Monday, April 30, 2012

Occupy May Day (video);; Occupy Wall Street; Occupy London; Occupy LA

Emperor Obama, the Great Pretender, may cynically give great speeches.
But we stand by the words and ideals even if leaders are corrupt.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Los Angeles Rebellion (video)

Kohl; CNN; I.N.N. World; Wisdom Quarterly

On April 29th, 1992, 12 jurors acquitted four LAPD officers of the brutal 1991 beating of motorist Rodney King. The resulting riots -- or rebellion against a great injustice -- paralyzed the city of Los Angeles and stunned a nation. Decades later it is still necessary to explore the complexities of race relations in today's America. Police abuses continue from LA to NYC. This is a 10th grade US history report on the uprising. I interviewed parents who witnessed the LA Riots. This is but one of the many views on the event. More
Tupac Shakur (not the hologram) comments on LA Rebellion

(CNN/CIA/) Twenty years after the vicious Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) beating of Rodney King, CNN took a look back at the event that sparked deadly violence and addressed US racism.

Things have changed so much after this event that Los Angeles gave rise to one of the largest and longest standing Occupy encampments. Things have improved in terms of day-to-day public beatings. There are fewer of those, while private abuses in custody, arrests, and spying has increased.

Oops. Friendly fire hits police state paramilitary unit deployed on civilians.

Society needs better leaders (sutras)

Sita Arunthavanatha, Seven, and Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha was a teacher who did not confine his teachings to spiritual doctrines and disciplines. 

Bhikkhu Bodhi notes with amazement how broad and diverse the Buddha's instructions were over his 45 year setting up of this dispensation (sasana) of the Dharma. Socially engaged teachings existed from the start.

By and large the Buddha set aside questions of unprofitable philosophizing that does not lead to enlightenment and liberation from suffering. He set aside discussion of end times (eschatology) when it did not profit anyone to reflect on such issues in favor of the pursuit of salvation or soteriology by real emancipation (moksha).

In his time there were various systems of government, and he let them be, advising when asked for the betterment of societies under their own systems.  The relative merits of such systems or theories apart from being asked by a minister, brahmin, or king were not pronounced. There is no system set forth as they ideal. In India it was generally a time of "kings" and clans with janapadas or "territories" (loosely as kingdoms) held by extended family units.

Prince Siddhartha he was brought up to rule just such a territory held by relatives but with his warrior caste father's dream that he rise to expand their territory and become a universal monarch (chakravartin). As a prince he was given the best education with training in statecraft and military theories. 

Ancient Buddhist texts show that the language and style the Buddha used in discourses to and conversations with kings -- such as Bimbisara and Pasenadi, who were quick to understand military similes, metaphors, and illustrations -- exhibited the Buddha's thorough knowledge of statecraft, war, plundering, and defense strategies. 

Siddhartha was born at a time of political evolution when existing republics were being swallowed up by powerful neighboring rulers and the emergence of new monarchies and royal lines. Scattered references in the sutras give us some insight into the duties of temporal rulers.

Origin of kingship
The myth prevailing at the time of the Buddha was that kingship was of divine origin. It was vested from space (the heavens) by devas (gandharvas) and apparently titans (asuras) as well. 

These were messenger-angels of space rulers such as Sakka, ruler of the devas, and the Four Great Akasha Deva Kings under Sakka's rule.

War necessitated that a ruler lead. But the Buddhist concept as given in a Buddhist Genesis or origin myth (Agganna Sutta, DN 27) is that kingship originated as a genuine human societal need as opposed to the brahmins' (pre-Hindu Vedic Brahminical) teaching of the divine creation of four castes.

According to this story, as life on Earth devolved from its heavenly beginnings (yes both evolution and descent from space or heaven), needs arose. Visitors from space (abhassara devas, "shining ones" who originally fed on bliss) wanted to sample what Mother Nature had to offer on an early terraforming planet. They did this to their detriment because it was good and they became lazy. 

Latent defilements (greed, aversion/fear, delusion) led early populations of increasingly human, decreasingly deva, beings to exhaust natural resources. Lying, stealing, and other vices prompted a genuine social necessity for the election of a trustworthy leader to arbitrate when the need arose. 

