Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Sunday, 3 February 2013
Learning to Listen and Conflict Resolution
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Being an Active Listerner is Explained by Chris Lentil
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Active Listening as Conflict Resolution

Posted by on Jan 18, 2013 in Feature ArticlesComments (0)

ORIGINAL ARTICLE WAS FOUND HERE:

http://c4ss.org/content/16470?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+c4ss+%28Center+for+a+Stateless+Society%29

 

In the book Solving Tough Problems Adam Kahane lays out a methodology for dealing with tough problems in the most difficult situations. Kahane played an integral role in the Mount Fleur Process which brought together representatives from Apartheid-era South Africa. Participants discussed what South Africa would look like after Apartheid. After the Mount Fleur Process, Kahane took part in similar gatherings throughout the world (Follow this link to learn more about Kahane’s work).

Many aspects of the book will be useful to people in their everyday lives, I would like to focus on listening. In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie tells us that by “becoming genuinely interested in people” and “be[ing] a good listener” are two important roles in building successful relationships. That’s great, but what is listening and how do we do it?

Perhaps you are rolling your eyes at the thought of this silly question, but I have been involved in many frustrating conversations with non-listeners. These “conversations” generally become a waste of time and quickly deteriorate into mindless arguments, with people talking past each other.

Adam Kahane details Otto Scharmer’s Four Ways of Listening:

  1. Downloading - listening from within our own story, but without being conscious that what we are saying and hearing is no more that a story. When we download, we are deaf to other stories; we only hear that which confirms our own story. This is the kind of nonlistening exhibited by fundamentalists, dictators, experts, and people who are arrogant or angry.
  2. Debating - listening to each other and to ideas (including our own ideas) from the outside, objectively, like a judge in a debate or courtroom.
  3. Reflective Dialogue – listening to ourselves reflectively and listening to others empathetically-listening from the inside, subjectively.
  4. Generative Dialogue – listening not only from within ourselves or from within others, but from the whole system.

According to Kahane and Scharmer, downloading and debating repeat already existing ideas. Nothing new is created. Reflective dialogue and especially generative dialogue can create new social realities. This is intimidating to think about, but can be done quite easily.

The website PersonaDev offers 10 Tips to Be a Better Listener. There are plenty of articles dedicated to active listening, but I think this one is short and to the point. I’m going to provide an excerpt, but I highly recommend the reading article and website.

  1. Be Legitimately Interested: Be interested. Drop whatever you were doing and focus. Stop focusing on the email you were writing or the article you were reading and really listen. Put yourself in the speaker’s place and make his or her problems your own. The speaker will consciously or subconsciously pick up on this and you will learn more from the conversation. However, if you are in the middle of something just a little too important to drop…
  2. Be Honest About Your Time: If you really are in the middle of something important, tell the speaker. Apologize and plan for another meeting where you can ensure your full attention and focus. This will let the speaker know that you appreciate their coming to you and you want to give them your full concentration. It’s much better than lending half-an-ear and not listening well.
  3. Accept the Speaker’s Point-Of-View: At least until he or she is done speaking. Some of us have the desire to get our point across and a word in for every sentence spoken. Even if you disagree with the speaker’s stance on a subject, allow him or her to finish their thought before voicing your disagreement and then only if necessary. Remember, you are trying to be a listener, not partake in a discussion.
  4. Use Body Language, Eye Contact, and Repetition: Using body language and eye contact the right way can really have an impact on the speaker. To show you are listening and interested, lean slightly forward in your chair. Not so much that your elbows are on your knees, but enough so you aren’t reclined back on your chair. Make consistent eye contact, but do not stare. Make noises like “mm-hmm,” or say “I see,” and frequently repeat what was just said. These actions show that you are interested and actively listening.
  5. Go Beyond the Words: Good listeners are actively thinking not just about what was said but also why andhow it was said. Why did this person come to you to talk (or be heard). Is there excitement in their voice? Resentment? Jealously? Once you determine the motive of the speaker, can you react more smoothly to their words.
  6. Get Rid of Distractions: Just by slightly closing a door or turning off your monitor you can portray to the speaker that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Focus.
  7. Avoid Planning Counterarguments: It is a natural response to automatically start planning a counterargument as soon as something is mentioned. As hard as it may seem, don’t. Mentally record your disagreement and formulate a response later after the whole message has been received.
  8. Be Aware of Your History with the Speaker: As a corollary to tip 5, think about how your history with the speaker may affect what is being said. Is there potential for flared feelings? Sympathy? Fear? Figuring this out will help you better understand the speaker’s motives and, thus, respond accordingly.
  9. Ask Questions: If there is something said that is not clear to you, ask for clarification. Be careful not to use questions to rebut or represent your point-of-view. Only ask questions that’ll help your understanding of what the speaker is saying.
  10. Watch and Learn from the “Good Listener”: We all know one or two “Good Listeners”. Next time you are speaking to them, really pay attention to what they do. One can read a ton of articles and not learn as much as they would from actively watching a good listener in action.

