The Value of Culture

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Virgo » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:03 am

Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:12 am

Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

So step 1: we don't kill people. Step 2: we help people in need, and so on.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Virgo » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:13 am

kirtu wrote:
Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

Kirt

And to those that say 'no'?

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:16 am

kirtu wrote:
Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

Kirt



Buddhism does not have good record in this department. There is nothing about any Buddhist culture which suggests a commitment to peace and kindness other verbal lip service.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:20 am

Virgo wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

Kirt

And to those that say 'no'?


That's why it will take centuries. But basically we show that societies that follow these values materially prosper in the long run, because actually they do.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Virgo » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:21 am

I am all for an enlightened, awakened culture and even a unified, brotherly global society. And, to be honest, I think we are progressing towards that at the moment. But it will happen because humans change, because we become more compassionate, more intuitive, more feeling, more free, more open, more loving, and more understanding, and begin to relate to each other differently. All the old structures and ways will break down. But this does not happen because some government puts it in place, or we use some model from a certain country, or tell people they should be or act a certain way. It comes from inside all human.

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:26 am

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

Kirt



Buddhism does not have good record in this department. There is nothing about any Buddhist culture which suggests a commitment to peace and kindness other verbal lip service.


We have the legend of Shamballa. Secondly, there have been societies that had serious commitments to peace and kindness but were unfortunately ahead of their time. They were gobbled up (because they did not retain a serious military option for defense - unfortunately the military is really the last thing to go and has to be maintained until everyone accepts peace). Some of these were Buddhist kingdoms. There is one surviving culture that I am aware of - the Lapp people although they were conscripted into war in Finland and Norway during the 20th century.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Virgo » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:27 am

kirtu wrote:That's why it will take centuries. But basically we show that societies that follow these values materially prosper in the long run, because actually they do.

Kirt

People need to really integrate certain principles-- they really need to see each other as equal, and so on. Not just mouth it. And this is one of the ways which we will see society changing more and more.

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby underthetree » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:19 am

Kirt, those images you posted aren't art. They're political propaganda. There is a world of difference.

We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible.


Are you talking about social democracy? We have that already. By the way, you could argue that those German posters are advertisements for just the kind of utopia you describe (and its hopeful architects were very interested in Shambhala, by the way), in which a people were to live in perfect peace and harmony for a thousand years. No communal murder - that had been carried out already. In the interests of putting an end to communal murder. That's the trouble with utopias. They require an absence of dissent.

The only way we can affect any change on a real level is to make ourselves the centre of a mandala of compassion. We need to create Dharmic microcosms. But I don't think that has much to do with the value of the arts, which is what Malcolm is talking about.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:57 pm

underthetree wrote:Kirt, those images you posted aren't art. They're political propaganda. There is a world of difference.


Well I have many others from many different cultures and the lines get blurred. You can only post three attachments at a time.

underthetree wrote:
We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible.


Are you talking about social democracy? We have that already.


Social democracy is naturally the beginning of real civilization but only the beginning. I mean a real Dharmic culture that arises from the seeds of the present samsaric culture. By Dharmic I don't necessarily mean a specifically Buddhist culture BTW. It would probably have more Jain characteristics overall. But this forms a basis for a renewal of human societies and then permits serious spiritual life all over the world.

And no we don't have social democracy already. We have social democracy in northern and western Europe primarily, including the Czech Republic. Eastern Europe is moving in that direction, much of southern Europe is debatable. However the US is firmly opposed to social democracy. Central and South America, most of Africa, West and East Asia are not there.

By the way, you could argue that those German posters are advertisements for just the kind of utopia you describe ....That's the trouble with utopias. They require an absence of dissent.


That IMV is highly cynical.

The only way we can affect any change on a real level is to make ourselves the centre of a mandala of compassion. We need to create Dharmic microcosms. But I don't think that has much to do with the value of the arts, which is what Malcolm is talking about.


Mandala of compassion: that is certainly true.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:02 pm

kirtu wrote:We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture


We need to become integrated persons, then the rest will happen naturally. There is no way to create a top-down culture of the kind you envision, and I wouldn't want it anyway.

