Archive | Peace Efforts RSS for this section

Big Time Media Blew It Big Time – They Failed to Fact Check Donald Trump’s Denial of Human-caused Global Warming

 

President-elect Donald Trump’s pre and post U. S. Presidential Election statements describing his unscientific “belief” that global warming is not human-caused is flat wrong and the media should have corrected him. It is a scientifically accepted truism that human activity – especially coal and natural gas (methane) burning to generate electricity, petroleum product burning including automobile gasoline, diesel and jet fuel burning, the latter for use by the U. S.’s military aircraft, commercial airplanes and private jets, and humans having either paved over or replaced billions of acres of land formerly in tropical rain forests, prairies, wilderness, or in other lands containing carbon dioxide sequestering vegetation with greenhouse gas producing uses by humans.industries resulting changes in the climates on all of the Earth’s continents, the rising sea levels, worldwide, due to the measured acceleration of the melting of all the Earth’s glaciers, most notably Greenland’s, massive GreenlandIce Sheet  are very wrong and very threatening to our planet. Global warming, which is known to be an inevitable consequence of increased trapping of radiated heat energy at the earth’s surface which originates from the sun, due to the known increase in the volume of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and other human engineered trace gases), primarily caused from excessive burning of fossil fuels over time, and by the paving over of the planet’s land surface, is factually undeniable.

The U. S. mass media (TV, radio, newspapers, social media, other) are most responsible for Trump’s deception filled presidential election victory, which will exacerbate global warming heaviest toll on the children of today, future generations of people and other living things having no choice but to struggle to live on a much more inhospitable planet which is destined to become more and more unlivable as time goes on – because of our uncaring actions of excessive fossil fuel burning today.

People in the U.S. and elsewhere could do so much more than they’re currently doing to stop projects such as the Dakota Pipeline project, and other environmentally disastrous energy, transportation, and natural resource consuming unsustainable projects with countless unintended negative consequences that will unquestionably hurt the living conditions for people and all other life on Earth by simply making more thoughtful decisions in how and where they choose to live, recreate, work, travel, etc.

In particular, it is essential for all to MINIMIZE the burning of oil (fossil fuels) in recreational and other needless travel, especially long distance travel, by jet airplane and daily solo motor vehicle commuter travel. In that way, we all reduce the economic need oil and other fossil fuel extraction and pipeline projects, reducing the eventual burning of the fossil fuels and adding to the already catastrophic volumes of atmospheric greenhouse gases, scientifically established to be warming our planet, melting the earth’s polar ice caps, and virtually all the world’s glaciers, thus causing sea levels to rise, the oceans and the earth’s other water bodies to warm and acidify, killing off an untold number of earth’s species, including significant degradation of earth’s many wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef to say nothing about the countless loss of life and human suffering caused by the increase in extreme weather events including droughts, flooding and severe storms such as have already been transpiring across the globe including the heavy costs borne by our own United States over the past year and right now. The losses already occurring to the world and its people and other life on the planet are beyond measure yet our political representative are doing virtually nothing to stop this terrible tragedy to our planet and its future and those who will have no choice but to call it their home.

Please sign my petition for the U.S. Congress to establish and sufficiently fund federal and state programs that would offer the American public monetary incentives to reduce their unsustainable travel levels. Tell your elected representative to legislative act now before it’s too late! http://www.allthingsenvironmental.com.

Please do not patronize TV networks. Their so called “news” programs, sports coverage, and many other programs are financed heavily from automobile industry commercials, while Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television are funded by the travel industry, heavily promoting airline and long distance travel motorized travel, which contributes huge volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, from jets,automobiles and other fossil fuel powered vehicles, mostly for recreational purposes, leaving a permanent, indelible mark for succeeding generations live with. National Public Radio is funded by the Koch Brothers. They all say they are “neutral” on political issues. But Climate Change is Science. It is continuing and in fact accelerating, regardless if the president-elect believes in it or not. To say otherwise does not comport with the facts.

Either we act now or life as we know it on this planet may soon be history.

