Saturday, December 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice
Monday, November 1, 2010
Some key stanzas:
To cover all the earth with sheets of hide --
Where could such amount of skin be found
But simply wrap some leather round your feet,
And it's as if the whole earth had been covered!
When the urge arises in the mind
To feelings of desire or wrathful hate,
Do not act! Be silent, do not speak!
And like a log of wood be sure to stay.
Thus, when enemies or friends
Are seen to act improperly,
Be calm and call to mind
That everything arises from conditions.
If even this you do not want for beings,
How could you want buddhahood for them?
And how can anyone have bodhichitta
And resent the good that others have?
If someone else receives a gift,
Or if that gift stays in the benefactor's house,
In neither case will it be yours--
So, given or withheld, why is it your concern?"
Strive at first to meditate
Upon the sameness of yourself and others.
In joy and sorrow all are equal.
Thus be guardian of all, as of yourself.
Since I and other beings both,
In fleeing suffering, are equal and alike,
What difference is there to distinguish us,
That I should save myself and not the other?
Seeing then the faults that come from cherishing myself,
The oceanic qualities that come from loving others,
I shall lay aside all love of self
And gain the habit of adopting others."
Thus when I work for others' sake,
No reason can there be for boasting or amazement.
For it is just as when I feed myself--
I don't expect to be rewarded.
Just as I defend myself, therefore,
From all unpleasant happenings however small,
Likewise I shall act for others' sake
To guard and to protect them with compassion."
All the joy the world contains
Has come through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains
Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.
Americans, more so than other inhabitants of high-income countries, often take a view that we are all independent and responsible for only ourselves. Until we see that we are all in this together, it will be difficult to address our biggest problems.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
My name is Eagan and I am in Washington, D.C. (well technically Silver Spring, MD -- which is just outside the DC border, but most people have no idea where that is)
2) What do you do for work?
I am a health care analyst for an arm of Congress which provides oversight of the federal government and publicly spent funds.
3) What do you do for fun?
Spending time with Heather. This often includes hanging out at bookstores, seeing new exhibits at D.C.'s many museums and galleries, trying new restaurants, watching movies, and discussing politics.
4) Tell me something about your bookshelves.
Our bookshelves are currently the largest and cheapest that Ikea had to offer. We have four of them and they each fit around 200 books. However, they are all completely full and we have had to resort to stacking books on top of the books on the shelf. We also have one bookshelf from my Mom's old toy store.
5) Tell me something about ONE of the books on your shelf.
The most bookmarked book I own is Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen. In grad school it was my bible but I haven't gone back to it much since then. I am sure I will read it again soon and the ideas in it still influence my work greatly. It comforts me to know it is always there.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree). 8) Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable (unenlightened answer: disagree)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
As human beings, we always base our thoughts on this misunderstanding [that we are separate from everything else in the universe]. We always feel that something is missing from our lives. We think that to live a peaceful life we must get something that is outside ourselves. Then we try to get it. But actions based on thirsty desire just become the cause of more suffering. That is why Buddha's teaching that suffering arises from desire based on ignorance is the second Noble Truth.
Time seems to be separate from beings, but actually there is no separation. From moment to moment, all sentient beings exist together as a completely independent moment of time. When the moment begins, all sentient beings temporarily appear as particular beings in the stream of time and seem to have their own separate existences. When the moment ceases, all sentient beings disappear, but they do not go away: they are interconnected smoothly and quietly in timelessness.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I had rejected Buddhism along with every other religion under the sun back in high school. Moving to Utah forced me to figure out what I believed in (and didn't believe in) very quickly upon arrival. Having grown up in a city in Montana that had one of every church and parents who didn't push us to be religious left me with a default agnosticism. Upon arriving in Utah, my friends wanted to know what religion I was and would I consider becoming Mormon. I came to realize I was an atheist, and a pretty devout one (which cost me a few friendships early on).
I went through a dogmatic phase where my biggest concerns were getting "In God We Trust" off of U.S. money and "Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. As I became more interested in social and political issues and began going to college, the rabid atheism took a backseat to a less confrontational atheism and a general interest in religion as a sociological phenomena.
Kayla proposed that we both read the book and compare notes and thoughts. She mentioned that she had begun meditating and was finding it quite interesting, if a little boring. I mentioned that I wasn't one for meditation (my bias against anything "spiritual" still firmly entrenched), but that I would be interested in reading the book and talking about it.
The book gave just enough about Buddhism to make me realize just how little I had known about it. I had been vaguely aware of the story of the Buddha and was aware of the Dalai Lama and his struggle for the freedom of Tibetans. Being a sociologist interested in religion gave me an idea of the social significance it plays in many countries around the world, but its canon and doctrines were not something I had ever examined.
I plan for this to be the first of many posts on Buddhism, a topic I have been interested in recently. In the next post I plan to highlight some of the points I found interesting from that first book and where it led me to turn next.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
My first GAO report was recently released to a surprising amount of media coverage. The report can be downloaded here:
The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press both had original stories about the report. Both authors contacted the Director on the report with questions.
Associate Press story
Wall Street Journal story
The AP story was also picked up by various other news outlets including:
In addition, some smaller regional and local papers have also picked it up.
Finally, the report has also sparked interest among some industry blogs and websites:
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
No solution without human rights at its core will have any long-term, sustainable impact on the lives of those in poverty.
- 963 million go to bed hungry each night
- 1 billion people live in slums
- One woman dies every minute in childbirth
- 2.5 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation services
- 20,000 children die every day from poverty
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. - Martin Luther King, Jr.