Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  The ancillary remarks are kind of stupid, but the overall info is sort of interesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 46,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 11 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


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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

 


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Religious Debate? Or Battle?

I wrote this a couple of years ago.  Given the current atmosphere of (in)tolerance that seems to pervade America, I thought it might be appropriate to link back to it.

I believe it is fine to debate religious ideas, within reason, but debate is always with the consent of both sides. It is not accomplished with bludgeons on unwilling participants. We need to understand that when people’s core beliefs are threatened, they become defensive and inflexible regardless of the content of those beliefs….

https://digital-dharma.net/2010/08/30/should-debate-about-religion-be-open-and-without-restraint/#comment-57632


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What’s an American Buddhist?

American Buddhism’s numbers are booming. Published just over three years ago, an American Religious Identification Survey survey showed that from the years 1990 to 2000, Buddhism grew 170 percent in North America. By all indications that remarkable rate of growth continues unabated.

Why is a faith founded under a Bodhi tree in India 2,500 years ago enjoying a newfound popularity in America today?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/whats-an-american-buddhist/2012/06/17/gJQAJCQrjV_blog.html


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Philosophy and Addiction

I introduce the notion of addiction as a subject of philosophical inquiry here for a reason. I am a philosopher, yes, but I am also an alcoholic who has been sober for more than 24 years ― only the last four of them as part of a recovery program. I am often asked how I got and stayed sober for those first 19 years; it was because of philosophy, which engendered in me a commitment to living an examined life, and gave me the tools and concepts to do so. My training in moral philosophy made it natural for me to wrestle with issues of character, responsibility, freedom, care and compassion in both work and life.  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/out-of-the-cave-philosophy-and-addiction/


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Something Similar — Straight Talk About Going Home After Treatment

Here’s an excerpt and link to an article I just posted on another site.  Perhaps someone will find it useful.

The comedian Dave Gardner used to remark, “Folks are always saying, ‘Let’s do this again!’  But friends, you can’t do anything again!  You can do something similar!”

I think about Gardner’s bit of wisdom when I hear people in early recovery talking about returning to their families and friends and “making it up to them.”  (This also brings to mind the idea of pushing toothpaste back into the tube.)  We say these things with the idea that we will be able to return things to the way they were “before” — if there ever really was a before.

That’s a lovely idea, but it’s not the way reality works.
Read more at Sunrise Detox Blog


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Extremely well-written article about Bhutan, the “Happiest Kingdom in the world.”

loony radio

The authors of this blog recently took two long-overdue vacations. Not together, you understand. We both happen to be of the conventional orientation, thank you very much. I went to Bhutan with family. And unless you failed in geography, you would know that it is a country, not a hill station in India. It’s small compared to ours, but it’s beautiful, and very very different.

The thing that any Indian is most likely to notice is that they take their laws seriously. Smoking in public is prohibited, and you wouldn’t see anyone smoking anywhere on the streets. Sticking posters here and there is also forbidden, and you do see clean walls everywhere. The political parties have to be content with small “Election Notice” boards that are erected at places. Imagine those two laws (both already in place in our country by the way) being followed in our country.

The…

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Book Review — The Misleading Mind, by Karuna Cayton

Karuna Cayton, a psychotherapist and practicing Buddhist, has written an interesting book for non-Buddhists who are looking for ways to make their life more manageable. Based on the 2600 year-old principles of Buddhist psychology, it covers the general range of the Four Noble Truths and the eightfold path, but in a fashion that does not require extensive knowledge — any knowledge at all, really — of Buddhist teaching and principles.

“It is odd that we can describe our hands or our face but if we’re asked to describe our mind we can only offer vague, nebulous descriptions. That’s because, not examining the mind, we don’t know the mind. Knowing how our mind really functions is the first step to mental balance and health and, yes, greater happiness. We need to become explorers – curious about our idea of self, our mind, our emotions, how they function and how we can master them. As such, we’ll seek the knowledge, contemplation, and wisdom to become our own best therapist. Our discoveries become the pathway to solving our problems and revealing a happier and healthier way of being.”

The ideas covered in The Misleading Mind will not come as anything new to those who have even casually perused the Buddha’s teachings. However, in approaching them from the perspective of people with no knowledge at all of suffering and the causes of suffering as understood by Buddhists, Cayton has illuminated corners that may not have been examined even by long-term practitioners. These principles are presented in a way that is accessible to non-Buddhists, and at the same time can profitably be considered by experienced students.

Finally, unlike many writers, Cayton does not minimize the need for continuous, long-term work to effect the changes he promises.  While reasonably gentle, he insists we understand that we are the “captains of our souls,” that we have to work for what we desire, and that the ultimate responsibility for our happiness rests upon — and just above — our own shoulders.

The Misleading Mind: How We Create Our Own Problems and How Buddhist Psychology Can Help Us Solve Them, ©2012 by Karuna Cayton. New World Library.


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Quotes

You have to go through yesterday to be who you are today.

When you take things too seriously, you get old. You have to be silly. Whenever people say, “Hey, man, are you ever going to grow up?” That’s when you know you’re doing things right.

~ Ricky Martin


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72-Year-Old Nepali Is World’s Shortest Man

Chandra Bahadur Dangi

(Reuters) – Home to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, the scenic country of Nepal on Sunday added another height-related superlative – of having the world’s shortest man.

A Guinness World Records team measured Chandra Bahadur Dangi at 54.60 centimeters (21.5 inches)…. Read more…