Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wisdom Network News

In search of collective enlightenment
It also underlined his aspirations for the birth of a collective spiritual consciousness, one of the principal tenets of Mahayana Buddhism.... (Jakarta Post).

Surf Movies and Books
The personal narrative of the young author's coming-of-age love affair with surfing and his ever-evolving relationship to Buddhism makes for a quick... (Santa Barbara Independent).

His works on display definitely offer a mix of expensive European paint and microcosm, as well as blue-eyed celebrities and Buddhism.... (Korea Herald).

Flowers Fall
But Buddhism is a little different from the Judeo-Christian tradition, where there are certain doctrines we could teach a three-year-old; for instance... (Chronogram).

Increased Vietnamese tension over religious freedom
A press release from the "Help Bat Nha" website claims further offenses to the Buddhist community last night. The 15 youngest monks and nuns were detained... (

Vancouver: Dalai Lama peace summit, Chan Centre
The Dalai Lama is the most influential figure of the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism, which was found by a Tibetan philosopher. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is... (Ubyssey Online).

Izzy Rumney
Then I finally cracked Buddhism, and I've embraced it over the past year. My bedroom has a little meditation corner.” 5. This wine-coloured sofa from Urban... (Eye Weekly).

Heart Shrine Relics tour comes to Columbus
A rare opportunity to see Buddhist relics has come to Columbus. Relics of the Shakyamuni Buddha (founder of Buddhism), amongst many others... (

How to be happy
Richard Gere is a regular in Himachal Pradesh after he discovered Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. The Osho Commune in Pune has many more foreign visitors than... (Indian Express).

Court: TAU bowed to Chinese pressure over Falun exhibition
...for students who study in China, a campus Confucius Center where students can study Chinese, and conferences on Buddhism and Chinese philosophy.... (Ha'aretz).

Staten Island Tibetan Festival '09
The oasis of calm fashioned after a Himalayan monastery hosts its annual Tibetan Festival, Oct. 3, noon-5 pm The day features lectures on Buddhism and... (Staten Island Advance -

Muslim leader quick to praise US president
She urged participants, who represent not only the three Abrahamic faiths but also Hinduism, Buddhism and other so-called “eastern religions”... (National).

Abu Dhabi sees 76 inscriptions on UNESCO's Rep. List...
China - Regong arts - In monasteries and villages along the Longwu River basin in Qinghai Province in western China, Buddhist monks and folk artists of the... (WAM - Emirates News Agency).

Mahatma Gandhi
The greatest son born on Indian soil, Republic of India (Bharat), was Prince Siddhartha, founder of Buddhism, which originated in... (The Island, subscription).

Shaolin warriors present remarkable, theatrical Kung Fu
For more than fifteen hundred years this Buddhist sanctuary has blossomed and withered, only to bloom again. It has seen glory and humiliation.... (, press release).

School staff looks at Islam in depth
She teaches courses on Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Women and Religion, Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Fundamentalism. Johnson said Understanding Islam did ... (Dayton Daily News).

Pictures of the Day
The festival celebrates events in the life of Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Buddhism in its Tantric form to Bhutan in the eighth century.... (Wall Street Journal blog).

Tantric Sex isn't Scary
According to the tantric philosophy in Buddhism, each of us is the union of all universal energy. Tapping into that union with someone else is the beginning... (Tonic).

Hinduism is the foundation of civilization
Forgetting Nepal's background of Hinduism and Buddhism, a democratic country like India, should not work to create anarchy and establish terrorism in Nepal.... (NewsBlaze).

Festival goes beyond religious borders
Diwali or Deepavali is a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and an official holiday in India. Adherents of these religions... (Indian NewsLink).

B'nai Brith assists multifaith conference from Yom Kippur...
The event included presentations on native spirituality, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam by community spokespeople. Yellowknife resident Elisabeth Gelb... (Jewish Tribune).

