Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Buddha Boy" returns for world peace (video)

Buddha Boy (Ram Bahadur Bomjon, March 29, 2017); Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
(Raidenway) Nepal's Buddha Boy has returned for world peace 2017

Buddha Boy 2017, message in his own words
If I were a monk I could study and practice.
"Murder, violence, greed, anger, and temptation have made the human world a desperate place. A terrible storm has descended upon the human world, and this is carrying the world towards destruction.

"There is only one way to save the world and that is through dharma (spiritual practice). When one does not walk the righteous path of spiritual practice, this desperate world will surely be destroyed. Therefore, follow the path of spirituality and spread this message to your fellows.

"Never put obstacles, anger, and disbelief in the way of my meditation's mission. I am only showing you the way; you must seek it on your own. What I will be, what I will do, the coming days will reveal.

"Human salvation, the salvation of all living beings and peace in the world, is my goal and my path. 

If I were a boy, I could dream all day.
"'Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo sangaya.' I am contemplating on the release of this chaotic world from the ocean of emotion, on our detachment from anger and temptation, without straying from the path even for a moment.

"I am renouncing my own attachment to my life and my home forever; I am working to save all living beings. But in this undisciplined world, my life's practice is reduced to mere entertainment.

"The practice and devotion of many Buddhas is directed at the world's betterment and happiness. It is essential but very difficult to understand that practice and devotion. But though it is easy to lead this ignorant existence, human beings do not understand that one day we must leave this uncertain world and go with the Lord of Death.

"Our long attachments to friends and family will dissolve into nothingness. We have to leave behind the wealth and property we have accumulated. What's the use of my happiness when those who have loved me from the beginning -- my mother, father, brothers, relatives -- are all unhappy?

"Therefore, to rescue all sentient beings, I have to be Buddha-mind and emerge from my underground cave to do vajra meditation. To do this I have to realize the right path and knowledge, so do not disturb my practice.

"My practice detaches me from my body, my soul [spirit, gandharva, not eternal "self"], and this existence. In this situation there will be 72 Kali goddesses. Different gods [devas] will be present, along with the sounds of thunder and of tangur, and all the celestial gods and goddesses [akasha devas and devis] will be doing puja (worship [paying honor]).

"So until I have sent a message, do not come here, and please explain this to others. Spread spiritual knowledge and spiritual messages throughout the world. Spread the message of world peace to all. Seek a righteous path and wisdom will be yours."

Sacrifice: Goat that Laughed and Wept (sutra)

Ken and Visakha Kawasaki (retell the Jataka Tales of the Buddha, Part I, Matakabhatta (Jatatka 18) edited by Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly
Oh, God of the universe who created everything, do you want to me to kill this one?
People really kill animals for their religion and to devour. (Yum!) God demands a sacrifice.
.
The Goat That Laughed and Wept
God told me to kill...in the Bible.
One day, while the Buddha was staying in Jetavana, some monastics asked him if there was any benefit to sacrificing goats, sheep, and other animals as offerings for departed relatives.
 
"No, monastics," replied the Buddha. "No good ever comes from taking life, not even when it is for the purpose of providing a Feast for the Dead [Japanese Obon]." Then he told this story of the past.
 
Jews slaughter animals for Passover (DS)
[In a past life...] Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta [like Kalinga] was reigning in Baranasi [aka Kasi], a Brahmin decided to offer a Feast for the Dead and bought a goat to sacrifice. "My boys," he said to his students, "take this goat down to the river, bathe it, brush it, hang a garland around its neck, give it some grain to eat, and bring it back."
 
Teaching Muslim kids to kill goats (SS)
"Yes, sir," they replied and led the goat to the river.
 
While they were grooming it, the goat started to laugh with a sound like a pot smashing. Then, just as strangely, it started to weep loudly.
 
The young students were amazed at this behavior. "Why did you suddenly laugh," they asked the goat, "and why do you now cry so loudly?"

Christians/Jews worship Satan?
"Repeat your question when we get back to your teacher," the goat answered.

The students hurriedly took the goat back to their master and told him what had happened at the river. Hearing the story, the master himself asked the goat why it had laughed and why it had wept.

"In times past, Brahmin," the goat began, "I was a Brahmin who taught the Vedas like you. I, too, sacrificed a goat as an offering for a Feast for the Dead. Because of killing that single goat, I have had my head cut off 499 times. I laughed aloud when I realized that this is my last birth as an animal to be sacrificed. Today I will be freed from my misery.

