Wednesday, May 25, 2022

America's Culture of Guns and Death...

Explaining America's gun problem in pictures.

It's Political.

And, children will continuer to die in mass shootings and neither I or my party will do a damn thing.

Family Values and Weapons of Destruction Proudly Displayed Together by the GOP and the NRA. Apparently They Believe the Two are Synonymous?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Emptiness is Freedom...


We all are buddhas, right here, right now.

Buddhadharma - Siddhartha arrived at the conclusion that learning about meditation, no matter how sophisticated the education, wasn’t enough—he should really buckle down and focus on actually practicing. In this spirit, he embarked on a retreat on the banks of the Niranjana river; for six years, he took part in no activities apart from practice. However, even after this mammoth effort, he was still not fully satisfied that he had attained the type of ultimate wisdom he was after.

Finally, at Bodh Gaya, he simply let it all go. He let go of practice, let go of study, let go of meditation. He let go of the path itself. He meditated with nonmeditation—he just let everything be, as it is. And at last, when he began to let it be as it is, everything came together. Overnight, he discovered the true answer he had been so ardently seeking.

The answer: that there is no answer. Not only is there no answer, there’s no question. Everything is in fact perfect. Our nature is wonderful as it is. This is what the Buddha referred to as prajnaparamita, “beyond wisdom.” This understanding is what constituted the Buddha’s full enlightenment.

To find The Freedom of Emptiness dive BELOW the FOLD.

America's Gun Culture is America's Culture of Death...


“Our guns will not lead to our liberation,” writes Zenzele Isoke following the May 14 mass shooting that killed 10 people and injured three in a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Here, she calls on practitioners to challenge gun culture and “bring the precept of non-harming back into the very center of our ethics and our mindfulness practices.”

Lion's RoarOn Saturday, May 14, 2022, eleven African American people went to Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York fully expecting to go home. Maybe they went to pick up a couple of fresh onions and garlic to season the Sunday dinner, buy some milk, cereal and snacks for the kids, or get a pound of butter and real vanilla extract for a fresh-baked dessert. Or maybe they were working at the grocery store part-time to eke out a living. Three of those people died in the parking lot before they ever reached the store, six of them were killed in the aisles, and one was killed in a shootout with an 18 year old domestic terrorist. Another survived with serious injuries, alongside two more victims. In total, 13 people were shot.

Today there are 120 guns for every 100 people in the U.S. I am scared.

Too many Black and Brown folks die from guns. Folks like me get shot by the cops, murdered by neighbors, friends, and family members, and targeted for execution by white supremacists.  In articles like the one I am writing now, authors use such tragedies as an opportunity to give a history or civics lesson to largely white readerships, effectively obscuring the real issue: mass death caused by the lethal cocktail of racial hatred and easy access to guns. Our tendency is to turn toward politics and analysis – intellectual bypass – instead of inward toward the enormous grief and deep fear that Black bodies hold as we try to live in a society in which racial animosity and violent extremism have been mainstreamed. Today there are 120 guns for every 100 people in the U.S. I am scared. And I know that I am not alone. I believe that this fear deserves our loving attention.

Three days later, I begin teaching my “Pleasure, Intimacy, Violence” college class with five minutes of breath and body meditation and two or three minutes of mindful movement. I always start this class this way. On that dazzling spring morning, I felt energized and optimistic, eager to plunge into a lecture and discussion of Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, specifically the author’s piercing examination of Igbo worldview and Black queer spiritual existence. One of my students asked me if we were still going to have a quiz. “Oh, yeah”, I chuckled, “I had almost forgotten!” The students groaned. After our mindfulness practice, I administered a short quiz. When I went back to the office to review them, I noticed that three of my Black students, who are usually very well-prepared, had apparently not read the book. Frustrated, I kept asking myself why. And then it clicked: Buffalo. They were not only managing class, they were also managing considerable racial trauma as a result of that killing.

As practitioners, we have to feel if we want to heal.

