Friday, August 28, 2015

The story of the Buddha's RELICS (sutra/video)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly Wikipedia edit; Sister Vajira and Francis Story, trans. (DN 16); National Geographic ("Bones of Buddha" video)
Famous later stupa, Boudanath in a suburb of Kathmandu, Nepal (~anup dreamynomad).
There is a stupa in space, in the akasha deva loka, with a portion of the relics. It may look like Shitthuang Pagoda in the ruins of Mrauk U, Arakhine, Burma (Jon Sheer/Jraptor/flickr).
(National Geographic) "Bones of the Buddha" documentary on the discovery of one of the stupas or burial mounds (Buddhist reliquaries) in 1898 in British colonial India.

First Buddha image? Bimaran reliquary.
Do the jewels, relic bones, and ashes found in an Indian casket and tomb in 1898 mark the final resting place of the Buddha himself? Or was it all an elaborate hoax?

When Colonial estate manager William Peppe set his workers digging at a mysterious "hill" in Northern India in 1898, he had no idea what they would find. Over 20 feet down, they made an amazing discovery: a huge stone coffer containing reliquary urns, over 1000 separate jewels, and some ash and bone. One of the jars had an inscription that seemed to say that these were the remains of the Buddha himself.

Tour gathered relics for India
This seems to be a most extraordinary find in Indian archaeology. But doubt and scandal have hung over the amazing discovery for over 100 years. For some, the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. For others, it is no less than the final resting place of the Maitreya/Messiah of one of the world's three great religions. For the doubters, suspicion focuses on...

The Shakyans (Scythians) had a vast territory in Central Asia along the Silk Route.

The Buddha Sakamuni of the Shakya clan was from Sakastan/Scythia north-west of "India."
 
The relics in the sutras
What's inside Buddhist burial domes?
KUSINARA, ancient India - After the Buddha's passing into final nirvana (parinirvana, complete liberation from rebirth and the end of all suffering), the body was cremated and the ashes/relics divided.

Originally the ashes were only going to go to the Sakya clan -- the Buddha's extended royal family in Afghanistan (Scythia) and northwestern "India." However, seven royal (kshatriya caste) families demanded the body relics.

To avoid fighting, a monk divided the relics into ten portions, eight from the body relics, one from the ashes of Buddha's cremation pyre, and one from the bucket used to divide the relics, according to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (Long Discourses, DN 16).

After the Buddha's distribution the relics were enshrined and honored in royal burial mounds (reliquaries or stupas) by the royals of eight "countries" (janapadas, or "footholds of the clan," extended familial territories, republics and kingdoms before there was any "India") in this way -- one portion each to:
    A royal Scythian burial
  1. King Ajatasattu of Magadha [son of the Buddhist King Bimbisara],
  2. the Licchavis of Vesali,
  3. the Shakyas of Kapilavastu [Bamiyan according to maverick historian Dr. Ranajit Pal, Kabul, and Mes Aynak, modern Afganistan, west of modern India and Pakistan, ancient Gandhara, according to the fact that the sutras describe the Shakyas as having three capitals in their Great Territory or maha-janapada, according to original research at Wisdom Quarterly]
  4. the Bulis of Allakappa
  5. the Koliyas of Ramagrama
  6. the Brahmin of Vethadipa [who made the partition of the relics and asked to keep one portion to honor with the building of a burial mound]
  7. the Mallas of Pava
  8. the Mallas of Kusinara [modern Kushinagar, the territory the Buddha purposely chose as a former great kingdom of the remote past, where he traveled by foot with Ven. Ananda to pass into final nirvana to avoid conflict or even war breaking out between competing kingdoms wishing to keep and honor the Buddha's remains and give them a special place of honor due to his great fame ("Asoka and the Buddha-Relics," ntu.edu.tw).
  9. [the devas in the akasha deva loka, that is, in a world in space, presumably a nearby planet]
  10. [uncertain but we will find out.]
Relics in Afghanistan
The world famous Buddhas of Bamiyan from faraway Scythia/Afghanistan (Azaranica).

The CIA as the Taliban or ISIS destroys.
[Why would there be Buddhist relics in Islamic Afghanistan? It is because the Buddha was from the area before it was called Afghanistan. And as their beloved prince he renounced and became a wandering ascetic who went to India to become enlightened. But he returned to help and teach his extended family and friends the path to liberation from all suffering. The Shakyans remembered him and honored him and many Shakyans became monastic-practitioners or great supporters of the Sangha and Dharma helping it spread north and west before it moved out of India where it was taking root. We suggest that it took hold in Afghanistan and agrarian nomadic Central Asia before it caught on in Brahmin/Vedic-dominated "Indian" states. The story is usually that the Teachings traveled up the Silk Route from India passing through the waddle and daub villages of backward no man's land west of the kingdoms of modern NW India. The fact is that the Buddha returned home seven years after his enlightenment but his grand reputation as a sage (muni) preceded him and his wife, Yasodhara/Bimba Devi, was already practicing as an ascetic as she had been since he left.]

