Sunday, November 27, 2005

Roundup for Nov 21 - 27, 2005

Thanksgiving was celebrated, so gratitude is back for a second week as a topic in the Buddhablogosphere. Sum of the Sum of All Years is posted, all on a single webpage. Chalip has a birthday, while haiku has a pouting daughter. Hardcore Zen meets the Longhorns while Green Clouds bump into reality. Meantime in the creamy blogosphere, there is an auspicious coincidence involving soy eggnog.

Last week, one
Top Ten Buddhism-tagged blogs, per Technorati *
1The Buddhist Blog
2this zen life
3Dharma Path
4The Roost
5My Zen Life
6auspicious coincidence
9Green Clouds
* After eliminating sites with 8 or more tags when no more that 25% are, in a broad sense, Buddhism-related.
of our featured posts was Jeb of Wondering on the Way’s “Ecology of Gratitude.” This week was graced with more gratitude musings. Whiskey River offers up wisdom from Albert Schweitzer: “The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” And M of Zen Filter quotes Dogen’s perspective on gratitude and links to a page at the Spirituality & Health website filled with quotes on the topic.

Nacho of WoodMoor Village Zendo, in a post titled "A Practice of Gratitude," writes about a conversation with his young son about the security and comforts their family has, especially as compared to most others in the world. But their talk quickly broadened:
We also spoke about how we can think broadly about gratitude by following a chain of links that we often forget or dismiss too easily. It makes for a great conversation with kids: [W]e are grateful to have clean water, but how do we get clean fresh water in our homes? We are happy not to live in filth and garbage, yet how does garbage collection and sewage treatment work? How is it that we can walk into grocery stores and see such abundance of items when others are dying from hunger? How [can our practice] contribute to the quality of our lives and those of others? ... It is a benefit that as we touch on those issues, we also talk about civic virtue, about the common good. A practice of gratefulness need not be, and in fact is not, separate from anything else we do.
Engaged Buddhism – or at least, the issue of how mature compassion should flow into the world – is often a topic in Buddhist blogs. Tyson serves up quotes of Sogyal Rinpoche in his blog One long, single-sentence post this week addresses the “compassionate desire to serve all beings.”

Cliff Jones, blogmeister of This is this, is cool beyond belief, giving us his Sum of All Years autobiography all in a single post!! It is sort of a Sum of Sum of all Years, and it’s truly sumthin’! [I hope others of you will write your own sum-of-all-years autobiographies. The rule is that for each year of your life you post an entry about that year with a word count equivalent to your age at that time. Me, I’ve started mine, but I can’t complete chapter 1 until I can choose between poop and googoo.

In the two of his blogs Blogmandu follows, keyboarder James Ure gives a generous helping of holiday thanks … to his readers! In The Buddhist Blog, he writes, “[To all those who] read this blog [be aware] that I love you deeply and hope that on this day you reflect on the good things in your life.” In the lefty politics-oriented Genius of Insanity, he thanks the people in the military and their families for their sacrifices and then writes, “I am also very grateful for this blog and those of you who read my crazy ranting and raving.”

Chalip of Zen Under the Skin had a birthday this week and reflects, glowingly, on wonders in her life: “a beautiful child, good friends, my family, a great sangha, and all of the wonderful people out here in the blogosphere”

In her blog this zen life, haiku tells us about her pouty six-year-old daughter, a little diva who complains constantly. On a beautiful day, the family takes a walk through the woods, and troubles ensue, but there is no scolding in store for the unhappy girl – instead, there is a mirror to life held up to haiku's eyes.

