Saturday, August 7, 2010

What is the Buddhist "Dharma"?

Magnificent Buddha mudra blessing in Tokyo (Dan Ferrara/Dan10956/Flickr)

The Dharma: a Gradual Training
Derived from John T. Bullitt's article "Dhamma" (
The Dharma (Pali, Dhamma), the truth or doctrine taught by the Buddha, is uncovered gradually through sustained practice. The Buddha made clear many times that enlightenment or awakening does not occur like a bolt out of the blue to the untrained and unprepared mind. Rather, it culminates a systematic journey with many stages:

Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (Dharma-Vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to liberating wisdom only after a long stretch. — Ud 5.5

"Monastics, I do not say that the attainment of enlightenment is all at once. Rather, the attainment comes after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice. And how is there the attainment of enlightenment after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice?

"There is the case where, when confidence [in the Dharma, Buddha, and/or Sangha] has arisen, one visits [a teacher]. Having visited, one grows close. Having grown close, one lends ear. Having lent ear, one hears the Dharma. Having heard the Dharma, one remembers it. Remembering, one penetrates the meaning of the teaching. Penetrating the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teaching. There being agreement through pondering the teaching, motivation arises. When motivation has arisen, one is willing. When one is willing, one contemplates. Having contemplated, one makes an exertion. Having made an exertion, one realizes with the body of the ultimate truth. And having penetrated it with discernment, one sees it." — MN 70

The Buddha's teachings are infused with this notion of gradual development. His method of "gradual instruction" (anupubbi-katha), which appears in various forms in countless discourses, always follows the same arc: He guides newcomers from first principles through progressively more advanced teachings, all the way to the fulfillment of the Four Noble Truths and the full realization of nirvana:

The Dharma is the path to the complete end of woe.

Then the Blessed One, having encompassed the awareness of the entire assembly with his awareness, asked himself: "Now who here is capable of understanding the Dharma?" He saw Suppabuddha the leper sitting in the assembly. And on seeing him the thought occurred to him, "This person here is capable of understanding the Dharma." So aiming at Suppabuddha the leper he gave a step-by-step talk -- that is, a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, and corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, and bright, he gave the Dharma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones (on suffering, its origination, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation. And just as a clean cloth free of stains would well absorb a dye, in the same way, for Suppabuddha the leper sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless eye of the Dharma arose in him: "Whatever is subject to origination is subject to cessation." — Ud 5.3

At each stage of this "gradual training" (anupubbi-sikkha), the practitioner discovers a new and important dimension of the impersonal law of cause-and-effect — karma, the cornerstone of Right View. Its gradual nature is thus a very useful organizing framework with which to view the entirety of the Buddha's teaching.

The gradual training begins with the practice of generosity (dana), which helps begin the process of weakening the unawakened practitioner's habitual tendencies to grasp and cling — be it to views, sensuality, or unskillful habits of thought and behavior.

This is followed by the development of virtue, the basic level of sense-restraint that helps the practitioner develop a healthy and trustworthy sense of self. The peace of mind born from this level of self-respect provides the foundation for all further progress along the path.

The practitioner now understands that some kinds of happiness are deeper and more reliable than anything that the gratification of sense desires can ever provide. The happiness born of generosity and virtue can even lead to rebirth in the various heavens — literally (hereafter) and metaphorically (here and now).

But eventually the practitioner begins to recognize the intrinsic drawbacks of even this kind of happiness: As good as rebirth due to wholesome states may be, the happiness it brings is not a true and lasting one. For it relies on causes and conditions (e.g., the support of karma and its results) over which one ultimately has little to no direct control.

This marks a crucial turning point in the training, when the practitioner begins to grasp that true happiness will never be found in the realm of the physical and sensual world. The only possible route to an unconditioned happiness lies in renunciation, in turning away from the sense sphere. By trading the familiar, lower forms of happiness for something far more rewarding and noble, one advances quickly.

Now at last the practitioner is ripe to receive the profound and liberating teaching of the Four Noble Truths, which are often regarded and taught as rudimentary. In fact, an understanding of them is the culmination of practice. They are not "self-evident truths" to be accepted on faith: Acceptance is not nearly enough; insight is needed. The fourth truth spells out the course of mental training required to realize the highest happiness, nirvana, whereas the first three give the reason why.