The mass slaughter of the animals for the Gadhimai festival (AFP/The Telegraph)
I like being vegan and nice to animals.
"On the other hand, I cried when I realized that, because of killing me, you also may be doomed to lose your head 500 times. It was out of pity for you that I cried."

"Well, goat," said the Brahmin, "in that case, I am going to spare you. I am NOT going to kill you."
 
Some Gods: death for a death and more death!
"Brahmin!" exclaimed the goat. "Whether or not you kill me, I cannot escape death today."
 
"Don't worry," the Brahmin assured the goat. "I will guard you."
 
"You don't understand," the goat told him. "Your protection is weak. The force of my misdeed is very strong [karma of killing]."
 
The Brahmin untied the goat and said to his students, "Don't allow anyone to harm this goat." They obediently followed the animal to protect it.
 
Karma ripens, brings forth results (kalibhakti)
After the goat was freed, it began to graze. It stretched out its neck to reach the leaves on a bush growing near the top of a large rock. At that very instant a lightning bolt hit the rock, breaking off a sharp piece of stone which flew through the air and neatly cut off the goat's head.

A crowd of people gathered around the dead goat and began to talk excitedly about the amazing accident.
  • NOTE: A synonym for "many" is 500. This is the way it is literally translated but should not be misunderstood as meaning exactly 500. Therefore, 499 means "one less than the number to complete 'many.' This is very common. What for simplicity's sake is done as a shorthand should not be mistaken as literal.
Tree deva (Evelyn De Morgan)
A tree deva (devas are "shining ones," light beings, ranging from the highest gods to simple tree spirits) had observed everything from the goat's purchase to its dramatic death, and drawing a lesson from the incident, admonished the crowd:

"If people only knew that the result would be rebirth into sorrow, they would cease from taking life. A horrible doom awaits one who slays." With this explanation of the law (tendency) of karma the deva instilled in his listeners the fear of the downfall.

The people were so frightened that they completely gave up the practice of animal sacrifices. The deva further instructed the people in the precepts and urged them to do good.
 
Eventually, that deva passed away to fare according to its deserts. For several generations after that, people remained faithful to the precepts and spent their lives in charity and meritorious works, so that many were reborn in the heavens.

The Buddha ended his lesson and identified the rebirth by saying, "In those days I (the Bodhisatta) was that deva."
 
What about the Bible?
Q: Hey, but doesn't the Bible say "an eye for an eye"? A: Actually it says no more than an eye for an eye, a lesson in moderation from people going Old Testament/Medieval on each other's asses.

Anyway, if you really think you should do what the Bible says, then do it: There are about 800 commandments/rules to live by in the Old Testament, and you will be stoned or killed and then punished by God after you're dead for breaking any of them. They are not "suggestions"; they're orders. Do as you're told!

So go be an unreformed Christian or Jew or Muslim and kill away, in the name of God. Or start thinking a little. There are plenty of good Christians, Jews, and Muslim who don't kill.

Native American authors today: Alexie (audio)

Host ("Fresh Air," WHYY, NPR.org, June 20, 2017), Native American author Sherman Alexie; Dusty Springfield; Xochitl, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


.
Alexie (Lee Towndrow/Little, Brown & Co)
"When you tell the truth, it's naturally going to offend people afraid of the truth, afraid of what the truth might force them to do," says writer Sherman Alexie.
 
On his first day in the seventh grade, Sherman Alexie opened up his school-assigned math book and found his mother's maiden name written in it. "I was looking at a 30-year-old math book," he says -- and that was the moment he knew that he needed to leave his home.
 
Terry Gross square 2017
Terry Gross (WHYY)
Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in the state of Washington. His mother was one of the few people who could still speak the native language, but she didn't teach it to him. In his new memoir, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, he describes growing up surrounded by poverty, alcoholism, and violence.
 
My mom never told me she loved me, the book
"I knew -- because of my race, and my class, and rural geography...all these forces that crush all sorts of American kids, crush their hopes and dreams -- I knew I had no chance unless I left and went to a better school," he says.
 
The reservation school, Alexie explains, not only wasn't preparing him for college; it wasn't even preparing him to think about college. Eventually, he found his way to college and became an award-winning writer.

