September 10, 2007
Here's a post on Buddhism and Psychology found accidentally on Digg. (Brains of meditators were compared with typical brains and interesting things were found, etc.) And here's a German theologian talking about why Germans like Buddhism more than they like Christianity:
Buddhism, in the West, is perceived as being free from dogmas, as a religion without many rules. It is a religion that's turned to the inside and that emphasizes meditation. It is a religion, which has no anthropomorphic, concrete picture of the last reality.
This is funny because "serious Buddhists" (read academically minded Westerners) would say,'Oh, these people are misrepresenting Buddhism, they are in love with "Buddhism" and don't understand the religion, etc.' Yes, most Western Buddhists are guilty of misrepresenting the religion and even accusing others of the same thing, but it's all a little tiresome. (Note that our German friend talks about how Buddhism is perceived, not how Buddhism is -- so academics, lay down your swords.) Genuine religious feeling is valid no matter what academics say. What other religion claims to be misunderstood as much as Buddhism? Maybe Islam.
Buddhism in Brazil: This place sounds nice. Elsewhere: In the wake of Jim Carrey's video, more actors throw their moral weight behind freeing Aung San Suu Kyi (referred to as "Carrey's Political Prisoner") in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Which actors, you ask? How about Jennifer Aniston, Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson -- nice showing by the recovering O-Dub -- , Robin Williams, and Anjelica Huston? And, surprise! The government of Myanmar blames Ang San Suu Kyi for causing all the unrest (and "instigating Buddhist monks") in Burma. Well, the world blames the government of Myanmar for holding Aung San Suu Kyi prisoner.
Tao of Junk: Daniel Gross in Newsweek writes:
In an act of macroeconomic karma, materials thrown out by Americans—broken-down auto bodies, old screws and nails, the precious magazine you hold in your hands [sic]—accounted for $6.7 billion in exports to China in 2006, second only to aerospace products. Junkyards may conjure up images of Fred Sanford's ratty collection of castoffs. But these days, scrap dealers are part of a $65 billion industry that employs 50,000 people, who together constitute a significant arc of a virtuous circle. The demand of China's factory bosses for junk—which they recycle to make all the junk Americans buy from China—creates jobs, tamps down the growth of the trade deficit and might help save the planet.
We sell China scrap for 1¢. They turn it into a toy car that we buy for $10.00. Then we sell it back for 1¢. So yes, the junk trade is a two-way street. China pays an environmental price too (and eventually the world will, but for now Chinese people suffer most) for its thrumming factories.
The U.S. asked India for military help dealing with China in 1964, according to The Economic Times of India. China and India were sparring along their mutual border in this era anyway -- see more on the "Sino-Indian War" of 1962.
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