“The Sun will never disappear, but the Earth may not have many years…. Remember, Today… Well well well, oh, well”
– John Lennon (9 October 1940 -8 December 1980), musician, peace activist, artist, band leader of rock band “The Beatles” and founder of “The Plastic Ono Band”, humanist, dreamer … murder victim.

Advertisements

Reducing the Current Suicidal Rate of Global Warming and Planning for Adapting to Changing Climates Demands Review of Goals, Principles and Actions by World’s Past Leaders and the Movements and Demonstrations by the People Who Expressed their Demands for Change

bald-and-golden-eagle-information

Today’s Populations, Businesses and Governments Responsible for Ensuring and Prolonging Earth’s Beauty, Economic Potential, Safety, and Humane Conditions for All It’s People and Animals Ought Not Ignore Leadership, Inspirations, Dreams and Concerted Actions of Millions of People and Leaders Who Lived Before Us, or Are Still Amoung Us, for Help in Music Guidance, Leader

To be continued….

Upgraded and Expanded “Conservation Rewards” Proposal for Government, Individuals and Families to Reduce Wisconsin’s Fossil Fuel Burning Emissions Aired on WORT-FM, Madison, Radio’s “Public Access Hour” Show Monday, August 15th, on 89.9 FM, and Streamed on www.wortfm.org, from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST

You can listen to this one-hour music and narrative on this proposal and by going to the wortfm.org achives for August 15, 2016, the “Access Hour” radio call-in show, to hear songs of hope and despair about climate change, global warming, and our country and the world’s progress in ensuring (or not ensuring) world sustainability for people, plants and animal.

People must stop their actions that promote living just only for today as if tomorrow doesn’t matter.

A plan for all governments (state; federal, other entity who may wish to contribute) is proposed that would provide annual rewards (cash incomes) to individuals and families who take personal action to reduce their annual fossil fuel burning actions in transportation (cars; airplanes; household purchases) and in heating their homes and using electricity use from power plants that produce electricity derived from fossil fuel burning (coal; natural gas; diesel oil generators)

wortlogo

Tune in to 89.9 FM around Madison, or log into http://www.wortfm.org anytime and anywhere to hear and hopefully enjoy the show. Please join me and Bruce Springsteen in making “High Hopes” for all Wisconsinites and hopefully others a true reality in reducing  the growing threats of climate change, rising income inequality and poverty, and excessive militarization of in the world by the United States of America.

“Love is always the answer.” – Mississippi Charles Bevel, written on cover of his excellent CD called “Not of Seasons” that he sent personally to your’s truly, recorded 2000. The beautiful cover song “Not Season” has a very poignant  message – we ought not forget it. It reminds me of Elvis Presley’s song “In the Getto” written by Mac Davis.

Song: “GO“, CD:  “COME ON NOW SOCIAL” [Inspirational]

July 4th (or any day!) is a Good Day to Initiate Positive Changes in our Economy and Environment

bald-and-golden-eagle-information

This post is being offered as a work in process. Readers are encouraged to submit constructive comments, all of which will be considered in final development of the post.

The inspiration for this post has come from: University of Wisconsin professor Bassam Shakhashiri, who has informed so many children and adults in the Madison area through his “Science is Fun” shows.

The post is also inspired by the Steve Miller Band’s performance of the song “Fly Like an Eagle”, played to a full capacity Breese Steven Field venue in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 1, 2016. The song can be heard and the lyrics read by clicking on the above description. It is well worth listening too and applies more now due to all the strife in the world than ever before.

Due to wars, poverty and the threatening and dangerous changes to climates around the world (23 people died from extreme rain fall and flooding in West Virginia), president Obama and other world leaders have told us actions to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are “urgent”. Certainly, former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916 – 2005) founder of the first Earth Day, held April 22, 1970 (and every 46 years thereafter on April that same date), would see little to celebrate our country’s 240th birthday today.

