the best of those discoveries. Sit back, relax, and this guide will share some of the best and most exciting archaeological discoveries of recent times.

For questions contact:

Friday, September 18, 2020

Attachment and Emotional Mastery (video)

Professor of Psychology Joan Rosenberg, Ph.D., Pepperdine University, TEDx Santa Barbara, 9/21/16; Ajahn Chah (; Dhr. Seven (ed.), Ven. Sujato, Ellie Askew, Wisdom Quarterly

Attachment Advice from insight-meditation Master Ajahn Chah
Wherever the mind (heart) has a lot of attachment (clinging), we will experience intense suffering, intense grief, intense difficulty right there.

The place we experience the most problems is the place we have the most attraction, longing, and concern.

Please resolve this. NOW, while we still have life and breath, let's keep on looking at it and [dispassionately] reading it until we are able to translate it [into transcendent wisdom] and solve the problem [of suffering].

Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings

(TEDx) What often blocks people from feeling capable in life and from having greater success with finances, health, and relationships is how they handle unpleasant feelings.

Emotions are a very strange thing.
Psychologist Joan Rosenberg unveils an innovative strategy [that sounds a lot like it all begins with Buddhist mindfulness, which is unreactive-attention to what is without distorting or trying to make it be another way] and surprising keys for experiencing the challenging emotions that lie at the heart of confidence, emotional strength, and resilience.

Dr. Rosenberg is a best-selling author, consultant, media host, and master clinician. She is a cutting-edge psychologist who is known as an innovative thinker, acclaimed speaker, and trainer. As a member of the Association of Transformational Leaders, she has been recognized for her thought leadership and influence in personal development. She has been featured in the documentaries I Am, Pursuing Happiness, and The Hidden Epidemic with Dr. Daniel Amen. She’s been seen on CNN’s American Morning, Oprah's OWN network, and PBS, as well as through appearances and radio interviews in all of the major metropolitan media markets.

A California-licensed psychologist, Dr. Rosenberg speaks on how to build confidence, high self-esteem, core emotional strength, and resilience. She is after achieving emotional, conversational, and relational mastery. She integrates neuroscience, psychotherapy, and supervision and also works on suicide prevention. A U.S. Air Force veteran, she is a professor of graduate psychology at Pepperdine University.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

12 most incredible places where life exists (video)

Amazing Stock, Sept. 18, 2020; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

12 Most Incredible Places Where Life Exists
Most of the life forms that we know and understand exist above the ground and need light and air to exist. We'd certainly be struggling without them. But as the saying goes, "Life finds a way." It can hide at the bottom of the deepest pit on the planet or thrive at the bottom of the ocean. Whether we're talking about people, animals, or bacteria, this video takes a closer look at some of the most incredible and remote places that life has been found to exist.

An empress ruled the world: Wu Zetian (video)

Absolute History, 1/18/20; CC Liu, Ananda (DBM), Ashley Wells (eds.),  Wisdom Quarterly

Wu Zetian: The Empress who ruled the World
When empires collide, China and India
Since her passing 1,300 years ago, Empress Wu Zetian has been mislabeled a callous tyrant who brought calamity to China. Now extraordinary new discoveries are revealing a very different picture of her reign.

As archaeologists investigate hidden tombs, spectacular pagodas, gigantic palaces, and priceless treasures from her time, they are uncovering a very different story of China’s female emperor, her skills, and that empire.

Empress Wu Zetian’s China was a military, economic, and cultural superpower, the influence of which stretched from the edge of the Mediterranean to Japan and India.

Recent discoveries reveal the wealth and stability of her reign and point to her skills as a politician and leader. But they also provide tantalizing new evidence of the cruelty and violence at the heart of her regime.

Produced by True North. Licensed from TVF International to Little Dot Studios. Any queries, please contact:

The Science of Meditation (ABC video)

ABC Science; Ananda (Dharma Buddhist Meditation), Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(ABC Science) Meditation has never been so popular. But can it really make us healthier, smarter, and happier? New research shows that it can affect the body as well as the mind, slow down the aging process, and even alter the structure of the brain. Dr. Graham Phillips embarks on an eight week meditation course and undergoes a raft of rigorous brain tests and scans, to find out if the ancient art lives up to the current hype.

