Monthly Archives: January 2009

best of carnival of eating disorders

welcome to the 24th edition of the carnival of eating disorders! blog carnival has been really problematic for the last few months. so instead of struggling with the blog carnival site, i just went back and looked at some posts from the past that i really enjoyed. here they are:

a poem

for the buddhist carnival, i always start with a poem.  let’s do that here today, too, with an excerpt from a poem by clinically clueless, expressing the challenge of wanting to talk and at the same time wanting to hide the struggles with an eating disorder:

don’t touch this subject because it is mine
i have control and will be just fine

i’ve surrounded it with good defenses
no one will know the self-hatred and the rages

i’m really okay and can handle it on my own
with this i just want to be left alone

finally talking after all these years
makes me feel all my fears

yet, comfort in finally sharing
with someone loving and caring

no matter my weight the feelings and thoughts always there
i think, all i ever wanted was someone just to hear

no one really knows what goes on in my head
starting to talk is what i know i need to do instead

body image, men and women

hugo schwyzer talks about male and female body anxiety in glorious me:

it’s a classically masculine anxiety: the sense that the body is a “performance machine” threatened by sloth and by ageing, always in need of vigilant monitoring.

here’s a LOUD contribution. i won’t comment on it because, well, nancy hayssen says it all:

today at the gym, i was noticing how many women love to tear themselves apart.

too fat, too old, too big, too much cellulite, butts too big . . . and the best one of all is: “if only i could get FLAT ABS” …

WHO CARES!
women are NOT made to have flat stomachs!
it’s NOT truly feminine.
women’s bodies are made to have babies.
women are not naturally supposed to have:
* barbie doll fake breasts
* rock hard anything
* plastic injections of God knows what
* fake boobs, fake butts, fake ANYTHING

. . . . INCLUDING rock hard flat abs which serve NO purpose whatsoever!! except to feed into the media hype, sell more ab machines, make plastic surgeons money and fuel the economy some more!

get over it!

a real woman has full hips to give birth to babies, nurtures and comforts others with her soft skin (and YES! some FAT on her body), feeds her young milk from her breasts . . .

and isn’t so self-absorbed that the only thing that matters the most in life is getting her stomach to look like someone flat ironed it to death!

maybe it’s time for women to wake up and know it’s OKAY to be a real woman. fat butts and all.

read the rest here, at the flat ab gym rant!

in this powerful post, dr. susan gregg talks about the difference between domination and dominion:

society is based on domination. the way our mind thinks is most often based on domination: black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, positive emotions and negative ones. symbolically this is represented as a line. as we deepen our connection with our spirit, with our true nature we move into dominion. symbolically dominion is represented as a sphere.

after explaining this concept a little more, she then posts a video that illustrates her thoughts in a deeply moving way. everyone who has ever had any issues with body image or any other feelings of “otherness” will know what susan is talking about. please visit her post, judgment, domination and the line.

and here is a video clip of the film shredded submitted by daniel lafleche. it provides an unusual glimpse into the problem of body image for teenage males, and warns about steroid use.

overeating

sacha brings us body hate at her blog that is so queer… she talks about the dieting experience, something that many of my readers will be very familiar with:

a room full of women that got fat, not because they’re stupid, not because they like chocolate and not because they have no willpower. it is a room full of women who are doing everything they can to get through each day. … and sometimes that means 15 oreos.

therapydoc, witty as always, has a very good suggestion for what to do when overcome by cravings or assaulted by the mounds of food we’re dealing with this time of year

the problem: tis the season to eat like crazy. i understand that starting october 31, eating season begins. most of humankind gains a few to a thousand pounds by january 2. in the northern climes it’s fatten up to melt the snow …

the solution: let us consider the nap. the nap is perhaps the most under-rated, yet effective way to stop a binge,napping away a binge and it need not be a cat nap (short) or a sexual nap (preferably long). it can just be a nap. and you can reach for the sack in a minute, seriously, crawl right under that afghan and close those baby blues, refresh your rhodopsin and reboot your head. and it costs nothing.

overexercising

jenna, in her post i remember running, muses

i remember listening to lectures about anorexia athletica and the “female athlete triad.” i remember seeing team-mates sneak back to the gym after practice to do extra elliptical workouts. i remember looking on their plates and seeing only peas and sprouts there. i remember diagnoses of anemia, bulimia, and stress fractures.

