Random Notes

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    London, Gate 6; Tokyo, Gate 11; Kushinagar, Gateless Gate Paid Member

    The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh wants an airport at Kushinagar to serve the "Buddhist circuit." Kushinagar is where the Buddha attained parinirvana. Wikipedia: As the scene of his death, [Kushiniagar] became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha (in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (ii. More »
  • Driver distracted by bee killed two girls Paid Member

    I was on the train to work last week when I looked over to see a girl reading a local newspaper. The article she was studying was headed, ‘Lorry driver “distracted by bee” killed two girls’. Intrigued by this, before stepping off the train I picked up the now discarded copy. According to the trucker’s story, he had become distracted by a bee in his cab and so had veered off course, ploughing into oncoming cars, and killing two young women. In the words of the judge, who presided over a trial for dangerous driving, ‘It is something that might happen to anyone’. The trucker was convicted of dangerous driving and sentenced to four years in prison. Yet his true sentence is life: he will have to live with the knowledge that his actions, no matter how unintended, resulted in the cutting short of two young lives. More »
  • Burmese Still Lack Aid Paid Member

    A month after the storm, hundred of thousands of Burmese still have received no aid. Moe than 69,000 people have died in the earthquake in China's Sichuan province, and because many of the survivors did not have insurance (or the right kind of insurance) they're finding themselves out in the cold. And more on incense being bad for your lungs. More »
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    Death and Cookies Paid Member

    Aging, illness, and death are inevitable. Many Buddhists deal with this truth by meditating and contemplating such concepts as emptiness, impermanence, and interconnectedness. Another way people often handle thoughts of these pillars of suffering? Delicious cookies. In a study published in New Scientist , participants with low self-esteem who were assigned to ponder their own deaths ate more cookies (thoughts of death had little impact on those with high self-esteem). Ruminations of mortality also inclined them to spend more money. "When you indulge in shopping or eating, it helps you forget yourself," notes Dirk "Captain Obvious" Smeesters of Erasmus University in Rotterdam. More »
  • The Biological Boon Behind Incense Paid Member

    A new study reveals one reason why incense and spiritualism go together like zendos and zafus. Beyond the symbolic tradition of burning incense lies a biological benefit: it can help ease anxiety and depression. When scientists administered incensole acetate, a compound found in incense, to mice, the compound affected them in "brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs." Adds Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion--burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!" Read all about it over in Science Daily. More »
  • Lynda Barry in the Times Paid Member

    Not to brag or anything, but I think The New York Times may have a bit of a crush on us. Hot on the heels of columnist Wendy Johnson's profile last week comes an article about artist/author Lynda Barry, whose drawings of meditating monkeys, along with an original essay, are featured in our Summer 2008 issue. More »