Record levels of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and oceans, leading to deadly heatwaves, storms, and record levels of global average temperature. Travel via driving and flying contribute more than one-third of the U.S.’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a study by Sabrina McCormick, Jaime Madrigano, and Emma Zinsmeister: “Preparing for Extreme Heat Events: Practices in Identifying Mortality”, published in April 2016 in the journal Health Security, the authors make the following assertion:
“Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme heat events. These events affect cities in increasingly abrupt and catastrophic ways; yet, many of the deaths caused by exposure to heat have gone unnoticed or are inaccurately identified, resulting in a lack of urgency in addressing this issue. We aim to address this under-identification of deaths from heat waves in order to better assess heat risk. We investigated death records in New York City from 2010 to 2012 to identify characteristics that vary between deaths officially categorized as caused by heat wave exposure (oHDs) and those possibly caused by heat (pHDs). We found that oHDs were more often black and of a younger age than would typically be expected. We also found that there was a lack of evidence to substantiate that an oHD had occurred, using the NYC official criteria. We conclude that deaths from heat waves are not being accurately recorded, leading to a mis-estimation….”

Science shows us that the global warming is contributing to higher sea levels and a 30 per cent increase in the acidity of the oceans, leading to declines of species and in losses to fishing and tourism industries, worldwide.

Meanwhile, poverty  and income inequality in the United States and elsewhere are having devastating effects on millions of individuals, families and so many unfortunate children. A recent study shows children growing up in poverty suffer permanent brain damage.

President John F. Kennedy told us in 1961 to”Ask not what your country can do for, ask what you can do for your country”. The best thing U.S. citizens can do everyday is to minimize their daily and annual greenhouse gas emissions.

The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Second Continental  Congress on July 4, 1776, reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

Our government officials at the state and federal level have failed in not passing legislation that meaningfully reduces Wisconsin and the U.S.’ catastrophic levels of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. What is needed is that our government at the federal and state level should by now have enacted programs which offer meaningful positive financial incentives (dollars) to the public to reduce total annual motor vehicle driving, flying, and using electricity and heating that have been derived through fossil fuel burning.

Reducing the amount of fossil fuel burning in the state and country would have “cost reducing” benefits as well, such as reductions in oil spills, train derailment explosions, and the financial and cost of expanding highways, airports and fossil fuel fired power plants.

Burning fossil fuels, whether this is done in highway motor vehicles, jet airplanes, sea going ships, recreational motor boats, gas or coal-fired electricity generation plants,  or in furnaces to heat one’s home, has a pronounced adverse effect on public and animal health, worldwide, by increasing breathable air particle pollution while at the same time adding to the record high and ever growing, catastrophe creating, quantities of heat generating greenhouse gas volumes in the atmosphere.

The mounting volumes of these gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous  oxide) are known to be warming the planet, accelerating rising sea levels around the world, causing more acidic and warmer oceans (bad for sea life and coral reefs), stronger and more costly and deadly storms (Hurricane Sandy, Houston, TX and West Virginia floods), and unparalleled drought and wildfires (California , Alberta Canada, Africa, Australia, Middle East, which has led to major upheavals in countries’ economies, population migrations and known calamities of major human and other life fatalities.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), monthly global average temperatures for May 2016 were the highest recorded monthly average global temperatures recorded since the agency initiated monitoring Earth’s monthly temperature values  in 1880, setting a string of consecutive record high monthly average temperatures for our Earth’s combined global ocean and land surfaces in the 137-year record.

May 2016 was characterized by warmer to much warmer than average conditions across Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central America, northern South America, northern Europe, Africa, Oceania, and parts of southern and eastern Asia, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above. Areas with record warmth included much of Southeast Asia and parts of northern South America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and northern and eastern Australia. Near- to cooler-than-average conditions were present across much of the contiguous U.S., central and southern South America, and much of central Asia.

The sooner that people living today accept the fact that their own actions – such as driving gasoline and other greenhouse gas emitting fuels powering their highway motor vehicles, and choosing to fly today’s jet fuel (a fossil fuel) powered airplanes, and using electricity derived from burning fossil fuels and burning natural gas (another fossil fuel) – and deforestation and cement paving  and other human activities that are known to be adding to the already known dangerous and abnormally high concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming and acidifying of the earth’s oceans – the better off  things will be for all future life on Earth.

atime

 

It’s Now or Never – Please Join the Movement to Save Our Planet from Runaway Global Warming by Signing “Preserve Our Climate” Petition

220px-Strawberry_Fields_Forever (1)
It’s now or never, folks. What’s wrong with making extra income by helping to save our planet from run away global warming? If not for us, how about for today’s and tomorrow’s children? How about as an alternative to the federal government raising the minimum wage?

