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28india04-master675President Obama attended India’s Republic Day parade Monday, a stunning display of military might, including lavish floats, dance performances, and daredevil feats on motorcycles. Helicopters and fighter jets flew overhead. Military equipment rolled down Rajpath, complete with tanks, rocket launchers and regiments of Indian armed forces marching in formation.

Yet there’s a hidden side to the India political landscape. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a savvy politician, with more than 6 million Twitter followers and ranked by Forbes as the 15th most powerful person.

In the real world, Modi would be labeled as a “dick.” During his political ascent, he kept his marriage a secret for decades, admitting only last year that his wife existed. Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi is a retired teacher living in a small town in Modi’s Gujarat home state. And although she’s not heard from Modi in years, she still hopes to join him one day in the capital as his spouse. After their marriage, Modi never returned. He never divorced either, even after becoming the high-profile chief minister of Gujarat and then Prime Minister.

Modi seems too self-absorbed. From afar, the suit Modi wore to meet President Obama appears to be navy blue with wide gold stripes. Yet the stripes were actually embroidered letters that spelling out Modi’s name. I don’t know, maybe he forgets who he is and requires such constant reminder.

Still, with all the pomp and circumstance, one would figure India could display something more than modern day weaponry. How about living wages, jobs and women’s rights? In the backdrop of Obama’s visit, there is no easy explanation of a woman’s life in modern day India. Depending upon where you live, whether you are rich or poor, almost every Indian woman has one thing in common: they have most certainly experienced some form of sexual harassment.

As traditional values dissolve, modern values are not widely accepted.

As the New York Times reported, “… in a pointed message, President Obama said India needed to combat human trafficking and slavery, elevate the status of girls and women in society, promote religious and racial tolerance and empower young people. He also argued that India had an obligation to curb greenhouse gases despite its economic challenges.”

Every girl’s life matters,” he said, as his wife, Michelle Obama, watched from the audience. “Every daughter deserves the same chance as our sons. Every woman should be able to go about her day, to walk the street or ride the bus, and be safe and be treated with respect and dignity. She deserves that.”

Just before the speech, Obama met with Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has long fought child slavery in India. Mr. Satyarthi told him there were still five million children living as slaves worldwide.

What if Pranab and Modi dedicated Obama’s entire visit to the referendum of social reform required for modernizing India. By focusing on education, social justice for women, healthcare, quality living away from slums, they could start dealing a severe blow to the prevalent caste system. Instead of a military procession, what if Pranab and Modi opened a chain of schools, hospitals, orphanages and libraries throughout the country? What if India provided relief during famines, earthquakes and epidemics?

That would be very Buddhist, very Christian. What if Pranab and Modi created positive karma for others and not for themselves? Should they have done so, they could transform the law of cause and effect by helping others create their own destiny.

Maybe all of us should do as much.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 6.32.21 PMSenator Joni Ernst delivered the Republican Party’s official response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, just days after being sworn in for the first time as a member of the august body.

The 44-year-old combat veteran and mother who grew up on an Iowa farm, was a rural county auditor just a few years ago came across like the Viagra guy on TV – totally plagued by a false smile and stupid stories. Her rhetoric darted on key GOP responses – repeal the Affordable Care Act, reduce government spending, support the troops, approve the Keystone pipeline and wear bread bags on your shoes.

Lizz Winstead’s tweet was hilarious, “Joni Ernst just lost the gluten intolerant people watching who are like, I can’t eat bread! How do I keep my poor feet dry!”

Ernst reiterated common GOP themes without providing any substance. Her celeb-cause to crush government overspending probably doesn’t apply to the Ernst family farm having benefited from over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2006.

Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies while the brothers’ late grandfather received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001.

As a sign of doing what’s right, I’m sure she’s giving all that back.

Terrorism was an interesting point.

“Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them.”

“The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.”

Debate is one thing. Action is another. For a while last night I presumed she’d march to the Middle East sand dunes and kick ISIL’s ass with the those stiletto Camo Heels she wore. But she promised debate, not action. Real change is hard.

