Develop the heart. Work for peace in your heart and in the world.
Never give up, no matter what is going on around you.
- His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet
This page was last updated on 7 May, 2006.
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I am a gardener,
a stick in the mud that took root and grew.
I was born in England. Now I live in Canada... in a house.
I am left handed.
I don't own a red satchel,
Or a cloth cap.
Now you know everything.
But if you want to read more, pick up The Post.
John-the-gardener trims his mustache but not his beard - not very often, anyway. He wears shorts but he doesn't have sunburned knees. He has nice legs. He doesn't wear ties or fancy trainers (or 'sneakers', if you will). He wears glasses. He would like a pair of mole skin shorts, but doesn't know where to buy them, and probably couldn't afford them if he did.
And now... introducing tonight's...
What is going on in Tibet is a fundamentally human crisis that transcends the usual political heartache, heartburn and haemorrhoids, and confronts us with what it actually means to be a human being3, wherever we happen to live.
Welcome to the Tibetan Greenhouse Dugout.
Admit it. You're curious.
And these are a few of my favourite things...4
- Books Buddleia Butterflies Custard Ducks Eggs Freckles GreatBlueHerons Films Fish Mayonnaise Mice PeaceAndQuiet Portraiture Sausages Seaside Soil Sunrises Tea TeaBags Television TidePools Whelks... oh, and Marquees, of course
- Fast cars, fast women and fast laxatives
- And, of course, brown paper packages of kittens in mittens tied up with string.5
- Favourite Rejection Comments
- Favourite book: R A Lafferty's Fourth Mansions
- Favourite Bach: PDQ
- Favourite violinist:
And, for no particular reason, a poem about me...
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells
And cockle shells
And pretty maids that I have a devil of a time trying to keep all in a row.
Did I mention that I was born without a sense of humour? Don't feel sorry for me though. I get by quite well with a prosthesis made of feathers. Patent pending.
Past life experience: Bear
Animal totem: Great blue heron
Religion: Born-again Buddhist with lapsed animist tendencies
DVD Collection: Yes...
JTG's DVD Collection
The following is the well-known mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. It is Sanskrit, which is not a foreign language any more than Latin is, and for the same reason: Sanskrit is a language of classical wisdom, a medium useful to anyone, anywhere, regardless of their native tongue.
It is often translated as something like 'Hail to the jewel in the lotus', or something of the sort. What it means is that all the good that one might need, all the good that exists, is within each of us. Like a lotus, we start out in the mud; but the potential to rise above that base condition and blossom is within each of us.
You may have noticed that this idea is a theme that I keep coming back to, here and in a lot of what I've written. I believe in our individual capacity to improve and our individual responsibility to.
In Tibet, this phrase is spoken; carved on stones; and written on tiny pieces of paper, which are placed inside prayer wheels, either hand-held models or enormous ones. Tibetans believe that spinning the prayer wheels is the same as saying the prayer aloud... mechanised praying. Pretty cool. It's an efficient way of bestowing a lot of blessings on a world that desperately needs it.
The reason for saying or spinning the prayer is to invoke the blessing of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) and inspire the spirit of compassion for the benefit of all beings.
This marquee is a tiny gift to all of you.
|om mani padme hum|
Our ability to change the world lies in our hands, minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits - committed in action. It's not only that we can make a difference, it's that we do make the difference. The kind of change we make is up to us.
- Julia Butterfly Hill, One Makes the Difference
Our lives begin to end the day we
become silent about things that
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle;
pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.
- Kilgore Trout
Hoo-ah-eeh-ah-hoo-ah. Come on the peace train.
- Cat Stevens
Get up. Stand up. don't give up then fight.
- Bob Marley
Pessimism and optimism are both self-fulfilling prophesies. The danger inherent in a pessimistic outlook is that our lack of positive action will certainly guarantee that the future will not be bright. On the other hand, the essential first step towards a better world is the heartfelt conviction that such a world is possible. The next step, of course, is the willingness to act upon that belief.
A note about the relative lack of colour: This space used to be a lot more colourful than it is now, until someone said that my Tibetan Greenhouse Dugout, meant to be soothing and relaxing in a nice shade of green, looked sickly and something I can't for the moment remember. Anyway, for the benefit of those lost souls who have chosen to h2g2 in anything but Classic Goo, I shall for the time being remain chromatically neutral.
Everything goes better with Classic Goo.