Our USA spends over $600 billion a year on military defense, and plans to spend trillions of dollars upgrading its nuclear weapons (see yesterday’s story on this at http://www.democracynow.org). This week, the U.S. Armed Services Committee of the House of Representative voted to approve 3 new combat ready naval ships, one more than the Navy had asked for!

In addition, our President Obama signed a multi-billion dollar spending bill on December 3, 2015 funding a major and costly rebuilding and expansion of the capacity of the country’s highway system, providing for millions of cars and trucks burning fossil fuels, free of charge. And rebuilding highways puts more millions of tons of greenhouse gases from the cement making process and large equipment emissions into our and future Earth inhabitant’s atmosphere and oceans, again, free of charge.

And next up is Congress’s continued funding of the nation’s aviation system, to provide the flying public with greater airport capacity, meaning more pavement of the landscape and more people flying, adding million more tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and oceans, again, free of charge. All of these billions of tons of emissions may be free of monetary charge, but they are certainly not “free” of cost. The ultimate cost of degrading the planet’s atmosphere, oceans and all growing things is insurmountable  —  upholding the status quo is clearly very, very costly – to us now and to all those who will have no choice but to live on the earth bequeath them.

It’s no wonder today’s children are getting increasing worried about what is reported to be happening to their future of their planet. They have good reason to be concerned, don’t you think? I know I do, and have said so for the last 16 years of my life, to my former employer (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – as a whistleblower), to my family,  to public and community radio , and to our area’s newspapers readers.

I also helped formed the nonprofit “Preserve Our Climate” with two area women, working to the inform Madison area people about the issue in the first few years of this century, holding workshops, funding a play at the University of Wisconsin Theater, and trying to keep “Kites of Ice” possible in Madison – the organizers ultimately decided the reliability of our Madison area lakes to have safe ice all winter long was no longer the case, thanks to a warming climate caused by an increasingly stronger “blanket” of greenhouse gases since Earth’s human population started burning ever greater quantities of fossil fuels in power plants, transportation, agriculture and in the construction industries.

Others concerned about the future of Earth’s climate have tried to change things, as well. But unfortunately, all the efforts have been to little avail, because the “powers that be” want to keep things the way they are, promoting the increased burning of fossil fuels often for frivolous activities. They are not only fools, what they are doing is criminal. Things will never be the same – they can never be.

But we have to do what we can to prevent a worldwide catastrophe of unimaginable dimensions. You can sign the Preserve Our Climate petition here. Then IMAGINE a world the famous peace activist and musician John Lennon believed was possible, until his life was taken.. And speaking of John Lennon, we need to “Give Peace a Chance”., and stop funding the militarism of the world as the famous civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about .  Peace is what most everyone who doesn’t profit from war wants; and not the continuing destruction of the planet and death and injuries to so many of Earth’s human and other populations.  Peace on Earth  is what all civilized beings need and deserve, not more “investment” in war.

Naomi Klein: “We’re out of time on climate change. And Hillary Clinton helped get us here.”

atime

Naomi Klein shared her latest conclusions on how close Earth is to the “tipping point” on global warming and climate change in an April 7, 2016 opinion piece in The Guardian.com, and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton actions that have made things worse, not better.

Unfortunately, there are so many other federal and state politicians, virtually all so-called public and commercial-funded  media sources, and others who have also “helped” us get where we are now –some have even shown they understood and were aware of the significance of the problem being created (oil industry, possibly auto, truck and airline industries, highway, bridge and airport building industries, coal mining industry, possibly others) yet, almost unbelievably,  chose to continue selling the fuel despite knowing the the significance and potential for calamity for current and future generations.

