Vegetarian Ideal

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
- Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Zen Buddhist Wisdom

25 Enlightening Pieces of Zen Buddhist Wisdom To Bring Peace to Your Soul

March 19, 2017

Zen Buddhism is a powerful philosophy that helps us find true meaning in life.

In western society, we tend to think that we’ll only find happiness once we reach a certain level of income, or we cultivate the perfect relationship. However, Zen Buddhism says that true inner peace can only come from within.

The key, according to Zen, is to let go of attachments and embrace living fully in the present moment. It’s certainly an outlook on life that all could benefit from, particularly for those of us who grew up in the west.

1) The temptation to give up is strongest just before victory.

2) The goal in life is to die young, but to do as late as possible.

3) Don’t speak if it doesn’t improve on silence.

4) A thousand-mile journey begins with just one step.

5) A strong man overcomes an obstacle, a wise man goes the whole way.

6) Don’t be afraid to go slowly. Be afraid of stopping.

7) Even the happiness of a fool is a stupid kind of happiness.

8) Even if you stumble and fall down, it doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong path.

9) A hut full of laughter is richer than a palace full of sadness.

10) Always look on the bright side of things. If you can’t comprehend this, polish that which has become dull until it begins to shine.

11) Whatever happens always happens on time.

12) Someone who points out your flaws to you is not necessarily your enemy. Someone who speaks of your virtues is not necessarily your friend.

13) Don’t be afraid that you do not know something. Be afraid of not learning about it.

14) A good teacher opens the door for you, but you must enter the room by yourself.

15) A mountain never yields to the wind no matter how strong it is.

16) Live calmly. The time will come when the flowers bloom by themselves.

17) There’s no such thing as a friend who doesn’t have any flaws. But if you try to look for all their flaws, you will remain with no friends.

18) Unhappiness enters through a door that has been left open.

19) No one returns from a long journey the same person they were before.

20) A person who is capable of blushing cannot have a bad heart.

21) It’s better be a person for a day than to be a shadow for a 1,000 days.

22) Your home is where your thoughts find peace.

23) The man who moved the mountain was the one who began carrying away the smallest stones.

24) If you’ve made a mistake, it’s better just to laugh at it.

25) The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Epic Battle Scene


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is the Market the new God?

Is the Market the new God?

more stories from this episode

Is the Market the new God?

Harvey Cox has been at the forefront of divinity studies for over 50 years. But when he turned his attention from the Bible to the business pages, he realized our relationship with the market has all the markings of a religion.

This September in Montreal, acclaimed theologian Harvey Cox stood in front of a room full of the world's greatest minds in religion and told them about a conversation he'd had with a friend.
Harvey Cox 1
Harvey Cox speaking at the 3rd Global Conference on World's Religions in Montreal, QC. (Eva Blue)
"A few years ago a friend of mine said to me, 'You spend a lot of your years studying religion, studying theology and all of that. But if you want to know what's really going on in the world you want to read the Wall Street Journal and the business pages of the New York Times. Because that's where the real decisions are made. That's where things really happen.' So... I did."
Harvey Cox has been at the forefront of religious studies for over 50 years and is Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University. When he took his friend's advice and turned his attention from the Bible to the business pages, he realized our relationship with the market has all the markings of a religion.
"It occurs to me that we now have, among the religions of the world […] the great powerful growing religion of Marketism."
In his new book The Market as God, Cox describes the underpinnings of what he refers to as the "deified market". He points to correlations between religious institutions and market capitalism to explain how consumerism is the new religious order.

Why is the Market the new god?

  • At the core of the Market is a controlling narrative (you must consume to be fulfilled)
  • The Market has a set of rituals (shopping)
  • It has its own cathedrals and houses of worship (shopping malls)
  • The Market has missionaries and priests who spread the word (advertisers, business executives, etc...)
    "We often think about how Christian and Muslim missionaries or others have reached out the whole way around the globe. These missionaries are parochial in comparison with the enormous efforts and penetration of the missionaries of the Market God. There isn't a village anywhere in the world now -- I defy you to find one -- that hasn't been touched by the Market missionaries." - Harvey Cox
  • The Market has its own prophets, those who are engaged to look into the future, tell us what will happen, and tell us where to invest our funds
  • The Market is omnipresent: it is everywhere. The use of Market values has permeated courtship and family life (such as paying children to do the dishes), medicine, and academia (Cox points to the way students are now viewed as customers). The ads on our computer screens and the telemarketers in our phones are more evidence of this omnipresence.
  • The Market is omnipotent: we trust in the ultimate wisdom of the Market. Even after the financial crisis of 2008, which revealed the market's fallibility, Cox argues people continue to have faith in the market as a self-correcting deity that eventually will restore order. Cox responds, "The poor are still waiting."
  • The Market makes use of parables. Cox describes how rabbis traditionally teach through parables and argues, "Every commercial is a mini parable":
    Act 1: A person is troubled by something (restless legs, blemished skin).
    Act 2: Somebody holding a bottle or a package promises a solution (get some today, do it now!)
    Act 3: Happy resolution. Problem solved.

