Category Archives: Social Media Proposal

Calm Reflection or Our Inner Pipeline

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vietnam during his 2007 trip

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vietnam during his 2007 trip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PART ONE

I am a seed planter.  This does not, in any way, mean that I don’t have the highest respect for those who reap.  What I always say is that we all need to have the pipeline to our inner voice of wisdom in good working order, (you can also use the words conduit or channel if pipeline sounds too colloquial for you).  And then we follow that wisdom.  For many years now, the message I have received has clarified that I am a member of the Seed Planter Sangha.

I want to reach out to people who may be interested in balancing their hectic, multitasking and media overrun lives with some quiet time to reconnect with their true selves, or as Thich Nhat Hanh would say, find their true home.  I know true self may rub many Buddhists the wrong way, but my pipeline wisdom says it’s a starting point.

I have established my own Blog Page called CalmReflectionblog.com, and a Facebook page entitled Calm Reflection.  I will use these modalities to try to make quieting the mind seem less like a skill, and more like something we all might want to do.   I am using this approach in response to the ten long years I had to struggle to establish a meditation practice I would want to do.  This goes back to the pipeline thing.  My inner voice, and to be fair, some wise outer voices over the years, have helped me understand that my past life experiences can be used to help others overcome things that I have been able to overcome already.  Today, I enjoy meditating.  Experts in the Counseling and Chaplain fields say we need to meet folks where they are.  So that’s what I want to do here, meet others, who, like myself, have perfectionistic, fear based, organic brains running the show, and teach them how to sneak around this self-absorbed grey matter, and find their very own pipeline.

It is my hope that some of the seeds I am able to help plant will grow into full-grown meditators.  I say help plant because, in this case, the ground in which I plant must be a mind which provides some fertility of curiosity, willingness, and desire for more connection within, and less distraction and reliance on the outside world.

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Touch the “Untouchable” Caste

Indian Caste System

TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES

On a tour in India, I witnessed an Untouchable man who was forced to bend down and touch his head to shoes of  an upper caste person.  Why?  Because he had accidently touched the body of the upper caste person while walking down a very crowded street  It was his fault that he did not step aside and let the upper caste person pass through first, our tour guide said.

Also, I witnessed a impoverished untouchable teenage girl who was about 4-months pregnant who had joined other villagers in begging group.  She accepted her misery as her way of life.  Her husband beat her because he blamed her for not able to beg enough money for dinner and his drinking.  Everything was her fault because her fate was to be Dalit, also called Untouchable.  She believes it is her karma to be poor. so it was okay to beg for food and money during the day.  That is how she views her life, a life of untouchable caste because nobody educates her about her human rights.  Something the powerful mainstream of the Brahmin  and Kshatriya castes, never wants to see happen.

Since seeing Indian Caste discrimination both my mind and heart are troubled.  I understand that I, myself cannot change the world, but I can change a life of a person who suffers from poverty as result of the caste system or racism even if I can help only one person in my lifetime.

The Buddha deeply disapproved of the injustice of the Caste system in India.  The Buddha himself not only preached about the humanity the “lower classes”, but also ordained the disciples from Untouchable caste such as Upâli – a barber, Sunita – a scavenger,  Punnâ and Punnikâ – slave girls.  Although before his awakening, he was born as a Kshatriya, the Buddha considered the Castes unjust.  He strongly condemned the debasing caste system.  In his Order of Monks all castes unite as do the rivers in the sea. They all become known as members of one community, the Sangha. Thus, I propose the social project “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES” regarding to the caste difference in India and choose Facebook as media platform in order to have others share related stories or observations to assist me in exercising compassion, right view and right action.

For those who want to make a difference in the lives of those impoverished Untouchables, I believe that any comments or suggestions you can provide gives us the opportunity to lighten or end their suffering even though it might take a long time to accomplish.

For those unaware of what the Caste System is and how the Caste System works in India, I will provide some resources such as books, videos (Youtube), and entries on the Facebook page: “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE” .  I hope after exploring the world of those Untouchable lives, your comments will give some insights about the following:

1. In the ancient time, King Asoka, who was powerful emperor and sincere Buddhist.  However, he did not  dismantle the Castes during his reign?  Why did he not?  How did he treat the “Untouchables?”

