Monday, November 20, 2017

Saving ancient forest in Germany (video)

DemocracyNow.org; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


Activists at COP23 decry corporations
Reporting from COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, Democracy Now! ventures to the nearby blockade of the toxic Hambach Mine, the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe. Environmental activists say the mine extracts an extremely dirty form of coal called lignite, "brown coal." It causes the highest CO2 emissions of any kind of coal if burned. For more than five years, these beautiful climate protectors have been fighting to shut down the mine. They want to save the remaining German forest from being cut down to make way for the expanding the toxic capitalist project. Only 10 percent of the ancient forest remains at this time. On Sunday [Nov. 12], Democracy Now! drove down a dirt road, got caught in the mud, had to push, and bumped into an activist from the nearby city of Cologne, Germany, at the entrance to the remaining forest. More
 s4 keystone spill
Tom Goldtooth: Carbon trading is “Fraudulent” Scheme to privatize air and forests...
 g wx ionesco1
Migration advocate calls on delegates at COP23 to address climate change displacement
 g wx peeters2
Climate without borders: Meteorologist dares to say “climate change” in weather reports
 s4 climate change pacific islands
Migration expert urges immediate action as millions are displaced by climate change

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Science: Humans GLOW with visible light!

, 2009); Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

This is a schematic illustration of experiments that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities that vary during the day. B is one for the test subjects. The other images show the weak emissions of visible light during totally dark conditions. The chart corresponds to the images and shows how the emissions varied during the day. The last image (I) is an infrared image of the subject showing heat emissions (Kyoto University; Tohoku Institute of Technology; PLoS ONEa).

The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal.
 
Human devi, Maria Orsic (Vril)
Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals.
 
(This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.)
 
To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan employed extraordinarily sensitive cameras capable of detecting single photons. More

Buddhist "shining ones" (devas)
A deva (literally, a "shining one") can refer to a woodland fairy or an angelic/godly inhabitant of many of the more exalted sensual, fine material, and immaterial "heavens" (sagga, akasha deva lokas) among the 31 Planes of Existence. Deva is a broad category like the term brahma.

Ancient Buddhist deva carving
The word is related to the English diva, deity, and divinity from the Latin deus, "god" in the Greek and Roman sense, "demigod" or "godling" or "angel."
 
The devas are beautiful, like Pleiadians and Lyrians, Venutians and the women (particularly Maria Orsic, the Oracle of the Vril Society shown above) of Aldebaran. The bodies of devas -- whether lowly fairies or magnificent celestial bodies brighter than stars -- are more subtle and luminous than humans.

SUTRA: Fairy in "The Wilderness" (video)

John D. Ireland (trans.), Arañña Sutra (SN 1.10); Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly

Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Blessed One (the Buddha) was staying near Savatthi, at Jeta Grove in the millionaire's monastery.

When the night was nearly past, a certain fairy (deva) that lit up the entire Jeta Grove with her surpassing splendor approached the Blessed One.

Having drawn near and bowed, she stood respectfully to one side.*

Classic fairy (Luis R. Falero, 1888)
Standing there the fairy said:
 
Those living in the forest,
Peaceful, calm, of pure livelihood,
Eating but one meal a day,
How is it they appear so radiant?
 
The Blessed One replied:
 
They sorrow not for what is past,
They long not for the future,
The present, now, is sufficient.
So it is that they appear so radiant.
 
By longing for the future,
By sorrowing about the past,
By this fools wither up
As a tender reed cut down. 

Buddhist fairies
*NOTE: A "fairy" or deva (literally, a "shining one") in this case refers to a woodland denizen or an inhabitant of a lesser heavenly plane. Deva or "light being" is a broad category. These beings exist on many planes.

The word is related to the English words diva, deity, and divinity from the Latin deus, "god" in the Greek and Roman sense of the word, "demigod" or "godling," and Western religious "angel" or "archangel." When the term is applied to a human, it usually designates a royal (a legendary hybrid human-deva left behind to rule mere mortals, an honorific title like the one applied to the Buddha's mother Maya Devi).

