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Posts Tagged ‘Ecology’

Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

By 

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today.

Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Brain research over the last generation has confirmed the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Our left cerebral hemisphere is the place where language is generated and received. It serves a linguistic consciousness with which we describe and think about the world. On the other side, our silent right brain hemisphere serves an unconscious awareness that cannot be coded in language. Non-verbal contemplative practices — such as being quietly present in the natural world, “open presence” meditation, tai chi chuan or yoga — elicit sustained awareness rooted in the unconscious. We are fully aware of what is happening, within and around us. Yet such experiences cannot be put into (or directed by) words because they are served by modules for sensory awareness in the right hemisphere. Focusing attention in the present suspends the usual executive functions of the conscious mind, so that the resources of the unconscious may unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Lost World’ reached: 20 million yr old Antarctic lake ‘drilled’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 8, 2012

Image from lostlab.ru

Image from lostlab.ru

After 30 years spent drilling through a four-kilometer-thick ice crust, researchers have finally broken through to a unique subglacial lake. Scientists are set to reveal its 20-million-year-old secrets, and imitate a quest to discover ET life.

The Vostok project breathes an air of mystery and operates at the frontiers of human knowledge. The lake is one of the major discoveries in modern geography; drilling operations at such depths are unprecedented; never before has a geological project required such subtle technologies.

The main inspiration for the project – the Russian scientist who posited the lake’s existence – died just six months before the moment of contact with the lake’s surface. Now, the whole world is looking to Lake Vostok for crucial data which might help to predict climate change.

Yesterday [on Sunday] our scientists at the Vostok polar station in the Antarctic completed drilling at depths of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the subglacial lake,” RIA Novosti reported, quoting an unnamed Russian scientist.

Meanwhile, Itar-Tass news agency says the scientists still have a few meters to go.

Lake Vostok is a unique closed ecosystem hidden under some four kilometers of ice. Its water has been isolated from the atmosphere – and therefore from any contact with the outside world – since before man existed. The key question for scientists is, could the lake harbour life? 

Image from earth.columbia.edu
Image from earth.columbia.edu

If some primitive bacteria or even more complex life-forms are found to have survived the isolation, it could offer an earth-shattering insight into our planet’s past.  Read the rest of this entry »

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‘We have lost respect’ – former US Senator

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 23, 2011

The US is like a drunkard who charges to war with anyone who might pose a threat, ex-Senator and former US presidential candidate Mike Gravel says.

“I like the US. But at the same time I think my country is an imperial country that is going downhill, and our leadership does not even acknowledge the problem,” confesses Gravel.

“Phony triumphalism has turned into a device to make Americans live in fear of a terrorist attack, yet you are a thousand times more likely to catch cancer than ever be hurt by that,” he points out.

“All I can say about what the US is doing – it‘s immoral,” Gravel says, explaining that “as a result of 9/11, we have altered our moral compass. And people began to get used to brutalizing each other.”

“We Americans used to think ‘oh, what happened in Germany could never happen with us!’ Well, it is happening with us. And it is happening to the detriment of our global position.”

“In Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Vietnam at the era, all American soldiers died in vain,” Gravel claims, recalling the millions of war victims in Vietnam, which is now developing along its own path, regardless.

New American policies enable US military or security officials to take a decision and dispatch a drone to kill a suspect without trial – together with all civilians who happen to be close to the target, Gravel says.

“The morality of that is removing responsibility – those who drop bombs [from remotely operated robot drones] do not see people die,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the Buddha Touched the Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 23, 2011

By John Stanley and David Loy

“The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.” –Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

“The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness. –Thich Nhat Hanh

In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Gautama Buddha sits in meditation with his left palm upright on his lap, while his right hand touches the earth. Demonic forces have tried to unseat him, because their king, Mara, claims that place under the bodhi tree. As they proclaim their leader’s powers, Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. The Buddha simply touches the earth with his right hand, and the Earth itself immediately responds: “I am your witness.” Mara and his minions vanish. The morning star appears in the sky. This moment of supreme enlightenment is the central experience from which the whole of the Buddhist tradition unfolds.

The great 20th-century Vedantin, Ramana Maharshi said that the Earth is in a constant state ofdhyana. The Buddha’s earth-witness mudra (hand position) is a beautiful example of “embodied cognition.” His posture and gesture embody unshakeable self-realization. He does not ask heavenly beings for assistance. Instead, without using any words, the Buddha calls on the Earth to bear witness.