2. In modern times, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was famous for practice of nonviolence to win Indian Independence from British.  Gandhi lived with the poor, and called the poor “children of God”, but he was criticized that he never worked for the elimination of the Caste System.   Did Gandhi do enough?  What or who influenced him to accept the Caste?

Any comments on the destruction of the Indian Casted Society!  Any suggestion about transformation of the Untouchables’! Please share your thoughts on my Facebook page.   All will be greatly appreciated.

TOUCH “UNTOUCHABLES 

To understand their suffering

To love them as human beings

To raise them up from the mud of poverty

To have their lives blossomed as lotuses

To remove the Caste System

You opinion can made difference to their fates

Thank you

With Metta

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Touch-the-Untouchable/609528329076721

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Water, Health, and Compassion

Drinking Water

Drinking Water (Photo credit: SEDACMaps)

 “Water, health, and compassion” is my Pinterest project. I chose this topic because it is beneficial not only to me but to other people. According to Science For A Changing World, about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered.  Up to 60 percent of human body is water; a human brain is composed up 70 percent of water and lungs are nearly 90 percent water[1].

Since a human body contains mostly water, our body and mind rely on water to purify themselves by breaking down food, helping the digestive system function, cleaning waste from tissues, and controlling body temperature.  A healthy mind and body create healthy spirit; therefore we must use water appropriately and effectively to benefit ourselves.

Last but not least, especially nowadays, many areas in the world suffer from drought.  In many places there is not enough water for farming and there is limited clean water for people to consume. In many areas, chemicals or pollution contaminate water therefore causing it to be unusable. Living in the country with full access to clean water, I feel privileged but many people who have access to good water are not grateful for what they have.

People overlook the need for fresh and clean water.  I often wonder how can we help those without access to clean water? How to raise people’s awareness of using water wisely? How organizations help preserve and distribute water sources?

In order to find answers for these questions, I decided to do research on water, how water relates to health, and how using and treating water correctly is a way to practice our compassion. This proposal is an introduction and a request for approval for me to continue with my project.  My Pinterest page is called ‘H20comesPassion’.

My Approach:

To help make my project more understandable, I will divide it into four parts:

  1. The first part is about information and facts about water shortage and usage; i.e: where the rate of drought is increasing and fresh water has disappeared.
  2. The second part is about main substance of our bodies. That is water. How does water regulate and affect our bodies?
  3. The third part is about our health. Health can be examined in body, mind, and spirit. In what way does water affect our health? What happens if we consume contaminated, polluted water?
  4. The final part is about compassion. Compassion comes from our awareness that people need fresh, clean water. Compassion comes from our awareness of situations where people don’t have enough or no drinking water. It also comes from our contribution to help people have sources of fresh water.

For each part I will use different sources below to illustrate my points. I hope this will help people easily follow my project.

Kinds of sources I will use and why they will benefit my project:

  • Books: such as Encyclopedia of Water, History of Water and Humankind, Life’s matrix, your body: many cries for water, etc. This source provides me information about components of water, how our body is made up of water, how it affects to our body, how it affects us on psychological and spiritual dimension.
  • Websites: government websites, county websites about water, tap water, contaminated water. This source provides me the reality of water we use now in daily life, how it is contaminated by human activities, how it is treated to be our drinking water or tap water. It also provides how government, states, counties raise an awareness of people about water issues.
  • Non-profit organization websites: shows us the other side of drinking water that some government or states website do not reveal. It also shows us that how those non-profit organizations have done to provide fresh water for people, or to protest against water companies that ignore water quality.
  • Journals: e-sources about water, medical journals of how water affects on the body.
  • Video: documentary movie of water.
  • Graphs, Charts, recordings, video clips, and broadcasts: Those sources help me examine my project in different angles, both in qualitative and quantitative.

This proposal is just the first step for me on my quest to understand more about water. There are different approaches to this issue and I would like to invite any comment, suggestion or advice on my proposal.  Your comments will allow me examine water more holistically.

