Introducing Buddha's Compassion

buddha5The admonition given by the Buddha in the first verse of the Dhammapada that the human mind is responsible for everything we do -- good or evil, is reiterated and embodied in the preamble to the UNESCO Charter of Human Rights which states: 'Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be constructed.'

The Buddha had many enemies. His own cousin, Devadatta, unsuccessfully attempted to kill him three times, and rival religious leaders tried to defame him by accusing him of adultery and falsehood. But the Buddha remained in their midst, unpolluted like the lotus flower which has come to symbolize purity in Buddhism. The Buddha was in the world, but not of the world.

Caring For The Introvert

IntrovertRespectDo you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves conversations about their ideas or feelings, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but often seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? If so, do you redouble your efforts to draw him out? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (see the abundant references below).

Astronomers Find 1000+ New Planets

FindingExoplanetsThis week astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope announced that the planet-hunting spacecraft had increased its catalogue by an additional 1,284 worlds. This is the greatest number of planets ever announced at one time. A paper summarizing the findings appears in The Astrophysical Journal. The total exoplanet tally now stands at about 3,200, and Kepler has found 2,235 of them, NASA officials said.

Neuroscientists Word-Map Brain

brain circuitryScientists have created an “atlas of the brain” that reveals how the meanings of words are arranged across different regions of the organ. Like a colourful quilt laid over the cortex, the atlas displays in rainbow hues how individual words and the concepts they convey can be grouped together in clumps of white matter. “Our goal was to build a giant atlas that shows how one specific aspect of language is represented in the brain, in this case semantics, or the meanings of words,” said Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prince, Legendary Musician, Dies at 57

PrinceOne of the most iconic musicians in music history, Prince's extensive career grew out of the music scene of his native Minneapolis, where he lived his entire life. His 1978 debut album For You and self-titled second LP, released in October 1979, kicked off an incredibly prolific run of albums that included 1999, Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day, Sign O The Times and Batman, among others, throughout the 1980s at a clip of nearly one per year, evolving with each release.  Rest in Peace - 21 April 2016

Canada to Decriminalize Recreational Cannabis

Legal CannabisCanada’s Liberal government will introduce legislation to decriminalise and regulate recreational marijuana in spring 2017, according to the health minister, Jane Philpott. The prime minister, Justin Trudeau, promised during last year’s election campaign that his government would legalise recreational marijuana, following the US states of Washington and Colorado, but the time frame has been unclear.

Philpott, speaking on Wednesday at a special session of the UN general assembly in New York on drug problems around the world, said the Canadian law will ensure marijuana is kept away from children and will keep criminals from profiting from its sale.

Buddhist Terms for Beginners

glossaryIn dialogue with others, I often find that a key obstacle to understanding is the lack of level-set understanding of terms and/or definitions.  This is a somewhat living glossary to help to explain the meanings and usage within the context of my website. The terms and definitions presented here are neither exhaustive nor authoritative. This is as much a catalogue of my journey as it is a shared reference.

For space and design considerations, I have placed the entire glossary behind the "Read More" link below.

Creativity is Far More than Deliberate Practice

brain circuitrySpeed of expertise acquisition may matter, but so do a whole host of other traits.  The "10-Year Rule" makes for a sensational TED talk; however, the idea that it takes 10 years to become a world-class expert in any domain is not a rule. Creativity doesn't have an expiration date. Creativity seems to happen when it's ready to happen.  While expetise or technique certainly contribute, talent and personality are very relevant to creative accomplishment. 

Ancient Egyptian Demons Found

Demonology project logo copyA Belgium-based Egyptologist has discovered the oldest of ancient Egyptian demons -- demonic entities populated the ancient Egyptians’ imaginations as far back as 4,000 years ago.  The discovery, presented recently at the International Conference on Ancient Egyptian Demonology, these demons gripped their victims and cut off their heads.

Wael Sherbiny, an independent scholar who specializes in the ancient Egyptian religious texts, found two demons on two Middle Kingdom coffins presumed to be about 4,000 years old.  The third demon was identified in a 4,000-year-old leather roll the researcher had previously discovered in the shelves of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, where it was stored and forgotten for more than 70 years. This leather roll was the oldest and longest Egyptian leather manuscript.

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Pragmatic Journey is Richard (rich) Wermske's life of recovery; a spiritual journey inspired by Buddhism, a career in technology and management with linux, digital security, bpm, and paralegal stuff; augmented with gaming, literature, philosophy, art and music; and compassionate kinship with all things living -- especially cats; and people with whom I share no common language.