Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Honey Full Moon Offering (sutra)

Ven. Dr. Karunananda, Abbot (Bodhi Mission) Originally posted 5:00 am

Bangladeshi Buddhist devotees light candles at Nandakanon temple, Chittagong, on the occasion of Madhu Purnima, the biggest festival behind Vesak, which commemorates the Buddha spreading the message of peace (The Star Daily).
The full moon observance day of the Indian month of Bhaadra (August September) commemorates a time when Buddhist monastics in ancient India were disputing. Even the Buddha could not calm their quarrels -- until he took the drastic action of withdrawing into the forest alone.

People and supporters heard of this and neglected to make offerings to the quarrelsome recluses, who eventually settled their differences.

While the Buddha was alone into Parileyya forest, an elephant and monkey tended to his needs, making an offering of fruit and honey.

This event -- Madhu Purnima -- is commemorated in Buddhist Bangladesh (particularly in Chittagong and the Hill Tract regions of a now predominantly Muslim country, which the British separated from India in a divide and conquer move as they departed after decades of colonial occupation).

It also led to a penetrating speech on profound aspects of the Dharma that leads to enlightenment:
In the Forest
Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly translation (Parileyya SutraSN 22.81)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Buddha was staying near Kosambi, at Ghosita's monastery. Early in the morning, having dressed and taken his bowl and outer robe, he went into Kosambi on alms round. Returning after his meal he set his lodging in order and -- without calling on his attendant or informing the community of monks -- he set out wandering alone.

Not long after he left, a monk went to Ananda and said, "Just now, friend Ananda, the Blessed One set his lodging in order and without informing anyone set out wandering alone."

"Whenever he does this he wants to live alone," Ananda explained. "He is not to be followed by anyone at such times."

After wandering by stages the Buddha came to Parileyya forest and chose the root of an auspicious sal tree as his lodging.

Then a large number of monastics went to Ananda, exchanged courteous greetings, sat to one side, and said: "It has been a long time since we heard a Dharma talk in the Blessed One's presence. We want to hear a Dharma talk in the Blessed One's presence."

"All things are dependently originated."
Together with them Ananda went to the Blessed One, bowed, sat to one side, and the Buddha instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged them with a talk on Dharma.

On that occasion this train of thought occurred to one of the monks: "I wonder, knowing in what way, seeing in what way, does one without delay put an end to the corruptions?"

The Buddha, perceiving with his mind this train of thought as it occurred to that monk, said: "I have analyzed and taught you the Dharma. I have analyzed and taught you the [37 Requisites of Enlightenment, which run as follows:]
  1. Four Noble Truths
  2. Four Right Efforts
  3. Four Bases of Power
  4. Five Controlling Faculties
  5. Five Powers
  6. Seven Factors of Enlightenment
  7. Noble Eightfold Path. 
"Yet, in spite of having analyzed and taught you the Dharma, still there occurs this thought: 'I wonder, knowing in what way, seeing in what way, does one without delay put an end to the corruptions?'

"[Here is how.] An ordinary, uninstructed worldling -- with no regard for noble ones [those who have attained various stages of enlightenment], who is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dharma, who has no regard for people of integrity, who is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dharma -- assumes form to be self. This assumption is a [compounded] formation.
"What is the cause, what is the origin, what is the rearising (birth), what is the coming-into-being of this formation? To an ordinary uninstructed worldling, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. Such is that formation born. And it is unstable (radically impermanent, in constant flux), compounded (not independent but utterly dependent on conditions, not a self but an aggregate, a heap), dependently co-arisen [with and based on the factors that constitute it].
"That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is unstable, compounded, dependently originated/co-arisen. It is by knowing-and-seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the corruptions.
  1. "Perhaps one does not assume form to be self but assumes that a self possesses form... form as in self... self as in form...
  2. or feeling (sensation) to be self... self as possessing feeling... feeling as in self... self as in feeling...
  3. or perception to be self... self as possessing perception... perception as in self... self as in perception...
  4. or formations to be self... self as possessing formations... formations as in self... self as in formations... 
  5. or consciousness to be self... self as possessing consciousness... consciousness as in self... self as in consciousness. [These are the Five Aggregates of Clinging clung to as a self, soul, or ego, but it is wrong view to consider them such.]
Wild animals were calmed around the Buddha.
"This assumption is a formation. What is the cause, what is the origin, what is the rearising, what is the coming-into-being of this formation? 
"To an ordinary, uninstructed worldling touched by feeling born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. Such is that formation born. And that formation is unstable, compounded, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is unstable, compounded, dependently co-arisen. It is by knowing-and-seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the corruptions.

"Or one does not assume form to be self... but may have a view such as this: 'This self is the same as the cosmos. This I will be after death, stable, lasting, eternal, not subject to change.' This eternalist view is a formation... 

"Or... one may have a view such as this: 'I would not be, neither would there be what is mine. I will not be, neither will there be what is mine.' This annihilationist view is a formation...

"Or... one may be doubtful and uncertain, having come to no conclusion with regard to the true Dhamma. That doubt, uncertainty, and coming-to-no-conclusion is a formation.

"What is the cause, what is the origin, what is the rearising, what is the coming-into-being of that formation? To an ordinary, uninstructed worldling touched by what is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. Such is that formation born.
And that formation is unstable, compounded, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is unstable, compounded, dependently co-arisen. It is by knowing-and-seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the corruptions."