The devas are angelically beautiful, like Pleiadians and Lyrians, Venutians and the women of Aldebaran. The bodies of devas -- be they lowly fairies or magnificent space beings more brilliant than celestial bodies, planets and suns -- are more subtle and purer than human bodies. They radiate more light. (Auras? Western science now confirms that human bodies emit light, not just devas).

The period before dawn-- the third watch of the night -- is the usual time for such beings to visit the Enlightened One, the Buddha. One of his titles, after all, is sattha deva-manussanam, a "teacher of gods (devas) and humans.

Doo Dah Parade, Pasadena (Nov. 19)

Pasadenadoodahparade.info; Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly

Welcome to the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade!

THE PARADE IS Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Doo Dah Hotline: (626) 590-7596 

See the Facebook Event page: Doo Dah Parade!

Stop climate crimes! Bonn, Germany (video)

Amy Goodman (democracynow.org); Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Let's avoid the "climate alarmism." Carbon is good. Other greenhouse gases like methane from raising animals for slaughter and corporate pollution from petrochemicals and consumer manufacturing are harmful. They are far more heat-trapping than carbon. The fake "solution" of SELLING carbon credits to allow polluters to legally pollute is a scam that will destroy the environment in the name of trying to save it. Earth needs a real solution. We need better efficiency rates of 100 MPG, which is already possible. We don't have it because it is not within the capitalist-framework we live under. Corporatists grow rich by making a predetermined rate of profit from burning oil and other toxic "assets." Keep it in the ground. We need regulations and enforcement. We need clean-renewables -- solar, wind, ocean tide mills, free energy (already available), recycling, pre-cycling -- not fake Democrat solutions and Republican obstructionism. The mainstream media is not on our side. They are ignoring this climate summit. They are on the side of the monied-interests that own them.

 s2 tree sit
Amy goodman bonn questioning panelists
DN! in the News, Nov. 17, 2017: Weather Channel features Amy Goodman questioning Trump’s fossil fuel reps at UN climate talks
Salvator Mundi = Maitreya?
Can you believe some people care enough to save our shared planet, Sparky?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fairy and Monk: The Thief of Scent (sutra)

Andrew Olendzki, Ven. Thanissaro, Gandhatthena Sutta (SN 9.14) edited by Wisdom Quarterly

 
Thus have I heard. On one occasion a certain Buddhist monk was dwelling among the Kosalans in a forest thicket. At that time, after his meal on returning from alms gathering, he went to a lotus pond and [absentmindedly] sniffed a fragrant red lotus.
 
Then the deva (woodland fairy) inhabiting the forest thicket, feeling sympathy for the monk, desiring his benefit, desiring to bring him to his senses, approached him, and addressed him in verse:
 
[Deva:] You sniff this water-born flower which has not been given to you. This, dear sir, is a factor of stealing. You are a thief of a scent.
 
[Monk:] I do not take, do not damage. I sniff the lotus from a distance. So why do you call me a 'thief of a scent'? One who digs up the stalks or damages flowers, one of such ruthless behavior, why not say it of him? 
 
[Deva:] A person ruthless and grasping, smeared like a diaper, to him I have nothing to say. It is you to whom I would speak. To a person unblemished, constantly searching for purity, even a hair-tip's worth of evil seems as large as a cloud.

[Monk:] Yes, yakkha, you understand me and you show me sympathy. Yakkha, warn me again whenever again you see something like this. 

[Deva:] I neither depend on you for my living nor am I your hireling. You, monk, you yourself should know how to go to the good destination.

The monk, chastened by the deva, came to his senses.

Stealing Scent
ALTERNATE TRANSLATION: Andrew Olendzki (SN 9.14), Gandhatthena Sutta
[Deva:] This lotus blossom you sniff,
Though it's not been offered to you,
Is thus something that's been stolen.
You, sir, are a stealer of scents!

[Ascetic:] But I take not nor break;
I sniff the flower from afar.
So really what reason have you
To call me a 'stealer of scents'?
One who uproots them by the stalk
And consumes the pale lotuses,
The one engaged in such cruel work,
Why not say that of him? 
 
Classic fairy (L. R. Falero, 1888)
[Deva:] A person ruthless and cruel,
Defiled like a worker's garment,
To that person my words would mean nothing.
But it's fitting I speak to you
For an unblemished person, who's
Always pursuing purity,
Even a hair-tip of evil
Seems to such a one as large as a cloud. 
 