food addiction

jolynn braley from the fit shack talks about some interesting research conducted by dr. theron g. randolph:

his article correlates to what i have been writing about sugar (that it is a drug), and he specifically points out that corn is the leading cause of chronic food addiction in this century. high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, these are all sugars made from corn and are main ingredients in most processed food and fast food.

i also learned that corn is the most prevalent ingredient in alcohol manufacturing, and that it is corn sugar that is used in cigarettes (i thought it was cane sugar)

fascinating stuff! read on in her article can food addiction lead to drug addiction?. i’m not sure that i would 100% subscribe to the “one addiction leads to another” theory but randolph’s research is most definitely worth pondering. he also talks about the connection between food allergies and food addiction, a topic much discussed by the 12-step recovery community.

research

let’s follow this with a post from sizenet, a fat acceptance site, which looks at BMI (body mass index) as a measure of fat distribution across the body. it does this from an engineer’s point of view. a great fan of interdisciplinary research, i’m happy to post this here.

BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. a person five feet tall and weighing 128 pounds is 1.52 meters tall and masses 58 kilograms, yielding a BMI of 25. according to the BMI charts, this person just misses being “normal” and is at the bottom end of the “overweight” range.

if we scale that same person up to six feet tall and keep all proportions the same, then height increases by a factor of 1.2 (20% higher), and so does waist, arm length, inseam, and every other linear measure. so volume and mass increase by 1.2 cubed, or 1.728. the six-foot tall (1.83 m tall) person of the same proportions weighs 221 pounds (masses 100 kg), and so has a BMI of 30. so, this person just misses being “overweight” and is at the bottom end of the “obese” range.

something’s not right; the taller person comes out “fatter” even though he/she has the same proportions as the shorter one.

for the rest of the article, go here.

in second generation of nutrigenomics products – what to expect? at eye on DNA, rachel c. dechenne states that these products are “going to change the face of the functional food industry, providing it with the “scientific foundations” for its wider ambitions.” she adds that her concern

is that almost no research has been done on the broad societal implications of this type of nutrigenomics-developed products including their impacts on consumer’s perception of official dietary patterns. what about its impact on captive audience in lower socio-economic population in the north and in emerging countries? will they being able to buy these new superfoods? would this bring a more fatalistic attitude towards eating unhealthy food?

spirituality

bad buddhist vs. the sixth precept is the title of a blog post by marie that was submitted to the last carnival of eating disorders. i was quite intrigued by it and would like to talk a bit more about it.

buddhist precepts, says diane esshin rizzetto in waking up to what you do

can be thought of as a beacon of light, much like a lighthouse beacon that warns sailors that they are entering dangerous waters and guides them on course … pay attention! look! listen! … the precepts are offered and received as tools to help free us from domination by the ever-changing stream of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

there is a varying number of precepts (5, 10, 227 …). marie talks about the precept to abstain from taking untimely meals.

in observing the sixth precept, the lay buddhist eats one or two simple meals between dawn and noon and avoids taking food beyond that. this cuts down the time spent on meals and allows him more time to spend on meditation.

yes, what do you want to spend your time on? no matter how we look at time, we only have a limited supply of it. come to think of it, do we want to “spend” it or do we want to “use” it?

watching TV and mindlessly crunching potato chips would definitely fall under the “spending” category. it goes into the “expenses” column – and not an expense in the form of investment. actually, it’s an investment in liabilities.

anorexia

lola snow has a thoughtful post on the notion of being special, something very important for a lot of people who are in the throes of anorexia. some would say that being anorexic is about being special, about showing the control that results in standing out. in 12-step circles, this attitude is referred to as “terminal uniqueness”, a sometimes literally life-threatening attitude of being different: needing to be different, suffering from being different and the “no-one understands me” syndrome. there are a lot of interesting conversations about what it means to become less terminally unique and still remain the unique one-of-a-kind specimen that each and every one of us is. here’s lola’s contribution to that conversation: becoming unspecial.

and a very controversial issue: pro-anorexia mothers. ex-model, ex-anorexic “mamavision” refers to a group of mothers on livejournal who are practicing anorexics:

there is no way in hell a mother can be pro ana, and be a healthy positive influence on her child. it’s impossible. these women who are are choosing this selfish, dangerous, vain lifestyle shouldn’t be parents. i believe if a social worker were to see their online behavior, their parental ability would be in jeopardy.

