General standards of human rights apply to the people of all countries because, regardless of their cultural background, all humans share an inherent yearning for freedom, equality and dignity. Democracy and respect for fundamental human rights are as important to Africans and Asians as they are to Europeans and Americans.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Harvard International Review,"
I believe there is an important distinction to be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with belief in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another--an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of meta-physical or philosophical reality, including perhaps an idea of heaven or hell. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, prayers and so on. Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit--such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"Our eyes are opening and we are realizing that organized religion has many shortcomings. Organized religion has nothing to do with God -- it gives you a package deal that tells you what to believe. But what people are learning is that...they want that something more."
Shahram Shiva - Rumi translator
I BELIEVE THAT TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF THIS CENTURY, HUMAN BEINGS WILL HAVE TO DEVELOP A GREATER SENSE OF UNIVERSAL RESPONSIBILITY.
EACH OF US MUST LEARN TO WORK, NOT JUST FOR HIS OR HER OWN SELF, FAMILY OR NATION, BUT FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL MANKIND.
speech to the NY Alliance for World Security and the Council of Foreign Relations
BECAUSE WE ALL SHARE THIS PLANET EARTH WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE IN HARMONY AND PEACE WITH EACH OTHER AND WITH NATURE. THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM BUT A NECESSITY. WE ARE DEPENDENT ON EACH OTHER IN SO MANY WAYS THAT WE CAN NO LONGER LIVE IN ISOLATED COMMUNITIES AND IGNORE WHAT IS HAPPENING OUTSIDE THOSE COMMUNITIES.
lecture at Ohio University
THE UNIVERSE WE INHABIT CAN BE UNDERSTOOD IN TERMS OF A LIVING ORGANISM IN WHICH EACH CELL WORKS IN BALANCED CO-OPERATION WITH EVERY OTHER CELL TO SUSTAIN THE WHOLE. IF JUST ONE OF THESE CELLS IS HARMED, AS IT IS WHEN DISEASE STRIKES, THE BALANCED IS HARMED AND THERE IS DANGER TO THE WHOLE.
THIS IN TURN SUGGESTS THAT OUR INDIVIDUAL WELL-BEING IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED, BOTH WITH THAT OF ALL OTHERS AND WITH THE ENVIRONMENT WITHIN WHICH WE LIVE.
IT ALSO BECOMES APPARENT THAT OUR EVERY ACTION, OUR EVERY DEED, WORD AND THOUGHT, NO MATTER HOW SLIGHT OR INCONSEQUENTIAL IT MAY SEEM, HAS AN IMPLICATION NOT ONLY FOR OURSELVES BUT FOR ALL OTHERS TOO.
Ernesto Cardenal says that we can argue about the reason for the universe and the meaning of the universe but not about the beauty of the universe. Annie Dillard comments that 'unless all ages and races...have been deluded by the same mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, as grace wholly gratuitous." We all share beauty. It strikes us indiscriminately. It may be when our child was born into this world; or a simple flower; or a song; or a smile on a face; or a great act of courage; or a dance well done; or a child's laugh; or a loaf of bread baking; or finding a worthy job; or a snowfall; or to his or her Source. There is no end to beauty for the person who is aware. Even the cracks between the sidewalk contain geometric patterns of amazing beauty. If we take pictures of them and blow up the photographs, we realize we walk on beauty every day, even when things seem ugly around us. The Navajo people have a prayer that deserves to be sung daily by all persons:
I walk with beauty before me
I walk with beauty behind me
I walk with beauty above me
I walk with beauty below me
I walk with beauty all around me
Your world is so beautiful, Oh God.
Because beauty is a habit of the universe, it is essential that humans be about the good work of showering one another with beauty, and of bringing out the beauty of one another. Not to do this is to obstruct the universe's intention. Injustice, it seems to me, is always ugly. What is just is beautiful and brings back the beautiful to what was broken. All works of healing are works of making beauty, and all beauty heals. The composer Gustav Mahler said that our sole obligation in life 'is to be as beautiful as we can in every way. For ugliness is an insult to the beautiful God.'
Global Tour to Promote Permanent Peace in Every Nation - David Lynch meets with Israel president Shimon Peres, French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Peace activist musician Donovan performs for a packed house in Dublin. US Peace Government president Dr. John Hagelin and Global Country of World Peace prime minister Dr. Bevan Morris have joined Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David Lynch and acclaimed singer-songwriter Donovan Leitch in Europe for a 40-country tour promoting Consciousness-Based education and the establishment of permanent peace-creating groups in every nation.
In early October, David met with Israel president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem and secured his support for a large peace-creating group in Israel, to be composed of 500 Palestinians and Israelis who will practice the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program together. According to research, this group should be large enough to create a measurable influence of peace in the region. Mr. Peres also offered the help of the Peres Center of Peace to create this group, since the Center maintains many activities that bring Palestinians and Israelis together.
Just a few days earlier, David had also met with France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy to receive France’s highest civilian honor — Officer of the French Legion of Honor — and to discuss film, creativity, consciousness, and peace.