Is it fair to say these qualities make it a religion?

Harvey Cox "The Market as God"
 To answer this question, Cox paraphrases anthropologist Clifford Geertz's widely accepted definition of religion:
Religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and longstanding moods and motivations. It formulates these in terms of a worldview that influences human behaviour over the long run.
Cox says, "This is exactly what the Market God is doing. It's a system of symbols, stories, narratives [...] It has its own rituals, its own temples, its own priesthood, its own prophets. It is a complete system. And it has established -- and is establishing -- long lasting moods and motivations, the objective of which is to get us to buy things."

Click LISTEN to hear Harvey Cox's full lecture as recorded at the Third Global Conference on World's Religions After September 11 in Montreal.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Serpent (symbolism)

The serpent (a snake or snake-like entity) is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest Rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of Good and Evil.


Wikipedia:Serpent (symbolism)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Carl Jung on Zen Buddhism

Image result for Carl Jung

Carl Jung on Zen Buddhism: Don’t Underestimate Its Spiritual Depth

By The Power of Ideas
- February 13, 2017

Carl Jung is one of the greatest western psychologists to have ever existed. Through unlocking the mysteries of our unconscious, he helped people discover their true selves.

He spoke about the beauty of becoming “spiritually whole” and the value in asking ourselves the hard questions. Here is an example from one his quotes:

“I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.”

So when such a revolutionary western thinker talks about becoming our true selves, it’s fascinating to see what he thinks of Zen philosophy. As we all know, Zen philosophy is mainly focused on reducing suffering through achieving “enlightenment”.

Below is a forward by Carl Jung for “An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” by D.T Suzuki:

“I should like to warn the attentive and sympathetic reader, however, not to underestimate the spiritual depth of the East, or to assume that there is anything cheap and facile about Zen.

The assiduously cultivated credulity of the West in regard to Eastern thought is in this case a lesser danger, as in Zen there are fortunately none of those marvelously incomprehensible words that we find in Indian cults.

Neither does Zen play about with complicated hatha-yoga techniques, which delude the physiologically minded European into the false hope that the spirit can be obtained by just sitting and breathing.

On the contrary, Zen demands intelligence and will power, as do all greater things that want to become realities.” – Carl Jung

For more wisdom from Carl Jung, check out these articles:

Carl Jung On Where Loneliness Comes From

15 Amazing Quotes By Carl Jung That Will Help You To Better Understand Yourself

Carl Jung Explains What Happens When You Die  


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Albert Einstein, Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi with a friend in South Africa, circa 1900 -.

Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Rabindranath Tagore with Albert Einstein in 1926 at Einsteins Home in Berlin Germany

Rab Quotes:
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.]

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Buddhism's forgotten women:

Author Wendy Garling on Buddhism's forgotten women:

n both ancient lore and modern culture, we hear much about the Buddha's road to enlightenment – from his birth to his parinirvana, or death.
But missing from most accounts of Prince Siddhartha's life are the women who influenced him along the way and who played a significant role in his journey of awakening.
Wendy Garling is a writer, dharma teacher, and practicing Tibetan Buddhist. When she realized many of those stories were "hiding in plain sight," Garling began digging to find out more about the women in the Buddha's circle.
Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life
A retelling of the ancient legends of the women in the Buddha’s intimate circle by author Wendy Garling
Drawing on rare and lesser-known stories from ancient Sanskrit and Pali sources, Garling reinterprets the legends of the women in the Buddha's intimate circle in her book Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha's Life.
Her retelling of these ancient stories exposes the bias of those who first wrote down those stories, challenges the common understanding of women's roles in early Buddhism and sheds light on the sacred feminine in the faith.
"It's important to remember that at the time of the Buddha, everything was communicated through the oral traditions," Garling points out. "The stories that sprang up around his life were not written down for many hundreds of years… So there's no one way the stories were told."
She notes that many of the early stories were initially written down by monks at Buddhist monasteries, and those men may have focused on the more religious aspects of the Buddha's life and teachings, discarding details they deemed irrelevant.
"I think the forgotten stories I found - that are so important and so different - were less edited, frankly," she adds. "In many cases, they had no real religious purpose, but they were telling wonderful stories – stories about the Buddha, and stories about women."
Maya's dream of the birth of Gautama Siddharta, the Buddha

Here are some highlights:

