Talk given at the Golden Buddha Centre, Totnes. England
18 May 2014
If I have harmed anyone, in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me, in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them.
And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that
For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself."
Truth is sought for its own sake … Finding the truth is difficult, and the road to it is rough. For the truths are plunged in obscurity … God, however, has not preserved the scientist from error and has not safeguarded science from shortcomings and faults. If this had been the case, scientists would not have disagreed upon any point of science…
Therefore, the seeker after the truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency.
Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency."
Ibn al-Haytham, Father of the Scientific Method - 'Doubts on Ptolemy'
Ibn al-Haytham was a devout Muslim, and his theology influenced his outlook on science. He believed that God made the world difficult to understand and that skepticism and critical analysis were the only way to illuminate God’s creation. He is thus an excellent counterexample to the idea that religious belief necessarily stifles scientific thought.
Righteous hatred’ is in the same category as ‘righteous cancer’or ‘righteous tuberculosis’. All of them are absurd concepts.
This does not mean that one should never take action against aggression or injustice! Instead, one should try to develop an inner calmness and insight to deal with these situations in an appropriate way. We all know that anger and aggression give rise to anger and aggression. One could say that there are three ways to get rid of anger: kill the opponent, kill yourself or kill the anger - which one makes most sense to you?"
Allan Wallace, via “Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up”
Found on ViewOnBuddhism.org’s question of: Is anger or hatred ever justified?
I hope to really pursue this line of thought further, as the compliant mentality of “harming no one” has contributed to a great many catastrophe in our world, and can be summed up by holocaust survivor Eli Weisel:
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I am about to undertake the first three weeks of lecture from the Buddhism and Psychology course by Robert Wright. So far it seems quite fascinating!
April 5, 2014 Just Cleaning The Mind
When I work indoors I have a difficult time focusing- there’s just so much I can do!- and I don’t like taking the time to settle, meditate, and bring myself back because the urge to actually tidy up my living space is a rare beast and must be utilized to its fullest, or not at all. Having a soft, melodic, but still catchy, ambient noise helps me keep my train on one track and actually reach the intended station.
I discovered OceanLab through a dear friend and have never looked back. Their one CD, and many singles, keep me focused for essays, exams, cleaning, painting- everything really! I hope you find joy in their work as well.
March 30, 2014 All About Maintenance
It seems like all the greens got together and decided who would continue thriving and who was going to sacrifice themselves for the greater good: in one week the Rosemary has been covered in a fungus called Powdery Mildew, and since I can’t trim them all, I’m going to try and treat it, but my optimism is waning on this poor thing. California is not really the best climate to have a thriving winter plant, but I’m trying.
The spinach also finally said “Enough!” to the cilantro- which is now trimmed all the way back in the hopes it will return- and died off all at once. I am far more distraught about this one due to my long love of spinach, and I was looking forward to growing my own.
On the up: most everything else is happily chugging along with steady or exceptional growth: so much so I had to learn to prune the volunteer Cherry Tomato and add more wire to its cage to train it to go upward further before it starts to go outward (as its wont to do already).
Reviewing the contents of my garden overall, and consolidating my herbs into one Herb Pot, I realize how much more I want to put into this project, and how dedicated I am becoming. Although, for the most part, I try to stick to the weekends for playing in the dirt, I’m finding as it grows and as I find more plants to test out, it is becoming a full-time gig for maintenance. The plans are in the work for a more permanent, but still move-able, structure to better utilize the space I have- as a personal challenge- and optimize the crop and effort.
In short: lessons are being learned.
Once a group of 500 people were attending a seminar. Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each person a balloon. Each person was then asked to write their name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
The people were then let into that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written on it within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Then, the speaker asked each person to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker then began, “This is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. And this is the purpose of human life…the pursuit of happiness.”