Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


Leave a comment

Oldest Buddhist Shrine Uncovered In Nepal May Push Back Buddha’s Birth Date

The excavations showed that older wooden structures lay beneath the walls of the later brick Buddhist shrine. The layout of that more recent shrine duplicates the layout of the earlier wooden structures, pointing to a continuity of Buddhist worship at the site, Coningham says.

“The big debate has been about when the Buddha lived and now we have a shrine structure pointing to the sixth century B.C.,” Coningham says. The team used two kinds of scientific dating to find the age of the early shrine.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131125-buddha-birth-nepal-archaeology-science-lumbini-religion-history/


Leave a comment

Busting the Reagan Myth

…history shows that Ronald Reagan reversed a long trend of reducing the national debt as a percentage of GDP, which had been lowered by every previous president (except Gerald Ford) since the end of World War II.
Ronald Reagan exploded the federal debt, eventually to over a trillion dollars, by cutting taxes while demanding that the nation fund a huge expansion of the military. Even the Wall Street Journal at the time was aware of the unsound nature of this Republican deficit-spending scheme. They and other newspapers warned of the “baleful effects of big [government] deficits.”

Continue reading on Examiner.com: <a href=”http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/ronald-reagan-began-us-government-deficit-spending-addiction.


Leave a comment

The Diamond Sutra: The Extraordinary Discovery of the World’s Oldest Printed Book

 

Ask people to name the world’s oldest printed book and the common reply is Gutenberg‘s Bible. Few venture that the answer is a revered Buddhist text called the Diamond Sutra, printed in 868 A.D. Or that by the time Gutenberg got ink on his fingers nearly 600 years later — and his revolutionary technology helped usher in the Enlightenment — this copy of the Diamond Sutra had been hidden for several centuries in a sacred cave on the edge of the Gobi Desert and would remain there for several more.

The Diamond Sutra: The Extraordinary Discovery of the World’s Oldest Printed Book

 


2 Comments

Vacation With The Dead

The traditions of most religions, including many Buddhist sects, encourage us to contemplate death, our place in the world, and in the hereafter.  No one does it more determinedly than the Christians of Rome who, for two millennia, have been creating displays that can’t help but make visitors mindful of  life’s one certainty.

Vertebrae rosettes. A crown of thorns made from finger bones. An arch of skulls. Three skeletons of children lean huddled in a group as if to comfort one another. Behind them hangs an hourglass made of pelvis bones. Above soars the skeleton of a youth bearing a scythe of clavicles and scales made of kneecaps. Dirt and gravestones cover the floor. Mummified bodies wearing the cowled robes of …

vacationwiththedead


Leave a comment

Friday the 13th – Origins, History, and Folklore

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times, and their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there happens to be only one such occurrence in 2010, in the month of August) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it’s the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t eat in restaurants; many wouldn’t think of setting a wedding on the date….

Friday the 13th – Origins, History, and Folklore


Leave a comment

The Revival of Musar

A woman writes in her journal every night, focusing on her struggles with anger. Two friends sit down over coffee and discuss their recent efforts to perform at least three acts of generosity every day. A man posts on an online forum about how easily he is distracted by needless concerns but how daily Jewish prayer has helped him to focus his mind. A group studies Jewish teachings on greed, and they commit themselves to taking concrete steps to limit their consumption. Another group pores over a medieval Hebrew text about pride, and they conclude their weekly study session by chanting some of its words out loud to a haunting Jewish melody.

These American Jews display a good deal of moral seriousness, a tendency towards introspection, and a concern with the virtues to a degree that is somewhat uncommon in mainstream American Jewish culture. In describing their behavior, they might refer to the Jewish tradition of “Musar” (“moral discipline”) and explain that they are carrying on the legacy of a nineteenth-century, Lithuania-based movement known as the “Musar movement.” Most American Jews have not heard of the Musar movement, and many, upon learning about it, would write it off as requiring too much self-criticism, too much moralizing, and too much work. And yet interest in Musar has been steadily growing in contemporary America, in part as a counter-cultural phenomenon….

