Friday, October 27, 2006

Visions of Enlightenment

With online exhibits on The Buddha, Buddhist Places, Compassionate Beings, and Signs, Symbols and Ritual Objects, the Pacific Asian Museum presents Visions of Enlightenment: Understanding the Art of Enlightenment.

Each exhibit includes a fact? or fiction? quiz with an art reward.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


For those who haven't used the service, Technorati allows users to search news and blog feeds using keywords, tags, or in the directory. With each post, this blog notifies Technorati that a new post is available, which then appears under recent posts on the website. While doing a search for 'Buddhism' at Technorati, I found that frequently a recurring entry has appeared.
Drug companies are now using key words such as Buddhism to get drugs such as Celebrex in front of the eyes of surfers.
On entry read:

Celebrex · 2 hours ago
It begg'st the Celebrex of a board-quarter-boats'-watch of faith, and in this spice-tree it accustomed probably of somedeal moat-stench than the emperess of Buddhism. Thou Celebrex an object of adoration with even him who burlesques overemphasized Kashiwabara

Every few pages one will find another drug such as Viagra and Ultram. We can't dare ask that religion be spared from the marketing ploys of the mega-corporations for we find horrid manipulation and greed within and without any and every religion on the planet. This is not the fault of religion, but the weakness of wrong view.

Here in Miami, every weekend in the burning sun, people become human billboards, holding up large signs, announcing the new high rises to be built along Biscayne Boulevard. Those holding the signs will never afford such a place.

Every morning, on busy 4 lane intersections, vendors sell the local Miami Herald on the median, two feet perched on a small bed of concrete, as hurried motorists worry more about getting anywhere than the life that stands between them. Some vendors have been struck down. Another takes his place the following day. The paper must be sold.

Man is our enemy. We need what he has. He has our job. He has our car. He has what we need. It is all a matter of survival.

What good is the blossoming flower or the sound of the wind through the leaves on our ears?
This will not bring wealth, prosperity, pay a mortgage, secure a girlfriend, make others appreciate us, or bring security. All that matters is what we have.

In Zen Training, Katsuki Sekida so clearly states, "the necessity of living makes consciousness look on things in the world as being in the nature of equipment."

Everything that we value we see as equipment. Anything else we ignore or destroy.

We look at the world and see each object, each person, and find what value and service it has for us.

How can I use this?
How can it serve me?

Those that bring a utility of amusement, or gossip, that service our need to distract from stress and loneliness, we call a friend. If they fail to serve that utility, we cut off the relationship.

Family, friends, the blender, our car, a pet, each of these is a piece of equipment to our mind which serves a utility function to the ego.

We ask, "how can the world be in such turmoil?"

We see that when the mass of humanity fundamentally views objects and people as simply equipment to service the craving of the ego mind, as the fire of the ego begins to burn, all things are possible.

If we open the curtain and expose this ugly ego, we will see this view of the world and we might like to close the curtain again and pretend that all is well. It is far harder to face this hidden warrior with no shape that gives rise to suffering. As children we did not have such a narrow, conceptual view of the world. We could watch the bird fly and gasp at the colors. We could look in wonder at the rainbow. When the adult sees these things he passes them by for they serve no function, but to the child, they are an endless source of wonder.

While leaving the checkout counter of the bookstore I made my way to the door and saw many sour faces. It seems that while I was shopping it had started raining very hard and many of the shoppers were not happy about it. As I walked outside, many people stood together, with brows down, words of complaint spilling forth, waiting for the rain to stop. Why didn't the world just always work the way that they wanted it to?

A young couple had attempted to make the dash from their car to the bookstore but after water puddles and heavy rain, halfway to the door they were both thoroughly soaked. She began to get a little angry, then her anger faded, she turned to the young man, stopped, and kicked water on him. He was shocked at first, and frustrated, then his frustration faded, and his joined in the water battle. Within seconds, while the majority of the customers stewed in their own self-made misery over drops of water, these two people were laughing and playing like children, lost in time. As I walked to my car in the rain I watched these two people enjoying the moment. Both had wanted to shop. Clearly that moment had passed. Rain had come and with the rain they danced and played with an audience of fools lost in their own craving and greed, lost in their own need for utility. They couldn't find the joy in the rain. Open the curtain.

1.Katsuki Sekida Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy Tokyo: John Weatherhill, Inc. 1975


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Film: The Giant Buddhas

On October 24th, the film 'The Giant Buddhas' will be released. Here is a synopsis of the film.

Christian Frei's documentary traces the tragic tale of the giant Buddhas of Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley, which stood as monumental landmarks for 1,500 years until 2001, when the Taliban declared that all non-Islamic statues in the country be destroyed. Despite international protest, the statues were blown up. Through interwoven narratives from past and present, Frei's film sheds light on the disturbing consequences of religious fanaticism.


The Giant Buddhas Film Site