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Three Ways Buddhists Reconcile War

From a Reddit thread asking: “How did Buddhist-majority nations reconcile state violence (wars and so on) with Buddhist precepts of non-violence? Did they bother to do so?” A Redditor who explored this topic for their undergrad responds:

“First, Buddhism, like other religions, is linked to cultural and national identity. Buddhists would fight in protection of their nationstate and what they perceive as the “keepers of the tradition”. They apply a larger-than-life mentality to the warfare. … This war is on behalf of the country, people, religion, region, and motherland. It would be negative karma to shoot one’s neighbor over a land conflict, but the intention here is a good one.

“Second, there are attempts to de-humanize the opponents. This is very similar to Christian and Islamic justification of violence. Opponents are represented as possessed by demons, thereby transforming the violence from a mortal to a sanctified action. …

Third, karmic sacrifice. This is a classic case of multiple interpretations of (somewhat) ambiguous theology. Some individuals are considered such sinful beings, that they will only commit more crimes the longer they live. Killing these individuals can be considered a heroic act, because the killer will sacrifice his own karma in order to prevent the victim from committing more crimes and going to hell.

“Lastly, on a more personal note (hope that’s allowed) there are some understandable misconceptions about Buddhism. (these same misconceptions incited my initial question for the aforementioned paper). Buddhism has many forms. And the majority of those forms has aspects similar to other religions. Please don’t believe that “Buddhism is more a philosophy than a religion”. Many forms of buddhism have gods, demons, heaven, hell, prayer for help, and rituals with magic properties. Therefore, evil and violence toward perceived evil is not at all uncommon among buddhists. If someone tells you that that is not real Buddhism, that would be a theological belief, not a statement supported by scholars.”

Full discussions https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/3eg3w5/how_did_buddhistmajority_nations_reconcile_state/cteugq8

Image from Ali Express.

“Hitting is easy, parenting is hard.”

From a Reddit thread on parenting tips

“As a child who “turned out fine”, I will say this: I will never spank a child of mine.

My parents spanked me, and I turned out fine. In spite of years of humiliation, in spite of effectively being conditioned to cry at my parents anger, in spite of utterly fearing my parents.
My parents spanked me because they thought they were right. My parents spanked me because they were angry and needed to feel better about the situation. My parents spanked me not because it was the right response to my misbehavior, but because they needed to feel like they had control over the situation.

There is no reason for a grown adult human being to strike a tiny defenseless one except in the case of an immediate threat to the child (slapping a hand away from a hot stove or fire). Children are so small. You are their only caretaker in this world. The one person they are supposed to be able to rely on. And you hit them.

If you, an adult human being who made the decision to have a child, cannot think of a better, more creative and less abusive punishment than hitting, then shame on you. Hitting is easy, parenting is hard.”

Source: What are some common mistakes that parents make,… • /r/AskReddit

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‘I’ve Never Thanked My Parents for Anything’

‘In America, by contrast, saying thank you often marks an end to the transaction, an end to the conversation, an end to the interaction. It is like a period at the end of a sentence. Only in the United States have people offered thanks for coming to their homes or parties. Initially I was surprised when people thanked me for visiting their house when they were the ones who’d invited me, but then I learned that, “Thank you for coming to my home” actually meant, “It’s time for you to get out of my house.’
Source: ‘I’ve Never Thanked My Parents for Anything’

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Digital Music Executive on Tidal Launch

Former digital music exec on Tidal:

“Tidal is offering nothing new. They have exactly the same catalog, product, features, even names of tiers the same as everyone else, with the exception of the $20 “lossless” feature. Even that’s not defensible, because every other service can and will offer it (and probably for less), and the $20 is not reflective of any real costs. It’s totally arbitrary pricing.

Aside from being audio overkill, lossless isn’t even a new or unique idea. This has been on every service’s roadmap for a while…but streaming lossless is pretty dumb, at the moment. Many people don’t have data connections fat enough to support it, and on mobile it’s silly.

Tidal can claim somehow they’re ‘more fair’ in paying artists, but they’ve been completely opaque about what that actually means. Given Tidal’s deals are almost certainly identical to every other service out there (Rhapsody, Spotify, Beats, etc.), it’s hard to believe their payment structure is going to be any different either.

The only difference as I see it is the presence of the select celebrity co-owners, who are either silent partners (in which case they’re just like any other investor, likely to be disappointed in Tidal’s returns) or are actively involved in development and management (in which case I pity the poor teams at Tidal that have to work with them).”

Full discussion http://www.metafilter.com/148481/Tidal#5993070

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How Lesbians Cared For And Fought For Gay Men During the AIDS Crisis

From a powerful Reddit thread conveying what is was like to live as a gay man during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s-90s:

“Lesbians who came to the aid of gay men at that time would be acknowledged as every bit as heroic as soldiers on the front lines of any war. … I can tell you now is that these women walked directly into the fire and through it, and they did not have to. And that they did it even as some of the gay men they took care of treated them with bitchiness, scorn, and contempt. …

When the AIDS crisis struck, it would be many of these same women who would go straight from their jobs during the day to acting as caregivers at night. …

These women walked directly into the fire. They came to the aid of gay men even when it was unclear how easily the virus could be transmitted. Transmission via needlestick was still a concern, so they often wore two or three layers of latex gloves to protect themselves, but more than once I saw them, in their haste and frustration, dispense with the gloves so that they could check for fevers, or hold a hand that hung listlessly from the edge of a bed whose sheets they had just laundered.

They provided aid, comfort, and medical care to men withering away in hospices, men who’d already lost their lovers and friends to the disease and spent their last months in agony. They’d been abandoned by their own families, and were it not for lesbians – many if not most of them volunteers – they would have suffered alone. And when there was nothing more medicine could do for them and their lungs began to fill with fluid, it was often these same women who’d be left to administer enough morphine to release them, given to them by the doctor who had left the room and would return fifteen minutes later to sign the certificate (a common practice at the time).

I knew a woman around that time who’d had at one point been making bank in construction. But at the outset of the AIDS crisis she had abandoned her career to pursue nursing instead, and was close to her degree when we were hanging out. She was a big, hearty drinker, and fortunately so was I. We’d been utterly thrashed at a bar once when someone whispered a fairly benign but nonetheless unwelcoming comment about her. Middle fingers were exchanged, and afterwards, furious and indignant, I asked her, Why do you do it? Why did you abandon a career to take care of these assholes who still won’t pay you any respect?

She cut me a surprisingly severe look, held it and said, “Honey, because no one else is going to do it.” 

During that time, I did what I could. But nothing I did then or have ever been called to do in my life puts me anywhere near the example set by the lesbians I knew in the 80s and 90s. I’ve felt obligated to remember what they did, and to make sure other people remember it too. So, thanks to the OP – this is as good a place to start as any.”

Full discussion on Reddit.

Image from the amazing documentary We Were Here.