Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Illiterate grandmothers are solar engineers

It doesn't mean that you need to go to the university to do clever things.  It also doesn't mean that if you had a degree from the university, you can do clever things.  You want to do something useful and even technical?  Then learn it from the illiterate grandmothers of Rajasthan, India.  They are "graduates" from the" Barefoot College" founded by Bunker Roy.

These "graduates" are ordinary rural folks, including illiterate grandmothers.  Whether the government wants to recognize their abilities or not, it doesn't matter.  The most important fact is that they are competent in the things they do.  They are the real solar engineers, artisans, dentists and even doctors.

Presenting Bunker Roy, explaining how this is possible.

(TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Il Volo : Three kids taking the world by their voices

I am no music expert, but these three kids make no mistake will conquer the world with their powerful voices.  I present 3 Youtube videos to prove my point. After that, you can listen to more of them from the links provided in Youtube.

Well as usual, some skeptics said they were fakes.  Time will tell if we don't have first hand knowledge.  I think they are for real.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moringa the miracle tree

Do the above "drumsticks" look familiar?  They are Moringa pods or kalor, or commonly known as "drumsticks"..  You will find them in Indian and Malay curries.  Apparently these Moringa pods and leaves have great medicinal properties and contain lots of essential vitamins and minerals, more than the conventional fruits and veges.  The trees are right at our doorsteps and many of us are surprisingly ignorant of their great nutritional and medicinal values.

If you are interested to know more, please read my article HERE:

(Moringa tree by the roadside)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bloody politicians spinning again

The bloody politicians are spinning again!!  Long live the internet and the truth shall prevail.  Give me another few more years and I shall kick them out.

Photo copied from someone's facebook entry.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple's Steve Jobs, visionary leader, dead at 56

Yesterday I posted the article on the last talk by my spiritual teacher, Ven. K Sri Dhammananda before he died.  His last talk was about the frailty of this human body, and how we need to be wise to realise that we cannot cling to this body forever. 

Today, Steve Jobs is dead at 56.  The world has lost its greatest technological wizard of all time. 

[SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Steve Jobs, who transformed the worlds of personal computing, music and mobile phones, died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
The co-founder of Apple Inc, one of the world's great entrepreneurs, was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California. Other details were not immediately available.
His death was announced by Apple and sparked an immediate outpouring of sadness and sympathy from world leaders, competitors and other businessmen including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The Silicon Valley icon who gave the world the iPod, iPhone and iPad had stepped down as chief executive of the world's largest technology company in August, handing the reins to long-time lieutenant Tim Cook.
He was deemed the heart and soul of a company that rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable in America.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve," Apple said in a statement.
"His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."
Apple paid homage to their visionary leader by changing their website to a big black-and-white photograph of him with the caption "Steve Jobs: 1955-2011." The flags outside the company's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop flew at half mast.
Jobs' health had been a controversial topic for years and his battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer a deep concern to Apple fans and investors.
In past years, even board members have confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, was not being forthcoming enough with directors about the true condition of his health.
Now, despite much investor confidence in Cook, who has stood in for his boss during three leaves of absence, there remain concerns about whether Apple would stay a creative force to be reckoned with in the longer term without its visionary.
Jobs died one day after the consumer electronics powerhouse unveiled its latest iPhone, the gadget that transformed mobile communications and catapulted Apple to the highest echelons of the tech world.

His death triggered an immediate outpouring of sympathy.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come," Gates said. "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely."
Outside an Apple store in New York, mourners laid candles, bouquets of flowers, an apple and an iPod Touch in a makeshift memorial.
"I think half the world found out about his death on an Apple device," said Robbie Sokolowsky, 32, an employee for an online marketing company, who lit a candle outside the store.
Cook said in a statement that Apple planned to hold a celebration of Jobs' life for employees "soon".
A college dropout, Buddhist and son of adoptive parents, Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. The company soon introduced the Apple 1 computer.
But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the then-nascent PC industry, culminating in a 1980 initial public offering that made Jobs a multimillionaire.
Despite the subsequent success of the Macintosh computer, Jobs' relationship with top management and the board soured. The company removed most of his powers and then in 1985 he was fired.
Apple's fortunes waned after that. However, its purchase of NeXT -- the computer company Jobs founded after leaving Apple -- in 1997 brought him back into the fold. Later that year, he became interim CEO and in 2000, the company dropped "interim" from his title.

Along the way Jobs also had managed to revolutionize computer animation with his other company, Pixar, but it was the iPhone in 2007 that secured his legacy in the annals of modern technology history.
Forbes estimates Jobs' net worth at $6.1 billion in 2010, placing him in 42nd place on the list of America's richest. It was not immediately known how his estate would be handled.
Six years ago, Jobs had talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind that vision.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005.
"Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, Edwin Chan, Andrew Longstreith, Sarah McBride; Editing by Gary Hill and Tiffany Wu) ]

I note that Steve Jobs was a Buddhist.  The usual parting words for Buddhists in time of death is this:

"Anicca Vatta Sankhara" : "All Component Things Are Impermanent"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

K Sri Dhammananda's last talk.

