Tag Archives: Karma

Attacks on your Civil Rights

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This week the cities that have Occupations such as New York, Oakland, UC Berkeley, and others have taken action to try and stop the movement.
I have composed a Haiku in response.

Raids on Civil Rights!
Mace, Nightsticks, Dogs, Guns, Handcuffs
will not stop the Truth.

Non-Violence Resistance

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On October 22nd 2011 a group of hackers gave the International Association of Chiefs of Police as taste of their own medicine hacking their records and releasing information.

The Resistance starts
People fight back. Police hacked
The system must change

Wild Monks

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When mankind creates a ecological niche by wiping a species off the face of the Earth it is good to see another species filling that place. The Carolina Parakeet was extinct by 1920 due to hunting. The Monk Parakeet is filling that niche and humans helped them do it.

Wild Monk Parakeets
Good to see them in the sky
Filling eco niche

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Monk Parakeet

Carolina Parakeet by John Audubon

Zen and the World

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While reading “Zen Antics” I came across a poem written by Zen Master Gisan in 1866. He recited these poems in response to being given an honorary title  by the emperor of Japan. These three poems are as applicable today as they were in 1866.

Humanity and Law
Self-Help and helping others:
this trance of mine
is dutiful at home, loyal in public,
never obscured in daily affairs.

The Benefit of Buddhism for Nations
Do not kill, and life will be sufficient;
do not steal, and goods will be plenty.
How excellent the moral teaching:
they enrich nations and stabilize families.

Protecting the Nation
Whatever is bad, do not do;
whatever is good, carry it out:
then above and below will harmonize,
the good and the bad won’t compete.

It’s just a little bit of Poop.

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The other day my daughter was asking me about playing with some kids down the street. I remember that one of the kids was mean to her. So I used the following story to talk about being around a group with “just ONE” of anything. It worked and she realized that even just a little bit of poop can spoil the whole batch. Next time you have an issue like this give this a try.

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend “R” rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular
movie that was playing at local theaters. It was  rated  “R.” The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church
to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be
allowed to see it.

The con’s were that it contained ONLY 3 swear words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and you
actually did not “see” the couple in the movie having sex it was just implied sex, off camera.

The pros were that it was a popular movie – a blockbuster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when
their friends discussed it. The movie contained a  good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic
special effects in this movie. The movie’s stars  were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several
awards. Many of the members of their Christian church had even seen the movie and said it wasn’t “very bad”. Therefore, since there were more pros
than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He
asked if he could have a day to think about before making  his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good!
Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of
brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie
then he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The
brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using  an award-winning recipe. And best
of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con. He had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But
he had mixed the dough well – they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs
from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.

Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a “little bit of crap” and not be effected by it, then he knew
they would also be able to see the movie with “just  a little bit of smut” and not be effected.
Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks,

“Would you like me to whip up a batch  of my special brownies?”

Radio host Bryan Fischer dishonors “Medal of Honor”

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As a Veteran I get really upset when people who have no idea what combat is like think they can judge who is a good soldier and who is not. Recently it came to my attention that Bryan Fisher of “Rightly Concerned” a “American Family Association” said this about the “Medal of Honor”

We have feminized (sic) the Medal of Honor. I would suggest our culture has become so feminized (sic) that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery.

Rev. Fischer continues saying

So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night? We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.

The soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Honor were all kick-ass soldiers and I would have been proud to serve with any of them. All but one of the eight, who have been awarded this medal from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, died in the line of duty. Even though I served in the U.S Infantry as a sniper I do not agree with the war or killing but I do support the soldiers and applaud their heroism.

For those who wonder what are the criteria for being awarded the Medal of Honor, (other than killing enemy soldiers as Rev Fischer thinks) the following is the what Authorization 10 U.S.C 6241 says:

The Medal of Honor is Awarded by the President in the name of Congress to members of the naval service who conspicuously distinguish themselves by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty.

  • while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
  • while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
  • while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Army Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta – Charged the enemy, throwing grenades to rescue an American soldier who was being carried away by insurgents.

Army Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller – After his patrol was ambushed he charged the enemy, shooting and killing 10 insurgents and calling in enemy position until his radio went silent. The rest of his patrol, 22 soldiers, was able to recover and overrun the enemy position and retrieve Spc Miller who died of his wounds.

Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti – While on a mission his patrol of 16 men was attacked by enemy forces much greater in size. Sgt Monti called in for indirect fire support then engaged the enemy with his rifle and grenade successfully disrupting them while his patrol was able to retreat. Sgt Monti was mortally wounded.

Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith – First Sgt Smith’s unit of 100 men was working on construction when they were attacked by a company sized unit (75-200) of enemy soldiers. First Sgt Smith engaged the enemy first with grenades, anti-tank weapons, then when fearing they would be overrun he manned a .50 caliber machine gun to offer support. He was mortally wounded during this action.

U.S Navy Lt Michael P. Murphy – During an operation in an enemy controlled area Lt Murphy’s team of 4 was discovered and attacked by enemy forces, 30-40. Lt. Murphy encouraged and led his men to attack, the result was numerous enemy casualties. Realizing that if the enemy was given enough time their position would be overrun Lt Murphy left cover to call for assistance. Lt Murphy was successful in getting assistance but died while providing cover for his team.

U.S Marine Corporal Jason L. Dunham – A car approached the checkpoint that Cpl Dunham was manning and an insurgent jumped out of the car and attacked Cpl Dunham and others. The insurgent pulled out and dropped a grenade. Cpl Dunham fell to the ground and covered the grenade with his body and died of his wounds but saved the lives of the numerous civilians, U.S and Iraqi forces.

Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis – While out on combat operations an enemy combatant threw a grenade into Spc’s McGinnis’ vehicle, without hesitation Spc McGinnis covered the grenade with his body saving the lives of the rest of the squad.

U.S Navy MA2 Michael A. Monsoor – Petty Officer Monsoor’s was on a mission to offer early warning in support of troops moving into the area. While Monsoor’s team was taking fire from both sides of their position, an insurgent threw a grenade that hit Monsoor in the chest and landed at this feet. Petty Officer Monsoor, instead of leaping to safety to save himself, dropped down and covered the grenade sacrificing his life for the rest of the team.

According to the logic of Rev Fischer we should applaud bullies, terrorists, misbehaving children, domestic violence and anyone else who hurts others, break things (like the budget) and does not value life. Rev Fischer is really generating lots of negative karma!

There is one bit of sanity on Rev Fischer’s blog, THE RESPONSES! To them and all who think like them Thank you.

sources:
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/1110_moh/
http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/navawards/blmoh.htm
http://www.jasonsmemorial.org/about.html

Filial Duties: How a family should act towards each other.

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Recently I was talking with my daughters about what a Buddhist children’s duties to their parents were and what a Buddhist parents duties were to their children. Below is what the Buddha has to say in the Sigalovada Sutta: The Discourse to Sigala, The Layperson’s Code of Discipline

“In five ways, a child should minister to his parents.

(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed
relatives.”

“In five ways, the parents thus ministered to by their children, show their compassion:

(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.
“In these five ways do children minister to their parents… and the parents show their compassion to their children.”

In the next posting I will discuss this more in detail.

Karma and the Fierce Buddhist Activist

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Most people think that being an activist means getting out and protesting. While usually this is true sometimes it takes place right in your neighborhood. In the following true event I was able to act as a Activist and a Buddhist. The situation presented me with two challenges. One to modify the negative behavior of the individuals and two to educate them on what Karma really means. I was also given the opportunity to learn from them and improve my knowledge and communication skills. But what it really gave me the opportunity to do is to practice being equanimous in a heated and possibly dangerous situation.
Recently some new people moved onto our block. Since they moved in, their cars have been set on fire (which I was first on site and put out before the Fire Department got there), windows smashed and one of their children killed in a drug deal gone bad; in their old neighborhood. After talking to the mother we found out that she moved her family to avoid exactly what happened.

Unfortunately, the children, all above 18 and legally adults, did not want to change and kept up their activities. One day I decided to talk to them about their behavior. One of the females warned me that if I did not stay out of their business then Karma would get me. She was taken back a bit when I told her that I was pretty sure she had no idea what Karma was as I was a Buddhist. She then stormed back inside slamming the door.

This little interaction caused me to look up what current pop culture thinks Karma is.

Here are some of the items I found.

Dannii Minogue: “Karma Is A Bitch” She seems to have has no idea what Karma is. Nor does the band “On Results” who has a song titled “Karma is a bitch (you stole my dreams)

Neither does it seem that Ida Maria has any clue. Take for example her song “Bad Karma” if you look at the lyrics you can tell that she totally misunderstands what Karma is.

“You better believe in karma
baby it’s gonna sting
the wheel of life’s gonna do you in
so I don’t really have to do a thing
you took me outta my money
you messed up my love life and my career
you better believe in karma
guess it’s gonna start getting weird right here “

Then we have the song called “Karma” by Spout who’s lyrics include.

“Have you met my friend Karma? – she’s a bitch
She’ll make things happen that you never wished”

I also found a book published by Truth Hurts Publications which publishes such books as “Thugs are for fun.” They also publish a book called “Karma Is A Bitch” which seems to be full of misconceptions about Karma. I present a quote from the book.

“The question is when will Tony figure that out?
Maybe when he starts getting his Karma
instantly and mercilessly he’ll get the hint.”

I think you get it now. Though we could also make an argument that the also do not know the etymology of the word “Bitch. It seems that the word comes from the O.E.  word bicce, probably from O.N. bikkjuna and is generally defined as, “female of the dog” (also fox, wolf, and occasionally other beasts). But, perhaps they mean it in way Chaucer used it in “bicched bones” meaning “unlucky dice. This definition comes from  the M.E. bicched “cursed, bad,” a general term of opprobrium.

But I digress, so lets move on.

During our next encounter I decided to become a fierce Bodhisattva. This encounter was spurred on by them leaving trash and having broken windows and such around their front yard. Given that we live 4 feet apart this was unacceptable. I waited until they came home and went outside to talk to them.

At first they told me to mind my own business and get back inside, rather menacingly. I calmly walked towards them, they stepped back towards their house. I mentioned to them that their mother moved them to give them a safe place to live and to improve their lives and that if they wanted to live on our block then they needed to step up and change. All the while I kept moving towards them and they moved backwards to end up on their doorstep. I stood my ground right on public property, never breaking eye contact. I used a calm tone and polite language and eventually they started to listen.
After a bit we all sat down and talked about what they wanted. I was also able to slip in a quick lesson about the difference between Karma (what you sow) and Vipaka (what you reap) and since that day they have re-roofed the house, fixed all the windows, removed the trash and in general stepped up to the standards of their new neighborhood. They even shoveled my walk during the blizzard this year.