On the basis of these inspiring successes, and with the support of Global Country of World Peace founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Dr. Hagelin, Dr. Morris, David, and Donovan are now joining forces to bring this world-transforming knowledge to the highest levels of leadership around the world.
The global tour began in Ireland, England, and Scotland, where David and Donovan were already appearing at sold-out venues in Dublin, Belfast, London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The team then continued on to Denmark and Holland and next will travel to Finland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, and Poland.
Please be sure to visit the US Peace Government website at www.USPeaceGovernment.org for ongoing updates about this inspiring tour.
Although a suspicious mind is bad, still it is wrong to cling to what you shouldn't believe in, or to fail to ask about a truth you should seek.
IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE TO BE INVOLVED WITH PRAYER. RATHER, THEY ARE MORALLY OBLIGATED TO CONTRIBUTE ALL THEY CAN TO THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS.
I REMEMBER ONCE AN INDIAN POLITICIAN TAKING ME TO TASK OVER THIS VIEW. HE SAID TO ME QUITE HUMBLY,
"OH, BUT WE ARE POLITICIANS NOT RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. OUR FIRST CONCERN IS WITH SERVING PEOPLE THROUGH POLITICS." TO WHICH I REPLIED, "POLITICIANS NEED NON-VIOLENT RELIGION EVEN MORE THAN A HERMIT ON A RETREAT. IF A HERMIT ACTS OUT OF BAD MOTIVATION HE HARMS NO ONE BUT HIMSELF.
BUT IF SOMEONE WHO DIRECTS THE WHOLE OF SOCIETY ACTS WITH BAD MOTIVATION, THEN A GREAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL BE ADVERSLY AFFECTED.
I am adding to this - 650,000 citizens of Iraq, as well as many brave soldiers worldwide, have been killed in a war that has accomplished absolutley nothing but internal civil war in Iraq and bitter internal division in America. - Nancy
He is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
– Thomas Jefferson
Our Constitution was not intended to be used by any group to foist its personal religious beliefs on the rest of us.
-- Katherine Hepburn,
Since this life here and now is all we can know, our most reasonable option is to live it fully.
– Paul Kurtz,
When an objection cannot be made formidable, there is some policy in trying to make it frightful; and to substitute the yell and the war-whoop, in the place of reason, argument, and good order.
— Thomas Paine
You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil—you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself.
–Dan Barker, from his book, Losing Faith in Faith
The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God.
-- Susan B Anthony,
Human Liberty; Inalienable Rights
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men/women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
-- Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.
Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781
The two greatest works of war mythology in the west ... are the Iliad and the Old Testament.... When we turn from the Iliad and Athens to Jerusalem and the Old Testament [we find] a single-minded single deity with his sympathies forever on one side. And the enemy, accordingly, no matter who it may be, is handled...pretty much as though he were subhuman: not a "Thou" but an "It."
-- Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By, quoted from Morris Sullivan, -- "Thou Shalt Not Kill: Understanding Religious Wars," in Impact Press (October-November, 2000)
I believe in the separation of church and state and would not use my authority to violate this principle in any way. The government ought to stay out of the prayer business.
-- Jimmy Carter
I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.
-- Albert Einstein, letter, 1954
I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION TO BE MADE BETWEEN RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY. RELIGION I TAKE TO BE CONCERNED WITH IN THE CLAIMS TO SALVATION OF ONE FAITH TRADITION OR ANOTHER - - - AN ASPECT OF WHICH IS ACCEPTANCE OF WHICH IS ACCEPTANCE OF SOME FORM OF METAPHYSICAL OR PHILOSOPHICAL REALITY, INCLUDING PERHAPS AN IDEA OF HEAVEN OR HELL.
CONNECTED WITH THIS ARE RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS OR DOGMA, RITUAL, PRAYERS AND SO ON. SPIRITUALITY I TAKE TO BE CONCERNED WITH THOSE QUALITIES OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT - SUCH AS LOVE AND COMPASSION, PATIENCE, TOLERANCE, FORGIVENESS, CONTENTMENT, A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY , A SENSE OF HARMONY, WHICH BRING HAPPINESS TO SELF AND OTHERS.
WHILE RITUAL AND PRAYER, ALONG WITH QUESTIONS OF NIRVANA AND SALVATION ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO RELIGIOUS FAITH, THESE INNER QUALITIES NEED NOT BE, HOWEVER.
THERE IS THUS NO REASON WHY THE INDIVIDUAL SHOULD NOT DEVELOP THEM, EVEN TO A HIGH DEGREE, WITHOUT RECOURSE TO ANY RELIGIOUS OR METAPHYSICAL BELIEF SYSTEM. THIS IS WHY I SOMETIMES SAY THAT RELIGION IS SOMETHING WE CAN PERHAPS DO WITHOUT. WHAT WE CANNOT DO WITHOUT ARE THESE BASIC SPIRITUAL VALUES.
Our first priority should be to prepare a long-term strategy for improving the state of the world that focuses on the coming generations.
RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT ONLY BELONG TO THE LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRIES OR WITH THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN APPOINTED OR ELECTED TO DO A PARTICULAR JOB. IT LIES WITH EACH ONE OF US INDIVIDUALLY. PEACE, FOR EXAMPLE, STARTS WITHIN EACH ONE OF US.
lecture at Oslo University
THE TEN STAGES OF DHARMA THAT LEAD TO PEACE FROM WITHOUT AND WITHIN
6. control of senses
7. discrimination between right and wrong, as also between the real and the unreal
8. spiritual knowledge (spiritual not religious)
10. absence of anger
All of the above come under the general or universal Dharma.
If you think Militant Islam is scary please watch the three videos of Chris Hedges on the Militant wing of the Christian Right called Domionists. These videos can be seen on www.youtube.com under his name. This man is a minister and a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist. His book, from which the videos are made, is entitled -
American Facist: The Christian Right and the War On America. What an eye-opener.
All tremble when there is a weapon,
Everyone fears death;
Feeling for others as for oneself,
One should neither kill nor cause to kill.
Nuclear, climate perils push Doomsday Clock ahead
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock moved it two minutes closer to midnight on Wednesday -- symbolizing the annihilation of civilization and adding the perils of global warming for the first time.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons, advanced the clock to five minutes until midnight. It was the first adjustment of the clock since 2002.
"We stand at the brink of a second nuclear age," the bulletin's board of directors said in a statement.
They pointed to North Korea's first nuclear test, Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. flirtation with "bunker buster" nuclear bombs, the continued presence of 26,000 American and Russian nuclear weapons and inadequate security for nuclear materials.
But the scientists also said destruction of human habitats wreaked by climate change brought on by human activities is a growing danger.
"Global warming poses a dire threat to human civilization that is second only to nuclear weapons," they said.
The announcement was made in news conferences in London and Washington.
"We foresee great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change," theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, a member of the bulletin's board of sponsors, told reporters in London.
Cambridge astrophysicist Martin Rees added that while the Cold War confrontation between two nuclear-armed superpowers is over, the world is closer than ever to having nuclear bombs used in a localized war or by terrorists in a city center.
"A global village will have its village idiots," Rees said.
Kennette Benedict, the bulletin's executive director, dismissed the notion that by touting the threat posed by global warming, the scientists had diluted their message about the nuclear peril.
Many scientists predict dire consequences from global warming, including higher sea levels that over time could swamp coastal regions, more severe storms and worse wildfires. Human activities like burning of fossil fuels contribute to warming, they contend.
Physicist Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland said if humankind fails to change course on global warming, "there's a great possibility that the Earth in the year 2100 will only dimly resemble our planet today -- and as it has existed over the past 500,000 years."
The bulletin's scientists moved the clock two minutes forward in 2002, to seven minutes until midnight, following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The bulletin was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had worked on developing the first nuclear bomb, and it is now overseen by some of the world's most prominent scientists.
The bulletin created the clock in 1947, two years after the United States ushered in the nuclear age by dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War Two, to symbolize the urgent nuclear dangers confronting the world.
It now stands at the closest to midnight since 1984, when it was three minutes to midnight amid a deepening Cold War.
It has been adjusted 18 times in 60 years. It was set as close as two minutes to midnight in 1953 after the United States and Soviet Union tested hydrogen bombs, and as far as 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 at the Cold War's end.
Reborn Every Morning
Due to having made karma, rebirth consciousness arises. But we need not think of rebirth only in a future life. We are in actual fact reborn every moment with new thoughts and feelings, and we bring with us the karma that we made in the past moments. If we were angry a moment ago, we are not going to feel good immediately. If we were loving a moment ago, we would be feeling fine now. Thus we live moment to moment with the results of our karma.
Every morning, particularly, can be seen as a rebirth. The day is young, we are full of energy and have a whole day ahead of us. Every moment we get older and are tired enough in the evening to fall asleep and die a small death. All we can do then is toss and turn in bed, and our whole mind is dreamy and foggy. Everyday can be regarded as a whole lifespan, since we can only live one day at a time; the past is gone and the future may or may not come; only this rebirth, this day, this moment, is important.
--Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith,
Today's world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity... The world is becoming increasingly interdependent. Within the context of this new interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others. Without the cultivation of a sense of universal responsibility our very future is in danger.
~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
Imagine a very poor man living in a decrepit little shanty, the only thing he owns in the world. What he does not know is that just beneath his shanty, but hidden in the dirt, is an inexhaustible vein of gold. As long as he remains ignorant of his hidden wealth, this pauper remains in poverty; but when he attends more closely to his own dwelling, he is bound to discover his own fathomless wealth. Similarly, all we need to do is unveil our own nature, and we will find an inexhaustible source of wisdom, compassion, and power. It is nothing we need to acquire, from anywhere or anything. It has always been there. Seen in this light, the Buddha-nature requires no additions. One does not have to memorize sutras, recite prayers or accumulate virtues to create it. All one needs to do is unveil it.
--B. Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up
Please try this - www.antiwar.com also www.democracynow.com