Then it occurred to me: had I bypassed?  Had I treated the killing of my people in Buffalo like any other ugly headline – something to be quickly forgotten? In survival mode, did I neglect to feel into the pain and outrage that this moment called for? Had I shoved Buffalo into the back of my consciousness in order to happily function? Because I had neglected to offer just a few brief moments of remembrance, maybe I had also disallowed my students the space to process what may have emerged for them as a result of the shooting. Regardless of the answers to these tough questions, I know I did not honor the calamitous thunderbolt of shock and heartbreak that pierced my own spirit only days earlier. I had instead swallowed my pain, dis-remembered it, and modeled for others how to do the same. This, I think, was a mistake.

As practitioners, we have to feel if we want to heal. As teachers, if we want to model healing, we also have to model feeling. We have to be willing to feel what is hard to feel, and in our gun loving culture, say what is even harder to say. Failure to feel fully and to speak with an uncompromising sense of integrity might lead us toward a spiritual emptiness that can actually be exacerbated by mindfulness practice.  This may be one reason why in this unique era in which mindfulness practices have proliferated, so too has the culture of lovelessness that leads to the hoarding, trafficking and destructive use of easily accessible guns.

Black people are not the only ones targeted for racial hostility, although we are much more likely to experience it and have our experiences covered by the media and worked over by its industry of pundits. After the killing of George Floyd and the massive uprisings that followed, I became an active part of several community configurations made up primarily of African American, Asian American and Latinx meditators. We organized community gatherings, meditation protests, as well as weekly sitting groups that continue to this day in the name of racial justice. We wrote about our work and supported each other on Zoom during Covid.  In these groups, we held time and space to become familiar with and literate in each other’s racial traumas. As BIPOC practitioners, we sat together with the ways each of us have been impacted by anti-Blackness and other forms of racism– not just in the larger community, but also within our sanghas.

As a community, we can no longer afford to stay silent on guns. We must somehow find the courage to bring the precept of non-harming back into the very center of our mindfulness practices.

For a long time, much of the focus was on anti-Black racism, then came the 2021 Atlanta Spa massacre where eight people were killed – six of whom were Asian women – by another young white man with a gun.  As opposed to centering my own racial trauma, I had to learn how to sit in close proximity with the profound hurt, fear and anger of my dharma kin. In this space, I learned about the culture of silence surrounding Asian American racial victimization, a culture which works to preserve the myth of the model minority. I also had an opportunity to think about and talk about how I myself had both witnessed and participated in bullying against Asians as an elementary school student in California. I had space and time to feel into my own complicity.  None of us are innocent and none of us are alone.


In early spring of 2021, after a community action, a friend and fellow meditator shared with me that she was part of a gun club. After her sitting practice in the morning, she would take up target practice in the afternoon. To my surprise, she very passionately linked her participation in firearms training with her racial justice organizing.  As a Black woman, she said, it was her right to defend herself with a gun. I asked her: “In our racially diverse community, who do you think you will most likely end up killing if you ever had to use your gun?”


Then it occurred to me: how many other members of our large, overwhelmingly white meditation center which we both belonged to, are also actively participating in American gun culture? How many go to target practice before or after sittings and dharma talks? How many practitioners go out to hunt birds, squirrels, wolves and deer, or simply shoot at Black targets printed on large sheets of white paper? How many of us are sleeping with guns under our pillows or stashed in our glove compartments? How many of us, as Pema Chödrön might say, are adding to the culture of aggression?

For more dip BELOW the FOLD.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Excerpt From Vigilant Introspection From The Way 0f The Bodhisattva


47. And when you feel the wish to move about
     Or even to express yourself in speech,
     First examine what is in your mind,
     For steadfast ones should act correctly.

48. When the urge arises in your mind
      To feelings of desire or angry hate.
      Do not act! Be silent. do not speak!
      And like a log of wood be sure to stay.

49.  And when your mind is wild or filled with mockery,
       Or filled with pride and haughty arrogance.
       Or when you would expose another's secret guilt
      To bring up old dissensions or to act deceitfully,

50. Or when you want to fish for praise.
      Or criticize and spoil another's name.
      Or use harsh language. sparring for a fight.
      Its then like a log you should remain,

51. And when you yearn for wealth, attention, fame,
      A circle of retainers serving you,
      And when you look for honors, recognition,
      It's then like a log you should remain.