[Ascetic:] Truly, O nature spirit, you know me
And show concern for my welfare.
Do please, O spirit, speak again
Whenever you see such a thing.

[Deva:] I do not live to serve you
Nor will I do your work for you.
You should know for yourself, O monk,
How to go along the good path.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: This lively exchange between a forest-dwelling wandering ascetic and a benevolent woodland spirit is filled with poetic movement and gives us a glimpse of the care with which some people practiced toward enlightenment in the time of the Buddha. Since the working definition of "stealing" was "taking what has not been given," the deva is correct -- in the very strictest sense. Notice how the Buddhist monk reacts at first -- defensive, denying that he is doing anything wrong. Then he tries to deflect blame, shifting it to others who do even worse. After recognizing a veiled compliment, he finally realizes that the deva is trying to help him, at which point he encourages further help. But the deva has been put off and ends the exchange abruptly, revealing an intriguing and capricious character [characteristic of fairies in legends from around the world] who is willing to help but only on its own terms. This is a role often played by woodland spirits and other minor fairies in the Pali texts.

"Wisdom" in Nichiren Buddhism (SGI video)

SGI Quarterly, January 2003 (sgi.org); edited and expanded by Wisdom Quarterly
Is chanting the magical mantra "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" wise? (© iStock.com/A330Pilot)


Bodhi leaf from the Tree of Wisdom
A buddha is characterized as a person of profound wisdom. The idea of wisdom [prajna] is central to Buddhism. But wisdom can be a vague and elusive concept, hard to define and harder to find.

How does one become wise? Is wisdom something that we can actively develop, or must we merely wait to grow wiser as we grow older?

Perhaps it is because wisdom is such an indistinct concept that it has lost value as a relevant ideal in modern society, which has instead come to place great store in information and the attainment of knowledge.

Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai ["Value Creation Association International," in Japanese, (SGI) a populist form of Nichiren's Mahayana Buddhism], characterized the confusion between knowledge and wisdom as one of the major failings of modern society.


What is SGI? This is an abbreviated version of "Our Shared Humanity"

SGI transforming lives
His critique is starkly demonstrated in the astonishing progress of technology in the last century. 

While scientific and technological development has shown only a mixed record of alleviating human suffering, it has triumphed remarkably in its ability and efficiency in unleashing death and destruction.

Toda likened the relationship between knowledge and wisdom to that between a pump and water. A pump that does not bring forth water (knowledge without wisdom) is of little use.

Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good -- toward the creation of value.

This is not to deny the importance of knowledge. But knowledge can be utilized to generate both extreme destructiveness and profound good.

Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good -- toward the creation of value.

Buddhist teachings, such as the concept of the five kinds of wisdom, describe and analyze in detail the dynamics of wisdom and how it manifests at different levels of our consciousness. More 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

11 Advantages of Loving Kindness (sutra)

Ven. Piyadassi Thera (trans.), Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutra,* "The Discourse on the Advantages of Loving-Kindness" (AN 11.16); Amber Larson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
I love myself and everyone with boundless metta/loving-kindness. I practice and practice.
 
Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One [the Buddha] was living near Savatthi at Jetavana in [the Buddhist multi-millionaire] Anathapindika's monastery.

Then he addressed the local monastics saying, "Medtitators."

"Venerable sir," they replied.

The Blessed One then said: "Meditators, 11 advantages are to be expected from the heart's release (deliverance) by learning loving-kindness (metta), by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (to liberation), and also as something to be highly treasured, by living in line with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice [to the point of absorption], and by firmly establishing them. What are the 11?
  1. "One sleeps undisturbed.
  2. One awakes in comfort.
  3. One sees no evil dreams.
  4. One is dear to human beings.
  5. One is dear to non-human beings.
  6. Devas (the angelic "shining ones") protect one.
  7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch one.
  8. One's mind can concentrate quickly.
  9. One's countenance is serene.
  10. One dies free of confusion [which is supremely valuable to a fortunate rebirth].
  11. If one fails to attain full enlightenment (arhatship) here and now in this very life, one is reborn in the brahma-world.
Reflecting on impermanence is also very useful.
"These 11 advantages, meditators, are to be expected from the release of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness, by cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle, and also as something to be highly treasured, by living in line with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by firmly establishing them."
 