Buddhist temples, homes burned, looted (Sunday, Sept. 30th, 2012, 4:30 am); Wisdom Quarterly UPDATED
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh - A mob torched and vandalized a village of Buddhists in Cox's Bazar's Ramu Upazila early on Sunday in one of the worst religious attacks in Bangladesh apparently triggered by a Facebook posting allegedly defaming the Quran (Koran).

Eyewitnesses and police said the assailants set fire to at least six Buddhist temples and nearly 20 homes and looted and damaged more than a hundred others until 3:00 am in the hate attack.

Cox's Bazar is rocked by communal violence.
Cox's Bazar district's Superintendent of Police Selim Mohammed Jahangir acknowledged the violence in the Buddhist-dominated locality. He said around 3:00 am situation in the Ramu district headquarters was under control but in areas on the fringe, tension was palpable.

"Police patrols have been strengthened in the Buddhist-majority areas," SP Jahangir added.

Paramilitary BGB personnel have been called out to restore order in the affected areas, Suresh Barua, teacher at a local school, said.

Several houses and Mithhachharhi Bonbihar, some five kilometres from Ramu Sadar Upazila, were set on fire around 3:30 am, said General Secretary of Ramu Upazila Juba League Nitish Barua.

A 100-foot high under-construction Buddha sculpture was also ravaged in Bimukti Bidarshan Babna Centre in the locality, he added.

Gias Uddin Ziku, Office Secretary of Cox's Bazar district unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Chairman of Jhilangja Union, said he dispersed Jamaat-e-Islami activists who had gathered around localities of ethnic minorities. He also said he had informed the police of the incident.

Local people said followers of an Islamist party led by several leaders took out a procession around 10:00 pm on Saturday alleging that a photo was uploaded on the Facebook to defame the holy book.

At a subsequent rally, they claimed a youth by the name of Uttam Barua had pasted the purportedly offensive photo in the social networking website and demanded his arrest.

Another militant procession was taken out that marched down towards the Barua Parha around 11:30 pm and some youths from the procession set some homes of the Buddhists on fire.

From then on, 15 homes, three temples including "Saada Ching" and "Laal Ching" were burned to the ground, Dipak Barua, a local, said.

Police, local administration officials and public representatives were trying to quell the arson and destruction that continued at least until 1:30 am.

Cox's Bazar, Banglandesh panoramic view in the morning (

A local journalist, who was hiding with family in the neighborhood that came under attack, told the Cheranghata Barakyang Temple close to his home was set alight. He said the flames died out around 2:45 am.

Also, Ramu Maitree Bihar, Saada Chinglaal, Ramy Sina Bihar and Jadiparha Bouddha Bihar were torched, ransacked and looted.

At least 10 Buddhist villages were attacked and Purbo Merongloa locality that had around 20 houses was burned.

Chairman of Ramu Upazila Council Sohel Sarwar Kajal said efforts were on to quell the tension.

Several Facebook users, meanwhile, said Uttam Barua, the Ramu youth being accused of Quran defamation, did not post the photo deemed to be offensive to Islam. They said Uttam was tagged in the photo from a Facebook ID called "Insult Allah" and so he was in no way responsible.

Recently, there was much hullabaloo was created after Rohingya Muslims tried to cross the border into Bangladesh fleeing the religious riot in Myanmar's Buddhist-majority Rakhine state. A section of the civil society in Bangladesh reacted to the government refusing the refugees entry. The government believes communal forces were behind this incident.

Are Burma's troops slaughtering Muslims?
Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

The nominally "Buddhist" police state government of Burma (Myanmar) is killing its ethnic minorities. This has been going on for a long time. The hill tribes have been fending off the central government for decades hiding in the forests and retreating into Thailand and China.
Of course, this brutal regime which imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi is the least Buddhist government in one of the most Buddhist countries in the world. But that country is largely closed off to the world, in spite of Hillary Clinton and the US military-industrial complex's recent attempts to win the resource-rich Burma over to Western interests instead of it being a pawn for Chinese rule.

Sadly, Muslims believe Buddhists in Burma and/or bordering Bangladesh are involved in the slaughter of ethnic minorities along their shared border. Burmese soldiers are more than happy to kill Buddhist monks in robes, Buddhists in the street, and anyone else the junta orders them to slaughter.

Ordinary Buddhists may indeed join in to ethnically cleanse their area and send Muslims into Islamic Bangladesh. And this would explain why Muslim extremists in Bangladesh would retaliate -- under the pretext that a Buddhist's Facebook posting of Islamic material is setting off their religious sensibilities -- and loot and burn Buddhist temples and homes.

But the problem is much more complex. There are minorities on both sides of the border. Bengalis (Bangladeshis) have become a problem even for Burmese Muslims living in Rakhine (Arakan) state, Burma. Similarly, Muslim Rohingyas are a problem in Buddhist parts of Bangladesh. These minorities are upset at their treatment by the larger society that considers them illegal aliens and displaced peoples.
Not surprisingly, they strike back when they can in what little way they can. Now army troops and soldiers will be called in for a police state solution. It seems to be the MIC's preferred answer to all fabricated and spontaneous disturbances around the world, particularly when they involve Occupy Movement activists here and "radical Muslims" abroad.
  • NOTE: It is not the job or intention of Wisdom Quarterly to be apologists for Buddhists, Buddhism, or any national government. Nor is it the intention of its editors to uphold the additional Mahayana precept of keeping quiet rather than criticizing the sangha (Buddhist community). In the name of fair reporting, we report material detrimental to the image and reputation of Buddhists just as we do anyone else. It is intolerable to show bias in favor of a favored ingroup while disparaging other. it is on account of such bias that deplorable secrets (as seen in the Catholic Church and its ministers as well as the US military and its leaders) have been allowed to flourish while most of the world sits on its hands in denial. The truth will out before long, and we intend to help it out sooner.
() WARNING: Graphic! Gore. Viewer discretion advised!

