Sunday, April 29, 2007

Meditation to celebrate Wesak

To celebrate Wesak, let us talk a bit about a gem of Buddhist philosophy – meditation.

Here’s some writing by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who lives, teaches, writes, and gardens in southern France:

The mind can go in a thousand directions.
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.

Walking meditation can be very enjoyable. We walk slowly, alone or with friends, if possible in some beautiful place. Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking – walking not to arrive, just for walking. The purpose is to be in the present moment and enjoy each step you make.

Therefore you have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. You can take the hand of a child as you walk, as if you are the happiest person on Earth.

We walk all the time, but usually it is more like running. Our hurried steps print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. If we can take one step in peace, we can take two, three, four, and then five steps for the peace and happiness of humankind.

Our mind darts from one thing to another, like a monkey swinging from branch to branch without stopping to rest. Thoughts have millions of pathways and we are forever pulled along them into the world of forgetfulness.

If we can transform our walking path into a field for meditation, our feet will take every step in full awareness. Our breathing will be in harmony with our steps, and our mind will naturally be at ease. Every step we take will reinforce our peace and joy and cause a stream of calm energy to flow through us. Then we can say, “With each step, a gentle wind blows.”

The Buddha is often represented by artists as seated upon a lotus flower to suggest the peace and happiness he enjoys. Artists also depict lotus flowers blooming under the footsteps of the newly-born Buddha. If we take steps without anxiety, in peace and joy, then we, too, will cause a flower to bloom on the Earth with every step.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Buddhists to celebrate Wesak Day on 1st May

Wesak Day is just around the corner and it’s time to pay homage to the Buddha. This year’s Wesak Day falls on 1st May 2007. It is a very auspicious day for us because on this Full Moon Day of May in the year 623 BC, the Buddha was born in his final birth as Prince Siddhartha Gotama. Thirty five years later, the Boddhisatta attained Full Enlightenment and became the Buddha also on the Full Moon Day of May.

Another 45 years later, the Buddha passed into Nibbana also on the Full Moon Day of May, that is on Wesak Day. Therefore Wesak Day is a thrice sacred day because of these three significant events happening on the Full Moon Day of May.

The Buddha taught us how to lead a good and happy life in a world full of suffering. It is because of the Buddha that Buddhists know the way to overcome pain, lamentation, grief, despair and other unsatisfactoriness of life. It is because of him that we know the way to Nibbana, the final liberation from suffering. Hence we are very grateful to the Buddha and we are very happy to observe this thrice sacred day of his birth, enlightenment and passing into Nibbana.

As we pay homage to the Buddha, we reflect on his great qualities: his full Enlightenment, his Great Compassion and Loving-Kindness, and his teachings on the cosmic law of Karma. A priceless heritage given to us by the Buddha is the system of meditation, or training of the mind for concentration, awareness, purity and goodness. Making the world a better place.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bloggers, heard of new words 'dotsam' and 'netsam'?

I was browsing over Wikipedia’s write-up on blogging when I came across some very interesting new information. Wikipedia says it was reported by Chinese media Xinhua that the blog of Xu Jinglei received more than 50 million page views, claiming to be the most popular blog in the world. In mid-2006, it also had the most incoming links of any blogs on the Internet. Wow!

Another thing is that Wikipedia says that it is forecasted that blogging will peak in 2007, leveling off when the number of writers who maintain a personal website reaches 100 million.

Then, the analysts expect that the novelty value of the medium will wear off as most people who are interested in the phenomenon have checked it out, and new bloggers will offset the number of writers who abandon their creation out of boredom.

Here comes the very interesting part where we hear of brand new words such as “dotsam” and “netsam”. The analysts estimated that there are more than 200 million former bloggers who have ceased posting to their online diaries, creating an exponential rise in the amount of "dotsam" and "netsam" — that is to say, unwanted objects on the Web. Just like flotsam and jetsam on the beach!

Learned something new? Aha, I thought so.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech campus shooting rampage

Let me record my deepest condolences to families who lost their loved ones in Monday's Virginia Tech campus shooting - the deadliest and most horrible shooting rampage in modern US history.

In this time of bereavement, although we can't physically be with them to comfort them, our thoughts and our prayers reach out to them as we grieve with them.

One Day Blog Silence

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google Redesigns AdSense Ads

Here's something new about AdSense Ads from the AdSense guru Joel Comm from his blog in his own words:

You've probably already noticed it. The look of your AdSense units has changed. No, you didn't push the wrong button and accidentally wipe out all your formatting. And no one hacked into your code and played with your Web page.

Google has redesigned its ad units.

The changes aren't radical but they do offer a couple of small advantages. First, the "Ads by Google" tag is now at the bottom of the unit instead of at the top.

That means that users no longer get a little warning telling them that what they're about to see are ad links.They see the links then they're told that they've been looking at ads. That's a nice little change.

The other change is the removal of the borders between ads within a unit. That's not a great surprise. Turning off the borders was always the first step in AdSense optimization. It seems as though Google has seen so many of its advertisers turning off the borders - and earning more as a result - that it has now removed the option of having internal borders altogether.

But that also means that you can have an external border around the ad unit without worrying about seeing lines between the ads. The only time that I can imagine someone doing that is if they had a very modular page with content placed in separate boxes. For the most part, this change is just going to lower the chances of new publishers accidentally putting up their ads with the worst form of poor formatting.

One thing we can be sure of though is that Google tested this newlook before it came out - and saw better clickthroughs as a result. We should expect to see the same.

Friday, April 06, 2007

US blogger just out of jail

Americans have caught up with the Third World. You can now be jailed in the US for posting a video clip on your blog!

Josh Wolf spent seven and a half months in a federal prison for protecting his sources after posting a video on his blog.

People have been jailed in Third World countries for reasons such as politics, religious issues, or racism, but Wolf was in prison for refusing to hand over video he shot during a protest in San Francisco in 2005.

In a brokered deal, Wolf posted the uncut video on his site, gave prosecutors a copy, told them he had not witnessed any crimes - and was released on April 3, 2007.

In exchange, prosecutors acceded to Wolf's key contention: that he not be made to appear before a grand jury and identify those on his video.

However, the broader issue is whether he is a Journalist or an Activist. Being a journalist might entitle him the right to protect his sources. The debate is ongoing.