Sunday, 30 September 2012

Gang-raped. Why are Dalit people treated as sub-humans in India?

To read the full article go HERE

12 upper caste rapists. Politically connected. State government has nothing to say on this

By Soumik Mukherjee

SHE KEPT her nightmare bottled up for nearly a week. On the sixth day, 16-year-old Priya (name changed) finally gathered courage to tell her parents that she was gangraped by a dozen upper-caste men in Darba village of Haryana’s Hisar district on 9 September. To make matters worse, the rapists had filmed the horrific act.

Disturbed and fearing humiliation, after the video was circulated by the accused, Priya’s father Krishen Kumar, 42, committed suicide on 18 September. It wasn’t until the next day, after media reports created national outrage, that the local police registered an FIR in the case.

A week after the FIR was registered against the 12 accused, the Haryana Police has come under severe criticism from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) for delay in nabbing the rapists. At the time of going to press, only seven had been arrested. Most of the accused come from rich, uppercaste families with influential political connections. In fact, two of the accused are related to local Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Umed Singh Lohan, and another accused is related to former INLD legislator Puran Singh Dabra.

To read the full article go HERE


BBC article HERE

The rape victims

All the victims have waived their right to anonymity to highlight their case

India abuse: Scores guilty of Dalit rape and torture

A court in India has convicted 269 police and forest officials of torturing and abusing more than 100 low-caste tribespeople in a 1992 raid.

Officials went to the village of Vachathi in southern Tamil Nadu state looking for smuggled sandalwood.

Over two days, 18 women were raped, at least 100 Dalits (former untouchables) abused and homes and cattle looted.

Seventeen officials were found guilty of rape and the rest were convicted of "atrocities against Dalits".

Nearly 100 of those convicted are policemen. Of the 269 convicted, 54 died during the course of the trial.

The court has sentenced all of those convicted: 12 men were given 10 years in prison and five were given seven years each. The remainder were given jail terms of between two and five years.

To read the full article go HERE

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

The “Golden Rule”, a list of 2 dozen versions by TODD HEBERT

The “Golden Rule”, a list of 2 dozen versions


Post image for The “Golden Rule”, a list of 2 dozen versions

World religions differ greatly in their individual beliefs, practices and traditions. But the one thing that they all share is the Ethic of Reciprocity, or the Golden rule as it is commonly known. Here is a list of several religious traditions’ version of the universal rule.

  • Bahá’í Faith: 
    • "Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not
      have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not.
      " "Blessed
      is he who preferreth his brother before himself.
    • "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for
      thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.
      " Epistle to
      the Son of the Wolf
  • Brahmanism"This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would
    cause you pain if done to you".
     Mahabharata, 5:1517 "
  • Buddhism
    • "…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I
      inflict that upon another?"
       Samyutta NIkaya v. 353 
    • Hurt not others in ways
      that you yourself would find hurtful."
       Udana-Varga 5:18
  • Christianity
  • "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men
Go HERE to read the full list

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Mongolian Overtone Singer - amazing!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain BY LI PO TRANSLATED BY SAM HAMILL


I found a version of one of favourite poems and spiritual truths that has a title, a very important title;

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain



The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Li Po, “Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain,” translated by Sam Hamill from Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese. Copyright © 2000 by Sam Hamill. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd., Rochester, New York.

Source: Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese (BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)

PHOTO SOURCE  - (not Ching-t'ing mountain!

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough: Kelvin MacKenzie, the Police and Murdoch's Sun

The 'truth' according to Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper


The reality;


I watched a lot of the TV reporting yesterday from the Hillsborough Independent Panel and related events.   One point no one mentioned yet is that the police who fed the false stories to the media have all happily been on two-thirds pension, index-linked, for life.  

We used to say about the police and politicians; "There's always one bad apple."   Now the rarity is to find people in public life and government institutions who have real integrity.  The relatives & people of Liverpool suffered for more than two decades unnecessarily. Today as usual Fleet Street Fox's take is outstanding.

Here is a quote from Fleet street Fox on the Hillsborough disaster;

It was a world where men kicking a ball around a pitch was not so much a family day out as an excuse for violence and thuggery. The police did pretty much as they pleased and journalists were not much different.