(Ven. K Sri Dhammananda)
Usually I don't post Buddhist articles in this blog.  I post them in my other Buddhist blog "Life Is Like That".  But this time is special.  The article below came through a forwarded email today.  Ven. K Sri Dhammananda was my Buddhist teacher.  What I learned about Buddhism mainly came from him.  During the 1980s I used to attend his Friday talk without fail, from 8pm to past 9pm.  For more than one year, every Friday evening, Chief Reverend, as he was fondly addressed by all devotees, graciously answered all the questions I submitted to him.  That was where I learned my Buddhism with full confidence; and am now able to share with others by answering their questions through "All Experts.com".  
I am sure the person who initiated this email  has posted the authentic  last talk by Chief Reverend.  I don't think he/she has any reason to do otherwise.  From my experience with Chief Reverend's manner of speaking, the article below should be authentically his.
The subject of his final talk was fittingly appropriate given his physical condition then.  I hope everyone who cares to read this can contemplate wisely the message of Chief Reverend .
Anicca Vatta Sankhara : All Component Things Are Impermanent.
The Buddha's final advice:

vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādetha
All compounded things, all experiences (mental and physical), all phenomena by their very nature decay and die, and are disappointing: it is through being not-blind-drunk on, obsessed by, or infatuated with, the objects of the senses that you succeed in awakening, or obtain liberation.

Or more succinctly:
All things are disappointing, [it is] through vigilance [that] you succeed.

Strive on with diligence.
This is The Late Chief Reverend of Brickfield, Most Ven K Sri Dhammananda very last dhamma talk at the Maha Vihara given on the 7th July 2006 and he came as always when they rang the bell at 8.10pm into the PH Henry hall but this time in his wheel chair.

*Human Life ( last talk by Chief Priest , Maha Vihara, 7.7.2006)*
"Dear devotees actually I never thought I would have the chance to see and talk to you , half of my body is dead, but my heart , my mind still has energy . What is this diseased body , is it life? Its not life , its the house , life is the energy , mental, kammic and cosmic all joined together as "energy ", that is life.

Body is decayed and life goes away .Actually we must be happy when time comes to depart without suffering , to crave so much for the body , we spend our whole life decorating , looking after it , one day it decays and when energy and the elements dissipate then mental energy will build another house . Life started with mental energy and then birth occurs . Every single child cries , none smiles after birth . Life is suffering we are using whole amounts of energy to maintain this physical body , but one day we have to depart .Then leaves solidity and fluidity ~ 2 elements only , heat and motion has gone.

Christians and Muslims are particular about the body as they believe in resurrection , we do not believe that there is anything in this physical body . Spend thousands on funerals , but the departed never get anything. Only way to support the departed , you must know how to make use of this life , that is why religion is needed to help us to cultivate compassion , sympathy and kindness and supporting others.

David Morris sent me a letter , he said there are 2 reasons to be happy as an old man , (1) he will be free from pain and suffering .
(2) Ever since he became a Buddhist he has tried his best to maintain and uphold the 5 precepts , if there is another life it won't be an unfortunate one as he departs with confidence .

In the end the dying man takes no solace in dancing and singing , only meritorious deeds will you get confidence and this will support the kammic energy in the rebirth . Must know how to handle life , by doing service to others to help release their suffering . Many die with fear and confusion in mind , can't take rebirth in upper realm . Meditation is important to maintain purity . Prince Siddharta when he was born there were 5 astrologers invited to predict his fate, 4 said that he would either grow up to be a sage or monarch . Last one said definitely a sage . When craving and attachment is completely removed , mind is then completely pure .This body is not life . Its a house built by energy and 4 cosmic elements. Unfortunately in the past 2500 years , Buddhists in Asia have introduced a lot of rites and rituals, never introduced by the Buddha.Just keep away from evil by reducing anger, jealousy enmity , try to do meritorious deeds, try to develop the mind through understanding. Try to purify the mind.

If you are cruel hot tempered or stingy try your best to take this out . If you pray to God to take this out do you think God can do that? Buddha can't also , but he can tell you how to do that . War is declared by the human mind, peace also comes from our minds , not from heaven nor from God.

First by understanding without believing , when you develop a right understanding , then you can carry on a religious way of life . When you doubt , you think , investigate, accept or reject . Others say if there is doubt, then God will punish you.

All over the world different schools have sprung up and they follow their own traditions which they have maintained for a long time . Buddha had rejected old traditions , but it was introduced to the primitive narrow minded people . People in Asian countries don't study the dharma.

Next do Good . Reduce the anger and do something to train the mind through
right understanding . Change the mind , through your own experience you can understand right and wrong.

I have been in Malaysia for 53 years , used to have even no room to sleep. The Chinese were the main Buddhists here and through Buddhist societies we made them understand what Buddhism is.

My mind mental and life energy is still active but I am half way dead , you must know how to do this . Although the end of my life is now near , I have no fear. Arahants can disconnect mind from body to experience nibbanic bliss and at that time you cannot tell if they are dead or alive , their bodies are still warm and their complexions will remain ruddy . They can do that for 1 week at the most. Remember there are 4 kinds of happiness: (1) Happiness of Possession - In owing your own property , your house , land , business , bank account. (2) Happiness of Enjoyment - Using what you have earned you can enjoy good food , nice house,nice dress without abusing, bluffing, cheating others. (3) Happiness of Debtlessness - Try best not to borrow from others , spend within your own means, you gain self respect. (4) Happiness of Blamelessness - Try to lead life without doing harm to anybody.

These 4 kinds of happiness must be with you . Don't be lazy do some work , do not neglect what you have earned, maintain and protect what you have earned , then you can decide what to do including adopting a Buddhist way of life up to arahant , know how to adjust your way of life , how to associate with others , who are they ?Associate with good people ,not harmful wicked people .Support your father and mother ,look after your wife and children, don't neglect relatives, help them . Develop your mind to the extent that you are not shaken by the 8 winds of change, praise /blame , fame /shame , gain /loss , pleasure /pain and treat all the same , then at this stage nothing will affect you."
All meetings end in partings
That which rises must fall
That which is collected will be dispersed
Birth ends with death


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