In Burma the massacre of Muslims is being carried out ruthlessly, and the world remains silent. The silence of the UN is deafening. US Secretary of State, who is busy currying favor with Burma at all costs, the world community, and the SAFMA do what?

Allegedly a genocide has already taken over 20,000 Muslims -- by murdering, burning, raping, and drowning. There has also been forced displacement of nearly 100,000 -- something triggered by a FALSE news report released by a journalist (as happened in India among the ethnic mountain minorities frightened into leaving other parts of the country).

Meanwhile, the world is silent rarely uttering the word "genocide." Many hold the Burmese government responsible for this atrocity. Islamic Bangladesh has refused to allow the poorest of Burmese-Muslim refugees (the Rohingyas) to enter. Why is Bangladesh reluctant to help them? It does not want more ethnic minorities, particularly as it deals with its tiny remaining population of indigenous Buddhists who inhabit the Chittagong, Hill Track, and Cox's Bazar areas of the country.
There is, of course, also a worldwide provocation and manipulation of Muslims ostensibly set off by an American YouTube video, which was only a trigger that ignited long simmering discontent about many other things. The problem has come to roost for ethnic Buddhists in Bangladesh, just as Burmese Buddhists have suffered for years under the dictator General Than Shwe and his junta's totalitarian regime, funded by China and largely ignored by the US, who has been pandering to China since at least the Clinton administration.
Innocents are caught in the middle. And religion is used to exploit delicate sensibilities for peoples who do not enjoy many personal freedoms, civil rights, or liberal educations. Religion becomes the focus of social, political, and economic thought and activity. The dangerous combination of religious sentiment, profound emotion, and manipulation by Western provocateurs (MIC agents), mainstream media mouthpieces, and temperamental religious leaders has created a powder keg with no easy answers.

Healing Conversations Fall Series (audio)

Wisdom Quarterly; Pam Oslie (AuraColors)

Here is a wonderful opportunity to hear the latest from world-renowned, paradigm-shifting thinkers, healers, authors, and spiritual teachers. Aura specialist Pam Oslie has been invited to join 23 speakers on the free Healing Conversations Fall Series 2012.
Join Pamala Oslie, Lynn McTaggert, Dan Millman, Patricia Diane Cota-Robles, Dr. Christine Page, Freddy Silva, and more! Sept. 25-Dec. 22, 2012. (Join in at any time). Oslie's interview on "Healing Conversations with Host Lauren Galey" is Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 3:00 pm Pacific Standard Time (4:00 pm MST, 5:00 pm CST, 6:00 pm EST). Register FREE

Free registration allows listening to this interview and 23 other consciousness expanding ones that will also open hearts and provide powerful tools, meditations, and processes to help make 2012 a powerful year of mastery! With registration for this event, an email reminder of the show time and the link to join in the event will arrive.

What has Lauren Galey put together this fall? With an intention to access to the most current information on this Shift of the Ages, which is actually a shift in consciousness, she explains:
Feeling the call to discover a reason/intention for being on Earth? Want to break free of limiting thoughts, behaviors, and baggage to manifest ANYTHING? Ready to ascend into a higher vibration and open to unconditional love? Want to learn about quantum physics to heal?
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A step-by-step process to discover passion and purpose
New forms of healing modalities to heal self and others
Tips for achieving mastery of the mind
What happens when we "Let go and let god"?
Learn how to trust the inner committee to co-create reality
True stories of telepathy, teleportation, and psychic ability
Identifying soul contracts with various people in our lives
How to hire the heavens and create a celestial committee
- The latest discovery in Romania, the Transylvania Sphinx
How to distinguish our true heart’s desire
Attaining pure presence in the eternal NOW, and more!

Speakers include Patricia Diane Cota-Robles, Dan Millman, Freddy Silva, Dr. Christine Page, THEO with Sheila Gillette, Anrita Melchizedek, and others!

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Tune in FREE to Healing Conversations and listen to some fascinating information not found on the mainstream media. Can’t join live? Each event is recorded to listen in online for a few days following.

Peace: Better than a 1,000 words

H. Kopp Delaney (photo); Wisdom Quarterly
"Better than a thousand empty words is a single word that bring peace," the Buddha states in the Dhammapada ("Imprint of the Dharma"), a collection of aphorisms and their origin stories.

When the goal is peace, what might be said? We might say many thousands of words enumerating the pros of peace or arguing about the cons of violence.

But as for inner peace, Would we have any? Would our listeners? It might be enough to say, "Stop" as the Buddha did to Angulimala. Or then there was that time when the monks of Kosambi would not stop arguing and less than a single word was enough to restore peace.

Burma's secret Muslim genocide (video)

(Special Report); Press TV; ; Wisdom Quarterly
Rohingya have been persecuted and discriminated against for decades, but few can even pronounce their name let alone know their plight. The UN describes them as one of the most persecuted minorities, yet their suffering increases. So are the world's democracies ignoring them? Guests: Justin Wintle, Brad Adams, Mohamed Nour, Dina Madani.

Ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Burma (Orwellian police state Myanmar) is being carried out by nominally "Buddhist" police state troops. Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is "criminally silent" about it.
A prominent political analyst says that Burma's president's proposal to expel Rohingya Muslims from the country is an "ethnic cleansing."
"This is ethnic cleansing... the government and even this Nobel prize winner, the Lady [Aung San Suu Kyi] is so criminally silent about the problems of this minority in Myanmar," Professor Ghulam Taqi Bangash at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) told Press TV.
The remarks come after Burma's President Thein Sein said that Rohingya Muslims must be expelled from the country and sent to refugee camps run by the United Nations.
The government refuses to recognize nearly-one-million-strong Rohingya Muslims community, which the UN calls one of the world's most persecuted people.

Burma claims the Rohingya are not native and classify them as illegal migrants although they have lived in the country for generations. Burma's opposition National League for Democracy party (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to parliament after she was released from house arrest earlier this year.
However, many people are disappointed at the way she has been avoiding the issue.
Last month at a press conference in Geneva, Suu Kyi said she "didn't know" if Rohingya Muslims were Burmese citizens.
The Stream (Al Jazeera English) "The Plight of the Rohingya"
Bangash said Washington is also criminally silent over the issue as the US tries to coax the countries in this region of Southeast Asia to stop them from having better relations with the People's Republic of China.
"Southeast Asia is becoming much more inconspicuous on the economic map for the United States of America," he added.
"They should rather strengthen the sanctions against Myanmar until this problem should be solved, but they are not doing that," Bangash added.

Burma's current government is run by military figures, which have been accused of rights abuse.

Over a dozen Muslims were killed on June 3 when a mob of ethnic Rakhines, who are mostly Buddhist, attacked a passenger bus [in retaliation for an alleged rape of a Buddhist girl] in the Rakhine state in the west of the country that borders Bangladesh [slaughtering 10 innocent Muslims simply for being Muslims].

Over the past two years, throngs of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee [Burma to go to Bangladesh] by boats in the face of systematic oppression by the [Burmese] government.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Zen Comes of Age with Shinzen Young

Seth Auberon, Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly; Shinzen Young (

Wisdom Quarterly is often asked, "What is the best form of Buddhism?" We have to say, after examining the entire field of forms, there is no absolute "best." Best is what suits the practitioner at a given time.
When eating soup, a spoon is most useful; when eating tofu, a fork. But when eating crow a mask, a bib, and a b*rf bag are best.
However, Zen as practiced in the US is surely the "coolest." Why? People without knowing much about the actual tradition imagine a bevy of iconoclasts doing whatever they want in gorgeous spartan monasteries, with kung fu for exercise, riddles (koans) and aphorisms (slogans) attributed to the Buddha no one really understands or worries much about.
American master Shinzen Young
For example, What is the sound of one hand clapping? Probable correct answer: Spontaneously place a sandal atop head and exit room.
So it is that the vipassana (insight meditation) favored by the Dharma Punx at Against the Stream in Santa Monica had the beloved Shinzen Young over for a full day's retreat. Retreat is a bit strong for a day of meditation, jokes, socializing, academic analysis, and Q&A. But Young delivers a nitty gritty approach some Westerners can really get a handle on.
And the fact that Zen Master Shinzen traversed Theravada, Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana or esoteric Tibetan form), Mahayana, and Zen landscapes to arrive at his unique languaging and description for elevated and ordinary states of consciousness. As a linguist and polyglot, his nomenclature adds to the tradition rather than detracting from it. (Ahem, take note, Tan Geoff).
The day began in stifling heat with fans blowing all over the packed house. It was morning, and this was the beach, and it was still too hot for most to sit comfortably -- but that didn't keep anyone from trying.
  • TAKE HOME MESSAGE: If one were to say, "There is nothing to be gained by meditating, so just sit zazen" that would be killing the teacher, Shinzen explained. What's the point of sitting? However, if one were to say, "Okay, there is something, but don't strive for it as that will only get in the way," that is killing the student. (Such a desire/idea as something to strive for will ruin the meditator). We are lucky to have the choice. Zen students of olde were luckier not to. The entire talk was recorded by long time Shinzen student Stephanie Nash (
Meditation was interspersed by a lecture of sorts, answers to practical considerations (such as pain and posture, see posture-pedia), jokes, anecdotes, and lots of socializing and informal networking or sangha-building for the creation of a sense of "community"). Then Shinzen held up a copy of this past week's Los Angeles Times featuring his teacher:

Zen Comes of Age
K, Sept. 20, 2012)

The Zen master would not stop talking. Several times he began to draw his teachings to a close, explaining to his students that he was tired and in poor health. Then he would burst down another path. He discussed the difficulties of raising children. He lingered on the subject of death. Eventually, he raised a small fist in the air. "Everybody is together at one point," he said. "We cry together; we love together. There is no moment in which we are not together." More + Photos

Three Minds of Meditation

Seven Dharmachari and Ven. Vivekananda (Bodhi Vihara), Wisdom Quarterly
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly" - the Buddha (Cadi-cliff/

Three "minds" become evident while meditating. There is the Automatic Mind, the Choice Point (conscious awareness or adverting power), and the Peaceful Mind.