Please follow me on my Pinterest page  and feel free to leave a comment.


[1] “The Water in You,” USGS: science for a changing world, accessed April 29, 2013, http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html.

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Helping Those Living With AIDS

English: The Army in conjunction with the Thai...

The Army in conjunction with the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the National Institutes of Health, Sanofi Pasteur and Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases have uncovered successful results for an AIDS vaccination. The study was conducted at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Thailand. (USAMC-AFRIMS photo) *Do not reproduce image, for DOD use only. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Problem:

AIDS has become a major problem within Thailand in the last twenty years. The disease has taken so many lives that the amount has become immeasurable. The main problem is that Thai society has felt animosity towards the people affected by this disease. The people affected with AIDS are mostly shunned and turned away. Society lacks acceptance of this particular group of people. Because we cannot control the spread of the disease, there are more than 1 million Thai people affected with AIDS. Most of the people are not even aware that they are infected. Because they are unaware of their sickness, this disease is continually spread through the population. Another problem with AIDS is the lack of knowledge and awareness about the disease. The population of Thailand is careless due to this fact. They take fewer precautions, especially in the teenager and college student population. There has been an increase of infection by 35% in the past few years. This is the worst problem within Thailand in the present time.

Plan and Explanation:

Those infected with the disease become so usually due to their sexual behaviors or the sexual behaviors of their partners. For example, it could be due to alcohol, drugs, prostitutes and etc. The increase in the infection rate is also due to sexual misconduct (which is the third precept within Buddhism).  Monks perform the teachings of good moral conduct for the entire Buddhist community. This project is to prevent the further spread of AIDS and spread the awareness within society to be accepting of those living with the disease. This project would also teach kindness and understanding.  This basic teaching of the Buddha is necessary for us to live together and to not shun those with the disease. Most important, this is for the motivation to show those living with AIDS that they are not alone. The Buddhist religion teaches that we should have kindness for each other. This project is intended to be the medium to show this kindness, to spread the awareness of AIDS, and provide a support network for those living with AIDS.

The three rules that have to be remembered:

1. The way to understand those living with AIDS: We have to understand that those living with AIDS have been rejected from society and they live in emotional turmoil due to this neglect. Thus, monks have to be the leaders by showing compassion from the heart. They must fill in the gap where society can not. The things that must be provided for the population living with AIDS are clothes, food, shelter and medicine. This also includes schools, hospitals and employment for this particular population. This is to help those living with the disease go on with their normal lives. They must also be provided with love and kindness so their morale increases.

2. The correct method of living with those who have AIDS: We have to set an example using our practice of the Buddhist religion.  This includes showing kindness, be caring of other people, especially those with the infection who are sick. There has to be no animosity and disgust between anyone.

3. Method of educating about AIDS and the prevention of AIDS: This is a way to teach the morality and ethics that could not only contribute to the prevention of AIDS but helping the AIDs victims gain the approval of society. The main teachings are those of the Five Precepts are: to not be greedy, to not envious, be happy with what you have, do not lie, and have awareness of the present time.

My purpose:

  • This is to provide an action plan on how to solve this terrible problem.
  •  To decrease the spread of infection within Thailand and the world.
  •  To build an awareness and kindness for those living with the disease.
  • To provide a resource for world organizations on how to handle and solve this important problem.
  • To be a prime example on how to solve this problem by using the teachings of Buddhism as the base of understanding.

Expected results:

  • The population would have a better understanding of how to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • The decrease in the percentage of people contracting the infection and disease.
  • Society and family members would be able to live in harmony with those infected by the disease.
  • Organizations would put a further emphasis on the prevention of AIDS.
  • An increase in support for those affected by the disease.
  • Monks would have the responsibility of spreading awareness to Thai society as well as kindness to those affected.
  • The image of Thailand would improved throughout the world.

My Facebook Page can be found here.

