Friday, October 31, 2014

Protests: Dalai Lama in Boston, NYC (audio)

Live Webcasts from Boston and New York City of the 14th Dalai Lama's teachings and dialogues, where he is appearing Oct. 31st to Nov. 5th, 2014 VIEW (dalailama.com). 
Tibetans turned out to welcome the Dalai Lama to Boston.
Tibetans turned out to welcome the Dalai Lama to Boston (Matthew Bell/pri.org).


Wisdom of Compassion
Supporters of the Dorje Shugden tradition in Tibetan Buddhism are behind a concerted protest campaign against the Dalai Lama, who spoke in downtown Boston on Thursday.
 
The Dalai Lama paid a visit this week to Boston, where thousands of his adoring faithful and fans bought tickets to hear him speak about topics including “educating the heart and mind.”

But the 79-year-old spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism has his haters too. And some of them, it turns out, are practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.
 
Supporters of Dorje Shugden in Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana) are behind an ongoing protest campaign against the Dalai Lama, who spoke in Boston on Oct. 30 (Matthew Bell/pri.org).


 
Many of those [protesters] took position on Thursday morning outside the Wang Theater in downtown Boston, where the Dalai Lama spoke. They were joined by the lama's supporters, and the two sides held dueling protests. 

Long live Dalai Lama!” one group shouted, waving Tibetan flags and holding up portraits of the monk they refer to as His Holiness. A few meters away, another group banged drums and chanted, “False Dalai Lama! Stop lying!” 

The Dalai Lama's visits Princeton University and mingles with nation's privileged students on the first day of his two-day visit to Princeton, New Jersey, USA on October 28, 2014. VIEW
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He’s running a theocracy," says Rebecca Gauthier, a spokeswoman with a group called the International Shugden Community. They're stepping up a protest campaign against the Dalai Lama, saying he's intent on stamping out Shugden, a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. "He’s saying there can be no opposing voice, and that’s not okay,” she says.
 
Gauthier contrasts that to the loud scene outside the theater. “I think it’s great that we’re here demonstrating against the Dalai Lama and then right next to us are people who are for the Dalai Lama," she says. "That’s what democracy is."

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva [probably not the Buddha's 37 Factors of Enlightenment]: Video of  the current Dalai Lama's three-day teaching given in New Delhi, India from March 21-23, 2014, culminating in the bestowing of the Trisamayavyuharaja Empowerment. VIEW
 
This fight is partly about a theological and political debate that goes back centuries, to a time when Tibetan Buddhism was a sectarian mishmash of different lamas, monasteries, and practices. One of them centered on the Tibetan deity of Dorje Shugden and the rituals done in his name, the same rituals Gauthier's group adhere to. More

Virgin Galactic space ship blows up (video)

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; (The Guardian) UPDATED
(AP) Branson screws up, Virgin Galactic spaceship goes down. Justin Bieber not on board.
(CNN/YFN) Confirmation: Virgin space plane pilot has died unlike crewless Antares cargo ship.
Wreckage from Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo
The wreckage from Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (Reuters/TheGuardian.com)
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Happy Halloween from space, Branson!
Virgin Galactic said plane designed for commercial space travel was undertaking test flight in California when an "in-flight anomaly" occurred.


A Virgin Galactic spacecraft crashed after an explosion during a test flight over [California's] Mojave desert today, killing one of the pilots, seriously injuring another, and leaving debris scattered over a wide area.

An image from video shows wreckage of SpaceShipTwo.
 Video still of SpaceShipTwo wreckage (AP)
[This comes on the eve of the first rain California has seen in months, with L.A. news outlets predicting a "100% chance of rain" tonight and snow in Yosemite and on the heels of a NASA failure with the loss of an Int'l Space Station delivery rocket earlier this week.]
The plane, SpaceShipTwo, was undertaking a test flight as part of Sir Richard Branson’s plans for commercial space travel when a “serious anomaly” occurred, the company said.
 
Exchange Wither Space City
Space plane (vimana) uses foolish fuel (SCPR)
Witnesses reported the spacecraft broke apart soon after it was detached from the launch plane that carries it to 45,000 ft. Rescuers found one of the pilots dead on the ground. The other, who appeared to have deployed an emergency parachute, was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.
 
