Thursday, August 4, 2016
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
.....................but when I do, it is because of quotes like this:
"We need to prevent recklessness, not risk-taking."
-Excerpted from here. As they say, read the whole thing.
"Even during the Buddha's lifetime, there were people such as the monk Arittha, who misunderstood the Buddha's teachings and conveyed them incorrectly. It is also apparent that some of the monks who memorized the sutras over the centuries did not understand their deepest meanings, or at the very least, they forgot or changed some words. As a result, some of the Buddha's teachings were distorted even before they were written down."
"Often, we need to study several discourses and compare them in order to understand which is the true teaching of the Buddha. It is like stringing precious jewels together to make a necklace. If we see each sutra in light of the overall body of teaching, we will not be attached to any one teaching."
-both excerpts from Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
"So much venom had passed between Clay and Jackson that even the all-forgetting waters of Lethe in which politicians routinely bathe could not put things right between them."
-James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
But America as a whole, once its early Puritan settlement had been diluted by those who followed or those already there, became too much of a mongrel nation to enjoy the simpler organic benefits of union. Lacking the communal simplicities afforded in some other countries - Japan, say, or Norway - by the existence of one race, one ethnic group, or a single class or a dominant intellectual or spiritual tendency, the great experiment that is America has had to make a union for itself, not wish it to grow in the dark out of time and nothing. It has done so purposefully by the deliberate acts of its own people. Man has had to do the hard work in bringing America together, forging something that in other, less complex places has been accomplished much more simply.
Simon Winchester, The Men Who United The States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation. Indivisible
Winchester, born in London, England chose to become a naturalized American citizen in 2011. He is the author of more than a dozen books, most of which are highly interesting, instructive, and readable.
In those states where citizens voted for president, Jackson had taken 153,544; Adams 108,740; Clay 47,136; Crawford 46,618. But it was the electoral votes that counted, and here the final tally read: Jackson 99, Adams 84, Crawford 41, Clay 37. The four defected New York votes had cost Clay his chance for the presidency. Clay was a supremely political animal, but in a letter to his friend Francis Brooke he admitted that he couldn't make head or tails of the New York vote. Now only Jackson, Adams, and Crawford, a broken man, survived. The vote in the House was scheduled for February 9.
Adams could have taken the position that the nation had spoken, that voters had chosen Andrew Jackson, that his candidacy had remained alive only by virtue of a constitutional technicality. That is, he could have withdrawn. Jackson's friends put it out that this would be the correct thing for Adams to do. There is no sign that this idea crossed his mind. Adams would not have acknowledged that anything in the Constitution could be deemed to be a technicality.
-James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
Some context: this is the presidential election of 1824, that wasn't decided until 1825. Crawford is William Crawford of Georgia, who had two serious strokes in the months leading up to the election.
Monday, August 1, 2016
“War unhinges society, disturbs its peaceful and regular industry, and scatters poisonous seeds of disease and immorality, which continue to germinate and diffuse their baneful influence long after it has ceased. Dazzling by its glitter, pomp and pageantry, it begets a spirit of wild adventure and romantic enterprise, and often disqualifies those who embark in it, after their return from the bloody fields of battle, from engaging in the industrious and peaceful vocations of life.”
"We have had good and bad Presidents, and it is a consoling reflection that the American Nation possesses such elements of prosperity that the bad Presidents cannot destroy it, and have been able to do no more than slightly to retard the public's advancement." -1848
"All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty."
“The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer.”
“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.”