Buddhism is not a religion Part 3: Truth shall set you free
Now....before getting back to our conversation about why Buddhism is not a religion, let me reiterate that I am not proposing that the practice of what the... (

Say what you will, but Five Precepts stand the test of time
And although Buddhism is a state-recognized religion, the concept of Almighty God is in fact nonexistent in this religion that emphasizes every human's own... (Jakarta Globe).

Lam Dong: police attack Buddhist temple...
Da Lat – Hundreds of police agents and government thugs attacked a Buddhist monastery in Lam Dong province, in the central highlands of Vietnam.... (

Monks' morality important to Cambodia
Niigata, Japan — In Cambodia Buddhism is the state religion, guaranteed by the Constitution, and about 95 percent of the people are... (United Press International, Asia).

World religions plead for action at climate talks
The declaration, endorsed by prominent adherents of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, was handed to Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief.... (eTaiwan News).

The Dark Ages return in Aceh
There are five major religions in Indonesia – Buddhism, Hinduism, Protestant Christianity, Catholicism and Islam. Even though 80 percent of Indonesians are... (United Press International, Asia).‎

Religions press for action on climate
The declaration, endorsed by prominent adherents of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, was handed to Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief.... (eTaiwan News).

Krit Kraichitti, Thailand Ambassador to India calls...
“Buddhism is a common thread that connects most of these countries. There is lot of potential for Spiritual and Religious Tourism. Buddhist destinations in... (TravelBizMonitor).

World News

Healing sounds for Insomnia

Audio: Delta Sleep System by Dr. Jeffery Thompson is very effective in helping one fall asleep quickly. This is the first 10 minutes of the Delta Sleep System. Total time is 30 minutes. Highly recommended CD/Mp3 for help in falling asleep. Listen every night with headphones and prepare to finally get back to sleep.

Religious tension mounts in Vietnam

Nguyen Giang (BBC Vietnamese service); the Bat Nha monastery at the center of complex dispute (BBC)

Four years ago the Zen master [and Nobel Peace Prize nominee] Thich Nhat Hanh, a monk who popularized Buddhism in the West, was invited by the Vietnamese government to return home after 39 years in exile. The move was seen as a sign that the authorities were becoming more tolerant of religion, a very sensitive issue in the communist state. More>>

Emotional Intelligence training

Bill Stierle (Corporate Culture Devlopment)
Learn to integrate emotional in-telligence and brain dominance for more effective communication. Bill Stierle is a leading teacher of nonviolent communication explor-ing the latest advances in brain re-search and emotional intelligence. Achieve an understanding of how to attain a balanced and fulfilled life. Through the exploration of the three human elements of Thinking, Behaving, and Believing, one can gain a completely new understanding of obstacles and how to navigate them with greater ease and effectiveness. More>>

Hollow Earth, Teens, Jobs

Surprising power of teen popularity
Social status as a teen can have a profound influence on adult health. Why being unpopular can hurt

Hollow Earth theory is real with openings at both the northern and southern polar regions, with a vast inner continent lit by an internal sun. Witnesses, expedition on its way.

15 ways to annoy your job interviewer
Hiring managers really do look for these off-putting mannerisms in applicants. Just put down the pen

Samoa Tsunami flood captured (video)

Tsunami flood captured on video
A witness tapes video footage of the devastating surges that flattened villages in Samoa. "Very unreal"

Buddhism in the British Press

The Guardian (

Laura Bolton obituary
My sister Laura Bolton, who has died aged 46 from an undiagnosed brain condition (hydrocephalus), was a linguist and teacher who established Bikeability Wales, a prizewinning charity for disabled people....Japan she was also a Christian missionary, but there became interested in Buddhism and absorbed this into her spiritual beliefs, which were combined in...

Does karma make you calmer?
Rugby player Jonny Wilkinson has found tranquillity in Buddhism – but how do you find inner peace? In an interview with the Guardian Jonny Wilkinson lists the ways in which he maintains his equilibrium, from Buddhism and quantum physics to studying French and music. But how do you find and maintain inner peace while engaging on Cif's vigorous playing field? Deep breathing, perhaps, or an extra glass of wine? What are your tips for...Jonny Wilkinson lists the ways in which he maintains his equilibrium, from Buddhism and quantum physics...