Or at least that was how it seemed to everyone else - in truth most of the football fans, coppers and hacks were decent people who did their best but were tainted by association with a handful of idiots. It was easier to cross the road, pretend not to notice them, and keep your head down.

And who can blame them? One dad out to watch the match with his boy is never going to be able to stop a horde of drunken yobs hurling concrete blocks at riot police. It is not a practical fight to pick.

So they got away with things they wouldn't today. There weren't cameras everywhere, it was difficult to know what other people were thinking, and there weren't a lot of rules.

So when 39 football fans were killed and 600 were injured when two rival groups of hooligans clashed at the Liverpool vs Juventus match at Heysel Stadium in 1985, it was easy to think that everyone involved was a murderous thug. In fact most of the dead were innocent, and in trying to escape the fighting knocked over a badly-built wall and crushed the fans sitting behind it.

In those days there were no cameras to pick out the ringleaders so 14 Liverpool ticket holders were jailed for involuntary manslaughter, and their club was barred from European matches for six years. Every other English club was barred for five.

The newspapers which have always sold millions of copies on the basis of their sports coverage blamed the 'hooligan element', and people like me grew up thinking football was about violence.

A couple of decades on we can all see hooliganism across Europe had a lot to do with Far Right agitators, and still does. And that because the 1980s saw the value of football transfers rocket as players became media stars, money that should have gone into maintaining and modernising Victorian grounds went into the pockets of players and agents.

Four years after Heysel it seemed to happen again - only this time it became the worst disaster football, the police or the newspapers had ever seen.

Liverpool fans - people then reviled by almost everyone in Britain for that European ban - delayed by unexpected roadworks turned up late at a FA Cup semi-final at the Hillsborough Stadium to watch their side play Nottingham Forest. After all the violence of the past, the stands were now separated into vast wire cages.

The man in charge of the police operation, Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, expected only trouble.

He decided that although there were more of them them the Liverpool fans should go into the smaller end of the stadium, to avoid having to cross the path of Notts Forest fans. There were too few turnstiles and a crush developed, made worse when they decided not to delay kick-off even though thousands of people were late and still outside.

As the crush got worse Duckenfield ordered a side gate to be opened to relieve the pressure. Fans poured in, but there were no stewards to direct them into the empty areas. Instead they followed stadium signs pointing them into cages that were already packed.

Each cage should have held only 1,600 people - they ended up with more than 3,000 packed in.

As the people at the front began to climb over the fences to get out, TV commentators called it a pitch invasion. When fans began pulling down hoardings they were called hooligans in homes up and down the country, where millions watched it live on Grandstand.

Duckenfield, in his control room, decided it was thuggery. He sent a line of police officers onto the pitch to prevent fans getting to the Notts Forest end. The referee called off the match six minutes after it began. 

But as time ticked past it became clear there was more to it. The hoardings were being used as makeshift stretchers, people were being hoisted up and out of the crush by those who'd scaled the wire, and some who could not get out tore holes in the cage with their bare hands.

Sports photographers caught every second of it on film. Grandstand kept on broadcasting. The country sat on its sofa, aghast.

Forty four ambulances were called but only one allowed into the stadium. Those makeshift stretchers were turned back at the police line as they tried to get to the paramedics.

Many of the dead were children - the youngest was 10. Ninety four were killed that day, in their cage and left to die on the pitch. Two more severely-injured died later. Still others have since reported suicides, post-traumatic stress, alcoholism and other problems.

The first newspaper reports were done in a rush, for the Sunday editions. Most of the photographs, even by the gung-ho standards of the time, were too gruesome to use. Relatives were identifying the dead from Polaroids. No-one had a clear idea of what happened. Duckenfield was said to have told officials fans without tickets had forced open the side gate.

On Monday the Mirror printed photographs of fans dead in the crush under the headline 'Never Again', and as one of the first newspapers to use colour the true horror of blue faces and bloodied bodies caused huge shock.

There were angry radio phone-ins, and the paper's legendary editor Richard Stott spoke publicly about his decision and why he thought it was important to get across the true scale of what happened.

On Tuesday the Sun said the police were being made 'scapegoats' for a disaster caused by ticketless hooligans, and on Wednesday it reported claims by Tory MP Irvine Patnick and an unnamed police source that in the crush Liverpool fans picked the pockets of the dead, urinated on police and attacked rescue workers.