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HEALTHCARE NEEDS TO IMPROVE IN THAILAND

Grand Palace, Thailand

This Article is my Educational Social Media Project for the Spiritual Leadership Class taught by Professor Danny Fisher.  I have created a Facebook group named “ Healthcare Needs to Improve in Thailand.”  In this group I will present information about the healthcare system in Thailand, problems that it has, and what you can do to help change it.  My Facebook page can be found here.  Please feel free to provide your feedback.  I would like to see the healthcare system in Thailand be more like the system in European countries.

Healthcare in Thailand is practically non-existent. Only wealthy families can afford health insurance. If the average Thai becomes sick, unfortunately they have to pay their medical bills by cash. If they have to go to the hospital, they would have to wait in line for a long time before seeing the doctor. If a wealthy person needed to go to the hospital, on the other hand, they would just pay extra to see the doctor right away. There is a big difference in the quality of care that is given to patients depending on their financial status. In order to create a better society, I think Thailand needs to adopt universal healthcare system as seen in most countries in Europe, as well as in Canada and Taiwan. You can read more about the current healthcare system in Thailand here.

In my opinion, healthcare in Thailand should look more like this:

“The Healthcare in European country is provided through a wide range of different systems run at the national level. The systems are primarily publicly funded through taxation (universal health care). Private funding for health care may represent personal contributions towards meeting the non-taxpayer refunded portion of health care or may reflect totally private (non-subsidized) health care either paid out-of-pocket or met by some form of personal or employer funded insurance. All EU and many other European countries offer their citizens a European Health Insurance Card which, on a reciprocal basis, provides insurance for emergency medical treatment insurance when visiting other participating European countries.”[1]

I think that healthcare reform is urgently needed in Thailand.  “In 2000 the World Health Organisation, WHO, published its rankings of 190 of the world’s healthcare systems.“[2]  Many European countries ranked in the top 20 and Thailand was ranked 48th.  (You can read more about the current healthcare system in Europe here).



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SMILE =) YOU ARE ON BIG BROTHER’S CAMERA!

 

 

“Unprecedented Human Rights Violations” Discussion Room

 

Link: http://unprecedentedhumanrightsviolations.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/technological-development-and-human-rights-violations-under-the-name-of-national-security/

 

Technological Development and Human Rights Violations under the Name of National Security

 

The Purpose of This Blog:
People’s privacy should be regarded as one of the most fundamental human rights. However, violation of privacy under the name of national security has caused a serious threat to democracy in many countries. In fact, due to recent technological development, many human rights activists may be under a constant threat of privacy-theft by the people in power who try to manipulate and/or oppress humanistic activities.

 

Moreover, instead of overt violence as seen in Mahatma Gandhi’s lifetime, nowadays in many countries the governments apparently use covert harassment techniques so the governments can torture them leaving little physical evidence and make the victims’ claims look like paranoiac delusion. In fact, there are several NPO’s and websites which revealed the cases of the victims who were forcibly institutionalized when they protested. For this reason, quite a few technologies are said to remain classified such as brainwave detectors combined with GPS and electromagnetic weapons as if such technologies did not exist so the government could use them monopolized  and not to mention, covertly.

 

Therefore, I would like to share as much true information as possible through social media –including this blog–concerning the recent rapid development in surveillance technologies , because the mainstream media would usually avoid reporting these facts for their self-interest. Furthermore, I would like to have discussions on this blog particularly about “individual’s privacy and the state,” which is supposed to be concerned with everyone of us. Accordingly, the readers’ feedbacks will be appreciated.

 

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THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand…

Thailand

Thailand (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT

Reducing Substance Abuse in Thailand

I choose to do this topic on a social network level and specifically chose to create a Facebook group named “The Five Precepts of Buddhist Practice” because  realize that substance abuse is a global problem that exists in big and small scale. Recently, I had to the opportunity to walk the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. It was very depressing and it is hard to believe there are people in America, the most powerful nation in the world, living in that kind of condition.  The problem maybe many things combined, it is evident that the majority of the people there are drug and alcohol abusers.  Whether in a big country like America or a small country like Thailand where I am from, substance abuse will ruin lives the same way.  Drugs and alcohol, once they take over a person’s life, they will ruin not only health, but destroy relationships, properties, and eventually take lives.  Addictions can be very hard to break.  I am hoping this forum I am creating will get people to come together and raise awareness.