Automatic Mind is the thinking that just happens. It can hardly be stopped or slowed down sometimes. It is the source of "monkey mind" (restlessness, worry, clutter, angst, and anxiety) and awkward creativity, projections into the future, and recollections/reconstructions of the past. It is usually miserable and what we call NOT-meditating.
And while this may be true, it leads to meditating. 
Peaceful Mind is a wonderful state of serenity, a non-judgmental receptivity of perception. It is one of the preliminary goals of meditation called samatha. It purifies and intensifies the mind and is best used in the service of developing insight (vipassana). It itself, however, does not lead to insight or enlightenment, but it does lead to many other good things.
When people experience this state of mind, they call it "meditation." And they call the previous work that got them there not-meditating. It can also be called zen (jhana, dhyana, ch'an) if it is particularly deep and "absorbing."
  • NOTE: Peaceful Mind should not be confused with sleep or unconsciousness. It is the exact opposite. For it is fully conscious but centered on a single object. Or it can be strong but divided among just a few objects post-absorption, as in when one is engaged in insight-practice (vipassana). Stop first, then insight.
  • George Quant speaks of a Fourth State of Consciousness, one beyond sleeping (dreaming), waking, and unconsciousness. It may be referred to as a super-conscious state, a thoughtless awareness, an effortless peace (usually preceded by lots of successful effort).
How can one go from restless automatic thinking to restful peace? It is possible because in between these natural states there is a Choice Point (to borrow Sarah McLean's term). This is when our active consciousness elects to catch itself daydreaming, wandering, nodding off, or engaging in discursive thinking when we are trying to meditate. We are meditating.
Meditation is catching ourselves and consciously (and blamelessly) returning to the object we have chosen to sit with for a predetermined span of time. Whereas wandering is not meditating, looking out for wandering and doing something about it when it happens is being actively engaged in mediation.

This behavior eventually leads to mastery, to a very strong and well controlled Peaceful Mind, or what most everyone agrees counts as "successful meditation."

We are successful much more often than we think just for noticing and applying the antidote rather than giving the mind free rein, which it has most of the day on most days.
"Ordinary mind" and "beginner's mind" take on new meaning in Zen. Ordinarily, we are just wandering discursively. Beginners struggle. But after considerable practice, we return and see it with different eyes. There's nothing supernatural about Peaceful Mind. It is  our birthright; it is how we were as infants and beginners; it is our ordinary (original) mind. But beginning meditators have a hard time believing that. When we come back to it as if for the first time, as C.S. Lewis noted, we can really appreciate the work we have done and how we have evolved.

So the next time you sit and watch, be glad to catch the mind wandering away. It gives rise to the Choice Point, that mind that knows-and-sees and does something about it. It is the way to Peaceful Mind.

Bring it back gently and without shaming or scolding. That noticing and doing something about it was "meditating." And it is soon blessed with Peaceful Mind, heightened consciousness, and a new normal -- being cool, calm, and collected with no apparent effort. Then if this mental state, this Peaceful Mind, is put to the task of developing liberating-insight, one may see and touch nirvana here and now.
Example: Farmers in the Fields
What would you grow if you could grow anything?
A farmer works her field for months. Others laugh because nothing is seen growing there, whereas their fields naturally have useful things growing on them. Finally after months of this, the other "farmers" come to laugh and criticize the one farming fruitlessly.

They ask, "What are you doing wasting your time here?"

"Wasting my time?" the farmer asks. "I have been preparing my field, weeding it, plowing it under, fertilizing it by letting it lie fallow, fixing the soil, getting it ready for seeding. How about you? How did you prepare your field?"

"No, it just grew that way naturally. We're very good farmers because we didn't have to do anything but sit and watch it grow."

"How will y'all control it, master it, guide it to your ends? That is, how will you get it to grow what you want? How will you increase your yields with useful plants you favor and minimize plants and pests you do not want?"

"We have no idea about that," the others confessed.

"Yet you call yourselves 'farmers'?"

In just the same way, a person who struggles in meditation is actually meditating -- if s/he learns to recognized the departing mind and keeps bringing it back (without criticizing it for having departed).

Then when she or he sits down to gain Peaceful Mind, it is accessible. And when insight is desired, or when a persistent problem (e.g., one of the Five Hindrances) arises, an antidote (e.g., one of the Five Factors of Absorption) is applied to regain Peaceful Mind. This, then, is indeed a "farmer."
The others are just watching plants grow. And when a problem arises, they are put off their farming to go in search of a solution. They have little access to anything beyond Peaceful Mind to imperturbable peace founded on wisdom. For there is a wisdom that has gone beyond, gone beyond beyond.

When that is reached one will exclaim, "Oh, what an awakening!"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meditate to Tibetan singing bowls (audio)

Brian William Green (video); Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly 
Breathe in, breathe out to the sound of the sea.
Sit down, lay back, listen, and relax. Tibetan singing bowls transport us to the brink of serenity meditation, which means letting go and following the gong. It may lead to sleep (, a sign of needing more rest, or to rarefied fields of perception. Hold attention in one place, and watch the strengthened mind widen the field of consciousness relying on nothing more than its own natural capacity. It's easy. But it cannot be made to happen. Watch and marvel when it happens on its own. All we can do is prepare the ideal conditions for it. Five such conditions are the Factors of Absorption (jhan'anga). Happiness is just such a factor. And so we at Wisdom Quarterly frequently say:
"There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way!"