Praying for change
Growing up in North London I hated going to synagogue on the high holidays. The services were long and monotonous. Most worshippers showed up at least an hour late and people chatted throughout the service and many just loitered outside socialising. Of course there were some who took the service seriously and were praying, but for most the synagogue services were something to...religion and are therefore seeking out spirituality in other religions such as Buddhism. As a rabbi reaching out to unaffiliated and assimilated Jews in...

Articles of note
New Humanist magazine has a very long and very interesting article on Adnan Oktar/Harun Yahya, the lavishly funded Turkish creationist and self-publicist. The Karmapa, one of the most senior reincarnate lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, and the only one at the moment to be recognised by both the Chinese government and the exiles around the Dalai Lama, has told the Times of India...publicist. The Karmapa, one of the most senior reincarnate lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, and the only one at the moment to be recogzised by...

Himalayan conflict centers on Tibet
There is perhaps no country more feared and less understood in India than China. In recent weeks Delhi newspapers and television have been awash with stories about the People's Liberation Army crossing the Himalayas to daub rocks with Chinese characters, making daredevil helicopter raids to drop (stale) tinned food on hapless farmers and trading fire with Indian soldiers. India...

Religion, theology, and daytime TV
A subject that comes up again and again in these discussions is whether religious statements, or myths, if you like, are even meant to be true. Are they meant to be accurate descriptions of the world? Do they describe a coherent body of theory? And, obviously, some are. Certainly, within Christianity and Buddhism there are schools of thought which attempt to map out coherent...coherent body of theory? And, obviously, some are. Certainly, within Christianity and Buddhism there are schools of thought which attempt to map out coherent...

Granny told me not to marry a Catholic, Tony Blair tells paper
Tony Blair has revealed that after ignoring a stern warning from his great-grandmother about marrying a Catholic, he now finds his new-found faith has become the driving force in his life as he seeks to clear up the world's religious conflicts. Speaking to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily newspaper, Blair said today he considers Pope Benedict's belief that God is...dialogue with China ("They are talking a lot about Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism"), understanding what makes a family strong, and even how to fight...

Muslim, Zen, and proud
My cousin Siraj startled me the other day. He emailed me from his home in Washington DC, urging me to open my heart and accept Islam. I know you have been contemplating the step of becoming a Muslim for some time, he wrote: do it now, in the holy month of Ramadan! Becoming a Muslim, I thought… What the heck did he think I had been all these years, from birth onwards? My fat...

Why Sleep are a dream band for stoners
How do you know when an album has truly made it into the canon? It used to involve endless retrospectives in classic-rock magazines, but now the litmus test is the Don't Look Back shows organized by All Tomorrow's Parties. In May, ATP booked Sleep to play their outrageously good 1992 album Holy Mountain, the kind of record that sets the template for other bands and is...longer concerned with marijuana but the freedom and liberation of meditation and Buddhism. The ritualistic trances of Variations On a Theme continued with Conference...

Recession, Religion, Wealth Gap

Recession's surprise impact on religion
Fallout from the economic crisis may significantly change religious life in America. Hardest-hit groups

Gap between richest and poorest grows
Income fell for all groups this year, but some fared much better than others. Places in U.S. with most inequality

Strange but clever economic indicators
These quirky signs might be better signals of the economy than stocks. What pink ties reveal

The richest people in America
The nation's wealthiest are poorer, but they still need $950 million or more to join the club. Forbes 400 rankings

UFOs: clear video evidence

This footage was shot by NASA during the Space Shuttle STS-80 mission. Multiple cameras film missions with audio and video communications being sent via satellite between space and Houston. In Canada there was a TV station owner named Martyn Stubbs. He was able to receive the same NASA satellite signal. So for more than five years he taped all of the missions. More footage is in the documentaries "The Secret NASA Transmissions," "The Smoking Gun," and "Secret Space" DVDs. (Available at Google-Video).