Why? Whose vision of Dharma are we to follow? Buddhists can't even agree on that (one of the reasons I don't consider myself a Buddhist anymore, after all, just what is Buddhism other than a demographic lable?). No, the whole idea of a "Dharmic" culture is problematical and ultimately, totalitarian.

However, people can follow Dharma as best they can, and they can be "mini-cultures". Evolution, as my teacher says, not revolution -- one person at a time.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture


We need to become integrated persons, then the rest will happen naturally. There is no way to create a top-down culture of the kind you envision, and I wouldn't want it anyway.

Why? Whose vision of Dharma are we to follow? Buddhists can't even agree on that (one of the reasons I don't consider myself a Buddhist anymore, after all, just what is Buddhism other than a demographic lable?). No, the whole idea of a "Dharmic" culture is problematical and ultimately, totalitarian.


I said nothing about imposing a totalitarian system at all. I did say we need to create a Dharmic culture. Right now and basically forever, the US, as an example, is blind to the consequences of it's culture. US culture permits (and in some view , insists upon) state murder (execution). This is a consequence of the culture. US culture also permits the blunt use of military force because it is a non-reflective culture and as we have seen when a form of mass hysteria arises as a result of some severe trauma (9/11 and the partially justified view that terrorist want to kill everyone) indiscriminate military force is applied. These need to become impossible (execution and the indiscriminate use of military force). One of the reasons that both are possible is the lack of compassion as a serious motivation in the society and from an intellectual POV the intense superficiality of the society, resulting in a tendency to not consider consequences or alternatives.

Certainly the bedrock values of a Dharmic culture would be compassion and the sancity of life. These values are certainly no where near the core values of society, not even social democracies at this point.

However, people can follow Dharma as best they can, and they can be "mini-cultures". Evolution, as my teacher says, not revolution -- one person at a time.


That is certainly true but people also need to begin to change society to move it in a compassionate direction. Using the example of the US again, the enshrinement of selfishness was a relatively recent event brought on primarily by Ayn Rand (not that selfishness didn't reign supreme before but the absolute deification of selfishness is a recent event).

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:34 pm

kirtu wrote:
I said nothing about imposing a totalitarian system at all. I did say we need to create a Dharmic culture. Right now and basically forever, the US, as an example, is blind to the consequences of it's culture.



No we aren't.


US culture permits (and in some view , insists upon) state murder (execution). This is a consequence of the culture. US culture also permits the blunt use of military force because it is a non-reflective culture


I don't agree with this assessment.

and as we have seen when a form of mass hysteria arises as a result of some severe trauma (9/11 and the partially justified view that terrorist want to kill everyone) indiscriminate military force is applied.


Oh, and this isn't also happening in Europe? Haven't you noticed burgeoning rise of the far right in European politics -- did it escape your attention that Nato is involved in every war we have been in?

One of the reasons that both are possible is the lack of compassion as a serious motivation in the society and from an intellectual POV the intense superficiality of the society, resulting in a tendency to not consider consequences or alternatives.


The American society I live in is not superficial, intellectually or otherwise. You need to read folks like Wendell Berry, etc. I honestly think you have not explored American culture beyond what you see on TV even though you have lived here your whole life.

Certainly the bedrock values of a Dharmic culture would be compassion and the sancity of life. These values are certainly no where near the core values of society, not even social democracies at this point.


Again, your top down approach is totalitarian. I prefer American Democracy along with all its warts and mistakes.

However, people can follow Dharma as best they can, and they can be "mini-cultures". Evolution, as my teacher says, not revolution -- one person at a time.


That is certainly true but people also need to begin to change society to move it in a compassionate direction.


If and when people evolve, society will evolve, and not before.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:55 pm

Malcolm wrote:The American society I live in is not superficial, intellectually or otherwise. You need to read folks like Wendell Berry, etc. I honestly think you have not explored American culture beyond what you see on TV even though you have lived here your whole life.


