Monday, October 27, 2008

Follow the Money -- Deep Throat

Read through the article. I particularly the bit about the "grand poobah" of the LDS pocketing $1.5 million of donations from Utah followers to limit the authority of the California Supreme Court.

"The promoters don’t pay for all that work by state employees. They make huge personal profits from the measure while forcing the taxpayers to pay the costs. It sheds a whole new light on the “redistributing wealth” complaints we hear from the McCain campaign."

The LA Progressive has become one of my real finds during this grueling election cycle.
clipped from

The Profits They Make from Attacking Freedom

October 27, 2008
by Tom Hall –
In earlier essays, I talked about how a group of for-profit businessmen was promoting Proposition 8 (Proposition Hate), the anti-gay marriage measure to write bigotry into the California Constitution. I pointed out some of their hypocricies and dishonesties. But I didn’t talk much about their finances.
It’s important to understand how these people make their money. And make money they do. Each of the main promoters of this bigotry campaign may personally pocket as much as $10 million or more from the campaign. At the same time, they force the taxpayers to spend millions on the mechanics of reviewing all the signatures on petitions, putting the measure on the ballot, and writing accurate ballot statements to replace the intentionally false statements offered by the promoters.
blog it

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Zen Master looks at Same-Gender Marriage

Bob Aitken by Kaori Ukaji

by Robert Aitken with Ken Ireland

Robert Aitken Roshi was one of the most widely respected American Zen teachers. In 1959 he and his wife, Anne Hopkins Aitken, founded a Zen Meditation community in Hawaii, the Honolulu Diamond Sangha. Today there are Diamond Sangha affiliated centers in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. He is also co-founder of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He died in Honolulu on August 5th, 2010.

The word Zen means "exacting meditation," which describes the central practice of the Zen Buddhist and from which emerge certain quite profound realizations that can be applied in daily life. Most practitioners come to a deep understanding that all life is connected and that we are each a boundless container that includes all other beings. The application of this kind of intimacy can be framed in the classic Buddhist teaching of the Four Noble Abodes: loving kindness, compassion, joy in the attainment of others, and equanimity.

Applying these Four Noble Abodes to the issue of same-sex marriage, I find it clear that encouragement is my recommendation. Over my long career of teaching, I have had students who were gay, lesbian, trans-sexual and bisexual, as well as heterosexual. These orientations have seemed to me to be quite specific, much akin to the innate proclivities which lead people to varied careers or take paths in life that are uniquely their own. We are all human, and within my own container, I find compassion—not just for—but with the gay or lesbian couple who wish to confirm their love in a legal marriage.

Although historically Zen has been a monastic tradition, there have always been prominent lay adherents. Those who enter the state of marriage vow to live their lives according to the same sixteen precepts that ground the Buddhist monk’s and nun’s life in the world. This way of living opens our path into life. Like life itself, marriage is absolutely non-discriminatory and open to all.

Buddhist teaching regarding sexuality is expressed in the precept of "taking up the way of not misusing sex." I understand this precept to mean that any self-centered sexual conduct is exploitative, non-consensual—sex that harms others. In the context of young men or young women confined within monastery walls for periods of years, one might expect rules and teachings relating to homosexuality, but they don't appear. Homosexuality seems to be overlooked in Zen teachings, and indeed in classical Buddhist texts. However, my own monastic experience leads me to believe that homosexuality was not taken as an aberration, and so did not receive comment.

All societies have from earliest times across the world formalized sexual love in marriage ceremonies that give the new couple standing and rights in the community. Currently both rights and standing are denied to gays and lesbians who wish to marry in all but three of the United Sates. If every State acknowledged the basic married rights of gay and lesbian couples, young men and women just beginning their lives together, as well as those who have shared their lives for decades, a long-standing injustice would be corrected, and these fellow citizens would feel accepted in the way they deserve to be. This would stabilize a significant segment of our society, and we would all of us be better able to acknowledge our diversity. I urge the voters of California to keep gay and lesbian marriages legal. This is the most humane course of action and in keeping with perennial principles of decency and mutual encouragement.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Un Zen Master Enseña sobre el mismo Género Matrimonio

by Robert Aitken y Ken Ireland

Robert Aitken Roshi es uno de los más ampliamente respetado Estadounidense Zen maestros. En 1959 el y su esposa, Anne Hopkins Aitken, fundó una meditación Zen comunidad en Hawai, la Honolulu Diamante Sangha. Hoy hay Diamante Sangha centros afiliados en Norte y Sudamérica, Australia y Nueva Zelandia. También es co-fundador de la Paz Budista becas. Él murió el 5 de agosto de 2010 en Honolulu. Tenía 93 años de edad.

