Your soul will rest in eternal peace

Kurt Vonnegut ~2007,04,11

Reverence VS Report (EWG)

Even if we fired the first salvo of hydrogen weapons and the enemy never fired back, the poisons released would probably kill the whole planet by and by.

“Our economy today is not capitalism.

It’s casino-ism. That’s all the stock market is about. Gambling."

“I’m lucky enough to have known a great president, one who really cared about ALL the people, rich and poor. That was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was rich himself, and his class considered him a traitor."       --Excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut's "Stardust Memory" at the Ohio State campus.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die
. ... written by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004). She never published or copyrighted it, so there is no definitive version. Her obituary in The Times made it clear that she was the undisputed author this famous poem. She was born in Dayton, Ohio.

Daisetsu Suzuki Buddhists' ideal

I've learned the difference between the earlier Buddhists(Hinayanists) and the later Buddhists(Mahayanists). I've realised Buddhists' ideal through Mr.Daisetsu Suzuki. I'd like to introduce you to his lecture on Zen philosophy at Wellesley College, March10,1958.

Earlier Buddhists confined their salvation to the individual; they did not extend that teaching of salvation to others. If they were saved, themselves, that was enough. If they save themselves, others also are to save themselves, by themselves, not asking others to help them.

Buddha taught something to that effect: "Do not believe in me; do not believe my teaching. You hear, listen to my talk, and test it by yourself. Appeal to your own experience. And if you find it true, accept it. Don't believe in me just because I have a little more experience than you. Don't believe what I say to you for that reason. Believe in yourself!" That is altogether personal verification, just the opposite of scientific verification. In the end, it comes to yourself. You cannot rely on others. I was switched away.

The earlier Buddhists confined salvation to themselves. Nobody could help others. We have to help ourselves. But Mahayanists, the later Buddhists, thought that was not final. We have what we call sympathy or compassion. That is not just the compound word. I like to divide them into two -- sym-pathy or com-passion. We have feelings in common. So to save oneself we have to save others. We can never save just ourselves. By helping others, I may be able to save myself. My salvation and others' salvation are so intimately involved, connected together, that we can never save ourselves just by ourselves. We must always be saved together. Not simultaneously-- universal salvation may go on 'til the end of time, the end of eternity, if there is such a thing. If there is no end of time, we have to go on saving each other, saving others and oneself. There will be no end.

Mahayanists appeal to the common feeling we all have, not only human beings. This salvation was to be extended to so-called inanimate beings, non-sentient beings. So, universal salvation did not mean just human beings, but animals-- dogs and cats, horses, lions, tigers, snakes, centipedes, scorpions-- they are all to be saved. Not only that , but mountains, trees we see outside, and the rocks, earth, rivers, all those things were to be saved. This universal salvation was not to be confined to just human beings. It was to be extended over all existences, because Mahayana Buddhists conceived that we are not alone, not only among human beings, but with other beings as well.

Mahayanists' ideal person was the one whose loving arms will hold everything: men, women, birds, animals, earth, water and so on . That was called a bodhisattva. Mahayana Buddhists' ideal was to realize bodhisattvahood. (Bodhisattava = Bosatsu in Japanese)

Daisetsu Suzuki  鈴木大拙 1870-1966 

Japanese author, English-language translator, professor of Zen practice and Buddhist philosophy.He went on a lecture tour of American universities in 1951, and taught at Columbia University from 1952-57.

The ideal man takes joy in doing favors for others

What this woman really wants is love and attention. But she calls it "gratitude." And she will never get gratitude or love, because she demands it. She thinks it's her due.

There are thousands of women like her, women who are ill from "ingratitude," loneliness, and neglect. They long to be loved; but the only way in this world that they can ever hope to be loved is to stop asking for it and to start pouring out love without hope of return.