What remained prior to detonation (Azaranica).
Sometime in the middle of the 5th century the Chinese pilgrim Daorong traveled to the Buddhist kingdom of Afghanistan visiting pilgrimage sites. In Nagaharahara was a piece of bone from the top of Buddha's skull four inches long. Also in the city was an enshrined staff and a jeweled reliquary containing some teeth and hair. A shadow was said to have been projected onto a rock wall, said to have belonged to the Buddha, as well as a set of foot prints and a site venerated for being where the Buddha washed his robe.

A temple (vihara) said to have been built by the Buddha is sinking into the ground here, with what is said to be his writing on the wall (John S. Strong, 2007, Relics of the Buddha, p. xiii). A tooth of the Buddha was kept in Baktra (Strong 2007, p. 182).

Bimaran casket reliquary placed in stone box.
In Bamiyan -- site of the destruction of the world's largest Buddha statues by the CIA/Taliban -- a tooth of the Buddha was stored along with the tooth of a cakravartin ("world monarch") ruler (), the two kinds of persons the Buddha said stupas were erected in remembrance of. An early masterpiece of the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara and one of the earliest representations of the Buddha is the golden Bimaran casket, which was discovered in a burial mound near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan.

Although the casket bears an inscription saying it contained some of the relics of the Buddha, no relics were discovered when the box was opened (Senior 2008, pp. 25-27). [Presumably they were taken by tomb robbers who somehow left the more obviously valuable gold and jewel-encrusted urn or devas teleported them elsewhere for safety.] The Buddha's first followers, Trapusa and Bhallika, received eight strands of hair from him, which they brought back to their home town of Balkh and enshrined in a golden stupa by the gate (Strong 2007, pp. 73-74). These relics from the Buddha just weeks after his great enlightenment went on to serve as the basis for the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda of Burma, a massive stupa complex.
 
Famous Indian stupa or burial mound reliquary with ornate gate at Sanchi (flickr.com)

Restoration of one of the great stupas, Sarnath outside of Varanasi (Benares)
Final Passing Into Nirvana Sutra
Sister Vajira and Francis Story, trans., Mahaparinibbana Sutta (DN 16)
Introduction: Of the 34 discourses (suttas or sutras) that make up the "Collection of Long Discourses" (Digha Nikaya), the 16th is the longest. It maintains first place where length is concerned.
  • [It tells the story of "the Last Days of the Buddha" up to and beyond the final nirvana and what became of the monastic community (Sangha) and how the Buddha-Dharma was preserved and was transformed into a religion now called "Buddhism" by some prominent Brahmin monastics (like the enlightened elder Ven. Maha Kassapa), which never happened during the Buddha's life and dispensation, presumably by design as he was against religion, empty ritual, and the trappings of another -ism in the world.]
This discourse preserves the principal features of the Buddhist sutra insofar as it, like others, is a rehearsal of events that have been witnessed [by Ananda and/or others]. On account of its unique composition, however, it is, more than other sutra, capable not only of winning the affection of the confident Buddhist, as it naturally does, but also of attracting the general reader, because it is indeed a fine specimen of sacred universal literature.


 
It gives a good general idea of the Buddha's Teaching, the Dharma, too, even though it hardly offers anything that is not found -- and often more extensively dealt with -- in other sutras that are more oriented toward teaching Dharma.
 
At the end of his life, after almost half a century's ministry [45 years of teaching and causing the liberating Dharma to be spread far and wide across time and space, much farther and wider than can be fathomed, as a buddha's influence is one of the Four Imponderables], the Teacher had long since taught all that was necessary for attaining the ideal [enlightenment/liberation or bodhi/nirvana].

During the last period his primary concern, therefore, was to impress on his followers the necessity of unflinchingly putting into practice those teachings: an appeal that could, of course, hardly fail in stirring their hearts [minds] more than ever before.

The world's largest Buddha statue reclining into final nirvana remains unexcavated in the Buddha's homeland, modern Afghanistan, in a former capital at Bamiyan, ancient Scythia/Sakastan/Bactria (NatGeo).
 
The Sangha [both the monastic (communities of monks and nuns known as the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sanghas) and the more important "community" of enlightened/noble disciples or Arya Sangha] came, indeed, to witness the greatest event in its history, and was keenly aware of it, especially since the Teacher had announced his Parinibbana three months ahead.

