Archive for October, 2004

The meaning of life – a Buddhist poem

October 31st, 2004 No comments

Some people, I’ve heard

Are mighty confused

They are looking for something

They never did lose

What’s the meaning of life?

They cry and they shout

Not looking within

But seeking without

Some say that it’s god

In Heaven on high

Some say that there is none

You just live and die

That no god is scripting

The things that you’re doing

That he is not clapping

And never pooh-poohing

The meaning of life

Is simple and clear

It’s the life that you lead

And the things you hold dear

It’s the things that you do

And the things that you say

The thoughts that you have

That give meaning each day


Look within to find the truth through the establishment of peace and clarity. Do not expect God to save you for you must save yourself with your own efforts. The deeds, words and thoughts you have are very important. Once you have done the work of knowing yourself and establishing your mind in clarity and peace they are the key to a happy life. A life based on truth and not the lies of your own egotistical persopective. In fact there is no “meaning” to life because meaning implies an external relationship to things. Things are just what they are, they are their own meaning, without need for interpretation.

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Political Process and Electronic Voting

October 31st, 2004 No comments

Much is being made of electronic voting in the US elections. It’s a simple subject upon which no definitive answer can possibly be given. The reason, really is the nature of the problem: People are involved. People are involved in the voting and an electronic system should make this less prone to error – a very positive point after the “chad” debacle of last time round. People are involved in running the systems, databases and counting, programming the software too. Herein lies the rub, because this is the level at which most concern lays: the nature of electronic systems is that they are perfectly capable of being perverted to the political ends of a few. As in the last election the deletion of voters from the Florida database based upon aggregated “criminal” records from other states. Whether it was conspiracy or otherwise is not relevant but, a good many Florideans (? sounds like toothpaste), particularly of darker skin tones, were wrongfully denied their participation in due the elections because of an over-zealous exclusion policy. That this policy would outweigh the benefits to the brother of the state governor over other candidates must have been obvious to all but the unthinking. It would not be hard for private companies who manage electoral systems to be infiltrated by a small cabal of capable persons wishing to steer the result. After all if they can do it when there is a voting trail, they must surely be even more tempted when there is not one. The problem is divergent because persons are divergent: they can say one thing and do another.

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Election Prediction Update

October 31st, 2004 No comments

Happy Halloween

Osama Bin Laden has put on his pumpkin mask and done for George Bush what he could not do for himself: He has scared the American Public into their final act of moral cowardice and stupidity and won the election for Dubya.

Analysis of the Trend graphs I have been studying for the last couple of weeks shows that overnight Bush has become seen as more good and less evil and more likely to win.

The reason is clear: The Safety Graph shows us that Americans, although feeling less secure with either candidate in the last few days, continue to favour Bush in greater numbers. Given that all reasonable analysis points to the opposite, Osama has done George a big favour. It is no wonder that conspiracy theories about the Bush & Bin Laden clans grow and grow: both stand to gain from continued war: it looks like they are in cahoots, whatever the truth.

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Prediction Update

October 30th, 2004 No comments

A fresh look at the two charts with which I made my October 27th prediction shows that Kerry has regained much of the momentum he looked like losing. A summary of the two charts by adding the results of the phrase “bush will win” and “kerry will lose” and plotting this against the reverse ideas is linked below. This chart makes it clear that in the blogosphere there is now a significant and consistent trend away from Bush and towards Kerry over the last week. What happened to change things? Or have they changed?

Osama Bin Laden’s intervention by video yesterday is interesting. It shows that his expected, and one must assume favourite, intervention of a terrorist attack on mainland US soil has not been possible. This should favour Bush as it could be interpreted to mean the Presidents actions have made it thus far impossible for OBL to act in the USA, but the trend reversed before that. In fact I would now expect to see some reversal of the swing towards Kerry because of this, except that both men have handled it equally deftly.

Perhaps it is that Americans, watching Bush over the last week have really come into touch with their feelings that Bush is a liar. Perhaps their moral cowardice is wilting in the light of the actions they intended. Or maybe what I said last week still holds fully true. Well, by the end of the week we will know.

Summary Trend

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Beer, Bush, Bin Laden & the Buddha

October 29th, 2004 No comments

It’s amazing what a couple of pints of beer do to a normally sober man. When I took my Boddhisattva Vow I gave up beer as a measure of commitment. My teacher, the Ven Khandro Rinpoche kindly gave me permission to drink beer five times during the year as she said “giving up beer will be hard for you”. The person next to me tried offering to give up fear, “How are you going to do that? Fear just happens to you”, said Rinpoche. At the end of that year I asked Rinpoche if I could take up beer again as my wine intake had rocketed and a quiet beer seemd like a good idea.

My last (beer-fuelled) post makes me a little sad in some ways. I still find myself falling into the black and white thinking that characterises 20th century thought. The 21st century is different, or at least we need collectively to ensure it is so. The black vs white, good vs evil thinking of the last century is that which is contaminating our world: both Osama Bin Laden and George W Bush fall into this trap: Me good, you evil. There is no absolute good and evil, black always contains a chink of light and white a speck of dust. This is fundamental to Buddhist thinking and we can see quite clearly how we have been lead to the position we find ourselves in by this fundamental error in understanding. As soon as we entrench ourselves in the egotistic position we are ‘honour bound’ to create war, even against people whose main past-time is writing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The 21st century will be characterised by a more modern and more ancient understanding of the nature of things: their relativity and their co-dependence, two key concepts the Buddha pointed out some 2,500 years ago. It is not right to blame Bush, Blair, Bin Laden or anyone else for the messes we are in: they are all to blame and none of them. Even in their error, they are doing their personal best to do what they understand to be the right thing. And all are contributing causes to the situation along with many, many historical causes. We can not undo these things and find justice through hatred and dividing the world into good vs evil. We can only overcome them by love, much in the M Scott Peck sense of the world where it means to work to get beyond your own limited sense of how things are and move into an understanding of the other.

I need to love George Bush and the FBI, they need to love Osama Bin Laden, Palestine and European “lefties”: we all need to stop the war. And I must take better heed of Rinpoche’s last words to me on the subject, “Just remember”, she said, “too much of anything is bad for you”.

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