Does that sound like sheer, impractical, visionary idealism? It isn't. It is just horse sense. It is a good way for you and me to find the happiness we long for. I have seen it happen right in my own family. My own mother and father gave for the joy of helping others. We were poor - always overwhelmed by debts. Yet, poor as we were, my father and mother always managed to send money every year to an orphans' home. The Christian Home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Mother and Father never visited that home. Probably no one thanked them for their gifts - except by letter - but they were richly repaid, for they had the joy of helping little children - without wishing for or expecting any gratitude in return.

After I left home, I would always send Father and Mother a check at Christmas and urge them to indulge in a few luxuries for themselves. But they rarely did. When I came home a few days before Christmas, Father would tell me of the coal and groceries they had bought for some " widder woman" in town who had a lot of children and no money to buy food and fuel. What joy they got out of these gifts - the joy of giving without expecting anything whatever in return!

I believe my father would almost have qualified for Aristotle's description of the ideal man - the man most worthy of being happy. "The ideal man," said Aristotle, "takes joy in doing favors for others."

If we want to find happiness, let's stop thinking about gratitude or ingratitude and give for the inner joy of giving.

Parents have been tearing their hair about the ingratitude of children for ten thousand years. But why should children be thankful - unless we train them to be? Ingratitude is natural - like weeds. Gratitude is like a rose. It has to be fed and watered and cultivated and loved and protected.

If our children are ungrateful, who is to blame? Maybe we are. If we have never taught them to express gratitude to others, how can we expect them to be grateful to us?

Let us remember that to raise grateful children, we have to be grateful. Let us remember "little pitchers have big ears" - and watch what we say. To illustrate - the next time we are tempted to belittle someone's kindness in the presence of our children, let's stop. Let's never say: "Look at these dishcloths Cousin Sue sent for Christmas. She knit them herself. They didn't cost her a cent!" The remark may seem trivial to us - but the children are listening. So, instead, we had better say: "Look at the hours Cousin Sue spent making these for Christmas! Isn't she nice! Let's write her a thank- you note right now." And our children may unconsciously absorb the habit of praise and appreciation.

-- Excerpt from "How to stop worrying and start living" by Dale Carnegie

Wishing you a really happy Christmas.

We share Morrie's lasting gift with the world

I've been thinking about "Selling Sickness " 《The global drug giants are no longer content with selling medicines only to the ill. As Wall Street knows well, there is a lot of money to be made telling healthy people that they're sick. I've noticed this tendency.

That reminds me of "Tuesdays with Morrie" This book provides us with profound wisdom and insight. This is a true story that shines and leaves us forever warmed by its afterglow.

--Excerpt from Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson. The book was the result of his visits with his former professor, Morrie Schwartz.

Morrie believed in the inherent good of people. But he also saw what they could become. "People are only mean when they're threatened," he said later that day, "and that's what our culture does. That's what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worry about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture." He exhaled. "Which is why I don't buy into it."

"Here's what I mean by building your own little subculture," Morrie said, "I don't mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don't go around naked, for example. I don't run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things- how we think, what we value- those you must choose yourself. You can't let anyone- or any society- determine those for you.

"Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now- not being able to walk, not being able to wipe may ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry- there is nothing innately embarrassing or shaming about them.

"It's the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It's just what our culture would have you believe. Don't believe it."

I asked Morrie why he hadn't move somewhere else when he was younger. "Where?" I don't know. South America. New Guinea. Some place not as selfish as America.

"Every society has its own problems," Morrie said, lifting his eyebrows, the closest he could come to a shrug.

"The way to do it, I think, isn't to run away. You have to work at creating your own culture.

"Look, no matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don't see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become. But if you're surrounded by people who say 'I want mine now,' you end up with a few people with everything and a military to keep the poor ones from rising up and stealing it.

"The problem, Mitch, is that we don't believe we are as much alike as we are. Whites and blacks, Catholics and Protestants, men and women. If we saw each other as more alike, we might be very eager to join in one big human family in this world, and to care about that family the way we care about our own.

"But believe me, when you are dying, you see it is true. We all have the same beginning- birth- and we all have the same end- death. So how different can we be?

"Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you." He squeezed my hand gently. I squeezed back harder.

Written by Mitch Albom (1958-) American sportswriter, lyricist