The impression on the monastics who flocked to him in large numbers as he was pressing northward was tremendous and could not fail to be reflected vividly in the oral account. (The Buddhist canon was originally, as is well known, completely part of an oral rather than written tradition). Because of its particular import and abundance, this material was soon formed into one body, and so this long sutra came to be. More
A Scythian, royal kshatriya, burial with finery and ornate gold like the Shakyas (NatGeo).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What is Buddhist "meditation" really?

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Teri Mei, Crystal Quintero, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Meditation mudra (hand pose or gesture) with mala (bead necklace) (flickr.com)
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Thai Dhammakaya (dimc.net)
The meditation instructor said, "Let's pay more attention to this" pointing all around. "Instead of spacing out and going away, stay."

That was the instruction, "Stay"? Does he know how uncomfortable it is here? It seems he does. He's meditated much more than we have and more successfully. "Stay"? He assures us there are many valuable things for us to learn in this dimension, in this illusory reality, in this here-nowness of time and space.

We are certainly here for one or more reasons. And somehow, by our previous karma, we choose to be here.
Am I in trance yet? Whiskey & Yoga
It's hard to know for sure. But does it not sometimes seem that it is a punishment to be on Earth now under this government? Even then, of course, it is certainly a "learning" experience. At times it is even a flower-filled paradise. Many, many living beings wish to come here -- devas from sagga, hungry spirits from the Realm of Ghosts, narakas (hellions in worlds of misery unutterable), titans from space, nagas (reptilians) from their underworld and sea.

Well, we are here. So let's be here now. To "BE HERE NOW" (Dr. Timothy Leary/Ram Dass) is the best American-English definition of Buddhist mindfulness and basic meditation.
 
Yesterday when we visited Lu Mountain in preparation for the world's largest Buddhist Relics Exhibition (coming to Los Angeles September 2015) our teacher wanted to tell us that the Chinese word chan is very interesting.

What is chan as in Chan Buddhism or Chan Meditation? Ch'an can be defined Rosetta Stone style in three other languages: Japanese zen, Sanskrit dhyana, English "meditative absorption" and somewhat misleadingly "trance," Tibetan bsam gtan, Korean seon, Vietnamese thiền.

Chan by way of the Four Supreme Abodes
It is one of my favorite words because in Pali (the only exclusively Buddhist language) it is jhana. It is so important that everyone uses it but so important that no one seems to know what it means. Therefore, it is translated as "meditation," more technically as "serenity or tranquility meditation" (samatha bhavana).

It is the basis of the Buddha's teaching, but the Buddha did not stop there: On top of a solid foundation of serenity (itself based on the Four Divine Abidings or Brahma Viharas -- loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and unbiased equanimity) the Teachings say to set up fourfold mindfulness (on body, feelings, mind [conscious states], and mental phenomena). Then this will be fruitful to produce/reveal enlightenment.

It doesn't matter who you used to be. What matters is who you become [now].
 
In any language, it refers to "meditative absorption," varying states of effortless-concentration (in the sense of not trying, not straining, not stressing but just allowing, see jhanasadvice.com) when the mind/heart coheres and is restored to its original purity and luminosity.

This may be the momentary clarity of consciousness people get glimpses of via entheogens (chemicals like DMT that release or "elicit the divine within") and NDEs (near death experiences). That is to say, that's what it sounds like when people who do not meditate well talk about their trips and visions, which they are not ready for and usually do not benefit much from because they do not have control by virtue of a solid foundation in serenity meditation/samadhi, peace of mind, joy (pīti) and happiness (sukha), which all come from virtue (sila), Tibetan Buddhist "basic goodness," ethical-morality, the Five Precepts.
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But how, HOW?
So it starts with virtue in life, then one goes to the mat, sits comfortably, then what? This is where an answer gets tricky: There are many ways to say it, to explain it, but none will make sense until one does it. Does what? Starts with virtue, moves to the mat, sits comfortably, and cultivates serenity, that's what. One way is to breathe because by being attentive to (mindful of, nonjudgmentally aware of) the breath that is happening by itself without trying to change it, one is immediately pulled into present time. Then one will be in present space. One will be here now.

And because of virtue, the mind/heart will settle. And with gentle persistence it will absorb (enter what the Buddha called jhana and dhyana). And to say anything more sets one up for frustration and failure because of expectations. Let go. Let go of expectations. Let go of everything. Just remain attentive to what is without judgment or involvement but just observation). What is? Whatever is. When is? NOW.

