It's a great week in the Buddhablogosphere with a strange Amazon tribe, a carnival, dreams, enthusiasm, the land of the Thinnies, the Vinny awards, Buddha's thoughts on true love, a Woody Allen movie and Brad being Brad.
I know what I want to believe, but I have to be honest …
Both beesucker of Authentic Personality and kimberly of this zen life take note of a New York Times article about how the brains of political partisans work. Here’s the core finding which beesucker quotes: “With their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix.”
The article goes on to tell us, “It is possible to override these biases, Dr. Westen [the lead author of the study] said, ‘but you have to engage in ruthless self reflection, to say, All right, I know what I want to believe, but I have to be honest.’”
Says kimberly in her post: “relating it to zen, it seems that the more one practices noticing beliefs as they arise, the more one enables the brain to be flexible and not get stuck. so i see: i am holding a very strong belief. my task is to engage the energy of mindfulness and start to look for signs of the ‘opposing belief’ in my personal situation. to try to see ‘evidence to the contrary’ of how i am perceiving things.”
A Carnival’s in Town
Will is the barker and his blog thinkBuddha is the main tent as Will & blog host the Progressive Faith Blog Conference Carnival this weekend. A carnival, in the sense used here, is a blog digest [like Blogmandu], only one that ‘travels’ – setting up tent as a post in different blogs from week to week. Blogmandu, being stationary, is more like a county fair, I guess.
Will tells us that ProgFaithBlogCon “is an attempt to bring together bloggers of various religious affiliations who share an agenda that could more or less be called ‘progressive.’”
Buddhist blogs found listed on the PFBC website’s blogroll are Eternal Peace, Hoarded Ordinaries, thinkBuddha and WoodMoor Village. Dave Bonta's Buddhism-flavored blog Via Negativa, though not on the 'roll, is regularly featured. All of the above, except Hoarded Ordinaries, are participants in this week's carnival.
An old interview of Ngak'chang Rinpoche about enthusiam gets the attention of beesucker of Authentic Personality. In the Q&A beesucker cites, there are these cool words of the rinpoche: “ If someone is enthusiastic, you could enter into their enthusiasm – even though the subject of their enthusiasm might not resemble anything about which you might be enthusiastic. One can be enthusiastic simply because someone else is enthusiastic – because that, in itself, is delightful.”
Says beesucker his/her-self about it all: “if someone were to put on a movie that we weren’t particularly interested in, we might just get up and walk out of the room. [To me, this seems] like going in the wrong direction. [The right direction, it seems to me is] what Zen Master Seung Sahn calls ‘together action’. That we can act in harmony with those around us and get some bliss out of that - as opposed to constantly striving to be entertained by what we feel is ‘worthy’ of our time.”
Zataod invites you to dream. Zen and the Art of Dreaming wants to amass a group of dreamers [that is, sleep dreamers, not fanciful idealists] for a blog that collects the plots/stories/images of dreams. Zataod writes, “I've found in the past that sharing dreams can be a interesting and rewarding experience, and I've found the members of a dream group can feed off each other in terms of the vitality of their dream life.”
Meantime, Will of thinkBuddha wants excellent haiku and appropriate photographs for the first in a series of high-quality literary pamphlets. See details in Will’s post, “Haiku Wanted!”
Life without distinct numbers and colors
A post by Jayarava in Bricolage tells us about an amazing Amazonian tribe that lives without words for numbers and distinct colors. An article in J. Crow’s that Jayarava links to is astonishing. It tells us that linguists and anthropologists are flabbergasted by the tribe’s strangeness.
The existence of the tribe is causing some experts to re-evaluate the accepted idea of a universal language instinct. A discarded concept, the Whorfian thesis, that hypothesizes that “language determine[s] the nature and content of how you think” is seeing new light.
Why is this important to a Buddhist? Well, of interest relating to all of this is a poem by W. S. Merwin in whiskey river this week, about forgetting how to add, forgetting the alphabet, forgetting a lot else and which ends with these two lines:
forgetting it all until everythingA tributary from whiskey river …
is continuous and whole again
Another vibrant quote has been netted from the deep tawny waters of whiskey river:
For most of us, there is only the unattendedMore lines from the poem are presented and a biographer’s thoughts about Eliot’s interest in mysticism are explored in a post following up on whiskey’s find in Yaddha, Yaddha, Yaddha, a blogged department of Zen Unbound.