Zen Rhetoric: Paradox and Puzzles is a “class blog” for Jiki Sen Peg Syverson’s Zen Rhetoric class at the University of Texas in Austin [Go Horns! Rah, Team!] This past week, the students have been reviewing the first 98 pages of Brad Warner’s book Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality. I know many Blogmandu readers are crackers* over this book [including chalip & Gareth & M & John Soper], so they and others of you will be interested to read the students’ reviews/analyses of what they’ve read thus far. Here are some “write bites,”** that link to the lucky thirteen reviewers’ assessments: Anyone who has played with the Meat Puppets...doesn't have to twist my arm…to bend my ear.” “He explains things as they are…in the most efficient and comprehensible manner.” “I like Warner's honesty…but kind of hate the tone [he] uses.” “[H]is writing can be very crude and perhaps unacceptable at times.” “I was tired of being talked to like I was a completely uninformed young kid.” “I absolutely love the in-your-face, no b*llsh*t approach.” “I especially love, love, that he comes clean from the get-go that he himself has not been enlightened, and probably never will be.” “could it be said there is no wrong interpretation of zen and no interpretation is more right than another?” “I thought [the part about Utopia] must be something the enlightened tell the unenlightened to really piss them off.” “one word to describe his style of writing:…blunt.” “I…appreciate how he calls Dogen one of the coolest guys ever.” “Who wouldnt want to make crazy Godzilla movies and practice Buddhism while doing it?” “He wasn't big on any sort of flowery language; on the contrary, he used tons of slang.

Illustrating his point with a picture of a blue bowl full of Cheerios, Will Buckingham of doesn't believe the story making the rounds that a lad in Nepal, who, supposedly, hasn’t had a bite or a sip in six months, is a new Buddha [qv, The Buddha Channel]. Will writes, “I disbelieve the story because ... there is no evidence that a human being can go for six months without food or water. There is, however, ample evidence that human beings are credulous, greedy and prone to deception.”

Dagme, who keyboards auspicious conincidence, was about to walk away from the pricey soy eggnog in the dairycase [soycase?] at the health-food store, when the voice of Nyima – the inside the banana blogger – “talking up the wonders of eggnog” entered her noggin. Indeed, Nyima/Gabrielle posted re nog that very day: “I have to take this moment to thank the good people that came up with EGG NOG!” Synchronicity!

Clarity, a Slovenian Shambhala Buddhist, shares his “wisdom and confusion” in Clarity’s Blog. This week he had the interesting experience of having a reaction and seeing that of persons outside his sangha when a "wrathful" Buddhist teacher screamed “fuck you” in a talk.

Gareth of Green Clouds and his dharma teacher are at loggerheads over the existance of external reality. If the teacher is right -- that reality is inexistent – then the Gareth-teacher conversation didn’t take place. Gareth is holding on to an external reality that is “merely unknowable.” But by the end of the post, Gareth’s grip is slipping as a wise man, dead for many centuries, weighs in with his thoughts, backing the teacher. “You must strive to realise emptiness to attain even solitary liberation.” concludes Shantideva, wagging his finger at Gareth.

[Footnotes in a blog is oh so PoMo***&*****.]
*Wallace of the cartoon combo ‘Wallace and Gromit’ uses the term, which means intense affection, as in this sentence from their most-recent film, which has perhaps been uttered in all of their films: “I’m just crackers about cheeeese!”
**as opposed to “sound bites”
****which means 'just after modern'
*****You readers may be interested to know I was raised [post Tulsa] in Pomona******
******which means 'postmodern not applicable'

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Roundup for Nov 14 - 20, 2005

Change is a theme that appears in different Buddhist guises this week. In politics, hatred, letter writing, Bush and Iraq get attention. We also give you information on what to put in your Buddha statue and give you a jumpstart on your midterm.


In a post, follow-up to another asking about the nature of change and our ability to affect change in the world, chalip of Zen Under the Skin delves deeply into the issue in a post "Always Ripe for Change," making use of earlier feedback. She leads off with this sentiment, "I'm still trying to figure out how to carry the dharma into my daily life with consistency. I'm still trying to figure out how to bring my meditation off the cushion. Who am I to say what other people need to do when it is all I can do to stumble through my own attempts at right action? I've also been of the opinion that such attempts to consciously sway a person... to get them to do a certain thing or be a certain way... are often futile."