The Earth has observed much more than the Buddha’s awakening. For the last 3 billion years the Earth has borne witness to the evolution of its innumerable life-forms, from unicellular creatures to the extraordinary diversity and complexity of plant and animal life that flourishes today. We not only observe this multiplicity, we are part of it — even as our species continues to damage it. Many biologists predict that half the Earth’s plant and animal species could disappear by the end of this century, on the current growth trajectories of human population, economy and pollution. This sobering fact reminds us that global warming is the primary, but not the only, extraordinary ecological crisis confronting us today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian solar probe to predict Earthly cataclysms

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 29, 2011

Some scientists believe bursts of solar activity cause natural disasters on our planet, but until now the star has been too

difficult to reach or explore in any detail. Some Russian researchers think they have the solution.

Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis – apocalyptic pictures are becoming an ordinary part of news bulletins across the globe. And scientists are not giving out reassuring forecasts.

“Unfortunately, we’re expecting more severe cataclysms which may lead to large-scale human losses and destruction,” says Baku-based Professor Elchin Kakhalilov of the Global Network for the Forecasting of Earthquakes.“I’m talking about even a possible shift of the centers of our entire civilization.”

The change in the Earth’s seismic activity coincides with the rise of activity on the sun. Scientists have been witnessing gigantic bursts of plasma on its surface and say they are affecting our planet, even though it is over 90 million miles away.

Each burst sends billions of particles into space which impacts the Earth’s magnetic field. This may trigger some of the processes going on deep bellow its surface, leading to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Scientists predict solar activity will increase and say in the next few years, large-scale disruptions of electronic equipment, radio transmissions, computer failures and massive black-outs could become parts of everyday life.

The sun is currently monitored either by stations on Earth or in orbit. But sending a probe four times closer to the star would be far more helpful. And it may not be science fiction much longer, thanks to a project currently being developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Read the rest of this entry »

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Scientists baffled by spontaneous whale

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 31, 2011

Some global communities may be embroiled in conflict but Russian and American scientists have found a new diplomatic connection – Flex, an endangered eastern Pacific grey whale.

Flex surprised a Russian research team by unexpectedly leaving Russia, speeding across the Bering Sea to North America, passing into the Gulf of Alaska. He is now headed towards Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

The whale is 13 years old and tracked by researchers at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute in the United States. Russian and American researches are working together to understand what inspired the sudden and quite peculiar journey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian President sums up year’s events in TV interview

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 25, 2010

President Dmitry Medvedev on December 24 spoke live with the heads of three federal TV channels: Konstantin Ernst

RIA Novosti / Michail Klimentiev

of Channel One, Oleg Dobrodeev of Rossiya, and Vladimir Kulistikov of NTV.

GENERAL DIRECTOR OF CHANNEL ONE KONSTANTIN ERNST: Good afternoon, viewers.

Today, like a year ago, we have this opportunity to look back over the year together with the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev in this conversation broadcast live on three federal channels. Good afternoon, Mr. President.

D.MEDVEDEV: Hello.

K.ERNST: Mr. President, every person who remembers 2010 is bound to recall some highlights, flashpoints even, that will stay with them forever. What are your highlights of 2010?

D.MEDVEDEV: I think you used the right term for these events. I will name five things I noted, although will not claim my version is the only right one. The first, although it was a long-term process, was very important for us. We have found our way out of the economic crisis. Our economy did not decline in 2010. It grew. We had our difficulties of course, but the growth was quite sustainable. We are approaching a 4% growth in GDP. This isn’t standard growth, there is a quality of economic modernization in it, therefore we are modernizing our life. Secondly, and this is very important as well, is our new outlook on our children and what we call Russia’s demographic development. I chose this to be the main subject of my address to the parliamentary assembly. I suggested a range of measures. Are these measures sufficient? I think not. We will try to improve the corresponding institutions and the measures. But in any case, that is the centerpiece of our social development policy. Without the right policy on children we will have no future. The third thing I recall is the heatwave and forest fires that shook our country this summer. It was a very difficult situation, both psychologically and physically. Regretfully, it has reflected on our economy, slowing down its growth and bringing about a deficit of certain food items. Undoubtedly, it was a very difficult event. Even more so since it had victims. Another subject that I consider important is the issue of security. I don’t just mean domestic security, but the global situation as well. This year saw a major event: Russia and the U.S. have approached the signing of the crucial New START Treaty. This document is the cornerstone for global and European security for decades to come perhaps. I am very glad we are making progress with the ratification of that document. Of course, I can’t fail to mention the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. It is certainly a very special day for us. It’s what makes us citizens of Russia. It’s what makes us people of the present while reminding us about our past. These are the five events that I would call the most important and the most difficult. There are others of course and we will talk about them. I think, for example, that our work to improve our law enforcement is very important. The work we did to improve the regulations on police works. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Girl Who Made the World Silent for Five Minutes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 13, 2010

The Girl Who Made the World Silent for Five Minutes

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