The Stream . . .
William of Integral Options Café writes about “memes” – rhymes with dreams, defined as "a package of several ideas that can be passed onto others" – a useful word and complex and variated concept. Meantime, Jayarava of Bricolage writes about blangha – a portmanteau [blog + sangha], coined by Nacho of Woodmoor Village Zendo last September, and defined as “the online community of Buddhist bloggers” – and about meta-blog, “a blog that only blogs other blogs.” Blogmandu, then, is a meta-blog of the blangha. In the blangha post, Jayarava links to a piece about blangha in Will's thinkBuddha.org. In the piece, Will also writes about meeting and having lunch with his crosstown neighbor, Gareth of Green Clouds. Smallish, wordy world, this -- online and off!
Nick of The Lotus and the Magnolia weaves together Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game and Buddhism’s insight about our interconnectedness for an interesting essay that pulls the threads of 'topics of knowledge' together into a glorious tapestry.
After hearing a passage of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Old Path White Clouds read at his sangha, James of The Buddhist Blog, is eager to get the book. His post sparks a stream of comments in support of the book and with suggestions on what to snack on while turning its pages.
Muan writes of the importance and meaning of “Other Power” in Beneath the Clouds. “Rennyo Shonin refers to this overturning of our self-centred consciousness or our awakening to Other Power faith as the ‘oneness of the heart of the Buddha and the heart of an ordinary being.’”
John in My Zen Life tells us that ordinary mindfulness isn’t good enough. He writes of the point in a quote that is provided, “prajna must permeate our mindfulness throughout the day in order for us all to live in harmony.”
Sean of Wandering the Pathless Land offer sage advise of how to live life, providing us with a 9-item list of things he's learned in 2005. The items are all thoughtful, useful and off the well-worn path. Here's one: “From awareness follows action. But an intellectual awareness — what I call a shallow awareness — is insufficient to inspire action. The reality of the awareness must be felt.”
Kimberly of this zen life writes about issues related to interconnectedness and the victims and perpetrators of atrocities: “i always have had a strong identification with the victim, whatever species. and i nearly always struggle with intense anger, sometimes even rage, at the perpetrators. so, one of the interesting and challenging issues that arose in that discussion was the idea of oneness. as a buddhist trying to live the truth of nonself, how is it that i can create a sharp distinction between me and the perpetrator, while professing a oneness with the victim?”
Time constraints and other pressures have F. Kwan of foot before foot examining her commitment to blogging in a post titled “There’ll Be Some Changes Made.” While, by the end of her post, she seems not to have decided what she’ll need to do, one sentence seems starkly determinant: “I no longer can write about what I wish without it adversely affecting someone, so this has outlived its usefulness.” Cycling Sam of sam i am has already hung up his old blogging shoes, moving shop to MySpace, which is where you must now go to "know what is up in the world of Sam." While the human once known as Andi, who months ago ditched her Ditch the Raft blog to go to South Korea and become a nun, has started a new blog as Soen Joon haeng-ja, One Robe, One Bowl. Here is her welcoming post: “Brush and Inkstone.” [Thanks, Dave, for the heads up re Soen Joon haeng-ja!]
Justin of American Buddhist Perspective, Tyson of tysonwilliams.com and Mark of Writing to Reach You all wrote about attending the Dalai Lama’s teachings a few months or weeks ago. Justin and Tyson were each in Arizona to see HH at different times last September. Tyson quotes Snow Lion newsletter: “His Holiness is sitting on a dais in front of an unusual black thangka depicting a Buddha floating above what appears to be an Arizona mountain. Tall pink flowers lean out of vases arrayed across the stage, rather like indiscrete desert flamingos.”
Justin quotes from his journal, stating his reactions to his private teaching. Here are a few lines from poetically rendered remarks:
It is death
the feathery clouds
dimly illuminated by the city below
which draws one's eyes and wonder.
For death is none other than life itself
with its awesome beauty and devastating tragedy.
And I thought to myself last night
I'm a changed man
I get it."
But I was wrong.
