Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
in Quanzhou, China
Click on above Photo to go to Picasa Photo Album
Click 'Slideshow' to see Photo Album.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
TOP TEN THOUGHTS FOR 2009
Life is sexually transmitted.
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny.
If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day;
teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for
anything, but you still can't help but smile when you
shove them down the stairs.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,
lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather.
It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200.00
and a substantial tax cut saves you $0.30?
In the '60's, people took acid to make the world weird.
Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
AND THE NUMBER 1 THOUGHT FOR 2009:
We know exactly where one cow with Mad-cow-disease is
located among the millions and millions of cows in America,
but we haven't got a clue as to where thousands of illegal
immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should
put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigratio.
...And the BONUS thought for today
"Life is like a jar of jalapenos.
What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow".
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Like to try your GrandPa's favourite Tiger Beer!?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
After being married for 35 years,
I took a careful look at my wife one day & said,
"Honey, 35 years ago we had a cheap apartment,
a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed & watched a 10-inch
black & white TV, but I got to sleep everynight
with a hot & sexy 19 year-old gal.
Now I have a $ 650,000 home, a $55,000 car,
nice big bed & plasma screen TV,
but I'm sleeping with a 54 year-old woman.
It seems to me that you're not holding up your side
of the bargain".
My wife is a very reasonable woman.
She told me to go out & find a hot, 19 year-old gal
& she would make sure that I would once again be living
in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car,
sleeping on a sofa bed & watching a 10-inch black & white TV.
Aren't older women great?
They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis.
This is a nice story......Embracing Imperfection
A story by a girl.
"When I was a little girl, my mom liked to make breakfast
food for dinner every now and then.
And I remember one night in particular when she had
made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.
On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of
eggs, sausage, and extremely burned toast in front of
my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!
Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast,
smile at my mom, and ask me how my day was at school.
I don't remember what I told him that night,
but I do remember Watching him smear butter and jelly
on that toast and eat every bite!
When I got up from the table that evening,
I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad
for burning the toast. And I'll never forget what he said:
'Baby, I love burned toast.'
Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and
I asked him if He really liked his toast burned.
He wrapped me in his arms and said, 'Debbie, your Momma
put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired.
And besides - a little burnt toast never hurt anyone!
You know, life is full of imperfect things...
and imperfect people. I'm not the best housekeeper or cook.'
What I've learned over the years is that learning
to accept each other's faults - and choosing to
celebrate each other's differences - is one of the
most important keys to creating a healthy,
growing, and lasting relationship.
And that's my prayer for you today.
That you will learn to take the good, the bad,
and the ugly parts of your life.
We could extend this to any relationship in fact
- as understanding is the base of any relationship,
be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!!"
"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone
else's pocket but into your own."
And you will appreciate the value of every soul including yourself.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
15 Jul 2009, Tribune de Geneve
The Geneva-based International Coalition for the
Advancement of Religious and Spirituality (ICARUS)
has bestowed "The Best Religion In the World" award
this year on the Buddhist Community.
This special award was voted on by an international round
table of more than 200 religious leaders from every part of
the spiritual spectrum. It was fascinating to note that many
religious leaders voted for Buddhism rather than their own
religion although Buddhists actually make up a tiny minority
of ICARUS membership. Here are the comments by four voting members:
Jonna Hult, Director of Research for ICARUS said
"It wasn't a surprise to me that Buddhism won Best Religion
in the World, because we could find literally not one single
instance of a war fought in the name of Buddhism, in
contrast to every other religion that seems to keep a gun
in the closet just in case God makes a mistake.
We were hard pressed to even find a Buddhist that had ever
been in an army. These people practice what they preach to
an extent we simply could not document with any other spiritual tradition."
A Catholic Priest, Father Ted O'Shaughnessy said from
Belfast, "As much as I love the Catholic Church, it has
always bothered me to no end that we preach love in our
scripture yet then claim to know God's will when it comes
to killing other humans. For that reason, I did have to cast
my vote for the Buddhists."
A Muslim Cleric Tal Bin Wassad agreed from Pakistan via
his translator. "While I am a devout Muslim, I can see how
much anger and bloodshed is channeled into religious
expression rather than dealt with on a personal level.