Many Westerners first encounter the Buddha's teachings on meditation retreats, which typically begin with instructions in how to develop the skillful qualities of right mindfulness and right concentration. It is worth noting that, as important as these qualities are, the Buddha placed them towards the very end of his gradual course of training. The meaning is clear: to reap the most benefit from meditation practice, to bring to full maturity all the qualities needed for enlightenment, the fundamental groundwork must be prepared. There is no short-cutting this process.

Here is the Buddha's six-stage gradual training in more detail:

What is the Dharma in brief? It is the fourth noble truth — the Noble Eightfold Path. The Commentaries group the eight path factors into three divisions:

4 Steps to Buddhist Money Management


Expenses that eat 50 percent of income
In these recessionary times, financial tips are flowing fast and furious about how to save money and stick to a budget. Facing a sea of information many people are asking, "Where do I start?" For most of us, five areas of spending will consume over 50% of the money we earn during our lifetime, so that's the best place to begin. The five areas are: home, car, children, education, and retirement. Here's what you need to know about each: More>>

"The wise and virtuous shine like a blazing fire. One who acquires wealth in harmless ways, like a bee that gathers nectar without harming the flowers, riches quickly mount up for that person like ant hill's stunning growth."

Anthills in warm parts of the world, moist and forested, appear overnight, leaving one to wonder how it happened so fast. Diligence and consistency are the keys. Our anthills are tiny by comparison, so we may miss the allusion the Buddha's audience would have surely understood.

Four Steps to "Buddhist" money management
Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha addressed an amazing diversity of subjects in his 45 years of making known the Dharma. Philosophers focus on the imponderables he dismissed as not useful in gaining enlightenment and liberation. They would still like to debate those issues which, whether the answer would be this way or the opposite, would be harmful and retard progress. Others are not aware of all the things he did talk about.

Bhikkhu Bodhi (in his taped lectures on the Middle Length Discourses) marvels at how detailed and relevant the Buddha was when asked mundane things. His answers addressed not only monastic issues for the preservation of the Sangha and therefore the Dharma, but also ordinary lay life. The Sigalovada Sutra is a lengthy storehouse of information and advice for living a prosperous life in the world. (Scholars believe that this discourse is actually an amalgamation of many sutras woven as advice to one lay person).

There we find advice to householders on money, friendship, sex, drinking, working, saving, popularity, family responsibilities, and so on. The advice on money boils down to this: One should divide one's wealth or earnings (since the Buddha's audience asking about these things was often often the merchant class) into four equal divisions:

With wealth acquired in this [harmless] way, a layperson fit for household life in four portions divides such wealth: thus will one friendship win:
  1. The first portion is used for one's wants.
  2. The second portion is spent on business needs.*
  3. The third portion is also spent on producing more wealth.
  4. The fourth portion goes into savings for times of need.
  • *inventory, paying employees, advertising, insurance, taxes, and so on

Golden Buddha in Thailand (

The Great Discourse on Mindfulness (Maha Sattipatthana Sutra, DN 22; MN 10) can be summarized into 14 meditative exercises leading to enlightenment within seven years. Coincidentally, a summary of the Advice to Householders (Sigalovada Sutra, DN 31, named after the young Sigala who was asking for the advice) also boils down to 14 things (duties or dharmas) to do:

"Young householder, insofar as a lay disciple
  • eradicates the four vices in conduct
  • avoids four forms of unskillful karma
  • does not pursue the six channels for dissipating wealth

such a person, by avoiding these 14 harmful things, honors and protects all the directions [a metaphor for the six primary social obligations we have when living in society]. And one sets upon the way leading to success in both places: One is favored in this world and in the world beyond. One lives well here and now and goes on to be reborn happily!"

A wise and noble disciple, whose aspirations are higher than worldly and heavenly success, reaches for nirvana and is thereby completely liberated from having to worry about rebirths or any further suffering.

Ceremonies mark Burma's bloody anniversary

RANGOON, Burma (AP) – Subdued religious ceremonies by activists and pro-democracy politicians marked the anniversary Sunday of the 1988 uprising that was brutally crushed by Burma's military. More than 1 million people rose up Aug. 8 that year to protest an entrenched military-backed regime headed by Gen. Ne Win that had wiped out the savings of many by a sudden demonetization of the currency.

An estimated 3,000 people were killed before the demonstrations were crushed in September. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's detained pro-democracy leader, rose to prominence during the uprising. "We are holding this religious ceremony in memory of those who had sacrificed their lives during the protest and in honor of those who are in prison for their beliefs and for those who had taken part in the nationwide protests 22 years ago," said Tint Hsan, a former student activist who organized the event.

The ceremony in an eastern suburb was attended by politicians and many activists, including some Buddhist monks recently freed from prison. Rangoon's streets were quiet and residents went about their normal Sunday routines, with some having forgotten the anniversary date. Others gave food to Buddhist monks to mark the protests. More>>

News of the Day: Wyclef Jean for President!

Wyclef Jean
Haitian-born Fugees' singer Wyclef Jean greets supporters from the top of a car (AP).

LEOGANE, Haiti – Street star. Scandal-plagued aid director. Ex-Fugees hip hop frontman. The moment he filed his candidacy, Wyclef Jean became the most famous — and thus potentially most powerful — candidate in Haiti's critical post-earthquake presidential election. But for all his renown as a musician, charity provider, and above all Haitian-born success story, a stark fact remains the morning after: Few in this impoverished and often rudderless country know who he really is, what he stands for, or what is driving him to seek the presidency. More>>

US, nuclear powers join Hiroshima memorial
Britain's Cameron criticized for Iran nuke gaffe
Flash floods kill at least 50 in Indian Kashmir
Pakistan readies for more floods
Burma bomb blast causes two deaths
Mexico: Cartels move beyond drugs, seek domination
Report: US to sell Taiwan decommissioned warships
China defends dealings with Iran after US pressure
Mao grandson says background a factor in promotion
Secrets to maximizing social securityg

Corgi the Cute Puppy (oxytocin fix)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mindfulness in the Bathroom

(Wisdom Quarterly) When and where should someone be mindful? In all places, at all times, which includes the restroom. Graffiti reveals a great deal about the American psyche in the most secretive place we visit daily. But any serious consideration or discussion of it is almost impossible to find.

The Discourse on the Fourfold Setting-up of Mindfulness calls for constant mindfulness and clear comprehension: According to it, "whether you walk, stand, sit, lie down or sleep, whether you stretch or bend your limbs, whether you look round, whether you put on your clothes, whether you talk or keep silent, whether you eat or drink, even when you answer the calls of nature -- in all these and other activities -- you should be fully aware and mindful of the act you perform at that moment."

American anthropology in the restroom (toilet, washroom, lavatory, water closet)

That is to say, live in the moment itself, in the present action, undisturbed by useless thoughts of the past and future. (Note: the Buddha's Discourse on Mindfulness, or Satipatthana Sutra, deals with 14 meditation exercises constituting a complete system.)

"Know thyself" is the great dictum of the ages. To know, we must look at ourselves. And Americans looking at America the way an anthropologist would is extremely rare.

We will sit fascinated watching aboriginal rites-of-passage involving feats of strength, but seeing a football game dissected with ourselves as the subjects -- we're insulted and turn away. Let's go behind the scenes, into the stalls and private chambers, that we might see ourselves as we really are. Filmed in Austin Texas in the mid 1990s, this documentary questions the origins of bathroom graffiti. What does it mean? When did it start? What is it for? And what can we learn from it? Exploring toilet stalls>>

When the Buddha was asked why his disciples were so radiant, he replied: "They do not repent the past, nor do they brood over the future. They live in the present. Therefore, they are radiant. By brooding over the future and repenting the past, fools dry up like green reeds cut down (in the sun)." More on mindfulness>>

Enlightened Potty Training?

What's the use of incense?

(Margaret Brown/Flickr)

( It is worth wondering why incense has regularly been involved in various spiritual practices across religions -- Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, and more. One of the most important reasons is that it purifies the air. It also has an extraordinarily soothing effect on the mind. Just like candles brighten an area, the aromatic effects of incense offer tranquility.