So a "king" was chosen by the other earthlings, not by heavenly rulers, and approved by the people (Mahasammata). This was a logical outcome to deal with a social need, not something decreed by heaven, gods (devas), or Gods (brahmas), or GOD (Brahman). A council might have been a better solution, but it began with an individual for simplicity's sake for a very small population.

Definition of rulers
The sutra defines this person as, "One who makes others happy by righteousness" (dhammena param ranjeti ti raja). It was not for the benefit of this person that the election was made but for the benefit of others.

Buddhist texts refer to rulers or kings (rajas), great rulers (maha rajas), and emperors or world monarchs (cakkavatti rajas). (The word "world" cannot be assumed to mean what we mean by it; it seems to have been defined either in literal terms as "the known world" bounding the subcontinent or the planet bounded by seas of space). Whatever the title, a ruler had to honor, respect, and be righteous for the other earthlings. (Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta, DN 26). 

Consensus among the people gave one of them authority to serve as ruler. All the power possessed by the one elected was that of the people. 

This was the Buddhist emergence of "democracy," a concept that was fleshed out in detailed procedures for running the Sangha or Monastic Order. Nuns and monks have parliamentary-style procedures set by the Buddha so that they could function in the absence of some absolute leader, pope, or family descendent.  It is this way by design. 
  • Rahula, the Buddha's son who was a Buddhist monk, did not ascend to lead the Order or the lay community. The chief disciples -- Sariputra, Khema, Maha Moggallana, and Uppalavanna -- were not designated to lead when the Buddha passed into final nirvana.
The Buddha rejected the notion that he was Buddhists' or Buddhism's leader. This may seem shocking, but it is an impersonal system. This is in keeping with the Buddhist ideals of fairness, egalitarianism, and the fact that the Dharma (Dhamma) lives on long after a buddha has rediscovered it, made it widely known, and established a full community  of practitioners.

Degeneration in virtue (adhamma) due to fighting and friction necessitated a ruler for regeneration (dhamma).

Qualities of rulers
There were unwritten norms, political law-givers, chaplains (purohita), and others to advise a ruler to steer clear of excesses, self-indulgence, or becoming a despot/dictator. In the Buddhist tradition of social evolution, the "king" was the first among equals and was not above the law. 

A ruler is expected to have 10 personal qualities -- such as generosity, liberality, virtue, and so on. Four cardinal principles a king had to possess were generosity (dana), pleasant speech (piya vacana), welfare of the subjects (atta cariya), and equality for all (samanatmata). 
One was also to have the following five qualities: (1) Understanding things with clear vision, (2) knowing what is righteous (dhammannu), (3) possessing a clear idea of the limit and measure with regard to taxing, fining, or punishing subjects, (4) knowing the right time for action (kalannu), and (5) knowing the assemblies (parisannu).

Duties of rulers
A king has to rule with justice and equity ensuring security within and without. Moral responsibility lays not only with the ruler but also with the ruled. Each person in society shares that responsibility so that the community can remain united.

According to DN 26 a king's duty could be summarized as 
  • protection of the state,
  • elimination of crime,
  • effecting economic stability,
  • ruling in consultation with recluses and brahmins (samanas and brahmanas).
The Pali expression dhammikam rakkhavaranam guttim means watch, ward, and protect righteously. 

According to this same discourse, protection had to be provided not only to citizens and religious bodies and so on but also to beasts and birds (aka, the environment).

Here the word dhammikam is interesting because it can be abused: a ruler can claim to give "protection" by unrighteous means (adhammikam). There is an illustration in the Sutta Nipata, where two men guilty of murder are treated in differently as a result. One is garlanded because he has killed an enemy of the king; the other is bound with ropes because he is a foe of the king. This difference in treatment for the same crime illustrates that the laws of the state were not always impartial. 

Violence and crime
DN 26 (Cakkavatti Sutra) and DN 5 (Kutadanta Sutra) show that violence arises when the economy of a country is at a lull and the destitute are neglected. As a ordinary consequence, crime increases. And this is the ruler's responsibility. The economic inequity must be remedied and eliminated.
Both of these discourses state that there will be a gradual loss of values due to economic instability. Men and women will resort to violence if living conditions are not conducive to preserving their lives. People will normally resort to stealing rather than perishing.