Being a good, active listener makes life a lot easier. Your conversations will be more enjoyable and less nuanced. More importantly, your active listening will encourage others to do the same. Whether you are trying to solve a tough problem, perform a group mediation, or plan your weekend, everything will go a lot smoother and more will be accomplished.

The large scale implications are what interest me the most. In our current society, people are quick to call the police if a problem or disagreement arises. A more ideal situation would involve people talking out their issues either by themselves or with a mediator. A lot of conflict can be resolved by listening and understanding the other person’s motivations.

Peer mediation is a common model in elementary and high schools for a reason. . .it works. Children and youth are encouraged to work problems out amongst themselves. A group of youth mediators told me that mediation works and has led to a decrease in violent behavior amongst their peers. Active listening plays and important role in mediation and conflict resolution.

A lot of conflict stems from not listening to what the other person (group, etc) is saying. Further, we often do not even bother sharing our ideas because we don’t feel as the other person actually cares what is being said. On a personal level this can destroy relationships. On a larger level it can destroy communities, organizations, and the entire world. If you doubt the validity of my claim, consider politics and war.

Altering our communication methods is an easy thing that we as individuals can do to create a better society. We don’t have to wait for “The Rev”. . .we can do it now. In Rules for Radicals Saul Alinsky explained that it is important to take advantage of easy victories much like a championship boxer chooses opponents carefully. He calls this the cinch fight.

Our cinch fight is listening. On one hand it involves deep personal reflection. After reflecting we must change our listening habits to incorporate various components of active listening. Some will be easy and some will not. The important thing is that we make the effort.

Shut up and listen.

___________________________________

Chris Lempa is a pickler, fermenter, and aspiring runner who is ideologically inspired by mutualism, egoism, and Ned Ludd. Visit him at http://picklesnotpipebombs.info where you can find a sampling of his recipes and cookZines.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE WAS FOUND HERE:

http://c4ss.org/content/16470?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+c4ss+%28Center+for+a+Stateless+Society%29       


Posted by Joe Anybody at 2:33 PM PST
Sunday, 13 January 2013
PDX March - Rally for MLK Day - COUNTDOWN CLOCK
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Here is a picture of the MLK PDX count down clock with HTML code
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

 

I have this posted and running on my website you can view it here:  www.joeanybody.com or check this view of a larger countdown-clock  http://goo.gl/cpnlT 

 


 (picture) of countdown clock (not running, just a picture)

 

Here is the HTML embedded code for the "MLK PDX countdown clock"

(include no spaces in your code)



 

<EMBED SRC="http://games.webgamedesign.com/free/counter2-1.swf?title=PDX%3A%20MARCH%20FOR%20THE%20DREAM%20-%201.19.13&count=down&time=1358647200000&bgc=0xff0033&bgb=3&bgd=0&bc=0xcccccc&bb=1&bd=0&tc=0xcccccc&tb=1&td=4&uc=0x99ccff&ub=1&ud=5&nc=0x333333&nb=1&nd=0" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" NAME="Free Counter" ALIGN=MIDDLE WIDTH=500 HEIGHT=100 quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" allowFullScreen="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">




Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:46 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2013 1:51 PM PST
Sunday, 30 December 2012
The End of 2012 - The Begining of 2013
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: JOE ANYBODY VIDEO TRACKER
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

 


 

 
 
 
 
JOE ANYBODY VIDEO TRACKER 
 
2013

 

 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
[and older]
 
or by

 

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:02 PM PST
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Thinking Positive and Creative Outlooks from Ivysea
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Ivysea information on life changes and uncertainty
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
http://www.ivysea.com/pages/Seazine_current.html ADOPTING A SPIRIT OF CREATIVE ADVENTUREWe don't always see tension or transition as an invitation to creative adventure, do we?

It can be hard when we're caught up in the stress of change or that place of creative tension, standing at the precipice of the unknown, to see the possibilities for something new and wonderful wanting to be born and experienced, and to give ourselves over to it.

No matter how many times I've been immersed in the creative process, or found myself in that tense, creative transition-space between something ending and something new beginning, I've felt the tension and an almost unbearable restlessness in it.

After all, creativity and stepping into the unknown take a lot of courage, along with a sense of heartful conviction and a strong vision. And we find all of these within us.

There have been times, in that 'unknown' place, when I've retreated to the known and seemingly comfortable. But sometimes, I've found the courage to wait there in that tension, step into the unknown, and let some new thing find expression through me.

When I've found my way to the latter, it's because I've immersed myself in inspiration.

Recently, I've found inspiration from the late Irish Poet, John O'Donohue, who wrote in his book, Beauty, that when 'we begin to awaken to the light of soul … we learn to befriend our complexity and see the dance of opposition within us not as a negative or destructive thing but as an invitation to creative adventure."

The 'light of soul' that O'Donohue speaks of must be tended, nourished, and brought back to life through regular inspiration.

These are often parts of ourselves -- inspiration, imagination, our wild and creative hearts -- that have been exiled in our focus on the 'business of survival', yet they're vital to our creativity, expression, authenticity, and deep meaning.

Yet when we heed their call and begin to reclaim them, we begin to feel whole again -- we feel the depth of inspiration returning to us, awakening our hearts so that we may bring our fuller selves into our relationships, our work, and all else that we do.

Between each of the stages in the creative cycle, we feel the tension and friction that gives heat to the creative process. It can be almost unbearable to wait in that place of tension, and we feel the pull to return to the familiar, the old.

Yet O'Donohue also wrote, in his poem 'For the Interim Time':

"As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown."

If we have the courage and patience to wait, to engage that place of tension as 'creative adventure', something new -- something that has long awaited to finds its voice and expression through us -- can be born.
And then, we find ourselves free, and rooted in 'true ground'. EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY?There's a whole lot going on with most of us these days, isn't there?Navigating change and uncertainty is, to me, a real art, and takes an artist's perspective.Just like with art, it takes inspiration and lots of practice, as well as a willingness to be taken on a journey whose destination isn't quite clear.Over the years, whether I've liked it or not, whether I felt ready for it or not, I've had a lot of practice when it comes to change and uncertainty.The fear that gets stirred up, the fatigue, and the constricted mind-chatter have sometimes been too familiar to me.I've known well the constriction in my body and breathing, too, once the fear-chatter gets triggered.But there's something else, too: an unexpected excitement when I can relax the constriction and find a certain perspective -- and shift the stories and 'broken record' chatter that I'm holding about what's going on.That's where the art and the practice come in -- a sort of creative, curious 'beginner's mind' that also makes good use of the resources and tools I've gathered along the way.And stoking the courage that's tucked away inside of me, too.I'm still practicing, because these days, it seems that there's always something changing, and some new challenge popping up just to keep me on my toes.Does this sound familiar to you?You'll find an article below on one 'mind shift' or perspective that I always find helpful, even if I have to remind myself daily and practice some more.The article includes one of my favorite bits of wisdom from the fab John O'Donahue.  This inspiration was copied from: http://www.ivysea.com/pages/Seazine_current.html   

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Be ahead of the crackers and hackers and use good paswords
Mood:  flirty
Now Playing: Password Tips - Security and Peace of Mind
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Secure Passwords Keep You Safer

By Bruce Schneier
Wired News
January 15, 2007

http://www.schneier.com/essay-148.html

Ever since I wrote about the 34,000 MySpace passwords I analyzed, people have been asking how to choose secure passwords.