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight.
- T S Eliot
Two Types of Online Folks
Chris, the Cycling Platypus: the happy cycling buddhist, finds that there are two distinct types of online personas. He is definitely of the first type, which he estimates as 90 to 99% of the population, who are “good people.” “actually very nice,” “real friends,” “easy going,” “that pretty much just roll along with life and are happy with the world.” The rest are “the rude people,” who “make snide comments,” “who aren’t really happy,” and “come online to vent … anger and frustration.”
It’s the perennial problem: US would be perfectly happy if only we could do something about THEM.
Gull-lover’s Travels: To the land of the Thinnies
From a recent post in foot before foot: the photo blog, keyboarded by F. Kwan:
I have been lifting weights for about a week and I can already see some changes. … It's so wonderful in this contrary life when something works the way it should. A mostly vegetarian diet, moderate exercise and weight training work. I have proven it over and over again. Now I just hope I can keep the weight off.
I am entering into an entirely new world: the unchartered territory of the Thinnies. It is a place I have never been in all my years on this earth. It is a true bildungsreise, a journey of growth and development.
F. Kwan also posted wonderful pictures of birds and trees this week, but no gulls. They probably don’t get to the middle of Texas this time of year. Her remarkable photos include a defiant robin, a regal cardinal, and spidery-stemmed trees. And the really cool car, titled “bildungsreise” [education+journey in German], is wonderful, too. Oh, best of all the beautiful smile hovering above the sexy torso.
Enlightenment is a stupid word anyway
Over at Hardcore Zen, Brad is being Brad: “Enlightenment is a stupid word anyway. I hate even saying it, it sounds so pretentious and flowery. The concept of Enlightened Beings is like something from a bad fantasy novel. If you want to believe in stuff like that, go right on ahead. You will not get my support.”
In a thinkBuddha post, Will enthusiastically recommends the new Woody Allen film Match Point. “It is an impressive, and deeply serious film, unafraid to tackle large themes: the role of luck in human life, ethics, justice and betrayal.”
Following fulsome remarks about the movie, the long post segues into thoughtful ideas about the meaning of karma, and the problems it present.
Vincent Horn of the same-name blog announced his Blog Awards for the recently concluded year. Winners of the Vinny are …
- Best New Blog - Boulder Anti-Apathy Cluster
- Most Geeky Blog - Coolmel
- Most Fluffy Blog - Indistinct Union
- Best Group Blog - Generation Sit
- The Bodhisattva Blog - Steve Pavlina
- Best Non-dual blog - Mystery of Existence
- Weblog of the Year - Coolmel
It’s a wonderful assortment of excellent blogs, worthy of a read – even if every one isn’t Buddhism related.
And here are the awards of ebuddha of Integral Practice, which we’ll dub the eBuddhys:
- Best New Blog - Integral Options Cafe
- Best Integral Politics and Social Commentary Blog - Joe Perez
- Best Integral Techie Blog - Coolmel
- Best Integral Theory Ken Wilber blog - Indistinct Union
- Best Integral Theory Non-Ken Wilber blog - SELF (Savitri Era Learning Forum) blog
- Best Multimedia Integral Blog - Mark Davis Lippman
- Best Art Integral Blog - Matthew Dallman
- Best Non-Dual Blog - Mystery of Existence
- Best Individual Writing Integral Blog - (1) enthusiastic stylings of Stuart Davis, (2) the passionately sober Vince, (3) the resonant writings of Syntegral, (4) the wry intellect of The Human Bean
James, The Buddhist Blog blogger was eager to read Old Path, White Clouds some weeks ago [See this prior B’du Roundup.] Now that he’s into it, it is clear he likes it. He likes it! He likes it! In a sumptuous quote from the book, beautifully graced with a magnificent painting by James’s comrade artist Katherine Skaggs, Buddha explains true love.