Monday, 30 May 2011

On the pleasures of mis-hearing a poem


Recently at a poetry reading someone read The Mystery - by Ralph Hodgson.

Because I had been much moved by a previous poem that was about the beauty of love a poet had for her husband I heard this poem in that context.

HE came and took me by the hand
 Up to a red rose tree,
He kept His meaning to Himself
 But gave a rose to me.
I did not pray Him to lay bare        
 The mystery to me,
Enough the rose was Heaven to smell,
 And His own face to see.

I heard it as a human loved one taking his/her lover to a red rose tree and how the act and the perfume and sight of the rose spoke volumes without the need for words and without breeching the mystery of the other.

Of course a long history of speaking of relationship with God has used human love as metaphor - notably the Sufi tradition.

Gesture can and does speak volumes.  

The most moving example I ever saw was the President of Ireland ascending half-way up the plane stairs to take the hand of Seamus Heaney to bring him back down to Irish soil, upon having collected his Nobel prize.  She could not have spoken so eloquently had she even his great gifts.

But in the end my mis-hearing added to the pleasure then - and now.

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Sunday, 29 May 2011

Turning the Tide - non-violent power for social change

Welcome to Turning the Tide

New Turning the Tide dvd out NOW! We have revised and updated our widely used 2001 video Nonviolence for a Change. Read more here .

Turning the Tide against injustice in Kenya!
  In September 2010, the Turning the Tide and East Africa programmes of Quaker Peace & Social Witness began a project with regional partner Change Agents for Peace International training Kenyan grassroots democracy activists in noviolent social change campaign strategy and action. Read more here.


Turning the Tide nonviolence training course, Huddersfield, September 2011 to June 2012. Details here.

                                                                                                                                                                              rows of activists blockading


If you are interested in

  • positive change through nonviolent action,
  • nonviolence training,
  • information and resources on nonviolence,

then we hope you’ll find our website useful.


We are discovering new material and workshop activities all the time, so keep checking in with us.




Click on link to read about 'Turning the Tide' projects

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Spiritual Silence in the Experience of Friends (Quakers), by Bill Samuel -

Spiritual Silence in the
Experience of Friends (Quakers)

by Bill Samuel
Originally published March 8, 2001 at
(Also available in Portuguese translation)
Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

In the inward quietness and withdrawal of the mind, the witness of God arises in the heart, and the light of Christ so shines that the soul becomes aware of its own condition.
Robert Barclay in his Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Friends (Quakers) are rightly known for their use of silence. I have previously written on Friends (Quaker) Worship. In this article, I want to explore the spiritual use of silence in an even broader context than corporate worship.

The essence of the value of silence, for Quakers as well as for monastics and others, is to free ourselves from influences other than from God. Silence, then, can open ourselves to God and let us truly listen to the Living Christ.

In the spiritual silence in which we have so opened ourselves, we can see our own condition much more clearly. This can be a very humbling experience, for we see our own sinfulness, how we fall short. Seeing our condition, we become acutely aware of our need for God to redeem us.

In the stillness, we can also become much more aware of the depth of God's love for us. We do not empty our minds because we value emptiness, but rather so they can be filled with the things of the Spirit. We allow God to make us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15).

Click on link to read article and go to Bill Samuel's site

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Does your religion say Yoga is from the devil? Here's the WholyFit alternative!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

A Common Word - Muslim Christian dialogue

A Common Word between Us and You

(Summary and Abridgement)

Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.

The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.

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Some of the science of homosexuality - Chandler Burr article from The Atlantic magazie

Homosexuality and Biology

An introduction to a muddled and sometimes contentious world of scientific research—one whose findings, now as tentative as they are suggestive, may someday shed light on the sexual orientation of everyone

By Chandler Burr

The issue of homosexuality has arrived at the forefront of America's political consciousness. The nation is embroiled in debate over the acceptance of openly gay soldiers in the U.S. military. It confronts a growing number of cases in the courts over the legal rights of gay people with respect to marriage, adoption, insurance, and inheritance. It has seen referenda opposing gay rights reach the ballot in two states and become enacted in one of them—Colorado, where local ordinances banning discrimination against homosexuals were repealed. The issue of homosexuality has always been volatile, and it is sure to continue to inflame political passions.

It is timely and appropriate that at this juncture a scientific discipline, biology, has begun to ask the fundamental question What is homosexuality? And it has begun to provide glimmers of answers that may in turn not only enhance our self-knowledge as human beings but also have some influence, however indirect, on our politics.