By the end of her post, after filtering through the offerings of others, feelings of futility have lifted:
The world is always ripe for change. The world is always responding to who we are and what we are doing. And so are people and everything else in the world. This is what Thich Nhat Hanh's word Interbeing is pointing to. Everything exists because of everything else. As subtle changes happen in one person, subtle changes happen everywhere. This may be hard to quantify. Everyone may not cause the global impact that Buddha, Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. did in the world... but everyone can have the same impact right where they live.
Jeb of Wonderings on the Way writes about extending gratitude to “the entire milieu of existence” in a post titled "The Ecology of Gratitude." He begins by looking at gratitude from our in-the-house animal friends and the prefunctory “thank you”s of our grudgingly civil society, and then expands the vision multidimensionally. Following are words from the middle of a wonderful post:
Whether one is talking about life sciences and their extremely complex interactions, or physics with its Bell’s Theorem and quantum entanglement, the conclusion is that we live in a world where interconnections far exceed our ability to understand them. ... We are gradually learning not to be as naive as primitive man about destroying things we don’t understand. In a larger sense, I can reach a conclusion that all of existence is worthy and somehow is not separate from my own existence or sustenance. I can reach a conclusion of reverence for life – all life.

A real ecology of gratitude begins to arise when one begins to understand that even those things or people or groups one does not like are an integral and valuable part of existence that sustains us all.
Fogueira of foot before foot is up to many changes this week. One post, about reversing her decision to not purchase a spiffy camera begins, “I reserve the right to change my mind about just about anything. The mind, after all, is the most impermanent conditioned thing there is.” But it is the positive effects of her healthy diet that get the most attention in posts titled “Quality of Life Report,” and “Ch-ch-ch-changes.” Fogueira now eats healthy, natural foods and is a committed vegetarian: “I could never cry enough or ask pardon enough to every animal for every minute I spent exploiting them. To eat animals to me would be like murdering my family, literally. … I have to admit it's wonderful to do the right thing and literally feel great doing it. … May all beings experience such a phenomenon.”

Cliff Jones of This is this finishes [for now] his one-post-per-year, number-of-words-equaling-the-age-he-is-in-each-post autobiography. Here is the last chapter, The Sum Of All Years - 33:

Bad things happen - they'll bother you more if you're always holding out for the good stuff. What you want will come and go, but what you need will find you in the end.

"The girl" who blogs auspicious coincidence wrote a post this week called "change." In it, each of the seven paragraphs begin with these words: "Some people say that people don’t change..." The first six paragraphs reference herself, but the final one is a global observation: "Some people say that people don’t change, but I think that they just want to see the world as constant and unchangeable because it makes life simple. Let’s face it, we are who we are, not who we were or who we want to be. We just are."

The 11th Century Vietnamese poet Van Hahn wrote of changes. At the moment of his death, he wrote a poem -- presented by Amadeus in his blog dharma vision. Please, please follow this link to read the translation Amadeus has and has presented so wonderfully. Following is a different translation of Van Hahn's words, found at the online site of Boston Review:
Our life is a lightning flash, here and gone
Spring plants blossom, to be bare in fall
Mind not the rise and fall of fortunes
They're dewdrops twinkling on the grass

Political Stuff

Amadeus is a political researcher and consultant residing in Oregon. This week, in his blog dharma vision, he tackled the issue of Politics and Hatred. “Lately, I have begun to again study the notion of hatred.” he writes. “It really is a hard thing to understand. We often hold such deep feelings about issues that they could sow seeds of hatred within us. I know mine sometimes do and although I have become a little better at recognizing it, I still have a long way to go.”

Mumon of Notes in Samsara writes about Bush's miscues in Japan, where he is slashing back at domestic critics of his war, bumfuzzling his hosts. [In one stop on the island nation, Bush insisted he wasn't there speaking for the US government, while at another stop, he thanked the prime minister for sending troops to Iraq.] "Nixon [could handle diplomacy]; he was venal but talented." observes Mumon. "George W. Bush, miserable failure that he is, is venal but not talented."

Congressman Duncan Hunter's fake cut-and-run legislation, written in an effort to undermine Congressman Murtha's stern assessment that the war isn't going at all well, is rebuked by James of Genius of Insanity: "This resolution introduced by House Republicans is a sham, a typical smear ploy, dirty politics and a political stunt."