Institute for Advanced Studies In Culture


Leave a comment

Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar

Jesus did not die on cross, says scholar – Telegraph

“I do believe that the mentioned man is the son of God. My suggestion is not that Christians should reject or doubt the biblical text.

“My suggestion is that we should read the text as it is, not as we think it is. We should read on the lines, not between the lines. The text of the Bible is sufficient. We do not need to add anything.”

Of course, not adding anything would put a lot of shamans out of work.  I’m sure there will be a lot of screaming and condemnation about this matter.  I wonder if anyone will produce substantiated refutation.  I’m betting not.

And, on the other hand, what difference?  Religion is all about faith, not fact.


1 Comment

Celibacy, the Pope, and Sex Abuse

Many of the issues that troubled me decades ago have contributed to this decline. Some, like those related to contraception, homosexuality, and family life, are considered matters of divine or natural law—the will of God—and, therefore, are immutable. I disagree, and I’m not alone, but we have been unable to persuade the church to make changes. Other matters are considered a product of human law, which is alterable if the church thinks that doing so is in its best interest. The vow of priestly celibacy is one such statute: none, I believe, would be easier to change or, quite possibly, is more important to the short-term health of the church.

My
Turn: Celibacy, the Pope, and Sex Abuse – Newsweek

cekebacy


Leave a comment

A Conversation With Tariq Ramadan

A Conversation With Tariq Ramadan: Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity – Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Ramadan is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford’s St Antony’s College. He is also the president of a Brussels-based think tank, European Muslim Network, and the author of more than 20 books, including What I Believe, published in November 2009. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2009.

Powered by ScribeFire.


Leave a comment

Faux Friendship

We live in an age when friendship has become both all and nothing at all. Already the characteristically modern relationship, it has in recent decades become the universal one: the form of connection in terms of which all others are understood, against which they are all measured, into which they have all dissolved. Romantic partners refer to each other as boyfriends and girlfriends. Spouses boast they are best friends. Parents urge their young children and beg their teenage ones to think of them as friends. Teachers, clergy, and even bosses seek to mitigate and legitimate their authority by asking those they oversee to regard them as friends. As the anthropologist Robert Brain has put it, we’re friends with everyone now.

Yet what, in our brave new mediated world, is friendship becoming?

Faux Friendship


Leave a comment

An Alcoholic’s Savior – Was It God, Belladonna or Both?

In October 1909, Dr. Alexander Lambert boldly announced to a New York Times reporter that he had found a surefire cure for alcoholism and drug addiction. Even more astounding, he stated that the treatment required less than five days. The therapy consisted of an odd mixture of belladonna (deadly nightshade), along with the fluid extracts of xanthoxylum (prickly ash) and hyoscyamus (henbane). The result is often so dramatic, Lambert said, that one hesitates to believe it possible.…

An Alcoholic’s Savior – Was It God, Belladonna or Both? – NYTimes.com


1 Comment

Letters of Note

Letters of note is a remarkable collection of — well — notes and letters, from famous people to a variety of recipients, from Elvis’ form letter to his fans when he was in the Army, to Marlon Brando’s affectionate letter to Tennessee Williams.  Originals are shown, but also transcriptions (which in some cases is a very good thing).

Be prepared to waste a lot of time.  But maybe it’s not such a waste, after all.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/

Powered by ScribeFire.


5 Comments

Make Birth Control, Not War

Make Birth Control, Not War | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

Humans — human males, really — are not peaceful animals. They are in fact a spectacularly violent species, and very nearly uniquely so. Despite high-minded modern wishes and the received wisdom of three generations of anthropologists and sociologists, warfare is not an aberration in human development, nor is it a learned, culturally determined behavior. War and its ancillary behaviors — including racism, slavery, mass rape and the subjugation of women — are not cultural problems and thus do not have neat, sociological solutions. Along with terrorism, these most destructive of human behaviors derive clearly and directly from our biology, bequeathed to us by an evolutionary pathway that we share with just one other extant species, the chimpanzees.

War, simply put, is in our genes.

Powered by ScribeFire.