Virgin Galactic said that SpaceShipTwo was powered by a fuel mix that had not previously been used in flight, although it had been tested extensively on the ground. The company was unable to say whether the change to the fuel mix offered an explanation for the accident, which happened just before 11am local time. More [This is not the first time.]
Blow for Virgin space program as prototype rockets go up in smoke
I'm a billionaire, not a rocket scientist!
Propulsion system for hybrid craft blows up. Three workers killed and three wounded in blast. Richard Branson's plans to run the first commercial space flight service were thrown into disarray [in 2007] after an explosion during a test of the rocket's propulsion system left three workers dead and three seriously wounded with shrapnel injuries and burns. Witnesses at the world's first commercial spaceport at Mojave in California, said the explosion was accompanied by a blast that sounded like a 500 lb. bomb. The accident happened...during tests of the propulsion system used in the new SpaceShipTwo [what happened to one?] -- the prototype for Virgin Galactic's eight-seater private rockets. The system is hybrid, using both solid fuels and liquid oxidizers, a combination chosen paradoxically because it is safer than solid fuels alone. Two workers were killed at the scene while the third died later in hospital. The billionaire entrepreneur [had to that dated] invested at least $200 million (£99m) in the groundbreaking work of Scaled Composites, the company leading the mission... More

8 Weird Things About HALLOWEEN (video)

, Ashley Wells, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
On Halloween Mara asks Skull...Want to go out tonight? (Dorkthrone/flickr.com)

WARNING: Use of A-word! (Dead Kennedys 555) Conformist "Halloween" this year? "Because your role is planned for you/There's nothing you can do/But stop and think it through..."
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Halloween is a pretty bizarre holiday [for uptight Americans who love materialism in the guise of religion so get excited about four months of X-mas]: What other celebration could inspire both a Sexy Olaf costume and spooky drones?

Why does Wisdom Quarterly talk about scary things?! What about peace and lotus flowers?
 
Day of the Dead
Mara is death; Yama is king
(Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday observed in the U.S., Mexico, and around the world in a variety cultures by other names (i.e., Japanese Buddhist Obon). The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for relatives and friends who have died. (In Buddhism, there is also a ceremony to transfer merit to benefit the dead in the afterlife). The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and 2, in connection with the triduum of Allhallowtide: All Hallows' Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls' Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called offerings, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigold flowers, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased. More

HALLOWEEN IS WEIRD
That said, sexy snowmen can't hold a candle to sexy Halloween's truly bizarre origins. Chances are most Americans have no idea just how weird Halloween is, so here are eight facts to fix that: 
 
1. Originally, you had to dance for your "treat"
TK TK gifs
Dance, beggar! Treats don't grow on trees.
Most experts trace trick-or-treating to the European practice of "mumming," or "guysing," in which costume-wearing participants would go door-to-door performing choreographed dances, songs and plays in exchange for treats. According to Elizabeth Pleck's Celebrating The Family, the tradition showed up in America, where it would often take place on Thanksgiving.

Adult Halloween is about sex in the U.S.
In some early versions of trick-or-treating, men paraded door-to-door, and boys often followed, begging for coins. Most of these early trick-or-treaters were poor and actually needed the money. Before long wealthy children joined in the fun. Door-to-door "begging" was mostly stopped in the 1930s, but re-emerged later in the century to distract kids from pulling Halloween pranks. [Porch vandalism is a terrible thing].

2. Halloween is more Irish than St. Patrick's Day
TK TK gifs

Mexican Day of the Dead cemetery (wiki)
Halloween's origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called Samhain [pronounced SAO-win].
 
Celts believe the ghosts of the dead (called pretas or "hungry ghosts" in Buddhism) roam Earth on this day, so people dress in costumes and leave "treats" out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits.
Granted, the Celts were not solely based in Ireland when these customs started taking shape around the 1st century BCE, but as discussed further on, the Irish Celts were the ones who invented the jack-o'-lantern.

Brian, what do they mean sex? Halloween is all about candy! - Wait till you grow up, Stewie.
 
This Halloween prototype was eventually disrupted and adapted by Christian missionaries into celebrations closer to what we celebrate today, including partly by the not-actually-Irish "Saint" Patrick, whose work was later mostly recognized by Americans.
 
