Happiness

May 18, 2009

Source: “What Makes us Happy?” by Joshua Wolf Shenk in The Atlantic, June 2009, p. 48

The bookstore shelves are lined with titles that have an almost messianic tone, as in Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.  But what does it mean, really, to be happier?  For 30 years Denmark has topped international happiness surveys.  But Danes are hardly a sanguine bunch.  Ask an American how it’s going, and you will usually hear “Really good.”  Ask a Dane and you will hear “Det Kunne Vaere Vaerre (It could be worse).”   “Danes have consistently low (and indubitably realistic) expectations for the year to come,” a team of Danish scholars concluded.  “year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark.”

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The Internet and the Buddha

April 29, 2009

Source: “You are what you Download,” by Diana Winston in Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume

On the day I realized that I could have anything I wanted over the Internet, I bought ten new books, a subscription to a simple-living magazine, and a pair of black leather boots, and sent myself the daily quotes of the Buddha.  The Buddha sent me an e-mail about the law of karma.  He said actions have results.  If I plant a plum pit, I will get a plum tree.  If I practice greed, I will be more greedy.  If I practice generosity, I will be more generous.  Buddhism 101.

St. John of the Cross – Love

April 24, 2009

Source: The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

“Where there is no love — put love, and you will find love.” – St. John of the Cross

Dorothy Day on her friend and colleague Peter Maurin

April 18, 2009

Source: The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

Peter made you feel a sense of his mission as soon as you met him.  He did not begin by tearing down, or by painting so intense a picture of misery and injustice that you burned to change the world.  Instead, he aroused in you a sense of your own capacities for work, for accomplishment.  He made you feel that you and all men had great and generous hearts with which to love God.  If you once recognized this fact in yourself you would expect and find it in others.  “The art of human contacts” Peter called it happily.  But it was seeing Christ in others, loving the Christ you saw in others.  Greater than this, it was having faith in the Christ in others without being able to see Him.  Blessed is he that believes without seeing.

Baked Beans

April 2, 2009

From a conversation about different religions with a colleague who prefers to remain anonymous…

“It’s a little like going to the grocery store, isn’t it? You look on the shelf and there’s all these different kinds of baked beans, but in the end, it’s all just — baked beans.”