2010.04.22 01:00 - Forgiveness Makes You Happy

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Zen Arado. The comments are by Zen Arado. I was joined by Calvino who is still in Thailand. My connection was slow this morning and I crashed half way through for which I apologise.

    Thailand tourism and culture:  

        Zen Arado: Hi Cal :)
        Calvino Rabeni: Hello, Zen, how are you?
        Zen Arado: fine thanks
        Zen Arado: and you?
        Zen Arado: are you still in Thailand?
        Calvino Rabeni: I am well. Yes I am holed up in my air-conditioned room against the afternoon sun
        Calvino Rabeni: Tomorrow traveling again - 2 more cities
        Zen Arado: still enjoying your time there though?
        Zen Arado: ah you are travelling around
        Calvino Rabeni: THis is the most virtual tourism I've done - looking at pictures on the computer, then overcoming the question "DO I want to go there or just look at pictures"
        Zen Arado: did you go to any Buddhist temples?
        Calvino Rabeni: The tones and rhythms of the language are starting to seem natural - at first I felt very "stiff"
        Calvino Rabeni: Only the Big Buddha on the mountain. I have 3 more ahead of me though. Two I have seen before and want to return
        Zen Arado: do you speak the language at all?
        Zen Arado: I am wondering if my connection is slow
        Calvino Rabeni: My connection is *really* slow at this time
        Calvino Rabeni: On and off
        Zen Arado: ok but I was talking to a woman yesterday and it was a very slow conversation
        Calvino Rabeni: I speak the language somewhat, can talk better than listen
        Zen Arado: what is the language?
        Calvino Rabeni: I speak Thai a little
        Calvino Rabeni: Enought to get by in stereotyped situations
        Zen Arado: so you have there before a few times?
        Calvino Rabeni: Once for 4 months, to learn the culture a little, I rented a house, then traveled to most areas
        Zen Arado: sorry for asking so many questions :)
        Zen Arado: is there a type of Thai zen?
        Calvino Rabeni: Oh, ask away
        Zen Arado: I know there is a Vietnamese and Korean zen
        Calvino Rabeni: Thai zen? Not sure, that name not used. Mahayana, theravada, lots of folk versions, some personality cults
        Calvino Rabeni: Mostly from the outside it looks folk, with lots of ritual
        Zen Arado: yes - Buddhism seems diluted to us earnest Western practitioners :)
        Zen Arado: in Buddhist countries
        Calvino Rabeni: When driving by a shrine by the highway, the thing to do is honk the horn
        Zen Arado: amazing
        Calvino Rabeni: There's lots of buddha days, it seems about 1 per week to me (?)
        Calvino Rabeni: Sending up fire balloons with wishes, at night
        Zen Arado: we had a young guy from Thailand studying with us in a power station one time
        Calvino Rabeni: Thai is a very fun loving culture, so the observances are fun too
        Calvino Rabeni: Not "serious" with religious gravity, for the main part
        Zen Arado: why can't we all have more fun like that?
        Calvino Rabeni: It's culure shock. Compared to the average person here, we are sour-pusses
        Calvino Rabeni: (not sure if that expression works in UK)
        Calvino Rabeni: But actually it works in thai
        Zen Arado: it works:)
        Calvino Rabeni: Baag waan - sweet talk, literally, sweet mouth
        Calvino Rabeni: Sour, works the opposite
        Zen Arado: I was going to say there is so much dour presbyterianism in N.Ireland
        Zen Arado: you know that word 'dour'?
        Calvino Rabeni: Hard to find a dour person around here
        Zen Arado: some presbyterians don't even allow music in churches
        Calvino Rabeni: It is perhaps the most pervasive, prevalent thing I notice about cultural difference
        Zen Arado: there is a lot of judgementalism too
        Zen Arado: finding faults in others
        Zen Arado: the young Thai guy told us it was obligatory for young men to be monks for a year
        Zen Arado: I thought that was a good idea
        Calvino Rabeni: Not here - for instance, "fat" and "lazy" don't seem pejorative terms
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes I know "dour"
        Zen Arado: I admire you for travelling like that
        Zen Arado: I should make more effort to live somewhere else
        Calvino Rabeni: http://picasaweb.google.com/WyldMedi...65269692479170
        Zen Arado: I used to travel when I was young
        Calvino Rabeni: That is good to have done
        Zen Arado: a Buddha statue?
        Calvino Rabeni: http://picasaweb.google.com/WyldMedi...81941106182674
        Calvino Rabeni: Those pictures are a little illustrative

    Communitarian vs Liberal Individualism in cultures:

