Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
- Tonglen (breathing in Samsaric pain, breathing out Dharmic blessings, in radiating circles, first for myself, then for those I love, then those I know, then those I don't know, then those I don't like, and then those I am inclined to despise, and finally, every living being in the universe.) This is the most powerful, yet also most demanding form of practice I know.
- Various guided meditations on the in and out breath, (such as Thich Nhat Hanh's "Flower-fresh, Mountain-solid, Lake-clear, and Space-free).
- Metta meditation, based on the Four Brahmaviharas (or "limitless qualities"): loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
- Chakra meditation (focusing in turn on each of the Seven Chakras, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head).
- Mantra practice (e.g. "Om Mani Padme Hum" or my own tenfold mantra)
Saturday, September 3, 2011
All political systems, institutions of the state, and cultural values (as well as pathways toward, and indicators of, economic growth) are justifiable only insofar as they encourage basic freedoms, including human rights, and individual and collective well-being. In that respect, democracy doesn’t solely mean “one person, one vote.” It also means, among other things, the protection of minority rights; an effective and truly representative parliament; an independent judiciary; an informed and engaged citizenry; an independent fourth estate; the rights to assemble, practice one’s religion freely, and advocate for one’s view peacefully without fear of reprisal or arbitrary arrest; and an empowered and active civil society that can operate without intimidation. By this definition, many African countries—and indeed, many societies in both the developing and developed worlds—fall short of genuine democracy. Likewise, “development” doesn’t only entail the acquisition of material things, although everyone should have enough to live with dignity and without fear of starvation or becoming homeless. Instead, it means achieving a quality of life that is sustainable, and of allowing the expression of the full range of creativity and humanity.
Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)
The Challenge for Africa (Random House/Anchor Books, 2009), p. 56