Tag Archives: karma

Beyond Ethical Vegetarianism

RadhaGopinathPrasadam_USEAt a recent hearing about gun control legislation in Hartford, Connecticut, Mark Mattioli, whose 6-year-old son James was killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, urged lawmakers to address America’s culture of violence. “It’s a simple concept. We need civility across our nation,” he said. “What we’re seeing are symptoms of a bigger problem. This is a symptom. The problem is not gun laws. The problem is a lack of civility.”

Mr. Mattioli’s point may have been lost on the gun rights advocates who interrupted his testimony with shouts about their 2nd amendment rights. Be that as it may, it’s become clear that America has reached a tipping point on the issue of guns: a sufficient number of people are so dissatisfied with the results of the status quo that they feel motivated to change it. Continue reading

Culture of Violence

McDonaldsGun_USEAfter the shock wears off what remains is a desire for understanding; we long for something that will explain the inexplicable. Convenient rationalizations like “it was God’s will” or “it was just their karma” top the list of platitudes that no one wants to hear. And with good reason: such banal consolations trivialize unfathomable depths of grief and anger by decorating God with causeless cruelty or blaming victims who are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

This most recent and particularly horrific tragedy has, predictably, been blamed on the ease by which ordinary citizens can acquire military-grade armaments, a collective indifference to the scourge of mental illness, and the glorification of violence in everything from video games to news coverage that relentlessly sensationalizes the very events from which we wish to be spared. Continue reading

The Yoga of Selfless Service

“Those who are self-realized have no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of their prescribed duties, nor have they any reason not to perform such work. Nor have they any need to depend on any other living being. Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.” Bhagavad-gita 3.18-19

In her recent contribution to Elephant Journal, Chelsea Roff offers us an unusually insightful perspective on the problem of trying to be of service for the right reason in the right way with the right consciousness. And she asked a few thought provoking questions: “Do you think ‘selfless service’ exists, or is it a misnomer we need to do away with altogether? Have you ever see well-meaning attempts at service do harm? What went wrong, and how can we move toward something different?”

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Facing Our Fears

Elizabeth, my partner, and I don’t have children so we’re not so well-prepared to accommodate them when we have guests; our parties are usually “adults only” affairs. Naturally, exceptions are made and on one such occasion a couple brought their 8 year-old son, Anton. Anton is an interesting kid; he amused himself for most of the evening by hiding under our bed and making spooky ghost noises whenever someone walked in to drop off a coat or get something from their handbag.

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