Tag Archives: Activism

Pink Razors — Margaret and Helen


Helen Philpot is no doddering granma.  She knows what she thinks, and most of what she thinks is right on.  The Komen Kaper has her a bit miffed.  Read the excerpt, then go to the site.  And bookmark it.  You can’t get well-considered opinions from someone who’s lived as long as Helen just anywhere.  I mean it.  Really.

Planned Parenthood provides healthcare – pap smears, breast and pelvic exams, colposcopies, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control for both women and men – most without access to any other health care services. About 97% of their services are for this basic healthcare. If you want to talk about abortion services then you should at least know the truth. Providing that service for women who are faced with that daunting decision accounts for less than 3% of what Planned Parenthood does nationally. Less than three percent. They also provide prenatal care, vasectomies and adoption referrals. One Planned Parenthood clinic does more in a day to prevent abortions than the entire Pro-Life movement does in a year. [Emphasis mine] We might not agree on abortion, but we should at least be able to agree that they should be safe, legal and rare.

http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/pink-razors/

 

Is Recycling A Few Aluminum Cans Worth The Trouble?


In case you were whether or not it’s worth the trouble to carry cans to the recycling pickup, check out these words from the Ohio Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention:

Recycling one aluminum can saves the energy equivalent of six ounces of gasoline. In 2000, Americans recycled 54.8 million aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 2.58 billion gallons of gasoline. Had we recycled the other 46 billion cans we used that year, we could have saved another 2.15 billion gallons of gas. [That’s because it takes about 1/10th of the energy to recycle aluminum that it does to smelt it from bauxite ore.]

• The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can is enough to run a television for three hours.
• In three months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet.
• Americans threw away half a million tons of aluminum last year, worth nearly $800 million.
• The energy needed to replace the aluminum cans discarded in the United States each year could power a city the size of Atlanta for a year.

You don’t have to do any special prep, either.  Just rinse ’em and throw ’em into the bin.

Find recycling centers for your area here.  The search toolbar is at the top of the page.

Bodhisattvas


In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is sort of like a Western saint, a spiritually-evolved person of some stature. The comparison breaks down, however, because while it is generally agreed that saints are in “heaven,” it is a bit more difficult to pin down a Bodhisattva’s whereabouts. No heaven, y’know, and all that.

 

Jizo Bodhisattva: Guardian of Children, Travelers, and Other Voyagers (Japan)

Saints are supposed to keep an eye on things Earthly, interceding with God and facilitating the odd miracle — celestial ombudsmen, sort of. Bodhisattvas, on the other hand, are supposed to have deferred Nirvana in order to remain and help other beings to attain enlightenment. Since it has been taking a while to get the job done, reincarnation becomes an issue.

If you don’t believe in reincarnation, saints, intercessions and so forth, things get a bit dicey in the areas of both saints and Bodhisattvas. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, for example, is reputed to be the 9th incarnation of the 5th Dalai Lama, and has had ample time to get some work done. But what if (like me) you believe he’s just a Tibetan kid named Lhamo Thondup, who happens to have had greatness thrust upon him?

Don’t get the idea that I’m putting His Holiness down. You’ll note, I hope, how I refer to him — and it’s not tongue in cheek. He is an exceptional man by anyone’s standards, and if anyone alive deserves the title more, I don’t know who that might be.  The jury, to my mind, is no longer out regarding the Rev. Ratzinger, and I didn’t hold his predecessor in very high regard, either.  Each talks(ed) a good game, but continued(s) the repression that has characterized that particular sect for the past 1800 years.

But I digress.

Let’s call folks like me, who consider the Four Noble Truths and the Precepts to be ends in themselves (as opposed to leading to anything beyond a life well-lived), “secular Buddhists.” Are there, then, secular Bodhisattvas and, if so, who are they?

In order to decide that, we need to ask if there is such a thing as secular enlightenment. Obviously there can be, in the sense of Buddhist teachings, and also in the sense of helping others to see more clearly the rights and wrongs of ordinary living — helping them to find a system of ethics, in other words.

HHDL, to continue the example, has taken few formal students in his life. Nonetheless, his unique combination of mystique, visibility, charisma and — above all — approachability, have created a worldwide appreciation for Buddhism and Buddhist teachings that would have been nearly impossible under other circumstances. Just as importantly, he has opened the world’s eyes to political and human rights issues that their governments would have much preferred to ignore in favor of more practical matters.

People like the Dali Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Nadine Gordimer, Wangari Maathai and their like are indeed Bodhisattvas — for what more can a Bodhisattva do than help people awaken? What is enlightenment, in any useful sense, beyond seeing clearly and, through empathy and compassion, developing the determination to make improvements for the betterment of all?

Who? You?  A Bodhisattva?

Maybe.