Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Buddhism, Cosmology and Evolution

…Biologists and earth scientists agree that in the 20th century a sixth mass extinction began, and the only one to be caused by a particular species: us. Coral reefs are likely to be the first entire ecosystem to be eliminated from the Earth by human activity. A quarter of plant and animal species may vanish by 2050, an evolutionary crisis that is related to global climate breakdown but usually overshadowed by it. In essence, our present economic model is pushing all life on Earth towards tipping points for both biodiversity and the climate system.

This is quite possibly the biggest news for 65 million years, but it barely makes the mainstream news at all, because it raises taboo questions for the industrial growth society that we have come to take for granted…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-stanley/buddhism-cosmology-and-ev_b_1286165.html?ref=religion


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World Gone Mad — Derrick Jensen

Unfortunately, Jensen tells it like it is…again. You won’t like it. I didn’t either, even though I already realized some of it. But he’s right. And we don’t have to like reality — only be able to perceive it.

I DON’T KNOW about you, but whenever I attend some “green” conference, I know I’m supposed to leave feeling inspired and energized, but instead I feel heartbroken, discouraged, defeated, and lied to….

Blindness to suffering is one of this culture’s central defining characteristics.


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The Value and Harm of Religion

People who believe that I am an Atheist sometimes seem nonplussed that I’m tolerant of religion in general.  There appears to be an idea amongst some non-believers that they must either be completely disinterested in religious ideas, or vehemently opposed and outspoken about it.  In either case, it seems, they must be prepared to pooh-pooh “superstition” and point out at the drop of a hat all the evils perpetrated in the names of various gods throughout history, and all of the ways that the shamans take advantage of the folks they’ve hoodwinked.  While I find the former positions distastefully closed-minded, I am indeed inclined to agree with the latter — at least when it involves the religious hierarchy.

My feeling is that those who are obtrusively dogmatic, pro or con, are just as bound up by the chains of their beliefs as any fanatic building bombs in the mountains of Pakistan.  To paraphrase John Bradshaw, a 180 degree turn leaves us in the same rut, only now we’re moving against the flow and annoying the other travelers.  If we want to change things, we need to get off the treadmill for a different perspective.

For the record, I am neither an Atheist nor an Agnostic. The latter claim that they are not convinced of the existence of a god or gods, the former that they are convinced that there are no such entities.  I am Ignostic, one who believes that no discussion about the question of gods’ existence can even be held, because it is not possible to come up with a coherent definition of a god.  To put it another way, I believe that when it comes to gods, no one really knows what they’re talking about, and no one ever will.

But I am not anti-religious.  I try to practice Buddhism which is, by most definitions, a religion.  While I accept that definition, I do not practice for religious reasons, but because Buddhist teachings give me a structure, based on pure logic, around which I can try to live my life and discipline my thinking.

That gets around to my position on religion in general.  I believe it is inevitable, for most people in most circumstances, and that generally-speaking it does far more good than harm.  It provides structure, guidance, community, hope — in short, a framework for living.  It matters not a whit to me whether the underlying beliefs are pure superstition or divine revelation, except when religious teachings are used for ill rather than good; to separate, rather than to draw people together.

The folks who administer religion are usually the problem in that regard.  They are the ones who teach, by their example, inflexibility, lack of compassion (although many of them give great lip service), and who perpetuate the tribal concepts of “us” and “other,” with their implied conclusions that “we are right” and “they are wrong.”  They are the ones who foster self-serving and self-congratulatory, complacent followers who seem unwilling or unable to think for themselves.

This tribal thinking is, perhaps, hard-wired into some people’s brains.  We are beginning to learn that the brains of liberals literally function  somewhat differently than those of conservatives.  There is every reason to believe that such dichotomies are necessary in primitive societies.  They are not, however, appropriate to situations such as those that exist on the Earth at present, with many people in need, and many who are unwilling to share.  This seems often to involve use of force on both sides, and in many circles it seems that two wrongs are presumed to make a right…or, at least, a lot of money for the people who profit from wars and strife in general.

Those are character defects that are engendered and supported by some shamans in the guise of the “will of God/Allah,” and in that respect religion is not a good thing at all.

