Archive for July, 2009
“Meditation may take one out of the world, but it also puts one totally into it.”
Some people are good at taking cute close-ups of babies, but somehow when I try to take pictures of Malkias’s dainty little hands they end up looking like mutant appendages. I’ll spare you the pictures of his feet, which look (in my pictures) as if the belong to a teenager rather than an 11 month-old.
I have to confess I sometimes feel a bit despondent about where we’re going as a society, but then I see a video like this and I feel very hopeful. These kids just seem to love the physical act of singing, and of hearing themselves singing.
- A Fake Buddha Quote courtesy of Jnanagarbha, who received it in his twitter feed:
"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. Buddha."
Photographed in the grounds of an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the day I discovered that my camera has a reasonably good macro setting.
There’s a great piece in today’s New York Times by political cartoonist Tim Kreider on the seductiveness of hatred and indignation. He even mentions meditation. Here’s an extract, but I’d recommend reading the entire piece (which continues below the accompanying cartoon — I was briefly fooled).
A couple of years ago, while meditating, I learned something kind of embarrassing: anger feels good. Although we may consciously experience it as upsetting, somatically it feels a lot like the first rush of an opiate — a tingling warmth on the insides of your elbows and wrists, in the back of your knees. Realizing that anger was a physical pleasure explained some of the perverse obstinacy with which my mind kept returning to it despite the fact that, intellectually, I knew it was pointless self-torture.Once I realized I enjoyed anger, I noticed how much time I spent experiencing
To me, this is one of the most astonishing developments in the ever-shifting rationale for why the US went to war in Iraq. Thomas Friedman tells us that we went there pretty much just to kick Muslim butt in order to deliver a message to that part of the world that we wouldn’t put up with terrorism from, you know, like people who live roughly in that part of the world. Wouldn’t really have mattered which Muslim butt we kicked. Could just as well have been Saudi Arabia, he tells us. Or Pakistan. Doesn’t really matter that none of those three countries had anything to do with 9/11 (although a lot of Saudi nationals were involved, of course). The important thing is that they happened to be Muslims.
It’s like New Zealand deciding to attack Austria because France bombed the Rainbow Warrior on their territory. Just to make an example of
- I got a decent amount of writing done today, on the Air Element. About 1,000 words. I’m not sure about the quality, but at this stage the thing is just to forge on, and then to edit and rewrite later.
- Discovered the word "usufructuary," meaning someone who benefits by using something that belongs to others.
- Glenn Greenwald asks a powerful question: "Did Sam Alito’s ethnic background influence how he voted in Ricci? Why isn’t this question asked?"
- I’ve been following the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. I wonder if the entire week will be spent trying to make Ricci into a "reverse discrimination" case that it never was and talking about "wise latinas"?
- It seems I’m number 14 on William Harryman’s top 10 list of Buddhists to follow on Twitter. I don’t
- Inspiring article by Nick Kristof on Charity: Water
- Maia, my two-year-old, has discovered the "Why? … Why?" game. So far asking her "What do you think?" has managed to stop her in her tracks…
- I’ve been studying Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara at my regular Sunday evening study group with other members of the Western Buddhist Order. We use Tokbox to videoconference. I really didn’t enjoy the first chapter and the first half of the second chapter, although I’ve studied the text several times. And I was on the verge of suggesting that we find another study text when the Bodhicharyavatara suddenly kicked it. It shifts from hyperbole about the benefits of bodhicitta to talking about our existential situation as impermanent and suffering beings. And that moved me.
"Night and day, without respite, more of life
So Maia went to her first ballet class last week. Here she is in her tights, leotard, and ballet shoes, looking very cute.
I performed my second wedding ceremony today — for my friend Greg and his fiancée Sarah. It was a nice wee ceremony outdoors in Warren, Massachusetts. Here are Greg and Sarah (center) with Matt, the best man, and the maid of honor, whose name I didn’t catch.
Picked up on Twitter via Happiforever:
mud has settled in the pond… i believe THE most suppressed emotion not sadness, anger, anguish, etc…it’s JOY
Here’s a good interview with Adyashanti, who I only heard about in passing for the first time last summer This was the first I’ve actually read anything about or by him. Seems like an interesting guy. What he says here is something I can relate to:
When I looked around at the Buddhist tradition, I realized that the success rate was terrible. People were in it for enlightenment, but very few were actually getting enlightened. If this were a business, I thought, we’d be bankrupt.I didn’t reject anything. I just stopped blindly adhering to the traditional approach, and the energy bound up in following transferred to looking deeply into what’s really true. I felt very much on my own.
A lot of Buddhists I know don’t think much about Enlightenment or talk much about it either. When they do talk about the spiritual life
Soren Gordhamer has a nice little article in The Huffington Post called "If the Buddha Used Twitter." It’s based around five quotations that he uses as guidelines for how to how the Twitter service:
- Never allow yourself to envy others. For you will lose sight of the truth that way.
- Better than a thousand senseless verses is one that brings the hearer peace.
- The one who talks of the path but never walks it is like a cowman counting cattle of others but who has none of his own.
- The conquest of oneself is better than the conquest of all others.
- Your work is to find out what your work should be. Clearly discover your work and attend to it with all your heart.
His interpretations of these are generally very creative and sensible —
“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” (Le moindre mouvement importe à toute la nature, la mer entière change pour une pierre.)
~ Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
- You don’t realize sometimes how much you like an app like Tweetdeck until it "upgrades" to something like this. The application had prompted me to upgrade and I found that there was an ad in the background, making it hard to read my Twitter feed, which is after all the entire point of the application.
- I posted a few warnings to people and one person on Twitter told me I was panicking and that it was "nothing." It’s amazing how these things spiral out of control. I pointed out that it wasn’t nothing to me and that she might want to just accept that and move on, and the next thing I knew I was reading this: "Bodhipaksa, I’ve had it with your so called smart replies. That’s all you’re about: outsmarting someone else. Have a nice life." The funny thing
It came to my attention today that I’ve only posted one picture of Malkias here since I got back. Until we’d finalized the adoption we weren’t allowed to make photographs public, and I guess the poor thing has been affected by "second child syndrome’ (child number one has every smile and gurgle recorded — by the time number two comes along it’s all old hat). Anyway, here are some recent pictures.
He’s a very happy wee boy. Smiles all the time.
This is him a month ago. June 7.
He adores his sister, Maia. Especially since she stopped biting him (sibling rivalry).
Here they both are with their cousins from Connecticut, Hannah, Hailey, and Ryan. (Ryan dropped Malkias a moment after this picture was taken).
- Via Twitter, I found that "Rare it is to be born as a human" is "Raro sicut homo nascitur" in Latin. The original Pali is "kiccho manussapatilabho."
- This morning, Maia (2) was singing the alphabet song, and Malkias (10 months) la-la-la’d the first four notes after her! Kids amaze me.
- Maia put in a pitch for getting an iPhone. Me: "When you’re older, honey." Maia: "I older right now!" Which is actually true, of course. She plays with my iPhone all the time. She loves enlarging and shrinking photos. And she uses YouTube to watch Peter, Paul & Mary.
- Made good progress with my writing about the Six Element Practice today. I thought I might actually finish the chapter I’m writing, but some essential research (which involved maths) slowed me down. Maybe tomorrow. And I hope to