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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Salman Rushdie - The Enchantress of Florence

loaded by on Jun 19, 2008

The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It is the story of two cities, unknown to each other, at the height of their powers--the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolò Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power.

Salman Rushdie is the author of nine previous novels, including Midnight's Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981 and, in 1993, was judged to be the "Booker of Bookers," the best novel to have won that prize in its first twenty-five years) and The Satanic Verses (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel). He is also the author of a book of stories, East, West, and three works of nonfiction---Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, and The Wizard of Oz. He is co-editor of Mirrorwork, an anthology of contemporary Indian writing.

This event took place on June 18, 2008, as a part of the Authors@Google series.



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Authors@Google: Salman Rushdie - YouTube

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ethiopian Proverbs

When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion.

When one is prepared, difficulties do not come.

What one desires is always better than what one has.

Unless you call out, who will open the door?

What is taken for oneself is usually not a small piece.


What is inflated too much, will burst into fragments.

Ethiopian Proverb : Proverbatim


Deadly Hunt: Albinos in Tanzania - YouTube

Uploaded by on Oct 19, 2009
United Nations, New York, 19 October 2009 - In Tanzania, albinos - people who lack pigmentation in their skin, hair and eyes - have long suffered discrimination. Recently they have begun living in terror. Rumors about their magical powers are having deadly consequences.



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Deadly Hunt: Albinos in Tanzania - YouTube

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Evolutionary Dr Pepper ad spurs religious kerfuffle - Life Inc.


 Controversy is good business:

Evolutionary Dr Pepper ad spurs religious kerfuffle

Dr Pepper

This ad has created an online uproar.

Dr Pepper marched directly into controversy a week ago when it launched its “March of Progress” ad campaign. And the uproar has not abated.

On Sept. 13, the soft drink maker posted to its Facebook wall an ad using the classic “March of Progress” image tweaked to promote the “evolution of flavor.”

The whimsical ad showed a chimpanzee dragging his knuckles, followed by a semi-erect hominid reaching for a Dr Pepper, followed by a fully upright man walking and gulping a Dr Pepper.

The images are captioned “Pre-Pepper,” “Pepper Discovery,” and “Post-Pepper” respectively.

Sounds harmless. Even banal. But about 7,000 comment and nearly 33,000 likes later, the ad is still provoking reaction by creationists who say it promotes the theory of evolution.

Some are even threatening to boycott Dr Pepper. That in turn has stoked evolutionists to make counter comments. Then there's folks jumping on the pig pile just for laughs.

After all, we are talking about a soda pop ad, right?

The debate also blew up on popular link-sharing site Reddit, whose users flooded the thread to mock the outrage and post parody comment, further inflaming the debate and spreading the conversation ...

 Dr Pepper has posted over 450 images to its Facebook wall since 2009.  Most garnered a few hundred comments... proving:

 Controversy is good business

Read More:
Evolutionary Dr Pepper ad spurs religious kerfuffle - Life Inc.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Om Mani Padmi Hum

Om mani padme hum is the most important mantra in Buddhism. It is the six syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara.
Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script
Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script.

Om Mani Padme Hum on a stone
Om Mani Padme Hum inscribed on a stone.
The Dalai Lama is said to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, so the mantra is especially revered by his devotees. Click here to hear the mantra chanted by a Tibetan refugee.
The basic English translation of Om mani padme hum is "Om Jewel in the Lotus Hum" or "Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus." However, the meaning and significance of the six Tibetan syllables have been interpreted in a variety of ways. One common interpretation is that each syllable corresponds to one of the six realms of existence and purifies the vice associated with that realm:
  • Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods)
  • Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods)
  • Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm)
  • Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm)
  • Me purifies poverty and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts)
  • Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm)
It has also been said that recitation of each of the syllables prevents rebirth in the corresponding realm.
The first known description of the mantra appears in the Karandavyuha Sutra, which is part of certain Mahayana canons such as the Tibetan canon. In this sutra, the Buddha says:
"This is the most beneficial mantra. Even I made this aspiration to all the million Buddhas and subsequently received this teaching from Buddha Amitabha."
In his book Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, Gen Rinproche says of the mantra:
"The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?"


