The Lion’s Roar on the Turning of the Wheel – From the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha


(Depiction of the Historical Buddha)

Cakkavatti-Sῑhanāda Sutta: The Lion’s Roar on the Turning of the Wheel

[58] 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.781 Once the Lord was staying among the Magadhans at Mātulā. Then he said: ‘Monks!’ ‘Lord’, they replied, and the Lord said:
‘Monks, be islands unto yourselves, be a refuge unto yourselves with no other refuge. Let the Dhamma be your island, let the Dhamma be your refuge, with no other refuge.782 And how does a monk dwell as an island unto himself, as a refuge unto himself with no other refuge, with the Dhamma as his island, with the Dhamma as his refuge, with no other refuge? Here, a monk abides contemplating body as body,783 ardent, clearly aware and mindful, having put aside hankering and fretting for the world, he abides contemplating feelings as feelings, … he abides contemplating mind as mind, … he abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, clearly aware and mindful, having put aside hankering and fretting for the world.
‘Keep to your own preserves,784 monks, to your ancestral haunts.785 If you do so, then Mara will find no lodgement, no foothold. It is just by the building-up of wholesome states that this merit increases.
[59] 2. ‘Once, monks, there was a wheel-turning monarch named Daḷhanemi, a righteous monarch of the law, conqueror of the four quarters, who had established the security of his realm and was possessed of the seven treasures. These are: the Wheel Treasure, the Elephant Treasure, the Horse Treasure, the Jewel Treasure, the Woman Treasure, the Householder Treasurer, and, as seventh, the Counsellor Treasure. He has more than a thousand sons who are heroes, of heroic stature, conquerors of the hostile army. He dwells having conquered this sea-girt land without stick or sword, by the law (as Sutta 3, verse 1.5).
3. ‘And, after many hundreds and thousands of years, King Daḷhanemi said to a certain man: “My good man, whenever you see that the sacred Wheel-Treasure has slipped from its position, report it to me.” “Yes, sire”, the man replied. And after many hundreds and thousands of years the man saw that the sacred Wheel-Treasure had slipped from its position. Seeing this, he reported the fact to the King. Then King Daḷhanemi sent for his eldest son, the crown prince, and said: “My son, the sacred Wheel-Treasure has slipped from its position. And I have heard say that when this happens to a wheel-turning monarch, he has not much longer to live. I have had my fill [60] of human pleasures, now is the time to seek heavenly pleasures. You, my son, take over control of this ocean-bounded land. I will shave off my hair and beard, don yellow robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness.” And, having installed his eldest son in due form as king, King Daḷhanemi shaved off his hair and beard, donned yellow robes, and went forth from the household life into homelessness. And, seven days after the royal sage had gone forth, the sacred Wheel-Treasure vanished.
4. ‘Then a certain man came to the anointed Khattiya King and said: “Sire, you should know that the sacred Wheel-Treasure has disappeared.” At this the King was grieved and felt sad. He went to the royal sage and told him the news. And the royal sage said to him: “My son, you should not grieve or feel sad at the disappearance of the Wheel-Treasure. The Wheel-Treasure is not an heirloom from your fathers. But now, my son, you must turn yourself into an Ariyan wheel-turner. 786 And then it may come about that, if you perform the duties of an Ariyan wheel-turning monarch, on the fast-day of the fifteenth,787 when you have washed your head and gone up to the verandah on top of your palace for the fast-day, the sacred Wheel-Treasure will appear to you, thousand-spoked, complete with felloe, hub and all appurtenances.”
[61] 5. ‘“But what, sire, is the duty of an Ariyan wheel-turning monarch?” “It is this, my son: Yourself depending on the Dhamma, honouring it, revering it, cherishing it, doing homage to it and venerating it, having the Dhamma as your badge and banner, acknowledging the Dhamma as your master, you should establish guard, ward and protection according to Dhamma for your own household, your troops, your nobles and vassals, for Brahmins and householders, town and country folk, ascetics and Brahmins, for beasts and birds.788 Let no crime789 prevail in your kingdom, and to those who are in need, give property. And whatever ascetics and Brahmins in your kingdom have renounced the life of sensual infatuation and are devoted to forbearance and gentleness, each one taming himself, each one calming himself and each one striving for the end of craving, from time to time you should go to them and consult them as to what is wholesome and what is unwholesome, that is blameworthy and what is blameless, what is to be followed and what is not to be followed, and what action will in the long run lead to harm and sorrow, and what to welfare and happiness. Having listened to them, you should avoid evil and do what is good.790 That, my son, is the duty of an Ariyan wheel-turning monarch.’

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Floriduh Woman: Personal Grooming Edition

Don’t do this!

Internet punsters are celebrating Megan Barnes as Florida’s “Pubic Enemy,” others are chattering about her “razor sharp focus.”

The 37-year-old Barnes catapulted to instant fame for an alleged multi-tasking mash-up that earned the bottle-blonde’s mug shot a spot on hundreds of Web sites.

According to a startled Florida Highway Patrol trooper, Barnes was shaving her bikini area while driving south on the famed Overseas Highway when she crashed into the rear of an SUV March 2.

In the police report obtained by ABC News, the trim job was apparently essential because the arresting officer, trooper Gary Dunick, said the Indiana native told him she was heading to Key West visit her boyfriend.

“She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit,” Dunick told the Key West Citizen.

It gets weirder. In order to pay full attention to her sensitive regions, police say Barnes enlisted her ex-husband, Charles Judy, who was riding shotgun, to hold the wheel.

Yes, her ex-husband.

Much more information at the link.

SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! Meet Up Reminder: OpieJeanne in LA

OpieJeanne would like to remind all the LA Balloon Juicers that:

tomorrow we’ll be at Story Tavern in Burbank at 11am, looking for the locals. Hope to meet a bunch of you tomorrow.

Those of you in the area know the drill!

Also, obligatory:

Make Sure to Save the Date!

Oy vey…


Strategic Miscommunication

There is a long term International Relations concept called the security dilemma, or as I like to think of it, the insecurity spiral. The security dilemma is a Realist concept that arises from the lack of an international sovereign. Basically because there is no overarching international controlling power, the actions of one or more states, usually in regard to military preparations, can/are misinterpreted leading to other states undertaking responses that in turn lead the original actor or actors to respond, leading to more counter responses. All of which causes a crisis of security, an insecurity spiral, which increases the possibility of conflict.

To avoid a security dilemma states, intergovernmental organizations, and a lot of non state actors, try to utilize strategic communication. Joint Publication 5-0 defines strategic communication as:

… efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of … interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power. Also called SC.

President-elect Trump’s recent, unsecured communications with many foreign heads of state have many concerned that these conversations are creating a type of security dilemma whereby the President-elect unintentionally or intentionally changes decades of American policy and strategic posture. And does so without the benefit of a State Department Protocol Officer, State Department pre-briefing to prepare for these calls, and secured comms to ensure that his conversations cannot be intercepted and used against the US (and our allies and partners) in the future. These communications have heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. And we now have an escalation in regard to the People’s Republic of China, which actually places the ongoing security of Taiwan at risk.

While some of this is a unique combination of the age of social media, 24/7 news media, and the Internet and a President-elect who seems addicted to social media and has a unique talent for capturing 24/7 news media, it is not unknown. To a certain extent the events that led up to World War I were the result of a classic security dilemma leading to a catastrophic insecurity spiral and the outbreak of actual war.

More recently, in the early 1980s, the aggressive attempts by President Reagan to pressure the Soviet Union led to a breakdown that almost led to war over the NATO war game known as Able Archer.

Able Archer was a 1983 NATO war game that was misinterpreted by the Soviet Union. The signals intercepts being made by Soviet Intelligence led them to mistakenly believe that NATO, led by the US and Britain, was preparing a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. This almost kicked off a classic security dilemma as the Soviets mobilized in response to the war game. This was initially misinterpreted by NATO as the Soviets conducting their own, counter, war game. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. After Able Archer’s conclusion, British Intelligence provided a complete report on the security dilemma that resulted from the strategic miscommunication to Downing Street, which then communicated to the Reagan Administration in order to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The documentary below details Able Archer, the Soviet Response, and just how closely everyone, on every side, escaped a war caused by misinterpretation from unintended miscommunication.

Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Live Feed: Its All Good Fun Until…


Breaking News: Explosion in the Chelsea Section of Manhattan

Something exploded in a dumpster at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in the Chelsea area of Manhattan around 8:30 PM EDT tonight. As of now the estimates are that 26 are injured. The explosion, and the dumpster, were located in front of the VISIONS at Selis Manor facility for the blind. The NYPD and FDNY are on site and investigating. This is obviously a developing situation, the information on it is going to change over the next 24 – 72 hours and we’ll update as appropriate. Here’s a link to CBS NY’s live feed. Here’s a link to live radio coverage if you prefer. (h/t: Raw Story for both) And here’s CBS NY’s live feed as an embed:


Update at 11:oo PM EDT

Josh Marshall at TPM, who lives right across the street from where the explosion occurred, provides important context and given the nature of the incident, I’m posting his entire post because its important context:

You may have seen news of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan tonight. The cause of the explosion is still unknown, though there’s a flood of speculation. As it happens, the place where the explosion occurred is literally directly across the street from my apartment. My family and I were about thirty miles away when this happened. TPM’s New York office is about three and a half blocks away.

As long as everyone’s talking about this, let me share a few details about the location. The building where this happened (or immediately in front of this building) is a large, old-style institutional home for the blind. Very large, probably hundreds of occupants. The ground floor of the building is also a voting location. For months there’s been some sort of low-intensity construction going on. There’s scaffolding over the sidewalk in front of the building and there’s usually at least one mega dumpster immediately in front of the building – one of those huge construction dumpsters that’s like 30 feet long.

I’ve seen suggestions that this area is a highly congested area or a place where there’s lots of night life on a Saturday evening. That’s not true. You could find places like there within a couple hundred yards, maybe closer – at least places where there are restaurants with outdoor seating on to the sidewalks. But there’s nothing like that at this location, not at this home for the blind obviously but also not anywhere on that block. Even though 23rd street is a major east-west artery in Manhattan, there actually wouldn’t be very many people at all on that street in that area mid-evening on a Saturday night.

Of course, it’s a major street in Manhattan. So everything is relative. But there just wouldn’t be that many people there. I’d say a relatively light amount of foot traffic – virtually all people on their way to somewhere else. But just not that many of them. There are likely even fewer in precisely that area because of the scaffolding which has a kind of tunnel through it that you walk under.

Because of this I’m not terribly surprised that there seem to be relatively small number of injuries simply because at 8 pm or thereabouts there just wouldn’t be that many people around.

I’ve also seen reports that this is a gay neighborhood with an active gay nightlife. That’s at least somewhat misleading. Chelsea is a historically gay neighborhood. (Allow me to use these unwieldy phrases, just to explain some basics about the area quickly. And let me state the obvious: I’m no expert on neighborhood gayness. I’m trying to give people who don’t know the area as much context as possible. Please read the following in that light.) But it’s less distinctly so than it used to be. And there are lots of areas of the west side of Lower Manhattan that could as easily be termed a ‘gay neighborhood’. There are clusters of gay bars on the avenues a bit further south and west. (The Stonewall Inn is maybe a mile and a half to the South.) But there’s no business or bar or anything else on that block that is gay-identified in any way. Point being, if someone had a beef with the gay community there’s nothing symbolic or iconic on that block or really anything particularly interesting at all besides a few barber shops, a deli, a Donkin’ Donuts and a pizza place.

So is Chelsea a gay neighborhood? Sure, by some definitions. There’s a large gay community. But if you’re talking about Chelsea today, Chelsea in relation to other contiguous neighborhoods or this particular block, there’s little about it that would make you think this location as opposed to a thousand other places on the West Side of Lower Manhattan might be targeted by people hostile to gays.

I’ll update more if and when it’s relevant.

Update at 11:08 PM EDT

I’ve updated the links to CBS NY and included/attempted an embed. Mayor de Blasio will be holding a press conference momentarily.

Update at 11:30 PM EDT

The NYPD CT Unit has tweeted out that there is no evidence of terrorism and no specific threat/targeting of Chelsea.

At Mayor de Blasio’s press conference, they have just indicated, as answer to the question if this was a bomb, that they do not yet know what caused the explosion, they are investigating, but they do believe this incident was intentional.

Update at 11:40 PM EDT:

NYPD CT Unit is now reporting 29 injured with one possibly critical:

Update at 11:45 PM EDT

CBS 2 NY is now reporting a second device has been found on 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues and that Mayor de Blasio indicates that the 8:30 explosion was deliberate.

Update at 12:05 AM EDT

NYPD has now indicated that it was not the dumpster that blew up/was blown up, but something inside a toolbox placed in front of the building:

Update at 12:25 AM EDT

Raw Story has linked to a tweet at NY City Alerts that “purports to show the explosion”

And the NYPD has issued the following alert:

Update at 12:30 AM EDT

Dean Meminger, the Criminal Justice Reporter at NY 1 is now reporting:

Update at 12:35 AM EDT

And RT has already begun with the propaganda:

Update at 12:50 AM EDT

MSNBC is now reporting that law enforcement (from three law enforcement sources)  is stating that the pressure cooker has tape, wire, and a cell phone on it. It is unclear if it is a legit device or just made to look threatening. This is why they are concerned about the pressure cooker and they are now trying to determine whether they want to do a controlled explosion on site with the mobile unit or try to remove it to the NYPD bomb squad facility. They are also reporting that NYPD believes that the surveillance footage from the area of the initial explosion has information on it identifying a person of interest.