Make-A-Crane

Category: China

1000 cranes

Make-A-Crane has donated a string of 1000 cranes to Half the Sky for their silent auction 🙂

Fifteen Years of Darkness

This poem is by Liu XiaoBo, translated by Jeffrey Yang. Here are the first two stanzas:

15 years ago
a massacre took place at daybreak
I died then was reborn

15 years have passed
daybreak bayonets dyed red
is still a blade fixed in the eyes

					

“Tunnel of Love”

There are lots of great photography blogs. Here is a beautiful picture taken in Ukraine called “Tunnel of Love.” Here are flower pictures. Such beauty about this world! (What if the world were covered in flowers? We’d sneeze a lot.) Steve McCurry. Canadian Hiking Photography.

Free Documentary Site

This is a wonderful site! You can watch documentaries ranging the spectrum of possibilities.

Buddhism and Mosquitoes

I cannot bring myself to kill mosquitoes (which, in part, draws me to explore Buddhism and Jainism), so in China – where there are a lot of mosquitoes – my housemate would always be the one killing them.

Below is a fun video (the title of which is awfully misleading). I dislike that Bill Moyer/others sort of suggests that not killing mosquitoes is a radical and unnecessary extension of environmentalism. While both are based on empathy and respect, I believe that the consciousness in not killing a mosquito more closely and specifically represents the Buddhist way of living a peaceful life. It is not an extreme tangent of the more general save-the-environment attitude – which of course is a good attitude to have, but one that seems somehow less conscious if it does not embrace all of life…and so we must have the consciousness of not killing a mosquito in the same way we approach the environment as a whole, applying the very basic principal of recognizing a small being to recognizing the whole being of the earth and all around…and so environmentalism could in fact be seen as an extension of our attention to a little mosquito and all other little and large lives.

I lately have loved to learn about the Buddha’s original teachings and have compiled a list of various things/characteristics I now associate with Buddhism. I am typing this up having, in the last few weeks, heard a talk introducing Buddhism at the local temple, read the chapter on Buddhism in Huston Smith’s “The Illustrated World’s Religions,” and seen PBS’s two-hour documentary “The Buddha.”

-the miracle of life – there need not be any other miracle greater (i.e. magic, etc)
-living in the moment
-being aware
-compassion for all creatures (bugs included)
-interconnectedness
-impermanence
-mindfulness of all
-reason/rationality/freedom to debate (the Buddha wanted followers not to blindly follow, but experiment for themselves and challenge things they disagreed with)
-lack of ritual (original Buddhism)
-generosity
-wisdom
-having humor
-humbleness
-the path, not the end
-hopefulness (the end of suffering* is possible, in recognizing and addressing the cause of suffering, desire*)
*suffering = along the lines of dissatisfaction
*desire = many forms, and not necessarily bad, like the desire to attain enlightenment; the kind that causes harm is what we want to end
(these are two words that are often misconstrued and taken too literally in the simplistic teaching of the basic Four Noble Truths; the words turned me off at first)