dilluns, de febrer 26, 2007
dissabte, de febrer 24, 2007
What Happens When We Die?
Is Death an end, a beginning, or just another stage on the path?
Manjuvajra offers some Buddhist views.
Reprinted from Golden Drum 18.
‘What will happen when I die?’ is one of the most important questions a human being can ask. To find an answer is to discover a deeper meaning to life. To know that there is at least a part of oneself that survives death would provide a much wider perspective on existence, a perspective that could radically transform the way we lived our life.
On one level, the answer is simple. At some time, our complex bio-physical organism will break down. The breathing will stop, the heartbeat will cease, and gradually our body temperature will fall. After a while, the body will go stiff and start to decay. Eventually it will be burned or buried. And, for the materialist, that will be that! But perhaps there is more to us than just our physical bodies. Perhaps there is something that survives the death of the physical body, a soul’. If so, what is its nature?
The view of the Christian-Islamic tradition is that the soul of the individual comes into being at conception. It lives but one short life on this earth, and then, after divine judgment, is awarded eternal happiness in heaven, or eternal suffering in hell.
According to the Buddhist view, what happens to an individual after death is closely linked to the way he or she has acted in life. Rebirth and karma (action) are usually spoken of together. According to the Buddha’s understanding we are born into a particular type of body with a particular perception of the world because of deep-seated tendencies-inherited from our previous existence to experience reality in a particular way. These tendencies manifest as our conscious world-view develops. Whenever we act in conforrnity with such a tendency we strengthen it. When we oppose our inherited tendency we will weaken it, and may thus alter our viewpoint on reality. Our views can therefore be modified, either consciously or unconsciously, by our own efforts, or by the influence of our environment. Thus, at the end of our life, the set of views and tendencies with which we started may be substantially altered. The ’person’ who dies could be quite different from the ’person’ who was born. Then, although the body dies, that bundle of tendencies survives and, after a certain period of time - some say that it is instantaneous and some say the period is many years - creates’ for itself a new body.
A crucial element of this teaching, which distinguishes it from those held by Hindus and some heretical Christian sects, is that the element of the individual that precedes birth and survives death is not a fixed and permanent entity. The habitual tendencies - the patterns developed and modified by actions in the course of this life are passed onto the next, and nothing else. There is no fixed core that can be called a ’soul’ or an ’I’. The ’I’ that we experience is actually our awareness of this complex set of habitual tendencies which have formed themselves into a sort of knot. Until Enlightenment is reached the knot always exists, but its constituent contents can change. It is this ’knot’ that passes from one life to the next.
In the scriptures of the three main branches of Buddhism there are many references to the principle of rebirth. In the earliest Pali scriptures, the Buddha speaks of his recollection of his own previous births on the eve of his Enlightenment, and of his ability to see the arising and passing away of other beings. On a number of occasions Ananda asked the Buddha where a certain person who had died would be reborn, and the Buddha was able to answer. In the Sanskrit scriptures of the Mahayana there are numerous references to the number of lifetimes that a Bodhisattva traverses on the path to perfect Enlightenment. There we also find predictions of the Enlightenment of Bodhisattvas in some far distant future lifetime. In both the Mahayana and the Vajrayana scriptures there are many references to groups of individuals being born together again and again.
In Tibetan Buddhism we find the tradition of the tulku, the rebirth of a particular spiritual teacher. The abbots of monasteries are often considered to be reborn in this way, and once an abbot dies his regent governs the monastery until the new incarnation is discovered, usually by finding a child, born at the right time, who can select religious implements owned by the old abbot from a collection of similar objects. Also in the Tibetan tradition we find meditation practices that prepare the practitioner for the journey through the bardo, the intermediate period between one birth and the next.
What actually happens when we die? A fascinating account of the dying process is to be found in the Bardo Thodol or Tibetan Book of the Dead. This describes the entire process of death, the period in the intermediate state, and eventual rebirth.
At the moment of death, the text explains, a blinding experience of clear light fills our consciousness. This ’vision of Reality’ offers us an opportunity to free ourselves from the tendencies that will otherwise lead to rebirth. If the light is too much for us, we then become conscious that we are separated from the physical body and now exist in an immaterial ’mind body rather like the body experienced in dreams. Next come a series of brilliant visions, rich in light, sound, and beautifully peaceful forms of Buddhas. If our consciousness remains with the peaceful forms of Buddhas-and we are able to recognize them as the liberated nature of our own mind-then we will be drawn on until we come, once again, face to face with Reality. If we fail to ’recognize’ these peaceful Buddhas and become attracted by the relatively dull visions of rebirth in the six ’realms’ of existence, a new phase unfolds. The attraction of the dull lights reflects the domination of the tendencies, some positive and some negative, that will eventually lead to rebirth.
