Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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No War, No Warming, Rise Up!

The options before us are crystal clear. Down one road, the one we’re now on, lies a cascading series of oil and water wars, climate disasters and ecological devastation. Down the other lies a turn toward peaceful resolution of conflicts, energy conservation, efficiency and a clean energy revolution, and social and economic justice.

Another world is possible, but for it to come about another US is necessary…

Ted Glick | No War, No Warming, Rise Up!


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New prosthetic arm for veterans

Inventor Dean Kamen previews the extraordinary prosthetic arm he’s developing at the request of the Department of Defense, to help the 1,600 “kids” who’ve come back from Iraq without an arm (and the two dozen who’ve lost both arms). Kamen’s commitment to using technology to solve problems, and his respect for the human spirit, have never been more clear than in this deeply moving clip.   http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/82


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The Call For Peace

Wars have plagued civilization since the beginning of time and especially in the aftermath of World Wars I and II, the call for nations to disarm, or at least hold their armies at bay, has intensified. The desire to take a peaceful route to the resolution of conflicts is echoed in the will of Alfred Nobel, and in the voices of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, whose Nobel Lectures are presented as highlights this week on Nobelprize.org.

Nobelprize.org


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Ask the Karma Queen

The Buddha called the workings of karma one of the “four unconjecturables.” We could drive ourselves crazy speculating on how it will play out, he said (Anguttara Nikaya 4.77).

Still, who can resist the urge to try and suss out the exact consequences of their behavior—or other people’s? What have you been dying to know about karma but afraid to ask? Dying to ask but afraid to know?

Ask the Karma Queen – Answers


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Bill Clinton Authors New Book on Citizen Activism

“Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World” is a look at how the act
of giving takes many forms, and how offerings of time, skills, objects,
and ideas can be just as important as contributions of money.

Bill Clinton Authors New Book on Citizen Activism


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Exoneration starts with Innocence Project gatekeeper

The prisoner’s name is one that Huy Dao has never forgotten. For years, it would resurface amid the thousands of requests for free legal aid that flood his office – an annual, meticulously typewritten plea for help, a last-ditch effort from a man convicted of rape but convinced of his innocence.

Mr. Dao turned that case down in 1997, but he still can’t put it out of his mind. Maybe it was the fact that the man was from Philadelphia, where Dao grew up as the son of Vietnamese refugees, knowing what it’s like to have cops look at you askance because of your skin color. Or that it smelled like a faulty conviction, but the evidence that could have provided an indisputable forensic verdict had been destroyed.

“There was something from the letters that he wrote back to me, screaming, basically, ‘I have to be innocent, this can’t be the end,’ ” recalls Dao, whose organization uses post-conviction DNA testing to help wrongfully convicted prisoners gain freedom. “It’s not fair. But it’s my job to evaluate whether DNA can prove innocence, and the answer [in this case] is no.”

Such are the difficult decisions that echo in the conscience of the case director of New York’s Innocence Project, a 15-year-old nonprofit that recently won its 205th exoneration of an innocent prisoner.

“Many clients write to us as a last resort. If we say no to their cases, they may very well die in prison,” says staff attorney Vanessa Potkin, a colleague of Dao’s. “Huy has had to live with that burden for so many years. Sometimes they say doctors play God – well, Huy does. You really do have someone’s life in your hands.”

• • •

DNA exoneration starts with Innocence Project gatekeeper | csmonitor.com


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Dancing in the Light of Florida

Last weekend, the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama visited Florida, a state that does not lack for religious affiliations. It’s all here: from Promise Keepers in the Panhandle to voodoo in Little Haiti.

Ven Thupten Ngodup, considered to be an oracle, brought an environmental message with a certain urgency regarding climate change, according to Miami TV reporter Michele Guillen on the local CBS affiliate website.

The Dalai Lama’s Tibetan oracle advises us that humanity is at the verge: “It is what we call in our philosophy the time of the five degenerations. Outwardly you see that manifest in greed.”

“Tibetans rely on oracles for various reasons. The purpose of the oracles is not just to foretell the future. They are called upon as protectors and sometimes used as healers.”

Hmm.

The last bit spurred me to imagine what would happen if Ven Thupten Ngodup met with Florida’s protectors and healers of nature: the state bureaucrats who preside over the commodity essential to life: water.

Alan Farago: Dancing in the Light of Florida


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60 SECONDS: Richard Gere

You juggle Buddhism with
Hollywood superstardom. Do you
feel any sort of conflict?


The practice of Buddhism is just
exploring your mind. And certainly
what one faces as an actor is no
different from what everyone faces in
their lives. It’s just a little bigger and more colourful.

60 SECONDS: Richard Gere | Metro.co.uk


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Can ‘green chic’ save the planet?

Last week, Whole Foods Market released a limited edition, $15 cotton
bag with “I’m not a plastic bag” emblazoned on its side. When the bag
went on sale at outlets in Taiwan, a stampede followed. In Hong Kong,
throngs shut down a shopping mall. In New York City last week, lines
formed at dawn. Later that day, bags were offered on Craigslist for
between $200 and $500. “These bags are walking billboards,” says Isabel
Spearman, a spokeswoman for the bag’s designer, Anya Hindmarch. “You do
have to make something trendy, and it becomes a habit. That’s the whole
point.”

Savvy marketers have clearly tapped into something. But the green craze has many asking how, if at all, it addresses what
many characterize as an impending climate catastrophe.

Can ‘green chic’ save the planet? | csmonitor.com


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Better World Club

The Better World Club provides services to motorists in the USA, and supports organizations seeking to reduce the environmental damage done by automobiles. It is generally considered to be an alternative to the American Automobile Association (AAA), which provides similar services but also lobbies for government subsidies to automobile use. It describes itself as “the nation’s only environmentally friendly auto club.” It offers a bicycle membership and caters to hybrid car owners.

Better World Club – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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Book Excerpt: Going On Being; Buddhism and the Way of Change

Going On Being; Buddhism and the Way of Change

Before Mark Epstein became a medical student at Harvard and began training as a psychiatrist, he immersed himself in Buddhism through experiences with such influential Buddhist teachers as Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield. The positive outlook of Buddhism and the meditative principle of living in the moment came to influence his study and practice of psychotherapy profoundly. Going on Being is Epstein’s memoir of his early years as a student of Buddhism and of how Buddhism shaped his approach to therapy, as well as a practical guide to how a Buddhist understanding of psychological problems makes change for the better possible.