52. And when you are inclined to overlook another's need
      And when you get the best thing for yourself,
      Ad when you feel the urge to speak.
      It's then that like a log you should remain.

53. Impatience, indolence, faintheartedness,
      And likewise arrogance and careless speech,
      Attachments to your side - when these arise,
      It's then like a log you should remain.

54. Examine thus yourself from every side,
      Take note of your defilements and your pointless efforts.
      For thus the heroes on the Bodhisattva path
      Seize firmly on such faults with proper remedies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A Poem - By Sadhguru...


President Biden Commemorates Vesak Day...


Jill and I extend warm wishes to Buddhists in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Vesak. This sacred day is a time to reflect on the Buddha’s teachings, including the need to work for peace and justice, recognize our common humanity, respect and preserve the nature that surrounds us, and cultivate humility and compassion. The Buddha taught that we are but guests visiting this world, and for over 2,500 years, those who adhere to these teachings have enriched and strengthened this world we share. As we mark Vesak, we honor the American Buddhists who contribute so much to our country and advance our common values.

Lion's Roar - On Monday, a second annual Vesak celebration was held at the White House honoring the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha.

Second Gentleman Mr. Douglas Emhoff lights a candle in celebration of Vesak. Official White House photo.

The White House shared a statement from US president Joe Biden on Monday and held its second annual celebration in recognition of Vesak, a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha.


The White House shared a statement from US president Joe Biden on Monday and held its second annual celebration in recognition of Vesak, a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha.

From left to right: Second Gentleman Mr. Douglass Emhoff, Wangmo Dixey, Ven. Ajahn Thanat Inthisan, Ven. Dr. Jinwol Lee, Venerable Wol, and Ven. Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin. Official White House photo.

“It is wonderful to have representatives of all the Buddhist traditions in America gather for a second time in the White House to offer prayers for world peace and inner harmony,” Wangmo Dixey commented in IBAA’s press release. “In these difficult times, it is of great value to be able to gather in this way, not only on behalf of Buddhists in America, but on behalf of Buddhists worldwide and for all sentient beings. I am sure it will be a cause for great celebration and happiness in communities all over the globe.”

Official White House photo

Stopping Fear... Sadhguru

Emptiness, a State Worth Realizing...


In emptiness all phenomena rests 

In emptiness happiness is realized

In emptiness wisdom is realized

In emptiness suffering wanes

In emptiness compassion grows

To find emptiness one must forget the ego created self


The Heart Sutra: the Fullness of Emptiness

 Find more HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Lose the self and improve your health!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Child...


A child is born in pure innocence and grace,
its heart filled with love, absent all judgement and hate.
Through the eyes of the child's pure love... all goodness is possible, sadly the pure unconditional love of the child wanes as time passes.
Societies conditioning works to that end,
as obscurations, delusions, and the false sense of self grows.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Negative Bias In the News Media...


The news media reports the stories it has grown to believe drives greater market share and increases profit. And after all, what's more important to American capitalism than market share and profit. Even when the result is to feed into and grow division and distrust in our society.

As the statistics above show, the news media has done a remarkably phenomenal job increasing negativity and anxiety as well as desensitizing the culture to growing distrust, lack of civility, increasing rudeness, and expanding violence. 

Which begs the question, just why do people seem to thrive on negativity and look for as much of it as possible in the news media? Positive stories that warm the heart and reflect on the human capacity for goodness and compassion lifts the spirits and over time would undoubtedly change perceptions toward existence and life in a positive direction. But all that isn't the American way. Apparently.

Just writing this is increasing anxiety and so here it rests. Below are links for those who might actually be interested in such mundane concerns as making society a better place to live.

Wisdom In Brief...


Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.

Khalil Gibran

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.


When you drink in nature through your senses, you deepen your awareness of the great silent intelligence flowing through all things. You nourish your mind, body, and spirit as you connect to the divine love of Being.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

More On the SCOTUS Draft Decision To Overturn ROE-v-WADE...


