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Although I tend to support any efforts to reduce the number of guns in circulation, the larger issue is really one of approaching the violent seeds each of us carry within ourselves, and which also come together collectively in our communities and nations. Whether someone in my yoga studio or Zen sangha owns a gun is less important to me than how they handle violence in their lives. At the same time, it's difficult for me to forget the periods of history when large groups of Buddhists twisted elements of Buddha's teachings to support warfare and violent oppression. Given the collective energy here in the United States, it's possible something similar could happen in the future.
What's the overall impact of more guns on our communities? On each of us? On the environment? Can a society that upholds gun ownership as a collective response to potential violence also be aiming in the direction of overall non-violence?
David Bradley, the owner of The Atlantic Monthly, to which Christopher contributed many sparkling essays, once took him out to lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. It was—I think—February and the smoking ban had gone into effect. Christopher suggested that they eat outside, on the terrace. David Bradley is a game soul, but even he expressed trepidation about dining al fresco in forty-degree weather. Christopher merrily countered, “Why not? It will be bracing.”Lunch—dinner, drinks, any occasion—with Christopher always was. One of our lunches, at Café Milano, the Rick’s Café of Washington, began at 1 P.M., and ended at 11:30 P.M. At about nine o’clock (though my memory is somewhat hazy), he said, “Should we order more food?” I somehow crawled home, where I remained under medical supervision for several weeks, packed in ice with a morphine drip. Christopher probably went home that night and wrote a biography of Orwell. His stamina was as epic as his erudition and wit.When we made a date for a meal over the phone, he’d say, “It will be a feast of reason and a flow of soul.” I never doubted that this rococo phraseology was an original coinage, until I chanced on it, one day, in the pages of P. G. Wodehouse, the writer Christopher perhaps esteemed above all others. Wodehouse was the Master. When we met for another lunch, one that lasted only five hours, he was all a-grin with pride as he handed me a newly minted paperback reissue of Wodehouse with “Introduction by Christopher Hitchens.” “Doesn’t get much better than that,” he said, and who could not agree?
Doesn't really matter, who's to say Genpo's more or less deluded than you are? (by you I mean you)
Brad admits he's doing his own seminars next year. If he charges $100 a pop or $10,000 a pop, says he'll get you enlightened or doesn't say it, how is that any different? It's relative.
Poonjaji said if anybody charges money for satsang they're a fraud.
He was right.
Genpo is correct to charge. He's teaching a lesson. Americans feel they have to pay big bucks or else their not getting anything. There's been double blind test on this. They make two products or services available one is just about free and the other is ridiculously expensive. Consumers or the people always picked the expensive one thinking they want the better of the two or none at all . Thinking the one that was just about free couldn't be any good. Deep conditioning.
"At the core of what drives Steven Seagal with all he does - his music, his Martial Arts and his acting - is his commitment to Asian philosophies and religion. As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man."
Charging for teaching also going on here:
Beginning the following week, Tuesday December 6th, the Sangha’s normal program of morning practice and Sunday talks will continue at new locations as authorized and approved by Genpo Roshi. Zazen, Service and student interviews will continue at the same times on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The Sunday morning schedule will begin earlier at the new location in order to accommodate the shared usage with the Xuanfa Dharma Center.
I have been extremely fortunate to receive oral transmissions of the Esoteric Buddhist Dharma directly from my Buddha Master, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, and have access to many unpublished translations from the Chinese of the Buddha's discourses that are not yet available to the public in English. I have also been granted the dispensation to write about certain of my experiences, even though one does not usually talk about these matters.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III came to this world to correct the translation and interpretation errors that currently exist in earlier transmissions of the dharma and to bring us the highest teachings. The Buddha Master has told us that there are teachings by Shakyamuni Buddha that the world has not been ready for until now that will be given to us to help us complete the “quick path to enlightenment.” It is true that holy beings came to the mandala when the Buddha Master was giving us the discourse on "What Is Cultivation?" That discourse, which can be found in the treasure book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and on this web-site, outlines the steps we must follow on this path. This auspicious event only confirms the importance of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III's work in the world today.Based on the teachings that I have received and my limited understanding of the Dharma, and the fact that we live in such an auspicious time where it is possible to progress rapidly to enlightenment, I have prepared this web site in the hopes that it will help introduce the Correct Dharma to those who do not understand Chinese. There are many books and recorded discourses available in Chinese from the Buddha, but they have not yet been translated into English.Any errors are strictly my responsibility and will be corrected when we have H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s teachings in English in a more complete form. It is so important that we all begin our cultivation of ourselves and prepare for this journey to full enlightenment and freedom from suffering.We must not waste time!What I say and present in this website just represent my personal sayings and understanding. I am a humble rinpoche and cannot possibly represent His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III.
Dorje Chang Buddha III is the true Vajradhara or supreme leader of all Buddhism of this age.This great holy Buddha came back to these degenerate times to teach the correct dharma and show living beings how to escape the suffering and unhappiness of worldly existence and to attain complete liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. The Buddha Master is a man of boundless compassion and wisdom. Based on the precise principles of the Buddha-dharma, Dorje Chang Buddha III teaches people in every day language the compassion and wisdom obtained through cultivation. The wisdom of the Buddha Master excels that of all previous masters in history. One after another event proves this to be totally true. The book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III contains over 30 testimonials from the heads of the leading sects of Buddhism and many fully enlightened masters.
Teaching, practice and realization took place in everyday activity, like farming, walking through the mountains, drinking tea, cleaning, or just talking. Probably they did not sit that much in formal zazen, and the early Masters rarely talk about sitting practice. Zen was not yet formalized with rituals and ceremonial practices, as it was later in Sung China (Tenth to Fourteenth Century A.D.), Korea, Vietnam and Japan. Early Chan was a living religion, not dependent on forms like teisho (formal teaching), zazen (formal sitting) or daisan (formal interview). Enlightenment was found and expressed in daily activities. And the way of teaching of the old Masters was very similar to that of Gautama the Buddha. Students were led to a place where they are one with the Dharma and express it. Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind process offers the same living religion in a playful game of giving voice to whatever dharma is coming up and by skillfully practicing the same ‘wonder of teaching’ as Gautama the Buddha and early Chan Masters did.
Eventually, I stopped attending my Zen sessions (for reasons that I describe in detail elsewhere). One problem was that meditation never really tamed my monkey mind. During my last class, I fixated on a classmate who kept craning his neck and grunting and asking our teacher unbearably pretentious questions. I loathed him and loathed myself for loathing him, and finally I thought: What am I doing here? By that time, I also had serious intellectual qualms about Buddhism. I concluded that Buddhism is not much more rational than Catholicism, my childhood faith.
The cover boasts that this text conveys the content’s “difficult ideas” clearly (むずがしい考えがスッキリ分かる！); though if this leads you to expect something other than the usual interpretation of Zen – non-linear, meandering, parabolic explanations- you will be disappointed. My western brain still struggles to grasp the style typical of Zen masters, their purportedly didactic riddles often leaving me with more questions than answers.The martial art I'm studying is so counter-intuitive - it can't be read about either ; it can really only be practiced to be understood. I cannot think of a more perfect expression of non-duality in the form of human movement. To even write these words is somehow to distort its expression, to even write these words reminds me that I'm not actually doing it, and therefore in a significant way, a distortion and dishonoring of that practice.
Often, it’s a confusing read. In the beginning, Priest Ozeki devotes a chapter to the importance of maintaining “a pure heart”, without bothering to explain what a pure heart looks like, or the nature of the maintenance required. This is just one of many vague instructions listed for living a Zen life; others include “being present in the moment” and keeping a “free mind, one which is not influenced by anything”. Ozeki further complicates things a few chapters later when he decides to mention that “Zen is not a thing to think about but is training. You can not attain enlightenment even if you read many books and study hard.” Resisting the urge to question why I am reading a book about a subject the author himself has just declared *actually* requires field study, I decide to remain open to his attempts to explain the concept of Enlightenment ...
It only after finishing the entire text that I gleaned what might be the unstated assumption: like a religion, there are values by which Zen abides. However, practitioners believe these values can only be discovered through the practice of Zen, rather than the study.
The way I see it, one of the mechanisms of a consumerist culture is to instill inadequacy in people so that they will want more, and buy more. And I think over the years, this inadequacy runs so deep in many people that they feel compelled to give others something of monetary value - often large monetary value - in order to feel ok about the relationship. You want to have a happy spouse - you better give her an expensive ring. You want to have happy children, you better buy them the latest video game machine. You want to keep your friends around, you better buy them some fishing gear, or a new dress, or something worth something.
What I see in the folks buying cheap flat screen TVs, ugly sweaters, ties, useless plastic nick-nacs is a failure to experience love. They love their friends, family, and lovers, but what they are mostly expressing is a need to keep the relationships, to be a "good person" who gives to their loved ones. Sometimes, there is guilt there. Sometimes, there is a sense of duty there. Sometimes, there's a hope that whatever they give will appease their loved one for awhile. But all of it goes back to staving off that feeling of inadequacy, of not "being good enough," for awhile.
Those who actually allow themselves to experience love know how to respond to their loved ones. They override what the dominant culture is telling them to do, and listen for the opportunity to give wise gifts, and then do so. And if they give during this time of year, they do so having reflected upon their loved one first.