  1. Meher McArthur, Reading Buddhist Art: An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols (Thames & Hudson, 2004), 156.
  2. "Om Mani Padme Hum." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Gandhi Philosophy

These selections are from his speeches and writings and will give the reader some idea of the working of Gandhi's mind, the growth of his thoughts on peace, nonviolence, truth, love, God and the practical techniques which he adopted.
These selections are from his speeches and writings will give the reader some idea of the working of Gandhi's mind, the growth of his thoughts and the practical techniques which he adopted.
These selections are from his speeches and writings will give the reader some idea of the working of Gandhi's mind, the growth of his thoughts and the practical techniques which he adopted.


Hail the Jewel in the Lotus

'Om Mani Padme Hum'

'Om Mani Padme Hum' (translation: 'Hail the jewel in the lotus') is a six syllable invocation (mantra) of Avlokitesvara, one who is invoked as the Protector from danger. It is claimed that one who recites this mantra will be saved from all dangers and will be protected. This mantra is widely used in Mahayana Buddhism. One can find this mantra inscribed on rocks, prayer wheels, stupa walls, loose stones heaped as Mani (jewels) on roads, paths, mountain passes, the approaches and exits of villages. One can find this Mantra inscribed outwardly in the prayer wheels with millions of this mantra inscribed on paper inside the prayer wheels. The devotee turning one round of the prayer wheel means he recites this mantra millions of times. As this mantra is thought to save one from all dangers, it is widely used in pendants, rings, etc.

AHCJ | Resources: Where Science and Religion meet

Neorotheology: Where science and religion meet (Andrew Newberg presentation) Posted: 04/27/11

Andrew Newberg, M.D., director of research, Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College offers this presentation on how the brain is related to religious and spiritual practices and experiences, including studies on changes in the brain.

AHCJ | Resources

Sunday, September 16, 2012


"Do not be happy with richness and do not despair of poverty. Do not feel sad during affliction and do not rejoice over prosperity, for just as gold is tried by fire, the pious are tried by affliction. You will not attain what you want except by giving up what you desire, and you will not attain what you aspire to except by enduring patiently what you hate, and exerting yourself in implementing that which has been made compulsory upon you."
-- Hazrat Ali 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Amongst White Clouds by Edw. A. Burger

BLOGGER: I have watched this film over and aver many times.  It is truly fascinating and the location is beautiful and serene.  There is little evidence of human habitation and interference on the pristine setting.  The monks take only what they need from the environment, some rocks to build their one room hermitages and some weeds to eat.  Villagers bring them some food from time to time.  The monks practice meditation and contemplation of Buddhist texts where they find the instructions for their inner journey.  Meantime, they chop wood and carry water, also prescribed in the texts...


Zhongnan Mountain, The Origin of Taoism

Zhongnan MountainZhongnan Mountain also called Taiyi Mountain and Zhounan Mountain is one section of Qinling Cordillera starting from Meixian County of Baoji City in west area of Shaanxi province to Lantian in east area of Shaanxi province. Zhongnan Mountain has the deep and quiet mountains and valleys as well as sharp cliffs and paths. (

                                                                                     Sutra-Narration Center
 Zhongnan Mountain

The Zhongnan mountains have been a popular dwelling-place for Daoist hermits since at least the Qin Dynasty. Buddhist monks began living in the mountains after Buddhism's introduction into China from India in the early first millennium AD. 

The Complete Perfection Sect, one of the largest branches of modern Taoism, was founded in the Zhongnan mountains by Song Dynasty Taoist Wang Chongyang. 

Due to the mountains' close proximity to the ancient capital of Chang'an, officials who incurred the imperial court's wrath often fled to these mountains to escape punishment. 

( source:


 Edward A. Burger has been living in the People’s Republic of China for over eight years, working as a translator, filmmaker, cultural-exchange project coordinator and musician. 

Originally drawn to China as a student of Buddhism, he found his teacher, Master Guangkuan, in the Zhongnan Mountains in the winter of 1999. He completed his first documentary, Amongst White Clouds, about Zhongnan Mountain hermits in 2005.