        Calvino Rabeni: So where did you travel, Zen?
        Zen Arado: 'forgiveness make you happy' :)
        Zen Arado: how true
        Zen Arado: I emigrated to Australia when I was 18
        Zen Arado: by boat
        Calvino Rabeni: Not as a fact, but as an act of public rhetoric, is how it interests me :)
        Zen Arado: yes exactly - and in English
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, bilingual
        Zen Arado: they must have noticed the dour foreigners:)
        Calvino Rabeni: Not that sign, but most are in ENglish also
        Zen Arado: we only get messages like 'ye must be born again' :)
        Calvino Rabeni: Another thing that always strikes me is, a feeling of "we the people"
        Zen Arado: but Americans have that too don't you think?
        Calvino Rabeni: Not to say, it can't be oppressive to individualism, but I like the balance in that regard
        Calvino Rabeni: No, I don't believe americans have that
        Calvino Rabeni: You can't speak to it, or from it
        Zen Arado: oh I see - different to competitive individualism
        Calvino Rabeni: Hmm, lost a comment?
        Zen Arado: more of a community orientation
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes
        Zen Arado: communitarianism
        Calvino Rabeni: Could you say - "We are generous to visitors" ?
        Calvino Rabeni: As public rhetoric it wouldn't go over
        Zen Arado: well - I found Americans very friendly when I was there
        Calvino Rabeni: Here, probably, an automatic assent - yes that is obviously true
        Zen Arado: maybe some of it is a bit automatic
        Zen Arado: like 'have a nice day' from shop assistants
        Calvino Rabeni: I suppose individual outgoingness is different than a collective identity of being generous, or fun-loving, etc
        Zen Arado: yes exactly
        Calvino Rabeni: There's a replica traditional country pub here
        Calvino Rabeni: RUn by a brit, to feel at home
        Zen Arado: yes - you get Irish type pubs everywhere too
        Calvino Rabeni: I wanted to go there for liver-and-onions or bangers-and-mash-and-peas
        Zen Arado: like the 5 bells
        Calvino Rabeni: True, this one very careful, the whole building a tudor exact replica
        Calvino Rabeni: THe biggest foreign presence here is austrailan
        Calvino Rabeni: That last comment was *way* out of sequence
        Zen Arado: how do you get on with Aussies?
        Calvino Rabeni: I didn't know that could happen
        Calvino Rabeni: Perhaps it went the long way around the globe
        Zen Arado: it's ok, guess we just need to slow down a bit
        Zen Arado: allow for the slow connections
        Calvino Rabeni: Aussies - I like 'em OK but they seem more foreign than the buddhists to me :)
        Zen Arado: :)
        Zen Arado: they can be very laid back
        Zen Arado: like the Paul Hogan stereotype
        Calvino Rabeni: I suppose - here they jam together on bar stools and get very rowdy
        Zen Arado: they drink a lot of beer :)
        Calvino Rabeni: (last comment also seen way out of sequence by me)
        Zen Arado: I will slow down my comments
        Calvino Rabeni: One positive impression from last night - a shirtless, tatooed, very deformed aussie balanced on a bar stool, short white hair, ultra mobile face and head, having a wonderful time, living it up
        Zen Arado: hey - maybe I should go there:)
        Calvino Rabeni: Can't miss, especially if you like beer and a loud bustle of sound :)
        Zen Arado: maybe I should go back to Oz for a holiday anyway
        Calvino Rabeni: You returned as some point to Ireland from Australia
        Calvino Rabeni: Change citizenship?
        Zen Arado: I stayed 8 years - came back for a holiday and never got around to going back to Oz
        Zen Arado: no I never became an Asssie citizen
        Calvino Rabeni: Ah, hmmm, what was the enchantment ?
        Zen Arado: of Australia you mean?
        Calvino Rabeni: Well, either time I guess, where you "came for holiday, didn't go back"
        Zen Arado: I got a decent job here in ireland
        Zen Arado: things are going funny here I might crash
        Calvino Rabeni: "A decent job" - I'm not above that, either :)
        Calvino Rabeni: It's fun to play a but with the cultural differences I encounter

    I crashed here - we continued to talk about cultural differences and the ubiquity of American commercial outlets:

        Calvino Rabeni: (Zen was correct, he was going to "crash")
        Calvino Rabeni: WB
        Zen Arado: ty
        Zen Arado: seem to be having problems with my connection
        Calvino Rabeni: Settled in now?
        Zen Arado: hope so
        Zen Arado: everythng is very slow though
        Calvino Rabeni: Calvino Rabeni wonders, if the convenience store, called 7/11, that is ubiquitous in USA and Thailand, is also a feature of Ireland?
        Zen Arado: hope I haven't lost the log
        Zen Arado: no never heard of that Cal
        Calvino Rabeni: These are cultural "samples" holding some variables the same while varying others
        Calvino Rabeni: Ireland has "starbucks" ?
        Zen Arado: yes nd Macdonalds, Kentucky fried chicken
        Zen Arado: thanks :)
        Calvino Rabeni: OK, it's not more remote than the south pacific islands, that is a relief :)
        Zen Arado: :)
        Calvino Rabeni: I like to see the regional variations in commercial institutions
        Calvino Rabeni: Starbucks has - absolutely none !
        Zen Arado: amazing
        Zen Arado: hard to get local girls into the mentality of good service here I think
        Calvino Rabeni: McDonalds - each has a statue of a clown, named "Ronald McDOnald", but here, he is making the traditional guesture of greeting
        Calvino Rabeni: _/!\_
        Calvino Rabeni: Pizza is very different here
        Zen Arado: is Pizza Hut American?
        Calvino Rabeni: Snack foods are rather limited IMHO
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes I believe it is
        Zen Arado: have one of those too where I live
        Calvino Rabeni: The streets of thailand are lined at night with food carts - nearly anywhere you go
        Calvino Rabeni: The best strategy is to take siesta in the afternoon
        Zen Arado: sounds good to me
        Calvino Rabeni: :)