since i see eating disorders as a mental health issue, i have a hard time thinking of these mothers as “choosing a lifestyle”. just like people who are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and even addictions don’t choose to live like that. in many situations they might tell themselves that it is a choice; it makes us feel more powerful if we think we choose something. – but i digress; that’s material for another post.

at any rate, mamavision’s opinion is worth noting. at the other end of the spectrum, we find a very well put-together video by laura collins, who interviewed a number of eating disorder specialists on the question of whether parents are the cause of eating disorders.

orthorexia
the article on orthorexia at every woman has an eating disorder is interesting because of the many comments contributed to it – from people who suffer from it, from health professionals, etc. definitely worth a read.

a book

adventures in reading reviews a book about – well, about women like me, i guess

the day i ate whatever i wanted and other small acts of liberation [is] the latest collection from elizabeth berg. this was my first time reading anything by berg and i found the collection humorous, thoughtful, and nice.

the thirteen stories scrutinize mostly middle-aged-women’s relationships with food, body image, aging and family.

anorexia and men

at the new gay, an insightful 2-part series on the experiences of a gay man falling prey to, and then recovering from, anorexia: i was a full-on feminist in every sense of the word – save one. my unrelenting best friend, who always kept me in check, fiercely and consistently pointed out how hypocritical i was being in obsessing over my body. one day she put her foot down. she demanded that i sit and not get up until i had read an essay titled the body politic in an anthology of writings by third-wave feminists called listen up: voices from the next feminist generation. i acquiesced, annoyed. i was never the same

other interesting stuff

i also enjoyed reading henry bagdasarian’s interesting observations in food and credit products are not very different from each other posted at free identity theft prevention, detection and fraud solutions.

i recently observed how food and credit products are similar to each other as i was watching a paid weight loss program on TV. it also reminded me how lucrative it must be for companies to sell us more of both food and credit products and then come to our rescue by offering us other products like diet and debt consolidation programs to resolve the problems that resulted from over consuming their products in the fist place.

tiernan o faolain from american red tory has an interesting list on the connection between obesity and poverty, another issue that is often overlooked. here are some points:

# supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
# sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “screw it,” and indulge.
# for those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, whole foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
# and even if they were, who can afford them?! health food is more expensive than the crap.
# as the salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost. (talk about gummint programs!)
# historically speaking, before the enclosure of the commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot. here in america we never even had a chance!

read here for tiernan’s complete article on what makes poor americans overweight.

***

so here you have it.

because of the difficulties with the blog carnival site, i’ll have to rethink hosting carnivals. maybe i’ll keep going, maybe i’ll do something else. if any of you have any ideas, let me know. perhaps a group writing project a few times a year instead?

my hawaiian twitter diary

a lanai in lahaina, maui (hawaii)for friends and family who want to get a bit of a sense of what hawaii was like, i’m reprinting here all my hawaii-related tweets. and – uh, you’ll have to read them bottom to top 🙂

back in vancouver. lots of jet lag. another bout of high level flight anxiety. lots of learning, e.g. compassion for others 5:29 pm jan 27

the longer we stay here, the better the mosquitoes like us. especially when we’re on the laptop. it attracts bugs? 7:25 pm jan 26

hubby is outside stalking geckos. 11:20 am jan 26

going to do a painting outside in the lanai. haven’t done art in ages. 11:13 am jan 26

off to bed. it sounds like the geckos applaud the idea. 2:45 am jan 26

then walking home to danielle’s place through a spectacular sunset 10:40 pm jan 25

lovely to hear how excited she is about her job, how much she loves sharing her love for art 10:29 pm jan 25

while she finished a sale, enjoyed leisurely leafing through volkov’s book » link to alexander volkov brown barn publishing 10:29 pm jan 25

she helped me soften my purist snob’s stance towards commercial art. 10:25 pm jan 25

had coffee with a lovely young woman who works at sargent’s gallery in lahaina 10:24 pm jan 25

okay, back out to the lanai [note the image here is one of danielle’s three lanais, or outdoor living spaces] where they are giggling and consuming adult beverages 12:09 am jan 25

in other news, i made it to second place in the poker tournament. never went all in so much as this time. 12:02 am jan 25

i guess i can’t hide anymore. need to join poker playing guests. introvert-me says “nooo!!!” poker playing-me says “let’s clean up!” 5:25 pm jan 24

also different from british columbia, where we still have a marginal but extant first nations culture, struggling but vibrant 5:15 pm jan 24