Then there’s Boehner. He looked like man having a colonoscopy. In a video released hours before Obama’s speech, the Ohio Republican obliquely criticized the president for pursuing big-government policies. ”Tonight isn’t about the president’s legacy,” Boehner, dressed in a shirt and tie, says in the video, looking straight at the camera. “It’s about the people’s priorities. Making government bigger isn’t going to help the middle class. More growth and more opportunity will help the middle class, and those are the Republican priorities.”

As a Buddhist, social action is simply concerned with relieving suffering; ultimately, in creating social conditions which will favor the ending of suffering through the individual achievement of transcendent wisdom. Fundamental questions of social action cannot aren’t so logical or rational. We have complicated issues – and neither of these issues will ever be solved by repeated political rhetoric.

I was hoping the GOP would offer something more enlightening. In response, America received the same shit we’ve been eating for the last six years. In the end, one blogger got it right, “Ernst looked like a flight attendant describing all the ways we’re about to die.”

I guess I’ll stock up on a few bread bags.

celebrities-charlie-hebdo-violence_833D60E342464269AC0AE417BF4A4246Four cartoonists, journalists and bystanders were murdered by Islamist radicals in the offices of Charlie Hebdo. In the aftermath, much of the world rallied in solidarity with cartoonists and their right to free speech. Count me as another voice in solidarity.

It should be noted that Charlie Hebdo didn’t pull punches. Critics claimed the newspaper pushed the boundaries of decency by portraying nuns masturbating, popes wearing condoms and Muhammad in pornographic poses.

Still, as a whole, free speech has been under a conservative eye for some time.

For instance, whether Sony’s computer hack and extortion was the result of a ‘pissed-off’ employee or North Korea, the ability to distribute an uncensored film was targeted. When a treasure trove of highly personal information led Sony to censor themselves, free speech became the larger victim – simply because of widespread fears of violence. And for a while, caving emboldened those who hate free speech.

Sony’s isn’t alone. Russian President Putin fines bloggers, citizen journalists, and activists failing to register as members of the media, and further fines if bloggers failing to uphold strict media rules. Online media expert and high-profile Russian blogger Anton Nosik told the agency that China is “much more liberal” than Russia.

On Friday Saudi Arabia began publicly flogging a blogger sentenced to 1,000 blows, 10 years in prison and a large fine for starting a website critical of the country’s religious establishment. Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, stated Mr. Badawi would face “the inhumane punishment of a thousand lashes in addition to serving a 10-year sentence in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion.”

In 2010, Jetsun Pema, the younger sister of the Dalai Lama, was scheduled to present a lecture at the Festival of Tibetan Spirituality, Arts, and Culture in Bangkok, Thailand. She was denied a visa because her presence might be seen as a Tibetan political statement by the Thai government.

Then there’s the Chinese. The Chinese government imprisoned three brothers of a Washington-based reporter for Radio Free Asia, apparently intensifying its suppression of free speech coverage of the troubled province of Xinjiang. The harassment of Hoshur’s family started after reporting on an Uighur torture victim. Additionally, in September, China sentenced moderate Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment for “advocating separatism” and voicing support for terrorism, a move that the White House condemned as persecution of someone who merely expressed peaceful dissent.

When the Sony hack occurred, Columnist Deon Price argued that in the wake of The Interview, there should have been no rally in support of freedom of speech. Instead, there should have been a rally protesting Sony Pictures and their irresponsibility.

I couldn’t disagree more.

The problem free speech oppressors fail to comprehend is that free thinkers cannot be silenced. The reason we live in a free society is that offensive speech is allowed. Humor exposes the vices and follies of the powerful and is a wonderful means of resistance for ordinary citizens. One may not like someone’s particular thought process or viewpoint, but I like knowing one has the right to like or not to like it.

Laughter is the most terrifying sound to any and all terrorists, especially when such laughter is born from a satirical caricature, drawn from a cartoonist’s hand. For this reason, the pen is mightier than the sword. Ironically, the terrorists failed, as they emboldened surviving Charlie Hebdo staff to print 1 million copies of their next edition.

From a strict Buddhist perspective, speech is a very powerful tool. If we verbally attack someone, those words linger for years. On the other hand, well thought out words can stop conflict, make friends and heal rifts. This is the power of speech and this is why Buddha included Right Speech in the Eightfold Path.

