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August 25, 2008

Americana unveiled and en masse

It is that time of the year again - when the world (at least locally) sorts out into two people - those who love the State Fair and those who don't.

Oddly enough, I am in the former camp, not the latter. You'd think for a vegetarian girl with hippy roots and an environmental job the State Fair could be sort of the antithesis to what I live for and stand for. But it isn't us and them - there is just us and the State Fair is that time of year when I get to see a side of us that is hard to come by in my every day life.

Oh sure, part of it is pure idealistic romanticism - it is easy to love what is abnormal and cherish the unusual. I didn't grow up around cheese curds, cowboys, and sheep. But there is part of me at the Fair as well. I did grow up with quilting, tractors, and deep fried sugary food.

The Fair feels like an Americana museum and zoo all at once. The creatures are there - ones like me and ones not so much like me. The pride of the creatures are there. And if you look closely you can see all the ugly as well.

Just fascinating - it is all just so fascinating!

August 19, 2008

Nonviolence

The Buddhist practice of nonviolence is not merely submissiveness with a
smile or meek thoughtfulness. The fundamental cause of violence is when
one is fixated on an extreme idea, such as justice or morality. This
fixation usually stems from a habit of buying into dualistic views, such
as bad and good, ugly and beautiful, moral and immoral. One's inflexible
self-righteousness takes up all the space that would allow empathy for
others. Sanity is lost. Understanding that all these views or values
are compounded and impermanent, as is the person who holds them,
violence is averted. When you have no ego, no clinging to the self,
there is never a reason to be violent. When one understands that one's
enemies are held under a powerful influence of their own ignorance and
aggression, that they are trapped by their habits, it is easier to
forgive them for their irritating behavior and actions. Similarly, if
someone from the insane asylum insults you, there is no point in getting
angry. When we transcend believing in the extremes of dualistic
phenomena, we have transcended the causes of violence.

-Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse
WHAT MAKES YOU NOT A BUDDHIST