Next come a variety of visions, many of which are of a terrifying nature. They are terrifying because Reality is frightening to those who are strongly attached to a fixed way or being. However, even in this phase, liberation is possible. We have only to realize that these visions are a distortion of Reality caused by habitual tendencies. After a series of visions in which the unconscious tendencies take an ever stronger hold over our mind, we start to move toward the place of rebirth, and eventually see our parents copulating. If one is attracted to the female, one will be reborn male; if one is drawn to the male, then one will be reborn female. As we try to squeeze between the two parents we fall into unconsciousness and enter the womb. After a period of time we are reborn-but in what sort of state?
Since our future birth is determined by the tendencies that are established or strengthened in the course of this life, the way we act in this life is directly responsible for the type of life that we will experience in the future. The correspondence between an act and its effect on the individual’s future birth is therefore of crucial importance. Buddhist ethics is based on this correspondence. A good - or ’skilful’-act is one that gives rise to a happy future birth; unskilful actions lead to a painful future birth. Through our actions in this life we literally create the worlds in which we are to be born.
Normally, it seems, beings are born in very much the same sort of world, and state, as that in which they died. The habits and tendencies associated with the previous life are generally strong enough to ensure that they will ’choose’ to return to a similar way of being. For human beings, however, who are able to exercise a high degree of choice during their life, the situation can be quite complex. Some people seem to act rather like animals, having little self consciousness and being interested only in sleep, food, and sex. Such people may well be on their way to an animal rebirth. Others may be refining and purifying their being and, as a result of developing new tendencies, may be reborn in the higher realms of the devas, or ’gods’. A life dominated by acts of cruel violence and blatant disregard of the fundamental empathy between human beings could lead to rebirth in a hell realm. If a strong neurotic tendency is indulged continuously, then that person could be reborn as a hungry ghost’, always craving and yet never satisfied. A life dominated by aggressive competitiveness will lead to rebirth in a realm of warring gods.
The principle that habitual activities can create a world is of course observable within this life, at least on the psychological level. A generous person develops an openness and expansiveness in his or her nature, while continuous miserly actions give rise to a closed and defensive personality. But Buddhism takes this principle beyond the level of psychology and applies it to the individual as he or she passes from one physical existence to the next.
Broadly speaking, a being can be reborn in one of six realms: the human realm, the realm of the gods, that of animals, hungry ghosts, titans, or denizens of hell. In none of these realms is life eternal: the principle of impermanence holds true for them all. The worlds of gods and humans are said to be happy, but the remaining four are said to be painful. To be reborn as a human being is considered to be the ideal so far as spiritual life is concerned; the gods are far too happy to go searching for the highest happiness, while those in hell are too preoccupied and weakened by their suffering to raise themselves higher.
The Buddhist principle of rebirth can be summarized thus: Our actions in this life modify the unconscious tendency-patterns inherited from our previous life. We experience these tendencies as a sense of self which survives the death of the physical body. After a certain period of time these tendencies manifest in a new form by combining with physical factors. The process of life, death, and rebirth continues unendingly.
This is the framework in which the spiritual life is lived. The individual thus tries to bring conscious awareness to deeper and deeper levels of the mind, thereby liberating himself from the dominance of unconscious tendencies and the fixed experience of selfhood that they produce. By loosening the knot of unconscious tendencies we can become free; the unending cycle of rebirths comes not exactly to an end, but dissolves into an experience of Reality which is beyond space and time.
dijous, de febrer 22, 2007
|What Your Hands Say About You|
You are logical, analytical, and rational. You have good verbal skills.
Idealistic and dreamy, you tend toward the impractical. You have a knack for getting yourself in sticky situations.
Brainy and intelligent, you are intellectual to the point of being incomprehensible.