"As a result of goods not being accrued to those who are destitute poverty becomes rife. From poverty becoming rife stealing... violence... murder... lying... harmful speech... sexual misconduct... incest, until finally a lack of respect for parents, filial love, religious piety, and a lack of regard for the ruler will result" (DN 26).

The Roots of Violence

Violence and Disruption in Society: A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts
Elizabeth J. Harris (Pt. 3: The Roots of Violence) 
The Attadanda Sutta of the Sutta Nipata is the voice of someone overcome by despair because of the violence he sees:
Fear results from resorting to violence -- just look at how people quarrel and fight. But let me tell you now of the kind of dismay and terror that I have felt. Seeing people struggling like fish, writhing in shallow water, with enmity against one another, I became afraid.
At one time, I had wanted to find some place where I could take shelter, but I never saw such a place. There is nothing in this world that is solid at base and not a part of it that is changeless.
I had seen them all trapped in mutual conflict and that is why I had felt so repelled. But then I noticed something buried deep in their hearts. It was -- I could just make it out -- a dart.[Note]
This translation attempts to preserve the spirit of the text rather than the letter. Here it is the spirit of dismay and fear leading to discovery which is of prime importance. The speaker detects a common root -- the dart of craving (tanha) and greed (lobha) -- a view directly in line with the Four Noble Truths. Violence arises because the right nourishment is present.

However, it has been pointed out earlier that differences may exist in the way in which tanha conditions situations of violence. On analysis, two broad and mutually interdependent areas emerge -- (1) violence arising from an individual's maladjustment and (2) craving and violence arising from unsatisfactory social and environmental conditions, caused by the craving of others.

The latter can be taken first with reference to the following texts: The Kutadanta Sutta; the Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta, and certain Anguttara Nikaya passages. The first weaves a myth within a myth. The inner myth tells the story of King Wide-Realm, whose land is wracked with discontent and crime such that people are afraid to walk in the streets for fear of violence. More

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Randomness (audio)

Randomness (Radio Lab)
Stochasticity may be at the very foundation of our lives. To understand how big a role it plays, we look at chance and patterns in sports, lottery tickets, and even the cells in the body. Along the way, we talk to a woman taking pharmaceuticals suddenly consumed by a frenzied gambling addiction, meet two friends whose meeting seems to defy pure chance, and take a close look at some very noisy bacteria.
Is it the L.A. "riots," "rebellion," or "unrest"? 
It's been 20 years since Los Angeles erupted in violence after four brutal LAPD officers were unfairly acquitted of beating Rodney King although two were later convicted in a civil trial. 
As LA remembers race riots, Trayvon's name is invoked 
Teaching the L.A. civil unrest at two city schools: NPR
How Koreatown rose from the ashes of L.A. riots: NPR
Twenty years ago during the riots, a disproportionate number of Korean-owned businesses burned to the ground, casualties of...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Doo Dah Parade 2012

Pasadena holds its radical alternative to the Rose Parade with world-famous primatologist Jane Goodall. Expect lots of wild life by the wildest primates of all Homo sapien and spiritus (

POETRY: good and bad (video slam)

Wisdom Quarterly;; The Pseudo-Intellectual, Literary Terms Sparkcharts
(Glwordsignite) Get Lit Classic Slam is s a citywide poetry competition on April 27th at Los Angeles Theatre Center and April 28th at the Wiltern Theatre ( Get Lit is a nonprofit organization that promotes teen literacy. It is embarking on its biggest endeavor ever this weekend during NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!
Poetry is sometimes submitted to Wisdom Quarterly or at least "things that rhyme" or follow a rigid form are. Here is one example by I.P. Freehly:

"Here I sit brokenhearted
Came to Zen,
Butt barely started"

Or this gem from Richard Hurtz:

"Lotuses are red,
Waterlilies are blue
The truth I dread,
Maybe it's true."

These budding wordsmiths might benefit from Sparkcharts. And everyone would be much better off removing the term "haiku" from their quiver.
The web-site you seek
Cannot be located,
but Countless more exist.
Joy Rothke
Errors have occurred.
Look within for where and why.
Lazy programmers.
Charlie Gibbs
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen, mind, both are blank....
Ian Hughes

() Lady Rizo performs

Take a cue from Teri Trendler, whom we mangle with a little editing:

Sanity vs. Ships
The ocean is vast --
easy to stay afloat
far away, selfishly using wind,
waves, and rain to survive
but storms batter us
and our ropes and hopes fray --
our selves/sails split
and leaks appear.