This is what the Blessed One said, and the meditators rejoiced.
  • *BJT: Mettanisamsa Sutta. Thai, Burmese, and PTS editions: Metta Sutta
  • See also Iti 27

Learning "Loving Kindness" (metta)

Acharya Buddharakkhita, Metta: The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love (Wheel 365); Dhr. Seven, Ananda, Crystal Quintero, Amber Larson, Pat Machperson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


Inhale love...exhale gratitude...
The Buddhist word metta (Pali, maitri in Sanskrit) is a multi-significant term.

It means loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, concord, inoffensiveness, and non-violence.

The commentators define metta as the strong wish for the happiness and welfare of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana).

Metta by Sharon Salzberg
Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love (openheartedness, agape) and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest.

Through  Buddhist metta one refuses to be offensive. One renounces bitterness, resentment, and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind/heart of friendliness, accommodation, and benevolence that seeks the well-being and happiness of others.

True metta is friendliness is free of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy, and agape/love that grows boundless with practice and overcomes all familial, social, religious, racial, political, and economic barriers. Metta is a universal, unselfish, and all-embracing love.
 
Metta practice [the goal of this essay] makes one a pure font of well-being and safety for others. Just as a mother gives her own life to protect her child, so metta only gives and never wants anything in return.

That's not metta, silly. That's sexy love!
To promote one's own interest is a primordial motivation of human nature. When this urge is transformed into the desire to promote the interest and happiness of others, not only is the basic urge of self-seeking overcome, but the mind becomes universal by identifying its own interest with the interest of all. By making this change one also promotes one's own well-being in the best possible manner.
 
Metta is the protective and immensely patient attitude of a mother who forbears all difficulties for the sake of her child and ever protects it despite its misbehavior. Metta is also the attitude of a friend [the Buddha being said to be the fest of all possible friends] who wants to give one the best to further one's well-being.

Welcome, venerable sir, your holiness. - Thanks.
If these qualities of metta are sufficiently cultivated through metta-bhavana — the meditative cultivation of boundless universal love — the result is the acquisition of a tremendous inner power that preserves, protects, and heals oneself and others.
 
Apart from its higher implications, metta is a pragmatic necessity today. In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, metta in deed, word, and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace, and respectful mutual understanding.

Indeed, metta is the supreme means of doing this, for it forms the fundamental tenet of all the higher traditions as well as the basis for all benevolent activities intended to promote human well-being.
 
Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Bernini
The present booklet aims at exploring various facets of metta in theory and in practice. The examination starts with a study of the popular Karaniya Metta Sutta, the Buddha's "Sutra of Universal Love."

In connection with this theme, we will also look at several other short texts dealing with metta. The explanation of metta-development (bhavana), meditation on universal love, will give the practical directions for developing this type of contemplative reflection as set forth in the main meditation texts of the Theravada Buddhist tradition:  
Sutra of Universal Love: Karaniya Metta Sutta
1. Karaniyam atthakusalena Yan tam santam padam abhisamecca
Sakko uju ca suju ca
Suvaco c'assa mudu anatimani

Who seeks to promote one's own welfare,
Having glimpsed the state of perfect peace,
Should be able, honest, and upright,
Gentle in speech, meek, and not proud.
2. Santussako ca subharo ca
Appakicco ca sallahukavutti
Santindriyo ca nipako ca
Appagabbho kulesu ananugiddho

Contented, one should be easy to support,
Not over-busy but simple in living.
With tranquil senses, let one be prudent
And not brazen, nor fawning on supporters.
3. Na ca khuddam samacare kinci
Yena viññu pare upavadeyyum
Sukhino va khemino hontu
Sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta

Also, one must refrain from any karma
That gives the wise reason to reprove.
(Then let one cultivate the thought:)
May all beings be well and secure and
May all beings be happy!
4. Ye keci panabhut'atthi
Tasa va thavara va anavasesa
Digha va ye mahanta va
Majjhima rassakanukathula