Incense is said to have several medicinal effects as well. Many earlier civilizations used it as herbal medicine for treating various disorders. This, in fact, forms the basis of aromatherapy. Many natural incense ingredients [never their synthetic imitations] are used as primary medicine all over the world.

During meditation, incense is said to dissipate negative energy. Burning it helps create a positive state of mind and helps condition the mind to associate typical fragrances, such as sandalwood or frankincense, with meditative calm. Since successful meditation depends on the mental state of the meditator, incense can facilitate one's practice by adding relaxation and clarity.

Whereas a candle has a positive visual impact, certain fragrances impart positive impulses to the brain. More importantly these positive impulses, over time, become a natural [Pavlovian] response to that particular scent. The mind becomes "conditioned" to respond in a particular way when that scent is used. For the best effect the incense used during meditation should be of a special (non-synthetic) type used only during meditation. More>>

"Sex Swami" lectures on self-restraint

( BANGALORE, India - Swami Nithyananda's disciples were back in their trademark robes on Sunday, which they had abandoned after their guru was arrested when a video that allegedly showed him with a Tamil actress was aired on national television.

The mood at the swami's ashram Dhyanapeetham, where he delivered his discourse following his release, saw disciples who had taken to wearing jeans and T-shirts back to the ashramites' trademark white and saffron robes.

Among other things, Swami Nithyananda, who chose freedom as the topic for his first discourse after he was released on bail, dwelled on principles like non-violence and self-restraint while defining freedom.

"We had to dress casually after Swamiji was arrested. We were afraid that the public would attack us," explained a disciple. "The public was so mistaken that in their eyes, it became a matter of shame to be Swami Nithyananda's disciples. The police were also monitoring us. We did not want to get into trouble. But now with our guru out, we have changed to our old robes." More>>

Seepage damages paintings in Ellora caves

Water damage to wall paintings at Ellora temple caves complex (

(SIFY/ANI) The paintings at Ellora in Aurangabad, India are losing their gleam as rainwater seeps into the cave temples. Partly due to seepage and falling rocks, damage to sculptures is also being caused by lights installed inside the caves. Moisture is affecting the paintings, with the immediate effect that they are turning black.

There are 34 famous temples carved out of stone. The cave temples of Ellora are divided into three groups, belonging to three periods: Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain. "At Ellora you can see that Buddhism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, and Jainism, along with this the Sufi activities at Khuldabad, they go together. Everybody is bent upon passing the message of peace and love," said Morwanchikar.

The Ellora cave temples are a precious world heritage site (

The government has planned to construct drains in all the caves of Ellora to avoid seepage and further destruction of the sculptures, particularly during the monsoons. The ancient Ellora caves are a World Heritage Site and were constructed between the fifth and tenth centuries AD. Full story

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An American Ordination

On June 5th Chris Eyer from Triratna’s Rocky Mountain Buddhist Center in Missoula, Montana, was ordained (fwbo).

An American Buddhist will take robes thus receiving ordination as a novice monk on Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 10:00 am. Maitri Vihara ("Amity Abbey"), a Sri Lankan-American Buddhist monastery, will confer the first stage of Theravada monastic ordination for an American novice, or Ten Precept trainee. All are welcome to attend.

This rare ceremony will take place at 10819 Penrose Street in the Los Angeles suburb of Sun Valley, California 91352, (818) 768-9382. The officiating monks are Ven. Dr. Ittepana Dhammalankara Anunayaka Thero and Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhita Thero.

    10:00 am - Ordination ceremony begins
    11:00 am - Dana for Maha Sangha (monk's meal)
    12:15 pm - Lunch for the participants
    1:15 pm - End of program

Exploring Thai Female Buddhist Ordination

Julia SwayJulia Sway, UC Davis Religious Studies honor student (

Exploring the Role of Modern Thai Female Buddhist Ordination
Thailand, a Buddhist country, is considered one of the world's most progressive nations. Yet it refuses to recognize women who wish to be fully ordained as Buddhist nuns. My research surrounds these two seemingly conflicting facts.