It is far safer to stay in dry dock --
but dry wood don't boat.
In a harbor others can see how we maintain our ship
(or rot).

The mask of seaworthiness gets us through
work and school even Sundays at church
but we know behind the paint
there are cracks.

How do we fix ourselves?
Maybe we cannot --
perhaps it takes those ships in neighboring slips
to lend a hand.

Therapy is where we admit we want help --
socializing allows us to see the small storms are survivable --
but what about spirits
how do we make them stronger?

Being sane? Sane enough?
Logic tells us what to eat, not drink, when to exercise
and to stress less (about work)
but if we don't do these are we not sane, less sane?

If the root of sanity is opposite to crazy, creative
to sanitize is to clean and kill everything
foreign or not-self.
We put these away in a sanitarium.
A sanitary napkin would wipe up the mentally disturbed --
maybe the physically imperfect too?

Brain chemistry runs in families
as does fertility to a degree.
If my father's line is less fertile,
and my mother's line less sane...
I'm the last to deal with this.
No children will inherit my brains nor my body
both tools, good for certain work
but antiquated now in me.

So if I am to leave a legacy
it must be an intangible one.
Those I've met, touched, helped or hindered
if not memories which shall last only a few lifetimes
perhaps a change in spirit for those down or discouraged
and if my rewards are here on earth-cheers.
Elements of Style
aposiopesis: breaking off of speech due to rising emotion or excitement
apostrophe: a direct address to an absent or dead person, object, or idea.
chiasmus: two phrases with the same syntax but reversed word placement.
colloquialism: informal expression or slang
conceit: elaborate parallel between two seemingly dissimilar objects or ideas
epithet: adjective or phrase describing a prominent feature
euphemism: decorous language used to express unpleasant idea.
litotes: form of understatement in which a statement is affirmed by negating its opposite.
meiosis: intentional understatement
metomyny: substitution of one term for another that is associated with it
paralipsis (praeteritio): drawing attention to something by claiming not to mention it.
parallelism: use of similar grammatical structure or word order in two sentences to suggest contrast or comparison.
pathetic fallacy: human feeling of motivation attributed to nonhuman objects.
periphrasis: an elaborate and roundabout way of referring to things that uses more words than necessary.
synecdoche: form of metonymy in which a part is used to refer to the whole.
trope: category of figures of speech that invite comparison.
zeugma: one word modifies two things in two different ways.
  • Meter
    • Accentual meter: the number of stressed syllables is fixed, and the number of total syllables is not fixed.
    • Syllabic meter: the number of stressed syllables is not fixed, the number of total syllables is.
    • Accentual-syllabic meter: both the numbers of stressed and unstressed syllables are fixed.
    • Quantitative meter: the duration of the sound of each syllable determines the meter
  • The foot: basic rhythmic unit
    • Caesura: the pronounced pause between feet
    • Iamb: unstressed, stressed
    • Trochee: stressed, unstressed
    • Dactyl: stressed, unstressed, unstressed
    • Anapest: unstressed, unstressed, stressed
    • Spondee: stressed, stressed
    • Pyrrhic: unstressed, unstressed
    • Feet measures: monometer, di, tri, tetra, penta, hexa, hepta, octa
  • Rhyme Schemes
    • Couplet: two successive rhymed lines, equal in length
    • Heroic couplet: a couplet in iambic pentameter
    • Quatrain: four line stanza
    • Heroic quatrain: quatrain in iambic pentameter with an ABAB scheme
    • Tercet: grouping of three lines
    • Terza rima: system of tercets liked by common rhymes: ABA BCB CDC, etc.
  • Poetic forms
    • Ottava rima: eight lines in iambic pentameter with ABABABCC scheme
    • Sestina: Six six-line stanzas followed by a three-line stanza. The last word in the last line of one stanza becomes the last word in the first line of the next. All the words appear in the final three-line stanza.
    • Sonnet: one stanza of fourteen lines in iambic pentameter. The first eight lines or “octave” poses a question or dilemma that the last six lines or “sestet,” resolve.
      • Italian/Petrachan: the octave can be either ABBAABBA or ABBACDDC and the sestet can be either CDECDE or CDCCDC
      • Shakespearean: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
      • Spenserian: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE
  • Vilanelle: nineteen lines split into five tercets and one quatrain. All nineteen lines carry one of two rhymes. There are two refrains, alternating between the ends of each tercet and forming the last two lines of the final quatrain.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"People vs. The State of Illusion" (film)