While I concur with Buddha’s right speech perspective, I’m not about to censor anyone whose views conflict. Their words and perspective may establish credible dialogue. Thus, while I haven’t read any of its publications, I’m buying Charlie Hebdo’s next edition. And I’m buying Sony’s “The Interview.”

With that, my personal message to French citizens is I stand in support.

And my message to all upcoming terrorists? Simple … fuck you!

ITF4In the latest episode of Person of Interest If-Then-Else, Samaritan unleashes an attack on the stock market. Root, Finch, Reese, and Fusco attempt to counter the stock market crash by installing a computer program reversing Samaritan’s virus.

Root, Finch, Reese, and Fusco walk into a trap as Samaritan operatives surround the building. Trapped inside, the machine runs through possible scenarios. In the midst of the chaos, the machine is like the eye of the storm, calmly slowing everything down and weighing options.

The machine actually participates in a Star Trek like Kobayashi Maru. The story of the Kobayashi Maru is a test from the Star Trek universe—an unwinnable scenario designed to show the true colors of a commander under intense combat—a Starfleet cadet is given a mission to rescue a distressed ship. Little do they know the test is programmed to make this impossible.

The cadet faces a decision:

  • Attempt to rescue the freighter’s crew and passengers, which involves violating the Neutral Zone and potentially provoking the Klingons into an all-out war; or
  • Abandon the ship, potentially preventing war but leaving the freighter’s crew and passengers to die.

In If-Then-Else, the machine plays various simulations, with all possibilities ending badly. Similar to the Kobayashi Maru test where both the starship and the freighter are destroyed, the Person of Interest audience is forced to wait and watch as everyone, except Fusco dies agonizing deaths.

The real world problem is that Root, Finch, Reese, Fusco and Shaw face adversaries who do not play by the rules. Yet Finch reminds to never … ever … cheat. And just like Person of Interest, we’re taught ethical manners, lest we else face expulsion and castigation. The better option, as the Kobayashi Maru teaches, is to step outside the rules of the game – that we can succeed against no-win scenarios.

Some of my fans will question and complain, that I being a Buddhist am claiming cheating is good. The same complaints were heard when Captain Kirk “cheated” in order to pass the Kobayashi Maru test.

One important lesson of If-Then-Else comes from Harold Finch. “Chess is just a game. Real people are not pieces.” And that’s true. In the everyday world, people leave for work and die. They have a heart attack, get shot, have a car accident, get murdered, fall at work, etc., etc. That’s real.

In the If-Then-Else episode, Greer states Samaritan is needed. So I ask, do we need a Samaritan? In fact, some claim we already have a version of Samaritan. If you think a Samaritan is not required, then I offer:

On January 7, at 11:30 – Car arrives in front of the building on Rue Nicolas Appert where Charlie Hebdo’s office is located. Two people dressed in black and hooded emerge from the vehicle carrying automatic weapons called Kalashnikovs. The attack lasted five minutes, 12 dead.

~Terrorist Attack on French Newspaper~

Life doesn’t always play by ethical rules. One must learn to think creatively when considering adversary behavior. I always meditate creatively.

It’s trite to observe that the cost of successes only to further damage the political system we bring forward to heal.

A Buddhist New Year

4264352234_db51e3f1b1_bWhile many Buddhists celebrate the New Year mid-January, I will celebrate the New Year, as always, on December 31st. Maybe that’s due to the world’s transition from 2014 to 2015 seems apropos.

New Year’s is a funny holiday for Buddhists. Theoretically, one should invite mindfulness into life and strive to practice it every moment. I often call it the Instant Oatmeal of immersion, “Oh come great mindfulness and engulf me.”

I reflect. For someone who should be dead, should I become more Trekkie and boldly go where no man has gone before? Should I stay ambitious and strive for impermanence. Should I stand before all and unequivocally claim I will persevere and conquer 2015?

Perhaps not … in reality, barely walking the stairs and lacing shoes causes significant shortfalls of breath.

Inherently, we all know most New Year resolutions fade shortly after being offered. Gumption wanes and we succumb to worldly resistance. Truth be told, we fold like favorite sports heroes and blame distant factoids for the could’a, should’a, would’a of life. And between now and midnight some writer, some guru, some super woman will prance upon television and claim every moment holds a potential for awakening …  Every moment.