The path to achieving sustainability on Earth for humans and most other species living on our planet is, unfortunately, rapidly narrowing. It could soon close, say the great many of IPCC climate scientists, and as a result jeopardizing the lives of children living today and in the future. Indeed, there are far too many people in the U.S. and most other developed countries who have not seen fit to overcome their dependence on fossil fuels for activities such as driving motor vehicles, flying jetliners, using products and services made more readily available because of subsidized fuel costs, conserving energy in their homes and mansions, and their choice of a lifestyle which is grossly overdependent on the burning fossil fuels in spite of the now widely accepted crisis which the president of the United States appropriately calls “urgent”.

In short, our continuing with our “business as usual” economy – one centered around the philosophy that we should “eat, drink and be merry” now, while throwing caution to the wind; a philosophy that we can eat our cake and still have it for tomorrow – is unfairly going to saddle the children of today and tomorrow with a planet that is, for all intents and purposes, dying, and thus less likely to sustain life in the not too distant future.

When you place a large kettle of cold water on a hot stove burner, one would not expect to see the water immediately come to a boil. It would take several minutes of heating for the water to reach the boiling point of 212 degrees F.. So it is with adding more greenhouse gases to the volumes of such gases already present in the atmosphere. At some point, scientists predicted the surface waters of Earth’s oceans would begin to show warming. Such warming has now been measured, along with the increase in sea level from thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers, worldwide. The warming of the oceans is increasing, ever so slowly because of the tremendous volume of water the Earth’s 5 oceans, but increasing at a faster rate with the continuing accumulation of more and more atmospheric greenhouse gases, which are cumulative over time

Clearly, our burning such vast quantities of fossil fuels in transportation and for electricity today, while paying nothing for the great harm being inflicted on future generations, is a monumental injustice. The damage being created by the present and recently passed generation’s fuel burning activities is undoubtedly huge and devastating to future societies and animal life – stronger and more deadly storms, worse flooding, longer droughts, hotter heat waves, and impairments to water and other life-sustaining resources and infrastructure.  Calling this anything other  than a crime against humanity seems too kind. The human and economic cost linked to people and animals who will be more exposed to degraded living conditions and more dangerous weather extremes is very real and predictable. Those of our society set on continuing to uphold the status quo of “business as usual”,  as our earth continues to warm under the blanket of a thicker greenhouse gas laden atmosphere have chosen the wrong path.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000). Each book has been translated into over 25 languages worldwide. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s and reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. Additionally, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, El Pais, L’Espresso and The New Statesman, among many other publications.

Naomi is a member of the board of directors for 350.org, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. She is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. In 2014 she received the International Studies Association’s IPE Outstanding Activist-Scholar award and in 2015 she received The Izzy Award honoring outstanding achievement in independent journalism and media. She holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia. (Photo by Kourosh Keshiri.)

The Dalai Lama Teaches Fellow Tibetans and City of Madison, Wisconsin, and Later in the Week, Geneva, Switzerland on the “Oneness of Humanity”

daililama3
Photo/Sherab Lhatsang

The Worldwide Goals of All of Humanity Achieving Peace of Mind through Love, Compassion, Meeting their Responsibilities in Reducing and Adapting to Climate Change, Helping Others, and “the Oneness of Humanity” Highlighted the Dalai Lama’s Discussions Lead by The Dalai Lama in Madison, Wisconsin and Geneva, Switzerland

When the Dalai Lama arrived at the Madison Masonic Center in Madison, Wisconsin on March 8, 2016, a small group of Tibetans with flags and placards were waiting quietly to welcome him. He was met as he stepped out of his car by President of the Wisconsin Tibetan Association (WTA), Tsetan Dolkar, about 1,050 people, including 700 Tibetans, were gathered to listen to him speak inside the Masonic Temple. Sharpa Tulku moderated the occasion and first introduced children of the WTA who cheerfully sang a song of gratitude to the Dalai Lama. Amdo Yeshi Gyamtso read a report summarizing the activities of the Association.