Your emotions tend to be relaxed and uncomplicated. You don't read too much into things.
dimarts, de febrer 20, 2007
diumenge, de febrer 18, 2007
divendres, de febrer 16, 2007
Yugoslavia o el error especular
MIGUEL HERRERO DE MIÑÓN 31/01/2007
El error costó caro. En vez de integrar al adversario se optó por radicalizar el enfrentamiento que provocó el conflicto con Rusia primero, con el mundo después y se saldó con la derrota y desmembramiento de Austria-Hungría. Llegó entonces el turno de los errores serbios con la creación de un gran Estado de los eslavos del Sur o Yugoslavia, progresivamente centralizado y concebido como la gran Serbia. No faltaron voces sensatas, precisamente las de los jefes militares que habían operado en el norte contra las tropas austriacas y conocían la irreductibilidad de la nación croata a la pauta de Belgrado, que recomendaran prudencia y una moderada extensión por el sur de la costa croata y las zonas serbias de Bosnia-Herzegovina. Pero la Corte quiso emular la misión unificadora de los Saboyas en Italia y absorbió en el nuevo Estado a croatas y eslovenos. Una Serbia, tan heroica como imprudente, pagó con creces en la II Guerra Mundial el enfrentamiento con los germanos y el sometimiento de los croatas. La restauración de Yugoslavia tras la paz tampoco atenuó los conflictos nacionales, Serbia vio progresivamente erosionada su hegemonía en la Federación y cuando Milosevic pretendió restablecerla brutalmente, Yugoslavia estalló. Pero el precio de la insensata hiperextensión de 1919 iba todavía a ser más alto por la torpeza de las terceras potencias.
Primero, desde Europa Occidental y los Estados Unidos, se intentó apoyar la unidad de la inviable Yugoslavia. La tradicional amistad franco-serbia, los prejuicios heredados de Seton Watson y de alguien más, entre los anglosajones, y el eco de la colaboración con la heroica resistencia serbia frente a los nazis influyeron, sin duda, en la inicial miopía de Londres, Washington y París, como los recuerdos de dos guerras mundiales -y, su consecuencia, la gran emigración croata en Alemania-, pesaron en su unilateral apoyo a Croacia. Y todo ello encrespó las tensiones y prolongó el primer conflicto armado entre Belgrado y Zagreb, hasta llegar a la inevitable y deseable independencia de naciones que nunca debieron ser confundidas.
Segundo, lo que en medios y círculos influyentes y políticamente correctos había sido fobia anticroata y fervor yugoslavo se transformó, como por arte de magia, en fobia antiserbia. Quienes habían denostado la independencia de un país milenario como Croacia tachándolo de cantonalismo, se empecinaron en la independencia de Bosnia, primero, luego de Macedonia y de Montenegro. Los anti-identitarios, en lo que a las naciones históricas se refiere, se hicieron sus apasionados defensores en Bosnia y, en un alarde de sensatez, propugnaron para dicho territorio, dos tercios de cuyos habitantes prefieren ser croatas y serbios, una Constitución morehelvético (sic) según Cyrus Vance. En las conexiones de la nueva república con sectores fundamentalistas del Islam, desde Turquía a Pakistán, no se reparó demasiado. ¡Para escandalizarse primero y bombardear después siempre habrá tiempo! Los errores intelectuales generan errores morales y, por ello, la necedad se transformó en sangre y fuego. Las guerras de Occidente contra Serbia, por Bosnia primero, por Kosovo después, contrarias a todo derecho nacional e internacional, que a punto estuvieron de provocar un conflicto con Rusia y que preludiaron el ataque a Irak, de tan brillantes consecuencias para todos. El entonces llamado Nuevo Concepto Estratégico, publicado a la luz de los bombardeos sobre Belgrado, anticipaba lo que después se ha hecho en Bagdad. Quienes hoy se escandalizan de ello debieran recordar su entusiasmo a la hora de agredir a Serbia violando la Carta de las Naciones Unidas y las normas vigentes del derecho de guerra, so capa de defender los derechos de las minorías. Si el coste económico de aquel esfuerzo militar y de las destrucciones causadas se hubiera empleado en una reagrupación étnica, pacífica y financiada, los bosnios nadarían hoy en la opulencia.
Tercero. ¿Y todo para qué? Kosovo es el corazón histórico de Serbia -algo así como Asturias y Ripoll juntos en España- en donde la inmigración de las últimas décadas, provocada por la mejor situación del país en comparación con Albania, ha dado lugar a una mayoría demográfica albanesa cuya convivencia con los serbios autóctonos resultaba, sin duda, conflictiva. La intervención euro-americana segregó de facto Kosovo de Serbia, aunque con el compromiso de respetar la soberanía de ésta, dio el poder a los albaneses y toleró una persecución de estos contra la minoría serbia, que es pura limpieza étnica con persecución de personas y destrucción de sus bienes económicos y culturales. ¡Una nueva versión de la defensa de los derechos humanos que motivó la intervención armada!