"St. Patrick's Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans," says Prof. Philip Freeman at Luther College in Iowa. According to National Geographic, the holiday was only a "minor religious holiday" until the 1970s in Ireland. So it's not all that Irish, and St. Patrick probably wasn't Irish, his color was not green but a type of blue, and that story about banishing snakes is actually just a metaphor for his triumph over indigenous Irish Pagans, whose Paganism gave us Halloween.

3. Early Halloweens used animal skins and heads
sahmain
Decorated horse skull: a modern Welsh version of the costume (wiki).
 
According to ancient Roman records, tribes located in today's Germany and France traditionally wore costumes of animal heads and skins to connect to spirits of the dead.

JC Johnson on Coast to Coast
[This practice is still common among Native Americans in the Southwest, which can result in "skinwalking" according to Native American Paranormal Investigator JC Johnson.]

This tradition continued into modern celebrations of Samhain, the Celtic holiday that inspired Halloween in the US. Merry-makers and pranksters often dressed as evil spirits simply by blackening their faces. The leader of the Samhain parades wore a white sheet and carried a wooden horse head or a decorated horse skull. Young people also celebrated by cross-dressing. without being accused of being gay or transsexuals.

4. Jack-o'-lanterns were once made out of roots not pumpkins
lanterns
Use a beet, turnip, potato, or pumpkin to keep your candle burning in the wind (wiki).
 
Angelic devils (asuras) also exist.
The jack-o'-lantern comes from an old Irish [karmic] tale about a man named Stingy Jack. According to folklore, Stingy Jack was out getting sloshed with the devil when Jack convinced his drinking partner to turn himself into a coin to pay for the drinks without spending money.

Jack then put the devil, shaped like a coin, into his pocket, which also contained a silver cross that kept the devil from transforming back. Jack promised to free the devil as long as the devil would promise not to bother him for a year. And if he died, the devil could never claim him.

Jack tricked the devil again later, getting him to pick a piece of fruit out of a tree and then carving a cross into the bark when the devil was in the branches. This trick bought Jack another 10 years of devil-free living.
 
When Jack finally died, God decided he was not fit for heaven, but the devil had promised never to claim him for hell. So Jack was sent off to roam Earth with only a burning coal for a light. He put the coal into a turnip as a lantern, and Stingy Jack became Jack of the Lantern or "Jack o' Lantern."

Based on this myth, the Irish carved scary faces into turnips, beets, and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack and other malevolent and/or mischievous spirits of the night.
 
5. Halloween used to be a great day to find a soulmate
125220608
Oh, spirits, whom will I marry?
In some parts of Ireland, people celebrated Halloween by playing romantic fortune-telling games, according to Nicholas Rogers' Halloween: From Pagan Ritual To Party Night.

These games allegedly predicted who they would marry and when. Because Halloween, like Valentine's Day, was one of the main celebrations of the year where young people could mingle without chaperons, it was also considered a good day to scope out a sweetheart.
 
In America young people, particularly girls, continued the old Irish tradition. Games, like bobbing for apples, tried to predict future romances, according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America.

6. Halloween was originally "Cabbage Night"
125220608
In some American towns Halloween was called "Cabbage Night." This came from a Scottish fortune-telling game. Girls used cabbage stumps to predict information about their future husbands.
 
In early Framingham, Massachusetts, teens skipped the fortune-telling and simply went around throwing cabbage at their neighbors' houses, according to Framingham Legends & Lore. This was not an isolated tradition: In late 19th century America, country boys reportedly rejoiced in throwing cabbage, corn, and assorted rotten vegetables, according to Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure.

7. Animal shelters often have to protect black cats around Halloween for fear they'll be sacrificed, so no adoptions
TK TK gifs

It's Grumpy Cat everyone's favorite feline!
It is unclear whether black cats are actually sacrificed around Halloween, but various animal shelters refuse to let people adopt them in the lead-up to the holiday.
 
Director Lynda Garibaldi at The Cats' Cradle in Morganton, North Carolina, tells The Huffington Post that the shelter "does not adopt out black cats during the month of October...because of superstition and the concern that the wrong people (who might harm them) might adopt them."
 
This type of ban is starting to wane, however. When reached for comment, Emily Weiss, vice president of Shelter Research and Development at the ASPCA, said: "Years ago, this used to be pretty common -- that shelters would not adopt out cats during Halloween for fear of something horrible happening to the cats, but we don't hear too much anymore. And many, many shelters are actually [holding] a special black cat promotion around the holiday."
 