How to get your Zombie to kill

Making Manchurian Candidates?
 Phil Stewart (Reuters, "Drug Turns Crime Victims Into Zombies"); Wisdom Quarterly
What does a Manchurian Candidate look like? (
There's nothing to fear but fear (and zombies).
Halloween and the Day of the Dead are coming soon, so here's a true-life scary story.
BOGOTA, Colombia - The last thing Andrea Fernandez recalls before being drugged is holding her newborn baby on a Bogota city bus. 
Police found her three days later, muttering to herself and wandering topless along the median strip of a busy highway. Her face was badly beaten and her son was gone.
Fernandez is just one of hundreds of victims every month who, according to Colombian hospitals, are temporarily turned into zombies by a home-grown drug called scopolamine,  which has been embraced by thieves and rapists.

[Expect to see scop' on the dance floor as soon as pushers manage to get ayahuasca, iboga, and the dreaded GLINT into tablet form.]
"When I woke up in the hospital, I asked for my baby and nobody said anything. They just looked at me," Fernandez said, weeping. Police believe her son Diego was taken by a gang which traffics in infants.
WATCH: To be cool in school Jerri Blank had to stoop to glint (Strangers With Candy)
Colorless, odorless, and tasteless, scopolamine is slipped into drinks and sprinkled onto food. Victims become so docile that they have been known to help thieves rob their homes and empty their bank accounts. Women have been drugged repeatedly over days and gang-raped or rented out as prostitutes.
In the case of Fernandez, the mother of three was rendered submissive enough to surrender her youngest child.
Most troubling for police is the way the drug acts on the brain. Since scopolamine completely blocks the formation of memories, unlike most date-rape drugs used in the United States and elsewhere, it is usually impossible for victims to ever identify their aggressors.
"When a patient (of U.S. date-rape drugs) is under hypnosis, he or she usually recalls what happened.
But with scopolamine, this isn't possible because the memory was never recorded," said Dr. Camilo Uribe, the world's leading expert on the drug. Scopolamine has a long, dark history in Colombia dating back to before the Spanish conquest. 
Legend has it that Colombian Indian tribes used the drug to bury alive the wives and slaves of fallen chiefs so that they would quietly accompany their masters into the afterworld.
Nazi "Angel of Death" Joseph Mengele experimented on scopolamine as an interrogation drug. And scopolamine's sedative and amnesia-producing qualities were used by mothers in the early 20th century to help them through childbirth.
Finding the drug in Colombia these days is not hard.
How to react to fear of secret-zombie agents and operatives? Buy a kit? (Examiner).
The tree which naturally produces scopolamine grows wild around the capital and is so famous in the countryside that mothers warn their children not to fall asleep below its yellow and white flowers. 
The tree is popularly known as the "borrachero," or "get-you-drunk," and the pollen alone is said to conjure up strange dreams.
"We probably should put some sort of fence up," jokes biologist Gustavo Morales at Bogota's botanical gardens, eyeing children playing with borrachero seeds everywhere. "If you ate a few of those, it would kill you."
Although scopolamine can be easily extracted from the seeds, experienced criminals hardly ever bother with them, police say.
Pure, cheap scopolamine is brought across the border from neighboring Ecuador, where the borrachero tree is harvested for medical purposes, Uribe said. The alkaloid is used legally in medicines across the world to treat everything from motion sickness to the tremors of Parkinson's disease.
The use of scopolamine by criminals appears to be confined to Colombia, at least for now, and it's not clear why the drug is such a rampant problem in Colombia. Some analysts blame it on a culture of crime in the Andean nation, home to the world's largest cocaine and kidnapping industries, not to mention Latin America's longest-running [CIA-sponsored] guerrilla war.
There are so many scopolamine cases that they usually don't make the news unless particularly bizarre. One such incident involved three young Bogota women who preyed on men by smearing the drug on their breasts and luring their victims to take a lick.
Losing all willpower, the men readily gave up their bank access codes. The breast-temptress thieves then held them hostage for days while draining their accounts.
The U.S. Embassy in Bogota takes scopolamine very seriously and offers staff tips on how avoid being drugged. One piece of advice may seem obvious: Don't let your drinks out of your sight when at a Bogota bar or nightclub.
Still, at least three visiting U.S. government employees here have been drugged and robbed over the past two years. Other American victims from time to time appear at the embassy seeking help, still shaking off a scopolamine hangover.
"I remember one case; an American reported being drugged," an embassy official said. "He says to his doorman, 'Why did you let them walk out with my stuff.' The doorman says, 'Because you told me to.'"

"Ring of Power: Empire of the City" (video)

(LINK) Ring of Power in ten-minute segments
This presentation is a marathon education. It weaves a solid quilt from history-as-we-didn't-know-it.
What there is to learn: Who really controls the "Empire of the City"? Go on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of Jesus (St. Issa). Take a crash course in REAL American history.
As huge as the terrain of this ambitious documentary is, its female creator does a breathtaking job of bringing world history into perspective.