Mark writes in a post titled “The Wisdom of Forgiveness,” “Seeing the Dalai Lama some weeks back and being [physically near] to him has done something to me. I'm not saying I'm suddenly some perfect being cum superhero, but I'm noticing changes in myself.”
Via Negativa's Dave links to a lengthy must-read article in the NY Times about a generation gap in Tibet. The younger Tibetans favor resistance against the Chinese government and continual efforts to integrate the plateau. The older Tibetan leaders are staunchly committed to non-violence. Dave's assessment: "I tend to side with H.H. and Samdhong Rinpoche about nonviolence and nationalism, the need to include all ethnicities in any future Tibetan state or autonomous region, etc. But I don't understand why, if they truly accept the possibility of a generations-long exile as they say, they continue to scale back their demands for sovereignty."
Dagme of auspicious coincidence uses advice from Pema Chadron on how to handle an insult. "Basically, the instruction was to simply say, 'Thank you very much for your concern.'”
Fame: You’re gonna live forever …
In recent weeks, many blagha members have achievements they cannot help but be proud of: Moose, The Contemporary Taoist, had an article published in Living Now magazine. Foguiera of foot before foot began the month with news that she is beginning to get work published. Trev of the Sound of Diesel Musing has openned the doors of trevdiesel.com. "The Parachute" EP is coming out in January. Trev would like you to swing by and sample some audio.
fragments of consciousness's David Chalmers gave a paper/presentation on “Ontological Indeterminancy” at a meeting of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. Justin of ABP will be giving a presentation in January at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, titled “Buddhist Ethics: A Kantian Analysis.” He will also be on the panel for a 'Philosophy Topic Area' discussion.
More ID, Less Ego and Superego
Ajahn Punnadhammo’s Dec 3 column in the Toronto Star newspaper, mention in Blogmandu last week, got more attention this week. [The monk, who writes Bhikkhu’s Blog, cites an article, "Teaching alternatives to evolution: How to distinguish the Buddhist 'Infinite Causes' and Christian 'Intelligent Design' theories", that could enliven the discussion.]
Amadeus cites PunnaDhammo's Star article in his blog, dharma::vision, endorsing the idea that the ID debate is not relevant to Buddhists. Contrariwise, Woodmoor Village's Nacho thinks the issue is one of great importance: “It is indeed very relevant to our public lives, to the nature and future of public education, to how we understand constitutional separation issues, to continued animosity or amicability between opposing sides, to significant questions for liberal democratic notions of civic virtue, to the value of Buddhism in helping us make sense of these dilemmas, and more.”
Greg of The Roost weighs in on the ID matter with a recommendation that his readers hear an audio snippet from NPR that “is a really good look at ID.”
It’s holiday time, and we are all kids at heart [well, I am, anyway]. Here is some online fun stuff the Buddhist blogosphere has kicked up recently.
- Play the Game of Rebirth found on the links page at the Arrow River Forest website where Ajahn Punnadhammo’s Bhikkhu Blog is found.
- Dorian of Electric Blue Moodiness and Justin of American Buddhist Perspective have been making pictures on Lite Brite. Justin thinks his picture can't be beat.
- A poll by Ryan of Integral Awakening asks “Have you been in the presence of enlightened, awakened, etc. individual? If so, how did you know?”
- Robert of Beginner's Mind links us to SwarmSketch where anyone who wants to contributes a bit to a collective work of online art.
The Massive Light Weight of InsightAtlas-like Gareth of Green Clouds writes about “Carrying the Universe.” “Rather than trying to generate a specific state of mind, I use the time to practice intimacy, a very careful mindfulness, and Samadhi. It comes and goes, and as soon as I begin to label the practice it falters.”
Michael of one foot in front of the other tells us he has had a flash of insight, a breakthrough. Finally, a mindmeld between he and his karate instructor has been achieved. And this direct connection set the conditions for a second thunderclap. Writes Michael, “A former karate instructor of mine who is still a mentor and one of my dearest friends used to tell me that insight can happen in an instant, like a bolt of lightning. Neat description, I thought. But now I truly feel what he was telling me.”