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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Can we learn from the Regrets of the Dying?

 The top five regrets of the dying:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

 Top five regrets of the dying | Life and style |


Source: Ithaca


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Constantine P. Cavafy

(1863 - 1933)

Cavafy, one of the most prominent Greek poets, was born on April 29, 1863 and died on the same date in 1933 in Alexandria (Egypt). Here's a short biographical note by the poet himself:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saraswati: Goddess of Wisdom

Saraswati - encyclopedia article about Saraswati.





Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom, learning, and the arts. As the goddess of knowledge both earthly and divine, she is considered to be the "Mother of the Vedas," the oldest scriptures in Hinduism. 

She is also the consort of Brahma, creator of the universe. She is usually depicted wearing all white and is either seated on a lotus or riding a swan. Unlike some goddesses—such as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth—Saraswati is depicted with modest clothes and little jewelry. 

The name Saraswati came from "saras" (meaning "flow") and "wati" (meaning "a woman"). So, Saraswati is symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman.

Saraswati is known as a guardian deity in Buddhism who upholds the teachings of Gautama Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Buddhist wisdom and questions of science

Buddhist wisdom and questions of science | The Japan Times Online

Buddhist wisdom and questions of science

Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: 
A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, 
by B. Alan Wallace. Columbia University Press, 2011, 304 pp.

This book is a stirring attack on the hubris and blind spots of the scientific establishment, combined with an engaging presentation of Buddhist wisdom as the antidote.

B. Alan Wallace upholds the full panoply of classical Buddhist teachings, as taught in Tibet, and does not shy away from a frontal conflict with the dogmatic presuppositions of contemporary science.

He shows that materialist dogma keeps scientists from any understanding of human consciousness and freedom, and leads them into absurdities...

Coming to his positive proposals, Wallace first confronts us with the unpleasant doctrine of reincarnation: Death is not the end of our woes, but it consigns us to a new chapter in the endless round of painful rebirths, perhaps as animals — unless we are so privileged as to attain nirvana. This, he thinks, can be scientifically established: Young children remember their previous existence, and the Buddha had clear recall of all his past lives.

Wallace makes the claim that Buddhism can found a new science of consciousness and of the physical universe.

The International Shamatha Project, newly launched with the blessing of the Dalai Lama (, lays the basis for this scientific revolution by having people meditate in retreat centers for six hours a day, so as to attain the state of quiescence known as shamatha and thence proceed to clear insight into the fabric of existence.
The meditator sees the ultimate emptiness of everything that claims to have stable, substantial identity, and discovers the role of subjective fabrication in the creation of what appears as an objective, physical world.

Many scientists would agree that their discourse is a set of conventions, not a direct transcription of the way things really are. Quantum physics, which Wallace plays off against barren scientific materialism, shows that at the subatomic level it is impossible to separate the roles of observer and observed.

Extending this to the whole universe, he claims that "the past has no existence except as it is recorded in the present," and our decisions about what to observe determine "what kind of a universe emerges in our experience as being objectively real" (p. 85).

Can Buddhist wisdom, even with the alleged support of quantum physics, shake the security of scientific fact and logic?

Science, at its canniest, goes part of the way to meet Buddhist awareness of conventionality, relativism and mind-based interpretation of reality, but it cannot go the whole way.

 Read More:
Joseph S. O'Leary, professor of English literature at Sophia University, is an Irish theologian.
His 2011 Etienne Gilson lectures on Western philosophy and Buddhist concepts have been published by Presses Universitaires de France.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Exorcist Needed

Exorcist expertise sought after Saskatoon 'possession' - Saskatchewan - CBC News

A case of what is being called possible demonic possession in Saskatoon has prompted local church officials to consider the need for an exorcist.

CBC News spoke with a Catholic priest involved in the case, which arose in March, and agreed not to identify participants in order to protect their privacy..........

The issues revolve around the nature of evil and how to respond to people who claim they have the devil in them.
Clay said he does not dismiss how evil can affect people.

"I take evil very, very seriously," Clay said. "I take the effect that it has on people very seriously, but I don't think that there's any quick fix. The word exorcism worries me a little bit, because it's been given a Hollywood sort of flavour to it, and it's not as simple as that. You don't just say you've got the devil, I'm going to drive it out."

Like the bishop, Clay advocates a measured approach to dealing with claims of possession.

Carl Jung

Main Article:Karger Gazette No 71> Swiss Pioneers in Science and Medicine
Karger Gazette No 71> Swiss Pioneers in Science and Medicine

Becoming Oneself

Carl-Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the most famous student of the Bleuler School. Impressed with Jung's talent, profound education and scientific interest, Bleuler brought him into contact with Freud in 1907.

After their first encounter Jung became so fascinated with Freud and his teachings that he began to neglect his clinical duties in favor of his research. Thus, Bleuler asked him to resign from the clinic in 1908.

