Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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If anyone is interested…

The First Annual
Wisdom of Mindfulness Retreats Myanmar
TWO 15 DAY INSIGHT MEDITATION RETREATS FOR FOREIGNERS
AT THE MAHASI MEDITATION CENTRE, YANGON (Burma) MYANMAR

This historic event marks an unprecedented opportunity for Westerners to practice
mindfulness meditation where the world-wide mass lay meditation movement began.

TWO SPECIAL RETREATS
Retreat 1: Jan 3-17, 2016 (open to all) (25 spaces)
Retreat 2: Jan 24-Feb 7 (for meditation teachers) (25 spaces)

Further details and online application at:
http://www.thewisdomofmindfulness.org


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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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Excuse me for not dying

What would Buddha do?

Every spring and fall, enlightenment-seekers from all over come here to find out, converging for arduous weeklong retreats at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in a red rock canyon among the thermal springs and Indian pueblos west of Santa Fe.

Dressed in black robes, they strive to live in the moment and awaken to the oneness of everything by rising at 3 a.m. for 18-hour sessions sitting lotus-style in the zenda, or meditation hall, eating communal vegan meals in silence, chanting and taking restorative dips in the hot pools.

But mostly they come to practice with an impish, smooth-faced Japanese monk, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a 100-year-old Rinzai Zen master, one of the oldest in the world, who tells followers, “Excuse me for not dying.”

Monk says, ‘Excuse me for not dying’ / Rinzai Zen master challenges students with tough love – Buddhist style


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The high cost of living ‘A Free Life’

When he flies to Beijing after winning a grocery-store raffle, Nan recalls his first flight to the States, during which confused new travelers like himself carefully wiped and saved their plastic tableware from their meals, unable to imagine that such valuable utensils could possibly be disposable. “They had no idea what kind of plentitude and waste they were going to encounter in this new land.”

The high cost of living ‘A Free Life’ | csmonitor.com


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A Feast of Ideas

When different-minded people gather at Marnita’s Table, meaningful conversation is always the main dish

The dining room windows are foggy with conversation. Every seat, nearly every piece of floor space in Marnita Schroedl’s modest three-bedroom house in Minneapolis is occupied. Patio furniture has been pressed into February service. Guests perch on radiators and test the limits of the pet-weary sofa, juggling paper plates, plastic wine glasses, and animated discussions.

Although space is tight, the more than 50 people who have crunched through fresh snow to get here tonight don’t seem to care. They’ve come to meet six international doctors who specialize in HIV/AIDS and to meet each other. All of them have some connection to the disease. Over the next four hours, they swap stories about how it has changed their lives and their communities and grope for new strategies and answers.

A Feast of Ideas

Please remember that Saturday, December 1st is World AIDS Day.  Do something.


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Girl of Yes, and an End to Highways

Carol Guess

 

Girl of Yes, and an End to Highways

This is the City of Subdued Excitement, a city of one-way streets that unfold into highways and again into alleyways without even a hello. This is a city you can know and un-know on the same day, a city no one owns, although more and more people are buying its views. This is a city where vets cluster in yurts, inching closer and closer to Canada. Sunlight happens three months a year. This is a city of beached whales, rock slides, and ghosts; of serial killers and guard dogs, Minutemen and meth labs, borders and bodies among the ubiquitous greenery. This is a city where art and violence have the same velocity, where someone’s knitting sweaters for the skinniest trees: black and white stripes, pink buttons crawling up the bark.

This is a city of liars and I am in love.

Front Porch Journal


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Blessed, or spoiled?

We have so many things happening in our lives that I suppose the idea of a day when we reflect on the good things makes a certain amount of sense.  However, it seems a bit of a shame that, as a society, we don’t stop to think about our blessings more frequently.

Some of the folks I hang out with are prone to having get-togethers with a gratitude theme.  There is a discussion, with each person taking a turn and expressing the things in their lives for which they are especially thankful.  On other occasions, when I was allowing life to get me down, it was suggested that I ought to make a “gratitude list” to help me concentrate on the positive aspects of a life that has been, overall, not only decidedly positive, but in some respects absolutely miraculous.

Those of us who have lived on the outer edges of existence — whether through physical sickness, mental illness, poverty, addiction, war, or combinations thereof — are perhaps a bit better-equipped to recognize the extremes than most folks.  That, alone, is a lot to be grateful for. 

They say that we have to have experienced unhappiness in order to appreciate joy.  While that might depend, to a degree, on our definition of joy, it is nonetheless true that a life lived on an even keel can seem pretty unremarkable when, in fact, the benefits of such a life are unimaginable for billions of people elsewhere (and perhaps nearby) on the planet.  Thanking a supreme being for such a life is the same as saying “We’re glad you love us more than all those people you have allowed to live in poverty and misery” — hubris by nearly anyone’s definition.

And, yet, isn’t that sometimes our attitude?  Do we not take the position, tacitly, if not openly, that we deserve the things we have by virtue of some sort of entitlement?  That we are in some way chosen?  That we are just the least bit better than all those other folks, or else we would not have been so blessed? 

Some people say that we’re only as big as the smallest thing that can annoy us.  I say that as a society we’re only as rich, spiritually, as the poorest of those among us, and that spiritual development must include development of a sustainable global economy with a decent standard of living for everyone. 

Even if some of us have to settle for a little less.

Before it’s too late.

Before we run out of things for which to be thankful.

Because, no matter what we have been led to believe, we’re really not that special.


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Japanese Whalers Set Sail Again — The Slaughter Continues

The Fisheries Agency, a small government bureaucracy with control of whaling policy, sees itself as Japan’s defender against Western “culinary imperialism” and its right to marine resources. The agency says Japan’s low food self-sufficiency – less than 40 per cent – gives it the right to hunt all sustainable sea life, including whales.

What’s the matter with these people?  They’re supposed to be civilized!

A political brawl for meat they don’t even want to eat – Independent Online Edition > Asia


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Spiritually speaking, size doesn’t matter

Hinduism and Buddhism tell us the root cause of our problems — personal and planetary — is our view of ourselves as separate from the immense universe around us and that whenever we harm it or any of its denizens, we hurt ourselves. Physical humanity is only one aspect of being; to recognise other existences as equally on par, regardless of dimension, is the beginning of spirituality.

Spiritually speaking, size doesn’t matter