Photo by Lin Lin
 Lin Lin, one of the hermits in the film, shown here being filmed by Edward Burger.

Amongst White Clouds: an 86-minute visit with Chinese Buddhist hermits in the Zhongnan Mountains.

Although Chinese Buddhists have retreated into the mountains for centuries, until this film we have not been able to encounter their lives and practices directly.

The filmmaker describes reading Bill Porter’s Road to Heaven, a travelogue about Chinese hermits, and wanting to meet some of the masters. One hermit became his teacher for several years, and his time spent in the mountains enabled him to meet others, all of whom have aided him on his own Buddhist path.

Hence, one reason this film stands out is that the director not only wants to document the hermits’ lives but he wants to learn from them as well, and most of the film is devoted simply to listening to the hermits’ pithy answers to the director’s questions. 
The film balances conversations with the hermits about their insights with scenes of daily life in the mountains and so allows the hermits to emerge as distinct personalities.

We quickly learn that “hermit” can mean a lot of different things: some live alone - miles from anyone, but others live in pairs or in small communities.

The hermits don’t just utter wisdom but are also talk about their difficulties.

Burger’s filmmaking attempts to express some essential qualities of the hermits’ lives.

The pace is slow, which allows us to experience the hermits’ thoughtful conversations and deliberate actions.
The occasional cuts to scenes of nature—a leaf, a bird, a mist-shrouded mountain—may remind us of Chinese Zen poems, which use similar images to convey the Zen concept of “thusness.”
There are many scenes of daily tasks: one long sequence shows a hermit dipping and straining water from a well, carrying it downhill, and pouring it ladle by ladle into a large pot—a way of pointing to the “everyday Zen” attitude of many Chinese texts (“when you work, just work” a hermit reminds us).  

Read More at the source::

Amongst White Clouds
Department of Philosophy and Religion
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Journal of Religion and Film: Film Review: Amongst White Clouds by Marwood Larson-Harris


Monday, September 10, 2012

Sharon Salzberg Interviewed

 Omega talks with Sharon Salzberg, who urges us to-

 live from love and take care of one another.

Omega:  What does it mean to you to be a spiritual teacher?

Sharon: I call myself a meditation teacher rather than a spiritual teacher. 

Omega: How do you measure if your students are progressing along the spiritual path?

Sharon: It wouldn't be because of something that happened in their meditation practice.

It would be because they're having a different experience of life.

Life continues, and we gradually notice we're having a different experience of it.

Omega:  Are you teaching people the art of being human or how to live meaningfully?

Sharon: Yes

Omega:  Meditation, as a way out of suffering, was your initial attraction.  Why?

Sharon: I had a very turbulent and painful childhood

Omega:  We don't talk to each other about feeling confused and scared and full of self-doubt.

Sharon:  When I learned the three noble truths -- I could do something about the suffering.

I couldn't change the circumstances, or make the loss or hurt go away, but I could change how I dealt with it. 

I could approach my pain with compassion instead of bitterness, in community rather than isolation. 

I realized the same was true of changing my relationship to pleasure. I could be so distracted, I wouldn't notice when something good did happen.

And with neutral things, like my daily routine, I was barely aware of being there.

The Buddha offered a very simple, pragmatic tool -- meditation -- to transform one's relationship to everything.

Omega: The Buddha said meditation is a way to end suffering.

How does the act of sitting in silence, which seems so simple, address suffering, which is so complex?


Meditation can be thought of as:

 -sitting quietly and being with what is. 
- a process where we train our attention. 

Both ways of viewing meditation help us be with whatever we are experiencing.

Concentration helps us steady our attention, which is important, because if we aren't centered, we'll get sucked into whatever painful experience comes along, and we won't be able to see clearly.

Mindfulness helps us refine our attention so we can be with the present moment rather than projecting out into the future or the past, or judging ourselves. 

Loving kindness helps us open our attention so we can stop being cruel to ourselves and others in the face of suffering and instead be more graceful and caring. 

They are all trainings in attention.


Omega: Perhaps if people understood that this isn't just about me, it's about me and my relationship to everything, they would feel encouraged to do it.