 After doing so, Jung became more active in psychoanalytical research. The analytical psychology he developed had almost as large an international audience as Freud's psychoanalysis. He adopted the term 'complex' to refer to an unconscious set of feelings and beliefs, and had his own ideas about the unconscious, to which he later added the term 'collective unconscious'. 

His education in the humanities enabled him to view psychological processes in a new light. He saw symbols found in artwork, fairytale, mythology and dreams as the key to understanding the unconscious. He coined new terms like 'archetypes', 'anima/animus' and 'shadow'.

Spirituality as found in mythology, Gnosticism and religion was an important source of self-discovery for him: Werde der Du bist ('become who you are') summarized his ideas of individuation. 

Becoming oneself was for Jung not only a therapeutic goal, but a personal one, achieved only after dealing with internal and external conflicts. 

Freud's teachings had a major impact on Jung in the short time that they worked closely together. They shared the idea of an unconscious, to which access is provided through dreams, and felt that childhood development has a great impact on the adult psyche.

They held each other in such high regard that Freud nominated Jung to be the first president of the new International Psychoanalytical Association. Freud asked Jung to accompany him on speaking tours in the USA, appointed him as an editor and saw him – his most important non-Jewish student – as his future successor and protector of the psychoanalytical movement.

Nevertheless, the importance Freud placed on childhood sexuality, the omnipresence of the Oedipus complex and the idea of a libido that was purely sexually orientated were themes Jung could no longer support. 

He parted ways from Freud in 1913, setting off many lasting conflicts in their field. It was very hard for Freud to overcome his deep disappointment, as he had hoped Jung's international contacts would bring him out of his intellectual isolation. Jung, on the other hand, fell into a deep inner crisis after the loss of Freud's spiritual-fatherly support.

However, Jung stepped back from his professional activities and developed his own theories further. He embarked on a journey to discover inner truth that was unique in the history of science. He immersed himself in an incessant stream of inner fantasies and images, which would later help form his theories. His process of finding inner truth lasted for more than a decade and was recorded by Jung in a book, Liber Novus.

This mysterious 'red book' (the leather cover was red) slowly became known among Jung devotees, but his heirs withheld it from the public. It was not until 2007 that Jung's grandson agreed to have the book published. It turned out that the book was not a collection of autobiographical notes, but rather numerous symbolic sketches and texts, which were only of limited interest to the wider public.

In his papers and books, Jung comes across as sensitive and introverted. There was, however, another side to him, a 'homo politicus', which was very active in the organization and expansion of psychotherapy in its early days – a talent which had been utilized by Freud.

While in later life Jung insisted he was not interested in starting any 'schools', in the mid-1920s he was very much involved in the congress movement, serving as vice-president of the Allgemeine Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie (General Medical Society for Psychotherapy).

When one of the co-founders, Ernst Kretschmer, resigned in protest against the restrictions placed upon them by the National Socialists, he encouraged Jung (as a representative of a neutral country) to found another society, the Internationale Allgemeine Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie, which Jung agreed to do in order to protect persecuted Jewish colleagues.

Despite this, he simultaneously began to cooperate with the institute of Matthias Göring (a relative of a senior Nazi). Additionally, it was found that some of his writings contained racist views. So, although he tried to maintain contacts for scientific discourse on an international level, his political views posed problems for him in the 1930s as well as in the post-war era.

In 1985, the American historian Geoffrey Cocks came to the conclusion that although Jung showed a naive enthusiasm for the National Socialists, he was never active in supporting them in their political goals.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


"The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods." 

- Theodor Reik

Saturday, April 7, 2012

'Taking Up Serpents'

Reviving Faith by 'Taking Up Serpents' -

Reviving Faith by 'Taking Up Serpents'
For a new generation of Internet-savvy Pentecostals, a century-old practice provides 'anointing'

This year's Easter service at the Tabernacle Church of God in La Follette, Tenn., will include many of the holiday's traditional rituals, like Holy Communion and footwashing.

There will also be some startling novelties.

"It will be filled with shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues, serpent handling and fire handling," said its 21-year-old pastor, Andrew Hamblin. "We'll celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a good old time."

Since he opened its doors last fall, Mr. Hamblin's small Pentecostal church, 39 miles north of Knoxville, has grown to almost 50 members, most of them in their 20s. Part of his strategy for expansion has been to use Facebook to publicize the daredevil spiritual exploits of his congregation.

 Photos: Snake Handling as Spiritual Practice
 Lauren Pond
Micah Golden, left, and Andrew Hamblin during a service on Dec. 31, 2011.

The service lasted for about five hours and took place at Hamblin's church, the Tabernacle Church of God, in La Follette, Tenn.