ASPCA provided this list of a few of the black cat adoption promotions that have been tied to the holiday. As Weiss put it, "Most people who go to shelters to adopt a pet are not going to adopt a pet to sacrifice into ritual."

8. Studies have shown that Halloween actually makes people act more evil
141267431
Beware of creeps, kids, like your teachers and TV stars. And stop de-individuating!
 
As io9 points out, putting costume-wearing kids into groups and introducing a clear object of desire, such as candy, has been shown to lead to "deindividuation."
 
VIDEO: Beware of Mama's dates, Honey Boo Boo & Co. You may be sent to foster home

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Rapist Megan Mahoney arrested on 30 counts
This psychological term explains what happens when a group of individuals begins to care less about the consequences of their individual actions, leading them to do things that they would not likely do alone.
 
One study in particular found that unsupervised costumed children in groups were far more likely to steal candy and money than both non-costumed kids and individual children not in a group.
 
A similar study found that masked children were significantly more likely to take more Halloween candy than they were supposed to if they believed there was no adult supervision. More from Huff Po

Happy Buddhist Obon, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Halloween!

Native American MONSTERS are real! (audio)

Xochitl, Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; JC Johnson (facebook)
JC Johnson of Crypto Four Corners has a lot to say about American monsters (facebook).
(TruthSeekah) Monsters are real! Stories of Cryptozoology with JC Johnson
We have met many strange visitors from the sky (space) and from other dimensions. Shown here are indigenous shamans American Apache "spirit dancers," 1887 (Native Skeptic).

Buddhism in America is very old in (see the astonishing evidence of American researchers Edward P. Vining, Inglorious Columbus: Hwui Shan and a Party of Buddhist Monks from Afghanistan Discovered America, 1885, and Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America, 1992). It once flourished in and around the Grand Canyon. Wisdom Quarterly has frequently covered this topic.

Of course the Sasquatch tribe is real (Ex)
According to researcher JC Johnson, a Caucasian married to a Native American woman, the Four Corner States (a.k.a. "Navajo Country") are rife with supernatural creatures, except that in Buddhism the supernatural is natural (shapeshifters, pretas, nagas, asuras, kumbandhas, gandharvas, garudas, yakshas, rakshasas, narakas, etc.); the same is the case for Native Americans in the region, the Navajo, Hopi, Anasazi, and others. There was once a city called Sipapu in Ancient America, an UNDERGROUND cave/cavern/tunnel city in the Grand Canyon. JC Johnson and Crew go on location to investigate. It is not that these things are unknown by the U.S. government then and now, but rather that they are hidden and denied.

(KernalPanic) Mind Blowing Hidden Cave in the Grand Canyon

There is a cave hidden in the heart of the massive Grand Canyon, Arizona. The only way to get to it is by taking a raft down the Colorado River and climbing into the cave through a waterfall. [This is just the kind of place described by those who come into contact with Sasquatches (northern American Yetis), usually friendly but preferring to remain hidden from other humans.] Enjoy KP's footage of the family exploring this cave (arizonafpv.com).
The Secret Canyon

PBS(PBS) The Native American "Freemont" of Range Creek, Utah. Corn, a famine food, became important to the Freemont. What were they facing, why were they building in such difficult locations, placing their granaries in hidden and often  inaccessible places? What was haunting or worrying them?
 
Cryptids of the Southwest
JC Johnson and George Knapp (coasttocoastam.com) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
JC Johnson, who appeared recently on Coast to Coast, is a serious cryptid researcher.
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We told that guy because he married in.
Cryptozoologist JC Johnson (Crypto Four Corners) joined Coast to Coast host George Knapp. He provided an update on his research and experiences with cryptids (creatures unknown to public science), in particular Native American "skinwalkers" (shape-shifters) in the Southwest USA.

Mothman (gastroruas.com)
Johnson explains that skinwalkers are Native American sorcerers believed to be able to transform into animals such as wolfmen (werewolf creatures), giant sheep, rabbit, bear, or pterodactyl (even the owl-like "Mothman," shown at left photographed on a bridge) by supernatural means.

