Brazilian J.Ovidio Waldemar, M.D. is a long time member and contributor to the Zen Peacemakers.
He is an American trained Brazilian psychiatrist who has for the last 20 years been active in the Viazen, the Porto Alegre Zen Center. In this program, SENTE, Ovidio weaves his Zen Peacemaker practices of meditation, council practice and the Three-Tenets with his clinical psychotherapy experience to support the children and community of Porto Alegre in South Brazil. Watch theBelow is a full report of this program.
Getting Started! Want to reach a wider audience but don’t know where to start? Believe it or not, the Buddhist tradition offers deep insight into how to blog to make the world a better place. In this post, I combine Jack Kerouac’s Rules for Spontaneous Prose with the three tenets of the Zen Peacemakers to derive some simple practical tips for joining the global conversation. Kerouac was a great teacher to me of the Zen Peacemaker’s first two tenets (Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness), although I eventually looked elsewhere for inspiration regarding how to apply the insights of Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness through action in the world. I list appropriate rules from Kerouac under each tenet. 1. Not-knowing 22. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better. 5. Something you feel will find its own form. 24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge 29. You’re a genius all the time 10. No time for poetry but exactly what is 13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition I scrutinized, hesitated and edited for months regarding my first blog post. When I talked to my Zen teacher about it, she gave me a koan: how do you step of the 100 foot pole? You just do it! I was crippled by fear of how readers would receive my writing. It turned out that that first post went ignored and later posts that I rattled off in a few minutes received several hundred views. You can’t know ahead of time! The important thing is to let go of our expectations regarding quality and reader interest and just get in the habit of sharing. Be thoughtful and adapt your style according to response, but watch out for getting hung up on ideas of what you should be writing. 2. Bearing Witness 1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wile typewritten pages, for yr own job 17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself 15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog Once you’ve put aside ideas about what you should or shouldn’t be writing, look around. What moves you? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What makes you excited? Readers will relate if you...Learn More
Applying Eastern Wisdom to Modern Tech. Lessons from the Wisdom 2.0 Summit. 1. Practice being present in person 2. Practice being present online 3. Build Relationships 4.Enforce accountability 5. Raise money and spread petitions 6. Organize information & Study 7. Coordinate Actions & Meetings 1. Practice being present in person New technology only recontextualizes the same challenges that we have always faced. The original message of Buddhism still applies: Don’t get too attached. Don’t get distracted. Stay present. Having a new shiny toy is no excuse to not be fully present to the person in front of you. @Wisdom 2.0 Conference: In the panel Managing the Stream: Living Consciously and Effectively in a Connected World, Roshi Joan Halifax stressed that the quality of presence emphasized in Zen is based on physical proximity. While she loves social media and would feel impoverished without it, she said that you are fooling ourselves if you think you could play with your i-phone and look someone in the eye at the same time. Only a Buddha could simultaneously perceive the relative and the absolute. While celebrating these technologies, Roshi Joan was sure to keep their shadow side on the table for discussion. 2. Practice being present online A major message that conference organizer Soren Gordhamer stresses in his book and articles is that when you are talking to someone, talk to them and when you are tweeting tweet. @Wisdom 2.0 Conference: While spiritual publisher Sounds True founder and owner Tami Simon affirmed that face-to-face interactions were more important than virtual ones, Soren confirmed that her heartfelt e-mails have warmed him. Clinical neuroscientist Philippe Goldin, Ph.D. shared research that demonstrates the mental health benefits of mindfulness practice while Linda Stone explained a study that demonstrated that people who do breathing practices such as athletes, performers or meditators are less likely to exhibit “e-mail apnea”, the typical shortness of breath and quickening of heart-rate that happens when while we read e-mails. Ben Parr, co-editor of Mashable Social Media Guide put it simply: social media has always been about people and connections between them. If you get too wrapped up in the tools, then you are a tool. 3. Build Relationships Online networks allow us to develop connections between people within...Learn More