… almost touch the terror of the slaves he lived on the plantations and tried to run away. 5:14 pm jan 24

ther sense is strong and its essence is dullness. different from the intense outrage and grief i felt in louisiana where it seemed you could 5:13 pm jan 24

… almost completely erased. squatted upon. snatched away. i understand why some native hawaiians feel bitter. 5:12 pm jan 24

i have a strong sense of how colonialism/industrialism/tourism has totally taken over maui. strange feeling. like original culture/people 5:11 pm jan 24

okay, i’m off the tweet and on to the ocean breeze! catchyall latah 1:11 pm jan 24

also ended up in haiku and wrote some haiku! may post a blog entry on that … but first i must have some gin and tonic 8:24 pm jan 23rd from web

went to the lavender farm, with what must be one of the best views on earth » link to akl maui welcomes you! 8:22 pm jan 23rd from web

back from a fabulous day hanging out with the girls. went to iao valley » link to iao valley state park 8:19 pm jan 23rd from web

getting ready for a day out with the girls. it’s gonna be loud. still hoping i can get to haiku. yup, there’s a place here called haiku. 10:30 am jan 23rd from web

wow. my first experience of cold stone ice cream. and i’m not even an ice cream fan » link to cold stone creamery – the ultimate ice cream experience 10:33 pm jan 22nd from web

so i have a dilemma. turns out pink looks good on me. but – pink???? 7:49 pm jan 22nd from web

i love all the dresses and sarongs they have here. at the same time, this is probably the world’s most fashion-unconscious place 7:48 pm jan 22nd from web

now off to celebrate my daugher’s 12th birthday. 7:24 pm jan 22nd from web

i love lying on the nets betwen the rails of the katamaran!!! 7:23 pm jan 22nd from web

aquiamarine? apparently maui does not immunize against typos. 7:22 pm jan 22nd from web

snorkeling again today. water was aquiamarine. wow. just like on the bubble bath bottles. 7:21 pm jan 22nd from web

a little further up the road, very mediterranean-like, a winery. full of history. the wine was awful, unfortunately. 7:17 pm jan 22nd from web

very sweet guy from right around here » link to kula lodge & restaurant (kula maui) – upcountry maui lodging, dining & shopping helped. apparently oprah lives close. she smart. 7:16 pm jan 22nd from web

vulcano tour was great. » link to nps.gov almost ran out of gas on the switchback road back! 7:15 pm jan 22nd from web

tomorrow we’ll go up the vulcano. 10:07 pm jan 20

feel lazy. sitting in an incredibly comfortable chair. a bit of lahaina history today, and a beautiful view of the ocean from the hills. 10:07 pm jan 20

okay, this extra extra tequila’ed pinarita is making me sleepy. off to bed. look at the huge buddha tomorrow » link to the great buddha at the lahaina jodo mission in historic lahaina, maui 12:37 am jan 20

hard to have a sales presentation given to you when you know every single step of the sales process. “ok, now we’ll ‘engage the client’ ..” 10:45 pm jan 19

btw went to a wyndham timeshare presentation today. i think the guy had a hangover. it was a bit hard to watch sometimes. 10:44 pm jan 19

michelle obama looks so – matronly tonight. not really dowdy but close. does she have to? 10:37 pm jan 19

watching the kids’ inauguration show with 2 dogs, 3 friends, and 1 each of loving hubby and pretty daughter 10:22 pm jan 19

now for some puzzle playing, sunset watching, and grilled pork eating. 7:17 pm jan 19

you look at the water horizon for a minute or so, you gonna see whales breaching or blowing 7:01 pm jan 19

in other news – woke myself up with yet another outdoor shower at dawn. sun is up now. morning walk with hubby is coming up. 10:03 am jan 19

excited about the MLK celebrations today. never been in the US for MLK day before. and tomorrow obama inauguration right in hawaii! 10:02 am jan 19

earlier, a walk with the dog to look at the stars over the ocean. venus so strong she cast a light like the moon would do. 11:07 pm jan 18

sitting outside on the lanai with the computer, lit by hundreds of lights strung into the palm trees. 11:06 pm jan 18

renting a car so that we can go up the vulcano. tomorrow: MLK celebration and snorkeling 11:04 pm jan 18

am i ever glad danielle lives in comfy old lahaina. just went to one of the tourist warehouses. not my thing. 6:43 pm jan 18

tan is coming along nicely. loooooong philosophical girlfriend talk with danielle, lounging on her bed, dog in lap. 3:15 pm jan 18