My piece aside, there's been a lot written on this topic over the years -- both serious and humorous -- but most of it seems to be based on anecdotal suggestions rather than actual analytic evidence. What follows is some serious advice.

The attack I'm evaluating against is an offline password-guessing attack. This attack assumes that the attacker either has a copy of your encrypted document, or a server's encrypted password file, and can try passwords as fast as he can. There are instances where this attack doesn't make sense. ATM cards, for example, are secure even though they only have a four-digit PIN, because you can't do offline password guessing. And the police are more likely to get a warrant for your Hotmail account than to bother trying to crack your e-mail password. Your encryption program's key-escrow system is almost certainly more vulnerable than your password, as is any "secret question" you've set up in case you forget your password.

Offline password guessers have gotten both fast and smart. AccessData sells Password Recovery Toolkit, or PRTK. Depending on the software it's attacking, PRTK can test up to hundreds of thousands of passwords per second, and it tests more common passwords sooner than obscure ones.

So the security of your password depends on two things: any details of the software that slow down password guessing, and in what order programs like PRTK guess different passwords.

Some software includes routines deliberately designed to slow down password guessing. Good encryption software doesn't use your password as the encryption key; there's a process that converts your password into the encryption key. And the software can make this process as slow as it wants.

The results are all over the map. Microsoft Office, for example, has a simple password-to-key conversion, so PRTK can test 350,000 Microsoft Word passwords per second on a 3-GHz Pentium 4, which is a reasonably current benchmark computer. WinZip used to be even worse -- well over a million guesses per second for version 7.0 -- but with version 9.0, the cryptosystem's ramp-up function has been substantially increased: PRTK can only test 900 passwords per second. PGP also makes things deliberately hard for programs like PRTK, also only allowing about 900 guesses per second.

When attacking programs with deliberately slow ramp-ups, it's important to make every guess count. A simple six-character lowercase exhaustive character attack, "aaaaaa" through "zzzzzz," has more than 308 million combinations. And it's generally unproductive, because the program spends most of its time testing improbable passwords like "pqzrwj."

According to Eric Thompson of AccessData, a typical password consists of a root plus an appendage. A root isn't necessarily a dictionary word, but it's something pronounceable. An appendage is either a suffix (90 percent of the time) or a prefix (10 percent of the time).

So the first attack PRTK performs is to test a dictionary of about 1,000 common passwords, things like "letmein," "password1," "123456" and so on. Then it tests them each with about 100 common suffix appendages: "1," "4u," "69," "abc," "!" and so on. Believe it or not, it recovers about 24 percent of all passwords with these 100,000 combinations.

Then, PRTK goes through a series of increasingly complex root dictionaries and appendage dictionaries. The root dictionaries include:

  • Common word dictionary: 5,000 entries
  • Names dictionary: 10,000 entries
  • Comprehensive dictionary: 100,000 entries
  • Phonetic pattern dictionary: 1/10,000 of an exhaustive character search

The phonetic pattern dictionary is interesting. It's not really a dictionary; it's a Markov-chain routine that generates pronounceable English-language strings of a given length. For example, PRTK can generate and test a dictionary of very pronounceable six-character strings, or just-barely pronounceable seven-character strings. They're working on generation routines for other languages.

PRTK also runs a four-character-string exhaustive search. It runs the dictionaries with lowercase (the most common), initial uppercase (the second most common), all uppercase and final uppercase. It runs the dictionaries with common substitutions: "$" for "s," "@" for "a," "1" for "l" and so on. Anything that's "leet speak" is included here, like "3" for "e."

The appendage dictionaries include things like:

  • All two-digit combinations
  • All dates from 1900 to 2006
  • All three-digit combinations
  • All single symbols
  • All single digit, plus single symbol
  • All two-symbol combinations

AccessData's secret sauce is the order in which it runs the various root and appendage dictionary combinations. The company's research indicates that the password sweet spot is a seven- to nine-character root plus a common appendage, and that it's much more likely for someone to choose a hard-to-guess root than an uncommon appendage.