That’s easy to say. But it’s bullshit.

Real life is a frustrating mix of the lyrical and absurd, emotionally true and sentimentally clichéd. Personally, I will never escape the shadow of the events of April 2010, where I lost so much of life. But I also refuse to be defined by them. That’s the one admirable thing all must learn, don’t let anyone’s opinion  become your reality.

As a Buddhist, rather than resolutions, reflect upon the dance of life. Your version may not inherently be better than another’s. Some are, some aren’t. Rather than a resolution, make promises.

Here’s mine:

  • Make a positive presence that will impact those you love;
  • Be as refreshing as a desert rain;
  • Rediscover love, make love;
  • Be kinder;
  • Never, ever give up, even when surreal things happen; and
  • Have fun along the way.

Look for life. Live it.

On the Road with Jane Pauley

1391562111000-XXX-XXX-XXX-PAULEY-LIFE-BOOKS-jy-2635Just as I did several years ago, with bad heart and all, I hopped into my Honda Fit and traversed another segment of the country. This time to Florida, passing through Alabama, Mississippi and a snippet of Louisiana. Having read an article of Jane Pauley’s new book, “Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life,” I downloaded the book on tape and headed off.

Published by CBS’ Simon & Schuster, “Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life” is based on stories of people who have reinvented their lives and careers in middle age, introducing readers to  fascinating people featured on her Life Reimagined Today segment. Through the miles I heard of Betsy McCarthy, who traded in her executive briefcase for knitting needles; Gid Pool, who launched a career as a stand-up comic; Richard Rittmaster, who joined the National Guard Chaplain Corps; Trudy Lundgren, who took her home on the road in an RV; Paulie Gee, who opened a successful pizzeria in Brooklyn; and many more.

As a 54 year-old wanderer, adventurer and traveler, I conceptually buy Pauley’s argument. I held firm until stopping at Berry’s Seafood and Catfish House in Magee, Mississippi. While participating in a wonderful buffet, I overheard a few city leaders at an adjoining table rattle off some alarming statistics:

  • The median Magee household income is approximately $25,000
  • 24.6% of families and 28.4% of the population below the poverty line, including 42.9% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.
  • Only 18% of Magee residents have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Life for many is harsh, intense, somber and frequently brutal.

Reality returned as soon as I returned to the driver’s seat of my Fit.

Like many self-help gurus, Pauley presented beautifully illustrative stories of faith, self-realization and courage. But while faith can move mountains, it cannot reach beyond decades of inequality, lack of education and basic healthcare needs. If you’re going to make the argument that people can change their lives, we – as a society – must provide the tools to make that happen.

Pauley’s book is a good read. However, as a Buddhist, for every year one spends in school, his or her life’s chances – and those of their children – increase dramatically. Education gives people the head start they need to build a better future, not just for themselves but also for generations to come. Education equips people with the knowledge and skills they need to increase income and expand employment opportunities. When education is broadly shared and reaches the poor and marginalized groups, it holds out the prospect that economic growth will be broadly shared.

Poverty pushes children out of school and into work because parents cannot afford to educate their children. Whereas education opens doors to jobs and credit. Every year of education increases a person’s earnings 10%; with each additional year of schooling lifting the average annual GDP by 0.37%. Greater equity in education can help fuel a virtuous cycle of increased growth and accelerated poverty reduction, with benefits for the poor and for society as a whole.

You want to help find a child’s life calling or help reimage a life? Provide a college education.

It’s Hard Out There for a Claus

4303222_f520There are big problems in the North Pole. As Santa nears another legendary flight, he’s been seen reviewing the mounds of litigation from last year.

Last year Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen filed royalty fees lawsuits against Rudolph. Being notebly mentioned in ‘Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer,’ for several decades, neither has received royalties from their ‘use or likeness.’ The suit further notes that without the others, Rudolph couldn’t make it down the street let alone pull an overweight fat man navigating a crate.