The reporter who pulled the story together told the editor

 Kelvin MacKenzie he was worried about it and stressed they were allegations, not facts. The 18 or so staff sent to cover the disaster and more aware of who to trust and what went wrong were in Liverpool, not the newsroom. The editor laid out a front page with the headline 'The Truth', and in the pub his hacks sat around shaking their heads and predicting trouble.

To read Fleet Street Fox's FULL ARTICLE click HERE.

The BBC's reporting is HERE

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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Mindfulness of breathing - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches four exercises about mindful breathing concerning the body;

Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in; breathing out, I 
am aware that I am breathing out.

I breathe in, and I am aware of the length of my in-breath; 
breathing out, I am aware of the length of my out-breath.

I breathe in and I am aware of my whole body.

Breathing in, I calm the activities of my physical body.

Go HERE to read Thich Nhat Hanh's 

Mindfulness of Breathing 1 - 

Dharma Talk given on July 24, 1998  in Plum Village, France.

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Buddhism and Merleau Ponty - a paper by Tran Phuoc Phuong Thao

Interesting paper


During the last decade, many psychotherapists have successfully applied 
meditation on treatment and rehabilitation for the patients who get affected by 
depression, drug abuse or antisocial behaviors… to bring them back to normal life. 
However, to those who have the incurable illness, incompetent of living an 
ordinary life is little paid adequate attention.  Whether or not it is possible for them 
to live a good life within illness is, nonetheless, a challenging question for us. With 
a holistic approach, this paper will articulate the importance of mindful breathing 
started on the physical body as an ethical meditation so that the body can transform 
within.  Concept of the lived body in Merleau Ponty‟s phenomenology will be 
modified in the Buddhist context. The purpose is to elicit the interwoven of the 
body and the world in the perpetual perception, and the efficiency of attention will 
be cultivated in the practice of mindful breathing so as to remodel the intentional 
habit of dichotomous conception of the agency and grasping attitude. The shifting 
of inner landscape settings will give patients a fresh and creative look at the 
environing world. It is in the world that body finds itself is a life-giving, neither 
birth nor death and beyond fear even on deathbed. 

Key words: lived body, perception, attention, intention, mindful breathing, 
neither birth nor death

You can read the paper HERE

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Enjoyed the Olympics? - Look what Iran does to its young people!

Banned from making their mark

Posted: 09 Sep 2012 07:03 PM PDT

Three Iranian Baha'is who are denied the opportunity to make a distinctive contribution to their country. Pictured, from left: pianist Pegah Yazdani; judo champion Khashayar Zarei; and chess player Pedram Atoufi.

Three Iranian Baha'is who are denied the opportunity to make a distinctive contribution to their country. Pictured, from left: pianist Pegah Yazdani; judo champion Khashayar Zarei; and chess player Pedram Atoufi.

[BWNS, 6 Sep 2012] NEW YORK — In practically any other country of the world, a teenage chess champion, a national judo standout and a talented pianist would be valued as contributors to their society.

In the example of three young Iranians, however, being members of the Baha’i Faith has meant a ban on competing and performing at the highest levels.

Judoist Khashayar Zarei, chess player Pedram Atoufi, and pianist Pegah Yazdani are all victims of Iran’s systematic policy – spelled out in a government-backed 1991 memorandum – to “block” the progress and development of Baha’is and “deny them any position of influence.”

Khashayar’s story

As Iran brought home a record haul of medals from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 19-year-old Khashayar Zarei could only dream of what might have been.

In his age and weight class, Khashayar is one of the country’s finest judoists. But he has been barred from competition because he is a Baha’i.

“Despite the fact that on three occasions I came first in my weight group on the national team, as a result of my belief in the Baha’i Faith, I have been banned from participating in the Asian World competitions,” Khashayar wrote in a letter published by the Human Rights Activists News Agency.

To add to Khashayar’s disappointment, he was recently stopped from pursuing his architectural studies at Shiraz University because of his religious beliefs. Officials told him they had received instructions to expel him in a confidential letter from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. This is also part of official government policy: that once it becomes known a student is Baha’i, he or she must be expelled.

Khashayar is not alone among Iranian youth in having his hopes thwarted.

Application forms for admission to special programs for gifted students require the applicant to specify his or her religion, allowing administrators to disqualify Baha’i candidates; there is no option to leave the section blank. One Baha’i – a distinguished year two high school student in the city of Sari – was recently expelled from her gifted school. Two others were denied the opportunity to take part in a Science and Mathematics Olympiad for prodigies. In Tehran, an outstanding Baha’i student who reached a high level in the “Robocup” technology initiative was barred from registering in a school to prepare herself for competing at the national and international levels. And in 2008, the Baha’i International Community learned how the parents of one student were told by a sympathetic school administrator that all school principals in Marvdasht had received verbal instructions to give students of “the Bahaist sect” and other minorities only a passing grade in their school examinations – regardless of their actual level of performance – so as to prevent them from being eligible to enter universities.

Chess champion

This type of exclusion is not new. After winning a national chess championship in 1991 at the age of 16, Pedram Atoufi was told he could not represent Iran at the Asian Chess Championships because he was a Baha’i.

Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, chess was banned in Iran for a whole decade. So when Pedram won the country’s first national tournament for youth in 12 years, he was thrilled at the opportunity to represent his country in international competition.

But when he went to obtain his passport, he was handed a form and told to mark his religion.

“I wrote Baha’i,” he said. “The person who was processing my form said ‘If you put Baha’i, it’s not easy to get a passport.’”

Pedram was informed that the only possibility was to visit the president of the Iran Chess Federation, who could send him on a team visa. The president, however, became enraged upon hearing that Pedram was a Baha’i and sent a letter to the Federation’s members in every state saying that Pedram was barred from competing in any official chess tournaments. That year, no one was sent to compete for Iran in the Asian Chess Championship.

Pedram’s ban was gradually relaxed over four years, leaving only a prohibition on international competition. When his team won the national championship in 1997, he was replaced and his teammates represented Iran in the international stages.

Today, Pedram lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he runs a club which aims to cultivate a sense of unity through chess. He cannot return to his homeland; a good friend who went to the youth chess championship with him was only recently released from jail.

Pianist in exile

The denial of higher education to Baha’is also applies to other forms of artistic and professional education.

Barred from pursuing her musical ambitions in Iran, Pegah Yazdani traveled alone to Moscow in 1998 to study piano. She cried for the whole flight.

“Emotionally it was a really tough time; I had to leave everyone behind,” she said. “At the same time I was very excited because I was going to pursue my dream.”

Completing her instruction after five years, she obtained her degree and returned to Iran to her family, hoping to perform and open a piano school.

She was offered a part-time job at Tehran’s conservatory. But when employees were asked to fill out a form asking them to mark their religion, Pegah was fired and banned from giving music lessons or playing recitals.

“If they see ‘Baha’i’ there, they don’t even look at you, they just deny the form,” she says.

“I knew I wasn’t able to do anything in Iran. I wouldn’t be able to study there. I wouldn’t be able to work. I wouldn’t be able to live there normally.”

Accepted in 2007 into the London College of Music and Media, Pegah took a masters degree in Piano Performance and now lives in Canada where she is truly engaged in music – performing, teaching piano, and also working as a ballet accompanist.

Despite her ordeal, Pegah – now 36 – says she still loves her country very much and wishes she could return. She hopes that one day soon the Baha’is that remain in Iran will be allowed to make their full contribution.

Bani Dugal, the Baha’i International Community’s principal representative to the United Nations, says the Iranian government’s strategy towards Baha’is is denying the country the benefit of a host of talents and capacities.

“The lengths to which Iran will go to prevent young Baha’is from obtaining higher education has grown more and more convoluted and extreme,” she said. “These stories are pitiful examples of a state-sponsored campaign which, in the end, only deprives Iran of the valuable and exciting contributions that could be made by some of the country’s best and brightest young people.”


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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Do you know these children? - A crying shame

THIRTEEN years ago a country which had 4million or so children living in poverty announced it would do something about it.

Their leaders, just two years after being elected in a landslide, vowed to stop children growing up cold and hungry, failing at school, and being trapped in poverty their whole lives.

In fact, said the leaders, they'd wipe the problem out by 2020.

It was a great idea, rather let down by the fact it took them four years to agree how to measure poverty, nine years to get around to planning legislation, and another 18 months before the laws were agreed and came into force.

Thirteen years on, 3.6m children are still growing up poor and hungry in that country. It's predicted to hit 4.2m in the next four years - a third of all their children. Things are so bad that for the first time ever Save the Children has announced a new fundraising campaign to buy them blankets and food.

Only we're not talking about somewhere gloomy and grim in Africa. This is Britain in 2012.

GO HERE to read the full article by the brilliant Fleet Street Fox

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Saturday, 1 September 2012

The cow-pat points to non-thingification - some non-God talk


SOURCE - WikiPedia and a cow!

The cow-pat points to non-thingification - some non-God talk

First Thomas Merton;

‘God’ said Boehme, ‘is called the seeing and finding Nothing (RP No-thing ?)....because it (RP He/She/It) is inconceivable and inexpressible..... Rilke simply reports on the poetic phenomenology of the innocent ‘outgazing’ proper to the child, against which the child is systematically educated.  Culture teaches man to ‘be opposite’, to stand against objects, and to never be anything else but a subject confronting objects:

Always facing creation, we perceive there

only a mirroring of the free and open

dimmed by our breath.

The animal simply ‘gazes out’ without any consciousness of a centre which gazes.

…..its own being for it

is infinite, inapprehensible,

un-introspective, pure, like its outgazing.

Where we see future, it sees Everything

itself in Everything, forever healed.

We are the other hand have been ‘turned around’, and we are always aware of ourselves as spectators.  This spectatorship is a wound in our nature, a kind of original sin (here Rilke is in the Christian tradition of the Church Fathers and the Mystics), for which ‘healing’ is urgently required.  Yet we refuse healing because we insist on preserving our status as spectators.  This is the only identity we understand.  Once we cease to ‘stand against’ the world, we think we cease to exist.  (RP this is the source of Fundamentalism - see last two chapters in Terry Eagleton’s After Theory).   Furthermore we manipulate the world as we contemplate it, we arrange it to suit the whim and yearning of our vision.             pp 78-79 Thomas Merton on Zen

The above is the sense in which it is true to say ‘I am God” about which Bede Griffiths is concerned where he says;

If I am using the ordinary language of rational thought then certainly I am not God, and to say that this world is God is as false as to say that it exists of itself.  If I try to find the words to express that transcendent Reality, I have to use images and metaphors, which help to turn my mind toward the truth, and allow Truth itself to enlighten it.

                                  From Return to the Center by Bede Griffiths  in The Essential Mystics p 216 by Andrew Harvey


Within my understanding I, and you, are nothing but God - PLUS the illusions and false identity I/we have created via, as Merton says, the culture that shaped us and such negatives as cowardice and insufficient tenacity etc.  

All of God’s Creation is a manifestation or emanation of Him/It/Her - everything from the most sublime scripture to the oldest cow pat in a ten acre field!  But only the true Messengers of God, manifest without the crippling imperfections that we accrue.  Life is a challenge to let go those imperfections and let God shine through.  Nothing needs to be added, nothing needs to be searched for or acquired.  We are perfect, complete, radiant, we are God - insofar as we let go those imperfections.

Saints are those who can live in that less egoistic reality - at least 51% of the time.  

Within a panENtheistic view God is both absolutely transcendent and utterly immanent.  Coming to understand that every atom in Creation is a gateway to Him is a matter of raising consciousness, a letting go of egoistic self.  All of the ‘ten thousand’ things, as the Buddhists call the diversity of the world, point to that Whole, a Whole that we cannot thing-ify, name, or conceive of.  Religion is the codification of experiences in encountering the Mystery of the Whole.  The universal mysticism is the beating heart of all living religions.  Scripture and poetic commentary are the inevitably failed attempts at expressing the ineffable, sublime though they may be.

Insofar as we let go imperfections we become purer manifestations of the breaths of the Holy Spirit.  For this we need to  remember that sacrifice is ‘to make sacred’ - not self destruction.  Our individuality, our true self, is the admixture of names and attributes of God that we uniquely manifest - like the light reflected on water.  The particular admixture is eternal because the light is eternal.


The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountains and me,
until only the mountains remain.

Li Po (701-762)

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About Me

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My focus is inter-spiritual living