When we met other human species (video), Eons; Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(PBS Eons) We all belong to the only group of hominins on the planet today. But we weren’t always alone. For example, 100,000 years ago Eurasia was home to other hominin species, some of which we know our ancestors met and spent some quality time with.

Thanks to Julio Lacerda and Fabrizio de Rossi from Studio 252mya for their hominin illustrations. Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios.

Morning talk at Pacific Hermitage (video)

Ajahn Sudanto (Pacific Hermitage); Amber Larson, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(Pacific Hermitage) 9.18 Morning Coffee: Grab a cup of tea and join Ajahn Sudanto for a short informal chat about the Dharma from a Western Theravada Buddhist monastic's perspective.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Trump's comeback tour on Fox News (video)

Trump (Fox); Jordan Klepper (Daily Show); Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

How holy is Donald Trump?
(The Daily Show, 9/2/20) Trevor Noah tosses the ball to a correspondent Jordan Klepper. Many conservative Christians feel that Trump is the holiest choice for the White House. Let's find out why.

Trump does what he does to his fans, a conman's con selling snake oil.

10 ways to have a better conversation (TED)

Celeste Headly, TED Talks; Ananda (DBM), Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

When our job hinges on how well we talk to people, we learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation:
  • Honesty,
  • brevity,
  • clarity, and a
  • healthy amount of listening.
In this insightful talk, she shares ten useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment, and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts, and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages. TED news on Twitter. TED on Facebook.

Prodigy creates song from four notes (video)

60 Minutes featuring Alma Deutscher; Ananda (DBM), Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Watch a prodigy create -- from four notes in a hat
60 Minutes pulls four musical notes out of a hat, and young prodigy composer Alma Deutscher takes off, improvising a wonderful piano sonata in under a minute.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

QAnon exposed, website shut down

Yelena Dzhanova (Insider, 9/12/20); Pfc. Sandoval, S.Auberon, A.Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
QAnon guy, Wall Street, summer 2019 (Ben Gilbert/Business Insider).
A QAnon website shut down after a fact-checking group exposed the developer behind it
QAnon exposes pedophiles like Ms. Maxwell.
A popular site [] for the dissemination of QAnon posts and ideas shut down after a fact-checking group identified the site's developer [Q]., a fact-checking site, identified the "developer and mouthpiece" behind the site as Jason Gelinas [or "Q"], a New Jersey man appearing to work in IT at Citigroup.

QAnon has been gaining traction this year, with several of its supporters making a run for Congress.

A New Jersey man was identified as the developer behind a now-defunct website used to circulate far-right conspiracy theories pushed by QAnon.

The website,, was abruptly shut down after fact-checking group revealed the man's identity.

The site reached over 10 million visitors in July [2020], Bloomberg News reported, and served as one of the main platforms of communication between QAnon supporters.

By tracing an email address from a since-deleted Facebook post asking for translation services for Q, the unknown head figure behind the fringe group, Logically was able to identify Jason Gelinas as the "developer and mouthpiece" for More

SWAT cops closing in on ambush suspect

KTLA, 9/15/20; CBS NewsPfc. Sandoval, Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

A search is underway for [the ambush shooter, while LA Sheriff Villanueva continues to deceive the public just as he did about the deputy abuse of a female reporter covering a protest at the hospital where two deputies shot in the face were taken; an armed carjacking suspect in Lynwood, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

A large presence of deputies was reported in the 3100 block of Carlin Avenue at about noon.

Residents in the surrounding homes were evacuated.

The Sheriff’s Department described the suspect as an adult male.

By 6:00 pm, video from Sky5 showed several sheriff’s deputies and vehicles in the area of the search. A robot was also seen pulling off the security door to an apartment, [a smaller robot entered the residence,] and a drone was also seen flying through the front door.

No other information was released.

When asked by KTLA if the search was at all related to the recent ambush shooting of two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in Compton, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said it was not [perhaps "trying to avoid panic" or giving the truth away like Trump attempting to cover for previous lies he told Woodward on tape about his COVID-19 cover up. Like Trump. he can hardly start telling the truth now].