Ruby Sinreich, of lotusmedia consultants in North Carolina’s Orange County [the other OC], blogs lotusmedia 2.0 [formerly, Ruby’s Rants and Randomness]. In a post this week, “Blog to Congress,” she has a bead on code [currently just for Bloxsam] to turn blog entries into letters to congress. She is eager for the code to be written for additional blogging software/platforms.

DID YOU EVER WONDER WHAT 2000 LOOKS LIKE? At his blog Dharmavidya Web, in a post titled “November 2005: Iraq Item,” David Brazier has links to a short flash video every American should see.

Buddhist Stuff

In a fascinating post, titled “Buddha Statues – Imagining Buddha,” Gareth of Green Clouds tells us, firsthand, of steps involved in the ritual preparation of a Buddha statue for its place on a shrine. An early paragraph explains what is expected …
Within [my] tradition, and others I think, the statues are filled with dried (and blessed) rose petals, mantra rolls and precious objects. The statue can then be painted and dressed, if wished, and set upon the shrine. Before the statue is filled, it needs to be checked for flaws and repaired, and washed down and rinsed with saffron water.
… but unexpected challenges are encountered!

Dave Bonta of Via Negativa passes out the mid-term on his way out of town. [I am not sure if the test is meant for congressfolk, Buddhists or alchemists.] There are five questions. Here’s #2
2. From dreaming about salamanders, can you remember how it felt to breathe through your skin & listen with the bones in your feet? Use both sides of the paper if necessary.
Iain Sinclair’s blog Jinijik is an always-fascinating virtual lobby to the museums and the salvaged crumbling texts of our religion. Finds this week are (1) an article, “Conservation and Digitisation of Rolled Palm Leaf Manuscripts in Nepal” and (2) the new website of The Research Institute of Sanskrit Manuscripts & Buddhist Literature based in Peking University.

In a post called MR. ANGRY, Brad Warner of Hardcore Zen writes about a longtime crazy-mad student of his teacher. Here is a central paragraph, after the teacher advises the unhappy student that one of his options is simply to leave:
Lotsa people ask me how to recognize a real Buddhist teacher. You can recognize them by this attitude. A real Buddhist teacher never tries to draw you in or convince you of anything. He (or she, but I'll stick w/ male pronouns) just says what he says. If you like it, you can stay and listen some more. If you don't like it you can go away.

The girl who writes auspicious coincidence has written a true-to-life tanka that come with a burst of steam. Go read.

Blog Harvest

Jeb of Wondering on the Way filed his fifth Blog Harvest at the end of this week, titled "Chump Change." He recommends the following blog posts and miscellany:

  • The post "Always Ripe for Change" in Zen Under the Skin, with especial kudos for its emphisis on personal change.
  • The movie Dead Man Walking, where the condemned man takes direct responsibility for his actions
  • The post "Going Beyond Belief" in Green Clouds, "because it speaks to the willingness and courage to look at one’s own mind and beliefs"
  • The post "alternatives" in Jack/zen which touches on problems with forms of engaged Buddhism
  • The post "Rumi, FLOW and Love" in FLOW, here again, because the post touches on problems with forms of engaged Buddhism.
  • The organizations Greyston Foundation, Human Kindness Foundation, and Human Impact for their better methods of addressing changes in society

Truth, Revealed

We close with a quote this week offered by the delicious whiskey river:
    “We are hidden in ourselves, like a truth hidden in isolated facts. When we know that this One in us is One in all, then our truth is revealed.”
    --Rabindranath Tagore in his 1917 book Personality.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Roundup for Nov 7 - 13, 2005

    A not-so-simple hello, hot sex, lotto millions, postmodernity, keeping your zafu in reach, death, non-violence and golden leaves in a pear tree were all touched upon in the Buddhism-flavored blogosphere this week.