I find that education is the key to enlighten people of the risk of substance abuse.  Educating people on what to do and how to prevent it from happening, I think, will help people live their lives better and happier. You do not have to be a Buddhist to follow the Five Precepts.  But it would help if you understand it and try to apply the rules to your life.  This topic is most beneficial to young adults who may be faced with peer pressure and on the verge to taking drugs.  If this forum will somehow reach someone and help them choose the right path, it is worth it.  I hope a lot of people will participate and I hope Buddha’s teaching will be helpful to everyone involved directly or indirectly in the way of spiritual leadership training.

The topic I choose to discuss about is addiction in Thailand.  Whether it is addiction to alcohol, drugs, or any kind of outside influence, it causes a person to be careless and mindless.  It alters a person’s mental ability and, more often than not, causes them to make bad judgment.  Being influenced by alcohol and/or drugs changes a person’s mind, attitude, judgment, and if a person is dependent on it, they can become highly addicted to it.  Once it gets to the point of addiction, it can ruin their health, tear up a family/relationship, cause them to lose their job or social status, and many other unpleasant and destructive circumstances

To be addicted to something causes you to lose your freedom – you need to have it, drink it, inhale it, inject it, or use it in order to survive and go on with your life.  That is a form of attachment.  In Buddhism, this form of addiction is breaking of the fifth precept (there are five main Precepts), which is to refrain from intoxication whether it is alcohol or drugs.

Poverty and homelessness issues often times stem from drug and alcohol abuse.  Once people become addicted to substance, they use more to forget their problems and to escape from pain.  The more they use, the more addicted they become.  The more addicted they become, the more trouble they are in.  It is a vicious cycle.  It is an addiction that requires both physical and mental help.

I believe the Buddha’s teaching, although set over 2500 years ago, can be applied back then and can be used in this day and age as well.  Drug and alcohol abuse is a big problem everywhere in the world.  It is the cause of many health issues.  Overdosing on drugs causes instant death while alcohol abuse shortens a person life.  It is a death sentence waiting to happen, and it is all from the addiction.

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Cognitively Incongruent

Education

Education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Cognitively Incongruent is a project to help spread the plethora of free educational resources available today, via any media available. Inspired by a colleague and my many acquaintances in education, this page is a means to spread information and awareness of the many resources available to people. Education has always been one of my greatest passions, with over a decade of educator experience in tutorial services and teaching facilities. Moreover, it is within my many interactions with people seeking educational help that I have faced many people desiring free and convenient resources that they can access on their own, which has now motivated me to create a centralized location for free educational resources available to anyone with internet access. I hope to promote the awareness of this database and the message that education can and is free, this being only a vehicle for the many resources and efforts of others out there.

My goal for cognitively incongruent is to provide a service learning environment/project where people can find and contribute free educational resources to help facilitate the education of others in any field that they are confident/proficient. Ultimately this service hopes to promote free education and the empowerment of community service in the form of Education, through the exposure to other people’s testimonies and contributions in free educational resources. This would also potentially help to promote people to find out that facilitating education or even contributing to the resources available is a means of fulfilling their Dharma, as I have.

Here is the URL

https://plus.google.com/u/1/106082725883525857817/about

This is strictly a free database of resources made by others and not owned by the host of Cognitively Incongruent. Please feel free to contact the authors of these resources and thank them for their efforts or help them spread their resources. Furthermore, to all who use, visit, interact, and promote this website, I welcome you and hope to inspire your enthusiasm to promote free education.

I would welcome any contributions to this database and momentum to help empower the spread of this resource. In addition, one of my greatest challenges, thus far, has been inspiring or making easily apparent (beyond the about section) the spiritual mission of this resource.

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What Do You Know?

Gini since WWII

Gini since WWII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, over 5000 Americans were asked about income inequality in the U.S.  Amazingly, wealth inequality in the U.S. is now greater than it was in the 1920s, just before the Great Depression.  Wealth inequality here is worse than the inequality found many poor third-world countries.