Now is all there is, and all that is could only be now. Just ask Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie or better yet a literally enlightened being, a noble person (arya), like Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw or Ajahn Jumnien or Ajahn Brahm or Sayalay Susila or Ven. Dipankara Theri...or that person in the mirror waiting to shine.

Wisdom Quarterly returns from summer vacation with new team spirit and more help.

Buddhist RELICS to go on display! (video)

CC Liu, Teri Mei, Bhante, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Master Yong Hua (MahaStupa.org)
Kids love the energy emanating from Buddhist relics rarer than precious gems (MRT)
They are hard to believe in or understand, but all are invited to see for themselves (MS).
Cameras record miraculous viewing of sacred tooth and other relics (MahaStupa.org).
Visitors view relics on Lu Mountain, L.A., Aug 18, 2013 (Christina House/LATimes.com)

Picture
Close up of various relics multiplying under glass in full view of onlookers (MahaStupa.org)

Relics in glass, Lu Mountain, Aug. 2013 (Wisdom Quarterly: American Buddhist Journal)

Relics on cover of the Los Angeles Times
First of all, what is a "relic" (Sanskrit sharira, "subtle body emanation")? It is a part of the body, or more often the post-cremation remnant, of an enlightened person, literally a "saint" or arhat in Buddhism.
Something about the body transforms at the moment of full enlightenment, arhatship. And the physical proof of this transubstantiation is evident in the ashes of the cremation pyre -- miraculous crystal like "beads" and bone fragments, colorful concretions, formations, inexplicable pieces of glass with the unique property of multiplying and disappearing and reappearing.

Prajna Paramita, the Buddha, and Quan Yin on Lu Mountain altar (Wisdom Quarterly)
 
Buddhist miracles and marvels today?
Special glass containers with various relics (WQ)
It is easy to imagine that when a revered teacher passes away, her or his students, wishing to "prove" their teacher was an enlightened meditation master, might toss in bags of sand or something. Then with great heat brought about by binding in prodigious amounts of wood, linen wrappings, and oil the glass might melt into beads.

That would be one hot fire to congeal sand into glass like an atomic blast. Yet, it would still not explain the marvelous powers of the remains. Everything burns up, but these colorful glassy formations grow, appear, multiply, disappear, teleport, and give coherence to meditation in their vicinity. People more easily enter states of profound concentration (stillness, one-pointedness, serenity, calm, joy, samadhi) when they meditate.

Ven. Abbot Yong Hua holds relics (MS)
The abbot, Master Yong Hua, is very generous and from time to time is drawn to give one or more away. Then those blessed persons experience miracles -- seeing the relics multiply (or disappear if they are not worthy of them for lack of virtue or sufficient respect).

September 7th 2015 Event

Friday, August 21, 2015

Latino vs. Hispanic: Cartoonist knows

110481 full
Cartoonist Terry Blas (scpr.org)
As we look ahead to the election season, candidates from both sides of the aisle will be thinking about ways to court the Latino vote...or, is it the Hispanic vote?

It's the eternal question for millions of Spanish speakers who live in the United States: Am I Latino, Hispanic and does it matter?

Terry Blas is a cartoonist who's been asking himself about this for years. So he decided to tackle it in the best way he knows how: by creating a comic.

Blas's father is American and his mother is Mexican. Though he was born in the states, he identified as Mexican during his childhood in Boise, Idaho. Though is mother would correct him by telling him he is American, it wasn't until he went on a Mormon missionary trip in New York City that he had an epiphany about his identity. 

Blas said it all began in the Bronx, where he first experienced other Spanish-speaking cultures.

"It occurred to me that New York City sort of felt like a TV dinner -- like everyone was sort of in their own spot and their own place," he said.

He also learned something about his fellow missionaries.

"Other missionaries, who were coming from Idaho and Utah, had grown up believing that people who spoke Spanish were from Mexico," Blas said. "So it was interesting to me to hear all these different dialects of Spanish spoken there, and to hear something spoken that didn't sound like the Spanish I had grown up speaking, and having to adjust and adapt to that, it really hit me then how varied and how beautiful and different these Latin/Hispanic cultures were."

Latino, Hispanic -- so what's the difference?
It's a question that doesn't necessarily come with a simple answer.

"This is where it gets dicey," Blas said. "My comic, I think, explores some very simplified answers to some really complex terms that people feel have a lot of meanings."
 
But his comic breaks it down like this:
  • Hispanic: anyone who comes from a Spanish-speaking country.
  • Latino: anyone who comes from Latin America.
"I understand that some people feel that's completely untrue," Blas said. "Latino can refer to anyone who speaks a Latin romance language."
 
Languages such as French, Italian, and Portuguese all fall under this umbrella.

North America carved into countries.
"While making this comic, I asked some of my friends who were French if they identify as Latino, and they seemed confused," he said. "They all said no."