“That is an active search of a carjacking suspect from the end of a pursuit,” Villanueva said. Source

Sheriff's deputies beat reporter, lie about it

Jessica P. Ogilvie (, 9/13/20); Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly

Reporter Josie Huang's account of her arrest by LA County Sheriff's deputies reporter Josie Huang was arrested by L.A. County Sheriff's deputies Saturday night while covering the shooting of two deputies in Compton. Here is what happened, in her own words: I was put in the back of a patrol car -- the start of some 5 hours in LASD custody that began with the deputy refusing to uncuff me so I could put my face covering back on, telling me I just had a “scrape” when I was bleeding from my foot and not giving me back a shoe. After my phone drops, it keeps recording and it captures two deputies damaging my phone by kicking and stepping on it. I can hear myself in the background shouting: “You guys are hurting me” and “Stop it.” It feels very out-of-body to play this back. More

Profile photo, opens profile page on Twitter in a new tab

Mexican Independence: El Grito 2020 (video)

Pres. AndrĆ©s Manuel LĆ³pez Obrador; Crystal Quintero, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Mexican "4th of July" is NOT Cinco de Mayo; it's El Grito! ❤️
Conmemoramos el 210 Aniversario del Grito de Independencia con el reconocimiento a las y los hƩroes de la patria y una especial dedicatoria a la esperanza en el porvenir.

Guardamos un minuto de silencio en honor a las vĆ­ctimas de la epidemia del COVID-19. Este homenaje estuvo acompaƱado del encendido de la Llama de la Esperanza en el ZĆ³calo de la Ciudad de MĆ©xico, la cual hace referencia a nuestro pueblo que se mantiene en pie ante la crisis sanitaria mundial causada por el virus SARS-CoV-2.

Mantenemos nuestra fe en la fraternidad universal, la soberanĆ­a, la igualdad, la democracia, la justicia, la libertad, la grandeza cultural de MĆ©xico, su heroico pueblo y las comunidades indĆ­genas. MĆ”s

  • Sigue las actividades del presidente de MĆ©xico:
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Of course there's life on Venus (video)

(, 9/14/20); Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
What does life on Venus look like under the clouds, like a National Park on Earth? (MSN)
An artist's depiction of Venus and, in the inset, phosphine molecules.
Venus artist's depiction with phosphine (ESO/M. Kornmesser/L. CalƧada/NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The phosphine discovered in Venus' clouds may be a big deal
Venus? NASA manipulates its images for PR.
A chemical most have likely never heard of has burst into the news as scientists announce that they have detected phosphine, which they say may be a sign of life, in the clouds of nearby Venus.

Phosphine is a chemical compound made up of one atom of phosphorus and three atoms of hydrogen, and scientists have also spotted it on Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn. On the gas giants, it's quite prevalent in the atmospheres, both of which are rich in hydrogen. On Earth, where the atmosphere leans more toward oxygen compounds, it's much shorter-lived, and the same ought to be true on Venus.

"It's so obscure," Sara Seager, an astronomer at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and co-author of the new research, said during a news conference held virtually today (Sept. 14). "No one cares about [phosphine] except for a few very niche people." More

Venusian life

The 31 Planes of Existence
Buddhist cosmology, as well as that of Hinduism and Jainism all the way back to the ancient Vedic religion of proto-India (Great Bharat), has always known there is life on Venus (Shukra in astrology, planetary deities). It is not limited to this planet (or island in a sea of space called Jambudvipa) but also exist on other nearby planets or worlds (levels) -- as well as countless other places throughout the universe, of which we are only a tiny portion in this cakkavala or "world-system." Such world-systems are spread like bubbles throughout the universe/multiverse.
  • "The planets are called dvÄ«pas [islands]. Outer space is like an ocean of air. Just as there are islands in the watery ocean, these planets in the ocean of space are called dvÄ«pas, or islands in outer space" (Chaitanya Caritamrita Madhya 20.218, Purport).
In a very interesting book written by an avadhuta ("apostle") of the modern mystic Anandamurti or Baba (P. K. Sarkar), the founder of Ananda Marga ("Path to Bliss"), entitled My Tantric Guru, there is a description of an incident talking about life on Mars, Soma/Chandra (Earth's moon), and Venus.