In her introduction, Tsetan Dolkar spoke particularly about students’ achievements in a wide range of studies up to and including PhD. She noted the Dalai Lama’s advice that compassion is essential for our survival as human beings. She expressed thanks to everyone who had contributed to making the occasion possible.

Local Congressman Mark Pocan stepped forward to offer the Dalai Lama a traditional white silk scarf, and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi introduced the Dalai Lama to the audience. The Dalai Lama’s three major commitments to the promotion of human values: (1) to ensure human happiness; (2) harmony among religious traditions and (3) preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture. Executive Parisi said that as a mark of support, the Tibetan flag is flying alongside the Stars and Stripes over the Dane County Executive Building for the duration of the Dalai Lama’s visit.

The Dalai Lama:

“Indeed, it is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to meet all of you Tibetans and friends of Tibetans here. We’ve been in exile now nearly 57 years, but wherever we are local people have been friendly and supportive. Here, too, the local administration and friends have shown us genuine warm feelings, as well as support for our just cause. Thank you.

“I am glad to hear that our community here has a sense of responsibility both as Tibetans and as local citizens. In Tibet people still face great difficulties, which is why it is important that we preserve our identity. This is not just a matter of how we look, but of knowing our own language, how to use it and the significant body of knowledge, the Nalanda tradition, it is capable of expressing. In the past, only monastics, not laypeople, really studied these things. This needs to change. Already nuns have taken up the study of classic texts and several of them will shortly be awarded Geshe degrees.

“I have also been encouraging laypeople to study the classic texts. You young people should try to do that too. It will enrich what it means to be a Tibetan, which is what maintaining our identity is about.”

The Dalai Lama said that whenever he meets other people he considers himself to be just one among 7 billion human beings. He said that on that level there are no differences between us, whether you think of nationality, faith or whether people are rich or poor, educated or uneducated. He remarked that we are all born the same way, and brought up in the shelter of our mother’s affection. This is why all 7 billion human beings have the same potential to cultivate warm heartedness. Equally, scientific findings that constant anger, fear and hatred undermine our immune system applies. It’s common sense, he continued, that families where love and affection thrive are happy even when they are poor, but families, who, despite their wealth, are riven with jealousy and suspicion are miserable.

The Dalai Lama said the prospect of humanity being more peaceful depends on individuals being peaceful within. He affirmed that because of our brains we are capable of thinking ahead and planning for the future. Through education and awareness we can cultivate physical health and a calm mind. He said we need to cultivate compassion, yet modern education tends to focus on material development rather than fostering inner values. This is why it’s important to find ways to incorporate ethics and human values into our education, something the Dalai Lama said he is committed to support.

He explained that as a Buddhist monk his second major commitment, at a time when the unthinkable is happening and people are killing each other in the name of religion, is to promoting religious harmony. He said this is possible because the common aim of all religions is to foster affection and build friendship. He declared that he has many friends among Christians, Hindus, Jews and Moslems, as well as Buddhists. At the age of 81 he said he remains committed to working to promote human values and religious harmony and appealed to his listeners that if they think of him as their friend, they should do so too.

Taking up the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’, which is primarily a teaching about altruism, he said: “This is not just about accumulating knowledge but is rooted in taking refuge in the Three Jewels and generating the awakening mind. We can compare the usual four line verse for taking refuge to the words we say when offer our food – ‘To the Buddha the unsurpassed teacher, the Dharma, the unsurpassed refuge and the Sangha, the unsurpassed guides, I make this offering.’ When we say the Buddha is unsurpassed we don’t think of him as powerful like a creator, but as sharing with us the way to liberation, a way he has already gone. When we say the Dharma is unsurpassed we don’t just mean the scriptural teachings, but the realization that arises from implementing them in our minds. This refers to our training in morality, concentration and wisdom. Such a refuge enables us to eliminate the ignorance that is the root of suffering.

“As Shantideva says:

Although seeking to avoid pain,
We run headlong into suffering.
We long for happiness, but foolishly
Destroy it, as if it were our enemy.