While the terms are to be debated, Blas says he has received thanks along with the criticism.

"I've received a lot of messages from other Latino and Hispanic people thanking me for this comic," he said. "A lot of them saying, 'I didn't know this difference, so this has helped me out.'" More
News of the World
Amy Goodman, Juan González, et al. (DemocracyNow.org)

Headlines

August 21, 2015
Poetry and words take a stand at Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles (KPFK.org)
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Detox like a Buddhist

Ari Shapiro (NPR.org); SCPR.org; CC Liu, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly
"The food creates the entire human being," says Gye Ho, the nun who runs the table. (Above) An array of dishes served at the temple, including root chips, pickled radishes, marinated tofu, potatoes, stir-fried greens, squash, green tea, mushroom fritters and caps. The dishes feature no meat, fish or MSG.
"The food creates the entire human being," says Ven. Gye Ho, the nun who runs the table: an array of dishes including root chips, pickled radishes, marinated tofu, potatoes, stir-fried greens, squash, green tea, mushroom fritters and caps -- no meat, fish, or MSG (NPR).








 
Detox? One could go to AgainstTheStream.org in urgent cases of "Refuge Recovery" from  alcohol, behavior, or substance abuse. But in more mild and long term cases, eat like a healthy and compassionate Buddhist:

Detox like a Buddhist
Sun Woo directs the visitor program at Jinkwansa, a Buddhist temple outside Seoul famous for preserving the art of Korean temple food. Behind her are giant jars filled with fermented soybeans.
Ven. Sun Woo directs the visitor program at Jinkwansa, a Buddhist temple outside Seoul famous for preserving the art of Korean temple food. Behind her are giant jars filled with fermented soybeans (Ari Shapiro/NPR).

Detox diets come and go, but in South Korea one popular diet has staying power. It has been around for at least 1,600 years, since the founding of Jingkwansa Temple. This Buddhist monastery, run entirely by women, is renowned for preserving ancient temple cuisine. See the menu (below).

A clampdown on contamination in growing fields has pushed out wildlife and destroyed habitats.Detox diets come and go, like any other fad. In South Korea, one popular diet has staying power. It has been around for at least 1,600 years, ever since the founding of the Jinkwansa temple in the mountains outside of Seoul.
It took astronauts 33 days to grow enough red romaine lettuce to make a small salad.
This Buddhist monastery sits at the convergence of two streams, amid twisting leafy trees and soaring peaks. It's one of many temples in the countryside outside of South Korea's capital. Each temple has its own specialty. Jinkwansa is famous for two reasons.
 
First, it's run entirely by women. The day before our visit, Jill Biden, the wife of the U.S. vice president, was at the temple learning about Korean women's education.
 
But we came here to learn about Jinkwansa's second claim to fame. The place is renowned for preserving the ancient art of Korean temple cuisine.
 
"You can't understand monastic culture without understanding monastic food," says Gye Ho, the Overt Nun who runs this temple. She has been a practicing nun for more than 50 years. Like all of the nuns here, Gye Ho has a shaved head and wears traditional gray robes. "The food creates the entire human being," she says. "It shapes our mind and body."
 
My interpreter and I are escorted to a small room with sliding doors. Inside, at least 25 different dishes are arrayed on the table. That variety is typical of a Korean lunch. Sun Woo, who directs the temple visit program, explains what makes monastic food different.
 
"There is no meat and no fish and no MSG," she says. "And no garlic, no onion, no green onion, no spring onion, or leek."

That may sound remarkably bland. But the dishes are pungent, fiery, funky, or puckeringly tart. There are fermented radishes, mushroom fritters, marinated tofu and crispy greens. Thinly sliced eggplant and fried potato slices sit next to clear soup and a bowl of rice.

Once we can't eat any more, Sun Woo escorts us to a roped off corner of the temple grounds to divulge one secret of this monastic cuisine.

On top of a gravel-covered platform are dozens of ceramic urns of different sizes. Inside these jars, the nun explains, "we ferment many different soybean sauces, or soybean paste."

The monastery makes up to 30 different kinds of sauce from fermented soybeans. The jars sit in a spot that gets full sun all day long -- that's important for the fermentation process. In these urns, some soybeans have been fermenting for 20 years, others for as long as 50 years. The smell is as layered and complex as any aged whiskey or ripe cheese.
 
Through pickling, fermenting, dehydrating, and other traditional practices, the nuns infuse their simple cuisine with dizzying layers of flavor.
 
