Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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The Three Things We Fear Most

When we understand that fear is the root of anger, we begin to see how important it is to ourselves and the rest of the world.

When things upset us, we often think that something is wrong. Perhaps the one time this is truest is when we experience fear. In fact, as human beings, we expend a huge portion of our energy dealing with anxiety and fear. This has certainly been apparent in the present economic upheavals and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We live with an everyday reality that is tinged with personal and cultural anxiety. Our fears are not just the product of global events, however—they go to our very core. On a day-to-day level, fear often motivates how we act and react, and sometimes even how we dress or stand or talk. But fear makes our life narrow and dark. It is at the root of all conflict, underlying much of our sorrow. Fear also blocks intimacy and love and, more than anything, disconnects us from the lovingkindness that is our true nature….

The Three Things We Fear Most | Tricycle Magazine


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I was just thinking… by Bill

There’s a lot of stuff going around the Web, the conservative talk shows and blogs, and the Christian right-wing press about how Christianity and The Church are being badmouthed, demonized and otherwise mistreated by those terrible atheists and other unbelievers of whatever stripe. To hear them tell it, they’re beleaguered on every side, and unless all True Christians stand up and be counted — hopefully at the polls — the Will Of The Lord is in danger of being contravened, all that is Good toppled, and the Reign Of The Serpent will be upon us.

What’s that all about, anyway? Continue reading


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The battle over the new Dalai Lama

Imagine a committee of the Left parties … secretly meeting in Kolkata to select the reincarnation of the CPI-M leader.

After a couple of days, white smoke may appear above the building where they are meeting and a Vatican-style announcement made, Habemus Pappam (‘We have a new pope’ or, in this case, a new general secretary).

You may politely tell me: ‘Do not play an April fool joke on me.’

Unfortunately, it is not a joke. It has happened in China. The stage was set for the tragicomedy when, on July 13, the Communist government in Beijing decided to implement the ‘Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.’ … The battle over the new Dalai Lama


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An Atheist Reponds to Mitt Romney’s Speech on Religion

As an atheist and a father of three young children, the speech Mitt Romney delivered at the George H. W. Bush presidential library today shocked me to my core.

If this is the drift of this country, towards a politics that explicitly excludes my standing as a worthy citizen because I do not believe in one of the major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism or Islam, then I seriously do not know what I will do to sustain for myself, and instill in my children, the strong sense of belonging that I currently feel as a citizen.   An Atheist Reponds


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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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Iraq’s Cabinet Approves Lifting Immunity for Security Firms

An Iraqi government spokesman says Iraq’s cabinet has approved a law that lifts immunity from prosecution for private security firms in Iraq.

The spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said Tuesday the measure will subject all security companies to Iraqi law and will revoke the immunity given to foreign security contractors by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004.

He says the law is being referred to parliament for ratification.

VOA News – Iraq’s Cabinet Approves Lifting Immunity for Security Firms


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Military chaplain: Marines in Iraq look to pastor for answers to tough questions

Habbaniyah, Iraq – Under a sun-blanched desert sky, Navy Chaplain
Michael Baker and Marine Sgt. Bill Hudson Gross bounce in the back of a
truck as it rumbles across Camp Habbaniyah. Clad in helmets and body
armor in the 110-degree F. June heat, they’re on a mission: to baptize
Sergeant Gross.

“I am going to try to talk him out of it,” confesses Chaplain Baker,
a tall, lanky Methodist minister whose formal Mississippi-tinged speech
and posture mask an often goofy sense of humor.

It’s not the baptism itself; it’s just the part where Gross wants
Baker to immerse him in the Euphrates, one of four rivers that the
Bible describes as flowing from the Garden of Eden. For Gross, an
infantry platoon leader who just weeks before saw two of his men
wounded by shrapnel, the river has a personal connection. Two years ago
he deployed to a small base on the river, where he turned his back on
religion after learning of his father’s death back home. Now that he
has rediscovered his faith, he feels it fitting to be baptized in a
river where, he says, “a lot of people gave up hope.”

Click here to read the rest of this article.


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Saggy pants reveal more than underwear

Whether or not those who wear sagging pants are celebrating crime and headed for trouble, one thing is certain: American teenagers love to bug their elders, and clothing has long been a great way to do that. State attempts to control who wears what also have a long history. …

Those who support criminalizing fashion need to face the more challenging job of looking into the eyes of young people and dealing with the real problems the debates about these fashions raise: the sweatshops where they are made, the educational and career opportunities of the young men who wear them, and the conditions in prisons where the style supposedly originated. …

Saggy pants reveal more than underwear | csmonitor.com


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Why We’re Losing the War on Terror

In the name of the “preventive paradigm,” thousands of Arab and Muslim immigrants have been singled out, essentially on the basis of their ethnicity or religion, for special treatment, including mandatory registration, FBI interviews and preventive detention. Businesses have been served with more than 100,000 “national security letters,” which permit the FBI to demand records on customers without a court order or individualized basis for suspicion. We have all been subjected to unprecedented secrecy about what elected officials are doing in our name while simultaneously suffering unprecedented official intrusion into our private lives by increased video surveillance, warrantless wiretapping and data-mining. Most tragically, more than 3,700 Americans and more than 70,000 Iraqi civilians have given their lives for the “preventive paradigm,” which was used to justify going to war against a country that had not attacked us and posed no imminent threat of attack.

Why We’re Losing the War on Terror


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War, Psychology and Time

War, Psychology and Time

By George Friedman

There are moments in history when everything comes together. Today is the sixth anniversary of the al Qaeda attack against the United States. This is the week Gen. David Petraeus is reporting to Congress on the status of the war in Iraq. It also is the week Osama bin Laden made one of his rare video appearances. The world will not change this week, but the convergence of these strands makes it necessary to pause and take stock. Continue reading


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The Politics of God

I. “The Will of God Will Prevail”

The twilight of the idols has been postponed. For more than two centuries, from the American and French Revolutions to the collapse of Soviet Communism, world politics revolved around eminently political problems. War and revolution, class and social justice, race and national identity — these were the questions that divided us. Today, we have progressed to the point where our problems again resemble those of the 16th century, as we find ourselves entangled in conflicts over competing revelations, dogmatic purity and divine duty. We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.   Continue reading