Austin Vickers (); Wisdom Quarterly

OPENS THIS WEEKEND IN LOS ANGELES: Landmark Regent Theater, Westwood

"People vs. The State of Illusion" is a film by Austin Vickers including appearances by: Dr. Thomas Moore, Dr. Candace Pert, Debbie Ford, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Robert Jahn, Dr. Peter Senge, Brenda Dunne, and Dr. Michael Vandermark. It is an exploration into the science of perception, thought, and imagination. The film was directed by award-winning director Scott Cervine.

() Dr. Joe's segment from the movie discusses the split between who
we really are and who we appear to be and why addictions are created.;
For the last decade Austin Vickers, an executive leadership training expert, has been educating audiences across America about emotional intelligence, human process, self-awareness, creativity, and imagination. He a writer, personal leadership program designer, and online video coach. His series has helped make dramatic changes in people’s lives. He is the creator of this compelling docudrama examining our illusions and addictions -- as well as the science and power of perception and imagination.

Vickers was on The Aware Show today discussing the nature of reality. Through an examination of our perceptions, beliefs, and imaginations we are both judge and jury in the most important trial we will ever witness: our own lives. "People v. Illusion" includes, as expert witnesses, some of the nation’s leading thinkers in the fields of neuroscience, biochemistry, psychology, quantum physics, and consciousness theory.

The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar

Ñanamoli Thera, Bhikkhu Bodhi (trans.), Mahasihanada Sutta (MN 12); Wisdom Quarterly
The Belum Caves Buddha near Kurnool in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is part of the second largest cave system on the subcontinent, which once used by Jain and Buddhist monks as determined by artifacts found inside dating back to 4500 BCE, now in the Museum at Anantapur. The area is now a protected archaeological and geological site developed as a state tourist attraction (Vesuvianite/

[The Hair-Raising Discourse]
1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Buddha was living at Vesali in the grove outside the city to the west.

2. Now on that occasion Sunakkhatta, son of the Licchavis, had recently left this Dhamma and Discipline [Note 1]. He was making this statement before the Vesali assembly: 

The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.  [2]  

The recluse Gotama teaches a Dharma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him.

And when he teaches the Dhamma to anyone, it leads that person who practices it to the complete destruction of suffering. [3]

3. Then when it was morning, Venerable Sariputta dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Vesali for alms. He heard Sunakkhatta, son of the Licchavis, making this statement before the Vesali assembly. When he had wandered for alms in Vesali and had returned from his almsround, after his meal he went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and told the Blessed One what Sunakkhatta was saying.

4. (The Buddha:) "Sariputta, the misguided man Sunakkhatta is angry, and his words are spoken out of anger. Thinking to discredit the Tathagata, he actually praises him; for it is a praise of the Tathagata to say of him: 'When he teaches the Dharma to anyone, it leads him that person who practices it to the complete destruction of suffering.'

A lion's roar can be heard up to 5 miles away
5. "Sariputta, this misguided man Sunakkhatta will never infer of me according to Dharma [truth, reality, "the way it really is"]: 'That Blessed One is accomplished, fully enlightened, perfect in true knowledge and conduct, sublime, knower of worlds, incomparable leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, enlightened, blessed.' [4]

6. "And he will never infer of me according to Dharma: 'That Blessed One enjoys the various kinds of SUPERNORMAL POWER:
  • having been one, he becomes many; 
  • having been many, he becomes one; 
  • he appears and vanishes; 
  • he goes unhindered through a wall, through an enclosure, through a mountain, as though through space; 
  • he dives in and out of the earth as though it were water; 
  • he walks on water without sinking as though it were earth; 
  • seated cross-legged, he travels in space like a bird; 
  • with his hand he touches and strokes the moon and sun so powerful and mighty; 
  • he wields bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma-world.'
7. "And he will never infer of me according to Dharma: 'With the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, that Blessed One hears both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and the human, those that are far as well as near.'