    'One year to live' practice:

        Zen Arado: I was reading an article in Tricycle yesterday
        Calvino Rabeni: Calvino Rabeni listens
        Zen Arado: about a couple who decided to do a practice of imagining they only had 1 year to live
        Zen Arado: thought that was a good idea
        Zen Arado: what would I do if I only had one year left I wondered?
        Calvino Rabeni: Did they also imagine they weren't scared and grievous about it, or did they go through an emotional reconciliation?
        Zen Arado: should do something like you
        Zen Arado: lots of things came up
        Calvino Rabeni: One thing to do - take one's life as a whole before one's eyes
        Zen Arado: the man is Stephen Levine - he has been counselling terminal illness patients for about 30 years
        Calvino Rabeni: If I found out I had one year to live, I'd think for a few days and see I think, that I'd already "lived"
        Zen Arado: but what would you do differently?
        Zen Arado: we get so stuck in a routine I think
        Calvino Rabeni: stop brushing my teeth ?
        Zen Arado: :)
        Calvino Rabeni: no more preventative fussing
        Zen Arado: I am going to leave a lot of money to my sister and her children I think
        Calvino Rabeni: might still do yoga\
        Zen Arado: I should spend it myself
        Calvino Rabeni: Well, yes, deciding what to happen with any estate that would be left
        Zen Arado: hire someone to help me and travel more
        Calvino Rabeni: good idea
        Zen Arado: or go on a cruise around the world
        Zen Arado: but that is selfish I guess
        Calvino Rabeni: Take some along who would benefit, then
        Zen Arado: I would like to do a long meditation retreat
        Zen Arado: maybe in San Francisco zen center
        Calvino Rabeni: There is a temple where the head monk was meditating when he died, and did not change. He is now in a glass case in the parking lot, still in robes and in the lotus position
        Calvino Rabeni: The name of the place is something like "Dead Monk Shrine"
        Calvino Rabeni: So i would like to die like that while sitting
        Zen Arado: some become happier when they know they don't have long to live
        Calvino Rabeni: Another religious type thing to do is to pray for the survivors
        Zen Arado: Ondrea Levine: "I think the greatest benefit of the year-to-live practice is the opportunity it provides to reassess our priorities. When we worked with people on their deathbed, we would often hear the following three complaints: I wish I had gotten divorced earlier; I wish I had taken a job for love of the work, not money; I wish I had played and enjoyed myself more. So the beauty of the practice is that we can evaluate our lives even before we are on our deathbed. If we are not living the life we wish to live, how can we change that now, while there is still time?"
        Calvino Rabeni: I went to a weekend workshop on the theme of "dying well" last fall
        Zen Arado: ah what did you take away from it?
        Calvino Rabeni: Most of the people's concerns were for their surviving family's wellbeing
        Zen Arado: yes - only natural
        Calvino Rabeni: .
        Calvino Rabeni: That doesn't apply to me, but one takeaway was the idea of coming up with some other kind of legacy rather than deciding that the idea is inapplicable
        Calvino Rabeni: Also, throwing a big party or wake, was something people wanted to do, and it became one of my ideas
        Zen Arado: what other kind of legacy?
        Zen Arado: yes - that sounds good
        Calvino Rabeni: Probably doesn't matter exactly what - except to be values-consistent
        Calvino Rabeni: Maybe, endow a small scholarship fund at a college
        Calvino Rabeni: TO assist one student per year, or whatever is feasible
        Calvino Rabeni: Since I have no descendents
        Calvino Rabeni: I'm not big on anonymous charitable foundations
        Calvino Rabeni: but there are small-scale personalized alternatives
        Calvino Rabeni: I might make a phlanthropic portfolio or something like that
        Calvino Rabeni: Disposal of remains ?
        Zen Arado: sorry Ihave to go Cal - I have someone arrived to pick up paintings from me
        Zen Arado: thanks for interesting discussion
        Calvino Rabeni: Changed my mind about cremation, unless it is "green"
        Zen Arado: hope to continue it soon
        Calvino Rabeni: YW Zen, any time :)
        Zen Arado: bye:)
        Calvino Rabeni: Take care be well
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