The Road to "Ascension" (2012)

David Wilcock (Edgar Cayce) Project Camelot series

This interview with David Wilcock redirects us to focus on the future of the planet in the few years leading up to 2012. As the self-professed reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, Wilcock is a good person to start with. He is approached less in the traditional interview mode and more with the stance that all Camelot had to do was place a camera in front of him and the rest would take care of itself. And so it happened.

Wilcock is extremely well read, eloquent, and dynamic. He was therefore able to hit the ground running. He launches into a saga of his own spiritual journey of self-discovery, how he came to the realization of one of his past lives as Edgar Cayce, his meetings with members of the Black Ops community and ultimate introduction into the world of the Illuminati, his exposure to the Law of One, the Ra material, and his scientific investigations.

Incorporating his own considerable channeling abilities into a vast and lucid review of the scientific basis for the coming changes surrounding 2012, this interview raises many questions and provokes a great deal of thought. To his credit, in this lifetime, Wilcock has duly recognized the areas where his prior manifestation required growth. And he has set about rectifying these areas with a frank self-appraisal in the spirit of truth seeking. While he has not lost his former channeling ability, in this lifetime he has complimented that skill with a solid grounding in science.

He is currently working with Richard Hoagland on an investigation into the planetary changes surrounding 2012. He is the co-author of an extremely important and well researched article found on Hoagland's website entitled "The Interplanetary Day After Tomorrow," recommended reading for all. In presenting this material, Project Camelot recognizes that some of the material is contentious. So everyone is encouraged to consider its conclusions in the spirit of open inquiry of an ongoing investigation into the mystery surrounding 2012.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why women have sex (book)

Brad Pitt and Geena Davis in "Thelma and Louise" (Ronald Grant Archive).

According to a new book, there are 237 reasons why women have sex. And most of them have little to do with romance or pleasure.

Tanya Gold (The Guardian, 9/28/09)

Do you want to know why women have sex with men with tiny little feet? I am stroking a book called Why Women Have Sex. It is by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychologist, and David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist. It is a very thick, bulging book. I've never really wondered why women have sex. But after years of not asking the question, the answer is splayed before me.

Meston and Buss have interviewed 1,006 women from all over the world about their sexual motivation, and in doing so they have identified 237 different reasons why women have sex. Not 235. Not 236. But 237. And what are they? From the reams of confessions, it emerges that women have sex for physical, emotional, and material reasons, to boost their self-esteem, to keep their lovers, or because they are raped or coerced. Love? That's just a song. We are among the bad apes now. More>>

Buddhism is "Nontheistic" not Atheistic

WQ edit of Wikipedia entry ("nontheism")
God and gods do not figure prominently in the Dharma. Whether they exist or not, the Dharma remains the same: The problem (dukkha) remains the same. The cause of the problem remains the same. The solution remains the same (nirvana). The path to nirvana remains the same. In that sense, Buddhism is nontheistic. It is entirely incorrect to say that it is atheistic or agnostic.

Although Buddhism has a vast number of scriptures and practices, the fundamental core teachings of Buddhism -- the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path -- are distinguished in the world of religion for not having any mention of God(s) or any notion of worship of any deity. These truths are not dependent on the existence or will of a higher being.

They are purely ethical and meditative guidelines based on the truths of impersonality, unsatisfactoriness, and impermanence. These are the Three Marks of Existence. Since the time of the Buddha, the refutation of the existence of a "Creator God" has been seen as a key point in distinguishing Buddhist from non-Buddhist views (Ref). There is, nevertheless, a great deal of talk about MahaBrahma (a great superior being who may boast or adopt the false view that IT -- not he or she since such beings, and there are more than one, have transcended sexual dimorphism -- is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, the alpha and the omega, and so on).

The Buddha said that many subtle beings-of-light, "godlings" or "gods" (devas), exist. But he portrayed them as mortal and deluded much like other beings. He did not center the Dharma (Teachings) around deities of any kind, but instead around the elimination of dukkha (a multivalent term encompassing ill, unsatisfactoriness, woe, or suffering) and the attaining of freedom from all suffering (nirvana).

Although the Buddha affirmed a positive belief in the existence of deities (devata), he encouraged people to be virtuous and thus attain the status of devas rather than encouraging the worship of them, a common practice in India to this day. They should be recalled (deva-anussati), brought to mind, their virtues (kusala-karma) emulated, and rebirths comparable to them gained. Some devas are earthbound nature beings, others live as extraterrestrials, and yet others are exalted and reside in high celestial worlds. Most are themselves, however, not liberated. Like other unenlightened beings, they are reborn again and again in the cycle of Samsara. A few, however, are enlightened to some degree, such as Sakka and devas residing in the Pure Abodes (suddhavasa).

The question of an actual "Creator God," however, was answered by Buddha in the Brahmajala Sutta. The Buddha dismissed the view that there is such a being responsible for everything that happens. Such notions are related to the false view (miccha-ditthi) of eternalism and run counter to freewill and choice. Like the 61 other views mentioned in the discourse, belief in such a being causes suffering when one is attached to it and relates to it with desire, aversion, and/or delusion. At the end of the discourse the Buddha states that he is familiar with these 62 prevalent views and he also knows the truth that surpasses them.

Elsewhere the Buddha states that he is personally acquainted with light beings more exalted than the sun and stars (MN 79.11). These brahmas and devas would surely qualify as "gods" in the Greek and popular sense of the word. However, they do not affect Buddhism. Whether they exist or not, intervene or not, boast or not, there is still suffering, a cause of suffering, and end of suffering, and a path to the end of suffering.

Swine Flu Secret (forced vaccinations)

Best paid CEOs with worst performances
These chief execs made at least $30 million each in 2008 while their company stocks tanked. One stock slid 71%

African Buddhist Monk

Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita was born in Uganda (East Africa). He learned from various masters in India, Burma, and the US and was ordained in 2002 by the late Burmese master Sayadaw U Silananda. In 2005, he founded the first Buddhist Center in Uganda in Kampala, Uganda. He has been a resident monk at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia. Ven. Buddharakkhita is the first African monk to open a temple on the continent of Africa. There are other temples in Africa, but all of them were opened by Asian, European, and American teachers.

Ven. Buddharakkhita tours Connecticut

Topic: Bringing wisdom into our daily life: The practice of insight knowledge. Exploring insight into impermanence, dissatisfaction, and selflessness.
Place: Hai An Pagoda, 255 Cherry St., New Britain, CT
Date: Nov. 12, Thurs, 6:30-8:30 pm

Topic: Approaching the Teachings of the Buddha: The Path to Happiness and Peace. A talk for people new to Buddhism.
Place: Phap Hoa Temple, 85 Prospect St., Vernon, CT
Topic: Nov. 18, Wed, 7:00-9:00 pm

3 Days Mindfulness Vipassana Retreat
Topic: Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Four Elements, breaking through self-delusion in Buddhism. All-level practitioners welcome. Flexible schedules of 1, 2, or 3 days attendance. Registration needed. Free meals for participants. Accomodation to Pagoda for accomodations.
Place: Hai An Pagoda, 255 Cherry St., New Britain, CT
Date: Nov. 13, 6:00 am-Nov. 15, 5:00 pm

To help sow Dharma seeds in Africa, donations sent to the Uganda Buddhist Centre in Africa is greatly appreciated.

Free Insight Retreat (CT)

Vipassana Retreat with Bhante Buddharakkhita

  • Friday, November 13, 2009-Sunday, November 15, 2009
    (Three full days) choice of 1, 2, or 3 days participation.
  • Hai An Pagoda: 255, Cherry St., New Britain, Connecticut
  • Accommodation and meals provided

Weekend Schedule

  • FRIDAY: Introduction to Mindfulness practice

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness will be introduced as a way to observe body, feelings, mental states, and phenomenal objects (dhammas). Bhante will explain the five components and benefits of practicing mindfulness from moment to moment in daily life. Friday evening will include guided insight meditation.