La palabra Zen significa "exigente meditación," que describe la práctica del Zen Budista y de que surgen ciertas bastante profundo realizaciones que puede aplicarse en la vida diaria. Mayoría de los que practican Zen llegan a un entendimiento profundo que toda la vida está conectado y que estamos cada una infinita contenedor que incluye todos los otros seres. La aplicación de esta intimidad puede ser entendido por la enseñanza clásico Budista de los Cuatro Nobles Moradas: el amor universal benevolente; compassion; la dicha altruista; ecuanimidad.

Aplicar estos cuatro Nobles Moradas a la cuestión de matrimonios del mismo sexo, me parece claro que el aliento es mi recomendación. Durante mi larga carrera de enseñanza, he tenido estudiantes que eran gays, lesbianas, trans-sexual y bisexuales, así como heterosexual. Estas orientaciones me parecieron ser muy específico, muy similar a la innata proclividades que llevan a las personas a diversas carreras o tomar caminos en la vida que son singularmente sus propios. Todos somos humanos, y adentro de mi proprio envase, encuentro compassion—no solo para—pero con la pareja gay o lesbiana que quiere confirmar su amor en una boda legal.

Aunque históricamente Zen ha sido una tradición monástica, siempre ha habido prominente adeptos que no eran monjes or monjas. Los que entran en el estado de matrimonio eligen a vivir segun los mismos 16 preceptos del monje Budista o monja Budista. Esta forma de vida abre el camino hacia la vida. Como la vida, el matrimonio es absolutamente no discriminatorio y abierto a todos.

Enseñanza Budista sobre la sexualidad es expresada en el precepto de "tomando el camino de no abusar sexo." Tengo entendido que este precepto significa que cualquier egoísta, donde la conducta sexual es explotación, no consensual--sexo que daña a otros. En el contexto de jóvenes, hombres o mujeres jóvenes confinado a monasterio muros para períodos de años, uno podría esperar normas y enseñanzas relativas a la homosexualidad, pero no aparecen. Homosexualidad parece ser ignoradas en el Zen enseñanzas, y de hecho en clásico textos Budistas. Sin embargo, mi propia experiencia monástica me lleva a creer que la homosexualidad no fue tomado como una aberración, y así no recibir observaciones.

Todas las sociedades tienen, desde los tiempos más remotos, en todo el mundo formalizado amor sexual en ceremonias de matrimonio que otorgan a la nueva pareja prestigio y derechos en la comunidad. Actualmente ambos los derechos y el reconocimiento estan negados a gays y lesbianas que deseen casarse, con la excepción de tres estados de los Estados Unidos.. Si cada Estado reconoció la base casado derechos de gays y lesbianas parejas, jóvenes, hombres y mujeres que apenas inician su vida juntos, así como aquellos que han compartido sus vidas durante décadas, una larga injusticia sería corregido, y estos conciudadanos se sentirían aceptado en la manera en que merecen ser. Esto permitiría estabilizar un importante segmento de nuestra sociedad, y que todos nosotros estar en mejores condiciones para reconocer nuestra diversidad. Insto a los votantes de California a mantener gay y lesbiana matrimonios legales. Este es el más humana curso de acción y de conformidad con principios perennes de la decencia y la mutua aliento.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

John McCain didn’t cut down the Cherry Tree either.

With no apologies to John McCain or M.L. Weems: how we will have to rewrite the narrative of our national mythology. And we're just over 235!

When John was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he was extremely fond. He went about chopping everything that came his way.

One day, as he wandered about the garden amusing himself by hacking his mother's pea sticks, he found a beautiful, young English cherry tree, of which his father was most proud. He tried the edge of his hatchet on the trunk of the tree and barked it so that it died.

Some time after this, his father, the Admiral, discovered what had happened to his favorite tree. He came into the house in great anger, and demanded to know who the mischievous person was who had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him anything about it in front of the others, so the Admiral began some secret investigations.
Fast forward to a few days later when Johnny, with his little hatchet, came into his father’s room.

"John,'' said his father, "do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have sold it for a million dollars!''

This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment little Johnny was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried:

"I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie and always talk straight! I didn’t cut it with my little hatchet.”

 The Admiral’s voice became more stern as he pursed his line of questioning: “Yes, John, I have a video tape of your little friend Sarah cutting away that bark, but having interviewed her, she claims that you told her to do it. Is that true?”

Johnny had to do some fast thinking on his feet and very quickly he decided to spread the blame. “Little Karl told us to do it. He said we had to.”

The anger died out of his father's face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:

"My son, you should never be afraid to hide the truth and spread the blame as widely as you can. That lesson is worth more than a thousand trees! And those trees will be blossomed with silver and have leaves of the purest gold!''