my friend has as much outdoor living space as indoor. woke up, had an outdoor shower. luau today or snorkel? 3:11 pm jan 18

update from paradise. it’s “cold” again (have to wear something long-sleeved morning and night) 3:10 pm jan 18

k. off to dinner now. mango chicken, coconut rice and key lime pie. 9:51 pm jan 17

but food friggin expensive! us$4.99//pd for red peppers??? 9:50 pm jan 17

this is really paradise here. incredible. sweetly swelling mountains, air full of chirpings and perfume 9:49 pm jan 17

update from lahaina: sand castles, a new dress, gin and tonic, palm trees everywhere … hula and lavender farm tomorrow? 9:47 pm jan 17

greetins from lahaina! after 1 1/2 fear-of-flying attacks, arrived here to wind and “cold” and rain. splashed around, wonderful! 1:12 pm jan 17

k, my next tweet will be from hawaii 9:59 pm jan 15

last last last last minute preparations for hawaii. i think the last time i was this excited was for my wedding 9:03 pm jan 15

haiku in haiku

yesterday, we had a ladies day out. in celebration of visiting the little town of haiku on maui, we all wrote some haiku:

the clouds are partinghaiku, a little town on maui
what a glorious sun-sight
welcome home ladies

january women
lapping up the maui wind
clouds rush to the sea

their shouts of defiance
echo through ‘iao valley
damning the waters

royal winter sang
welcoming the warrior
offering her hand

haiku: little town hugs
the foot of the vulcano
where the poems grow

the interesting image from a trip through maui comes from jknee

a 12-step buddhist talks about anger and george bush

a guest post by the 12-step buddhist:

how do you feel now that barack is official? i’m still in shock. waiting for a big news release about some kick ass exec orders reversing idiocracy. one of the big questions for me is how to practice buddhism and the principles of 12-step recovery around politics. on one hand, i care very deeply about the state of the nation. but not just the nation, or certain people in the nation who i like.

in the 12-step world, we are to be of service to everyone. in buddhism, we’re interested in the total liberation of all sentient beings from every form of suffering–forever. so how do we deal with our strong feelings about, say george bush for example? do we have the right to have anger towards him? certainly, from a non-buddhist perspective, we should be angry. but in the 12-step world, we know that anger is the dubious luxury of normal people. in buddhism, we strive to have compassion for everyone, even, especially, the ones who make us angry.

for one thing, karma says we cause our own suffering. anger is suffering. holding on to anger is holding on to suffering. venting our anger is causing more suffering. understanding equanimity is also a buddhist tool that we can apply. george bush and barack obama have the exact same buddha nature. how could they be different? we can also practice compassion. how does it feel, deep inside, to be george bush today? can we imagine that he, like us and all beings, wants not to suffer and wants only happiness.

your comments are welcome. let’s see how people really feel about this topic. be honest. let it out. i’ll respond to the comments in a few days.

darren littlejohn blogs here and is the author of the 12-step buddhist.

hawaii!

well, people, you won’t see much of me for the next little while.  i’m off to hawaii, to see things like in this picture here.  if i feel like it, i’ll post something during my vacation – we’ll see.  i will give updates on twitter, though.  also, some people have offered guest posts, so maybe we’ll keep the same posting schedule anyway.  definitely will be back by january 31.  take good care, all of you!

waterfall in hawaii

image by eye of einstein

a buddhist carnival – first 2009 edition!

camelswelcome to the buddhist blog carnival! sometimes, rather than a carnival, i would like to call it a caravan. i’ve always liked camels, what can i say …

poem: man is not our enemy
we always start off with a poem. here is one by thich nhat hanh, presented by change the dream

promise me,
promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:

even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you
like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember brother, remember:
man is not our enemy.

the only thing worthy of you is compassion –
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.

you can read the rest of this poem here.

emptiness, buddhism and monotheism
ben offers nothing in its essence. i hadn’t met ben before but really enjoyed his careful insights and obvious knowledge of theology. this post draws interesting connections between how buddhism, christianity and the jewish tradition deal with the idea of “nothing” or emptiness.

buddhism is one means of liberation from what william blake called “the mind-forg’d manacles.” within the monotheist tradition one can find echoes of the same refrain, for what else is idolatry but the worship of that which behind appearances is not real?