The Buddhists have that figured out."
Bin Wassad, the ICARUS voting member for Pakistan's
Muslim community continued, "In fact, some of my best friends are Buddhist."
And Rabbi Shmuel Wasserstein said from Jerusalem,
"Of course, I love Judaism, and I think it's the greatest
religion in the world. But to be honest, I've been practicing
Vipassana meditation every day before minyan
(daily Jewish prayer) since 1993. So I get it."
However, there was one snag - ICARUS couldn't find
anyone to give the award to. All the Buddhists they called
kept saying they didn't want the award.
When asked why the Burmese Buddhist community refused
the award, Buddhist monk Bhante Ghurata Hanta said from
Burma, "We are grateful for the acknowledgement, but we
give this award to all humanity, for Buddha nature lies within each of us."
Groehlichen went on to say "We're going to keep calling
around until we find a Buddhist who will accept it.
We'll let you know when we do."
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Is there a magic cutoff period when offspring
become accountable for their own actions?
Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become
detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug,
"It's their life," and feel nothing?
When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor
waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my son's head.
I asked, "When do you stop worrying?"
The nurse said, "When they get out of the accident stage."
My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a
classroom and heard how one of my children talked
incessantly, disrupted the class, and was headed for a
career making license plates.
As if to read my mind, a teacher said,
"Don't worry, they all go through this stage and then
you can sit back, relax and enjoy them."
My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.
When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the
phone to ring, the cars to come home, the front door to open.
A friend said, "They're trying to find themselves.
Don't worry, in a few years, you can stop worrying.
They'll be adults."
My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.
By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable.
I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new
wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it.
My mother just smiled faintly and said nothing.
I continued to anguish over their failures, be tormented by
their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments.
My friends said that when my kids got married
I ... could stop worrying and lead my own life.
I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my mother's
warm smile and her occasional,
"You look pale. Are you alright?
Call me the minute you get home.
Are you depressed about something?"
Can it be that parents are sentenced to a
... lifetime of worry?
Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to
blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the
unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that
elevates us to the highest form of life?
One of my children became quite irritable recently,
saying to me,
"Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days,
and no one answered ... I was worried."
I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.
PASS IT ON TO OTHER WONDERFUL PARENTS
(and also to your children. That's the fun part)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
ETHICS OF THE NEW MILLENIUM
* by the Dalai Lama
I am convinced that human nature is basically gentle, not aggressive. And every one of us has the responsibility to act as if all our thoughts, words and deeds matter. For, really, they do.
THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE of severely negative trends within modern society. The escalation in crime rates, with murder, violence, and rape cases is multiplying year by year. We hear constantly of abusive and exploitative relationships both in the home and within the wider community, of growing numbers of young people addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Yet unlike the sufferings of sickness, old age and death, none of these problems are by nature inevitable. Nor are they due to any lack of knowledge. They are all ethical problems. They each reflect our understanding of what is right and wrong, of what is positive and what is negative, of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. But beyond this, we can point to something more fundamental: a neglect of what I call our inner dimension.
WEALTH AND HAPPINESS
I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter much. Far more important is that they be good human beings.
Although I never imagined that material wealth alone could ever overcome suffering, still, looking towards the developed world from Tibet — a country then as now very poor in this respect — I must admit that I thought it would go further towards doing so than is the case. I expected that, with physical suffering much reduced, as it is for the majority living in the industrially developed countries, happiness would be much easier to achieve than for those living under more severe conditions.
Instead, the extraordinary advancements in science and technology seem to have achieved little more than linear, numerical improvement. In many cases, progress has meant hardly anything more than greater numbers of opulent houses in more cities, with more cars driving between them. Certainly there has been a reduction in some types of suffering, including certain illnesses. But there has been no overall reduction.
A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION
In calling for a spiritual revolution, am I advocating a religious solution to our problems after all? No. As someone nearing seventy years of age, I have accumulated enough experience to be completely confident that the teachings of Buddha are both relevant and useful to humanity. If a person put them into practice, it is certain that they and others will benefit. My meetings with many different sorts of people the world over have helped me realize that there are other faiths, and other cultures, no less capable than mine of enabling individuals to lead constructive and satisfying lives. What is more, I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter much. Far more important is that they be good human beings.
RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
Religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are the basic spiritual qualities. I take religion to be concerned with faith in the claims to salvation of one religion or another, an aspect of which is acceptance of some form of metaphysical or supernatural reality, including, perhaps, an idea of heaven or nirvana. Connected with this are religious teachings or dogma, ritual, and prayer. I take spirituality to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit — such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony — which bring happiness to both self and others. While ritual and prayer, along with the questions of nirvana and salvation are directly concerned with religious faith, these inner qualities need not be. There is thus no reason why the individual should not develop them, even to a high degree, without recourse to any religious or metaphysical belief system. This is why I sometimes say that religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are the basic spiritual qualities. My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-wordly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical reorientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self. It is a call to turn towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own.
Observe that since love and compassion and similar qualities all, by definition, presume some level of concern for others’ well-being, they must also presume ethical restraint. We cannot be loving and compassionate unless at the same time we curb our own harmful impulses and desires. Certainly, each of the major religious traditions has a well-developed ethical system. However, the difficulty with tying our understanding of right and wrong to religion is that we must then ask “which religion?” Which articulates the most complete, the accessible, the most acceptable system? The arguments would never stop. Moreover, to do so would be to ignore the fact that many who reject religion do so out of convictions sincerely held, not merely because they are unconcerned with the deeper questions of human existence. Religion can help us establish basic ethical principles. Yet we can still talk about ethics and morality without having recourse to religion.
BINDING ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
It is time to move away from our habitual preoccupation with self. It is time to turn our concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own. My own view — which does not rely solely on religious faith, nor even on an original idea, but rather on ordinary common sense — is that establishing binding ethical principles is possible when we take as our starting point the observation that we all desire happiness and not to suffer. We have no means of discriminating between right and wrong if we do not take into account others’ feelings, others’ suffering. And if it is correct that this aspiration is a settled disposition, shared by all, it follows that each individual has a right to pursue happiness and avoid suffering. From this we can infer that one of the things which determines whether an act is ethical or not is its effect on another’s experience or expectation of happiness. An act that harms or does violence is potentially an unethical act.
ETHICAL NATURE OF AN ACT
The factor which is perhaps most important of all in determining the ethical nature of an act is neither its content, nor its consequence… [It is] that which, in a sense, drives our actions — both those we intend directly and those which are in a sense involuntary. When the individual’s overall state of heart and mind is wholesome, it follows that our actions will be (ethically) wholesome. That this is so, that the individual’s overall state of heart and mind, or motivation in the moment of action is of supreme importance in determining its ethical content, is easily understood when we consider how our actions are affected when we are gripped with powerful negative thoughts and emotions such as hatred or anger. In that moment, our mind is in turmoil. Not only does this cause us to lose our sense of proportion and perspective, but also we lose sight of the likely impact of our actions on others. Indeed, we can become so distracted that we ignore the question of others, and of their right to happiness altogether. As a result, our actions — that is to say our deeds, words, thoughts, omissions and desires — will inevitably be harmful.
THE SUPREME EMOTIONS
The world’s major religious traditions each give the development of love and compassion a key role. Because it is both the source and the result of patience, tolerance, forgiveness and all good qualities, its importance is considered to extend from the beginning to the end of spiritual practice. But even without a religious perspective, love and compassion are clearly of fundamental importance to us all. Given our basic premise that an ethical act is one which does not harm another’s experience or expectation of happiness, it follows that we need to take others’ feelings into consideration, the basis for which is our innate capacity for empathy. And as we transform this into love and compassion, through the two-pronged approach of guarding against those factors which obstruct compassion and cultivating those conducive to it, so our practice of ethics improves. This, we find, leads to happiness both for ourselves and others.
ETHICAL ACTS/ SPIRITUAL ACTS
An ethical act is one where we do refrain from causing harm to others experience or expectation of happiness. Spiritual acts we can describe in terms of those (spiritual) qualities mentioned earlier of love compassion, patience, forgiveness, humility, tolerance and so on which presume some level of concern for others’ well-being. We find that those actions we undertake which are motivated not by narrow self-interest but out of our concern for others actually benefit ourselves. At least, this is my experience. Looking back over my life, I can say with full confidence that such things as the office of Dalai Lama, the political power it confers, even the comparative wealth it puts at my disposal, contribute not even a fraction to my feelings of happiness compared with the happiness I have felt at the times when I have been able to benefit others, little though this may be.
When we worry less about ourselves, an experience of our own suffering is less intense. Consider the following: We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. But that is not all. We find that not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness, but they also lessen our experience of suffering. I am not suggesting that the individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others’ happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune than the one who does not. Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace — anxiety, doubt, disappointment — these things are definitely less. In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves, an experience of our own suffering is less intense.
The most dangerous and negative [fear] is that type of fear which is completely unreasonable and which can totally overwhelm and paralyze us. In Tibetan we call such negative and emotional events nyong mong: literally, “that which afflicts from within” or, as the term is usually translated, “afflictive emotion.” Any thought or mental event which undermines our peace of mind from within — all negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, pride, lust, greed, envy and so on - are considered to be afflictions in this sense. These afflictive emotions are so strong that, if we do nothing to counter them, though there is no one who does not value their life, they can lead us to the point of madness and even suicide itself. But because such extremes are unusual, we tend to see negative emotions as an integral part of our mind about which we can do very little. Our passive stance toward this part of ourselves not only doesn’t inhibit negative impulses, it actually provides the ground for them to grow. They are the basis of worry, depression, confusion and stress which are such a feature of modern society. Their nature is wholly destructive, and they are the very source of unethical conduct.
We cannot be loving and compassionate unless at the same time we curb our own harmful impulses and desires. Genuine happiness is characterized by inner peace. This arises in the context of our relationships with others. It therefore depends on ethical conduct which in its turn consists in acts which take others’ well-being into account. What obstructs us from engaging in such compassionate conduct is afflictive emotion. If we wish to be happy, we need therefore to curb our response to negative thoughts and emotions. This is what I mean when I saw that we must tame the wild elephant that is the undisciplined mind. When I fail to restrain my response to afflictive emotion, my actions become unethical and obstruct the causes of my happiness. We are not talking about attaining Buddhahood here, we are not talking about achieving a union with God. We are merely cultivating the recognition that my interests and future happiness are closely connected to others’ and learning to act accordingly.
AN ETHIC OF COMPASSION
Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species. On the one hand, they constitute non-violence in action. On the other, they are the source of all spiritual qualities: of forgiveness, tolerance and all the virtues. They are the very thing that gives meaning to our activities and makes them constructive. There is nothing amazing about being highly educated; there is nothing amazing about being rich. Only where the individual has a warm heart do these attributes become worthwhile. So to those who say that the Dalai Lama is being unrealistic in advocating this ideal of unconditional love, I urge them to experiment with it nonetheless. They will discover that when we reach beyond the confines of narrow self interest, our hearts become filled with strength. Peace and joy become our constant companion. It breaks down barriers of every kind and in the end destroys the notion of my interest as independent from others’ interest. But most important, so far as ethics is concerned, where love of one’s neighbor, affection, kindness and compassion live, we find that ethical conduct arises more readily. Ethically wholesome actions come naturally in the context of compassion.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people. He is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his 40-year search for a peaceful resolution of Tibet’s occupation by China. He is the author of many books, including, “Ethics for the New Millennium,” published by Riverhead Books, on which this essay is based.
Reprinted with permission.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
# 1 If time doesn't wait for you, don't worry.
Just remove the damn battery from the clock and enjoy life!
# 2 Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are
a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you
because you are a vegetarian.
Think about it ....!!
# 3 Beauty isn't measured by outer appearance and what
clothes we wear, but what we are inside.
So, try going out without clothes tomorrow and see the admiration!
# 4 Don't walk as if you rule the world. Walk as if you
don't care who rules the world! That's called attitude!
Keep on rocking!
# 5 Only one percent of boys have brains;
the rest have girlfriends! Are you the brainy one?
# 6 All desirable things in life are either illegal,
banned, expensive or married to someone else!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Ghandhism - A Must read for parents
Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and
founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence,
in his June 9 lecture at the University of Puerto Rico,
shared the following story:
I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the
institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside
of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar
plantations. We were deep in the country and had no
neighbors, so my two sisters and I would always look
forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.
One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an
all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance.
Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of
groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town,
my father asked me to take care of several pending chores,
such as getting the car serviced.
When I dropped my father off that morning, he said,
"I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together."
After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight
to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a
John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time.
It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to
the garage and got the car and hurried to where my
father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00.
He anxiously asked me, "Why were you late?" I was so
ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne
western movie that I said, "The car wasn't ready,
so I had to wait," not realizing that he had already called the garage.
When he caught me in the lie, he said: "There's
something wrong in the way I brought you up that
didn't give you the confidence to tell me the truth.
In order to figure out where I went wrong with you,
I'm going to walk home 18 miles and think about it."
So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk
home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads.
I couldn't leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove
behind him, watching my father go through this agony
for a stupid lie that I uttered. I decided then and there
that I was never going to lie again.
I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had
punished me the way we punish our children,
whether I would have learned a lesson at all.
I don't think so. I would have suffered the punishment
and gone on doing the same thing. But this single
non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday.
That is the power of non-violence.
Q. What is the difference between a Drug Dealer and a Hooker?
A. A Hooker can wash her crack and sell it again.
Q. What's a mixed feeling?
A. When you see your Mother-In-Law backing off a cliff in your new car.
Q. What's the height of conceit?
A. Having an orgasm and calling out your own name.
Q. What's the definition of 'Macho'? A. Jogging home from your vasectomy.
Q. What's the difference between a G-Spot and a golf ball?
A. A guy will actually search for a golf ball
Q. Do you know how New Zealanders practice safe sex?
A. They spray paint X's on the back of the sheep that kick!
Q.Why is divorce so expensive?
A. Because it's worth it!
Q. What is a Yankee?
A. The same as a quickie, but a Guy can do it alone.
Q. What do Tupperware and a Walrus have in common?
A. They both like a tight seal.
Q. What do a Christmas tree and a Priest have in common?
A. Their balls are just for decoration.
Q.What is the difference between 'ooooooh'and 'aaaaaaah'?
A. About three inches.
Q: What's the difference between purple and pink?
A. The grip.
Q. How do you find a Blind Man in a nudist colony?
A. It's not hard.
Q: What's the difference between a Girlfriend and a Wife?
A: 45 pounds.
Q: What's the difference between a Boyfriend and a Husband?
A: 45 minutes.
Q: Why do men find it difficult to make eye contact?
A: Breasts don't have eyes.
Q: What is the difference between medium and rare?
A: Six inches is medium, eight inches is rare.
Q. Why do women rub their eyes when they get up in the morning?
A . They don't have balls to scratch!
Live well, laugh hard, & love dearly!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
A place where Parents pay and children play
A contract that keeps you poor all your life
so that you can die Rich.
A person who wakes u up to give you sleeping pills.
It's an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor
degree and a woman gains her masters..
Future tense of Marriage.
The hydraulic force by which masculine
willpower is defeated by feminine waterpower.
An art of transferring information from the notes
of the Lecturer to the notes of the students
without passing through "the minds of either"
The confusion of one man multiplied by
the number present.
The art of dividing a cake in such a way that
everybody believes he got the biggest piece
A place where success comes before work
A place where everybody talks, nobody
listens and everybody disagrees later on
A banker provided by nature
A person no different from the rest
....except that he/she got caught
Someone who is early when you are late
and late when you are early
One who shakes your hand before elections
and your Confidence after
A person who holds your ills by pills,
and kills you by bills.
Books, which people praise,
but do not read.
A curve that can set a lot of things straight.
A place where you can relax after your
strenuous home life.
The only time some married men ever get
to open their mouth.
A sign to make others believe that you know
more than you actually do.
Individuals who can do nothing individually
and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.
The name men give to their mistakes.
An invention to end all inventions.
A fool who torments himself during life, to be wise