inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #51 of 86: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Sat 19 Jul 03 08:27
    
I would agree with <tnf>'s paragraph breaks comment except that in the
case of Scoop, it doesn't seem right!  Everything is connected to
everything else in marvelous, glittering, unexpected ways, and for a
moment the subject-examples-conclusion form is held in abeyance while
the words and ideas become dizzy, bumping into each other and
creating...but I guess it's white space we're talking about not
imposing structure, so...yeah, he's right, it does make it more
readable, but also less special and fun.

What I've been thinking about this week is the place of grief in a
perspective of big-picture equanimity.  It goes along with anger, but
isn't there something different about it?  Anger can be calmed by a
bigger perspective, by compassion and forgiveness.  But grief...  You
narrate in an historical way the emergence of "green consciousness"
which in some sense is driven by the need to find a way to express
grief, but I wonder if you could talk a bit more about the grief
itself.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #52 of 86: David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 09:41
    

> in the case of Scoop, it doesn't seem right!  Everything is connected to
> everything else in marvelous, glittering, unexpected ways

Fair enough!
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #53 of 86: Tilopa: Look at the nature of the world: impermanent, like a mirage or dream--Even the mirage or dream does not exist. (constance22) Sat 19 Jul 03 12:36
    
The point is going beyond hope and fear, is it not?

The point is placing the cause without attachment toward the effect.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #54 of 86: Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Sat 19 Jul 03 20:20
    
Yo, yo! David G., I think the reason I let myself write on without
paragraph breaks is an old desire of mine to be Jack Kerouac and just
let the words spill out like the milk of consciousness when knocked
over by the elbow of g-d. But I'll try at least to give a sense of when
I'm changing the topic. 
    Rip Van, your questions about grief are so pertinent and
important, because I think we're all feeling some deep grief, perhaps
subconscious, but for many of us it is just below the surface, if not
spilling out. Feeling grief for the planet that we see being degraded
and fouled by the greed and ignorance of humans. Grief for all of the
people who our media now show us around the world, suffering, starving,
being killed. If we didn't feel grief that would be a great tragedy
and even more reason to feel grief. Indeed, sadness and despair is one
of the things that we work with in Buddhist practice. As we witness
ourselves in meditation, it is almost impossible not to feel some
sadness about the human condition--the crazy brain, the endless desire,
the fear of failure and death. A big part of the Buddha's path is to
see the condition of our life clearly, and to feel the difficult
emotions fully. (Remember that the 1st Noble Truth is about suffering.
Jesus on the cross is the same message--life is hard! And then you
die!) So you go into your grief, and after a while, the sadness over
your own situation becomes a universal compassion and empathy for all
suffering beings. That's when the grief starts to work its magic. As a
great contemporary Buddhist poet, Rick Fields wrote in a haiku-like
poem, "Heart broken. Open." The grief is the gate to the sublime
state!!! Getting real! Rumi says something like, "Welcome the crowd of
sorrows! Let them sweep your house clean! They may be preparing the way
for some new joys!" You get the point. 
     One more thing about grief. As I write in my book, The Big
Bang..." where I really learned about grief was at a men's retreat with
Robert Bly, James Hillman, Maladome Some, and Michael Meade. That part
of the men's movement was emphasizing that men in our culture have so
little ritual together, and also don't know how to grieve. We spent an
entire week preparing a grieving ritual based on one from Maladome's
West African tribe. By the end of it we (100 men) were all weeping like
babies, and not just for our own sorrows, but for the sorrows of all
incarnation. I never felt better in my life! 
     The trick is to let yourself feel it. There are many methods for
doing this. Find a practice and do it. I have some recommendations in
an earlier book of mine called "Buddha's Nature." Good luck. Blessings
to all... 
                                 Scoopji
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #55 of 86: David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 22:24
    

> "Welcome the crowd of sorrows! Let them sweep your house clean! They may be
> preparing the way for some new joys!"

I like that.

My own life experience has taught me that every kick in the ass is a shove in
the right direction
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #56 of 86: David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 22:25
    

Off-WELL readers are invited to participate by sending questions or comments
or koans to inkwell-hosts@well.com

We'll post 'em for you.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #57 of 86: tambourine verde (barb-albq) Mon 21 Jul 03 09:57
    
Hello and it's been wonderful reading this topic. This point strikes
home with me:

>My sense of the religious fundamentalism and tribalism that we see
everywhere in the world represents a last gasp of old traditions, a
fearful retreat into stories that are losing their hold on humanity.<

Perhaps in just communicating and visualizing we are in the midst of
creating new stories and myths that will ultimately replace the old
ones that are losing their power. Channeling signposts of things to
come. It may be good to remember that anything on it's way out tends to
fight the hardest to retain its old power. I thought of this song by
Tracy Chapman when I read about the stories losing their hold.
Especially the line about the need to make new symbols:

