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 –

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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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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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