Ramblings under the skin

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Abandon Poisonous Food

This is a very powerful slogan for us. It means that whatever we do with our practice, if that practice is connected with our personal achievement, which is called “spiritual materialism,” or the individual glory that we are in the right and others are wrong, and we would like to conquer their wrongness or evil because we are on the side of God and so forth-that kind of bullshit or cow dung is regarded as eating poisonous food. Such food may be presented to us beautifully and nicely, but when we begin to eat it, it stinks.

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- Trungpa Rimpoche on the 7 Point Mind Training

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"Disparaging people is based on showing off your own virtue. You think that your virtues can only show because other people’s are lessened, because they are less virtuous than you are."

- Trunpga Rimpoche

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"Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we would never recover; we would remain the victims of its consequences forever…"

- Hannah Arendt

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"Without being bound to the fulfillment of promises, we would never be able to keep our identities; we would be condemned to wander helplessly and without direction in the darkness of each man’s lonely heart."

- Hannah Arendt

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It dawns in the water bowls

And the air that touches them sways as if drunk.

You have to sing to proclaim the names of these fruits,

Fresher than your breasts.

With the hammock’s repose

Your waist walks

And you sit down among the others

The impervious dignity of an island.

I will stay by your side,

Friend,

Talking to the earth,

All day long.

Rosario Castellanos (translation Nagapriya)

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Your hands are my caress

My everyday harmonies

I love you because your hands

Work for justice.


If I love you it is because you are

My love, my accomplice and everything

And in the street elbow by elbow

We are much more than two


Your eyes are my charm

Against bad days

I love you for your gaze

That sees and sows the future


Your mouth is yours and mine

Your mouth is not wrong

I love you because your mouth

Knows how to cry rebelliously

If I love you it is because you are

My love, my accomplice and everything

And in the street elbow by elbow

We are much more than two


and for your sincere face
and your trampish walk
and your weeping for the world

because you are of the people I love you

and because love is not a halo
Nor an innocent moral
and because we are a couple
that knows it is not alone

I love you in my paradise

I mean that in my country

The people would live happily

Even though they don’t have permission

If I love you it is because you are

My love, my accomplice and everything

And in the street elbow by elbow

We are much more than two

Tus manos son mi caricia
mis acordes cotidianos
te quiero porque tus manos
trabajan por la justicia

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos

tus ojos son mi conjuro
contra la mala jornada
te quiero por tu mirada
que mira y siembra futuro

tu boca que es tuya y mía
tu boca no se equivoca
te quiero porque tu boca
sabe gritar rebeldía

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos

y por tu rostro sincero
y tu paso vagabundo
y tu llanto por el mundo
porque sos pueblo te quiero


y porque amor no es aureola
ni cándida moraleja
y porque somos pareja
que sabe que no está sola

te quiero en mi paraíso
es decir que en mi país
la gente viva feliz
aunque no tenga permiso

si te quiero es porque sos
mi amor mi cómplice y todo
y en la calle codo a codo
somos mucho más que dos.


Mario Benedetti

Translation: Nagapriya, 2014

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windhorsepublications:

Continuing our celebration of books in Buddhism, here’s a great video of Nagapriya and his friends at El Centro Budista De Ciudad de México talking about the benefits of reading and how Sangharakshita’s books in particular have influenced their spiritual life.

Find out more about Nagapriya and his two books, Exploring Karma and Rebirth and Visions of Mahayana Buddhism.

Source: windhorsepublications

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Mexico is a highly taxed economy. I’m not talking about the kinds of taxes that we are used to paying in Europe, which we pay to the government in order to enjoy various services. No one pays those here if they can possibly avoid it. In fact, there’s a complex industry exclusively concerned with avoiding paying the government anything at all. Little wonder then that the infrastructure of Mexico is a mess. But that is a whole other story. Right now, I’m talking about the informal, at first invisible taxes which we are expected – and sometimes forced – to pay every single day if you happen to be someone who has a few pesos in their pocket, and above all if you’re someone who drives a car.

First of all, there is the classic viene viene tax. This provides an alternative to formal car parking charges. In Mexico, it is rare to be charged by the local municipality to park on the road. Of course, there are plenty of private car parks and these usually charge 18 to 50 pesos per hour. However, on the road there is a different economy:  the economy of the viene viene. What is this? The viene viene is a characteristically Mexican institution. While Mexico may not be the richest country in the world, I’m constantly struck at how resourceful people are at making money. They see opportunities where I see piles of rubbish, they see a business venture when I see a line of parked cars. The viene viene is usually a middle-aged guy who takes it upon himself to control a stretch of pavement and set up his own informal car park along the side of the road. As far as I can see, he is not regulated in any way and I’ve yet to understand how viene vienes divide up their turf. Are there, for instance, viene viene turf wars?

Anyway, take the viene viene who works outside my building. He controls a stretch of maybe 100-150m of road real estate. Any time a car comes to park (on what is in fact a free road), Israel ushers the car into an empty spot, removing before he does so one of the markers or boxes or lumps of concrete that he uses to block the spaces when there are free spots. He even controls the entrance way to our building. After an unfortunate incident in which he crashed one of our cars when in the midst of one of the perpetual car shuffling operations, he now takes it upon himself to do extra little chores for us. For instance, if one of us arrives by car, and there is already a car parked outside our front door, he will remove it immediately shuffling it along the line and allowing us to park. After the car crashing incident, he has never asked us for any money. In addition, if he happens to be nearby and we are unloading something he comes across to help carry it into the building for us.

A viene viene will normally expect perhaps 5 to 10 pesos for allowing you to park your car on a public road. A particularly enterprising viene viene may also offer a car washing service to boost his income. But the work of the viene viene is not confined to the public road, he may also operate a line of parking spaces outside a shop or even in a supermarket car park. In these contexts, his role is actually completely useless but he will make a great show of directing you into a parking space that you could easily have found by yourself and that requires no guidance to park in. However, because he has waved his arms a bit and ushered you into a space, you are more or less required to pay the tax. Of course, you can always refuse but then you will be faced with the pitying look of the scorned viene viene. This look is hard to explain unless you have seen it and is called upon by various other informal tax agencies, which I will come to later. It basically makes you feel like you have just stolen chocolate from a baby. It should noted, of course, that the vienes vienes themselves are required to pay a tax to the local police patrols for allowing to them to operate what is in fact an illegal business.

Actually, the viene viene system has many advantages. First of all, it enables you to find a parking space, which is not always easy to come by. Secondly, you can be confident that someone is keeping an eye on your car which means that it is less likely to be stolen or damaged (unless of course you leave your keys with the viene viene and they themselves crash it). Thirdly, as already noted, you may be offered additional services such as window cleaning, or even a full car wash.

To be continued…

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SAMSARA food sequence

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