I intended to explore how Buddhism infiltrates Thai political, social, and economic structures. The controversy surrounding Thailand’s strong opposition to women's ordination stems from two main facts. First, historically nun-hood was granted by the Buddha and nuns played a very considerable role in making Buddhism as widespread and successful as it is today. Second, other Theravada Buddhist countries that are not considered as politically or economically progressive as Thailand, such as Sri Lanka, have not only recognized fully-ordained nuns, but have reinstated nun orders.

My research so far has explored the historical role of women who have wished to be ordained in Thailand, the relationship between Thai history and Buddhism, and the role of women in Thailand alongside Buddhism. I have observed through books and experience abroad that Thai Buddhism depends on women giving offerings to male monks [and temporarily ordained novices].

If women were to have more options in the religious field, innumerable aspects of Thai society would be thrown off balance. In further research I would like to prove that the reason why women are not allowed to become nuns is not based on religious beliefs, which is what the government claims, but instead because of social-functional reasons. This conclusion will reinforce the fact that religion is inseparable from all aspects of societies around the world. Source

More billionaires pledge fortunes to charity

To match feature BUFFETT/UKULELES-GIRLS/ Multi-billionaire investor, mogul, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett eating ice cream (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than 30 U.S. billionaires pledged on Wednesday to give away at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity as part of a campaign by investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Among the billionaires joining the campaign are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, and investor Ronald Perelman, according to "The Giving Pledge" website.

Gates and Buffett launched "The Giving Pledge" in June to convince hundreds of U.S. billionaires to give away most of their fortune during their lifetime or after their death and to publicly state their intention with a letter of explanation. The full list of billionaires and their letters can be seen at The Giving Pledge does not accept any money; it simply asks billionaires to make a moral commitment to give away their wealth to charity. More>>

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Gumby Dharma"

"Gumby Dharma" explores Dharmic themes in a classic American cartoon. More>>

Chanting monks seeking to inspire us

RARE OPPORTUNITY: A group of Gyuto monks will perform their deep harmonic chanting at the Great Lakes Library on August 12.

Dalai Lama coming to Silicon Valley

Dalai Lama coming to Silicon Valley in October (

The Dalai Lama [temporal and spiritual leader of the nation of Tibet in exile] will give a teaching, "Eight Verses of Training the Mind: Awakening the Heart of Compassion," at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on October 12, 2010. He was invited to Silicon Valley by the Gyuto Vajrayana Center, a Tibetan Buddhist temple based in San Jose. Tickets are $40 ($20 for students) and are on sale at An appearance at Stanford University, where the Dalai Lama will speak on compassion October 14, is also part of the Silicon Valley trip. Stanford students, faculty, and alumni have priority for tickets to that event, which will also be webcast.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is there Evil in the World?

Wisdom Quarterly
The banality of "evil" -- What would possess a human to such conduct? The influence of otherworldly entities or our psychological makeup?

There are unseen beings -- yakkhas, petas, narakas, bhummmi-devas, nagas, kumbandhas, and so on -- in Buddhist lore. They correspond to those of European legend: ogres and "demons," spirits of the dead, hellions, mischievous faeries, reptilians, dwarfs, trolls, gnomes, and poltergeists in general. Like humans, they have personalities and tendencies. They are not strictly malevolent, but are subject to anger, jealousy, territoriality, and delusion.
They may communicate with humans, some of whom due to past karma are able to see them, offer advice, mislead, or even haunt. They frequently inhabit the wilderness and old homes but are, as in the case of pretas ("hungry ghosts" who linger after they have passed from the human world due to strong attachment).

What is "Evil"?
Evil is an interesting concept. We must separate it from Judeo-Christian connotations. There is Mara, a tempter figure in Buddhism who sounds like Lucifer but is more akin to the ancient Greek Cupid. He is not a devil. The Buddha often referred to him as Namuci ("the Evil One") because of his misguided tendency to obstruct enlightenment and liberation from the sensual realm. Mara's "evil" is human evil. That is to say, the roots of good and evil are present in all of us at birth to a greater or lesser degree. These are known as the Three Poisons:
  1. Greed (lobha)
  2. Hate (dosa)
  3. Delusion (moha)
They are best understood as categories. Under "greed" falls: selfishness, lust, envy, jealousy, lack of consideration. Under "hate" falls: fear (bhava, which is so serious that it is sometimes categorized separately as a fourth poison of the heart) annoyance, irritation, anger, vengeance, ill-will, spite, begrudging, blaming, and unfriendliness. Under "delusion" falls: wrong-views, misperception, distortion of reality, ignorance, sophistry, and foolishness.

There are said to be many maras (obstructors). They can, and often are in the commentaries, viewed as mental defilements and hindrances to virtue, concentration, and wisdom rather than as independent entities.

The ogres (yakkhas) who support Mara are called "demons," but this is misleading. They are from an external point of view beings reborn on the basis of anger. Their good karma has led to a less unfortunate state than might have been, for they can be powerful, clever, and influential. That a mara could wield influence over them is only because of that being's own good karma having come to fruition placing it in possession of great powers, now misused in the service of lust, anger, and delusion. But Mara's goal, unlike the Christian conception of Satan, is not that beings end up in the hells. Even Yama, the mythological "king" or "judge" of the dead, does not want that. Mara, like Cupid, is instead an obstacle to liberation, wishing everyone to remain within his sphere of influence, which is the Sense Sphere (kama-loka).
The tormented narakas, denizens of various unfortunate destinations commonly referred to as hells, none of which are eternal but do last a miserably long time, might appear in the world only to warn someone or to grab a moment of respite, their karma allowing.

Pretas -- who are often confused, lacking direction and motivation, and are terribly sad and hungry in their pathetic state -- likewise do not mean to harm. They stand at the edges around houses wishing to come in, it is said in the Petavatthu. They are the ill-born departed. Something can be done for them, by way of offering and merit in their name. This helps them move on IF, looking on, they approve of such actions. (It is their own mental karma, that of rejoicing in well done deeds, that liberates them, not some magical transference of merit). But malcontent or disturbed pretas -- the "ungrateful dead" -- can sometimes become poltergeists. Modern parapsychological research reveals that this tends to happen in the presence of pre-adolescents, whose vital energies can be misdirected.

As for the others, nagas (powerful beings, particularly reptilians) and devas (demigods, whose lives are like that of the gods of the Greek pantheon) and so on, they are "evil" to a degree -- just as humans are evil to a degree. Even celestial devas (radiant light beings inhabiting space) have not, generally speaking, overcome and eradicated greed, hatred, and delusion. Having suppressed these hindrances and contaminants of the heart, having undergone a fortunate rebirth based on some skillful karma (any deed, word, or thought rooted in nongreed, nonhatred, or nondelusion), they are beautiful, long lived, and enjoy many delights. Their lives, too, are temporary. They are reborn in the future according to their karma, their "just desserts." Only the arahants, the enlightened ones, have overcome all that can upset. Only the Arya have even set foot on that route to freedom from all suffering.

Is there evil in the world? Yes, when defined as the Three Poisons. Is there good? Absolutely, when defined as the converse of those poisoned states of mind. Good can be summarized into three categories:
  1. Nongreed: generosity, beneficence, love for oneself as one loves others and vice versa (metta), compassion (karuna), happiness in others' happiness (mudita), impartiality (upekkha). [These four are called Divine Abidings, Brahma Viharas, here and now.]
  2. Nonhatred: forbearance, forgiveness, fearlessness, friendliness, loving-kindness, tolerance.
  3. Nondelusion: wisdom, right-view (samma-ditthi), insight, understanding in accordance with the truth, knowledge, clear comprehension, mindfulness of what is in this very moment.

News of the Day: Tops Stories

Lightning storms (ABC) High-tech video cameras catch lightning's fury

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mind Control: men, climate change, sleep

This portion of an interview with Steven Jacobson explains how we are being manipulated and controlled. This is carried out particularly by television. Our thoughts may not be our own; rather they are programmed into us from birth. Self-awareness is the first step to self control.

Science, controversy, politics of climate change

A silhouette shot of Al Gore, a U.S. former vice-president and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is seen in front of a monitor during his lecture on climate change inside a mall in Manila June 8, 2010. While scientists mostly agree that warming of the climate system is happening and political leaders have long-term commitments to try to reduce it, a debate still rages as to what to do in the near and medium term. Global warming is "unequivocal" based on increases in average air and ocean temperatures, melting of snow and ice, and rising sea levels, according to the leading international group of scientists studying climate change.