Elf Union Local 504 is in disarray. Union leader Sven was caught trying to hijack Cupid and visiting non-union elves in China. Some suggested Sven was trying to cut a deal to redirect work to lower wage income areas while others stated Santa was looking to relocate toy factory operations to China or Iceland for potential tax savings (i.e, avoidance).  The U.S. Congress House Ways and Means Committee made repeated attempts to subpoena Santa, but committee members couldn’t locate a process server willing to hike, forage and snowshoe into the North Pole.

In the meantime, Elves filed suit accusing Santa Incorporated of failing to pay overtime and illegally deducting wages from paychecks. While Santa has not admitted any fault, he promised millions to as many as 800 workers for decades of past service. Under the terms of the agreement, Suey Sommore, a lawyer representing the Elves said she couldn’t speak specifically of the case. However, Elf Gwen noted, “We’re pleased with what we set out to do  – namely, to ensure Santa, Inc. has the right leadership to lead the company for long-term success.”

Pressing matters also come from afar.

Eight year old Emmett Jason of Mayberry requested emergency injunctive relief against Santa’s use of ‘Naughty‘ or ‘Nice‘ list, stating Santa’s ‘Naughty‘ or ‘Nice‘ list process is not clearly defined, nor is there third-party oversight or arbiter availability. Jason requests Santa provide clients with a detailed roadmap to ensure on-going regulatory compliance and to mitigate enterprise, operational and reputational risk associated with internal subjective services.

In a fiery statement, the Guardians of Peace (North Korea) warned of strikes against Santa, the North Pole and “the whole US mainland” should Santa distribute any bootleg copy of the film ‘The Interview,’ a film featuring the fictional killing of leader Kim Jong-un. Unbeknownst to many, North Korea has a long history of issuing threats against Santa. And the latest statement comes days after the US formally accused the North of orchestrating a massive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

The army and people of the DPRK [North Korea] are fully ready to stand in confrontation with Santa, in all spaces, including air and cyber warfare space … once we figure out how to restore Internet service.”

Threats have come from within the United States as well.

Elmud D. Jenkins of Lostlow is “‘purr-par’n a hunt’n” party. Last year, Elmud claimed to all at the ‘Too Drunk Saloon’ that he nicked Vixen’s rear-end during a Christmas Eve hunt. In the aftermath, Elmud had accidentally shot Mrs. Jenkins, his 1982 Dodge pickup, his favorite dog and the neighbor’s satellite dish. Much to Elmud’s dismay, Santa then performed a fly-by, as Comet crapped upon his trailer. Thus, having been the butt-end of jokes year-round, Elmud’s seeking revenge.

Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a ‘Cease and Desist Order’ against Santa for failing to comply with proper waste handling operations, a lack of inspection reports, improper handling, and ultimate disposal of reindeer waste. This is in response to a complaint filed by Mr. and Mrs. Sheikstram of Bitterkimbles Island. The Sheikstram’s were fast asleep last Christmas Eve when they allege Blitzen dropped frozen excrement at 1100 feet. Mr. Sheikstram further claims Blitzen’s “brown ice” fell with such a force that part tore through roof while another smashed the BMW. While no U.S. official could clearly link the deposit to Blitzen, the EPA felt Santa needed to develop fluid-free alternatives and establish proper disposal procedures.

So, if you think your Christmas is bad…rest and relax. Remember, it’s hard out there for a Claus.

Happy Holidays

Derby Gets New Legs

This is an absolutely amazing story.

Published on Dec 15, 2014

See how unique, custom 3D printed prosthetics allow Derby the dog to run for the first time.

Follow them at:

Balti_childrenI intended to write something different, but couldn’t muster the words. Listening to the British Broadcasting Company report upon the deaths of so many children in Peshawar, Pakistan and watch the video, I can honestly report, the scene was horrifying. Gunmen shoot children as they cowered.

There’s no insight into what to do in these situations. So I come back here to write. A few who know that I’m the Unknown Buddhist asked, “What are you going to write? What are you going to say?

What this whole thing is really about is the difference between ignorance and hope. Having traveled though so many countries, I’ve never taken my life in the United States for granted. Still, we who inhabit this island earth continue to judge one another by the content of character. We ignorantly stand before the masses and proclaim, “… my way or the highway.” I know there are wonderfully beautiful Islamic men and women. But tonight … for this moment … The Taliban and your version of Islamic faith is utterly repugnant.