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    Zataod of Zen and the Art of Dreaming dreams of winning multi-megamillions in the lotto. His fantasies end up being very tame – more Buddhist than hedonist. “The more I think about it,” he writes, “the more that I realize there won't be a lot of changes due to this newfound wealth.”

    Meditation thickens the brain in delightful ways, we are told. Several blogs picked up on this interesting story, originating in the November issue of NeuroReport. Writes eeksypeeksy for Zen Filter, "Brain imaging of regular working folks who meditate regularly revealed increased thickness in cortical regions related to sensory, auditory and visual perception, as well as internal perception -- the automatic monitoring of heart rate or breathing, for example." Amadeus of Dharma Vision quotes a co-author of the study: "The study participants were people with jobs and families. They just meditated on average 40 minutes each day. You don't have to be a monk."

    "Buddhists and Hot Sex" is the title of a post over at Woodmoor Village. No, it's not the annual invitation to Nacho's orgy on the grounds of the zendo, though Nacho does appear to be feeling a little randy. What the post is is a Thought Train that cho-chos through some blogs, some TV watching and a high school auditorium.

    Another good one from the intoxicating whiskey river:
    "We (that indivisible divinity that operates in us) have dreamed the world. We have dreamed it as enduring, mysterious, visible, omnipresent in space and stable in time; but we have consented to tenuous and eternal intervals of illogicalness in its architecture that we might know it is false."
    - Jorge Luis Borges, Other Inquisitions
    John of My Zen Life is going to keep a zabuton and zafu handy in his car. “What is it going to take to change my life such that I can allow zazen to be the root of all my daily actions?” he writes.

    This in a The Buddhist Blog post by James called "The Ocean of Delusion":

    If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion. ~Lin-Chi
    Cliff Jones of This is this is soooo Buddhist. He is more than a little self-conscious just in saying hello.

    Heady Stuff

    An Xiao Mina is thinking about death, for several reason: a book, a cemetery, a loved one at death’s door. In her blog That Was Zen, This Is Tao: A Journey in Haiblog, she writes, “We begin, we end, we continue, we do not, and all is the same and yet distinct. …Waves rise, waves fall, and we crash upon the rocky shores and sandy beaches before becoming waves once more.”

    Justin Whitaker of American Buddhist Perspective has a three-pronged series of posts on the meaning of the combo ‘Postmodernity [qv] and Buddhism’ [See I & II & III]. Here’s one thing Justin wrote:
    The Buddha, and Buddhism itself (as its own grand narrative) is not the foundation of Truth (though we often cling to each as if they were) in Buddhism. Yet Buddhism does provide the grand narrative and the Buddha as exemplar, because the Dhamma alone is pretty vague for us normal folk. With these we are moved toward ever more abstract notions of truth, the 8-fold path, the 3 marks of existence, etc. Somewhere along the way we quit grasping to these as if they are true, as if everything else is false. We now see the truth and potential falsehood in everything, including the Buddha's teachings.
    Jeb of Wondering on the Way gets into the whys and hows and makes some wise points about how how and why, a pair often confused as near-identical twins, differ. “For the lack of why, we must descend into a graspable ‘how.’” he writes. Why is there suffering? becomes How does suffering arise?

    William Harryman of Integral Options Café looks through the prism of Spiral Dynamics to address his personal 'meme vs. meme' battle in a two-post series, with a third post as an addendum. William explains things so well, readers can follow what is written without a grounding in the SD scheme. [But if it helps, think of a Blue Meme person as someone like Bush and a Green Meme person as being someone like the average American lay Buddhist.]

    In a long, rich post, Will Buckingham of tackles ahimsa, the Buddhist view of non-violence, and the question of what needs to be done to counter powerful, cruel dictators like Hitler or Saddam. He writes, "A true pacifism would deal not only with crises, but also with the systems that lead to them, systems that are already a part of the logic and machinery of war. "

    Sean of Wandering the Pathless Land continues thoughts on the conflict between Science and Spirituality in a new, long, idea-rich post. Here’s the concluding paragraph:
    So the impasse is superficial. We’re arguing over beliefs, which are, in themselves, nothing more than concepts defined by words. It’s language, really, and it’s inane. Does God exist? I don’t know. What does “God” mean? What does “know” mean? Let’s discuss but let’s not argue. And then, when we’re all done, let’s go back and do something real. Let’s redefine what it means to be “beyond belief.”

