Noah Levine's Against the Stream is a basic, no nonsense guide to Buddhist ideology, meditation and practice. Levine has training in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions, but leans toward the Theravada tradition in his own practice and in this guide. (There are other differences between both traditions, but the main one is that the Theravada tradition emphasizes the achievement of liberation for oneself and the Mahayana tradition emphasizes helping others to achieve liberation as well as oneself.)
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I have never felt particularly comfortable talking about my religious beliefs (or my occasional lack of same). I can blame this on having deeply embarrassed myself on several occasions when I was at least nominally Christian. (On one very memorable occasion, I invited a Baptist to my church--my eight year old self not realizing that Baptists are in fact Christian. The girl got her revenge in the form of her ill-tempered Sunday school teacher aunt and an invitation to her church’s summer vacation bible school.) I was interested in the beliefs of others and found a great deal I wasn’t very comfortable with in the religion I was raised in.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
My current class is Sociology and we have threaded discussions, in the classroom’s online shell. We were discussing “nature versus nurture,” and in the course of this discussion, someone uttered the dreaded line “well, we’re all disabled in a way.” This simple-minded line of course nearly made my head explode with sheer outrage. Despite my extreme dislike of the line, I managed to be somewhat polite in pointing out that what she said was extremely stupid.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
This is not by any stretch of the imagination intended to be an anti-rec. I found both books to be very useful and thought provoking. I also found it wince-worthy, not only for the way that it reminded me of having been bullied, but also for some of the messages that Jodee Blanco is putting forth. Messages that I think detract from the overall message of, “stop blaming the victim for being bullied. Yes, you are too blaming the victim for being bullied. Your interventions are not working. If something is not working, do something else.”
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In Godless, Dan Barker explains how he went from being an Evangelical preacher to being an atheist. This is both a memoir and an explanation of his reasoning. He explains how he went from being a preacher to becoming an atheist and describes the attitudes and reactions of some of his former friends and colleagues to his change of heart. (He expresses a great deal of exasperation for those who choose to decide that his loss of faith is the result of some moral lapse. From observation, I have noticed the assumption the religious have concerning atheists and agnostics is that they are ethically and morally inferior. The mirror here is that the ethical and moral atheist or agnostic often feels that the religious are the ones failing in ethics and morality.)
My previous adventures in college--my first one any way--was remarkably horrible. I am a very awkward non-social person who occasionally does or says strange things due to not understanding what was said in the first place. (The more nervous and upset I am the more likely it is I will mishear something because I am too nervous to think straight. I also seem to have issues where I have trouble talking to more than one person, or understanding people when there is a lot of background noise--and for me, a lot of background noise can be the air conditioner running.) So during my first school experience I already had a reputation of being extremely odd and freakish.