Are you as surprised as I was to realize that December 5 was the 4th Annual Compassion Research Day at Facebook? Who knew that the social network has been heavily investing in studying and applying Emotional Intelligence to its platform? For the past four years it has been inviting researchers, scientists, psychologists, and engineers to help design a more compassionate interface for Facebook. Cutting-edge research institutions such as Yale, Berkeley, Claremont McKenna, and Stanford were all on-hand to talk about their work and some recent Facebook inventions.
The Buddha said that hatred never destroys hatred -- only love can do that. But it's hard not to hate people who hurt people, especially when the ones they hurt are children, especially when they hurt our children. That's what makes a letter written by the father of a teenager who was set on fire on a bus so extraordinary.
I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging. I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness. I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death. I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me. I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.
You really have no idea how hard it is for an armadillo to disguise itself sufficiently enough to attend the 2013 annual Giraffe’s Religion and Righteous Spiritual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, without being removed as a heretic simply because one is an armadillo in a giraffe costume.
If you listen to dharma talks or read contemporary dharma books or talk deep dharma to people, you'll hear the lament that people don't really see each other or hear each other. We see just enough to slot them into a place in our perceptions and determine how they relate to me.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, people ask, if we really saw each other?
Traditional meditation texts sometimes describe the unmeditated state as "monkey mind." But for the last week I've been sitting with my new kitten, and I feel like I'm seeing my mind manifested. The kitten is all over the place -- chasing a piece of paper, disappearing under the shrine, jumping sideways, kneading the mat, settling into one posture and resting.
There's a six-minute video of Louis C.K. on the Conan O'Brien Show explaining why he won't buy his daughter a smartphone that's making the rounds among Buddhist types, people who usually share quotes from the Dalai Lama and pictures of nature. Why? It expresses the essence of the Buddha's teaching that life is suffering (and we try to get away from the truth of that by distracting ourselves with Angry Birds and other apps), but that it doesn't have to be: