10 Weekend Reads
35 minutes ago
How, by whom, where, and wherefore does the theory of no-cause make its appearance?
A: When things (samskrita) are perceived as neither subject to causation nor above it, then the view maintained by the philosophers of birth and destruction is done away with.
Q: Is non-being no-birth? or does it look for causation? or is it a being's name without a [corresponding] reality? Pray tell me.
Q: Non-being is not no-birth, nor does it look for causation, nor is it a being's name, nor is it a name without a [corresponding] object. Here is a reality which does not belong to the Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, nor to the philosophers; neither does it belong to the Bodhisattvas who have entered upon the seventh stage; this is what characterises no-birth....Nothing is born; being is not, non-being is not, nowhere is being-and-non-being; except that where there is a system, there is the rising of things and their dissolution.
VATICAN CITY — In its most significant revision to church law since a sex abuse crisis hit the United States a decade ago and roared back from remission in Europe this spring, the Vatican on Thursday issued new internal rules making it easier to discipline priests who have sexually abused minors.
But in a move that infuriated victims’ groups and put United States bishops on the defensive, it also codified “the attempted ordination of women” to the priesthood as one of the church’s most grave crimes, along with heresy, schism and pedophilia...
The revision announced on Thursday codifies a 1997 ruling that made attempting to ordain women as priests a crime punishable with excommunication.
The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, an American priest with the Maryknoll religious order, said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent him an excommunication letter within two months after he participated in a ceremony ordaining women, but that the Congregation had taken years while it considered the requests of bishops to defrock pedophiles.
“What I did, supporting the ordination of women, they saw as a serious crime,” Father Bourgeois said. “But priests who were abusing children, they did not see as a crime. What does that say?”
July 14, 2010
It's nearly impossible to pay attention to one thing for a long time. A new study looks at whether Buddhist meditation can improve a person's ability to be attentive and finds that meditation training helps people do better at focusing for a long time on a task that requires them to distinguish small differences between things they see.The research was inspired by work on Buddhist monks, who spend years training in meditation. "You wonder if the mental skills, the calmness, the peace that they express, if those things are a result of their very intensive training or if they were just very special people to begin with," says Katherine MacLean, who worked on the study as a graduate student at the University of California - Davis. Her co-advisor, Clifford Saron, did some research with monks decades ago and wanted to study meditation by putting volunteers through intensive training and seeing how it changes their mental abilities.
About 140 people applied to participate; they heard about it via word of mouth and advertisements in Buddhist-themed magazines. Sixty were selected for the study. A group of thirty people went on a meditation retreat while the second group waited their turn; that meant the second group served as a control for the first group. All of the participants had been on at least three five-to-ten day meditation retreats before, so they weren't new to the practice. They studied meditation for three months at a retreat in Colorado with B. Alan Wallace, one of the study's co-authors and a meditation teacher and Buddhist scholar...
The task lasted 30 minutes and was very demanding. "Because this task is so boring and yet is also very neutral, it's kind of a perfect index of meditation training," says MacLean. "People may think meditation is something that makes you feel good and going on a meditation retreat is like going on vacation, and you get to be at peace with yourself. That's what people think until they try it. Then you realize how challenging it is to just sit and observe something without being distracted."
There is an inner impulsion within the human being...
Well, yes there is this issue with attachments...For even when we have succeeded in meeting many or most of our outer goals there remains an awareness of an illusive "something," an emptiness that is yet unfilled.
According to both ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions, there is a passageway into an extended awareness of our true nature, that aspect of ourselves that can be accessed when our preoccupations of the conscious mind are quieted. As we enter through this passageway, we lift the veil that hides the inner paradise in which we truly live, move, and have our being.
When we consider current scientific studies of the brain relative to the field of quantum consciousness, the evolutionary possibilities for the individual and our global family are limitless.
...within the range of hearing of ignorant people, in this world of patience, under many names, amounting to a hundred thousand times three asamkhyeyas, and they address me by these names not knowing that they are all other names of the Tathagata. Of these, Mahamati, some recognise me as the Tathagata, some as the Self-existent One, some as Leader, as Vinayaka (Remover), as Parinayaka (Guide), as Buddha, as Rishi (Ascetic), as Bull-king, as Brahma, as Vishnu, as Isvara, as Original Source (pradhana), as Kapila, as Bhutanta (End of Reality), as Arishta, as Nemina, as Soma (moon), as the Sun, as Rama, as Vyasa, as Suka, as Indra, as Balin, as Varuna, as is known to some; while others recognise me as One who is never born and never passes away, as Emptiness, as Suchness, as Truth, as Reality, as Limit of Reality, as the Dharmadhatu, as Nirvana, as the Eternal, as Sameness, as Non-duality, as the Undying, as the Formless, as Causation, as the Doctrine of Buddha-cause, as Emancipation, as the Truth of the Path, as the All-Knower, as the Victor, as the Will-made Mind. Mahamati, thus in full possession of one hundred thousand times three asamkhyeyas of appellations, neither more nor less, in this world and in other worlds, I am known to the peoples, like the moon in water which is neither in it nor out of it.
A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires. The Black Saturday bushfires, the Great Peshtigo Fire and the Ash Wednesday fires are examples of firestorms. Firestorms can also be deliberate effects of targeted explosives such as occurred as a result of the aerial bombings of Dresden, Hamburg, Stalingrad, Tokyo, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and The Blitz during World War II....
A firestorm is created as a result of the stack effect as the heat of the original fire draws in more and more of the surrounding air. This draft can be quickly increased if a low level jet stream exists over or near the fire. As the updraft mushrooms, strong gusty winds develop around the fire, directed inward. This would seem to prevent the firestorm from spreading on the wind, but the tremendous turbulence also created causes the strong surface inflow winds to change direction erratically. This wind shear is capable of producing small tornado- or dust devil-like circulations called fire whirls which can also dart around erratically, damage or destroy houses and buildings, and quickly spread the fire to areas outside the central area of the fire. A firestorm may also develop into a mesocyclone and induce true tornadoes . Probably, this is true for the Peshtigo Fire.
The greater draft of a firestorm draws in greater quantities of oxygen which significantly increases combustion, thereby also substantially increasing the production of heat. The intense heat of a firestorm manifests largely as radiated heat (infrared radiation) which ignites flammable material at a distance ahead of the fire itself.
After the unification of Germany on 3 October 1990, Lusatians made efforts to create an autonomous administrative unit; however Helmut Kohl’s government did not agree to it. After 1989 the Sorbian movement revived, however it still encounters many obstacles. Although Germany supports national minorities, Sorbs claim that their aspirations are not sufficiently fulfilled. The desire to unite Lusatia into one country has not been taken into consideration. Upper Lusatia still belongs to Saxony and Lower Lusatia to Brandenburg. Liquidations of Sorbian schools, even in areas mostly populated by Sorbs, still happen, under the pretext of financial difficulties or demolition of whole villages to create lignite quarries.
Today (2008) Sorbian institutions serving 60,000 Sorb people supposedly receive less money for preservation of their culture than one German theater's yearly budget in Berlin, an annual state grant of 15.6 million Euro by the Federal and the Saxon governments. Faced with growing threat of cultural extincton the Domowina issued a memorandum in March 2008  and called for "help and protection against the growing threat of their cultural extinction, since an ongoing conflict between the German government, Saxony and Brandenburg about the financial distribution of help blocks the financing of almost all Sorbian institutions". The memorandum also demands a reorganisation of competence by ceding responsibility from the Länder to the federal government and an expanded legal status. The call has been issued to all governments and heads of state of the European Union.