Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Wealth, poverty and compassion: The rich are different from you and me

LIFE at the bottom is nasty, brutish and short. For this reason, heartless folk might assume that people in the lower social classes will be more self-interested and less inclined to consider the welfare of others than upper-class individuals, who can afford a certain noblesse oblige. A recent study, however, challenges this idea. Experiments by Paul Piff and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, reported this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggest precisely the opposite. It is the poor, not the rich, who are inclined to charity.

Wealth, poverty and compassion: The rich are different from you and me | The Economist


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Why Don’t Liberals Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?

Bleeding Heart Tightwads – NYTimes.com

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates….

I recall being on an I-95 exit ramp in Palm Beach County (with its obligatory panhandler) a few days before Christmas. Our Hyundai was about fifth in line, behind a Bentley, a Maserati and a couple of SUVs. The fellow with the hand-lettered sign immediately passed up the supercars and made a beeline for the Hyundai where, of course, he got a buck and a Merry Christmas. They know. It’s us schmucks who have been the closest to where they are who are most likely to be empathetic. Too bad, but there it is….


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WWJD

The Prairie Preacher has some pointed comments to make about the issue of Christian charity and modern “Christians.”

Too often Churches practise ‘cheque book charity’ wherein they offer a small cash donation to appease their conscience while hunkering down in their “homes” taking stock of their toys and investments and hoping the poor among us will stay away … I don’t have to even ask – “what would Jesus do?” … I know the answer … he would deal with our modern Churches and their stinginess in the same way he spoke to the people of Nazareth, Chorazim and Bethsaida … his words would sting … but the truth would be undeniable …


Prairie Preacher


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From Tricycle.com

Ask Pamela Gayle White about Tibetan visualization practice. The noted translator and dharma teacher will be taking questions until December 21.

Buddhism emphasizes the emptiness of all phenomena and does not posit a personal god. Does that mean that Buddhism is amoral and nihilistic? Read Joseph Goldstein‘s answers from our most recently featured Q&A here.

Can you teach your child about death? Read Family Dharma: The Elephant’s Footprint. Beth Roth writes about helping our children understand death.

On Generosity: Gifts That Keep Giving. Joan Duncan Oliver profiles some of the better options for compassionate gift-giving this holiday season.

And keep an eye on our Editor’s Blog where we report on books, Burma and all Buddhist issues of the day!


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Harry Potter And The $4 Million Book

How well is Amazon doing? Well enough to spend millions on a publicity stunt: Yesterday the company paid $3.98 million for a single copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

OK.  Let’s see a Christian author do the same thing — and donate all the proceeds to charity.  Hmmmm….?

Harry Potter And The $4 Million Book (AMZN) – Silicon Alley Insider


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Bangladesh Toll Climbs

DHAKA, Bangladesh, November 19, 2007 (ENS) – Cyclone Sidr has now killed more than 3,200 people and left millions of others homeless in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. Bangladesh officials say they fear that possibly as many as 10,000 people may have perished in the storm.

Packing fierce winds of 190 kilometers per hour (118 mph) that gusted to 240 kph, Sidr slammed into the coast of Bangladesh early Friday. Classed as a category 4 cyclone, it is the deadliest storm to hit the nation in a decade.

Although the storm has now passed, the death toll is predicted to climb as the bodies of human beings and cattle are still being found floating in the sea and rivers.

Now’s our chance to live up to our national self-image, and make ourselves look good to the Muslim world as well.  Think we will?

Powerful Cyclone Claims 3,200 Lives in Bangladesh


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Kite-flying in Darfur

Minneapolis – For Patrick McGrann, the sky isn’t his limit. It’s his field of play, his diplomatic space. It’s where he performs hand-to-hand acts of kindness and low-budget economic development for street kids in Kenya, rural kids in Burma (Myanmar) and, coming soon, orphans in a Darfur refugee camp.

Amid the sand, winds, and despair of Sudan, Mr. McGrann is poised to launch a unique effort in hope of rehabilitating traumatized children. He’s going to tell these young people of Darfur to … go fly a kite.

A ‘kite runner’ says it’s OK to have fun in Darfur | csmonitor.com


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A restaurant with no checks

Some folks may wonder why I so often link to the Christian Science Monitor.  It’s simply one of the best deep-reporting newspapers in the world, is why, and those folks understand dharma, whether they know it or not.  Witness this article…

Berkeley, Calif. – Patrons of Karma Kitchen don’t need to fight for the check at the end of a meal. There isn’t one. Instead, the “guests” of this restaurant are handed a gold envelope with a handwritten note on the outside that says, “Have a lovely evening.” Inside a bookmarker-sized card states: “In the spirit of generosity, someone who came before you made a gift of this meal. We hope you will continue the circle of giving in your own way!”

A restaurant with no checks | csmonitor.com


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Dalai Lama urges help for poorer nations

“The world’s problems will increase as long as there is a desire to
maximise profits,” said the Dalai Lama, who arrived Thursday on a
10-day visit during he will deliver a series of lectures.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the Dalai Lama of
trying to divide Tibet and warned Germany not to give him “a platform
to conduct his separatist activities.”

It also demanded that no German government officials be allowed to
meet with the Tibetan leader “in order to maintain the healthy and
stable development of Sino-German relations.”

A little blackmail there?  Maybe the Germans are tired of poisoned toothpaste, eh?

Dalai Lama urges help for poorer nations, News, Germany, Expatica


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Former Surgeon General Blows Whistle on Bushie Meddling

WASHINGTON, July 10 — Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional panel Tuesday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations.

The administration, Dr. Carmona said, would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells,
emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global
health issues. Top officials delayed for years and tried to “water
down” a landmark report on secondhand smoke, he said. Released last
year, the report concluded that even brief exposure to cigarette smoke
could cause immediate harm.

Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to
mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He
also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political
candidates and to attend political briefings.

And administration
officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics
because, he said, of that charitable organization’s longtime ties to a
“prominent family” that he refused to name.

“I was specifically told by a senior person, ‘Why would you want to help those people?’ ” Dr. Carmona said.  …  Continue Reading


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Odds that Gates is still world’s richest man? Slim

Good Morning Silicon Valley

Bill Gates has never been comfortable with the title of richest man in the world, telling an interviewer last year, “I wish I wasn’t. There’s nothing good that comes out of that.” Now it looks like his wish has come true. A Mexican financial news service is reporting today that Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, who eased past investment guru Warren Buffett into second place in the most recent Forbes magazine annual wealth tally, has now bumped Gates out of first. Sentido Común reported that a recent surge in the stock of Slim’s America Movil group boosted his fortune to an estimated $67.8 billion, versus Gates’ meager $59.2 billion.


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Sir Elton launches Diana concert

Sir Elton John

The princes have personally asked Sir Elton to play Candle in the Wind

Sir Elton John has opened an historic memorial concert for Diana, Princess of Wales at London’s Wembley Stadium with a rendition of Your Song.

Up to 63,000 music fans joined hosts Princes William and Harry at the gig, intended to celebrate Diana’s life, on what would have been her 46th birthday.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6257986.stm