Sunday, April 24, 2005

Roundup for April 18 - 24, 2005

This past week, in Blogmandu [ie, the sphere of Buddhist bloggers] we find people writing about the vicissitudes of life, and giving us information that might help us live better or find movies we'll want to see. The news-interested bloggers wrote on many topics, with the new pope bringing forth the most thoughtful posts.

copyright 2005 Sam of sam i am

In an entry Bored at Night in the sam i am blog, some quick photos are featured. Of his Perrier bottle on a table, Sam writes "I do like the green in this one." [Pic posted here with Sam's permission.]

Ah, Life.

Buddhist bloggers were stoked by life's delights and harried by its problems last week.

Adela, the mercurius blogger, took up dancing light, on the boards, and on the computer keyboard. "I was focusing my eyes on my fingertips only as I glided through the crisp air of the room as morning light was increasing from the window. So in the present when I dance, all else drifts away as I improvise, changing channels and shifting energies as I go."

sam i am's Sam figures he is sure to win $6500 worth of cycling stuff, but first must overcome his attachment problem: "You basically must have your hands on a frame for as long as you can and the last one on will win."

Chris, the Cycling Platypus, finds that he is suffering from something akin to male-pattern baldness ... on his legs. "The insides have a fair amount of hair and as you rotate around, not so much." He ends his post with words from the Dalai Lama: "Sometimes you can't do much to change a problem, but you can change how you think about it and in this way you can change how you feel."

Ow, My Blog's Corax discusses the discomfort of knowing "that in 5,000,000,000 years, the earth would be engulfed by the sun and then [nothing] will have mattered."

And eric of virtual zen writes that he is energized to "do my part to be a better world citizen." "I've been following a few links today regarding poverty, justice, AIDS activism," he writes. "My switch to a vegetarian lifestyle has been part of [becoming a better citizen]. My further study of Buddhism and its inherent compassion for ... sentient beings is another part ..." He thanks Zenchick, the blogger of the same-name blog, for inspiring him. Zenchick comments, "of course, my sweets...just doing my job."

Practical Posts

Proving again that blog posts can be things of great value, Andi of Ditch the raft posts The Beginner's Guide to Buddhist Ordination. A good bookmark candidate, this. It is a long post, going throught the basics, the three stages of ordination, and the SoKo style -- focussing on the "process for Chogye-Jong, the largest sect of Buddhism in Korea."

Meantime, Dharma Vision's Amadeus tells us of the health benefits of green tea, while Dukkha Earl of Sifting Samsara shares the conservation message of Earth Day [April 22]: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

On Celluloid

Mark of Zen Filter directs our attention to an article in the Jakarta Post about a young Indonesian filmmaker, Faozan Rizal, who uses a technique that is Zen-influenced in his new movie Aries -- A Poem for Katia. The film is defined "as 'a meditation of a relationship.' There is no script, no preconceived structure."

Chalip of Zen Under the Skin saw the multi-thematic Korean movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring and was amazed. "I highly recommend it," she writes.

In Dave's blog Via Negativa, there is a frequently appearing cartoon, Words on the Street, which shows Diogenes with his placard. [The cartoon above appears here with Dave's permission.]

"Pope Blogging"

Blogger reaction to the new pope, Benedict XVI, was mostly very negative.

Kit at Paper Frog writes, "Of particular concern to Buddhists are some rather ungracious comments made by Cardinal Ratzinger to the French press in 1997, labeling Buddhism as an 'auto-erotic spirituality' that offers 'transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations.' Spiritual masturbation, in other words. He views both Hinduism and Buddhism as future 'enemies' of the Church ..."

In another long thoughtful post, Nacho of WoodMoor Village Zendo was "neither pleased nor disappointed [with the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger], not following Catholic doctrine myself" but expressed concerns, based on Ratzinger's hardline record and the needs of the American faithful. Nacho also had much to say about how pagentry in the Vatican has become a spectacular media event.

An examination of the new pope's youth in Germany during Nazi times is the focus of a post in The Republic of T., blogged by Terrance Heath. Terrance defends a prior post of his calling Pope Benedict a member of Hitler Youth. It's "neither fair nor unfair. That's just reality." And sees a lot to be wary of in young Joseph Ratzinger's decision-making in that period. Terrance sees hypocracies when we fastforward to the present "He appears much easier on himself about his choice[s] than he is on gays and lesbians for acting on [something as basic as an intrinsic human charactaristic], sexuality."

Dharma Vision's Amadeus joined in a new, temporary blog partnership, In the Vatican, to do a little "Pope blogging." The project posted ten entries in just six days and is still going as of today, April 24. On its first few days, the website posted odds on whom would be elected, citing Cardinal Ratzinger as the favorite on the 17th [3 to 1 odds] and as second favorite on the 18th [11 to 2]. Other posts brought news from leading sources about the papal election and Ratzinger's background and resume.

James of Genius of Insanity surveys the new pope's record of intolerance and opines "We already have a huge problem with Islamic and Christian extremism and I hope that this new Pope will not throw more fuel on these fires."