She examines everything from bloodlines to banksters (gangster bankers) and today's billionaires. Ending with a huge surprise and a list of PRACTICAL suggestions to counter the madness, this work deserves five stars for its courage and scope even if we are reluctant to accept the information.
From the "mystery religions" of ancient Egypt to Zionism's role in 9/11, "Ring of Power" un-revises 4,000 years of revisionist human history with never-before-seen revelations.
"Ring of Power" puts together the pieces of a giant puzzle to create one BIG PICTURE documentary series. The producer is an experienced, award-winning documentary filmmaker who, as a child, learned that her father was a member of the secretive cult of Freemasons.
She recalls many arguments between her parents over her father's private meetings and the exclusion of women from their secret brotherhood. The Masonic ring her father wore had been passed down from father to son over the generations. When she asked her father about the meaning of the letter "G" and the compass and square on his ring, she got no response.
As an adult she decided to investigate. Her investigation grew into four years of intensive research into the identity and history of globalists, whom she refers to as the "Ring of Power." Their goal is a one world empire with one world ruler. What is the real history of the world?
  • Episode I: 9/11 THE UNTOLD STORY (38 min.) Half of the world believes Muslims were responsible for the World Trade Center bombings. The other half believes Israeli Zionists were responsible. Who's right?
  • Episode II: HIDDEN EMPIRE (22 min.) The world's most powerful empire is not the USA. It is an empire that insiders call the "Empire of the City."
  • Episode III: TRAIL OF THE PHARAOHS (25 min.) Did the biblical Abraham really live to be 175? Did Moses really turn staffs into snakes and rivers into blood?
  • Episode IV: GOD AND THE QUEEN (30 min.) Genealogy charts show that British and French royalty are descendants of Mary Magdalene and (her husband Rabbi) Jesus Christ. Is there any truth to this claim?
  • Episode V: ALL THE QUEEN'S MEN (22 min.) How rich and powerful is Queen Elizabeth II?

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to lead a Buddhist life 2: Precepts

Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly (edited from Alankhoo)
Buddha in ancient Siam, Sukhothai, Thailand (JonBauer/
PART I. Buddhism or the Dharma (the authentic message of the historical Buddha, see Kalama Sutra) is profound and wholesome, for it leads to the highest good.
It benefits not only meditators but society. It benefits even those who only, as a result of hearing it, give. The Buddha, having himself experienced and confirmed it, out of compassion taught it in this world.
To this day it is freely offered to all, not limited to some special group.
Why then does anyone become a monastic with additional precepts? It is only because such a person wants to advance toward the goal more quickly and/or preserve the teaching for others.

5 PreceptsThe Five Precepts are basic virtue, an expression of our humanity, our wish to get along, our basic goodness. "Original sin" is a Christian concept true to some extent from a Buddhist perspective: No one is actually born "innocent" and karma-free. It may certainly seem that way, staring at a joyous infant without a thought (intention) in its head/heart.
But for all that blissful ignorance, babies do not actually come in as "blank slates" (tabla rasas). They are impressionable. They are educable. But they bring karma and karmic tendencies (character as a result of past habits), which is almost a default personality built in previous lives. Still, there is talk of "original goodness," for humans certainly have merit or they would not have been born on this the lowest of the "fortunate" planes of existence.

Indeed, the human plane is the worst world that is still considered a "good and fortunate" place to be reborn. In at least one way, however, it is the best place to be reborn: Here one sees more starkly than anywhere else in the universe pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, impermanence and the illusion of permanence in almost equal balance.

Animals and ghosts, as a general rule, face many more troubles. And what about that lucky dog who inherited millions from the old millionairess who was his former companion?! (What's a dog going to do with that fortune other than eat out of a nicer bowl?) There are of course exceptions but animals, ghosts (pretas), ogres (yakkhas), titans (asuras), and hellions (narakas) experience far more misery than even the most pathetic human.
Moreover, humans have the chance to make merit, which is rare elsewhere.
  • Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism narrowly speak only of "Six Realms" or Six Paths of Rebirth. The older Theravada remembers that the historical Buddha taught that there are 32 Planes of Existence. The six spoken of most often comprise only one of Three Spheres, the Sensual Sphere, which has a low celestial (space) realm, the human world, and subhuman realms. But there are vastly superior Fine-Material and Immaterial Spheres where radiant devas live.
Merit causes smiles (
Buddhism teaches virtue, concentration, and wisdom -- an ethical/moral code that brings peace of mind for the successful development of a systematic meditative practice that brings serenity and insight (concentration and wisdom, samadhi and prajna). Wisdom is founded on profound concentration called "absorption" (jhana), which is based on peace of mind, joy (piti), and happiness (sukha), which are based on virtue.
By observing precepts we not only cultivate moral strength (self-restraint) but also help our fellow beings through the highest service. The Five Precepts are:
  1. Refraining from taking life
  2. Refraining from taking what is not given
  3. Refraining from taking sexual liberties (misconduct)
  4. Refraining from taking the truth lightly
  5. Refraining from taking intoxicants that occasion heedlessness.
These are basic responsibilities or observances all people everywhere wishing for a good future should cultivate and abide by.