Ahora se está en trance de cometer un error más. Al margen de todo derecho, con violación de los compromisos adquiridos, independizar un Kosovo, financiado por la Unión Europea, que recogerá y agravará las conocidas virtudes del Estado y la sociedad albanesa, eso sí, bajo el amparo de una poderosa base militar. El primer resultado ha sido provocar la reacción ultranacionalista del electorado serbio. Europa pagará, a más de los costes financieros de la operación, las consecuencias de tales focos de desequilibrio, y el juego de los espejos, que reproducen los mismos errores, cada vez más distorsionados, continuará para convertirlos en horrores.
Miguel Herrero de Miñón es miembro de la Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas.*********
Why Kosovo should become the 33rd member - and Serbia the 34thAfter going through hell, the former Serbian province is in limbo. It needs independence now, and the EU later
Timothy Garton Ash
Thursday February 15, 2007
Whatever else it is or was, Kosovo is today a small but vital challenge to the international community in general and the EU in particular. Kosovo has been in limbo for more than seven years, since the Nato liberation/occupation was converted into a UN protectorate by security council resolution 1244. It can't go on like this. So Martti Ahtisaari, the UN secretary general's special envoy for the future of Kosovo, has come up with an impressive set of proposals for moving out of limbo. His plan may not actually use the word independence, but everyone understands that it would give Kosovo independence under strict international supervision. Kosovo would have its own flag, anthem, constitution, government, parliament and citizenship. It would be entitled to negotiate international agreements and join international organisations. However, this independence would be supervised and constrained by a so-called International Civilian Representative, backed up by an international military presence.
A large part of the Ahtisaari plan is devoted to securing the rights of the remaining Serb minority in Kosovo. Serb communities would have extraordinarily far-reaching autonomy, including the maintenance of financial ties with Belgrade and their own educational curricula, while their beautiful monasteries would be surrounded by special protection zones. It's a complicated, messy compromise, sure to leave everyone unhappy - which is the best one can hope for in the circumstances.
But some are more unhappy than others. Despite the recent "independence now" demonstration in Pristina, which left two more Kosovans dead, most mainstream Kosovan Albanian politicians think it's a reasonable deal. Serbian politicians say it's unacceptable. And Russia (choosing its words carefully) says it "will not support" the move to independence. After negotiations including the Serbs, now scheduled to start next week, Ahtisaari hopes to take a final version of his proposal to the UN security council in March. Although Vladimir Putin has recently been talking very tough, nobody knows which way Russia will go. Probably the Russians don't know themselves. Realists suggest that it may not be until the G8 summit in June that a deal is finally struck, opening the way to a UN security council resolution and then a four-month transition to qualified independence. If we don't clinch that deal, all bets are off. The Kosovans would be unlikely to take such a setback lying down. More violence would probably result.
The EU now needs to be clear, united, forceful and strategic - four things it usually fails to be beyond its own borders. Clear that this is the best solution we can get. Is it entirely just? Of course not. It is not just that innocent old Serbian women, whose only violent act has been to beat their cows with a stick, go in fear for their lives. But I shall never forget what Father Theodosius, a Serbian Orthodox priest in the lovely monastery of Decani, told me just after the liberation/occupation in the summer of 1999. It was, he said, Milosevic who "not only lost Kosovo, but completely destroyed his own people, physically and spiritually". The monk saw clearly: Milosevic, not the EU or the US, lost Kosovo for Serbia. And we should be clear, too, that a solution is needed now. Limbo is unsustainable.
United and forceful, because only thus will Russia be brought to agree. The current German presidency of both the EU and the G8 is the best chance we have to bring this about. If ever there was an issue which brings together European values (raped in Bosnia while the EU stood by) and European interests, it is Kosovo. Vital, all-European interests are at stake there, while no vital Russian interest is involved. We're not going to get a common European energy policy in the next four months, much though we need it, but here is one thing we could do right now.
And finally: strategic. In the long run, the only way the Ahtisaari plan is going to work is if both Serbia and Kosovo are brought into the European Union, along with their neighbours in the Balkans. Among member states of the EU, complex, multi-layered arrangements of shared and limited sovereignty are the norm. The way forward for Kosovo is not nation-building or even state-building, but member-state-building. And for Serbia too. This means European leaders having the courage and vision to say that we actually want a further enlargement of the EU, because only then will peace be secured in the Balkans and Europe be whole and free.
At the moment, no one in European politics dares to say this, although EU foreign ministers did make some encouraging noises to Serbia earlier this week. In fact, half of Europe is half-regretting the enlargements we've already made. But I will say it: in the big Balkan EU enlargement of 2014, Kosovo and Serbia join the EU as its 33rd and 34th members - or the other way round according to the Serbs. The other 2014 joiners are Montenegro, Bosnia and Albania. (Croatia and Macedonia slipped in a bit earlier and, in case you're wondering, Turkey joins in 2020.) As proposed a few years ago by a commission chaired by Giuliano Amato, on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, the Sarajevo summit of 2014 should celebrate this achievement. From Sarajevo to Sarajevo.