Iced tea made from local berries is served with melon and squares of sweet sticky rice topped with fruits and nuts. The nuns eat these sweets on head-shaving day, to replenish their energy.
Iced tea made from local berries is served with melon and squares of sweet sticky rice topped with fruits and nuts. The nuns eat these sweets on head-shaving day, to replenish their energy (Ari Shapiro/NPR).

People from all over the world come to the monastery to experience this lifestyle. During our visit, 240 visitors were participating in the temple stay program, waking up at 3:30 each morning to meditate and detox.

As we speak with head nun Gye Ho about the philosophy of the temple, we sit on mats, drinking iced tea made from local berries. The drink is served with melon and squares of sweet, sticky rice topped with fruits and nuts. The nuns eat these sweets on head-shaving day, to replenish their energy.

Gye Ho explains that for the nuns, cooking and eating are spiritual as well as physical practices. "We prepare our food with a clear mind," she says. "We recognize that the best sauce in the world is the heart that we put into our cooking."

She says everything here is natural; while the rest of South Korea uses metal chopsticks, those at the monastery are made of wood.

At the risk of sounding impolite, I finally ask this aged nun, "Do you ever just crave french fries or chocolate?"

"Everyone has cravings," she replies. "When I have them, I focus my mind by making noodles." More

Kongguksu — Korean soybean noodles
Kongguksu — Korean soybean noodles (via Wikimedia)

Kongguksu

Here's the temple's recipe for making Kongguksu, or soybean noodles.
Ingredients
2 cups of dried soy beans
1/2 cup of crushed sesame seeds
2 cups of flour
For garnish: Thin cucumber strips, black sesame seeds, red chili pepper
Instructions
1) Soak soybeans in water for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
2) Boil the beans until tender, an hour or so.
3) Grind the cooked beans with sesame seeds.
4) Squeeze the mixture in a cotton cloth. Discard the pulp, and chill the juice.
4) Mix the flour and a pinch of salt with enough water to make a sticky dough. Store the dough in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.
5) Roll out the dough and slice into thin noodle strips.
6) Boil the noodles for 3-5 minutes, then rinse under cold water.
6) Serve the noodles with cold soybean juice, cucumber strips, black sesame seeds and sliced red chili pepper
 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Teleporting" captured on traffic cam (video)

Wisdom Quarterly; The Kepler Telescope Channel/YouTube


Power of Human Brain (Mind Over Matter)
(Documentary Videos) The Brain

The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but has a more developed cerebral cortex than any other. Large animals such as whales and elephants have larger brains in absolute terms, but when measured using the encephalization quotient, which compensates for body size, the human brain is almost twice as large as the brain of the bottlenose dolphin, and three times as large as the brain of a chimpanzee. Much of the expansion comes from the cerebral cortex, especially the frontal lobes, which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the cerebral cortex devoted to vision, the visual cortex, is also greatly enlarged in humans.

The human cerebral cortex is a thick layer of neural tissue that covers most of the brain. This layer is folded in a way that increases the amount of surface that can fit into the volume available. The pattern of folds is similar across individuals, although there are many small variations. The cortex is divided into four "lobes", called the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, and occipital lobe. (Some classification systems also include a limbic lobe and treat the insular cortex as a lobe.) Within each lobe are numerous cortical areas, each associated with a particular function, including vision, motor control, and language. The left and right sides of the cortex are broadly similar in shape, and most cortical areas are replicated on both sides. Some areas, though, show strong lateralization, particularly areas that are involved in language. In most people, the left hemisphere is "dominant" for language, with the right hemisphere playing only a minor role. There are other functions, such as spatiotemporal reasoning, for which the right hemisphere is usually dominant.

Despite being protected by the thick bones of the skull, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and isolated from the bloodstream by the blood–brain barrier, the human brain is susceptible to damage and disease. The most common forms of physical damage are closed head injuries such as a blow to the head, a stroke, or poisoning by a variety of chemicals that can act as neurotoxins. Infection of the brain, though serious, is rare due to the biological barriers that protect it. The human brain is also susceptible to degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease. A number of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and depression, are thought to be associated with brain dysfunctions, although the nature of such brain anomalies is not well understood.

Scientifically, the techniques that are used to study the human brain differ in important ways from those that are used to study the brains of other mammals. On the one hand, invasive techniques such as inserting electrodes into the brain, or disabling parts of the brain in order to examine the effect on behavior, are used with non-human species, but for ethical reasons, are generally not performed with humans. On the other hand, humans are the only subjects who can respond to complex verbal instructions. Thus, it is often possible to use non-invasive techniques such as functional neuroimaging or EEG recording more productively with humans than with non-humans. Furthermore, some of the most important topics, such as language, can hardly be studied at all except in humans. In many cases, human and non-human studies form essential complements to each other. Individual brain cells (except where tissue samples are taken for biopsy for suspected brain tumors) can only be studied in non-humans; complex cognitive tasks can only be studied in humans. Combining the two sources of information to yield a complete functional understanding of the human brain is an ongoing challenge for neuroscience.