New Beginning (1995)

The whole world's broke and it ain't worth fixing 
It's time to start all over, make a new beginning 
There's too much pain, too much suffering 
Let's resolve to start all over make a new beginning 
Now don't get me wrong - I love life and living 
But when you wake up and look around at everything that's going down -

All wrong 
You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy
endings 
We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning 

Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 

The world is broken into fragments and pieces 
That once were joined together in a unified whole 
But now too many stand alone - There's too much separation 
We can resolve to come together in the new beginning 

Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 

We can break the cycle - We can break the chain 
We can start all over - In the new beginning 
We can learn, we can teach 
We can share the myths the dream the prayer 
The notion that we can do better 
Change our lives and paths 
Create a new world and 

Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 

The whole world's broke and it ain't worth fixing 
It's time to start all over, make a new beginning 
There's too much fighting, too little understanding 
It's time to stop and start all over 
Make a new beginning 

Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 

We need to make new symbols 
Make new signs 
Make a new language 
With these we'll define the world 

And start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over 
Start all over ... 
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #58 of 86: n (leroy) Mon 21 Jul 03 14:11
    

I'm curious to know more about how you managed to avoid being drafted by
convincing the draft board you were insane. Have there been any
consequences? And how does this kind of dishonesty square with your Buddhist
ethics?
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #59 of 86: I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Mon 21 Jul 03 14:25
    
And I wonder if you'd say more about your epiphanies.  You speak, towards
the end of the book, about the value of ritual, and of Jack Kornfield
convincing you to try one of Robert Bly's get-togethers.   I've had similar
experiences with coursework that parallel what you describe.   The inital
resistance, the willingness to let go of the cynicism, and the catharthis
available.    I, too, am a recovering cynic, and appreciate seeing myself
in your writing.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #60 of 86: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 21 Jul 03 15:10
    
I don't suppose he said, "I'm lost in a Roman wilderness of pain, and
all the children are insane."

Re <57>, although I like that song, the "start all over" approach
reminds me of an aspect of the 60's (and onward) that I don't feel
comfortable with anymore, that in a way turned out itself to be a tired
old story.  To me, a big aspect of creating those new stories and
myths is investigating the suppressed, outcast, broken stories and
traditions, and also the "what did this really once intend to be?"
aspect of the dominant and threatened stories.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #61 of 86: Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Mon 21 Jul 03 17:53
    
Yo gang! This is fun, and I only wish I could see your faces, or do I?
Anyway, Tamborine Verde, thanks for the Tracy Chapman song, "Start all
over...." Unfortunately, that's a big order, and when you try to
imagine a sustainable, harmonious society, just try to imagine how
difficult it will be, even if you could convince the public to accept
the vision. For instance, how do you decommision and replace the
private automobile! The projects that many of us envision will take
generations to implement, and that's only after the majority of people
come around to see the need or feel the necessity of the change. So we
plant our seeds, and do our work, and try to keep the faith that our
visions will be realized someday. 
     n Leroy? I got out of the draft by convincing a psychologist at
the University of Minnesota that I had taken LSD and was having
horrible flashbacks -- the ground would open up in front of me and I
would be afraid to take another step. (By the way, the name of the
psychologist was Dr. Dredge! No lie!) Anyway, the lie didn't conflict
with my Buddhist values because I wasn't a Buddhist yet! But even if I
had been, the primary principle of the Buddha is "do no harm," and I
think refusing the military is more important than a little white
(lightning)lie. 
     RIP, I think the old stories all have value, but as time goes by
they no longer speak to many of us, so they have to be reinterpreted to
serve our spiritual needs. New metaphors or rituals have to be
created. Jesus is great, but is he the only child of god, or is there
another way to interpret what he said? Does his death save us? Do we
still believe that literally, or is his suffering a message that we are
all together in this difficult incarnation? Anyway, you get the idea.
When I wrote about the men's retreat, I mentioned that we did rituals
that sometimes spoke to me and at other times left me feeling cold or
cynical. Strangely enough, it was a West African greiving ritual that
really opened my heart. In recent years I seek out events that
celebrate and mourn our common condition. Never pass up a funeral.
Dance whenever you get the chance. Blessings to all. 
                                            Scoopji
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #62 of 86: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 22 Jul 03 09:03
    
There's a saying posted somewhere on the WELL (I think by tnf): "If you 
can talk, you can sing, if you can walk, you can dance."

(Hope I got that right, it popped into my head when I read the end of your 
last paragraph, Scoopji.)
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #63 of 86: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Jul 03 09:54
    

You know, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom" is a great title.
You're mightly handy with phrases, Scoop, so it may have been effortless.
But I'm curious -- did you reject other titles?  Did your publisher have a
hand in choosing it, as is so often the case?
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #64 of 86: David Gans (tnf) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:17
    

> "If you can talk, you can sing, if you can walk, you can dance."