    Lefty Politico Musings

    James of Genius of Insanity puts forward what must be the week’s most important piece about the Bush Administration: An article in the Washington Post shows that Bush’s Veterans’ Day-speech assertions that “Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence” are not wholly accurate. Per usual, the Bushies take facts and twist 'em.

    Mumon of Notes in Samsara likes the idea of seeing Bruce Springsteen in the Senate and shows how this is truly a slight possibility. Jon Corzine, elected New Jersey governor last Tuesday, has to pick his own replacement to fill out the remainder of his term in the senate. Mumon links to a Daily Kos post, which links to a Philadelphia Daily News blog entry. The idea is making the rounds. In another post, Mumon finds, in a New York Times report, evidence that the Republican Party is ripe for disintegration. Maybe Springsteen will be part of a Democrat-majority Senate that can prevent the complete disintegration of Roe, should Bush get a third Court appointment in 2007 or 2008.

    Via Negativa’s Dave Bonta writes of “Seven things that make me happy right now.” Dave passes through the pristine arctic wilderness and Dover, Pennsylvania, and bedazzles us with marvels and wonders, and then – like the Twelve Days of Christmas – ends up in a pear tree.

    Blog Harvests

    There is just one Buddhist blog recommendation over at Zen Filter this week. M’s words re tinythinker’s peaceful turmoil are quick and direct: “Another nice Buddhist blog worth visiting.”

    Nacho of Woodmoor Village Zendo is effusive in rambling praise for Haiku’s This Zen Life. Here’s a snippet:
    Reading This Zen Life is truly like participating in dharma discussions in a sangha: the space is open, people bow in and say here's where I find myself in my practice, it challenges me this way, or it brings me joy in this other way, sometimes both. That's the feeling I get.

    Sunday, November 06, 2005

    Roundup for Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2005

    Bloggery should stick close to the razor edge of time -- even
    though worms and rot and yellowing don't afflict electrons.

    Buddha not being Buddhist, the unbearable pain of a world in unbearable pain, loneliness, and Death are some of the topics that captured the attention of Buddhism-loving bloggers and their readers this past week. The blogha had a rough week, feeling hurt in the belly from undigestible candy, perhaps.

    Thoughts Chase Thoughts

    In his post “Buddha was not a Buddhist,” Douglas Imbrogno, in his blog Hundred Mountain Journal, asks, words poetic, what is [or should be?] the central epistemological [qv] question of Western Buddhism: Is Buddhism – as it is practiced, and perhaps as it has always been practiced, or by its nature – a diversion from its supposed goal of becoming a Buddha? and is this goalseeking itself a diversion? and do then, the diversions keep coming like tumbling bricks?

    Writes Douglas at the conclusion of his poetic post,

    We flash our badges at passersby: 'Buddhists At Work!'
    But what is that strangeflavor in the mouth, a gun-metal taste?
    Have we soured the teachings by clutching them as our own?
    The Buddha stands, sits, reclines, never once a Buddhist.
    A reminder of what we do not need to become

    a Buddha.

    Will Buckingham of the blog quotes a Mary Oliver poem, “the Moths” that ends with these words:

    If I stopped and
    thought, maybe
    the world
    can’t be saved,
    the pain
    was unbearable.
    Will agrees, but soldiers on through the hurt, writing, “It is a relief to remember that the belief we can fix the world is a delusion. The world is beyond fixing: suffering is woven into its very fabric. We are born with bodies that are vulnerable to harm, with hearts that are fragile and easily wounded, with limited capacities and with only short spans of life. How could we even begin to fix the world?”