Monday, August 3, 2015

To Be An Island Unto Oneself (sutra)

Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; Maurice O'Connell Walshe (trans., accesstoinsight.org); Time.com; Popfotos.com
Congregation awaits sharpening their spears as a ship looms in the distance (Survival Int'l).
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Ancient island-dwellers kill to keep others away
July 17, 2015 (Spooky, Strange)
Our local Neighborhood Watch has nothing on these people -- who will straight kill an outsider if s/he come  anywhere near their island. For nearly 60,000 years, an indigenous tribe called the Sentinelese has inhabited this small territory in the Indian Ocean. They are believed to be the most disconnected civilization in modern times, with very little known about their language, their rituals or the island they call home. The Sentinelese people prefer to be left alone, willing to attack anyone who enters their vicinity.

Hatemongers "love" lion too late. Killing all the dentists won't bring him back. Eat well and good dental health will make all dentists pay for Palmer's crimes. Love yourself and your teeth; they're a part of nature (AP).
#CATLIVESMATTER (lol) and other clever slogans sprinkle hateful anti-dentite display by Christian cat lovers. "Palmer, there's a deep cavity [search] waiting for YOU! We stand on the side of Cecil and on the side of love, except for the maniac who condemned the murderous dentist to rot in hell." Hate in the service of love is hate. Love when others hate, love when others love, always love (AP).

 
The only GUIDE you need
Who are these Sentinelese? 
Let us ask the HHGTTG (aka Wikipedia): Sentinelese (also Sentineli, Senteneli, Sentenelese, North Sentinel Islanders) are an indigenous people of the Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal. They inhabit North Sentinel Island, which lies westward off the southern tip of the Great Andaman archipelago. They are noted for resisting attempts at contact by outsiders.

The Sentinelese maintain an essentially hunter-gatherer society subsisting through hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. There is no evidence of either agricultural practices or methods of producing fire (B.K. Roy Burman, ed., 1990, Cartography for development of outlying states and islands of India: short papers submitted at NATMO Seminar, Calcutta, December 3-6, 1990, National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. p.203).

Their language remains unclassified and is not mutually intelligible with the Jarawa language of their nearest neighbors (Enumeration of Primitive Tribes in A&N Islands: A Challenge, The first batch could identify 31 Sentinelese. The second batch could count altogether 39 Sentinelese consisting of male and females adults, children and infants. During both the contacts the enumeration team tried to communicate with them through some Jarawa words and gestures, but, Sentinelese could not understand those verbal words). The Sentinelese are designated as a Scheduled Tribe. More
Cuteness won't save you. Normally when females hitchhike in the U.S., they get raped. When men do, they get robbed, beaten, and left in a ditch. But robots can expect vandalism, sodomy, and annihilation. The anthropomorphic (human-like) robot hitchBOT, seen here during its cross-Canada trek in 2014, was mugged and murdered yesterday, two weeks into its attempted trip across the U.S. (Reuters).
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Some who wander are lost.
Vandals in Philadelphia bring Hitchbot's adventure to an untimely end. A hitchhiking robot eager to explore America has met its demise just two weeks into its cross-country journey.

HitchBOT was vandalized in Philadelphia ["City of Brotherly Love"] overnight on Saturday after exploring parts of Massachusetts and New York, Canadian researchers David Smith and Frauke Zeller shared on the project’s website. The friendly robot, who sports yellow polka dot boots and a smiley-face LED screen, had hoped American humans would shuttle it around the country to see Times Square, pose with the Lincoln Statue, and tour Walt Disney World, among other destinations on its bucket list.
 
“Sometimes bad things happen to good robots,” HitchBot’s creators wrote. “We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”
 
The hitchhiking robot is an experiment to see how humans interact with robots. HitchBOT previously journeyed across Canada and Germany without incident, in addition to enjoying a three-week vacation in the Netherlands. More

I want to cross over and live on that island, where it's safe. - Me, too. Nirvana is that island.
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SUTRA: An Island Unto Oneself
Maurice O'Connell Walshe (trans.), Attadipa Sutra (SN 22.43) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
Oh, to have or be one's own island!
"Meditators, be islands unto yourselves.
  • Atta-dipa. Atta means "self." Dipa means both "island" (Sanskrit dvipa) and "lamp" (Sanskrit dipa), but the meaning "island" is well-established here. The "self" referred to is of course the unmetaphysical pronoun "oneself": compare at SN 3.8, Note 1.
"Be your own refuge [guide], having no other; let the Dharma be an island and a refuge [guide] to you, having no other