“Ignorance is a distortion of reality that we can only overcome through wisdom. And when we refer to the Sangha as the unsurpassed guide, we think not only of those in robes, but of anyone who has actually implemented the teachings. So, in the first two lines of the verse we’re going to recite, we take refuge and aspire to enlightenment for all sentient beings and in the latter two lines we generate the awakening mind of bodhichitta. This confirms our natural inclination to seek happiness and avoid suffering, but as Shantideva says again our tendency to self-centredness leads us in the opposite direction:

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.

“Selfishness leads to shortcomings while concern for others yields advantages. Although the achievement of Buddhahood is to help other beings, we should remember:

Buddhas do not wash unwholesome deeds away with water,
Nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands,
Neither do they transplant their own realization into others.
Teaching the truth of suchness they liberate (beings).

“In the Mahayana approach to taking refuge we take refuge until we attain the essence of enlightenment. The objective is to help all sentient beings alleviate their sufferings. The third line says, ‘through the merit of engaging in generosity and so forth, may I attain enlightenment for all beings.’ However, this is not only about merit but about wisdom too. If we investigate the ‘I’ who takes refuge, we find that our sense of a self that is intrinsically existent is without basis. It’s something we impose on the collection of body and mind.

“Analysis is not something we accomplish quickly, but it is powerful and effective. It’s something I’ve undertaken for 60 years and it has a real effect. It undermines our misconception of self and in doing so it counters our disturbing emotions. The cognitive therapist Aaron Beck told me that when we are angry, the object of our anger seems wholly negative, but this is 90% mental projection.

The Dalai Lama recommended adopting the Four Reliances: reliance on the teaching and not the teacher; reliance on the meaning and not merely the words; reliance on the definitive and not the interpretable meaning and reliance on noble wisdom and not on (ordinary) consciousness.

Turning again to the Eight Verses, he said they were composed by Langri Thangpa a student of Potowa who belonged to the lineage of those who study the classic texts. The main point of the text, which is brief but effective, is the cultivation of altruism, which relates to the conventional awakening mind.

The Dalai Lama was invited to lunch at the Overture Center for the Arts by the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Rebecca Blank.

After lunch, the Dalai Lama participated in a panel discussion which touched again on the importance of peace of mind and the interest that scientists are now taking in it. The Dalai Lama pointed out that what really destroys our peace of mind is our disturbing emotions. He commended a greater role for women leaders, suggesting that if the world’s almost 200 nations were led by women the world might be a safer place. He referred to encouraging scientific evidence that basic human nature is compassionate, which means that we can train ourselves further that way.

He noted that corruption is a result of shortsightedness, low moral standards and greed. And while observing that real generosity occurs when there is no expectation of a reward, he reminded those listening of the importance of giving with respect for the recipient. He said that it is also possible to visualize being generous.

He said the media have an important role to educate people about positive developments, which would involve taking a more balanced view of human activity and potential. As to what he would like scientists to study to contribute to creating a better world, he replied that they should accept that their knowledge remains limited and to approach their work with an open mind. He recalled warnings he received nearly 40 years ago to beware of science as a ‘killer of faith’. He overlooked this advice and entered into dialogue with scientists that in the course of time has been mutually beneficial and enriching.

dalilama6
A view of the Madison Masonic Center Theater during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teaching in Madison, WI, USA on March 8, 2016. Photo/Sherab Lhatsang

Also attending the Dali Lama speaking engagement at the Masonic Center was City of Madison Police Mike Chief Koval, who posted the following on his blog under the title “Peacemaking” on March 15, 2016:

Peacemaking

March 15, 2016 8:24 AM

With his recent visit to Madison, the 14th Dalai Lama spoke again to a packed theater at the Overture Center. His message was at once simple and profound: World peace is developed from inner peace, and the foundation for both is love. To best serve as guardians of democracy, police must be more than peacekeepers, we must also be peacemakers. One calls for police to respond to and preserve peace while the other requires us to create and perpetuate peace. Both are necessary dimensions to the compassionate guardianship members of the Madison Police Department strive to effectuate every day. As the Dalai Lama reminds us, to do this work we must start by creating opportunities to foster inner peace. To this end MPD is poised to embark on a groundbreaking collaboration with Dr. Richie Davidson and his team of researchers from the Center for Healthy Minds here at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Our officers may encounter dangerous and unpredictable critical incidents on any given day, and must also deal with the additional stressors of shift work, lost sleep, public criticism and increasing scrutiny.