  • SATURDAY: Mentally dissecting the body: Mindfulness of the Four Elements (mahabhuta).

Mindfulness of the Four Elements is a very simple practice of observing various properties of the Four Elements like hardness/softness, hotness/coldness, and so on. These qualities make up physical bodies. By mentally dissecting the body and then observing its unique and universal features, one discovers that the body is composed of vibrations and energies that continuously flow from moment to moment. Seeing the body in this way can lead to insight into the selfless nature or “emptiness” of all compounded phenomena. The body can therefore provide one rich soil for the growth and development of wisdom that leads to ultimate awakening.

  • SUNDAY: Breaking through Self-Delusion: Mindfulness of the Five Aggregates

Who is the meditator? Who is the experiencer? Who is a being? The Buddha said that a human being consists of Five Aggregates (or compounded groups):

  1. form (Four Elements)
  2. feelings (sensations)
  3. perceptions
  4. mental formations
  5. consciousness

The practice of mindfulness of the Five Aggregates of Clinging (since these five are all that one clings to) offers a wonderful opportunity to examine the process of experience without being caught up in the content. We discover that whatever we call a “self” is actually an impermanent flow of physical and mental events. By segmenting and analyzing experiences into parts then putting the process together to see how the components fit, we can begin to let go of clinging to experiences. We thereby experience greater freedom and happiness.

Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990, when he met Thai monks in India. He began practicing meditation in 1993. After living in Asia for seven years, Bhante decided to continue his Dharma practice in the U.S.A. In June 2001, he began Buddhist monastic training under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pannadipa at TMC (Tathagata Meditation Center) in San Jose, California. In November 2002 he received higher ordination by his preceptor the late Venerable U Silananda. He is the author of Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism on African Soil and is founder of the Uganda Buddhist Centre. He has been teaching meditation in Africa, Brazil, and the United States. Besides spending time at the Centre in Uganda, Bhante is also a teacher and resident monk at the Bhavana Society and Meditation Center in West Virginia, U.S.A.

Sponsored by the Loving Kindness Meditation Greater Hartford Group

Earth, Space, and the Universe

The "universe" is defined as everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy, and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them. The term universe may also be used in slightly different contextual senses, denoting such concepts as the cosmos, the world, or Nature.

Sunrise at Second 24, Earth from low-orbit space (ESA/Hubble).

Astronomical observations indicate that the universe is 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years old. Its diameter is at least 93 billion light years, or 880 ×1024 (i.e., 880 followed by twenty-four zeroes) metres. According to the prevailing scientific theory, the universe has expanded from a gravitational singularity known as the Big Bang, a point in space and time at which all the matter and energy of the observable universe were concentrated. Since the Big Bang, the universe has expanded to its present form, possibly with a brief period of cosmic inflation.... (Buddhism, as well as Hinduism and Jainism, teach that such cosmic expansions and contractions happen cyclically, terming each such event a "world cycle" or maha-kalpa, "great aeon").

The word "universe" is usually defined as encompassing everything. However, using an alternate definition, some have speculated that this "universe" is one of many disconnected "universes," which are collectively denoted as the multiverse in addition to additional dimensions within a single universe. For example, in bubble universe theory, there are an infinite variety of "universes," each with different physical constants. Similarly, in the many-worlds hypothesis, new "universes" are spawned with every quantum measurement.

Throughout recorded history, several cosmologies and cosmogonies have been proposed to account for observations of the universe. The earliest quantitative models were developed by the ancient Greeks [borrowed from India], who proposed that the universe possesses infinite space and has existed eternally, but contains a single set of concentric spheres of finite size corresponding to the fixed stars, the Sun and various planets rotating about a spherical but unmoving Earth.

  • (Source: Wikipedia). "Buddhist cosmology" and "Buddhist cosmography" may be searched at Wisdom Quarterly for extensive coverage of space, this "world system," and the universe from Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, and pre-Greek perspectives.