Danny Fisher of Danny Fisher -- a birthday boy this week, having turned 26 on Friday -- has some stirring, close-to-the-bone objections to the new pope, but closes his Thoughts on the New Pope post with generous words, "I will try to greet this new pope with an open mind and an open heart. I hope he proves my initial disappointment and subsequent worry wrong. I pray for a papacy that will encourage peace, unity, compassion, and love."

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Roundup for April 11 - 17, 2005

This week in Blogmandu Roundup we find lucid dreams, a lot of anger and a bit of a surprise, a Zen blogger who is just now giving up smoking, again. There is art, too, in way of an amazing photograph, a treasure found in Australia, a recent documentary and the middle section of a very, very long poem. Also, laurels crown two Buddhist websites and one Naropa blogger gets a new blogging gig.

Dreams, Lots of Anger & Smoking

In a particularly lucid entry in zen and the art of dreaming, Matt talks about his recent lucid dreams and their nexus with morality and transformation. "It seems that the only sensible approach is to treat dream characters with respect and compassion. This approach will lead to a more integrated, healthy self. If I was to battle with dream characters, then I'm really only battling with aspects of myself." Near the end of his entry he says "I've decided that the only way I can keep blogging ... is to pretend that no one reads this [post]." Yeah, dream on, Matt. [Note: As of 4/29/05, zen and the art of dreaming is no longer online.]

Anger and frustration get the attention of Ow, My Blog's Corax. "When things don't work the way they're supposed to, when simple problems can't be solved, when people or animals don't cooperate, when solutions don't work or cease working, it drives me crazy." The topic turns up elsewhere this week: In a long, thoughtful post by Andi in Ditch the Raft and in a post by Mazzie of The Buddhism Community, who writes of an incident that spurred thoughts about anger that begins when she sees a broken-into jeep. "When we have angry explosions, who picks up the pieces? Who sweeps them into a paper bag, where they can do no more harm? When no one does, certainly the shards are carried and blown into unintended places, only to disrupt, harm, maim, annoy, disconcert." And Amadeus of Dharma Vision finds himself nettled with impatience: "Today seems to be one of those days. The kind that you don't get your calls returned, you sit in traffic, your shipment hasn't come in and that email you are waiting for hasn't made it to your inbox..."

Meantime, Jeff of gives up smoking.

Blogmandu and The Arts

Peeking Buddha

This amazing photograph was taken by Shula in Belgium and posted in The Buddhist Community on Live Journal. Permission to re-post the picture here was granted by the photographer. Wrote Shula, "This caught my eye when I was walking home today. I thought I would take a picture and share it with you. :) "

Zen Under the Skin points us toward an artful resource, an Aussie magazine called 'Gentle Voice,' that has two articles on symbolism in the Wheel of Life that blogger Chalip highly recommends.

The Buddhist Blog blogger, James, praises "The Corporation" to the skies in his associated blog Genius of Insanity, agreeing with another that the documentary "is brilliant - the type of film I would sacrifice 100,000 typical films if only we could encounter its type more often." Says James, "The movie goes through a checklist of mental illness symptoms that most corporations embody and in the end we find out that the diagnosis is that of a psychopath."

Dave is serializing his book-length poem "Cibola" this year in his blog, Via Negativa, in 157 posts! Entries 73, 74, 75, 76 and 77 went up this week [and much else; Dave is a tireless blogger] To read what's posted of the poem from the beginning, go here. And now, a snippet, kiped from entry 75:

She's gone. He collects
his scattered clothes—through
what magic had she
recovered hers?
his thigh still tingles from
a sudden brush of fur.
He kicks sand
to put the fire out—to hell
with any more tracking
—& feels
his way back in the half-
dark of gibbous moonlight,
avoiding the shadows.

Kudos in Blogmandu

Paper Frog and WoodMoor Village Zendo have been chosen as inaugural Buddhism-section selections in a new Beliefnet feature, Blog Heaven, "where faith blogs go if they're good." A total of 26 religion-tinged blogs have been chosen by the Beliefnet editors as worthy of being listed in the directory. WVZ's Nacho hops onto the Heavenly cloud with glee, but with reservations, too, hoping in the near future the directory will "include more Buddhist sites" and come to foster "conversation, discussion, exchange, and development of insight" as well as "inter-faith dialogue."

Speaking of inter-faith dialogue, Naropa grad student Danny Fisher joins Amadeus of Dharma Vision, and others, as a contributor to Interlog, an Amida Trust community blog for discussion of Buddhism-Christian fellowship. On his eponymous personal blog, Danny Fisher expresses excitement about joining the multi-blog, and at Interlog, in his first post, Danny shares words from recent speeches by Trappist monk Thomas Keating and Acharya Reggie Ray. Here's one quote from Ray: "The only true love is the love that is not intentional."

Have a question, comment or tip for Blogmandu Roundup? E-mail tarmstrong \at/ zenunbound /dott\ com