The troubles in the world today cannot, it seems to me, be resolved by black and white thinking.  The True Believer in the hut is evidence of that, and those who attempt to hunt him down, without regard to the number of innocents killed in the process, are yet another.  People who seem to feel that they must contradict the beliefs of others, and put down the intelligence of those who believe other than they, are a third.  That ain’t how you build togetherness, folks.

Ben Franklin wrote at another critical point in history, “If we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang separately.”  As long as we continue to blame our problems on the other guy, we continue our trek to the gallows. To the extent that religion (or non-religion) supports that journey, it is most certainly at fault.


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Oil Spill Clean Up is one big Proven Money making Conspiracy


Imagine you personally knew (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that a huge earthquake was going to hit a major city and cause massive damage, loss of life, starvation, loss of employment, destruction of property as well as countless hardships. Imagine that the majority (say 95%) of this could be avoided, if only the easily available resources and technology were deployed to prevent this before it happened. Would you deploy the technology? Would you deploy the resources to prevent 95% of the problem?

Naturally, any sane, ethical person would. However, what if you stood to earn $100’s of millions from this disaster? Your choice . . . do the right thing or go for the money? I understand that this is a hypothetical situation and predicting an earthquake is pretty much impossible; however, knowing an oil spill is going to happen is not. It has happened in the past, it just happened in the Gulf of Mexico and it will happen in the future. Sadly, there are people who have actually made the choice to take the money at everyone’s and every living things’ expense and this article is about showing you the proof.

Environmental News
Network — Know Your Environment

Send this to everyone you know. Seriously. Now.

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Teacher suspended for denying permission to build Wiccan altar in Shop class

Teacher suspended for denying Wiccan altar | desmoinesregister.com | The Des Moines Register

“Personally, I think it’s offensive to worship rocks and trees,” Halferty said of Wicca, a religion based on ancient beliefs and a reverence for the Earth. “I am just trying to be moral. I don’t know how we can profess to be Christians and let this go on.”

Deny it on the basis of separation of church and state? Maybe, although probably not in this case. As a matter of personal religious bias? Unacceptable.


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Fallujah doctors report rise in birth defects

BBC News – Fallujah doctors report rise in birth defects

A spokesman for the US military, Michael Kilpatrick, said it always took public health concerns “very seriously”.

“No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues,” he said.

“Unexploded ordinance, including improvised explosive devises, are a recognised hazard,” he added.

Depleted Uranium comes to mind, although the military assures us there’s no hazard.


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China Is Leading the Race to Make Renewable Energy

TIANJIN, China — China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year.

China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants.

Reminds me of the story about the fellow leaning on his shovel in the shade, saying, “One of these days I’m gonna run this company!” How long before we’re holding our place in the world by force instead of by offering it something worthwhile?  Oh, wait…


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The Happiest People

Op-Ed Columnist – The Happiest People – NYTimes.com

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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A Solstice Greeting, Sort Of

For whatever reasons, we humasunrise-evergreensns have a relationship with the annual cycles that surpasses pure science, and combines with the observable facts a mystical component that causes us to view the wheel of the year with more than merely analytical interest.

Winter Holidays, celebrating the point at which the warmth of the sun ceases its annual recession — the time when the days begin, imperceptibly at first, to become longer and to promise the warmth and riches of spring and summer — are universal in human civilizations. Doubtless it has been that way for thousands of generations (or three hundred, if you prefer). We give our holidays names like Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, and so forth. We hang upon them the trappings of the thousands of years of religious implications, and often attribute their origin to reasons other than the mere turning of the seasons. We invent new holidays, because we don’t want to celebrate other people’s holidays. MORE>>>


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Amazon Native Leaders Assert Forest Stewardship for Climate Rescue

CHACLACAYO, Peru, December 8, 2009 (ENS) – As government government officials gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a global response to climate change, Amazonian indigenous leaders are concerned about how the resulting agreement will impact their people and ancestral lands.

Among the expected results of the two-week UN climate change conference is approval of an international regime for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, REDD, which holds both promise and challenges for the forest peoples….

Amazon Native Leaders Assert Forest Stewardship for Climate Rescue


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Interfaith Power & Light

Energy From Heaven |Triple Pundit

IP&L defines itself as “a national religious response to global warming, promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.” Its enrolled 10,000 congregations cover 30 states. Its five year goal is to have 30,000 congregations in all fifty states.