I believe that is an African proverb.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #65 of 86: I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:32
    
And in English.    Wow.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #66 of 86: David Gans (tnf) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:42
    
Shaddup.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #67 of 86: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:45
    
It's supposedly from Zimbabwe, colonized by English speakers centuries 
ago, so the English version may well be in use there.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #68 of 86: I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Tue 22 Jul 03 11:44
    
David has my number.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #69 of 86: tambourine verde (barb-albq) Tue 22 Jul 03 13:24
    
Re the changes, yes they may well take a long, long time, and all we
can do is plant seeds within and without. But seed planting can be fun
and worthwhile of course. And the Earth may rear back at some point and
provide a moment that will speed things up in the minds and hearts of
many.
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #70 of 86: Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Tue 22 Jul 03 15:28
    
Another great proverb, from somewhere in West Africa I believe: "When
death comes, may it find you alive!" Amen, and women too. Yes, Gail, I
came up with the title of my book, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the
Baby Boom." There may be an gene that selects for alliteration, but I
always remember doing it. My publisher, HarperSanFrancisco is a great
place (in spite of corporate conglom ownership) and does a lot of
"spiritual titles." I was just on a panel with two other Harper
Buddhist authors -- Joseph Goldstein (One Dharma) and Noah Levine (find
three Jews in the Bay Area and you'll get at least 1 and a half
Buddhists). Noah has written a book called "Dharma Punx" (in the same
lineage as Dharma Bums) and he's started to teach gen x punk rockers
and skateboarders about Buddhism. Says Noah, they wouldn't trust
hearing about it from the hippies and boomers, but if you've got tattos
and piercings and have been an addict, then you must know something.
"The torch has been passed to a new generation of rebels..."   Scoopji 
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #71 of 86: Teleologically dyslexic (ceder) Tue 22 Jul 03 15:54
    
The concise paragraphs are very beguiling. This book is not
intimidating at all--rather comforting as are your posts, Scoopji!
;-0
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #72 of 86: These are the days of miracle and wonder (tinymonster) Tue 22 Jul 03 17:31
    
All I can say about the title is that every time I see it, I want to
add, "The Boy in the Bubble and the Baby with the Baboon Heart."  ;)
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #73 of 86: wherever i go there you are (ggg) Tue 22 Jul 03 19:51
    
namaste, scoop-ji.  

your scrolls bring merit to the hallowed depths of this well, (where
on some rare nights can be heard the sound of big-eyed fish leaping and
snapping at flies).

[i say "scrolls" 'cos of your refrain from using paragraphing (on my
keyboard the key is marked "no returns" -- so maybe this too is
buddhist :  no returns ).  (me, i just can't shift for myself.)]

cld you tell those of us'n who couldn't attend bodily a little more
about what was said @ the books-by-the-bay buddhist conference this
weekend, sponsored by northern california independent booksellers
association, amongst noah and you and joseph and (no emcee?) and anyone
else who came out at 11 a.m. ?  (if you remember; no matter.)

 [palms-joined]

 
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #74 of 86: a monor quibble (chrys) Wed 23 Jul 03 18:55
    
Today during the lunch hour, I got together with other interested
persons to watch the documentary about Thich Nhat Hahn 'Peace is Every
Step'.  In the closing credits your name turned up.  It reminded me how
you seem to have a hand in so many projects. What are you working on
now? (Besides sharing "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
with everyone.) What will you be working on shortly?  And what would
you like to be doing in 10 or 20 years?
  
inkwell.vue.188 : Scoop Nisker, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom"
permalink #75 of 86: Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Thu 24 Jul 03 16:58
    
Palms joined to you too! What happened at our Buddhist panel at Books
By The Bay was that we agreed that Buddhism has taken root in the heart
of the beast (U.S. Out of North America!), and that people hear the
teachings of the Buddha through their own cultural filters. Noah Levine
was on the panel, and he just wrote a book about his journey from
drug-addicted, incarcerated punk to "Dharma Punx" (title of his book)
and he said that his generation of slackers and rebels rejected
anything associated with hippies, so they couldn't hear about Buddhism
from their elders, and he is now trying to teach them the beauty of
Dharma, which he calls the Ulitmate Rebellion, against the tyranny
inside of us as well as the tyranny outside. Anyway, the Buddha is
alive and well in the U.S.A., and still smiling! 
    Ms. Quibble, I don't really have my hand in so many projects. I
just do journalism, and teach Buddhism, and the two happen to intersect
a lot. I am hoping to do another book soon about the benefits and
importance of embracing our nature "as" nature, and how to get intimate
with our identity as mid-sized mammals. I am part of a growing
movement that wants to adopt the story of evolution as our contemporary
mythology, using it as a spiritual text and guide. As the Hindu sages
used to say, pointing in all directions, "Thou art That!"  Scoopji
 
  

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