Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Right thought, right speech, right action? Has Glasgow's Franz Ferdinand gone Buddhist?
(For those of you who don't recognize the reference, the Buddha's Eight-Fold Path consists of right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.)
Thursday, May 16, 2013
On the second day of the National Brownfield Conference here in Atlanta, I had the honor and the privilege of leading a field trip to The Goat Farm Arts Center.
Principal construction of The Goat Farm began in the early 1880s, and the facility was operational by 1889. The facility manufactured cotton-ginning machinery as the E Van Winkle Machine Works until 1912, when it was purchased by the Murray Corporation of Texas and operated as the Murray Mill.
Today, it is a performing arts and art-studio space, and a vibrant centerpiece in the Atlanta arts community. A group from the National Brownfields Conference attended an afternoon trip to see the space and hear the story of how the former industrial site has been transformed into the place it is today.
The attendees were literally form all over the country. I noticed name tags from Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Michigan, and even two from Alaska
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The National Brownfields Conference, a large national conference that brings together developers, environmentalists, regulators, consultants, community organizers, urban planners, and visionaries, is meeting this year in Atlanta.
The idea of "brownfields" is to put back into productive reuse those old, underutilized industrial sites, so that unaffected property, "greenfields," can be preserved. It's basically how I've made my living for the past decade or so. The last time I was at a The National Brownfields Conference was when it was held in Boston back in 2006.
Anyway, it's just getting kicked off today, with the only real event a Plenary Session with keynote speaker Ryan Gravel, whom I've met several times during my Atlanta Beltline activities, and have come to know and admire.
He knocked it out of the park today with an inspirational talk on the Beltline project.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The task that Zen Master Dogen set for himself was to practice and maintain the buddha-way. For Dogen, practicing and maintaining the buddha-way was to abandon ego-attachment and to follow the instructions of his teacher.
To abandon ego-attachment, he found he needed to put an end to greed. To put an end to greed, he had to abandon egocentric self. Dogen taught that seeing the impermanence of all existence was the primary necessity for abandoning egocentric self. "Truly," he once wrote, "when you see impermanence, egocentric mind does not arise."
Egocentricity is assuming that there is some sort of substantial or even eternal ego or soul existing in the body, which itself is a temporal composite of various elements. Thinking it to be substantial or even eternal, we attach to and identify with that ego or soul. Dogen considered this to be the fundamental delusion. His practice was to see egolessness and the impermanence of all existence, and to live on that basis without greedy desires.
Those greedy desires manifest themselves in the concrete world by seeking fame and profit. This is why Dogen put such an emphasis on practicing the buddha-way without expecting any reward, especially fame and profit.
For Dogen, one should practiced the buddha-way only for the sake of the buddha-way.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Zen Master Dogen said,
It is not possible to study extensively and obtain wide knowledge. Just make up your mind and give up trying to do so. Focus your attention on one thing. Study the things you have to know and the traditional examples of them. Follow the way of practice of your predecessors. Concentrate your efforts on one practice. Do not pretend to be a teacher or a leader of others.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
And I can't omit a Happy-Mother's-Day shout-out to my own real-life Mom, vigilant keeper of the African studies flame, and who once literally battled an actual serpent using only the collected works of William Shakespeare.