OK, this isn’t breaking news, but it is an interesting example of our study of digital engaged Buddhism. (October 2007) Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets around the world Saturday in Facebook-fueled marches protesting Myanmar’s recent crackdown on monks’ pro-democracy demonstrations. The marches, organized at a lightning pace by volunteers using Facebook, show the increasing power and reach of a social-networking site originally designed to help college students find drinking buddies. Facebook members in dozens of cities worldwide have planned demonstrations for Saturday. READ...Learn More
From an article by Kris Notaro: Many of those engaged in activities pertaining to environmentalism, human rights, antiwar activism, and similar activities consider themselves Buddhist or ally themselves with its philosophy. Many organizations, such as the Zen Peacemakers, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and Buddhist Global Relief are founded as both sanghas (Buddhist congregations) and politically and socially active groups . But this was not always the case. In fact, at various points in its history, Buddhism was not only unconcerned with improving the world, but actively discouraged working to improve living conditions on this...Learn More
Virtual Second Life Free Tibet meditation vigil (video) Virtual Second Life chain in support of Burmese monks (video) Using the avatar Vivienne, Peacemaker Institute and Prison Dharma Network director Kate Crisp organized hourly meditations to promote Tibetan peace and organized a day-long vigil and a chain of avatars that stretched 500 people in support of Burmese monks. View Tibetan Peace video.View Burmese Support...Learn More
I hear it quite a bit. People say, “Twitter is useless. It is just people with big egos trying to promote themselves. The sooner it dies, the better.” People argue that it is inherently opposed to a mindful, happy life. In fact, the issue of happiness, and technologies role in either helping support or diminish it, came up recently at the Peace summit with the Dalai Lama, where one of the panels included eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar. The Dalai Lama spoke of the danger of developing more affection for technological devices than people, and emphasized that all the external things we think will make us happy – money, fame, power – never do because it requires an inner shift. Pierre spoke of the ability of technology to help bring people together based on shared interests…READ...Learn More
From the last issue of our Bearing Witness Newsletter on Socially Engaged Buddhism: by Laura Busch Socially engaged Buddhism has gone online. Or rather, we have gone online as socially engaged Buddhists. Yet, there are those who may cringe at the idea. One can easily find on the Internet rampant materialism, and new methods of communicating human anger and ignorance such as cyberbullying, flaming and spamming. So is the Internet truly a beneficial technology for promoting social justice and activism? And if so, how do we use this technology to benefit sentient beings? Iran: Internet democracy or repression? Scholars studying social activism and the Internet have offered many answers to these types of questions. While the Internet can be effectively used for social justice, it can equally be a tool of surveillance and censorship. This duality was apparent during the 2009 election in Iran, where angry citizen used Twitter to organize protests against the government. Protester cell phones captured and posted videos of these events, which eventually made their way to news agencies like BBC and CNN. At the same time, the Iranian government used the very same technology to seek out, arrest, and torture protesters. As we can see, the Internet can be as much of a liberating technology as a technology of control. The Digital Divide Furthermore, other factors can inhibit the Internet’s effectiveness as a tool for alleviating suffering. One of these factors is the “digital divide”: a disparity of internet access within and between countries. These disparities are generally based upon differences in geography, income, age and education, often resulting in a lack of internet access amongst impoverished populations. This lack of access can also result in perpetuating social inequality. Yet, despite these important issues, the Internet does appear to have greater potential as an effective tool for activism than previous communication technologies like television. The Internet is a unique in that it allows people to instantly connect to other like-minded individuals, find information, and make their voices heard. It can be a platform where local marginalized voices, that have previously been silenced, can reach the global public and express their needs. Constructing Global Cybersanga So how can we effectively use this technology to educate and promote social justice in...Learn More
The Interdependence Project is hosting a man known as No Impact Man (Colin Beavan), who is challenging and supporting over 1300 people in becoming more mindful of the impact of their consumption and attempting to have no impact for one week… read more I am intrigued by this project, having just completed a rigorous three-day no pizza mini-week...Learn More