25 Writing Contests in July 2018 – No entry fees – by Erica Verrillo… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: There are more than two dozen free writing contests in July, some of which offer substantial prizes. Every genre, form, and style is covered, from short stories, to poetry, to published works. As always, read the guidelines carefully. Many contests have geographical and age restrictions. See Full […]

via 25 Writing Contests in July 2018 – No entry fees – by Erica Verrillo… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

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Koko Dies: Sign-Language Gorilla Who Appeared On ‘Mister Rogers’, Documentaries Was 46

We will remember you, #Koko! RIP

https://deadline.com/2018/06/koko-dies-sign-language-gorilla-mister-rogers-46-1202414985/

H.H. the Dalai Lama’s Comments on the Troubles in Rigpa

Very important and much-needed post about problems within #Buddhism with #Lamas / #spiritualteachers.

My comments, below.

Thank you so much for collecting and annotating these and other comments/posts about these problems within Buddhism and Buddhist communities. Much appreciated.

Unfortunately, with the teachings about “Guru Yoga” so deeply emphasized among Vajrayana teachers and sangha, the dangers are still prevalent and students are still at risk of “overdoing” the reverence/devotion aspects and not being discerning enough to recognize and call out a teacher’s inappropriate behaviors.

We struggle with this in every sangha, I think. Even when the teachers’ behaviors are not as heinous and obviously abusive or out-of-line as Sogyal Rinpoche’s were, many of us have serious questions about the behaviors and judgments exhibited by our teachers BUT we want to “maintain pure view.”

At what point do we publicly announce that we have concerns about a teacher?

Do lamas have to rape someone, hit students, steal or misappropriate resources/money, have multiple sexual liaisons with students, and other major offenses for us to raise red flags?

What about:
— lamas’ meanness (NOT wisdom-based “wrath”) in speech or behavior?
—public banishment or ostracising of students for spurious reasons?
—inappropriate competitiveness or matchmaking originating from a lama?
—other questionably sourced advice foisted upon students?
—use of divination to make life-altering recommendations for students?
—use of interpretations of astrological charts to make major decisions/advise students?
—inadequately trained or not sufficiently knowledgeable lamas?

These types of spiritual leaders can be dangerous because they provide misinterpretations of the dharma, give away “secret” teachings to unqualified students, make mistakes with translations, give incorrect summaries, misremember teaching stories, mischaracterize the “moral points” of teachings, and/or try to be like therapists or provide psychological counseling without any training or supervision for doing that, turn people toward ‘wrong view,” steer them into life choices that can be disastrous, and worse.

Who assesses, supervises, removes “bad” lamas when they haven’t broken any laws but merely are insufficient to the tasks or are misguiding students?

I’ve encountered ALL of the above among Kagyu and Nyingma lamas, Western and Tibetan, various sanghas.

What to do?

Best to you all,

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Nyingma practitioner within Chagdud Gonpa sanghas since 1988/96

Tibetan Buddhism – Struggling With Diffi·Cult Issues

By Joanne Clark

For years, the Dalai Lama has been criticized for not speaking out against Sogyal Lakar’s (Sogyal Rinpoche’s) misbehaviors. The idea was that one word from His Holiness could somehow fix things. Now, he has spoken out. He has been speaking out for almost a year. He has been naming Sogyal Lakar by name, saying that Sogyal is now “disgraced.” He has equated Sogyal’s behaviors to feudal exploitation. He has called for the need to topple religious institutions that exploit and named Rigpa as an example of such an institution. He has stated that while Sogyal Lakar might have some learning, he is lacking in practice and realization.

In these statements, not only does His Holiness break his silence, but he also outlines clearly why he has been silent. He outlines the breadth of the problem, as it comes from intrenched feudal systems and cultural norms that…

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Path Dangers: Rigidity and Frigidity

Much-needed and well-written critiques of problems with #meditators/#meditation along the path.

The Unusual Buddha Blog

So here we are with our sweet meditation practice and we come to a funky sticking point. There’s nothing wrong really. Just another temporary phase to move through. You reach a pretty common issue, I know because it happened to me. You reach a stage where the risk of rigidity and frigidity become a matter of real concern. What do I mean by rigidity?

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Rigidity is a firm handed inflexibility, an inability to change and adapt. This shows it’s ugly face when we meet differing points of view that challenge our own. You some how reach a point where you “know” things. Trust me when I say, if you think you’re close to an attainment you’ve never been further away. As my teacher told me, “One must always come to the Dharma with their cup empty, so that it can be filled”. I’m…

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Superslow Brain Waves May Play a Critical Role in Consciousness

This and many more reasons are MAJOR causes of concern when some ignorant medical person or even a neurologist tells a family that their relative/loved one is “brain dead,” or in a “persistent vegetative state,” because some of them “wake up” and are FINE.

We need to know more before we “pull the plug” on these comatose individuals, yes?

It's Interesting

Signals long thought to be “noise” appear to represent a distinct form of brain activity.

By Tanya Lewis

Every few seconds a wave of electrical activity travels through the brain, like a large swell moving through the ocean. Scientists first detected these ultraslow undulations decades ago in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of people and other animals at rest—but the phenomenon was thought to be either electrical “noise” or the sum of much faster brain signals and was largely ignored.

Now a study that measured these “infraslow” (less than 0.1 hertz) brain waves in mice suggests they are a distinct type of brain activity that depends on an animal’s conscious state. But big questions remain about these waves’ origin and function.

An fMRI scan detects changes in blood flow that are assumed to be linked to neural activity. “When you put someone in a scanner, if you just look…

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