Over the past few years, we've learned about the heartbreaking and dharma-destroying persecutions of Muslims by a small group of Buddhist monks in Myanmar.
Fortunately, Myanmar also has monastics who exemplify the Buddha's teachings in actions and speech. This video profiles one of these monks, Venerable Tayzar Dipati, a man who cares for young HIV patients and who also mediates intercultural harmony.
And the man's face . . . Oh, it's the gift of dharma practice!
Regular readers know how much I respect Somewhere in Dhamma, a fine blog written by Joseph Bengivenni. So when I planned my trip to Korea, I very much wanted to visit with Joseph and his family. Thanks to Joseph's flexibility and the efforts of my friend, Hee Suk, we were able to meet together at Haeinsa.
Haeinsa is one of the most important temples in Korean Buddhism. It houses the famous Tripitaka Koreana, the entire Buddhist canon carved in Chinese characters on over 81,000 wooden blocks, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Frankly, the temple was a bit pimped out for my taste. When I was last there, in 1996, it had a much calmer, more respectful atmosphere. But on this visit there were bright banners and a "fun" maze for people to follow. Okay, I guess, but I wasn't there for fun.
Instead, I had the great pleasure of hanging out with Joseph and his family. In fact, the temple bling faded into the background as Joseph, Eunbong, Fina, Hee Suk and I got to know one another.
At two years old, Fina was on top of her game. I was entranced and she sorta seemed to like me, too. I thought to myself, "Oh, this is what it would be like to be a grandfather!" Not bad at all.
We were joined by a local tea master, one of Hee Suk's many friends, who helped us tour the temple grounds and with whom we went to dinner. Finally, we ended the day at a wonderful exhibition of traditional Korean Buddhist texts, which included the world's first books printed with movable metal type (sorry, Gutenberg!).
On the leaving the exhibition, Fina took my finger and we strolled into the night. Wow!
Can we as conscious citizens and engaged Buddhists create our collective future mindfully? It is a social engagement Intention experiment to consciously shift the 'Evolutionary Path' of the planet to create an abundant yet sustainable human-scale economy, a global culture of peace, partnership, genuine free market, unlimited potential for conscious living and right livelihood. Be part of a shared dream, collective solution and joyful evolution.
Susmita began the blog in 2007 (why haven't I discovered it before?) and the posts are exactly as promised: deep, provocative examinations of how to live correctly within a capitalist economic system. Please check it out and add the site to your blogroll.
Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
Although I rarely read non-fiction, I recently read A Land of Ghosts, by David Campbell, for the second time.
This extraordinary book explores the hidden streams and valleys that give rise to the Amazon River. It also painstakingly describes the ongoing devastation of that land.
Despite its tragic subject, A Land of Ghosts is a work of great feeling.
I came to the River for science, but I stayed for the beauty. My
memories of the species I found—each an invocation of sunlight and water
and minerals— and of the play of light in the canopy, the night sounds,
the aromas and textures of the forest, the time and space shared with
friends on the frontier make up a tapestry of experience so rich that
now, years later and thousands of kilometers away, it imbues my papery
life with dimension and perspective.
I once wrote a book about
Antarctica, a place where form and light are distilled into a few
simple, evocative phrases, where only a few species have managed to
climb ashore and survive. Antarctica is parsimonious and therefore easy
to characterize. It is biological haiku. But how do I describe the
inchoate green tapestry of the Amazon Valley, this apex of earthly
diversity? Imagine: there are more species of lichens, liverworts,
mosses, and algae growing on the upper surface of a single leaf of an
Amazonian palm than there are on the entire continent of Antarctica. How
do I reduce this voluptuous diversity to words?
Where do I begin?
We humans depend wholly upon this whirling blue sphere. And yet we deforest 9,000 square miles of the Amazon basin each year. Might we want to know more about our home?
After reading some of my earlier posts on the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, Chong Go Sunim (of Wake Up and Laugh!) sent me a link to the clip below. It's a wonderful expression of "loving-anger."
The two "commentators," John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, capture the painful absurdity of BP's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
I appreciate the humor in the above clip. But the situation remains serious and the American government's response to the catastrophe remains wholly inadequate. If you'd like to see what a genuine response to the oil spill might look like, "Fake President" Rachel Maddow offers her "oval office" viewpoint. I found this an impressive example of loving-anger and encourage you to watch it to the end.
Thank you for reading Ox Herding. May you find relief over the weekend!
P.S. If you just can't get enough on this topic, here's Jon Stewart on the history of "oil independence:"
As you know, an enormous earthquake struck the island of Haiti yesterday. The first relief ships have reported extraordinary destruction.
Susann and I have a friend (an emergency room physician) who spends part of each year providing medical services in Haiti. I emailed her today for recommendations of relief agencies with existing infrastructure on the island.
Her recommendations - all worthy - are below.
The need is urgent beyond belief. Please consider making a generous donation in support of the Haitian people.