People can start with one minute each morning for a week and see what happens. Then they can add another minute the following week. By the end of the year they'll have a 20-minute practice.

Sharon:   Meditation practice has to be realistic for a person, and the thing that's more important than the amount of time is the regularity of it. 

Practicing every day is what changes things over time.




Omega Institute: A Way Out of Suffering: An Interview With Sharon Salzberg


Atheist Christopher Hitchens had no death-bed conversion

Hitchens' vast consumption of alcohol and obsessive smoking were not signs of fatalism, Carol Blue says.

Mr. Hitchens lived a  satisfying existence as a larger-than-life writer, public intellectual, orator, mischievous rogue and husband.    His death, in December, at age 62 — and the grotesque and moving accounts of his journey toward it — now published in his posthumously released mini-memoir, ­Mortality.
Mr. Hitchens learned he had advanced esophageal cancer in 2010 in the midst of a tour touting his real memoir, Hitch-22. Because of high-profile cancellations of his appearances, his cancer was revealed publicly.

Courtesy of Carol Blue - Christopher Hitchens and his wife, Carol Blue.

His writings on foreign policy, particularly after the 9/11 attacks, and bold eviscerations of prominent figures, including Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton and Bob Hope, had placed him in the popular conversation. His vocal criticism of religion made him a frequent public speaker and debater, especially after the 2007 publication of his book, God Is Not Great.

Religion comes up in Mortality, with the issues of prayer and the reaction of religious people to his malady comprising some of its most amusing portions.

“What if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating,” Mr. Hitchens wrote.

Mr. Hitchens had revelled in downing tumblers of Scotch and smoking unfiltered cigarettes; he was rarely photographed without a jaunty white protrusion or the haze of exhale, including on the cover of the original edition of Hitch-22, changed after his cancer diagnosis.

Although fewer than 100 pages, Mr. Hitchens’ account is gripping, darkly entertaining and enlightening.  

He dissects the minutiae of cancer treatment and its effects; the reactions of others to his circumstance and the impact they had on him. He muses on the etiquette and language of malady.

The book ends with fragments of lines and thoughts he typed as he lay in hospital, are an odd ending and might form its saddest part:
mortality is forever.  

 Source: National Post

Atheist Christopher Hitchens had no death-bed conversion, widow says | World | News | National Post


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stephen Hawking: Does God Exist? - YouTube

Stephen Hawking: Does God Exist? - YouTube


Please Take Your Shoes Off, and Don’t Mind The Rats : Discovery Channel

Whenever I took my shoes off before entering one of the holy temples in India, I didn’t seem to mind; it was out of respect after all, something that becomes habit when you’re in the country. However, it was a completely different situation when arriving at the Karni Mata Temple, in the city of Deshnoke in Rajasthan — where tens of thousands of rats roam freely. I may have considered these rodents to be vermin in the city sewers and subway tracks back home, but here they are not a nuisance — in fact, they are revered as holy reincarnations.
Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke, India.
Worships offer food and drink to their holy rats. Photo: Erik R. Trinidad.
According to Hindu lore, Karni Mata, a matriarch during the 14th century believed to be the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga, tried to bring a dead child in her tribe back to life. She asked for this favor to Yama, the god of death, who didn’t exactly do the deed but compromised by reincarnating the child as a rat. And from that day forward, all the deceased males of her tribe would be reincarnated as such. Six hundred years later, these males and all their descendants live in the temple.
The holy rats, or kabbas as they are called, scurry around the marble floors and through the cracks in the walls. Faithful worshipers come from far distances to pay their respects with offerings of food and milk, while barefoot tourists like myself come in — some of which are undoubtedly squeamish — to witness this offbeat faction of Hinduism. It was inevitable when a rat ran over my bare foot — something that would have definitely freaked me out back home — but I kept my cool out of respect; it was probably someone’s uncle after all.

Please Take Your Shoes Off, and Don’t Mind The Rats : Discovery Channel

Karni MataTemple, Deshnoke the Temple of Rats.

Sandstone Erotica - Sacred Site