    Fluffy Green Clouds are again blooming at Gareth’s blog. In this post-Halloween period, Gareth explores Death, a subject of fascination for him. He tells us, citing The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life [qv], that we should always be aware of the Lord of Death at our side. Gareth then looks at personifications of Death: Yama, Shantideva’s Lord of Death; and Cerridwen, The White Lady of Celtic lore, who may appear as The Crone and is the model of Halloween’s pointy-hatted witch.

    Writes Gareth, “Perhaps we should not fear death, but we must accept it. Maybe we can use the plastic pumpkins and cardboard witches as a reminder. Death walks with us.”

    Chalip of Zen Under the Skin also picks up The Guide to the Boddhisattva's Way of Life, but for her it is an aid to help with a difficult time at work. "This week sucked." she writes. " I think it mostly sucked because I've been mired in a state of unforgiveness.

    "The Guide frequently reminds us that we should be grateful for all difficult people and situations because they are occasions for us to lift our spiritual muscle and be about the business of bringing dharma to life."

    In an enormously powerful post, Fogueira of foot before foot looks at loneliness -- first, that of a nineteen-year-old suicide victim in a Yahoo News report, and then unblinkingly at her own. She writes, "I think it is safe to say that the pathology of loneliness drove me mad. It peppered me with delusions, the first, and worst of which was that my situation was somehow wrong and wanting. When one is alone, one has a lot of time to think. And frequently when that happens, one thinks wrongly, and dangerously."

    Dave Bonta of Via Negativa loves the poetry of Paul Zweig. A poem of Zweig's he posted this week has a kinship with Fogueira's "Loneliness" post. Here are two of the short stanzas from the poem "The Art of Sacrifice":

    The faucet bubbling with anxiety
    And the mirror fishing for loneliness,

    The worm we cut into lengths and serve,
    Calling it day by day, are offered in love.
    Yet another blog and another poem found kinship with Fogueira's "Loneliness." Here, two two-line stanzas from "Ready for Silence," by Rumi, posted in whiskey river this week:
    When the heart has a Friend like
    you, the universe cannot contain

    their pleasure. Anyone warmed
    by sun feels courage coming in.

    The Buddhist Blog's James quotes Longchenpa, a 14th C. Tibetan Buddhist:

    Since everything is but an apparition, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter.

    James then advises, "...Look around, be mindful and laugh from time to time.

    "In fact, laugh a lot."

    Political Buddhists

    William Harryman of Integral Options Cafe asks Is Hillary Clinton the First Integral Politician? In Buddhaspeak, this is roughly asking if Hillary is the first enlightened politician -- someone who sees the value of [or at least, the framework of] all worldviews and acts to do good unblinkered by an oppressive ego. [William's blog is devoted to his great interest in Integral Psychology (qv) and Spiral Dynamics (qv). He uses the terminology of those systems of thought.] William cites the words of Jean Houston, a Spiral Dynamics lecturer/expert, and an article in The Nation to explain the speculation.

    Writes William, " if [Hillary] can think politically in second-tier ways--meaning that she can perceive and value each of the vMemes--then she's probably second-tier enough to defeat any politician who doesn't share that skill.

    "The 2008 presidential election could be very, very interesting."

    Second-tier means Hilliary thinks "globally" rather than being centered in self-interest.

    James's Genius of Insanity blog focussed this week on the myriad ways the Bush administration is struggling. In one post, titled "Rove Still Under Investigation," James asks, "What's that saying, 'Where there's smoke (Libby) there's fire (Rove)?'" In a post at the end of the week, James reported on Bush's fading popularity with his job approval rating now at 35%, according to a CBS poll.

    Matthew of the blog looks at Bill Gates's staggering wealth and compares it in various ways to the impoverished conditions of a billion of the world's citizens. Matthew cites the Bill Gates Wealth Clock, telling us that he has $61.7 Billion, currently, and contrasts this to World Bank figures which report per capita annual Gross National Income in the poorest countries at $510 in 2004.

    Blog Harvest

    M of Zen Filter has five Buddhist blog finds this week: That was Zen, This is Tao [ZF]; Dharma Vision [ZF]; Breath by Breath [ZF]; My Zen Life [ZF]; and Beneath Buddha's Eyes [ZF].