According to Johnson, Navajo skinwalkers originally led a peaceful coexistence with their tribe and served as scouts against advancing European forces such as the Spanish Conquistadors or the U.S. (post-British) cavalry. However, following Navajo imprisonment, torture, and captivity at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, he said, they began adopting practices they learned from their white captors -- who tortured and twisted them in unspeakable ways.
Die, Nava-Joe, die! We'll teach you to stay on OUR land! (Bosque Redondo Memorial)
 
The Navajo became more concerned with personal property, capitalism, sexual perversion, revenge, and occult practices. In turn, Johnson revealed, skinwalkers started performing more nefarious deeds against their own tribe as in-fighting grew amongst the community. There had always been clans the white men called Navajo, and these subgroups became more important than the umbrella group or "tribe" (Navajo Nation).
  • SKIN-WALKER: In some Native American lore and legends, a skinwalker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. To be able to transform, or shape shift, sometimes requires that the skin-walker wear a pelt of the animal. In most cases, this skin is not used in modern times because it is an obvious sign of them being skin-walkers. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists.
Marching Navajo to death (W)
Johnson, who married into the modern tribe or its remnants, has many stories involving encounters with strange entities which may have been skinwalkers.
 
In one such tale, a Navajo tracker named Darren confronted a creature that had been stalking his wife and children in a remote part of the reservation. "When it stood up, it was eight or nine feet tall," Johnson reported, "covered in hair and it had ram horns that came off the side of its head."

Armed with a rifle, Darren shot the creature three times in the chest and saw the bullets make impact. But it managed to escape the area. Eerily, he would learn a few days later that a "medicine man had died of a heart attack," leading him to conclude that this man had been using his skinwalker abilities to torment Darren's family.

U.S. legends of Native giants and dwarves are very old and widespread.
 
Aswang (phantomsandmonsters)
Johnson also detailed accounts of "little people" [called duendes or goblins in Mexico and kumbandhas or gnomes/dwarfs in Buddhism] being witnessed by many people in the Southwest. He recalled one instance when a Native American group was on stake out camping overnight in the hopes of catching whatever had been slaughtering their sheep.

Around dawn, the men were stunned to see 15-20 little people who stood only 12 to 18 inches tall and were heading toward the sheep corral. They were dressed in buckskin and armed with bows or spears, essentially resembling "miniature Natives" in the words of the witnesses, who chased them away from the area but lost sight of them during the pursuit.

Urban Outfitters Navajo items
Misuse of Navajo (Daily Mail)
Johnson also recounted his work on the American geneticist Dr. Melba Ketchum and the DNA project examining Bigfoot tissue, sightings, and physical evidence as well as his own encounters with seemingly "supernatural" entities who are altogether natural for Native Americans who have lived on this land for millenia. More +AUDIO

One of the most interesting revelations made during Johnson's appearance was the explanation of what a chupacabras ("goat sucker" creatures) are. They are drawn on petroglyphs (such as one invaders dubbed "Newspaper Rock") and petrographs (such as ancient Buddhist rock art from Ili river, Kazakhstan in Central Asia north of Afghanistan) because the Native Americans are well aware of them, and the Navajo explain that they pushed them out of the area by agreement. They stealthily sneak back in to feed from time to time, which is a violation of that agreement. The stone art shows them to be humped bipedal creatures with large tubular snouts for drawing blood, like a giant mishmash preta (Buddhist "hungry ghost," which are depicted as shapeshifting entities with giant bellies and tiny mouths).

"Newspaper Rock," Native American rock engravings, Canyonlands, Utah (wiki)
Buddhist "rock art" along the Ili river, Kazakhstan, Central Asia toward Russia (wiki).

Freak Show: Life on Earth is Bizarre (video)

Wisdom Quarterly; Dark 5, Barnum and Bailey


Space is full of beings (devas/asuras) in vimanas
The Buddha taught that there are different world with different kinds of beings. In some worlds the beings have similar bodies but different minds, in other worlds similar minds with different bodies. But on this Earth (Bhumi), this plane, the being have different bodies and different minds. It is a mixed bag. This world does not represent the only planet/world within the "Human Plane" (manusya loka), which is hard for us to comprehend. But Buddhist cosmology -- like that of Jainism (a fellow non-Vedic, shramanic tradition) and Hinduism (nominally Vedic) -- is very detailed and adamant that other worlds with other (humanoid) beings exist, in addition to other planes (possibly what we would call "dimensions") and other "world-systems" (which may refer to other solar systems, galaxies, or universes) like adjacent bubbles in the sky/space (the akasha).

See elusive planet Mercury from Earth (Geoff Gafferty/space.com)