(Soolaba) Vedic cosmology inherited by Hinduism in modern terms

A revived meditation master was sent to astral travel to those places to see first hand. He reported back at a live demonstration that the beings there (some of whom are red and others blue) want no dealings with earthlings, it is said. They are more advanced and seem to generate or allow the clouds that obscure their world from humanity on Earth.

The life spread across the galaxy is humanoid and related but not limited to this kind of being. The Buddha spoke of 31 planes of existence, which are not worlds but categories of planes. What we see around us is all still the "human plane" or manussya loka.

Fairytale European wedding for princess

Harriet Johnston (Daily Mail, 9/15/20); Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Fairytale royal wedding! Archduchess Gabriella of Austria, 26, ties knot with Prince Henri, 28, in romantic ceremony at hilltop castle
Royal nagas/reptilians
  • Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma, 28, married Archduchess Gabriella of Austria, 26.
  • Couple tied the knot at Schloss Tratzberg in Jenbach, Austria over the weekend.
  • Gabriella wore lace bridal gown with the glittering Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara.
  • Prince Henri donned a pale blue tie to perfectly match the blue stone.
  • Couple's daughter Victoria acted as a bridesmaid and wore traditional dress.
The young Archduchess of Austria has married Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma in a glamorous ceremony at a fairytale castle in the country.

Tratzberg Castle in Austria in 2017 (wiki)
Gabriella Maria Pilar Yolande JosƩphine-Charlotte, 26, whose full title is Archduchess of Austria, tied the knot with Prince Henri, 28, at Tratzberg Castle in Jenbach, Austria on Saturday [September 12, 2020].

Get your butt over here, Li'l Prince! (DailyMail)
The bride wore an elegant white lace bridal gown and veil for the occasion, adding a touch of glamour with the Grand Duchess Adelaide Tiara, which is a Luxembourg family heirloom.

The couple wed in front of friends and family at the fairytale castle, including their 2-year-old daughter Victoria Antonia Marie-Astrid Lydia, who was dressed in traditional clothing for the event. More
Where's Black American Meghan Markle on Harry's 36th birthday? Santa Barbara, California?
The modern royals Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle have an interest in Buddhism.

When the first celibate monk had sex

Academic researcher Achim Bayer, Dongguk University, Seoul (; Dhr. Seven, Ananda (DBM), Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The Sudinna Tale in the Pāli Vinaya and Its Interpretation
Restraint of the eyes is good.
[Then the Buddhist monk Ven. Sudinna had sex with his ex-wife and was the first to commit such an offense which was not yet a specific violation of the Vinaya or Monastic Disciplinary Code.]

Filled with remorse (kukkucca), Sudinna returned to his fellow monks and confessed his deed. They scolded him harshly, and "then these monks, having rebuked Venerable Sudinna in various ways, told this matter to the Buddha."

The Buddha, after questioning Sudinna, again rebukes him in a similar way as the monks had done. Mocking Sudinna as a "foolish person" (moghapurisa), he tells him that what he has done is unfit (ananucchaviyam), disorderly (ananulomikam), unseemly (appanirūpam), not samana [wandering ascetic]-like (assāmanakam), unsuitable (akappiyam), and not to be done (akaranīyam).

"Why are you...unable to exert the supremely complete full ascetic behavior for as long as you live?" [9].

"Has not the Dhamma [Dharma] been taught by me in manifold ways in order to be free from passion (virāgāya), and not in order to have passion (sarāgāya)?" [10]. "How can you, O foolish person, when the Dhamma is taught by me in order to be free from passion, be intent on (cetessasi) having passion?" [11].

"The Dhamma has been taught for the sake of being without fetters (visamyogāya), being without attachment (anupādānāya)," and still, the Buddha says, Sudinna is intent on doing the opposite.

"The Dhamma has been taught to subdue haughtiness (madanimmadanāya) [12] and so on, for cessation (nirodhāya), and for nirvana. The abandoning of the sensual pleasures has been taught, and the calming of the fever of [craving for] sensual pleasures (kāmaparilāhāna), too.

It would be better if Sudinna (or any "foolish person") were to put (pakkhitta) his "specific organ [or limb]"  (angajāta) into the mouth of a venomous snake or a fire-pit rather than into the "specific organ" of womenfolk (mātugāmassa angajāte).