  • Garling says traditional tellings of the Buddha's birth story seldom include women, even omitting the Buddha's birth mother, Mayadevi. Those accounts that do include Maya depict her as giving birth standing up, holding onto a tree for support, as Siddhartha emerged from her right side, with no blood or water exuded during the labour.  
  • Maya is thought to have died shortly afterwards, leaving Siddhartha to be raised by her sister, Mahapajapati, who is said to have been present at the birth. Artistic renderings often depict Mahapajapati holding Maya around the waist during the labour – symbolizing the role of both mothers in the Buddha's life. Later, after her husband died, Mahapajapati became a nun. When the Buddha finally decided to leave his palace home as he moved towards enlightenment, it was his second mother's tears and wisdom that sent him on his way.
    Painting of the birth of Gautama Buddha, out of the side of Queen Mahamaya

  • Goddesses played a role in early Buddhism. For instance, Garling argues the tree Maya held onto during the Buddha's birth was actually Abhayadevi, a goddess of protection who lowered her branch to support Maya during birth. Buddhism includes many female deities, including goddesses of peace, compassion, and liberation.
  • Before he became the Buddha, Siddhartha had a harem of women. In a commonly told story, the consorts are ordered by Brahmin gods to appear vulgar and ugly in order to repel Siddhartha from desire and other earthly gratification. In Garling's retelling, at the urging of a wisdom goddess, the women themselves conspire to drive Siddhartha away. Instead of being passive, the women actively help release Siddhartha from his final attachment.


How religious fervour changes your brain.

Dec 3
. on how religious fervour changes your brain.

Religion is like a drug, at least according to our brains.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Towering Cypress, by Katsushika Hokusai

冨嶽三十六景 甲州三島越

Mishima Pass, Mount Fuji, and the Towering Cypress

by Katsushika Hokusai


Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving

Philosopher Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving and What Is Keeping Us from Mastering It

“There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.”

“To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love,” the great Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn admonished in his terrific treatise on how to love — a sentiment profoundly discomfiting in the context of our cultural mythology, which continually casts love as something that happens to us passively and by chance, something we fall into, something that strikes us arrow-like, rather than a skill attained through the same deliberate practice as any other pursuit of human excellence. Our failure to recognize this skillfulness aspect is perhaps the primary reason why love is so intertwined with frustration.

That’s what the great German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900–March 18, 1980) examines in his 1956 masterwork The Art of Loving (public library) — a case for love as a skill to be honed the way artists apprentice themselves to the work on the way to mastery, demanding of its practitioner both knowledge and effort.

Erich Fromm
Fromm writes:
This book … wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him. It wants to convince the reader that all his attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement.
Fromm considers our warped perception of love’s necessary yin-yang:
Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable.
People think that to love is simple, but that to find the right object to love — or to be loved by — is difficult. This attitude has several reasons rooted in the development of modern society. One reason is the great change which occurred in the twentieth century with respect to the choice of a “love object.”

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss
Our fixation on the choice of “love object,” Fromm argues, has seeded a kind of “confusion between the initial experience of ‘falling’ in love, and the permanent state of being in love, or as we might better say, of ‘standing’ in love” — something Stendhal addressed more than a century earlier in his theory of love’s “crystallization.” Fromm considers the peril of mistaking the spark for the substance:
If two people who have been strangers, as all of us are, suddenly let the wall between them break down, and feel close, feel one, this moment of oneness is one of the most exhilarating, most exciting experiences in life. It is all the more wonderful and miraculous for persons who have been shut off, isolated, without love. This miracle of sudden intimacy is often facilitated if it is combined with, or initiated by, sexual attraction and consummation. However, this type of love is by its very nature not lasting.

The two persons become well acquainted, their intimacy loses more and more its miraculous character, until their antagonism, their disappointments, their mutual boredom kill whatever is left of the initial excitement. Yet, in the beginning they do not know all this: in fact, they take the intensity of the infatuation, this being “crazy” about each other, for proof of the intensity of their love, while it may only prove the degree of their preceding loneliness.
There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.

Illustration by Julie Paschkis from Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown
The only way to abate this track record of failure, Fromm argues, is to examine the underlying reasons for the disconnect between our beliefs about love and its actual machinery — which must include a recognition of love as an informed practice rather than an unmerited grace. Fromm writes:
The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art? The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice. If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body, and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one — my intuition, the essence of the mastery of any art. But, aside from learning the theory and practice, there is a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art — the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art. This holds true for music, for medicine, for carpentry — and for love. And, maybe, here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.
In the remainder of the enduringly excellent The Art of Loving, Fromm goes on to explore the misconceptions and cultural falsehoods keeping us from mastering this supreme human skill, outlining both its theory and its practice with extraordinary insight into the complexities of the human heart. Complement it with French philosopher Alain Badiou on why we fall and stay in love and Mary Oliver on love’s necessary madnesses.