Festival of Lights, USA

If you constantly crave fragrant and spicy curries or find that Bollywood songs are often reverberating in your head, Cupertino's seventh annual Diwali Festival of Lights is the place for you. This all-day cultural event offers no shortage of Indian delights, from mehndi (temporary henna tattoos) to sweets like kulfi to a surfeit of saris, including some festooned in the trees. More>>

Pope bombs in Czech Republic

PRAGUE – Pope Benedict XVI wrap-ped up a low-key pilgrimage to the fiercely secular Czech Republic on Monday, reaching out to non-believers and calling on an increasingly diverse Europe to embrace Christian teachings. Throughout the three-day visit, the crowds were contained, and so was the pope's rhetoric. More>>

Wisdom Quarterly map of visitors (Archive 1)

This map will be archived on approximately 29 Sep 2009 [explain]. It shows 83,621[?] visits from 29 Sep 2008 to 27 Sep 2009. Statistics updated 28 Sep 2009 at 09:19GMT. Count is updated every 24 hours, but map updates are deliberately different, as explained in Notes and FAQ.Previous 24hrs: 866.

Explanation: Maps get archived at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, or yearly), as described in our explanatory timeline. By default, archives happens yearly, but are sometimes delayed. Naturally, people always like to have ever more dots, but the regular archive is the only way we can avoid having the maps turn into a giant red smear and continue delivering a scalable service.

If it helps to explain things to readers, copy and paste the archive map referred to above, and add that in to the appropriate page near your current active ClustrMaps thumbnail map with a suitable commentary (e.g., "Last year's totals"). Note that for users of the free ClustrMaps service, only the thumbnail maps, NOT the large detail maps, are saved in the archive! This news does not do you much good after the fact. But we're trying to make it more obvious in advance in other places throughout the site, and as of October 2007 we have added advance warning emails to let you know when this is about to happen so you can save a snapshot of your older map.

When you are warned in advance, the predicted date of the archive is only approximate because there can be small delays when a heavy archiving load is incurred. Finally, note that even when a map archive has just taken place, the existing map will stay displayed until the NEXT map update. This helps to avoid displaying a totally empty map until there are fresh dots to show!

TOTAL: 314,100
Current Country Totals (from 29 Sep 2008 to 27 Sep 2009)
United States (US) 41,493
United Kingdom (GB) 6,073
India (IN) 4,747
Canada (CA) 4,741
Australia (AU) 2,215
Germany (DE) 1,795
Netherlands (NL) 1,140
Singapore (SG) 1,112
Thailand (TH) 1,075
France (FR) 968
Malaysia (MY) 927
Italy (IT) 783
Brazil (BR) 780
Indonesia (ID) 726
Sweden (SE) 637
Mexico (MX) 612
Sri Lanka (LK) 533
Philippines (PH) 529
Spain (ES) 514
Poland (PL) 486
Norway (NO) 463
Belgium (BE) 437
Pakistan (PK) 426
Japan (JP) 377
Saudi Arabia (SA) 374
Switzerland (CH) 359
Denmark (DK) 350
Romania (RO) 328
New Zealand (NZ) 312
Greece (GR) 307
United Arab Emirates (AE) 304
Finland (FI) 299
Turkey (TR) 283
Hungary (HU) 280
Hong Kong (HK) 277
South Africa (ZA) 266
Ireland (IE) 263
Portugal (PT) 253
Vietnam (VN) 250
Argentina (AR) 243
Korea, Republic of (KR) 240
Austria (AT) 221
Czech Republic (CZ) 220
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 204
Russian Federation (RU) 199
Israel (IL) 195
Taiwan (TW) 195
Dominican Republic (DO) 184
Europe (EU) 183
Bulgaria (BG) 161
Colombia (CO) 154
Chile (CL) 140
Croatia (HR) 130
Serbia (RS) 117
China (CN) 115
Slovakia (SK) 109
Egypt (EG) 109
Nepal (NP) 108
Slovenia (SI) 107
Peru (PE) 103
Qatar (QA) 101
Bhutan (BT) 101
Ukraine (UA) 99
Lithuania (LT) 98
Puerto Rico (PR) 96
Bangladesh (BD) 88
Kuwait (KW) 87
Latvia (LV) 80
Venezuela (VE) 75
Estonia (EE) 71
Costa Rica (CR) 49
Asia/Pacific Region (AP) 48
Trinidad and Tobago (TT) 47
Iceland (IS) 43
Morocco (MA) 43
Bahrain (BH) 39
Cambodia (KH) 38
Panama (PA) 34
Macedonia (MK) 33
Mauritius (MU) 31
Malta (MT) 30
Palestinian Territory (PS) 29
Cyprus (CY) 27
Mongolia (MN) 27
Georgia (GE) 26
Tunisia (TN) 26
Guatemala (GT) 26
Algeria (DZ) 26
Jordan (JO) 25
Jamaica (JM) 25
Brunei Darussalam (BN) 25
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) 22
El Salvador (SV) 22
Guam (GU) 21
Nigeria (NG) 21
Lebanon (LB) 20
Ecuador (EC) 18
Oman (OM) 17
Maldives (MV) 16
Lao People's Democratic Republic (LA) 16
Uruguay (UY) 16
Kenya (KE) 15
Luxembourg (LU) 15
Albania (AL) 14
Senegal (SN) 12
Paraguay (PY) 12
Bahamas (BS) 11
Fiji (FJ) 11
Bolivia (BO) 10
Macau (MO) 10
Moldova, Republic of (MD) 10
Myanmar (MM) 10
Honduras (HN) 10
Iraq (IQ) 9
Barbados (BB) 9
Netherlands Antilles (AN) 9
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Shaolin Buddhist Kung Fu

Shaolin kung fu refers to a collection of Chinese martial arts that claim affiliation with the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery. Of the tens of thousands of kung fu wushu styles, several hundred have some relationship to Shaolin; however, aside from a few very well known systems, such as Shaolin Five Animal, the 108 Movements of the Wooden Man Hall, Enchanted Staff, White Eyebrow, and so on, it would be almost impossible to establish a verifiable connection to the temple for any one particular art.

Internal vs. External Arts

Huang Zongxi described Chinese martial arts in terms of Shaolin (external arts) versus Wudang (internal arts) in 1669. Since then Shaolin in popular term Shaolin has been synonymous with what are considered the external Chinese martial arts, whether or not the particular style in question has any connection to the Shaolin Monastery.

Some say that there is no differentiation between the so-called internal and external systems of the Chinese martial arts, while other well known teachers have expressed differing opinions. For example, the Taijiquan teacher Wu Jianquan stated: Those who practice Shaolinquan leap about with strength and force; people not proficient at this kind of training soon lose their breath and are exhausted. Taijiquan is unlike this. Strive for quiescence of body, mind, and intention. More>>

Charitable Giving in the US (listen)

Charitable Contributions Drop, But Not Dramatically

Charitable giving reached an estimated $307.65 billion in the United States in 2008 — a 2 percent drop from the previous year (

(NPR) Charitable giving declined last year, along with the economy. But it didn't go down by as much as some people had thought, according to a new report out Wednesday. [But giving to religious organizations seemed to be up.]

Charitable giving in the United States dropped 2 percent in 2008 from the year before. Even so, people gave more than $307 billion, which begs the question: Is this good news or bad news?

"I think $300 billion-plus — two years in a row — is great news," said Nancy Raybin, chair of the Giving Institute, whose Giving USA Foundation reports annually on charitable trends.

She said that after the stock market tumbled last September, people expected the worst. "People expected that as the economy tanked, charitable giving would tank along with it," Raybin said. "And that didn't happen. It may have happened to some organizations, but it didn't happen to every organization across the country." More>>

Change Thinking, Change Environment

We live on a finite planet. Sometimes our impact on it is greater than we realize. The choices we make every day — from our morning beverage to our business practices — are links in a chain of awesome connections we rarely imagine. But the bottom line is, our health is directly connected to the health of business and the health of the natural world. All three wither or grow and flourish together.