Malcolm - please don't make assumptions - I have not lived in the US my whole life. And I have lived all over the US. In general it is an anti-intellectual, hedonistically oriented, aggressive monoculture. US citizens do not understand that they are basically a monoculture and certainly deny it. One of the reasons is that US people largely have not experienced other societies.

I'm stunned that you could assert that US culture is not superficial intellectually. Just look at the level of "discussion" on various topics in the US on most levels. It's nearly all advocating predetermined positions and often conducted with preestablished phrases, in some cases code terms. This used to be true of racial issues in the US (it was definitely true in the 60's) and is true still of GLBT issues (since GLBT people were just declared human on a federal level we will see how the language of discussion evolves).

As far as TV, I don't experience societies through TV.

So please avoid ad hominems.

Malcolm wrote:Again, your top down approach is totalitarian. I prefer American Democracy along with all its warts and mistakes.


Once again, it's not a top down approach and I am not advocating totalitarianism. This is at least the second time in two forums that you have accused me of totalitarianism and that is highly offensive.

The approach is to stand up and make a case for bodhisattvic values rather than let people kill and harm one another with impunity. It has taken a long time to get conversation started on the death penalty in the US as an example. However the values that are usually advanced in the US should have made the detah penalty impossible from the start. In fact the primary values that come to bear on this issue in the US are revenge justified by a superficial reading of the Old Testament.

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:and as we have seen when a form of mass hysteria arises as a result of some severe trauma (9/11 and the partially justified view that terrorist want to kill everyone) indiscriminate military force is applied.


Oh, and this isn't also happening in Europe? Haven't you noticed burgeoning rise of the far right in European politics -- did it escape your attention that Nato is involved in every war we have been in?


No NATO is not indiscriminately involved in creating new war since 9/11. NATO did come to US assistance after 9/11 but largely opposed military action in Iraq and Afghanistan until governments were replaced in France and Germany that threw their support after the Bush Administration on the matter.

Initially Germany as an example was engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan in civil affairs (a legitimate military operation that the US basically had eliminated from the US Army) and military civil engineering operations in order to help rebuild those countries. Many other NATO units were also engaged in these activities. Then the US began to push for a wider operational role including tactical operations. These operations were eventually approved but were not rubber stamped.

The rise of the far right throughout Europe and the rise and perceived rise of anti-Islamic views is greatly alarming. Once again we see the possibility of an hysterical reaction by poorly educated people that can have disastrous consequences.

Kirt Undercoffer
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:17 pm

kirtu wrote:In general it is an anti-intellectual, hedonistically oriented, aggressive monoculture.



Oh bullshit.

US citizens do not understand that they are basically a monoculture and certainly deny it. One of the reasons is that US people largely have not experienced other societies.


We are not a monoculture at all. Seriously, kirt, get over your trip.

I'm stunned that you could assert that US culture is not superficial intellectually. Just look at the level of "discussion" on various topics in the US on most levels.


You watch too much goddamn TV.



As far as TV, I don't experience societies through TV.


It is the only way you can come to your conclusion.



Malcolm wrote:Again, your top down approach is totalitarian. I prefer American Democracy along with all its warts and mistakes.


Once again, it's not a top down approach and I am not advocating totalitarianism. This is at least the second time in two forums that you have accused me of totalitarianism and that is highly offensive.


Right, just as offensive as the bullshit you have been spewing in this thread, if you don't like America, than move.

AFAIC, any religious government will ultimately result in totalitarianism.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:In general it is an anti-intellectual, hedonistically oriented, aggressive monoculture.



Oh bullshit.


I'm surprised by your flight to ad hominems and illogic. Please calm yourself.

One solution would be for you to spend 3-5 years in Western Europe outside of a strictly American environment. You might not agree with me, but the arguments would make more sense to you.

Okay, people have short lives. I will attempt to see if any sociological research backs up my experiences or if indeed I have mostly fallen into a particular POV typified by liberal Europeans from the 80's-early 90's.

However my argument is with all of western culture as a font of death and misery, not just American culture. And anyway, to be clear, American culture has some positive aspects. It those aspect that need to be given more weight.