What makes the science in this case so problematic, quite apart from the usual technical difficulties inherent in biological research—particularly neurobiological research, which accounts for much of the present investigation—is the ineffable nature of our psychosexual selves.

Click on link to read article

WikiPedia article has excellent starting points - HERE -

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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Clay Artist's Outreach project for Cancer Patients - something you could do?

The Bottles of Hope project was started in 1999 by a very special person, Diane Gregoire, a cancer survivor and polymer clay artist. Diane found a way to use her special talents as an artist to cheer up the lives of cancer patients going through the ordeal of chemotherapy. She used clay to decoratively cover small glass medicine bottles and gave them to other patients as a symbol of hope. Polymer clay, which is sold under the brand names of Sculpey®, FIMO® and PREMO®, is a colorful and versatile man-made clay that can be sculpted, textured, stamped and combined in a multitude of ways to produce unique designs in pieces of art.

In her own words, this is how Diane conceived of the project

Diane Gregoire

I was actually getting a chemo treatment at the Woman and Infant's Breast Health Center and playing with my clay. On the days of getting TAXOL I was there for 6 to 7 hours every week, and I noticed that the nurses threw away tons of small, glass medication bottles. After making sure they were non-toxic, I took some home, covered them with clay and made tops for them. When I brought them back in for the nurses, they LOVED them and so did some of the patients who saw me making them. They seemed fascinated with the clay and the colors, and for a while, they made people forget where they were. I started giving them away to the friends I had made at the center and called them "Wish Bottles".

I told my friends to just make a wish, write it down and put it in the bottle, and it would come true. I don't know why, but we all just believed this... maybe because we just wanted to, or that it was something to hold on to. But they LOVED these little bottles. They brought together - for one moment - women sharing pain without having to speak about it. Now all the staff has them and they are all over! I bring them down and put them on the window sill, and when the patients ask, the nurses tell them about me and the meaning of the bottles, which now have grown into "Bottles of Hope"! Since then, Diane has run workshops at the hospital where the patients cover bottles with polymer clay to make their own Bottles of Hope. 

To find out more about Diane's project and how to make your own go HERE

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Thursday, 19 May 2011

How would you sum up the message of Rumi?


"Mawlana says - if the sky is not in love, then it will not be so clear. If the sun
is not in love, then it will not be giving any light. If the river is not in love, then 
it will be in silence, it will not be moving. If the mountains, the earth are not 
in love, then there will be nothing growing." 

Source - a fine article by Charles Haviland on the BBC site HERE

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'Smiling!' - Ron Gutman's research links

The Untapped Powers of the Smile

Links to research on smiling - go to Ron Gutman's site HERE

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling (So Thich Nhat Hanh was right all along about smiling - 'Smile: Breathe: Go slowly')

7,734 Days of Injustice - Free Iran's Baha'i 7

On Saturday (May 14, 2011), six of Iran’s seven Baha’i Leaders – Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm – will begin their fourth year in prison. The seventh member of the group – Mahvash Sabet – was arrested three months earlier than her former colleagues, on March 5, 2008. As the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran complete their third year in jail, protest their imprisonment between May 14-22, 2011 by participating in the below action.

3 Things you could do;

  1. Make a poster indicating the number of days of imprisonment the 7 will have suffered by 14 May 2011 (7,734 days). You can also download a poster below.
  2. Take a picture or video holding this poster
  3. Contact your local media with information about your protest and the photos
What else can be done to raise awareness about this cruel injustice?

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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ommmmm... Mindfulness therapy helps prevent depression relapse By Margarita Gallardo


The mind is a powerful thing. And it turns out it may also be therapeutic. Newresearch, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, has found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as antidepressants in preventing a relapse of depression.

In the study, researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto followed 84 people ages 18 to 65 who were in remission. MedPage Today reports:

They found that all of these treated patients - whether they had mindfulness-based therapy or antidepressant therapy - had a reduction in relapse risk compared with placebo, which didn't differ significantly between the two groups.

Relapse rates were 27% for antidepressant maintenance therapy, 28% for mindfulness therapy, and 71% for placebo.

Individually, mindfulness therapy was associated with a 74
% reduced risk of relapse, and antidepressant therapy was associated with a 76% reduced risk.