8. "And he will never infer of me according to Dharma:
  • 'That Blessed One encompasses with his own mind the minds of other beings, other persons. 
  • He understands a mind affected by lust as affected by lust and a mind unaffected by lust as unaffected by lust; 
  • he understands a mind affected by hate as affected by hate and a mind unaffected by hate as unaffected by hate; 
  • he understands a mind affected by delusion as affected by delusion and a mind unaffected by delusion as unaffected by delusion; 
  • he understands a contracted mind as contracted and a distracted mind as distracted; 
  • he understands an exalted mind as exalted and an unexalted mind as unexalted; 
  • he understands a surpassed mind as surpassed and an unsurpassed mind as unsurpassed; 
  • he understands a concentrated mind as concentrated and an unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; 
  • he understands a liberated mind as liberated and an unliberated mind as unliberated.'
Ten Powers of a Tathagata
9. "Sariputta, the Tathagata [a supremely enlightened buddha] has these ten Tathagata's powers, possessing which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.[5]

What are the ten?

  • 10. (1) "Here, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible.[6] And that is a Tathagata's power that the Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.
  • 11. (2) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes. That too is a Tathagata's power...[7] 
  • 12. (3) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the ways leading to all destinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[8] 
  • 13. (4) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the world with its many and different elements. That too is a Tathagata's power...[9] 
  • 14. (5) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[10] 
  • 15. (6) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata's power...[11] 
  • 16. (7) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the defilement, the cleansing and the emergence in regard to the jhanas, liberations, concentrations and attainments. That too is a Tathagata's power...[12] 
  • 17. (8) "Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, 20 births, 30 births, 40 births, 50 births, a 100 births, a thousand births, a hundred-thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. That too is a Tathagata's power...

  • 18. (9) "Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions thus: 'These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell. But these worthy beings who were well-conducted in body, speech and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.' Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions. That too is a Tathagata's power...
  • 19. (10) "Again, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, the Tathagata here and now enters upon and abides in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. That too is a Tathagata's power that a Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma. ...
57. "Sariputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through the round of rebirths (samsara).'

"But it is impossible to find a realm in the round that I have not already passed through in this long journey, except for the devas of the Pure Abodes. And had I passed through the round as a deva in the Pure Abodes, I would never have returned to this world.[20]

58. "There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through (some particular kind of) rebirth.'

"But it is impossible to find a kind of rebirth that I have not been reborn in already in this long journey, except for the devas of the Pure Abodes...

59. "There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through (some particular [heavenly]) abode.'

"But it is impossible to find a kind of abode that I have not already dwelt in... except for the devas of the Pure Abodes...

60. "There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through sacrifice.'

"But it is impossible to find a kind of sacrifice that has not already been offered up by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do-brahmin.

61. "There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'Purification comes about through fire-worship.'

But it is impossible to find a kind of fire that has not already been worshipped by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do brahmin.

62. "Sariputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: 'As long as this good man is still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, so long is he perfect in his lucid wisdom. But when this good man is old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, and come to the last stage, being 80, 90, or a 100-years-old, then the lucidity of his wisdom is lost.'

"But it should not be regarded so. I am now old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, and come to the last stage: my years have turned 80.

"Now suppose that I had four disciples with a hundred years' lifespan, perfect in mindfulness, retentiveness, memory and lucidity of wisdom. [21] Just as a skilled archer, trained, practiced and tested, could easily shoot a light arrow across the shadow of a palm tree, suppose that they were even to that extent perfect in mindfulness, retentiveness, memory and lucidity of wisdom. Suppose that they continuously asked me about the four foundations of mindfulness and that I answered them when asked and that they remembered each answer of mine and never asked a subsidiary question or paused except to eat, drink, consume food, taste, urinate, defecate, and rest in order to remove sleepiness and tiredness.

"Still the Tathagata's exposition of the Dharma, his explanations of factors of the Dharma, and his replies to questions would not yet come to an end. But meanwhile those four disciples of mine with their hundred years' lifespan would have died at the end of those hundred years. Sariputta, even if you have to carry me about on a bed, still there will be no change in the lucidity of the Tathagata's wisdom.