"Those who are islands unto themselves...should investigate to the very heart of things:
  • It is necessary to withdraw [to remain undistracted, to be secluded in body and mind, striving and allowing the silence], to be "an island to unto oneself," at least for a time (as any meditator knows). This is not done for any "selfish" reason but precisely in order to make this profound introspective investigation [that removes pride and allows unselfishness to blossom]. In the other sense, Buddhists would of course agree with John Donne that "No man is an island." But rather we are inter-dependent.
Here there are many dangers; there it's safe.
"'What is the source of sorrow [disappointment, unsatisfactoriness, all mental-and-physical suffering], lamentation, pain, grief, and despair? How do they arise?' [What is their ultimate origin?]
 
"Here [within this Doctrine and Discipline, this Dharma taught by the Buddha], meditators, the uninstructed worldling [continued as in SN 22.7]. Change occurs in this person's body, and it becomes different. On account of this change and difference, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair arise. [The same consideration is made with regard to 'feelings,' 'perceptions,' 'mental formations,' and 'consciousness' together known as the Five Aggregates of Clinging].

The Buddha overlooks island of Borobudur in Java, Indonesia (obergeron/flickr).
 
"But seeing
  • As [the early Buddhist scholar] Woodward remarks in KS [Book of the Kindred Sayings, the British Pali Text Society translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Vol. III, PTS 1924], one would expect to find here the words which he inserts in the text: "The well-taught [noble] disciple," as in many passages. If one in fact sees these things and reflects as said in the text, one will cease to be [an ordinary] "worldling" [and will "change lineage" to become a noble one, that is, an enlightened person].
"the body's impermanence, its change-ability, its waning,
  • [Viraga, elsewhere translated as "dispassion" (SN 12.16, Note 2), also has this meaning.]
its ceasing, one says, 'Formerly, as now, all bodies were impermanent and unsatisfactory and subject to change.'

"Thus, seeing this as it really is, with perfect insight, one abandons all sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. One is not worried at their abandonment, but unworried lives at ease. And thus living at ease, one is said to be 'assuredly delivered.'"
  • [Tadanganibbuto means rather more than Woodward's "one who is rid of all that."]
[The same is done with regard to 'feelings,' 'perceptions,' 'mental formations,' and 'consciousness'].

Why do whites love to kill? The last US public lynching, a family affair, usually enjoyed after church in Christian houses of worship to a hateful god called "Love" (Yahweh).





(Hunter Hunted) Let's go play on our own island! Sperry Inc. will pay.


Big Buddha Tian Tan, Lantau island, Hong Kong, (Michael Jevons/flickr.com)
 
Were original Earthlings black?
If the Buddha were black (Nippon_newfie)
Aboriginal (Negritos, "small blacks") peoples are in the news lately leading us to the conclusion that maybe they did not come from elsewhere like whites and Asians but were here all along. They exist in Southeast Asia, and above they are the people of India (Dravidians perhaps) surviving on islands and deep in forests, and recently two scientific studies concluded that the first Americans have unexplained traces of aborigine in their DNA. Moreover, older excavations dating back 50,000 years show that the first known arrivals to the USA were negroid peoples, as are still found in very small numbers in Sri Lanka (the indigenous Yakkhas), predating Buddhist arrivals from Gandhara, "Aryan" Central Asia/Iran, and Northwestern India.
  
The Mohave Native who played nice
Irataba, c.1864
Indigenous black Native ?
Irataba (circa 1814-1874) was a leader of the Mohave Nation [California], known as an advocate for peace with whites and a mediator with the United States. He was a renowned orator and one of the first Mohave to speak English. He became the Mohave Nation's Aha macave yaltanack -- an elected, as opposed to hereditary -- leader.

As a result of his many interactions with US officials and settlers, Irataba was invited to Washington, D.C., in 1864 for an official meeting with members of the US military and government, including Pres. Abraham Lincoln. He was the first Native American from the Southwest to meet an American president.

Upon his return he negotiated the creation of the Colorado River Indian Reservation [slow eradication camp], which caused a split in the Mohave Nation when he led several hundred of his supporters to the Colorado River Valley. Some historians consider Irataba a great leader who championed peace, but others feel he could have done more to defend the Mohave way of life. In March 2015, Mohave Tribal Chairman Dennis Patch credited Irataba with ensuring that "the Mohaves stayed on land they had lived on since time immemorial." More

Lion-Man invents new way to play guitar
(Grayson Erhard) Erhard invents new way to treat a six string guitar with sulrprising results, "Tapestry"