Why is that so? It is because with the former he will die or experience agony (maramamatta, vā dukkham, lit. "suffering as if dying"), but he will not go to hell [niraya, naraka, purgatory, perdition], to a lower realm [13]. But with the latter (i.e. sexual intercourse), he will go to hell, to the lower realms (niraya).

Through that karmic deed, Sudinna will enter (samāpajjissasi) upon the untrue dhamma (asaddhama), "village dhamma" (gāmadhamma), vile dhamma (vasaladhamma), badness (dutthulla), "what ends with ablution" (odakantika), secrecy (rahassa), "coming together of the two" (dvayamdvayasamāpatti) [14] ― Sudinna has just done the first of many unwholesome things [15].

Finally, the Buddha states ten reasons why sexual intercourse is forbidden for monastics, such as:
  1. for the excellence of the Sangha (sanghasutthutāya),
  2. for the comfort of the Sangha (sanghaphāsutāya),
  3. for the suppression of badly confused persons (dumma puggalāna, niggahāya),
  4. so that the well-behaved monastics may live with ease (pesalāna, bhikkhÅ«na, phāsuvihārāya),
  5. for restraining the inflows/defilements (āsavāna, samvarāya),
  6. for the piety of those who are not pious (appasannāna, pasādāya),
  7. so that those who are pious may increase (pasannāna, bhiyyobhāvāya),
  8. so that the true Dhamma may be stable (saddhammatthitiyā),
  9. for assistance in the vinaya (vinayānuggahāya) [16].

Thus the Buddha proclaims the prohibition of sexual intercourse for monastics, the transgression of which makes one liable to the state of asamvāsa, a loss of "fellowship or communion" with other members of his monastic community [17].

Interpretation of the Story
Hmm, what dos this story tell us?
THE PROHIBITION What, then, do the single elements of the narrative tell the reader? Ven. Sudinna himself is shown as not actively interested in sexual pleasure.

There is also no real danger that he would break away from the community: The agreement with his mother was clear, and for his part, Ven. Sudinna was ready to remain in the community as before [18].

From the point of view of lay ethics, there were no objections of caste, and the act happened with the
consent of his wife's superior in the family hierarchy, Ven. Sudinna's mother, who accepted the fact that Ven. Sudinna had neglected his duties as a husband and was intent on doing so in the future.

Therefore, I think the message of the story is as follows: Even if the conditions are highly favorable, even if there is apparently no harm to a third party, sexual intercourse is forbidden. That is to say, under no circumstances should any monastic have sexual intercourse or contact [19].

Soteriology: The liberation of the individual
Ven. Sudinna is accused of not having inferred the prohibition of sex from the fundamental precept of the Dhamma: moving away from sensual craving towards the cessation of sensual desire. That is, of course, a soteriological goal [20].

And indeed, celibacy fits in well with the general ascetic lifestyle, which consists of restraint of the senses for goals such as overcoming craving (tanhā, lit. "thirst") or the attainment of peace [21].

That being true, how does expulsion from the ascetic community fit in here? Does Ven. Sudinna's single transgression really endanger his ascetic lifestyle to such an extent that there is no hope for his return to his formerly exemplary monastic discipline? Is it really justified to truncate the career of a wandering ascetic such as Ven. Sudinna, giving him up as a hopeless case? More

Militant MONKS in Myanmar (video)

AJ; Trevor Noah (Daily Show '15); Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

An Unholy Alliance: Monks and the Military in Myanmar
(Al Jazeera English, March 18, 2019) With almost 90 percent of Myanmar/Burma's population being devoted Theravada Buddhists, the religion [like neighboring Thailand] has been at the heart of the nation's very identity for centuries.

Sometimes monks gotta do "stuff" (CIA).
But while the pillars of Buddhist teachings are love (metta), compassion, and peace, there is a very different variation to the philosophy being taught at the Ma Ba Tha ("Patriotic Association of Myanmar") monastery in Yangon/Rangoon's Insein township.

The monks there are connected to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, the systematic persecution and genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine state.

Al Jazeera's unprecedented access to the Ma Ba Tha monastery and its leaders offers a glimpse into how their ultra-nationalist agenda is becoming the blueprint for the political structure of the country.

Is the joining of forces between monks and the dictatorial generals threatening Myanmar's young and fragile parliamentary democracy that incorporates Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi?