Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Roots of Mystery

I have some Buddhist friends, and much of the philosophy appeals to me. I don’t like it when they take it so far as to worship Buddha as a god, but I can agree with the philosophy, well most of it.

What I have trouble with is this whole passive I-wont-lift-a-hand-in-protest modern day approach to violence. I respect the theory behind it: life is sacred, and killing anything is wrong. Some go so far as to not kill bugs, or eat meat, but still eat plants (which they don’t think is killing because a plant isn’t respected as a reincarnate).

But this is what I don’t get. To me, allowing yourself to die in protest is killing yourself. You allow yourself to die. Sure, you didn’t kill yourself, but you allowed yourself to be killed, which to me is the same thing.

None of us were around to hear the Dharma firsthand, but one would think that allowing for ritual suicide was not part of the curricula for escaping suffering.

Nearly 1,000 years after Sidhartha (The Buddha) established his philosophical approach, a Buddhist named Ba Tuo spread the teachings into China and built the first Shaolin monastery.

A teacher named (by the Chinese) Ta Mo brought Ch’an Buddhism to China and came upon the Shaolin Ssu temple. Finally he, after several years of meditation outside the temple, is said to have been let inside. He saw the monks were weak and needed skilled training in meditation and physical arts.

You see where this was going. Soon after the Shaolin kung-fu monk was born. The temple was not poor and was often attacked by peasant armies, and the monks would often be called to defend the monastery and travelers from bandits.

This was all taught and sanctioned by the first Buddhist temple in China. Ta Mo is considered one of the brightest Buddhist teachers from India for his time. These men devoted their lives to physical training for the defense of the weak. This is not indicative of passive resistance.

So now we bring this full circle. The accepted Buddhist tradition of passive resistance is, to me, contrary to what the Buddhists originally taught.

Instead of letting oneself be slain so that a praying mantis won’t get squashed beneath the boot of an overanxious Chinese soldier, the monks of today, in my opinion, need to re-embrace the teachings of the Shaolin Ssu temple, and fight back the oppressors that destroy the lives of their kin in Tibet.

I don’t care if the Chinese army has 1 billion bloodcrazed soldiers. The Law of Conservation of Ninjas applies here. The Chinese army doesn’t stand a chance.

Politics 101

Okay, it appears that I’ve been trashing George W. Bush a lot lately. Well it’s true, I have. But I’ve gotten some messages that have prompted me to address something important, something I’ve failed to get through to some of the bricked up minds out there.

People, understand this. I AM NOT A DEMOCRAT. I am not a republican. I am registered to vote, but I pay more attention to platforms than parties, and more importantly, to what people do once elected when following up on their campaign promises.

I have nothing against Republicans. I have everything against George W. Bush. But understand also, I have just as many gripes against Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Martha Lane Collins, Antonin Scalia, and whoever gets in front of 4 billion people and says one thing only to do a totally different thing later.

I happen to hate politicians and nut job false preachers (e.g. Pat Robertson) more than I hate Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and that’s why I spend most of my time complaining about politics.

So, for all you people telling me to “fight the man” and dethrone the Bush dynasty, please, by all means, attach a bag of cement to yourselves and jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

And before I get any anti-Christian flames, understand also that I have utmost respect for some ministers. Those I respect I call ministers, those I despise I call preachers, because all they do is get up and preach at you, they don’t communicate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Motel Hell

Time to gripe. I have been in San Francisco, California, for about 18 hours, and I already hate this hotel. I am staying at the Sir Francis Drake hotel on powell street, in the heart of the city. The hotel is costing us about 120 bucks a night, and is highly billed as being one of the classiest hotels around.

Yeah right.

First of all, sure there's pretty chandeliers and marble pillars. It's great that i can hang the "do not disturb" sign on the door and actually not have housekeeping barge in on me. Oh and it has a working toilet and running water.

Here is what I don't like:

1) the hotel advertises free high speed wireless access in each room. At best I can get 190 kilobytes per second, and the connection times out after 2 minutes of inactivity. So by the time you've read the web page you pulled up, you have to quit your browser and reopen it and log in again. And forget about doing ANYTHING other than reading. Drool comes out of my mouth quicker when I sleep than I get speed off this stupid "high speed" wireless.

2) the ice machines on my floor, the floor below, and the floor above are not plugged into power. You might think this is not a bad thing, until you realize they charge 2 dollars and 50 cents for a bottle of ROOM TEMPERATURE water. And not even that, the refrigerator is locked, so you can't get into the damn thing and refrigerate your own drinks.

3) You might say, hey captain, use your back up dialup to get around their "high speed" internet. I would, of course, if they didn't charge 1.00 for the first minute and 10 cents for each additional minute for LOCAL CALLS.

4) they also offer free tv in the rooms. That is if you like network tv or pbs. They don't even give free cspan. That's what turned me against them. Hell with hbo or showtime, I want to watch congress. Not here I don't.

5) I witnessed a maid blow her nose into sheets she was taking into a room to put on a bed.

Hey, why gripe? At least the cardkey worked. Good god I'd be better off in a holiday inn.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Letter Of The Week

This is a true jewel. It is so great I just HAD to post it. The following letter was written in the local paper on Sunday, January 29, 2006. The letter was written by Kenneth X and was written in response to recent religious controversy over a made-for-TV film. The letter was dubbed "Letter of the Week" by the editorial staff.

Kenneth X

I agree with those TV viewers and letter writers who don't find dysfunctional families- like the one in the "Book of Daniel" - entertaining. But, in order to be consistent with my values, I've also decided to stop reading all those stories about dysfunctional families, too.

No more reading about a man with anger management problems who kills his brother ( Cain ).

No more reading about a drunken father who exposes himself to his children ( Noah ).

No more reading about dishonest, deceitful, cheating brothers ( Jacob ).

No more reading about a politician with a desperate housewife ( Samson and Delilah ).

No more reading about a king who consults a medium for advice ( Saul ).

No more reading about polygamist leaders who allow their many wives to turn them from God ( Solomon ).

No more reading about kings who commit adultery and then cover it up with murder ( David, later described as "a man after God's own heart" ).

No more reading about a prophet who marries a harlot ( Hosea ).

No more reading about a preacher who strips himself naked and goes streaking through town ( Isaiah ).

In fact, No more reading about a chosen nation described as a wicked and adulterous generation ( Israel ).

And no more reading about apostles who curse and deny their Lord ( Peter ) or a terrorist turned missionary who argues with his co-workers ( Paul ) or churches that are told to stop stealing ( Ephesians ) or commitiing incest ( Corinthians ). How on Earth would God possibly use people like that?

I suppose it makes more sense to pretend that God shows no grace and uses only perfect people like the Waltons and the IIngalls.

So why should Christians have to be subjected to the idea of an imperfect minister whose family life is a mess?