lazy!
zen habits has a great post, the lazy manifesto: do less.  then, do even less. the post itself is quite inspiring (love the saying, “lazy people never started a war”), and some of the comments are interesting, too. for example, here is one by tara:

in the introduction of the tibetan book of living and dying by sogyal rinpoche, the author (i think) discusses laziness. he describes what he calls the laziness in the east, where people lounge around and smoke hookahs all day (i’m paraphrasing). but in the west, he says that people are lazy by being busy – filling their days with unnecessary movement and busywork. i always thought that was an interesting take on laziness.

boring?
genkaku was the first buddhist online writer i ever followed, even before i started blogging.  what do you think of his take on the proliferation of buddhist sites?

last night, when there was little work to be done … i went snooping the internet for topics on buddhism. there were a lot of sites and i skimmed them as i might pop another potato chip in my mouth while watching a football game — without much attention.there were diatribes against e-sangha and there were descriptions of NKT and there were general outlines of one kind of buddhist approach and another. what caught my attention was how little interest i had in any of it. it was like chewing a piece of gum … the jaws kept moving, but the flavor had disappeared …

too many buddhas. maybe that is more frightening than too few. but it does remind me of a calligraphy a monk friend once gave me: it said, “not one buddha.” and it also reminds me of an ill-remembered ikkyu — cranky as i imagined him — complaining about those who badgered and informed others about “buddha” … “stop being a goddamned pest!” he said more or less.

yoga mind, beginners mind

day after day, month after month, year after year, practice can grow stale and arrogant if i don’t re-invigorate mind and body in what zen master, suzuki roshi refers to as beginner’s mind. in yoga asana practice i need to remind myself to approach the physical aspect of any pose with “beginner’s body.”

this is an excerpt from the laughing yogini’s beginner’s mind and body: one-legged yoga.

“yes we can!” – who can?
praveen points to an article in the latest edition of oneness – the quarterly newsletter of the bright dawn institute for american buddhism.

this article by the rev. koyo kubose, called “yes we can!” started out by commenting on the excitement around the recent historical u.s. presidential election, and how it has rekindled hope and optimism about america.

but then, the article took a very interesting turn, and offered the reader a very profound exercise:

imagine that you are a “nation” and have just been elected “president”. can you translate all your new wishes and hopes into hard work and action? can you stop dwelling on and making excuses for past failures? can you overcome apathy? can you avoid “wars” with others?

buddhism, desire and the law of attraction
abraham-hicks, the guru of the law of attraction, discusses desire at you are truly loved. i think it’s useful  for this type of conversation and cross-reference to take place, especially since buddhism and the law of attraction seem to be very much at cross purposes when it comes to the topic of desire. let’s hear what they have to say.

in buddhism it is taught that the source of all suffering lies in both desire and ignorance. the ignorance stems from not knowing who we are and not perceiving the world as it actually is. by desire, buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods, and immortality, all of which are wants that can never be satisfied. as a result, desiring them can only bring suffering and so desire is, in a sense, considered a ‘bad’ thing.

as fellow spiritual blogger tom stine points out, it’s not truly the desire that’s the issue, but rather the attachment to and identification with desire by the separate self. this attachment is sometimes called ‘clinging.’ it is the clinging that is what needs to be let go of, not the literal dropping of desires altogether to become some sort of celibate monk. desires that arise are like anything else that arises within the field of awareness. they’re inherently neutral. just an object of awareness.

good people, bad people
you gotta go to wise curve’s post and look at the image! please! especially if you like to see george bush happy 🙂

and even though wise curve doesn’t talk about buddhism, there are some good ideas here. labelling people “good” or “bad” isn’t very useful.

in our life, there’s a small percentage of “good” people who always support us and a certain percentage of “bad” people who always trouble us. the rest are majority who are relatively “neutral”. this should be our rational expectation toward people around us. it’s too optimistic to expect everyone to be “perfect” and if we really have this expectation, we will live miserably because we will meet “bad” people who break our perfect expectation from time to time. this is the same as meeting “bad” people in life. there will be “good” people coming in to your life so we don’t need to focus too much on the “bad” apples and neglect the positive aspect of social life.

in reality, there’s no such thing as good or bad people. people only make “good” or “bad” decision or action in a specific time. someone may do good deeds 10 minutes ago and commit crime on the next day.

finally, two more submissions: from richard about consciousness and awareness and from jon, containing a poem called nirvana.

that’s it the january buddhist carnival. if you have any submissions for next month’s carnival (february 15, 2009), please send them to me here, or, if you have a hard time connecting to blog carnival, drop me a line.

image by wildxplorer