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Archive for the ‘buddhism’ Category

Dinner with RMS – the Great Freedom Debate

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I was lucky enough to be invited to join Steve Jacobs and Richard Stallman for dinner, Tuesday night. If I said I was honored to be included that would be an understatement.

But what does one talk about with the father of the Free Software Movement?

Freedom of course!

While this post will read as if we had a long and fruitful debate, the truth is I changed the subject when I realized that he was unbending and not willing to accept any observations other than his own. So my observation that there is a hypocritical element to his position was getting nowhere fast.

Steve tried to interject for clarification since we were discussing such a small nuance to “freedom” but even that was met with inflexibility. In fact he repeated his wording exactly as he had before Steve’s question.

Here’s the issue as I see it…

Freedom is an inalienable right. I also believe wholeheartedly that if you have a restriction of any kind you don’t have true freedom.

I also understand that true freedom is rare and elusive. Laws, taxes, social mores and such are all limiting factors. You can have some freedoms, like the freedom of speech, but I also don’t believe the US is a Free country when there are so many questionable laws still on the books (yes, Patriot act, I’m talking about you and your sleezy friends!)

You should also understand that I’m all for of some laws and mores. For instance, when we all know what side of the street to drive on, its good for everyone. You would also misunderstand this blog post if you come away thinking that I dislike the GPL and/or the Free Software Movement. The fact is I’m a fan and have deep respect for the movement as a whole.

However, my side of the debate focused on copyleft, and the GPLs Share Alike clauses and Stallman’s penchant for term correctness.

As I see it, if you’re going to explain to a crowded room that you can’t…

… call something piracy because it didn’t attack any boats;
… use the term “Intellectual Property” because it refers to multiple laws;
… call an Operating system Linux because the Linux Kernel wasn’t fully effective without the rest of the GNU operating system and vice versa…

Then you must absolutely be certain that you’re not acting hypocritically when it comes to the use of the term “Freedom.”

For me, the question is, how can software really be “free, as in Freedom” when there are restrictions built into it’s license?

Stallman’s stance is that he respects your freedom, but in return you must respect the freedom of others. Then he explained that share alike/copyleft clauses needed to be included because he didn’t want to lose ground. To open up a code base only to have it taken away again isn’t an acceptable situation.

I say that’s a risk you have to take if you’re going to insist that what you’re trying to do is make all software free.

Freedom always comes with a choice. When you have good information and care about the outcomes, you always make the right decision for you. Besides, if information or desired outcomes change, you always have the option to make new choices.

So if you’re to ask for a simple clarification – the Four Essential Freedoms outlined in the Free Software definition do define freedom. However this Free software definition points out that there’s a flaw in copyleft when it states,

“For example, copyleft (very simply stated) is the rule that when redistributing the program, you cannot add restrictions to deny other people the central freedoms. This rule does not conflict with the central freedoms; rather it protects them.”

It’s cleverly written and on quick glance you think “oh it’s about not adding restrictions, that’s Kosher.” But it brings you back to reality when you see that it’s a rule (aka restriction) that needs to be clarified in the second sentence of the quote.

Conflict or not, rules are restrictions and restrictions limit freedom.

Am I the only one seeing this as wordplay and a form of restricting Freedom?

~Karlie

Image “Freedom” By ivan petrov

Written by Karlie

February 25th, 2010 at 11:49 am

Life Sucks When We Are Being Stupid

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Here’s another article pulled from the CyberTemple archives.

The True Freedom Teachings of
Suwattano
The Four Noble Truths of Life:
(Life Sucks When We Are Being Stupid)
(note: loose translations of quotes of the Buddha are in Italics annotated with quotation marks)

1. Life sucks
“Now this is the Noble Truth concerning life sucking. Birth sucks, aging sucks, death sucks, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair suck; not getting what one wants sucks. In short, the limited five aggregates suck that make up this human life.”

2. Life sucks for a reason
“And what is the Noble Truth of the origination of life sucking? The craving that creates further becoming, accompanied by chasing after lust and delight, relishing now here and now there, i.e. craving for sensuality, craving for existence, craving for non-existence.”

The Buddha told us that life sucks for a reason, and that we make our own lives suck. We make our lives suck by our constant chasing after excitement and our thinking that life sucks when it isn’t exciting. There is no possible way that life can be exciting all the time, and it is our wanting life to always be exciting even though it can never be that way; our wanting life to be other than it is; our own wrong thinking, that makes life suck so much. Our own trying to make life more than what it naturally is and can ever be; trying to get more out of life than what it has to offer, where we make our own lives suck.

3. Life doesn’t have to suck
“And what is the Noble Truth of the ending of life sucking? The abandoning and cessation, renunciation relinquishment, release, and letting go of the craving that causes life to suck.”

The Buddha says that life doesn’t have to suck, that if we stop being stupid life won’t suck anymore. If we look at this we can see that we make life suck ourselves (create our own turmoils). So if we stop being stupid by creating our own difficulties life won’t suck so much.

4. The path leading to the ending of life suckingDon’t Be Stupid!.

The Buddha described it as the Eightfold Path saying: “And what is the Noble Truth of the path of practice leading to the end of life sucking? Just this very Eightfold Path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”

That doesn’t mean that we should sit around trying to perfect each of these eight aspects individually. That would be being “Stupid”, it would take forever. Look back at the time of the Buddha…at the number of people who gained enlightenment…not a single one of these people had a Ph.D., so this path can’t be as complicated as most modern teachers make it out to be. Maybe they just like being important and in control, I don’t know, but it is not so difficult. Just Be Only The Heart the best you can, and be patient (but patience is not negligence). If we are patiently doing the best we can and not being negligent, we are practicing the entire Eightfold Path…it’s that simple. It just comes down to: Don’t Be Stupid…it’s not so difficult, so don’t make it difficult.