While many officers regularly incorporate a variety of individual wellness practices, and the Department has several support systems in place to promote officer wellness including our City Employee Assistance Program, Critical Incident Stress Management Program, Officer Involved Critical Incident Aftercare protocol and Peer Support Program, we continuously seek out opportunities to help improve officer well-being through proactive and preventative practices. This is a critical issue not just for our officers and their families, but for the Madison community as a whole.

As reflected both in the Presidential Task Force on 21st Century Policing report as well as a recently released set of recommendations from a use of force task force stemming from the Dane County Law Enforcement and Leaders of Color Collaboration, the health and well-being of police officers is inextricably linked to the health and well-being of the communities they serve. Officers who are resilient in the face of stress and trauma will be happier, healthier, and more productive. They will have greater capacity to respond in an adaptive manner to critical incidents as well as non-traumatic daily interactions, and they will have the strength and resources to serve as effective guardians of this community.

Officers train. We train a lot. And what Dr. Richie Davidson’s world-renowned research in the field of contemplative neuroscience tells us – much of which has included studying the Dalai Lama and other veteran practitioners of meditation – is that we can also train for well-being. In working with Dr. Davidson and his research team at the Center for Health Minds, we are exploring a pilot study designed to investigate the effects of Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) on police officer physical and mental well-being. Planning for this project is underway, and we are working hard to secure a source of funding. We are excited about this collaboration with the Center for Health Minds and anticipate that this pilot study will be but the first step in an ongoing partnership. It is our hope that this project may come to serve as a model for how police departments across the country can promote officer well-being, with potential cascading benefits throughout the department and for the communities we serve.

We are thankful to Dr. Davidson and the Center for Healthy Minds for the invitation and privilege to have heard the Dalai Lama speak here in Madison last week, and we look forward to the opportunity to partner around our shared commitment to cultivating peace.

Dalilamachiefkovel

Dalai Lama in Geneva, Switzerland

Prior to a discussion human rights at an event sponsored by the United Nations (UN) the Daili Lama met with journalists on March 11, 2016. Geneva, Switzerland, The Dalai Lama spoke of on the “Oneness of Humanity” and explained to the audience his three commitments. He recommended that education should emphasize the inner values of (1) warmheartedness, (2) tolerance and (3) forgiveness. He observed that although religion has been a source of happiness for thousands of years, sadly, today, it is becoming a source of hatred.
DailiLama-Geneva-N02_19

Later that day, the Dalai Lama participated in a discussion on the theme human rights in front of the Human Rights Council’s 31st session and members of the Tibetan community (above photos taken at UN in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, by Olivier Adam ), with Nobel Laureates Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman and Leila Alikarami, and an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist representing Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

“We are talking about the future of humanity,” the Dalai Lama said. “No matter how small our voice here may be, it is essential we speak up”, he said.

“Sometimes people say all is well with the world, but they are mistaken. We are facing many problems. During my lifetime I have witnessed continual conflict and bloodshed in the course of which millions of people have been killed. We need to ask where we went wrong, what qualities we lack and why violations of human rights take place. Answering these questions and creating peace will require wisdom and compassion.

“Although I am a Buddhist monk, I am skeptical that prayers alone will achieve world peace. We need instead to be enthusiastic and self-confident in taking action.”

He said those now causing trouble and disturbing peace in the world are also confident, but are insufficiently moved by basic human values. Therefore, if we are to create a more peaceful world in the future, we need to introduce warmheartedness and secular ethics into our general education system.

The Dalai Lama said climate change and the ups and downs of the global economy are problems that affect us all. They are not confined to national boundaries. Focusing on secondary differences between us like race, religion, nationality and gender, stokes our inclination to divide people into ‘us’ and ‘them’, which easily becomes a basis for conflict. He stressed that if we remember the oneness of humanity and think of each other as brothers and sisters we can overcome that potential for violence.