{quote="Malcolm"]
Malcolm wrote:Again, your top down approach is totalitarian. I prefer American Democracy along with all its warts and mistakes.


Once again, it's not a top down approach and I am not advocating totalitarianism. This is at least the second time in two forums that you have accused me of totalitarianism and that is highly offensive.


AFAIC, any religious government will ultimately result in totalitarianism.
[/quote]

I am not advocating religious government.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:54 pm

kirtu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:In general it is an anti-intellectual, hedonistically oriented, aggressive monoculture.



Oh bullshit.


I'm surprised by your flight to ad hominems and illogic. Please calm yourself.

One solution would be for you to spend 3-5 years in Western Europe outside of a strictly American environment. You might not agree with me, but the arguments would make more sense to you.



I have spent a lot of time in Europe. I like Europe.

However my argument is with all of western culture as a font of death and misery.


Oh please.



I am not advocating religious government.


This is the only way your Dharmic society will happen.

Unless of course you agree with my perspective of individual evolution.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:41 am

kirtu wrote:
Virgo wrote:Kirt, what do you propose we do about this so-called "problem of culture"?


We create an enlightenment culture, a Dharmic culture, in which communal murder for one (and that's not the only thing, BTW) becomes as impossible as possible. So a Dharmic Swedish culture of sorts. And we change culture worldwide over a several century period to reflect this Dharmic culture. This is not imposed on top of local culture per se but aspects of local culture are diminished that would lead to negative action and aspects of local culture that promote peace and kindness are enhanced. So over time, all cultures become bodhisattvic in their own way.

So step 1: we don't kill people. Step 2: we help people in need, and so on.

Kirt


Great thought, impossible execution. Two reasons this can't work - 1. individual awareness/integration, 2. implementation

1. the 90% of every country/community I've lived in has a good deal of ignorance about anything outside its own culture. Personal awareness cannot happen in any mandated form. Change has to come from within. I could be wrong... but I think we're already moving as fast as is humanly possible since what's is reality right now is what we are (de facto) capable of doing as individuals and as a series of world groups. How do you diminish local culture?? People LOVE their customs, down the bloody coliseum screaming thumbs down routines. They are ATTACHED to their cultural ways of thinking, eating, screwing, and killing. Who are the enlightened? Who dictates whose norms are those of truth? In any given one society alone, there isn't a mono-truth but many strata which operate interdependently...

2. How do you implement a dharmic society where people enjoy their traditions from their belief systems of justice, religion, retribution, staking their claim in their cut of the pie, and social banding? Moreover, how do you sustain it past the first generation. Many a study shows that every movement like this only succeeds for the one generation of people who banded together in this ideology, but the offspring are just as political as the hegemony that came before them. Which is why the hippies only lasted one generation, and why almost every sect and commune does not usually move much beyond gen 1 max gen 2. Plus, many a new-age cult starts with a similar ideology to this proposal of yours, but the only way to implement is to mandate - for which you'd need to eliminate a good deal of freedom and involve a governing force. Whose truth becomes law? Who enforces law? Humans need laws, we've always had them for a reason.

In theory and words sounds nice and utopic, but in practice, my sense is that it will look no different than the same ideology that drove eugenics, communist China or Russia.. after all, they were all about improving the whole too.. Unless you have a proposal for the individual awakening at a faster pace than what we have, in every culture. I'm inclined to agree with Malcolm in this instance, this integration has to come from the individual level within its native culture, and it has to happen organically, Neo, or we're not doing jack squat but rinse wash repeat of every political atrocity in our history across the entire globe. The entire world has had a lot of time to try a lot of things... So far, no dharmic swedish cultures have succeeded.

But again, great idea, if you don't look to closely at the fact that humans just don't operate this way for the most part.
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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Virgo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:24 pm

I would appreciate it if all the participants of this thread would watch this video (containing song and mantra):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU-KY89LLRs

This creates the ability necessary to ground the energies we need at this time.

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Re: The Value of Culture

Postby Ogyen » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:12 am

A really nice video. My Indian family is Sikh. :thumbsup:
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