Friday, May 31, 2013

How Treasury's tax loophole mistake saves companies billions each year

......The story of the "check the box" loophole, which allows U.S. companies to choose for themselves how to classify their subsidiaries for tax purposes, and a companion policy known as the "look-through" rule, shows how Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians have worked together — sometimes wittingly - to save money for American corporations and deprive the federal government of billions in tax revenue each year.
What began in 1996 as an effort by the Treasury Department to simplify the U.S. tax code mistakenly ended up as a massive tax loophole for corporate America, which seized upon it and has never let go......

Brain - Mind in popular media

The following is an interesting article in popular media, though not new to some who follow this area:

Distinguishing Brain From Mind

In coming years, neuroscience will answer questions we don't even yet know to ask. Sometimes, though, focus on the brain is misleading.

From the recent announcement of President Obama's BRAIN Initiative to the Technicolor brain scans ("This is your brain on God/love/envy etc") on magazine covers all around, neuroscience has captured the public imagination like never before....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A talk on the practice of riding thermals

Riding Thermals

Elihu Genmyo Smith

Our life is this moment ongoing change, neither holding to self nor other than self. Being this is our practice.

When we are not so then there is stress, dissatisfaction, difficulties and suffering. The following discussion of gliders in The Economist, March 9, 2013, Technology Quarterly, p. 8, is a useful analogy to help us clarify life practice efforts in these circumstances:

"When TALEUS [hand-launched Tactical Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System] encounters a thermal it senses the lift and spirals around to take advantage of it. Vultures and eagles use the same technique, and...[those] in charge of the project [have] often found TALEUAS sharing the air with these raptors. On some occasions, the birds found that the thermals they were attempting to join were too weak for their weight, as the drone is more efficient at gliding than they are..."

The rest of this article is at the following website:
Riding Thermals

An audio version of this article with questions and answers following is at the following link:
Riding Thermals  5/25/13

(c) 2013 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A glimmer of being harmonious

When we sit together with others in a Zendo, practicing together, especially in an extended period like a retreat (sesshin), do we seem to be more and more in harmony?

Maybe the following article can help us see a little bit how the Sangha treasure is expressed as harmony.

"A man takes a bunch of metronomes, sets them ticking in different ways, then — and this is the crucial part he lifts them collectively off the table, so their different motions now start to offset each other. And this happens:"

So what is being in harmony as the universe? What is the harmonious life?

In the above article about harmonizing, the metronomes start off different and become the same, harmonized, in the process described - no longer maintaining their different rhythm.

In Zen practice, in our sitting and life practice, we discover, reveal and manifest the differences as sameness, the sameness as differences. (Sameness can also be stated as "emptiness", "spaciousness", "sunyata" or a number of other words. Each word has its own denotations and connotations, and therefore potential strengths and weaknesses, in English.)

In clarifying this, in deepening and actualizing this clarification, we see and manifest the harmony of differences as differences, harmony of sameness as sameness.

(c) 2013 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I was asked for a link to the audio of talks and classes I gave. Here it is:

And here is a list of some recent ones:

Mother's Day Zazen  5/12/13

Buddhas  Sentient Beings  One Mind  5/5/13

Forgetting Self  4/28/13

Different - Same  4/21/13

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What is a "near koan"?

How does the format of Facebook effect or limit the ways we use it, if we do, or determine the ways we are used by it?

Fascinating article about what occurs behind the scenes at Facebook.

Is it really a "near koan"?  What is that?

Is Facebook really "the perfect empty vessel" - what makes it empty?

What is not empty ?

(c) 2013 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Religion and Public Life in America

What are the legal limits of the free exercise of religion?

What are the limits of the governmental support of religious activity?

The following article is an exploration of the nature of religious freedoms and governmental power in the United States. Though it has a definite conservative political perspective, it raises important issues that are worth exploring - even if you are agnostic about or do not agree with the author's politics.

This exploration is especially important for those connected to a religious practice life or with an interest in the relation of religious life and political issues.

(c) 2013 Elihu Genmyo Smith