Here’s a painting that is supposed to make some sort of statement about science. I don’t know for sure what that statement is, though, and I’ve never seen a chem lab or a bio lab that looked anything like this. The anglerfish, at least, needs serious containment for the serious water pressure that it needs to survive, and it couldn’t really live in the same tank as the more ordinary-looking sharks above it. I guess this is just artistic license at work though.
The plan to go to the range yesterday fell through. Bleah. Juan had to work huge amounts of overtime on Saturday, so he couldn’t go out Sunday. Next Saturday, we hope.
I’ve been reading The Buddha from Brooklyn, about a woman from Brooklyn who was recognized as a tulku (reincarnated spiritual leader) by a rather conservative Tibetan Buddhist. She decided that the thing she should do was start a Buddhist center in Maryland, build a temple complex and a bunch of stupas, and attempt to spread Tibetan Buddhism through the USA.
The book is mostly written in an oh-gosh-wow style that I didn’t particularly like, but at least the author describes the bad things about the religious practices as well as the good things. A fair number of people went to the center for months or years, learned stuff, experienced inner peace and/or subtle enlightenment, and generally had a decent time. However, the participants were always encouraged to think of their leader as infallible, and to obey her orders without question. This is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism (everyone always does what the lama says), but it has serious potential for abuse and very little oversight.
Also, rules that applied to the participants (no adultery, for those who had taken vows, no sex) were not applied to the leader. She married and divorced several men over several years, and there were multiple times when she slept with people she wasn’t married to. And of course, participants were encouraged/browbeaten/forced to contribute lots of money, labor, and time to the temple.
The goal of the center is to reduce and eventually eliminate the suffering of all sentient beings everywhere. Good goal. I don’t know if this particular center is accomplishing it in the best way, though. People who are in positions of power tend to do things which benefit them personally, and the concerns and problems of their subordinates often get stepped on. Some of the descriptions of the center made me think of “cliquish high school where most of the people are wearing saffron robes” instead of “a place where everyone’s trying to become enlightened”.
Actually, a lot of the negative things I noticed are probably endemic to humans and human organizations. Buddhists—even advanced, practicing, devoted Buddhists—don’t have a way to make people be awesome. Pity that they don’t.