Best known for what they call "gifts of the Holy Spirit," like speaking in tongues and giving prophetic utterances, Pentecostals seek a direct, personal connection to God. The movement dates back to 1901 and has mushroomed in recent decades to some 15 million adherents in the U.S. and 279 million world-wide, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

But the major Pentecostal denominations condemn snake handling, and Mr. Hamblin's risk-taking sometimes gets the best of him. At midnight on New Year's Eve, he was bitten on his index finger by a yellow timber rattlesnake. He staggered and then dropped to his knees. After a few minutes, he got up.

"I felt the anointing of God more than I'd ever felt," he said a day later over pizza.

A boyish-looking young man, Mr. Hamblin has a day job as a cashier at the local IGA store and lives with his wife and four children in a three-bedroom apartment. His Facebook page is full of photos of him handling copperheads, cottonmouths and various kinds of rattlesnakes, despite Tennessee's ban on the poisonous reptiles.

"Serpent handling," as Pentecostals prefer to call it, began in 1909 near Cleveland, Tenn., and has been practiced ever since in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and parts of Alabama and Georgia. It is based on Mark 16:17-18, which says that Christians "will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them."

"The tradition had been declining until recently because the pastors were aged and not attracting new believers," said Ralph Hood, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who has written about the practice. "But now that it's gone digital, that is going to increase its popularity."

Prof. Hood has seen an uptick of young practitioners. "When they feel called and have the anointing, they are like rock stars," he said. "When they handle serpents, they either have 'victory,' in which God has granted them power over the serpent, or if bit and even killed, that demonstrates their obedience and assurance of salvation."

The term "anointing" refers to power given by the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals believe that when people are anointed by God, nothing evil can hurt them.

Standing in the front pew at the New Year's Eve service was a group of young women in long skirts, long hair and no makeup. One of them was Kasi Powers, 21, of nearby Duff, Tenn. She first handled a snake in November: "Andrew handed me a big old cane brake rattler. It was an amazing feeling. I felt anointed." A few weeks later, her 24-year-old husband, Daniel, followed suit.

Mr. Hamblin's wife, Elizabeth, 20, also embraces the practice. Although she was 7½ months pregnant on New Year's Eve, she handled several rattlesnakes. Mr. Hamblin said, "I've had some awfully mean snakes that she's handled like house cats."

Mr. Hamblin won't allow anyone under 18 to touch the reptiles, but he guesses that there are at least 14 people under 30 who are handling serpents in his church. One is Micah Golden, 21, who said, "I'd watched YouTube videos of people handling serpents, and I used to say 'I'm going to do that some day.'"

Mr. Hamblin said that he spent a year praying and fasting before he took up snake handling in 2009. "I love the feeling of power, the anointing that moves on me when I handle snakes," he said. "I'd rather handle snakes than eat or drink."

He learned the practice from Jamie Coots, 40, pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in nearby Middlesboro, Ky. "There are more younger people in it now than what it was when I got married 21 years ago," Mr. Coots said, estimating that there are some 20 snake-handling churches in his area of Kentucky alone.

As for Mr. Hamblin, "He has been a little antsy and anxious, and I've had to get on him in wanting to handle snakes a whole lot. I had to tell him it is not something you have to do all the time."

—Ms. Duin is the former religion editor of the Washington Times. A version of this article appeared April 7, 2012, on page C3 in some U.S. edition

Bodhi Dharma Action Figure

Zen Mirror: Bodhi Dharma Action Figure

Bodhi Dharma Action Figure

Well now I have seen everything, and I am not sure about all the poses they show as none of them have in a seated meditation pose and not sure if he can actually sit that way. Too bad they didn't have and cushion accessories or perhaps even the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. Anyway, here is what they say about it. 


While many legends exist, few can dispute that Bodhi Dharma is the founder of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan. The son of a wealthy Brahman king of Southern India, Dharma traveled east to Southern China to preach the teachings of zen. He eventually crossed the Yangtze River and continued north until he arrived at a small monastery called the Shaolin Temple.

Monks at the Shaolin Temple were peaceful and did not practice martial arts. Dharma’s emphasis on self-enlightenment and strength introduced radical preset forms of martial arts to the monastery. Hailed as the father of the Han Shaolin Fist, Bodhi Dharma has been long recognized as one of the most significant influences in Chinese martial arts as we know – establishing the Shaolin Temple as the revered martial arts epicenter of the world.

Triad Toys is proud to debut the much anticipated Legends line with Bodhi Dharma. The Legends series is Triad’s unique take on mythical and legendary heroes. This product line is one of our longest running passion projects that we want to see produced. Every character is envisioned with the same style and quality you’ve come to love about Triad Toys. No detail is left out of this figure – his clothes are meticulously designed with multiple layers and choice fabrics, he comes with four (4) pairs of hands for all the kung-fu poses you can possibly imagine, his headsculpt is wildly imaginative and hand-painted to perfection, his weapon utilizes the ATAC system and converts into five different weapons! To guarantee the highest level of detail and collectability, Dharma is a limited production of only 400 pieces worldwide!

Well I guess that is what happens when two traditions share the same Icon. Preorder yours today at Triad Toys.