This short text may be freely reproduced and distributed, and this statement may be taken as sufficient permission to do so, there is no need to seek further permission. – 18 May 1997 by the True Freedom Cyber-Temple

Written by Karlie

January 26th, 2010 at 8:10 am

Excptional trip to Walmart

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The truth is stranger than fiction.

Of all the other visits I’ve ever had to Walmart, this has to be the exception, rather than the rule.

As I walk in I see a man at the check out wearing Jackfruit brown monk’s robs. The tote bag he’s carrying also has Thai writing on it.

It takes me a moment to go from “oh cool a monk” to “I wonder if he’s Thai Forrest Tradition?”

Now here’s the kicker… While I’ve spent an enormous amount of time with a former monk, they’re not on every street corner here in the US so I’ve only ever interacted with Todd.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t make any major Faux Pas, I’m also pretty sure I didn’t make a great impression either. A drive by greeting if you will.

I’m still hanging my head in shame for not being more “normal” when I met the men.

Now that I’ve got the things I came in for, I head to the express check out. There I’m met with 3 individuals who not only have more than 20 items each, they’re also doing their best to complicate things for the cashier.

The first cart is just finishing up as I approach. He pays for his groceries.
The Second cart is unloaded and now there’s discussions about this woman’s groceries.
The third person in the party takes a $100 bill out of her pocket and gives it to the man.

The man then proceeds to pay for everyone’s groceries with his welfare card.

“Whats the total now?” As the second woman adds a pack of gum. They’re still short of spending every last penny alloted on the card so the first woman exclaims “If you get another pack of gum I’ll pay you a dollar for it.”

So if I didn’t have reason enough to avoid Walmart, this takes the cake.

Written by Karlie

January 7th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Posted in at Home,buddhism,family

What do Buddhists believe?

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What is Buddhism? What’s religion?

It it not unusual for people to ask me“What do you (Buddhists) believe in?” I usually say that “it’s not important what I believe.” Generally people are not sure how to take that, but they are usually sure that I don’t believe that “it’s not important what I believe.” They usually just think I don’t wish to discuss it with them, and create some mental idea (predisposition) as to why. Usually people equate religion with theistic beliefs…so if I’m a Buddhist then I should have “Buddhist” beliefs. Buddhism is often regarded by theistic religions as atheistic, and sometimes not even a religion at all…it’s seen as a psychology or philosophy because Buddhism doesn’t originate from a theistic or doctrinal position. Not so long ago someone showed me a description of Buddhism as a “non-theistic religion”, which seems to indicate a non-religion.

I remember a book I read a few years ago where almost an entire chapter was spent debating whether Buddhism is a religion or philosophy…the Author finally came to the conclusion that he thought it was a combination, a sort of religious-psychology, although he wasn’t really sure. So, we could go debating and speculating about this forever…we come to theistic irrelevancy…back to “it doesn’t matter what I believe.” You see…religion isn’t really what a person believes, but what a person practices day to day. If someone says that they are a Christian with Christian beliefs, but they don’t practice the non-judgement of others on a daily basis, then they don’t really believe in the teachings of Jesus…they’re just speculating about the way things could be.

In Buddhism we emphasize practice because that leads to true understanding as opposed to mere speculation. As we practice we begin to see how our mind works and how things really are…our beliefs keep changing with our realizations until we finally realize how impermanent our beliefs are, that there is no permanent “self” to be found in them, and that they are essentially unsatisfactory because trying to hold onto them only stands in the way of our willingness learn. Then we can have a real belief…the belief that our beliefs don’t matter, not even the belief that ‘our beliefs don’t matter’ is important, they all become irrelevant as mere beliefs.

please, take care of your heart…
Suwattano

The True Freedom Teachings of Suwattano
This short text may be freely reproduced and distributed, and this statement may be taken as sufficient permission to do so, there is no need to seek further permission. – 1996, updated March 1997 by True Freedom Cyber-Temple

Written by Karlie

January 5th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in buddhism,CyberTemple

Nostalgic start to 2010.

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It’s the first day of 2010 and I’m in a nostalgic mood this morning. Probably because my cold is getting worse, rather than better and I’m not too excited about doing anything other than pretending to be a vegetable.

So instead of doing anything serious, I’m digging through a few DVD’s of data archived at one of the many updates my personal computer has had over the years.

Along with the old files and business documents I found lots and lots of photos I hadn’t looked at in quite a long time. For example, here is my youngest son at about 8 months old in May 2005. (please see updated copyright notice for photos in the left menu.)

I also found a copy of my husband’s first website. The site is long gone and I was actually surprised to find a version at Archive.org. In fact I thought I had lost my only copy of the site before I rediscovered these discs. I should also kick myself for not checking the way back machine sooner. Though if I knew the Internet Archive had a copy I might not have looked so hard for the discs.

Anyway, I’ve decided to post some of Todd’s writings as I go along. I do have a few things that the way back machine didn’t capture so with luck I’ll have some unique insights to share with you.

Hope you enjoy the new year,
~Karlie

Written by Karlie

January 1st, 2010 at 9:39 am