He received the PEN/Faulkner Award for his short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

What are US Indians good for? Orange sales
Alexie says he came of age as a writer during a "Golden Era" of Native American literature. He remembers a very active period of publishing for dozens of Native American writers all across the country. More recently though, he's seen a "fallow period."
 
"There was more going on in Native American literature in 1991 than there is now," he says. "I kept making the joke about being 'Indian du jour, and it's been a very long day.' "
 
Greatest book on US Natives
He's hoping that, with the emergence of new writers, some of whom he's taught and mentored, the sun is setting on that very long day.

"I really hope that like 10 or 12 Native writers, fiction writers, non-fiction writers, really launch into the national consciousness..." he says. "So I don't have to answer all the questions, so I don't have to get invited to all the conferences. Share the burden of being a public figure Indian! Come on, people! Hurry up, finish your books!" More + AUDIO

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Day at the Beach (meditation)

Dhr. Seven, Ananda, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Outstanding Videos


Who stole my babies? Where are my eggs!
It's the first day of summer (in our time California zone). It's the longest day of the year and we want to spend it meditating. But the city is so noisy and busy that it makes serenity seem like a far off dream. We want to go to the beach or, at least, the beach of the mind.

Story of the Past
What must have that meditation been like?
There was that one time, once upon a time in Ancient India (Jambudivpa), when the Bodhisattva (the Buddha-to-be) set off on a merchant ship with a merchant friend. The ship came to destruction by storm, but he and his friend survived on a faraway deserted isle. The Bodhisattva found a tree to sit under, while the merchant tried to figure out a way to get off the island and back to business. As he was combing the beach, he noticed that birds used it as a rookery. And he began to steal their eggs and eat them. The Bodhisattva, now a castaway, entered a deep meditative absorption, and the good terrestrial devas could not bear to see a good person such as this come to harm in the wilderness. So by their advanced technological (read "magical") powers they made a ship to appear on the shore to pick him up. The merchant saw the ship docking and ran to it to board, now saved. But the devas, knowing him to be a wrongdoer, a killer of birds by way of eating eggs, would not let him board. The Bodhisattva emerged from his meditation and approached the ship. The devas invited him on board by a plank extending to the beach. As he approached, he invited his merchant friend to get on board. And as he did, the devas said to him, "It is your good fortune to have a friend such as him. It is your good fortune to be in his company because we did not come for you, but as he invites you are welcome on board." And so ends another Jataka Tale by revealing that in that past life, the Bodhisattva was the [being who became] the Buddha and the merchant was another person present at the recounting of this Rebirth Tale.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice: Summer Begins!

Ananda (MARC); Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero (eds.) Wisdom Quarterly


The way to insight is to calm down first.
First, what is "summer solstice"? It's the longest day of the year, though usually not the hottest for some reason. But it's hot in California this week, and the beaches are crowded. It's a great time for yoga, starting with 108 sun salutations by the sea. Hail, Sun! It's also the best time to get the mind-heart in shape.

I've been worrying about my body and going to the gym all spring and winter. So now it's time to meditate, starting with tranquility for peace of mind. "Summer time and the living is easy." By the time we start to fall into winter, I can sign up for a Goenka retreat and work on vipassana. But until then I'll be at MARC, UCLA's mindfulness meditation sessions in West Los Angeles by the beach thinking about sunsets and nirvana.

I'm an all-American meditator. Thank you.
Seven came up with the best "all-American meditation" technique, sinking into a warm tub and becoming perfectly still. The phone off the hook, a candle or incense stick as a clock, and progressive relaxation holding attention at the breath. I can do that!

Then comes the sitting up. Once I can hold my heart-mind steady, I can take the relaxation response I strengthen with me onto the mat. From there, I can take it walking. I might even be able to stay mindful all day even at the beach. The Buddha says mindfulness is the key to coherence/concentration (samadhi) and insight (vipassana).
  • Summer Solstice 2017 (Farmer's Almanac) begins June 20 and June 21 (depending on time zone)! Celebrate with a fantastic live solstice show with Slooh telescopes streaming extraordinary views of the Sun from around the world!

Breathing in (Budh), breathing out (dho) as the waves softly crash on the sand.