So, how many of these questions on wealth inequality can you answer correctly (answers at the end of the post)?

  1. When asked respondents to the survey mentioned above said the top 20% of Americans own this percent of the total American wealth:
    1. 32%
    2. 59%
    3. 84%
  2. What percentage of the wealth does the top 20% of Americans actually own?
    1. 32%
    2. 59%
    3. 84%
  3. 92% of the respondents (yes that is right, 92%) think this country has the ideal amount of wealth inequality:
    1. Mexico
    2. Russia
    3. Sweden
    4. France
  4. In this ideal country, what percent of the wealth does the top 20% own?
    1. 32%
    2. 59%
    3. 84%

If you are like most Americans, you will be surprised by the correct answers, and that brings up the question about how best to educate people about what is going on in today’s America. We have so many problems that we need accurate facts to determine what we want and to begin the process of making America work better. Now, I realize there is a percentage of society that prefers their own facts (the authoritarian 20%), but how best to reach the rest of us? There is a lot of innovation going on right now on to use social media to engage people on social issues. I don’t know if anybody knows yet what works best, but in my project I will be building small quizzes on different social issues.

Hopefully answering them will be fun for the people taking the quizzes as well as educational. I promise I will not create any quizzes purporting to tell you how to stay in a relationship with your partner, or how your horoscope will affect your life in the next three months. But I will try to engage and educate you, or even better, you will engage and educate me! If you have any ideas about what quizzes you would like to see, what quizzes you don’t want to see (!!!), or if you have a better idea how to engage and educate (or anything else), I’d love to hear from you. Write me a comment or two, or three (or…) if you have any feedback.

Okay, answers listed backwards to make it a bit harder for you to cheat look ahead.

4. (A); 3. (C); 2. (C); 1. (B)

P.S., the amount of total wealth owned by the top 20% is probably underreported since a huge amount (billions, trillions?) of U.S. wealth is illegally hidden in overseas accounts.

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Death, Dying, & Buddhism – A Pinterest Page

The educational social media project that I’d like to propose for the MDIV670 Spiritual Leadership course has to do with my concern regarding the lack of attention to and resources for those who are dying. Our American culture is very good at denying the reality of death and we tend to hide or disguise anything that hints of decay. We avoid discussions of death, shove our elderly in out-of-the-way retirement homes, and glorify youth and beauty. Additionally, many are aware that Buddhism offers a unique approach to death and dying, though it can be difficult to find out what this approach is. I have created a Pinterest account entitled “Death, Dying, and Buddhism,” where I have created ‘boards’ that offer resources for the dying and for those with dying loved ones, with a particular focus on the Buddhist approach to death and dying. In creating this site, I hope to allow people the space and opportunity to access the rich array of teachings, techniques, and symbolism offered by Buddhism to address and accept the reality of death and dying.  Among the boards will be those entitled:

  • Buddhist Books on Death and Dying
  • Other Books on Death and Dying
  • Buddhist Art on Death and Dying
  • Helpful Quotes by Buddhist Teachers
  • Quotes re: Contemplative & Palliative Care
  • Film on Death and Dying
  • Reflections on Death and Dying
  • Resources
  • Images of Death and Buddhism
  • Music and Mantras
  • Prayers

I have just begun accumulating ‘pins’ for these boards, and invite any suggestions or ideas that anyone may have to offer. Though I would like to keep the Pinterest site narrow enough to help those specifically with interest in the Buddhist approach, I am also more than happy to include those resources that are compatible with but not specific to Buddhism.

As Dr. Joe Loizzo put it: for both the dying and their caregivers, “the end of life often offers rare opportunities to affirm and deepen our highest human values—reconciling conflicts, sharing forgiveness and gratitude, deepening a sense of loving intimacy, and rising above our myopic experience of ourselves, our lives, and the world.” (Tricycle, Spring 2013) I am hoping this ‘Death, Dying, and Buddhism’ Pinterest space will enable such opportunities by consolidating resources for those looking either for help or to help in death and dying from the Buddhist and contemplative traditions.

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