a buddhist carnival – first 2009 edition!

camelswelcome to the buddhist blog carnival! sometimes, rather than a carnival, i would like to call it a caravan. i’ve always liked camels, what can i say …

poem: man is not our enemy
we always start off with a poem. here is one by thich nhat hanh, presented by change the dream

promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember brother, remember:
man is not our enemy.

the only thing worthy of you is compassion –
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.

you can read the rest of this poem here.

emptiness, buddhism and monotheism
ben offers nothing in its essence. i hadn’t met ben before but really enjoyed his careful insights and obvious knowledge of theology. this post draws interesting connections between how buddhism, christianity and the jewish tradition deal with the idea of “nothing” or emptiness.

buddhism is one means of liberation from what william blake called “the mind-forg’d manacles.” within the monotheist tradition one can find echoes of the same refrain, for what else is idolatry but the worship of that which behind appearances is not real?

lazy!
zen habits has a great post, the lazy manifesto: do less.  then, do even less. the post itself is quite inspiring (love the saying, “lazy people never started a war”), and some of the comments are interesting, too. for example, here is one by tara:

in the introduction of the tibetan book of living and dying by sogyal rinpoche, the author (i think) discusses laziness. he describes what he calls the laziness in the east, where people lounge around and smoke hookahs all day (i’m paraphrasing). but in the west, he says that people are lazy by being busy – filling their days with unnecessary movement and busywork. i always thought that was an interesting take on laziness.

boring?
genkaku was the first buddhist online writer i ever followed, even before i started blogging.  what do you think of his take on the proliferation of buddhist sites?

last night, when there was little work to be done … i went snooping the internet for topics on buddhism. there were a lot of sites and i skimmed them as i might pop another potato chip in my mouth while watching a football game — without much attention.there were diatribes against e-sangha and there were descriptions of NKT and there were general outlines of one kind of buddhist approach and another. what caught my attention was how little interest i had in any of it. it was like chewing a piece of gum … the jaws kept moving, but the flavor had disappeared …

too many buddhas. maybe that is more frightening than too few. but it does remind me of a calligraphy a monk friend once gave me: it said, “not one buddha.” and it also reminds me of an ill-remembered ikkyu — cranky as i imagined him — complaining about those who badgered and informed others about “buddha” … “stop being a goddamned pest!” he said more or less.

yoga mind, beginners mind

day after day, month after month, year after year, practice can grow stale and arrogant if i don’t re-invigorate mind and body in what zen master, suzuki roshi refers to as beginner’s mind. in yoga asana practice i need to remind myself to approach the physical aspect of any pose with “beginner’s body.”

this is an excerpt from the laughing yogini’s beginner’s mind and body: one-legged yoga.

“yes we can!” – who can?
praveen points to an article in the latest edition of oneness – the quarterly newsletter of the bright dawn institute for american buddhism.

this article by the rev. koyo kubose, called “yes we can!” started out by commenting on the excitement around the recent historical u.s. presidential election, and how it has rekindled hope and optimism about america.

but then, the article took a very interesting turn, and offered the reader a very profound exercise:

imagine that you are a “nation” and have just been elected “president”. can you translate all your new wishes and hopes into hard work and action? can you stop dwelling on and making excuses for past failures? can you overcome apathy? can you avoid “wars” with others?

buddhism, desire and the law of attraction
abraham-hicks, the guru of the law of attraction, discusses desire at you are truly loved. i think it’s useful  for this type of conversation and cross-reference to take place, especially since buddhism and the law of attraction seem to be very much at cross purposes when it comes to the topic of desire. let’s hear what they have to say.

in buddhism it is taught that the source of all suffering lies in both desire and ignorance. the ignorance stems from not knowing who we are and not perceiving the world as it actually is. by desire, buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods, and immortality, all of which are wants that can never be satisfied. as a result, desiring them can only bring suffering and so desire is, in a sense, considered a ‘bad’ thing.

as fellow spiritual blogger tom stine points out, it’s not truly the desire that’s the issue, but rather the attachment to and identification with desire by the separate self. this attachment is sometimes called ‘clinging.’ it is the clinging that is what needs to be let go of, not the literal dropping of desires altogether to become some sort of celibate monk. desires that arise are like anything else that arises within the field of awareness. they’re inherently neutral. just an object of awareness.

good people, bad people
you gotta go to wise curve’s post and look at the image! please! especially if you like to see george bush happy 🙂

and even though wise curve doesn’t talk about buddhism, there are some good ideas here. labelling people “good” or “bad” isn’t very useful.

in our life, there’s a small percentage of “good” people who always support us and a certain percentage of “bad” people who always trouble us. the rest are majority who are relatively “neutral”. this should be our rational expectation toward people around us. it’s too optimistic to expect everyone to be “perfect” and if we really have this expectation, we will live miserably because we will meet “bad” people who break our perfect expectation from time to time. this is the same as meeting “bad” people in life. there will be “good” people coming in to your life so we don’t need to focus too much on the “bad” apples and neglect the positive aspect of social life.

in reality, there’s no such thing as good or bad people. people only make “good” or “bad” decision or action in a specific time. someone may do good deeds 10 minutes ago and commit crime on the next day.

finally, two more submissions: from richard about consciousness and awareness and from jon, containing a poem called nirvana.

that’s it the january buddhist carnival. if you have any submissions for next month’s carnival (february 15, 2009), please send them to me here, or, if you have a hard time connecting to blog carnival, drop me a line.

image by wildxplorer

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