Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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The Happiest People

Op-Ed Columnist – The Happiest People –

What sets Costa Rica apart is its remarkable decision in 1949 to dissolve its armed forces and invest instead in education. Increased schooling created a more stable society, less prone to the conflicts that have raged elsewhere in Central America. Education also boosted the economy, enabling the country to become a major exporter of computer chips and improving English-language skills so as to attract American eco-tourists.

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William Safire’s Top 18 Rules For Writers

Mr. Safire, who for many years wrote the “On Language” column for The New York Times, died on Sunday, 09/27/09.  I learned a lot from reading his work over the years.  These 18 rules may be his greatest legacy.  Along with Strunk and White, they comprise most of the rules needed by a careful writer.

  1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  2. The passive voice should never be used.
  3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  4. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  5. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  6. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  7. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  8. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.  (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
  10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
  11. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  12. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.
  14. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  15. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  17. The adverb always follows the verb.
  18. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

From How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar, Safire, William, 2005.

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Climate Change and Conservatives

Climate Change and Conservatives | Bill McKibben | Orion Magazine

…some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. …

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Tibetan Monks and Nuns Turn Their Minds Toward Science

Tibetan Monks and Nuns Turn Their Minds Toward Science –

DHARAMSALA, India — Tibetan monks and nuns spend their lives studying the inner world of the mind rather than the physical world of matter. Yet for one month this spring a group of 91 monastics devoted themselves to the corporeal realm of science.

Instead of delving into Buddhist texts on karma and emptiness, they learned about Galileo’s law of accelerated motion, chromosomes, neurons and the Big Bang, among other far-ranging topics.

Many in the group, whose ages ranged from the 20s to 40s, had never learned science and math. In Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries, the curriculum has remained unchanged for centuries….

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UC Riverside wants its Thai trove on the shelves

UC Riverside wants its Thai trove on the shelves – Los Angeles Times

“Every time I come down here, I can’t believe we own this stuff,” said McDaniel, a professor of religious studies, as he thumbed through a tattered 100-year-old volume of Buddhist children stories. “This is priceless.”

The books have doubled the size of the college’s Southeast Asian library on a campus that is now 40% Asian. …

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Dalai Lama moves to save FIU’s religion department

Dalai Lama moves to save US university’s Buddhism department – Tibetan Review

(, May 28) — The Dalai Lama has offered to make a personal donation of $ 100,000 as an effort to save the Department of Religious Studies at Florida International University (FIU), according to several local news reports May 25. The department is slated to be closed, along with several others, as part of the state’s $27 million budget cuts for the university.