Click HERE to read article

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Saturday, 14 May 2011

The immense courage of the persecuted Baha'is in Iran

This letter is from an Iranian Baha'i man:


Total Emancipation & Formal Recognition of the Baha'i Community of Iran, NOW! 

To all the family and friends, far and near:


As you may all by now know, per my open announcement last week, without hesitation and with resolute determination to act and get results, I arrived in Tehran on May 8th 2011.


I have been here in Tehran for 5 days now.


For the sake of constant, non-stop, and ever-vigilant world-wide attention to the grave situation of the entire Baha’i Community of Iran, and in order to show serious solid decision to act relentlessly, to see it through and expect nothing less than real results now and immediately, I shall be posting regular reports and vision statements from now on, following my last open letter.


The level of vision which is called for, and the naturally reasonable and rightful demand which is set out and stated therein is nothing short of immediate & unconditional release of all the Baha'i prisoners of Iran including the Yaran, and the total emancipation of the age-long persecuted and systematically contained Baha'i Community of Iran, once and for all, and finally the full official recognition of the Baha'i Community of Iran and its legal status as a free religious community with full-scale civil, religious, and social rights, NOW, in this generation, and within this period of human history; with only results and results only! 


There is no reason for any one why it should be otherwise, except that we all have for too long gotten accustomed to this 168-year-long tragic episode and scenario and have taken it somewhat as given, and thus have become rather complacent despite praiseworthy concerted efforts and overwhelming awareness raised, yet short of decisive and definitive end-results.  I say it is high time for us all to think, feel, act, and demand this fundamental change and press to get swift total results and nothing less!  We must raise the expectation and bring the future to the present. The complete results will follow surely...


As is the pure motive of the Faith of Baha'u'llah, my motive and methodology in raising such a call will always be fully peaceful and respectful, and this sacred call is completely free from any intent to degrade or belittle, and surely far from any undignified motive to even wish ill-will much less to oppose the government of Iran and the Islamic Regime despite the possible hopes and expectations of other groups with different motives or political agendas, for the Faith of Baha'u’llah forever only aims at the higher goal of spiritual transformation of societies, and the lofty ideal of the upliftment and enlightenment of the nations, and not meddling with worldly powers for selfish gains and private vested interests of its own community.


My only aim therefore is, as it is clear to all the high level leaders here in Iran, the Arab World, China, and anywhere else where I have been socially active for years with decades of recorded history of pure service, that in this important individual initiative which has also raised a global call, I have come only to help and assist with the exaltation of Iran and its government, order, system, and people, for their own higher good, in similar manner as in the past two decades I had focused and done so for the positive direction of China (and to a lesser degree elsewhere) effectively...This is the standard and the banner raised, lofty and pure, candidly open and clear. 


The reason why I am so determined to sacrifice my all for raising the call for the complete freedom of the Baha'i Community of Iran, NOW and forever, and will stop at nothing to accomplish this with highest dignity, is that at the end this will not just selfishly benefit only the Baha'is of Iran, but that the contributions which such a divinely endowed and blessed community will multiply release and offer back to Iran and the world will in reality best serve the highest interests of Iran and its government and people, while also the powerful positive future contributions of the Baha'i community of Iran will greatly benefit the shaping of the badly and sadly needed peaceful world civilization, the full benefits of which the world has been much deprived of due to such age long repressions.


Purely with this vision in mind and heart, I arrived to Tehran 5 days ago.  Right away upon arrival that same day, after consultation with the family members of the twin Heavenly Angels, Mahvash and Fariba, together we started rounds of visits to the judiciary and chief attorney's offices where we first placed our signed letters, followed by effective meetings with the related authorities the next day.  Through the Divine Confirmations, backed by the most valuable and overwhelming world-wide united action by all of you, we were able to obtain swift positive results, albeit still minor and incomplete, in the form of:


1.  At least cordial reception and positive and apologetic explanatory attitude from the mid-level authorities and the head of the prison, the head of security of the prison, and the head of visitation of the prison, who seemed to have read all the weblogs and latest worldwide statements including mine, and as such were prepared to at least show some signs of care and respect.

2.  Obtaining swift written permission on the second day for the family members of the twin shining stars to have direct "in-person" visit with Mahvash and Fariba. 

