Buddha Break 2006.12.04
Jeff Wilson discusses end of life issues from the Buddhist perspective and whether or not Buddhist politicians should swear on the sutras. Wilson notes that there are two Buddhists currently serving in the U.S. Congress: Hank Johnson, the new Representative for Georgia's 4th District, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii's 2nd District.
Speaking of politics, Tom Armstrong wonders about the emergence of "Mindful Politics" and the candidacy of Barack Obama for president. Armstrong writes,
Ideas are emerging on what “Mindful Politics” might be. Seems folks have agreed on the name, but what this political force is is getting worked out in a bit of a chaotic way in unconnected spheres – which is good; it’s exactly how words and phrases should come into use: in the jungle of untamed ideas. What is consistent is that there’s a search afoot by compassion-minded politics-interested folks for something new in reaction to harsh political discourse and many years of hardhearted, mule-headed policy decisions. Doubtless, some have in mind creation of a counterforce to the sickening and democracy-destroying game playing and truth twisting of Karl Rove and his brand of power politics.We don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. And speaking of mindfulness, this is something to be wary of: well-known brand names elicit positive emotional responses in the brain, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) [via The Neurophilosopher].
Eating slowly does make you eat less and compassion and health concerns are driving more people to meatless diets. Hmm, makes me wonder what I would serve if the Buddha came to dinner.
And on that note, a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh:
Right livelihood has ceased to be a purely personal matter. It is our collective karma. Suppose I am a schoolteacher and I believe that nurturing love and understanding in children is a beautiful occupation. I would object if someone were to ask me to stop teaching and become, for example, a butcher. But when I meditate on the interrelatedness of all things, I can see that the butcher is not the only person responsible for killing animals. He does his work for all of us who eat meat. We are co-responsible for his act of killing. We may think the butcher's livelihood is wrong and ours is right, but if we didn't eat meat, he wouldn't have to kill, or he would kill less. Right livelihood is a collective matter. The livelihood of each person affects us all, and vice versa. The butcher's children may benefit from my teaching, while my children, because they eat meat, share some responsibility for the butcher's livelihood.
I didn't know there were two Buddhist Reps. It would be nice if all of the evangelists and fundamentalists were replaced by Buddhists, but Buddhism isn't a viral enough meme. Some have contended that the rise of extremist religion in the United States is the result of not having a state religion. That opened up a free meme-market where the most selfish, intolerant, and extremist religious memes have the highest fitness. Most European kingdoms and countries, on the other hand, had state religions which, much like socialist economies, caused the religion market to flounder.
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