As it approaches its 50th birthday this March, the European economic community that became a union has an extraordinary story to tell about the spread of peace, freedom and the rule of law (see http://www.europeanstory.net%29./ But a political narrative has to describe where we are heading as well as where we are coming from. The story is only as good as its next chapter. Kosovo should be part of it.
My parade of unskilfull mental states carried on later as I did my usual rounds at my local Starbucks. At some point a very handsome couple came in: she was tall, statuesque and very dignified, the kind of lady any guy would be proud to carry around. He wasn't very tall at all, but looked fit, wore great-fitting clothes and had this air of confidence about him. My comments would have been over by then, but I chose to keep on looking, and so it happened. I became tremendously envious of his looks; I thought, wow - he's got the looks everyone would love to have, seconds later had to go over my previous idea; he had the looks I have ever wanted and craved to have. It felt like venom all over my body, my breathing became heavier, I could sense the blood filling up my ears, the muscles in my face tensing at the thought, and specially the sight of that young man. Must have been a couple of minutes later, and so I calmed down, everything went back to normal for a short time, and then, another line of thought intoxicated me, mainly, the I'm shit, I'm worthless kind; whatever good there is in me I forgot because I felt that all those things were frivolous compared to having the right body. I felt devastated. It took me a long while to become aware of such thoughts and the effect they were having on my psyche. Envy and self-pity convined with sorrow, all in the course of five minutes or less! Really something to think about.
dimarts, de febrer 13, 2007
diumenge, de febrer 11, 2007
divendres, de febrer 09, 2007
|You Are a New School Democrat|
You like partying and politics - and are likely to be young and affluent.
You're less religious, traditional, and uptight than most Democrats.
Smoking pot, homosexuality, and gambling are all okay in your book.
You prefer that the government help people take care of themselves.
Timbiriche fue el grupo infantil-juvenil que definió a todos los que vivieron su auge. La agrupación ha sido un semillero de estrellas, algunas internacionales, como la Paulina Rubio o la Thalía. Se creía que los más talentosos niños de la agrupación, Benny Ibarra, Sasha Sökol o Erick Rubín serían los más que más posibilidades tendrían de triunfar en carreras solistas. Lo que en realidad es que quizá la menos talentosa, pero más ambiciosa y aún mejor mercadóloga, Pau Rubio, es la que ha reído al último. Vende millones y es famosa y admirada a lo largo y ancho del mundo hispanoparlante (aunque halla pocos que lo admitan). El himno de finales de los ochenta, "Tu y yo somos uno mismo" se lo sabe de memoria cualquier criatura mexicana de 30 años y más.
dijous, de febrer 08, 2007
dimecres, de febrer 07, 2007
Offer Nissim - First Time (Live In Israel)
Ari Gold - Love Will Take Over (JKriv Radio Mix)
Azis - No kazvam ti stiga
dilluns, de febrer 05, 2007
Vladimir Salnikov, de la URSS, increïble, ors in 1980 i 1988, una història atlètica per no oblidar mai.
Els xinesos Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao als Campionats del Món del 2003, simplement gairebé cinc minuts d'emoció, de virtuosisme i passió, una de les millors actuacions en patinatge de parelles.
diumenge, de febrer 04, 2007
dijous, de febrer 01, 2007
Tellin' truths and not your old lies
Seems to me that you care
And I know that you're runnin' out of time
See ya can't get away
I'll be here forever and again
Whisperin' in your ear
Do believe cause you know you cannot win
Spent most your life pretending not to be
The one you are but who you choose to see
Learned to survive in your fictitious world
Does what they think of you determine your worth?
If special's what you feel when you're with them
Taken away you feel 'less than' again
You gotta mean what you say
You gotta say what you mean
Tryin' to please everyone
Sacrifice your own needs
Check in the mirror my friend
No lies will be told then
Pointin' the finger again
You can't blame nobody but you
There's a feeling inside
No you cannot change it right away
Gotta make a try
And with time it'll start to go away
I'll be here when you need
That one to sit and cry to
Cause I'm the you you forgot
The only one you know you cannot lie to
Bitter you'll be if you don't change your ways
When you hate you you hate everyone that day
Unleash this scared child that you've grown into
You cannot run for you can't hide from you
Can't hide from you
(you can't blame nobody but)
(you can't blame nobody but you)
(you can't blame nobody)
(aw that's right)