3.  Actual "in-person" visit (not behind the cabin) the next day, the third day of my arrival; the first ever "in-person" visitation for any one ever in the history of that Prison, Gharachak of Varamin / Rey (photo attached).  At least the basic safety of the twin saintly souls has been confirmed, while also the heartwarming support of the world behind them has been relayed to them!


However, although minor and small initial progress has been made, and, we as Baha'is always recognize, appreciate, acknowledge, and encourage any gesture of good will, no matter how small or limited to words only, yet it is important to note that despite verbal promises, not even the least of real action has taken place for the safety, sanitation, health, and relative comfort of these holy heroes of humanity and harbingers of the Golden Age of human history, and of the others.


More importantly, I want to make it emphatically and unequivocally clear in no uncertain terms, to the world and to the Iranian government friends and authorities with whom I will meet, that I have totally detached and dropped all and have come with full decision to abandon and sacrifice all, not merely for the sake of Fariba as my sister, but, for the final and total emancipation of the entire Baha'i community of Iran, within Iran's own existing legitimate legal frameworks, and nothing less or short of this final result (let me repeat; NOT JUST GOAL, BUT RESULT!). 


In order to show how real and serious this determination is, and how unshakable and unstoppable the force within my soul is, I have decided to:


1.  Change my return ticket to China, and stay in Iran in-definitely for now, as needed, with possible back and forth returns to China only later once I am sure the process which I have started is clearly set in motion and is firmly in place.

2.  Visit my native Mazandaran Province (and later other regions of Iran one by one) for support of all our beloved suffering Baha'is there as a starting point to show I have not come for Fariba, my sister, but for all the Baha'is of Iran and for the love and bright Destiny of Iran itself (its government and people included), and with the grave mission on our shoulder for the plight of humanity.

3.  Continue meeting, repeatedly, and consulting with other highest level leaders whom I have known.


It is now timely for all of us, starting with my own humble person first, while recognizing the valuable and brilliant collective efforts of all the peoples of good will all over the world for decades to ameliorate and improve the situation of the Iranian Baha'i Community, to realize we have not obtained fundamental results to date, and contemplate and believe that in the eyes of God and future generations, the faults in the form of negligence and omission even with good intentions and admirable efforts but no results, equals to sins of commission of wrongdoing and perpetration of such century-old prolonged gross injustices.  Only efforts will not redeem us and is not enough!  Results, and again, early real results...


It is high time for us all, in a united manner, to just simply say to ourselves and to all involved

 "enough is enough"; and announce to those who will act but only partially that it is "too little too late", and ask for nothing except total and complete RESULT.  But, it is important to note, this legitimate demand to result, is not just directed to the Government of Iran, but, more so also to the other governments of the world to not content themselves to kind supportive words and statements only, but to shift a few gears higher, and handle the case of the Baha'i community of Iran with much more urgency, and much more seriously and completely, and manfully sacrifice certain of their immediate vested interests and in turn place more effective demands on the government of Iran for this important cause, and relax not till real result has been achieved. 


As the ending thought, I share with you the following poignant statement:


The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it - Michelangelo


By the grace of God, we shall aim high and reach it too, by pure and unified universal action, as this is the most important "Just Cause" in this turbulent world, determining the fate of the future of humanity.


I do not know more, but, I believe the power of one individual is actually limitless, not only in raising the call and inviting all to collectively achieve this easily obtainable task, but by the supreme power of example and total sacrifice.  So, while raising the call, I do not wait for anyone else!  My sole solace and backing is the genuine and simple support of all my 4 children specially the soul-shaking words of my youngest child, the 8 year-old boy Sarir, who the night before my departure spontaneously told me in a genuine manner in Chinese language and in a sweet tone, father, if you go to Iran to free auntie Fariba from jail and help save the Baha'is there and go to jail and get killed, do not worry for me; I am sure and I know that you will come to me often in my dreams from the other world and will be with me always.  May the spiritual understanding and the softness of the heart of the high authorities in charge and all of us handling this supreme sacred cause reach the level of this innocent 8 year old child.


In your service, and standing with you all, before God and before the call of Destiny,


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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Eckhart Tolle, not reacting to content,

Eckhart Tolle - Wisdom in Daily Life

Support the Robin Hood Tax - write to your MP

See video

Click on link to get more info

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Third anniversary in prison for Iran’s Baha’i leaders | Persecution of Bahá'ís in Iran

NEW YORK — As seven Baha’i leaders in Iran complete their third year in jail, the Baha’i International Community has confirmed that the two women amongst them have been transferred to another prison.

The seven were all members of a national-level ad hoc group that helped attend to the needs of Iran’s 300,000-strong Baha’i community.

This Saturday, 14 May, six of them – Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm – will begin their fourth year behind bars. The seventh member of the group – Mahvash Sabet – was arrested three months earlier than her former colleagues, on 5 March 2008.

After an illegal 30-month detention in Tehran’s Evin prison, they were tried on trumped-up charges and sentenced in August 2010 to 20 years in jail. They have been held at Gohardasht prison since that time.

Click on link to read full article

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'Assange awarded peace medal' - now who will that upset I wonder?

Assange awarded peace medal
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been awarded Australia's only international prize for peace, for championing freedom of information.
BY Rachael Brown for ABC | May 11, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given a peace award for what has been described as "exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights".

The award from the Sydney Peace Foundation is Australia's only international prize for peace.

The foundation has praised Mr Assange and WikiLeaks, saying they have brought about a watershed in journalism, freedom of information and potentially in politics.

Mr Assange, who is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, was praised for "challenging centuries-old practices of government secrecy and by championing people's right to know".

Foundation director Stuart Rees says the award was also motivated by the cowardice of the Australian Government.

"We think the struggle for peace with justice inevitably involves conflict, inevitably involves controversy," he said.

"We think that you and WikiLeaks have brought about what we think is a watershed in journalism and in freedom of information and potentially in politics."

In its 14-year history, only three other people have won the foundation's gold medal for courage in the pursuit of human rights - the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.

click on link to read full article

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Dharma Talk 1 - , Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

Orbs - Silent Thunder Dharma Talk 3 - Master Mokurai (mokurai81) - Funny as well as deep!

'Buddhism is not what you think' - Master Mokurai (Mokurai81)

  • Buddhism is not what you think.

    The land that is nowhere, that is the true home.

    In the empty chamber, light is produced.

    I have no religion, I make character my religion.

  • When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


    Master Mokurai

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A cappella - Glory to You, Father;Glory to You, Son (Master Mokurai81)

The Lotus Sutra

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - Daimoku ((題目) - 南無妙法蓮華經


Nam myoho renge kyo Nam myoho renge kyo Nam myoho renge kyo Nam myoho renge kyo Nam myoho renge kyo Nam myoho renge kyo

Learn more and download MP3s here:

get the audio here friends..
(listen in itunes or quicktime)

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō (南無妙法蓮華經, also transliterated Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō; literally translated as Devotion to the Law of the Lotus Flower Scripture and exegetically translated as Devotion to the Mystic Law of cause and effect that exists throughout all the sounds and vibrations of the universe) is a mantra that is chanted as the central practice of all forms of Nichiren Buddhism. The mantra is referred to as Daimoku (題目, or the Great Invocation) and was first revealed by the Japanese Buddhist teacher Nichiren on the 28th day of the fourth lunar month of 1253 AD at Kiyosumi-dera (also, Seichōji) near Kominato in current-day Chiba, Japan. The practice of chanting the daimoku is called shōdai (唱題). The purpose of chanting daimoku is to attain perfect and complete awakening, and have actual proof of this practice to oneself and others of the validity of the Lotus Sutra.

The phrase is somewhat difficult to render into English because each word or set of words contains a complex set of symbolism and connotation, and without an understanding of the semiotic significance of the words, the full meaning is lost.

Get the audio here

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

One: The Movie Trailer - ROTTEN TOMATOES

I have re-blogged this trailer because finding the movie and on-line videos is difficult.

Can't find it on IMDB - at least there are 3 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes - click on link

The website for this admirable-looking project is in a state of extreme neglect only after a short time after being created. What happened?

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Ken Wilber Online: Art

 border=*   *   *

We do not live in a pregiven world.  One of the more remarkable tenets of the postmodern revolution in philosophy, psychology, and sociology is that different worldviews exist -- different ways of categorizing, presenting, representing, and organizing our experiences.  There is not a single, monolithic world with a single, privileged representation, but rather multiple worlds with pluralistic interpretations.  Moreover, these worldviews often -- indeed, almost always -- change from epoch to epoch, and from culture to culture. 

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Matsuo Basho's Frog Haiku (30 translations) - commentary by Robert Aitken

Commentary by Robert Aitken


The old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water.

Furu ike ya                Old pond!
kawazu tobikomu      frog jumps in
mizu no oto                water’s sound

This commentary is on the 30 translations of Basho's poem

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Matsuo Basho's Frog Haiku (30 translations)

Matsuo Bashô: Frog Haiku

(Thirty-one Translations and One Commentary)


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ONE: the Movie trailer

Describe GOD (2 of 2)

Describe GOD (1 of 2)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fundamentalism & Religious Revival - link to a paper by William O Beeman

Fighting the Good Fight: Fundamentalism and Religious Revival
In J. MacClancy, ed. Anthropology for the Real World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001

William O. Beeman
Department of Anthropology
Brown University


The term fundamentalism has rapidly entered the vocabulary of social science in the past two decades as a general designation for revivalist conservative religious orthodoxy. Though originally applied only to Christianity, Gananath Obeyesekere theorizes that the extension of the term to other religious traditions dates from the time of the Iranian Revolution in 1978-79. Today it is used to describe Evangelical Christians, Iranian revolutionaries, ultra-orthodox Jews, militant Sikhs, and Buddhist resistance fighters, among others. Its categorical use is so widespread and so easily applied, that the misperception persists that it has always been with us.

The specific origin of the word fundamentalism dates to an early 20th Century American religious movement. The movement took its name from a compendium of twelve volumes published between 1910 and 1915 by a group of Protestant laymen entitled: The Fundamentals: A Testimony of the Truth. These volumes were circulated in the millions and served as the concretization of a cross-denominational set of traditions with roots in previous centuries. It owes its existence particularly to the same evangelical revivalist tradition that inspired the Great Awakening of the early 19th Century and a variety of early millenarian movements. Spurred on by reactions to Darwin's theory of evolution, the original Fundamentalist Movement was seen as a religious revival. It came to embody both principles of absolute religious orthodoxy and evangelical practice which called for believers to extended action beyond religion into political and social life.

These four qualities: revivalism; orthodoxy; evangelism; and social action; are the basis for the discussion of fundamentalism (writ small) presented below. As a number of social scientists have noted, the term has come to have pejorative connotations. Nevertheless, it does seem to serve a useful purpose as a characterization of a repeatedly occurring and nearly universal human social phenomenon. The deeper comparative understanding of fundamentalism may forestall the frequent dismissive attitudes exhibited by groups sharing common beliefs toward each other. As Lionel Caplan, editor of a prominent collection of essays on the subject has noted: "an adequate understanding of fundamentalism requires us to acknowledge its potential in every movement or cause. . . . We are all of us, to some degree and in some senses, fundamentalists."

Click on link to read this paper

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Read Anthony Barnett's 'After Britain’s shocking Thursday, is the earthquake still to come?'

After Britain’s shocking Thursday, is the earthquake still to come?

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About the author
Anthony Barnett is the founder of openDemocracy and the Co-Editor of its UK section, Our Kingdom.

The contrast between the astounding success of the Scottish Spring and Britain’s embrace of its imperial voting system of First Past the Post better described as ‘to the victor the spoils’ suggests to me that we have entered an explosive political decade. 

Far from settling issues of reform the conservative establishment may come to rue the day they so brutally crushed a harmless compromise. AV was advocated as “a small change that makes a big difference”. Who can think of a slogan that is more ‘British’? While its actual supporters and campaigners on the ground who worked their hearts out wanted real change and not “small change”, the campaign for AV was run in a way that was truly conservative.

It was always going to be very difficult to win because

Click on link to read Anthony Barnett's article from OurKingdom

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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Huston Smith, "Why Religion Matters: The Future of Faith"

Jon Kabat Zinn: Coming to Our Senses

Fundamentalism - excellent essay


A term used loosely to describe a reaction of (neo)traditional religion against the pressures of modernity, fundamentalism became a widespread topic of interest in the media and the academy during the last quarter of the twentieth century. According to many observers, fundamentalism is a worldwide phenomenon, arising in various societies with differing cultural backgrounds and experiences of modernity. The original understanding of fundamentalism, however, took shape in an American Protestant contexta context that initially informed popular and scholarly notions of fundamentalism and sometimes led to simplistic comparative interpretations. For this reason, among others, critics have questioned the viability of fundamentalism as a universal religious category, especially when applied to non-Western societies; and comparative studies of fundamentalism have been marked by self-conscious attempts to prove the existence of the phenomenon that they are presumably examining.

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