Whatever living creatures there be,
Without exception, weak or strong,
Long, huge, or middle-sized,
Short, minute, or bulky,
5. Dittha va yeva adittha
Ye ca dure vasanti avidure
Bhuta va sambhavesi va
Sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta


Whether visible or invisible,
Those living far or near,
The reborn and those seeking rebirth,
May all beings be happy!
6. Na paro param nikubbetha
Natimaññetha katthacinam kanci
Byarosana patighasañña
Naññamaññassa dukkham iccheyya

Let none deceive or decry
Another anywhere;
Let none wish others harm
In resentment or in hate.
7. Mata yatha niyam puttam
Ayusa ekaputtam anurakkhe
Evampi sabbabhutesu
Manasam bhavaye aparimanam

Just as with her own life
A mother shields from harm
Her own son, her only child,
Let all-embracing thoughts
For all beings be yours.
8. Mettañ ca sabba-lokasmim
Manasam bhavaye aparimanam
Uddham adho ca tiriyanca
Asambadham averam asapattam

Cultivate an all-embracing mind of love
For all throughout the universe,
In all its height, depth, and breadth —
Love that is untroubled
Gone beyond hatred and enmity.
9. Titthañ caram nisinno va
Sayano va yavat'assa vigatamiddho
Etam satim adhittheyya
Brahmam etam viharam idhamahu

As you stand, walk, sit, or lie down,
So long as you are awake,
Pursue this mindfulness with your might:
It is deemed the Divine State here.
10. Ditthiñca anupagamma silava
Dassanena sampanno
Kamesu vineyya gedham
Na hi jatu gabbhaseyyam punar eti'ti

Holding no more to wrong views,
With virtue and vision of the ultimate,
And having overcome all sensual desire,
Never in a womb is one reborn again.
2. The Background to the Metta Sutta
Kwan Yin in Marble Mountain
The historical background that led the Buddha to expound the Karaniya Metta Sutta is explained in the commentary written by the great commentator Buddhaghosa, who received it from an unbroken line of Buddhist elders (theras and theris) going back to the days of the Buddha. ...

Indeed, such is the power intrinsic in the Metta Sutta.

Mystic St. Francis spreads metta
Whoever with firm confidence will recite the sutra, invoking the protection of the devas and meditating on metta, will safeguard oneself in every way and also protect all of those around, and will make spiritual progress that can actually be verified. No harm can ever befall a person who follows the path of metta.

3. Three Aspects of Metta
The Metta Sutta consists of three parts, each of which focuses on a distinct aspect of metta.
  1. The first part (Lines 3 to 10) covers that aspect which requires a thorough and systematic application of loving-kindness in one's day-to-day conduct.
  2. The second part (Lines 11-20) expresses loving-kindness as a distinct technique of meditation or culture of mind (development of the heart) leading to samadhi — higher consciousness induced by meditative absorption (jhana).
  3. And the third part (Lines 21-40) underlines a total commitment to the philosophy of universal love and its personal, social, and empirical extensions — loving-kindness through all bodily, verbal, and mental actions/activities (karma).
India's Polish Catholic saint, Mother Teresa
Metta has been identified as that specific factor that "ripens" the accumulated merit (punna) acquired by the ten ways of acquiring merit (dasa-punna-kiriyavatthu) [similar to the Ten Courses of Wholesome Action to acquire good karma], such as the practice of generosity, virtue, and so on.

Again, metta brings to maturity to the ten exalted spiritual qualities known as "Ten Perfections" (paramis, paramita) the Bodhisatta ("Buddha-to-be") developed to become "the Buddha."
 
Trees can talk and teach. Can we hear them?
The practice of metta can therefore be likened to bringing into being a great tree, from the time the seed is sown to the time the tree is heavily laden with delicious fruits and sends forth its sweet fragrance far and wide, attracting a myriad creatures to it to enjoy its tasty nutrients.

The sprouting of the seed and the growth of the plant are, as it were, brought about by the first part of the sutra. In the second part, the tree -- robust and developed -- is fully covered with fragrant and beautiful flowers, riveting all eyes upon it. More