When the Sahara Desert was Green (video)

Wonderbook (video); Pat Macpherson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
(Wonderbook) "When the Sahara Desert was Green": a shocking science documentary 2017
  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Other F Word: Fatherhood (video)

Altern Attic (Wiki text); Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

"Dad"? What have I done!?!
The Other F Word is an American documentary film directed by independent filmmaker Andrea Blaugrund Nevins.

The film explores the world of maturing punk rock musicians as they transition into parenthood and try to maintain the contrast between their anti-authoritarian lifestyle with the responsibilities of fatherhood, which is the "other F word."

Yay, dads!
In addition to interviewing over 20 musicians from across the spectrum of the punk genre, from Mark Hoppus of wusses Blink 182 to Fat Mike of marginal NOFX, the film also includes other emblematic figures from the subculture such as professional skateboarder Tony Hawk in a chronicle of the struggles and rewards that accompany raising their children. Released in the U.S. by Oscilloscope Laboratories.

PREMISE
So this is the rest of my life, huh?
Primarily rotating around interviews of Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, the documentary switches between musicians as it jumps between their travels on the road doing concert tours and time spent at home with their kids.

In the course of the movie, interviews are interspersed with archived concert footage.

I still rock as hard as I used to.
It shows these punk rockers, from their early years to more recent shows, to depict some of the challenges they face in their roles as parents -- while at the same time maintaining their roles as anti-establishment figures for their punk rock fan following.

Remarking that their adolescence often lacked much in the way of paternal guidance, the interviewees speak of how they are earnestly trying to be the supportive role models for their kids that they themselves never had while growing up.

INTERVIEWS
  1. Tony Cadena - The Adolescents (Adz)
  2. Art Alexakis - Everclear
  3. Rob Chaos - Total Chaos
  4. Joe Escalante - The Vandals
  5. Josh Freese - session drummer
  6. Fat Mike - NOFX
  7. Flea - Red Hot Chili Peppers [FEAR]
  8. Lars Frederiksen - Rancid
  9. Matt Freeman - Rancid
  10. Jack Grisham - TSOL
  11. Brett Gurewitz - Bad Religion
  12. Tony Hawk - pro skater
  13. Greg Hetson - Circle Jerks
  14. Mark Hoppus - Blink-182
  15. Jim Lindberg - Pennywise
  16. Mike McDermott - Bouncing Souls 
  17. McIlrath - Rise Against
  18. Mark Mothersbaugh - Devo
  19. Duane Peters - U.S. Bombs
  20. Joe Sib - SideOneDummy Records
  21. Ron Reyes - Black Flag
  22. Rick Thorne - BMX rider
What's in a blood test, huh, Hillary?

To a Father on Dying (sutra)

Ven. Thanissaro (trans.), Nakula Sutra (AN 6.16); Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly
Hey, dad, remember that time you left? - Yes, Rahula. Remember, I came back. - I know.
.
The Buddha, his monk son, and Ven. Ananda
Once the Blessed One [the Buddha] was staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time the householder [Buddhist lay devotee] Nakula's father was diseased, in pain, severely ill.

And Nakula's mother said to him: "Don't be worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death.

"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will not be able to support the children or maintain the household after I'm gone,' but you should not view things in that way. I am skilled at spinning cotton and carding matted wool. I can support the children and maintain the household after you are gone. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death.
 
"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will take another husband after I am gone,' but you should not view things in that way. You know as well as I how my fidelity [restraint, sexual conduct appropriate for a householder, as opposed to sexual misconduct] has been constant for the past 16 years. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized death when one is worried.
 
"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will have no desire to go see the Blessed One, to go see the community of monastics, after I am gone,' but you should not view things in that way. I will have an even greater desire to go see the Blessed One, to go see the community of monastics after you are gone. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death.
 
Bowing: ancient sign of respect in India.
"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will not act fully in accordance with the precepts after I am gone,' but you should not view things in that way. To the extent that the Blessed One has white-clad householder female disciples who act fully in accordance with the precepts, I am one of them. If anyone doubts or denies this, let him go ask the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the rightly Awakened One, who is staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death.
 
"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will not attain inner tranquility and insight after I am gone,' but you should not view things in that way. To the extent that the Blessed One has white-clad householder female disciples who attain these, I am one of them. If anyone doubts or denies this, let him go ask the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the rightly Awakened One, who is staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death.
 