...Releasing judgment of the individuals in your life is vital. That's a core part of a spiritual path in my opinion. However, I also believe that those of us who see the deep damage being done by excessive consumption - the economic yo-yoing, the human exploitation, and environmental destruction behind those TVs, Old Navy shirts, and whatnot - must learn how to express ourselves better with those who don't see it. We must be brave enough to share what we have learned, and share our wishes for the world, with our family, friends, and lovers, even if it causes confusion and upset in the short term...
In fact, Drum is pessimistic: the fact that computers - millions of them, in principle - can be networked means that "computers" becoming as smart as people is already somewhat near reality. That is the computational power of many computers can be leveraged already to produce results that would be impossible for any idiot savant to solve in a lifetime.In 1950, true AI would look like a joke. A computer with a trillionth the processing power of the human brain is just a pile of vacuum tubes. In 1970, even though computers are 1000x faster, it's still a joke. In 1990 it's still a joke. In 2010 it's still a joke. In 2024, it's still a joke. A tenth of a human brain is about the processing power of a housecat. It's interesting, but no threat to actual humans.
So: joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. Then, suddenly, in the space of six years, we have computers with the processing power of a human brain. Kaboom.
Here's the point: technological progress has been exactly the same for the entire 80-year period. But in the early years, although the relative progress was high, the absolute progress was minute. Moving from a billionth to a trillionth is invisible on a human scale. So computers progressed from ballistics to accounting to word processing to speech recognition, and sure, it was all impressive, but at no point did it seem like we were actually making any serious progress toward true AI. And yet, we were.
Assuming that Moore's Law doesn't break down, this is how AI is going to happen. At some point, we're going to go from 10% of a human brain to 100% of a human brain, and it's going to seem like it came from nowhere. But it didn't. It will have taken 80 years, but only the final few years will really be visible. As inventions go, video games and iPhones may not seem as important as radios and air conditioners, but don't be fooled. As milestones, they're more important. Never make the mistake of thinking that just because the growing intelligence of computers has been largely invisible up to now that it hasn't happened. It has.
I think in some respects the militancy of their atheist rhetoric has obscured a rather more nuanced attitude to questions of religious experience that comes through elsewhere in their writings. The problem with emphasizing the word “atheist” is that it paradoxically keeps one in thrall to the language of theism. The Buddha was certainly an atheist in the literal sense, i.e. there is no need to speak of God (or any of His surrogates, e.g. Truth) to understand or practice the Dharma, but he has no need to rant against the Deity. On the few occasions in the suttas where he does address the question of God, he simply makes fun of the idea and moves on. I consider him to be an ironic atheist. Buddhists can nonetheless learn from the new (and old) atheists to be more alert to the subtle (and less subtle) ways in which theistic ideas have often infiltrated Buddhist teachings under different guises. I have noticed how terms such as the “Unconditioned,” the “Deathless,” and even “Buddhanature” are often interpreted in a quasi-theistic way. I find the uncritical enthusiasm for Advaita Vedanta among some Western Buddhists equally alarming in this regard too.
On the other hand, I feel that Buddhism could offer the new atheists a way of life that provides both a coherent philosophy and meditative discipline which might help them realize fully their spiritual and religious longings without any need at all to use theistic language.
The challenge is not size or money. Universal spends millions to stage and market its Halloween Horror Nights, which this year include eight haunted houses and multiple “scare zone” street parties on 25 nights. No, the scarce resource is ideas: coming up with new ways to entertain a “been-there, screamed-at-that” customer base raised on torture movies like “Saw” and bloody video games.“These people are paying to get the bejesus scared out of them, and every year it gets harder,” said Patrick Braillard, a show director for the park. “We look at each other and say, ‘What’s left to do?’ ”It’s no small worry. This movie-centered theme park, owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal, would not provide Halloween-related financial details, but the revenue appears to be considerable. Entry to Horror Nights starts at $42 (although discounts are available), and analysts estimate that as many as 500,000 a year have attended. Add in sales of beer, food and merchandise, and substantial profits are at stake.Desperate to increase their off-season business, theme parks started circling Oct. 31 on their calendars in the late 1990s, led by Universal on the East Coast and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. It was a smart call: America’s obsession with Halloween as a cultural event was just starting to spike, and even in a stagnant economy, the growth shows few signs of slowing. The National Retail Federation estimates that total Halloween spending in the United States this year will total $6.8 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2005.Along the way, theme parks have played a major role in globalizing the holiday. Universal Studios Singapore is holding its first Horror Nights this year, for instance, while Disney now mounts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween events at its parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as the United States.