The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

HH The Dalai Lama

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Obama Drone Strikes Killing Innocent Civilians

CommentaryYes, Virginia, We Can Do Something About the Drone StrikesSubmitted by Robert Naiman on 1 June 2012 - 4:05pm. ( )
There's a conventional wisdom in Washington that there's nothing we can do politically to stop the U.S. government from killing innocent civilians with drone strikes.But it ain't necessarily so.Speaking only for myself, I'm willing to stipulate that killing "high value terrorists" who are known to be actively preparing to kill Americans is wildly popular, regardless of whether it is constitutional and legal.
Here's what's not wildly popular: killing innocent civilians.This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. This is an American issue. Go to the reddest of Red America. Stand outside a megachurch or military base in the Deep South. Find me twelve Christian Republicans who are willing to sign their names that they want the U.S. government to kill innocent civilians. I bet you can't do it.
Killing innocent civilians is un-American.Consider: after what widely reported news event did even Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum say maybe we ought to get our troops out of Afghanistan? After it was reported that a U.S. soldier massacred Afghan civilians.
The historian Howard Zinn suggested that it's a backhanded compliment to the American people that our government lies to us about what it's doing in other people's countries. Because it suggests that if the American people knew, they would never stand for it.
Thanks to a New York Times report this week, we now know. In an echo of the Colombian military's "false positives" scandal, our government is killing people with drone strikes and then decreeing that "military age men" killed by U.S. drone strikes are automatically "combatants." Born a chicken, raised a chicken, now you're a fish.

Monday, June 04, 2012


On April 26, the Republican-controlled House
of Representatives passed CISPA - the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and
Protection Act - by a vote of 248-168.
This week, the Senate may vote on
CISPA-like bills (Lieberman-Collins S.2105 or McCain S.2151).

CISPA gives the government, including
military spy agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), virtually
unlimited powers to capture our personal information — medical records, private
emails, financial information — all without a warrant or proper

Tell Your Senators: Stop CISPA
Civil liberties groups and progressives
unanimously opposed the bill, as did Ron Paul. President Obama warned the House
that he will veto the bill because it does not protect our privacy, but they
ignored his warnings.
Democrats control the Senate, so we should
be able to stop CISPA there. Tell your Senators to protect your privacy from Big Brother and
oppose CISPA.

Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik ( )

Saka Dawa - June 4, 2012 ( Al Jigong Billings, )

Today is Saka Dawa, which is the day of the historical Buddha's birth, enlightenment and paranirvana (passing from this world). ( The tradition is that good deeds and spiritual practices done on this day acquire 100,000 times the merit they ordinarily would ).
In Tibet, this is a holy day and a day of remembering of the Buddha. For Tibetans, this is the most important of the holy days of the year.It is also an important day to remember the freedoms that we have in the West and how precious that these are in history. As has been reported,

 Chinese authorities have clamped down on religious activities during the month around Saka Dawa:Religious ceremonies are restricted in Tibet. Prohibitions continue to be in place for important day like Saka Dawa and Gaden Ngyamchoe, birthday of the Dalai Lama and the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Last year, a joint notice issued on 12 December by the Lhasa City Party Secretary Office and the Lhasa Governor Office which clearly prohibited the Party members, civil servants, staff, public institutions such as schools and banks etc, vocational centres, students and retired civil servants to participate or even see the activities of Gaden Nyamchoe anniversary. It was warned that those failing to abide by the official notice would be served with salary cut, demotion etc. For the retired Tibetans this is especially difficult because of their faith in religion yet their faith restricted by official strictures and dictums.

 In the past, cadres were unofficially allowed to believe in and practice religion privately, but are now being subjected to closer scrutiny and are liable to punishments and demotions. Severe religious restrictions were put in place especially in Lhasa City. Plain clothed Public Security Bureau officials were known to have stationed around the city and surveillance video cameras were installed around the major public routes and alleys in the city. In order to screen the incoming people into the city, major security check posts were installed on the roads leading into Lhasa City from surrounding counties of Phenpo Lhundrup, Taktse, Toelung Dechen, Meldrogungkar. Reports from Tibet confirm that small farmers engaged in petty businesses like selling incense and juniper leaves for religious purposes are banned from selling these items on religious days.

The Dalai Lama had this to say about Saka Dawa back in 1996:The Buddha Shakyamuni took birth as a prince of the Shakya clan in India. He achieved enlightenment at the age of thirty-six and entered Mahaparinirvana at the age of eighty-one. These three great events took place on the same day of the year, over 2500 years ago, which we celebrate at the season of Wesak. As you know, Buddhahood is a state free from all obstructions to knowledge and disturbing emotions. It is the state in which the mind is fully evolved. The Buddha's declaration, based on his personal experience, was that all beings experience suffering even though they do not wish to do so. At the same time all beings also have the innate potential to achieve the joy of liberation. This realization formed the basis for all his teachings. Because his teachings are profound in insights and skilled in means, the Buddha is referred as a supreme guide. Although our world has changed substantially since the time of the Buddha, the essence of his teachings remains as relevant today as it was 2500 years ago. Many different schools of Buddhism have evolved in different lands. All possess methods for attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering. The Buddha's advice, simply stated, was to avoid harming others and if possible to help them. We can begin to do this by recognizing that everyone is just like us in that they want happiness and dislike suffering. Seeking joy and freedom from suffering is the birthright of all beings. But personal happiness very much depends on how we relate to others. By developing a sense of respect for others and a concern for their welfare, we can reduce our own self-centeredness, which is the source of all our problems, and enhance our feelings of kindness, which are a natural source of joy. The achievements of our modern age are great. We have put much effort into technological and material development. Such progress is important, but by itself it cannot bring lasting satisfaction. Obsessed with economic and political strength, we lose sight of the effect our actions have on others. Our narrow and self-centered focus results in widespread suffering and destruction of the environment. We need to reassess our motivation and our behavior in the light of a greater sense of universal responsibility. From the Buddhist point of view all things originate in the mind. Actions and events depend heavily on motivation. A real sense of appreciation of humanity, compassion and love, are the key points. If we develop a good heart, then whether the field is science, agriculture or politics, since the motivation is so very important, the result will be more beneficial. With proper motivation these activities can help humanity; without it they go the other way. This is why the compassionate thought is so very important for humankind. Although it is difficult to bring about the inner change that gives rise to it, it is absolutely worthwhile to try. I offer my greetings to all our Buddhist brothers and sisters participating in the Wesak celebrations.... And I pray that each of us, by putting the Buddha's teachings into practice in our own daily lives, may contribute to creating a happier and more peaceful world.