WEEKLYWORDS OF WISDOM on the World Wide Web chosen by Lama Surya Das
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"We are here to receive peace and happiness in our mind by avoiding suffering, but first we have to recognize the cause of happiness. We have to understand what brings us happiness and what brings us suffering. This is extremely important to understand, or there is no way to prevent suffering and receive happiness in our mind.
In our dreams, happiness and small pleasures are created by our mind, and suffering and unhappiness are also produced by our mind."
The woman, a stranger, was looking at me. In the glare of the hot afternoon, in the swirl of motorcycles and hawkers, she was looking down at me from the back seat of her jeep. Her stare was too direct, not sufficiently vacant. She was not merely resting her eyes on the car next to hers, as people often do in Lagos traffic; she was looking at me. At first, I glanced away, but then I stared back, at the haughty silkiness of the weave that fell to her shoulders in loose curls, the kind of extension called Brazilian Hair and paid for in dollars at Victoria Island hair salons; at her fair skin, which had the plastic sheen that comes from expensive creams; and at her hand, forefinger bejewelled, which she raised to wave a magazine hawker away, with the ease of a person used to waving people away. She was beautiful, or perhaps she was just so unusual-looking, with wide-set eyes sunk deep in her face, that “beautiful” was the easiest way of describing her…
What is the fundamental virtue to be cultivated in order to prepare for the spiritual life? I have said this many times, but this is an opportunity to repeat it: it is sincerity. A sincerity which must become total and absolute, for sincerity alone is your protection on the spiritual path. If you are not sincere, at the very next step you are sure to fall and break your head. All kinds of forces, wills, influences, entities are there, on the look-out for the least little rift in this sincerity and they immediately rush in through that rift and begin to throw you into confusion. Therefore, before doing anything, beginning anything, trying anything, be sure first of all that you are not only as sincere as you can be, but have the intention of becoming still more so. For that is your only protection.
The Burqa Ban By: Ananya Jahanara Kabir Vol XLV No.37 September 11, 2010 A Muslim woman living in Europe talks of her experiences with markers of Islam and her reasons for affiliating herself with Muslimness alongside equally powerful reasons for distancing herself from its overt expressions in the public sphere.
In January 2001, prompted by an image published in the Telegraph (Calcutta), of Asiya Andrabi, the fully-veiled leader of the radical Kashmiri outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat, I wrote an article for that same paper in which I discussed the visual politics of the woman who veils and those who reproduce her images. My basic observation concerned the ways in which the Kashmir problem was obfuscated, if not simplified, by conflating that issue with images that stoked barely-subliminal fears of an atavistic, resurgent Islam. I elaborated how, as a student in the prestigious universities of the United Kingdom, arrived from India that had yet to witness the repercussions of…
AS my flight approached America last weekend, my mind circled back to the furor that has broken out over plans to build Cordoba House, a community center in Lower Manhattan.I have been away from home for two months, speaking abroad about cooperation among people from different religions. Every day, including the past two weeks spent representing my country on a State Department tour in the Middle East, I have been struck by how the controversy has riveted the attention of Americans, as well as nearly everyone I met in my travels. Related
Concern Is Voiced Over Religious Intolerance (September 8, 2010) Times Topic: Muslim Community Center in Lower Manhattan (Park51) We have all been awed by how inflamed and emotional the issue of the proposed community center has become. The level of attention reflects the degree to which people care about the very American values under debate: recognition of the rights of others, tolerance and freedom of worship.
When you have a problem to solve, instead of turning over in your head all the possibilities, all the consequences, all the possible things one should or should not do, if you remain quiet with an aspiration for goodwill, if possible a need for goodwill, the solution comes very quickly. And as you are silent you are able to hear it. When you are caught in a difficulty, try this method: instead of becoming agitated, turning over all the ideas and actively seeking solutions, of worrying, fretting, running here and there inside your head - I don't mean externally, for externally you probably have enough common sense not to do that! but inside, in your head - remain quiet. And according to your nature, with ardour or peace, with intensity or widening or with all these together, implore the Light and wait for it to come. In this way the path would be considerably shortened.
As I grow older, I feel younger more eager, more full of love. More alive the closer I move to death. More whole the closer I move into blight. The sweeter life grows as fervent clamors of youth pass. Passions of old age take deeper flavor, ripened, more nuanced. More easily words and affections flow when the self-conscious gaucherie of youth has passed.
Wholeness suddenly is mine; ragged edges of fear hemmed.
Mirrors say Look. Do not be afraid. You are what you are.
by Betty Lockwood from A Matriach's Song Peter Randall Publisher, 2001
Yet there are effective approaches to learning, at least for those who are motivated. In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying.
The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on.
For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.
“We have known these principles for some time, and it’s intriguing that schools don’t pick them up, or that people don’t learn them by trial and error,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles…