Tag Archives | monks
Another thing to worry about while hiking through the jungle. The Smithsonian writes:
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In October 1941, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover received a strange bit of war intelligence in a classified document, warning that a secret German airbase had gone up deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Particularly concerned about an attack on the Panama Canal, the FBI began collaborating with Brazil’s secret police.
In December, another worrying message came: the suspected culprits behind the scheme were a colony of German monks, [possibly] preparing for a secret base for the Luftwaffe, the airborne arm of the German military. The following July, large amounts of fuel were spotted traveling upriver in Bolivia. The FBI worried that the fuel could be headed to the secret jungle airbase, still yet to be discovered.
In the end, military leaders concluded that stockpiling enough supplies deep within the jungle would not be possible. The would-be Nazi monks were left to live their own quiet, solitary lives in nature.
Happiness is a gamma wave. Via Oddity Central:
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Matthieu Ricard was declared the happiest man on Earth by a group of scientists after it was discovered his brain produces a level of gamma waves never before reported in the field of neuroscience.
A former molecular geneticist who left his life and career behind to discover the secrets of Buddhism, Ricard is now one of the most celebrated monks in the Himalayas and a trusted advisor of the Dalai Lama. In 2009, neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up the French monk’s head with 256 sensors as part of a research project on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.
The scans showed something remarkable: when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produced a level of gamma waves linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory that were never even reported before in neuroscience literature. Furthermore, the scans scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity.
Wikipedia on the fascinating flute-playing basket monk sect of seventeenth-to-nineteenth century Japan. Across cultures, specific articles of clothing are commonly worn to conceal oneself for purposes of modesty, conformity, or strategic anonymity. However, the concept of the straw basket is more extreme–all identity and ego are removed:
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A komusō was a Japanese mendicant monk of the Fukè school of Zen Buddhism. Komusō wore a woven straw hat which covered their head completely looking like an overturned basket or a woven beehive. The concept was that by wearing such a hat they removed their ego. Komusō means ”priest of nothingness” or “monk of emptiness.”
They are also known for playing solo pieces on the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) as a method of attaining enlightenment and as a healing modality. The Japanese government introduced reforms after the Edo period, abolishing the Fukè sect. Records of the musical repertoire survived, and are being revived in the 21st century.
[Site editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]
Most Westerners who become fascinated with Zen Buddhism are intrigued with its reputation as an anti-authoritarian, freedom-loving, individualistic tradition. Books by excellent writers like Alan Watts popularized an image of Zen as a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow type of religion. But even a brief visit to a typical Zen temple is enough to make us painfully aware of the difference between hype and reality. Life in real Zen temples, in fact, is often so structured, regimented and heavily regulated as to quickly dispel the romanticism created by much of the literature about it. Far from being a hippie rendition of Buddhism, Zen discipleship can be demanding and severe.
But sometimes even misguided stereotypes are born from seeds of truth. Enter 15th century Japanese monk Ikkyu Sojun, who was truly as free, wild and allergic to authorities as advertised.… Read the rest
I wish this news went hand-in-hand with reports of a massive criminal gang of nuns in Italy. Via the Guardian:
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Police in northern China faced an unexpected and unholy menace last week when more than 100 fake monks besieged their police station, a Chinese newspaper reported today.
Police from Baotou city, in inner Mongolia, told the North News that the incident began last Wednesday when what appeared to be a group of monks attacked a toll booth and escaped by bus.
Officers stopped the vehicle at a roadblock after a lengthy car chase and arrested 31 of the men – but the suspects fought back with steel bars and knives, allowing the rest to make their getaway on a double-decker bus.
The following day, more than 100 men, apparently monks, besieged the city’s Guyang police station to demand the release of those arrested.
They arrested 178 fake monks, confiscating the sticks, knives, fake medicines and fake gold necklaces they were carrying.