"Now it may be that you are thinking, 'Nakula's mother will not reach firm ground in this Doctrine and Discipline, will not attain a firm foothold, will not attain consolation, overcome all doubts, dispel her perplexity, reach fearlessness or gain independence from others with regard to the Teacher's message,' but you should not view things in that way.
  • NOTE: Although this description is a clear reference to stream entry, the first stage of enlightenment, it also suggests the final step, arhatship, in that she has gained independence from others (i.e., does not rely on a teacher for what she now knows directly). Of course, stream entry is tantamount to arhatship in that it is only a matter of time (no more than seven rebirths) before full enlightenment and nirvana.
"To the extent that the Blessed One has white-clad householder female disciples who reach firm ground in this Doctrine and Discipline, attain a firm foothold, attain consolation, overcome their doubts, dispel their perplexity, reach fearlessness, and gain independence from others with regard to the Teacher's message, I am one of them. If anyone doubts or denies this, let him go ask the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the rightly Awakened One who is staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. So be not worried as you die, householder. Death is painful for one who is worried. The Blessed One has criticized being worried at the time of death."
 
While Nakula's father the householder was being exhorted by Nakula's mother in this way, his illness was immediately allayed. And he recovered from his disease. That was how Nakula's father's disease was abandoned.
 
Nakula's father, you are very fortunate to have Nakula's mother as a noble friend.
.
Then, soon after the householder Nakula's father had recovered from being sick, not long after his recovery from this illness, he went leaning on a stick to see the Blessed One.

A wise father supports his wife.
On arriving he bowed and sat respectfully to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "It is your gain, your great gain, householder, that you have Nakula's mother -- sympathetic and wishing for your welfare -- as your counselor and instructor. To the extent that I have white-clad householder female disciples who act fully in accordance with the precepts, she is one of them.

"To the extent that I have white-clad householder female disciples who attain inner tranquility and insight, she is one of them. To the extent that I have white-clad householder female disciples who reach firm ground in this Doctrine and Discipline, attain a firm foothold, attain consolation, overcome their doubts, dispel their perplexity, reach fearlessness, and gain independence from others with regard to the Teacher's message, she is one of them.

"It is your gain, your great gain, householder, that you have Nakula's mother -- sympathetic and wishing for your welfare -- as your counselor and instructor."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Indigenous Peoples Day, Los Angeles (meeting)

Chrissie M. Castro (323) 420-6844; Xochitl, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


We want to pass along the major talking points from tonight's L.A. City Council's hearing. Speakers were asked to be sure to communicate that:

We want to repeal Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day. This is important because:
  • L.A. Natives like Toypurina, female rebel
    We need to right a historical wrong.
  • We need to set the historical record straight.
  • We are looking for truth and reconciliation.
  • We need to counter the negative effects of this holiday for our children during this time of the year.
  • Any conversation about racial justice and equity starts with the First Peoples of this land.
We have been testifying, explaining, and educating the L.A. City Council for two years now.

We have been patient, and it's critical that the City of Los Angeles stand on the right side of history today. We want Indigenous Peoples Day to be established and celebrated in 2017. For City Council parking, call (213) 473-7013 and ask for parking at City Hall East.

Pasadena Buddhist Temple (Jodo Shinshu)

Crystal Quintero, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Pasadena Buddhist Temple (Meetup)

Obon: between Japanese and US culture
The Pasadena Buddhist Temple belongs to the Japanese Jodo Shinshu tradition of Mahayana Buddhism, part of the national Buddhist Churches of America, headquartered in San Francisco, California.

This temple was established in 1948, incorporated in 1956. It and its classrooms were completed in 1958. The annex (Sakai Hall), which is used by the PJAA Bruins organization for basketball practice, was constructed in 1962.

Obon is Japan's Halloween/Day of the Dead
It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008 and welcomes all to come and learn about the [later Mahayana version of the] Buddha Dharma.

Rev. Gibbs became the resident minister on January 1, 2017, but the temple will continue to be grateful for the presence of Rev. Tetsuo Unno, who will continue to officiate services as he has for over 40 years. Guest ministers will also be invited to temple Sunday services.


Family services are held each Sunday. Service begins at 10:00 am and is followed by a separate English-speaking Discussion Group and a Japanese-language Dharma talk by Rev. Unno when he is available. Dharma School meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month following Sunday service. Sangha Teens and Jr. YBA also meet monthly. More
Japan worldwide (japanese-city.com)