Zen master Tanka Tennen burned a wooden statue of the Buddha. Although it seemed to be nothing but an evil deed, his deed was a means of showing the dharma. When we read the record of this master’s deeds, we find that his sitting was always in accordance with the prescribed rules and while standing he always followed good manners. His manner was always courteous as if he were meeting a noble guest. Even when he sat for a short while, he sat cross legged and held his hands in the shashu position. He protected temple property as though caring for his own eyes. He never failed to offer praise when he saw someone practicing diligently. Even if they were small, he appreciated good deeds. His own actions in his daily life were especially wonderful. His record remains as a mirror in Zen monasteries (Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Book 3, Chapter 9).
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I like to think that the president had been reading the late Tony Judt's January 13, 2011 article in the New York Review of Books, in which Judt wrote:
"The cost of oil -- effectively stagnant from the 1950s through the 1990s (allowing for crisis-driven fluctuations) -- is now steadily rising and unlikely ever to fall back to the level at which unrestricted car travel becomes economically viable again. The logic of the suburb, incontrovertible with oil at $1 a gallon, is thus placed in question. Air travel, unavoidable for long-haul journeys, is now inconvenient and expensive over medium distances: and in Western Europe and Japan the train is both a pleasanter and a faster alternative. The environmental advantages of the modern train are now very considerable, both technically and politically. An electrically powered rail system, like its companion light-rail or tram system within cities, can run on any convertible fuel source whether conventional or innovative, from nuclear power to solar power. For the foreseeable future this gives it a unique advantage over every other form of powered transportation."
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Welcome to America, where 34 people are murdered with firearms every day.
A coalition of 550 Mayors nationwide, led by New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have launched a campaign calling on Congress to close the loopholes in the background check system. Mayors Against Illegal Guns have two important changes to the system that will fix background checks and make America safer:
1 - Fix the Holes in the Background Database:
- Existing laws already outlaw criminals, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people from passing a background check. The problem is state and federal agencies aren't required by law or funded by Congress to supply that information to the background check system and possibly as many as one million prohibited purchasers are missing from the background database.
- A new law would create full funding and necessary incentives for states and federal agencies to comply with reporting requirements and make sure every legally prohibited purchaser is included in the background check database.
2 - Sell No Gun Without A Check:
- Under the current system, even if a Prohibited Purchaser like the Virginia Tech or Tucson shooters would fail a background check, they could still have walked into any gun show and bought a car load of guns with no background check, no questions asked.
- A new law would close all of the loopholes and require background checks for every gun sale, with reasonable exceptions for law enforcement and certain gun permit holders.
Security isn't just about having guns, it's about keeping communities safe for everyone. When we stand together for our values of strong communities, personal security, and liberty for all, we all win.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
According to NPR, "Lost in the Trees is the music of Ari Picker, a songwriter from Chapel Hill" (and a former student at the Berklee School of Music ) "on a bit of a mission: Take a pinch of the brilliance found in classical music and mix it with his own. Lost in the Trees is orchestral folk where the "orchestral" part isn't an afterthought. This is mighty potent stuff."
"A few years ago, there was the soundtrack for Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums," Picker says, "and somehow there it all was — Ravel next to Paul Simon. I look at both my own songwriting and the music I admire most, and the common quality is that it's a sort of mash-up of everything and a labor of love."
A typical comment posted on the NPR site said, "Folks, Lost in the Trees are brilliant. The music is so powerful and so personal. Don't miss them live if you get the chance. Amazing."
The lyrics heard in the title track of their latest album, All Alone In An Empty House, are taken from arguments Picker's parents had in the house he grew up in. But according to NPR, "this isn't a data dump of depression; it's a record filled with hope and spirit."
And then there's this from CBS News:
Makeover For A Special Mom
After Mom's Hardships, Son's Wish For Her Comes True
March 23, 2006
Karen Shelton has struggled through some terrible times. So when her son, Ari Picker, wrote, asking to honor her in The Early Show's Week of Wishes, his letter stood out right away.
"Dear Early Show: I'm writing to nominate my mother for consideration for Week of Wishes," he wrote. "My mom has always been a fighter and she has gone after the things she believes in. When I was eight, my mom was told that she had a fifty-fifty chance of surviving breast cancer. She was alone and without insurance."
Even before the devastating diagnosis, life had been difficult for Shelton. Two years before giving birth to Ari, she lost twin girls who were born prematurely. Later, she left an abusive relationship to raise her son on her own. Cancer came as a blow out of nowhere.
"I didn't know what cancer was. It was 16 years ago. It had never been in my family. I was teaching aerobics and eating broccoli every day," she said.
"I think she was really scared for me. And I think the thing that kept her holding on was me. She didn't want to leave me," said Ari.
The other thing that kept Shelton going was the comfort she found in creative expressions, as an artist.
"Art gives you a connection to something bigger," said Shelton, who has an art gallery in North Carolina called Sizl Gallery. "And when I'm really feeling like I'm connecting and I think all artists feel this way it's almost a spiritual experience."
Ari says his mother's art was literally what helped her to survive. "It's like a representation of how she feels she wants her life to be," he explained, "which is colorful, it's beautiful, the figures in the paintings are peaceful, and she loves doing it, too."
Shelton passed down her love of the arts to Ari, whose own creative talent is music. A student at Boston's Berkley School of Music, Ari says his mother is his inspiration. "Just being surrounded by my mom and all her artwork, it made me want to express myself in the same way she did."
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
By: Staff Report
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I’m wondering if one can help but impose meaning onto the world when the language centres of a person’s brain are active. When you are not thinking is there any meaning? Or perhaps we might say that when you have inner silence and presence then whatever you happen to be doing is the meaning, is the point.