Normally, PRTK runs on a network of computers. Password guessing is a trivially distributable task, and it can easily run in the background. A large organization like the Secret Service can easily have hundreds of computers chugging away at someone's password. A company called Tableau is building a specialized FPGA hardware add-on to speed up PRTK for slow programs like PGP and WinZip: roughly a 150- to 300-times performance increase.

How good is all of this? Eric Thompson estimates that with a couple of weeks' to a month's worth of time, his software breaks 55 percent to 65 percent of all passwords. (This depends, of course, very heavily on the application.) Those results are good, but not great.

But that assumes no biographical data. Whenever it can, AccessData collects whatever personal information it can on the subject before beginning. If it can see other passwords, it can make guesses about what types of passwords the subject uses. How big a root is used? What kind of root? Does he put appendages at the end or the beginning? Does he use substitutions? ZIP codes are common appendages, so those go into the file. So do addresses, names from the address book, other passwords and any other personal information. This data ups PRTK's success rate a bit, but more importantly it reduces the time from weeks to days or even hours.

So if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something not on any of the root or appendage lists. You should mix upper and lowercase in the middle of your root. You should add numbers and symbols in the middle of your root, not as common substitutions. Or drop your appendage in the middle of your root. Or use two roots with an appendage in the middle.

Even something lower down on PRTK's dictionary list -- the seven-character phonetic pattern dictionary -- together with an uncommon appendage, is not going to be guessed. Neither is a password made up of the first letters of a sentence, especially if you throw numbers and symbols in the mix. And yes, these passwords are going to be hard to remember, which is why you should use a program like the free and open-source Password Safe to store them all in. (PRTK can test only 900 Password Safe 3.0 passwords per second.)

Even so, none of this might actually matter. AccessData sells another program, Forensic Toolkit, that, among other things, scans a hard drive for every printable character string. It looks in documents, in the Registry, in e-mail, in swap files, in deleted space on the hard drive ... everywhere. And it creates a dictionary from that, and feeds it into PRTK.

And PRTK breaks more than 50 percent of passwords from this dictionary alone.

What's happening is that the Windows operating system's memory management leaves data all over the place in the normal course of operations. You'll type your password into a program, and it gets stored in memory somewhere. Windows swaps the page out to disk, and it becomes the tail end of some file. It gets moved to some far out portion of your hard drive, and there it'll sit forever. Linux and Mac OS aren't any better in this regard.

I should point out that none of this has anything to do with the encryption algorithm or the key length. A weak 40-bit algorithm doesn't make this attack easier, and a strong 256-bit algorithm doesn't make it harder. These attacks simulate the process of the user entering the password into the computer, so the size of the resultant key is never an issue.

For years, I have said that the easiest way to break a cryptographic product is almost never by breaking the algorithm, that almost invariably there is a programming error that allows you to bypass the mathematics and break the product. A similar thing is going on here. The easiest way to guess a password isn't to guess it at all, but to exploit the inherent insecurity in the underlying operating system.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:38 PM PST
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Zen Christmas - A Story Zen Style
Mood:  special
Now Playing: Merry Zen Christmas
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

A Christmas Story: Zen Style

http://zendictive.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/a-zen-christmas/  

It seems in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, there is a small monastery where the master is illiterate. The teacher was a farmer’s son and he had been taken to the temple when he was very young. He had never learned to read or write but he completed the koan study and came to complete enlightenment.

The teacher didn’t really know other religions except Buddhism, he scarcely realized until he heard the monks discussing Christianity. One of the monks had been to the University of Tokyo and the teacher asked him to explain Christianity.

“I don’t know that much about it,” the monk said. “But I will bring you the holy book of the Christian religion.”

The master sent the monk to the nearest city and the monk returned with the Bible.

“That’s a thick book,” the master said, “and I can’t read. But you can read something to me.” The monk thumbed through the pages and started with the story of baby Jesus and the three wise men.

The monk knew the Bible and then read the Sermon on the Mount. The more he read the more the master was impressed. “That is very beautiful,” he kept saying. “That is very beautiful.” When the monk finished the sermon the master said nothing for a while. The silence lasted so long that he monk put the Bible down, got himself into the lotus position and started meditating.