We must always rely on our own investigation to know what is true. Every human life will require difficult, ambiguous choices. Abortion is not a special case. I know that abortion can be undertaken with all the compassion, love, and generosity with which we welcome a wanted baby. It is an act that can increase happiness even as it decreases future suffering, and allow a person to be healthier, stronger, more whole. Abortion is health care, and people’s suffering will only be compounded as long as it is anything short of safe and legal.

The above excerpt is taken from TricycleThe author,  Sallie Jiko Tisdale, presents compelling rebuttal to the current anti women's rights sentiments of American conservatives of the anti women's rights of the current SCOTUS.

Complete article HERE.

The SCOTUS "Draft" Overturning ROE-v-WADE Is Unconscionable and Immoral... Are We On a Path to Theological Law In the USA?


In light of the SCOTUS "draft" decision, which if affirmed will overturn overturn ROE-v-WADE, we post a bit of interesting and useful information found on Progressive Eruptions. It seems that in 1968 a commission authorized Pope Paul VI found that the RCC's stance on abortion did more harm to Catholics and their marriages that it did good. Advising the ban on abortion be lifted. 

PS. On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI stunned Catholics around the world with his announcement of Humanae Vitae, "Of Human Life," a document in which he forcefully reaffirmed the church's previously stated position on the use of artificial birth control, calling it "intrinsically wrong."

If you read the history of that 1968 Papal Bull, you will find that a commission authorized by Pope Paul to study birth control was ignored by Pope Paul because he didn't like the outcome. The outcome? The commission, which was comprised of devote lay Catholics, doctors, theologians, found that the RCC's opposition to birth control did more harm to Catholics and their marriages than it did good and advised the ban be lifted. Pope Paul ignored the findings because he was afraid if the RCC admitted it was wrong on this doctrine, then people would question others by the RCC. So he ignored the findings and thus, Humanae Vitae reaffirmed the RCC's ban on artificial birth control.

90% of Catholics, btw, use birth control. The opposition to birth control was a man-made (by a previous pope) doctrine.


The conservative catholic Court is actually considering overturning the right that ALL women have to control their own bodies. Which naturally including their reproductive rights. Opening the door to further restrictions on civil liberties.

It is becoming clear that the nation's Evangelical conservative movement, and the authoritarian conservative SCOTUS,  is preparing to openly steer the nation down a path that could very well lead to secular politics and secular law being heavily influenced by conservative theological ideologies.

America- Beware!

WAIT! - There's More

The media is ignoring the horrifying fact that this draft ruling also says Griswold vs Connecticut was wrongly decided because our constitution does not explicitly give us a right to privacy.

Silly me, I thought by banning unreasonable searches the authors were clearly protecting our right to privacy. I would bet they assumed that it is so glaringly obvious that a right to privacy is as much a key to liberty as the right to breathe is crucial to our right to life that it didn’t need to be stated explicitly.

The right to privacy is a sine qua non for freedom and democracy to exist. It is one of the things autocrats take away by spying and encouraging citizens to spy on each other.

Authoritarian regimes like the USSR and Nazi Germany even rewarded kids for reporting on their own parents. Undoing Griswold is even more threatening to our freedom than is overturning Roe.

Most people don’t understand that before Griswold states could deny even married women access to birth control because preventing pregnancy is supposedly a violation of “natural law”. Natural law (i.e. God’s law) is the basis of the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control and Catholic judges like Clarence Thomas has used that concept, to justify legal positions.

Many anti-abortion activists also want to ban some of the most effective forms of birth control — the pill and IUD as well as the “morning after pill” — because they claim they cause abortions. That belief is based on a religious belief that even a fertilized human egg has a soul and is therefore a person.

As I said in a previous comment, The non-Catholics were terrified that the US would be "Vaticanized" should JFK attain the presidency. With 6 conservative Catholics on the SCOTUS, that fear has come true.

Opposition to birth control is a CATHOLIC Church opposition, based on a pope's opinion. And members of the current SCOTUS have expressed their agreement with that.