63. "Rightly speaking, were it to be said of anyone: 'A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare and happiness of gods and humans,' it is of me indeed that rightly speaking this should be said."

64. Now on that occasion Venerable Nagasamala [the Buddha's attendant before Ananda] was standing behind the Blessed One fanning him. [22] Then he said to the Blessed One: "It is wonderful, venerable sir, it is marvelous! As I listened to this discourse on the Dharma, the hairs of my body stood up.

"Venerable sir, what is the name of this discourse on the Dharma?"

"As to that, Nagasamala, you may remember this discourse on the Dharma as 'The Hair-raising Discourse.'" [23]  More

Shaila Catherine's "Truth" (podcast)

Tricycle Magazine (;; Wisdom Quarterly
Shaila Catherine, an American student of Pa Auk Sayadaw, has been practicing meditation since 1980, with seven years of accumulated silent retreat experience.

Wisdom Quarterly meditation expert Kalyani vouches for her unequivocally, so we follow suit due to her accomplishments in meditation and insight with the Sayadaw.

She authored Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana (Wisdom Publications, 2011) to help make this traditional approach to meditative training accessible to Western practitioners.

She also wrote Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity (Wisdom Publications, 2008). She has extensive experience with the practice of metta, including seven months exploring it as a meditation subject on retreat.
While teaching in New Zealand in 2006, she was interviewed for INSIGHTAotera, a publication for New Zealand's insight meditation practitioners and communities.

Catherine has been teaching since 1996 in the USA, India, Israel, and England. She studied at Sharpham College for Buddhist Studies in England and has dedicated several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal, and Thailand.
Her deep love of the Buddha's liberating teachings and long-standing devotion to meditation creates a teaching style of clarity and delight revealing the practical and effective wisdom of the Dharma.

She has recently completed a year-long intensive meditation retreat focusing on the cultivation of concentration (samadhi) and absorption (jhana).


Meditation Guidance

How to live to be 100+ (video)

; Wisdom Quarterly
David Wolfe, a high energy vegan raw foodist motivational speaker specializing in superfoods, reveals to those attending the Women's Wellness Conference a surprising SECRET to physical health and longevity. For more information, visit

Theravada's great Engaged Buddhist

Rev. Danny Fischer (, 2010); Wisdom Quarterly edit
Bhikkhu Bodhi (

Engaged Buddhism: Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi
Though many know him well as the Pali scholar responsible for prodigious English translations of huge pieces of the Tripitaka [Three Collections of the Dharma], Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi has emerged in the last few years as one of the globe’s most important and industrious Engaged Buddhist leaders.

Born Jeffrey Block in Brooklyn in 1944, he was ordained in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka at age 28. In 1984, he succeeded the great Ven. Nyanaponika Thera as editor of the Buddhist Publication Society. By 1988, he was named president of the organization. He would hold these positions until 2002, when he returned to the United States.

He now lives at Chuang Yen Monastery ( in Carmel, New York, and teaches there and at Bodhi Monastery in Lafayette, New Jersey. He also serves as chairman of the Yin Shun Foundation, an organization devoted to translating the works of the late Chinese Mahayana Buddhist Master Yin Shun into English. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s published works include:

Since his return to the United States, he has been actively involved in global relief and environmental efforts. He played a primary role in founding Buddhist Global Relief, a visionary humanitarian organization based in the United States.

In addition, he co-authored (with David Loy and John Stanley) the Buddhist Climate Declaration -- a pan-Buddhist declaration on climate change that an international collection of Buddhist clergy [including Rev. Danny Fischer] signed. He was also one of the many diverse religious leaders who converged on Copenhagen during the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I asked Bhikkhu Bodhi if he would be willing to answer a few questions via email about what he has been up to lately, and he graciously agreed.

QUESTION: For those unfamiliar with Buddhist Global Relief, would you please acquaint us with it?

BGR is an organization of Buddhists who share the vision of a Buddhism actively committed to the work of alleviating the suffering caused by social and economic injustice. 

The organization includes people from different Buddhist affiliations who aspire to give concrete expression to the Buddha’s great compassion in a way appropriate to the crises of the contemporary world. Our advisers include Rev. Heng Sure, Joan Hoeberichts, David Loy, Jan Willis, and Andrew Harvey.