“Yes,” the teacher said finally. “I don’t know who wrote that, but whoever he was, he was either a Buddha or a Bodhisattva. What you read there is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://zendictive.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/a-zen-christmas/ 

moral: we become what we have been subjected to. We are who we are as a direct influence of our environment growing up. We later learn of other cultures and religions, traditions and ways of life. By this time we are pretty much set in our ways but can always learn from what others do. Be open minded.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:48 PM PST
Friday, 10 June 2011
my moms baggy yellow shirt
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: The Yellow Sweatshirt and the story behind it
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

 

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front. It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away. "You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class,

Mom. Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt be came a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it. After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped. I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.

That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.

The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom. The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture. The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois. As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job. I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER." But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington, VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers. After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a note: "Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother."

That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses: "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."

The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:00 AM PDT
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Have you ever seen the rain on a sunny day
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Creedence Clearwater song
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
Someone told me long ago there's a calm before the stormI know, it's been comin' for some timeWhen it's over, so they say, it'll rain a sunny dayI know, shinin' down like water I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?I wanna know, have you ever seen the rainComin' down on a sunny day? Yesterday and days before, sun is cold and rain is hardI know, been that way for all my time'Til forever, on it goes through the circle, fast and slowI know, it can't stop, I wonder I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?I wanna know, have you ever seen the rainComin' down on a sunny day? Yeah, I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?I wanna know, have you ever seen the rainComin' down on a sunny day?

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:53 PM PDT
Monday, 14 February 2011
What did he say?
Mood:  mischievious
Now Playing: click the link
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Hello !

          click -->  Dialtone


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:50 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 14 February 2011 12:55 PM PST
Saturday, 1 January 2011
ZEN - The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts
Now Playing: Thanks www.dharma-rain.org
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

 

Kyojukaimon

http://www.dharma-rain.org/?p=practice_kyojukaimon

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts
Giving and Receiving the Teaching of the Precepts

The great precepts of the buddhas are kept carefully by the buddhas. Buddhas give them to buddhas; dharma ancestors give them to dharma ancestors. The transmission of the precepts is beyond the three existences of past, present and future. Enlightenment ranges from time eternal, and is even now. Shakyamuni, the buddha of this world, transmitted the precepts to Makakasho, and he transmitted them to Ananda. Thus they have been transmitted down through the generations. This is the meaning of the transmission of living wisdom.

The Gateway of Contrition

Because of their limitless compassion, the buddhas and dharma ancestors have flung wide the gates of compassion to all living things. Although karmic consequence is inevitable at some point in the three periods of time, contrition brings freedom and immaculacy. As this is so, let us be utterly contrite before the buddhas.

May the buddhas and ancestors have compassion upon us, help us see the obstacle of suffering we have inherited from the limitless past, and lead us in such a way that we share the merit that fills the universe. For they, in the past, were as we are now, and we will be as they in the future.

All my past and harmful karma,
Born from beginningless greed, hate and delusion,
Through body, speech, and mind,
I now fully avow.

A contrite heart is open to the dharma, and finds the gateway to the precepts clear and unobstructed. Bearing this in mind, we should sit up straight in the presence of the buddha and make this act of contrition wholeheartedly.

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Taking Refuge

With a pure heart, we can take refuge in the three treasures. We should repeat with bowed heads, making gassho:
I take refuge in the buddha,
I take refuge in the dharma,
I take refuge in the sangha.

We take refuge in the buddha as our true teacher; we take refuge in the dharma as the medicine for all suffering; we take refuge in the sangha as its members are wise and compassionate.

In the three treasures there are three merits. The first is the true source of the three treasures; the second is their presence in the past, the foundation of our tradition; the third is their presence at the present time.

At the source: the highest truth is called the buddha treasure; immaculacy is called the dharma treasure; harmony is called the sangha treasure.

In the past: those who realized the truth completely are called the buddha treasure; the truth realized is called the dharma treasure; those who have transmitted this dharma are called the sangha treasure.

In the present: those who teach devas and humans in the sky and in the world are called the buddha treasure; that which appears in the world and in the scriptures, becoming good for others, is called the dharma treasure; they who release their suffering and embrace all beings are called the sangha treasure.