As a result of maintaining and bringing them to perfection one will be reborn along three fortunate courses (or corridors leading straight to brahma, deva, and human planes). And one will be able to avoid three unfortunate states (hell, ghost, and animals). One will be able to enjoy many blessings, happiness, and forms of freedom among humans and devas (literally, "shining ones") here, now, and hereafter.
Do not KillA fortunate person deliberately avoids killing living creatures -- either by committing the act, getting others to, or approving of acts of killing. Refraining is respecting others' lives.
One abandons and avoids depriving living beings of life, which includes bringing about harm to animals. If one were hurt or killed, family and friends would suffer. Harming others is the cause of rebirth in three unfortunate courses of rebirth. The effects of killing harm one over many lives not only the very next life; it is one cause of a short life, ill health, and fear.
In observing the first precept, one protects life whenever possible. One cultivates an attitude of loving kindness toward all by wishing that they be happy and free from harm.
Do not StealRespecting what belongs to others is refraining from taking what is not given. One abstains from taking by force or fraud. One avoids misusing money and property belonging to the public, the collective, as well as individuals. In a broader sense, the second precept means not evading one’s responsibilities. For example, if an employee is lazy and neglects his/her duties or assigned tasks, that is taking what is not given while not living up to what is expected.
In an even broader sense, observing the second precept also means one cultivates the virtue of generosity. One gives to the needy (and even the wanty) as well as the sick because of their need and thereby helps society. One helps the virtuous -- with offers of support for Buddhist monks, nuns, masters, and practitioners -- out of respect for the good they are cultivating.
One helps the unvirtuous out of a hope that they be won over to the good by receiving good (that they give up stinginess and stealing by receiving generosity, give up killing by receiving compassion, give up harming by being respected...
If one were to hope that they would give these up through more suffering and punishments, one would likely wait a long time: Karma is not so obvious as to teach one that what one engages in now leads to results one meets with right away. Meditation brings about a shorter lag time.
  • Most acts (karma) take many lives to ripen, so that it is very unlikely that one will know what one has done. Mystics teach that as one sows (does) one receives (experiences) precisely because it is not obvious. The doer (in this life) is very unlikely to be the receiver (in this life). And when the unwelcome befalls one in the future, one often cannot find a reason why that should be so. One would have to look to previous lives.
Yungang, China (Johntrthome/
As hard as it may be to believe, the strength of our karma is conditioned not only by our intention and the act itself by by WHOM it is done to. The more virtuous the receiver, the much stronger the effects.

Therefore giving to the virtuous (the enlightened), our parents (who provided so much for us however much we may think they left us wanting), teachers, helpers, friends, and well wishers is a great source of merit. Reflecting on the good we receive whether in the form of advice, guidance, kindness, generosity, respect, and so on is also very helpful. The grateful are very rare in the world, whereas the ungrateful are very common.
Besides giving material things to the needy and the worthy, Buddhists are encouraged to offer sympathy and encouragement to those who are hurt or discouraged. How? It is said that the best of all gifts is the "Gift of the Dharma" in the form of teachings that encourage virtue, concentration (peace of mind), and wisdom. This is why many Buddhists support the production and distribution of Buddhist books.
Greed (a category that includes sensual craving, selfishness, stinginess, indifference towards others' needs, hoarding, craving, discontentedness, etc.) is one of the Three Poisons. It leads to craving, grasping, clinging/attachment...and suffering. The unwelcome (eventual) karmic effects of stealing are poverty, misery, disappointment, and so on. CONTINUED

Space ship flies over Los Angeles (photo)

Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly
Identified Flying Objects -- one pig, one piggy back, and two armed war ships (
Flight plan over LA basin (
In a massive display less of firepower and more of technological ingenuity, the Space Shuttle Endeavour toured the chemtrail-laden skies above Los Angeles in a sort of swan song victory lap before it parks at the California Science Center (for free viewing). Hooray for space, weaponized for our "safety" thanks to the non-privatized arm of the military-industrial complex -- which has many more secret and effective ways of getting its payloads into space. PHOTOS

Exploring Impermanence (Shinzen Young); Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly 

Former Buddhist monk and (possibly) enlightened teacher Shinzen Young is set to lead a workshop on impermanence (anicca), a pivotal meditation subject with the power to release us from our bonds in an instant -- given sufficient concentration (jhana): Absorption first, insight later.
There are two sides to impermanence -- the sobering reality and the blissful energy. The sobering reality is that everything passes. [It is not important that it will eventually fade away so much as its radical moment-by-moment transformation and instability.] So to pin your happiness on any person, object, or situation is to set yourself up to suffer sooner or later. 
From this perspective anicca (flux) is linked to dukkha (the unsatisfactory nature of life). But from another point of view, impermanence is movement, and movement reflects an underlying Force. By focusing on the way consciousness changes, we can come in contact its wave nature.
From this perspective, flux is linked to prana (chi, life force, breath, spiritus, the "holy spirit") -- the ebullient energy of life.

The emphasis in this workshop will be experiential, centering around Shinzen's “Focus on Flow” technique. Themes we will explore include:
  • impermanence as a purifying energy
  • impermanence as an integrating force
  • impermanence as a link between form and formlessness
  • impermanence as a source of life vitality.
In preparation for this program, please read or review the following from Shinzen Young’s manual “Five Ways to Know Yourself,” Introduction to Basic Mindfulness (pp. 7-17) and The Way of Flow (Chp. 4, pp. 51-64).
Also skim the Posture-pedia article regarding options for posture (if you haven’t done so already).
Exploring Impermanence: A Workshop with Shinzen Young
Sunday, Sept. 23rd, 9:30 am-5:30 pm, Santa Monica
  • Sliding Scale: $35 -$65 plus dana to the teacher. Please pay at the highest level you can afford.
  • Scholarships and work-study available (contact for info).
    • 1001a Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, 90401
    • Please bring a brown bag lunch.
Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive monastic training in each of the three major Buddhist meditative traditions: Theravada (vipassana), Vajrayana (Tibetan Mahayana), and Zen. His specialty is linking Eastern internal science and Western experiential/technological science. More information can be found at and