BGR was born from the “commentary” that I wrote for Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly in 2007. When I wrote that essay, I had no intention of founding an organization. 

My purpose was simply to call attention to what seemed to me a lacuna in American Buddhism, namely, a sufficiently active concern with addressing the suffering brought about by present-day unjust social and economic structures. When the essay was published, I didn’t show it to anyone, but several of my students discovered it on their own and began to speak among themselves about taking up the challenge I had laid down. 

We held several preliminary discussions, and then decided to establish an organization dedicated to alleviating global suffering.

In quest of a more specific mission, we drew upon the Buddha’s statements that “hunger is the worst illness” and “the gift of food is the gift of life,” and decided to focus on providing food aid to people in the developing world afflicted by chronic hunger and lack of food security. This is a problem that over a billion of our fellow humans confront everyday.

Ten million people, over half of them children, die of hunger and hunger-related disease each year. This tears at my heart, and so it is with the friends with whom I established BGR. Thus we chose hunger relief and improved food security as our guiding aim.

We officially came into being in June 2008. We’re an all-volunteer organization, but we have an excellent executive director, Kim Behan, who works almost full time on a voluntary basis. Our Board includes a former project director of CARE and the CEO of a Florida crisis center. At our present stage of development, we aren’t able to send people overseas to work on projects. Rather, we raise funds for food relief and related projects, mainly from individual donors, and partner with relief organizations operating in the countries we serve.

We provide food relief to victims of natural disaster, violent conflict, and drought. In countries stricken by chronic poverty, we support projects aimed at developing better long-term methods of food production and distribution. We’re also moving in the direction of support for the education of poor children, particularly girls. This, we have realized, may be one of the best long-term strategies for combating chronic poverty.

QUESTION: As you note, the roots of BGR are in an essay you wrote for Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly in 2007. In that piece, you make two observations about the modern Engaged Buddhist movement in the West. First, that many Engaged Buddhists “seek fresh perspectives from the Dharma…to use while simultaneously espousing sociopolitical causes not much different from those on the mainstream Left.” Second, Engaged Buddhism “remains tangential to the hard core of Western interest in Buddhism, which is the Dharma as a path to inner peace and self realization.” Would you say a bit about how BGR as an organization responds to these issues?

I don’t want to criticize my fellow Engaged Buddhists for espousing socio-political causes shared by those of the mainstream Left, since my leanings too are towards the progressive Left, and I espouse many of those same causes: ending the wars in the Middle East, transforming our consumerist economy into a more benign one, regulating carbon emissions, and developing green technologies, promoting a more just and equitable society here in the U.S. 

But what seemed to me to be lacking in the American Engaged Buddhist movement were programs actively aimed at tackling the suffering caused by social and economic injustice.

To give an example: When the South Asian tsunami struck at the end of 2004, Bodhi Monastery, where I was living at the time, raised a sizable sum of money to provide relief. I looked on Google at the lists of organizations doing relief work in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Amidst many secular, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, I could find only two Buddhist organizations, and these had roots in Asian Buddhist countries. This struck me as disturbing. I had to ask myself, “We Buddhists always speak about loving-kindness and compassion. Do we regard these as merely beautiful states of mind, or can they also issue in action?” It was this experience, simmering in the back of my mind, that led me to write my essay for Buddhadharma, and the fruit was the birth of BGR.

I lived in Sri Lanka for about twenty-three years. There I observed that the Buddhist temple is the social and cultural hub of the community, and the resident monks are the ones who take the initiative in looking after the well-being of the people, regardless of religion and ethnicity. But as Buddhism is rooting itself in the U.S., I see a danger that it might become an elitist methodology for discovering inner peace, or for living happily in the here and now, at the cost of its capacity for transforming broader systemic causes of suffering.

It seems to me that both the ultimate liberative goal of the Buddha’s teaching and the active compassionate application of the Dharma to the alleviation of socially caused suffering are at risk of being pushed to the sidelines in favor of a “feel good about yourself” version of Buddhism, or a Buddhism that functions as a mere existential psychotherapy.

This risk is especially serious as Buddhism becomes integrated into mainstream American culture. BGR aims to provoke a sense of what I call “conscientious compassion,” the attempt to give active expression to compassion through concrete measures aimed at alleviating real human suffering even of the most demeaning kind. More