These three merits mean that when we are converted to the three treasures, we can have the precepts of the buddhas completely. This merit bears fruit whenever a trainee and the buddha are one. We should make the buddha our teacher, and not follow wrong ways.

Having taken refuge, we can embrace the three pure precepts:

Cease from evil — release all self­attachment.
This is the house of all the ways of buddha; this is the source of all the laws of buddhahood.

Do only good — take selfless action.
The dharma of the anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, perfect enlightenment, is the dharma of all existence, never apart from the present moment.

Do good for others — embrace all things and conditions.
Leap beyond the holy and the unholy. Let us rescue ourselves together with all beings.

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Having embraced the three pure precepts, we can commit to the ten grave precepts:

Do not kill — cultivate and encourage life.
In the realm of the everlasting dharma, holding no thought of killing is the precept of not killing.
The life of buddha increases with life; no life can be cut off. Continue the life of buddha; do not kill buddha.

Do not steal — honor the gift not yet given.
In the realm of the unattainable dharma, holding no thought of gain is the precept of not stealing.
The self and the things of the world are just as they are; the mind and its object are one. The gateway to enlightenment stands open wide.

Do not misuse sexuality — remain faithful in relationships.
In the realm of the ungilded dharma, not coveting or creating a veneer of attachment is the precept of not misusing sexuality.
The three wheels are pure and clear. When there is nothing to desire, we follow the way of all buddhas.

Do not speak dishonestly — communicate truthfully.
In the realm of the inexplicable dharma, putting forth not one word is the precept of not speaking dishonestly.
The dharma wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew covers the earth, and within it lies the truth.

Do not become intoxicated — polish clarity, dispel delusion.
In the realm of the intrinsically pure dharma, not harboring delusions is the precept of not becoming intoxicated.
We are naturally pure; there is nothing to be deluded about. This is enlightenment itself. Understand this truly, and no intoxicants can be taken in.

Do not dwell on past mistakes — create wisdom from ignorance.
In the realm of the flawless dharma, not expounding upon error is the precept of not dwelling on past mistakes.
In the buddha dharma there is one path, one dharma, one realization, one practice. Do not engage in fault­finding. Do not condone haphazard talk.

Do not praise self or blame others — maintain modesty, extol virtue.
In the realm of the equitable dharma, not dwelling upon I versus you is the precept of not praising self or blaming others.
All buddhas and ancestors realize the empty sky and the great earth. When they manifest the noble body, there is neither inside nor outside in emptiness. When they manifest the dharma body, not even a speck of dust is seen upon the ground.

Do not be mean with dharma or wealth — share understanding, give freely of self.
In the genuine, all-pervading dharma, being jealous of nothing is the precept of not being mean with dharma or wealth.
One phrase, one verse — that is the ten thousand things and one hundred grasses; one dharma, one realization — that is all buddhas and dharma ancestors. From the beginning, not one thing has been begrudged.

Do not indulge anger — cultivate equanimity.
In the realm of the selfless dharma, not contriving reality for the self is the precept of not indulging anger.
Not advancing, not retreating, not real, not empty. There is a brilliant sea of clouds. There is a dignified sea of clouds.

Do not defame the three treasures.
In the realm of the One, holding no concept of ordinary beings and sages is the precept of not defaming the three treasures.
To do something by ourselves, without copying others, is to become an example to the world, and the merit of this becomes the source of all wisdom. Criticize nothing; accept everything.

Respect the buddha. Unfold the dharma. Nourish the sangha.

Within these precepts dwell the buddhas, enfolding all things within their unparalleled wisdom. There is no distinction between subject and object for any who dwell herein. All things, earth, trees, wooden posts, bricks, stones become buddhas once this refuge is taken. From these precepts come forth such a wind and fire that all are driven into enlightenment when the flames are fanned by the buddha's influence. This is the merit of non-action and non-seeking; the awakening to true wisdom.

These sixteen precepts are roughly thus. To be obedient to their teaching, accept them with bows.

 

See also Zen Practice In Community: Precepts and Ethics in Sangha Relationships for some ways that we apply this.

See also Kyogen’s article Precepts as Path from the May 2010 issue of StillPoint.

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:13 PM PST

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