Your version of Islamic faith lives in turmoil. And it’s unsustainable.

To terrorists who killed so many, tonight I celebrate real faith, real love and real dignity. I find a tremendous depth of inspiration from Karen, whom I’ve loved deeply, and briefly, shared my life. She’s out there everyday, trying to save children. This type of love comes believing in something better of humanity than most dare. Her spirit is one breath, in unison with faith, and she crushes anything an Islamic could offer tonight.

True love exceeds anything offered a million times over. Agape love continues for years and remains undiminished. Just as Karen would die for a child, I’d sacrifice my life for her. I chose not to destroy, but submit to another in love professes my soul in faith to Christ, to Buddha and enhances life.

Real love dazzles. Your’s doesn’t. The sweet taste of love is beautiful and appreciative. I bathe in the love that surrounds me. You swim in hatred. You feel superior. True love is superior to all.  You abhor. I admire! You’re ignorant. I’m not.

It’s our children that illuminates, warms, and revives.

Islam is not a monopoly of truth. There is neither a race nor a people, who have not been blessed with the bounty of divine guidance, and there is neither a region of earth nor people who have not received prophets and Messengers of God. We do not verify the truth of religious revelations through violence or death.

True love fulfills all human needs. And no other teaching is required.

cia-torture-report-carousel-20140805A summary report released Tuesday of the Senate’s investigation into CIA torture, is a portrait of immorality that’s hard to comprehend.

Of course there are defenders. There are those who claim releasing such information will do more harm than good. Sean Hannity quipped as much:

Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”

Likewise, House Intelligence Chairman Mike J. Rogers said the release of the CIA’s interrogation techniques will be used by terrorists to incite violence.

Like those passing a point in history, one could say the evidence of extreme brutality and lawlessness demands accountability, both as a moral and a national security imperative. However, in today’s world, there’s no appetite for holding anyone accountable. It’s almost impossible to interview any of the tortured prisoners. Dick Cheney, President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld (i.e., Chief of War) will neither see a Senate subcommittee, a trial nor a nun with a ruler.

How would I know? Well, for years in worked in the government. And like New York Times Op-Ed Contributor Eric Fair, I too look into blank faces. And I realize I could let myself feel a powerful sense of relief, for my crimes of some 30 years ago will fade. My transgressions will be forgotten. Unfortunately, I live with the faces of those whom I’ve lied, cheated and stole.

For service members in my job set, military bells toll loudly and requires much. Those bells require your soul. At first the bell percolates through your veins as you sell your body and your life. Thirty years later, your knees are shot, eye sight sucks and your heart slowly beats to a stop.

I can see my past, present and future, so I understand how I became the man I am. Born poor and friendless, I made his way through the world with tenacity. But as I focused upon my job, the rest of my life, my ethics and morale fell to the wayside.  In particular, my covetousness cost me the love of my life.

Deep inside, I’m scared. I’m alone. I’ve never been able to shake the faces. They remain vigilent, ever present. Always. Thus, I never absorbed the world surrounding me. And until Ms. K, I rarely understood the joy in it.

As Buddhist, I argue violence is incompatible with Buddhism’s message of peace. So as I move toward my next life, I ask each of you to cultivate compassion, respect, and reverence for all life. I understand the unfortunate necessity of military action despite its negative karmic consequences. A righteous war may have merit. Yet in the early morning hours, when others dream, I speak their names. I see their faces. I hear the terror.

Death in the name of national security, without a fair trial or any other mechanism still counts. God sees it. The witnesses of truth comes from the deceased.

Non-conditional forgiveness is something like a ‘gift’ from the God.  Therefore forgiveness has to be attached with ‘repentance and transformation.’ Thus, real transformation must take place in many spheres: ‘law, history, politics, and existence itself.’ Therefore, the challenge is to create conditions for forgiveness. As a nation, we must progress and prepare to forgive and ask for forgiveness. In both our world, as in life, our most daunting political challenge is to create a discourse of forgiveness that takes as long as required. This form of communication, those loving exchanges of the heart, between people would benefit all.


500 words or less

Eric Tonningsen's "Awakening to Awareness"

Realigning With What Really Matters


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