Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Brick

A friend sent me this email today and it speaks volume of what I wrote last week The Fine Wine. Most of us are guilty of travelling too fast on the Fast Lane. Let us take time to smell the roses and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. It is Sad when friends become strangers and Amazing when strangers become friends. Friends, don't wait for the brick to stop.

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in a new Jaguar. While watching for kids darting out from between parked cars, there was movement on the sidewalk that made the exec slow down. As the car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! The exec slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed the child against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The youth was apologetic. "Please...please, I'm sorry...I didn't know what else to do "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, he rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the child asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."The driver was moved beyond words and hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a fancy kerchief and dabbed at the scrapes and cuts. A quick look over the minor injuries relieved the exec.
"Thank you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the young executive simply watched the child push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. The dent was there to remind the exec of this message:
Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!

The universe whispers messages to our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time...a brick is thrown to ensure we listen.

We all have the choice to listen to the whisper...or wait for the brick

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How To Fire Walk Safely

Fire walking is no witchcraft or supernatural ability or deep religious faith or belief system. It is simply a matter of finding the courage to take that first step.

Fire walking paths are made of wood, left to burn into embers. These embers can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The type of wood used is the secret to a safe walk. Incense cedar and white birch are two such woods that produce the best coal beds. Some woods, after burning, produce sharp edges on the coals which may pose as a danger during fire walking. Some exude sap and gums that can stick to the walker's feet.

As we all know, wood is a lousy conductor of heat versus metals. Have you ever heard of people doing fire walking on metal? No. This is because metal is a good conductor of heat. They store a lot more heat than wood and it gets across to your body very quickly thus making it a painful path for the walkers. Wood on the other hand have very low heat capacity. They store very little heat relative to other materials. Coupled with a layer of ash on top of the flaming path, it helps further insulate the heat of the coals.

Keeping a steady brisk pace also keeps the blisters away. Never run across the path. At the end of the walk, dip your feet into a bucket of water to take the heat away and to remove any coals that may have got stuck on your feet. When I came off the path, I had a piece of coal stuck in between my second last and last toe of my right foot. Remember - do not stop and pose for the camera.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Most Venerable Drubwang Rinpoche

The Most Venerable Drubwang Rinpoche, Konchog Norbu (1921-2007) dissolved his body-mandala into the great expanse of the Dharmakaya in Singapore around 10 pm on December 25. Some days ago close disciples from Drikung Kagyu Religious Society in Kathmandu urged Drubwang Rinpoche not to go on a journey to Singapore due to his poor health. However Drubwang Rinpoche did not listen to them, but wanted to meet the promise he had given to the Drikung followers in Singapore. At the airport he was received by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, His Eminence Gyabra Tristab Rinpoche, and many monks. Drubwang Rinpoche had to be taken immediately to a hospital, where he passed away soon afterwards. Drubwang Konchog Norbu was considered a great master through his deep compassion and his unremitting inspiration to engage in simple dharma practices. His departure is a great loss to all Drikungpa. But it is an especially important time for all disciples to practice Guru Yoga in order to strengthen the connection with Rinpoche and receive his blessings from now until enlightenment is attained for all. Rinpoche’s body will be sent back to Nepal where final funeral rites will be performed extensively for the benefit of all of Rinpoche’s disciples and all mother sentient beings.

On January 14, 2008 over 200 monks and nuns and many foreign disciples from all over the world especially from Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia gathered in the monastery Drikung Rinchen Ling in Nayapati, Nepal, to perform the cremation of Most Venerable Drubwang Rinpoche. The ceremony was carried out in a very elaborate Vajrayana style. A hollow stupa was built as the crematory with a mandala beneath. On the morning of the 14th of January, four different fire pujas were performed simultaneously, one in each of the four directions corresponding to the four doors of the stupa. In east His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche performed the Akshobya fire puja assisted by His Eminence Ayang Rinpoche and many monks. In the north His Eminence Tritsab Rinpoche performed the Chakrasamvara fire Puja. In the west Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche performed the Chenrizig fire puja and in the south Drupon Sonam Jorphel Rinpoche performed the Yangzab fire puja. Everyone made great efforts to accomplish the pujas and the result was a very harmonious and moving ceremony. Many disciples were moved to tears by such devotion to Drubwang Rinpoche.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pangea Day 10 May 2008

Dear Friends of TED,

Wherever you will be on Saturday May 10, Pangea Day, you are warmly invited to join me and countless others around the world for a powerful, first-of-its kind experience.Gathered in homes, movie theaters and larger venues, we will participate in a remarkable program of films and talks -- a kind of super-charged, marathon TED session -- celebrating our common humanity. If you think of yourself as something of a global soul, it could be one of the year's highlights. And in fact you could play an invaluable role in helping it realize its full potential... If you don't have time to read this now, please just calendar Pangea Day for Saturday, May 10th (11am-3pm US West Coast, 2-6pm US East Coast, 7-11pm in UK, 8pm-midnight in Europe and much of Africa, 9pm-1am in the Mideast, 11.30pm-3.30am India, etc.).On that day, we invite you to gather around a screen with your family, friends and neighbors, preferably from more than one country. Pangea Day will be available on TV in many areas of the world. In the US, the full four-hour program is being carried live on Current TV, available in 41 million homes on the major cable and satellite systems. Current TV pioneered the vision of citizen-empowered media, and we're delighted to be partnering with them. We have similar agreements with the massive satellite network Star TV in China/India/Asia, with MGM Networksin Latin America, with Sky in the UK, several partners in the Mid-East, not to mention Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand and many more. Full details will be posted on our website next week.
And thanks to partnerships with Akamai and MSN, we will also be available on a live, full-screen web-stream everywhere with a broadband Internet connection.The best way to watch Pangea Day is not just as a normal TV show or web-stream. It should be watched as a community event. We want the sense of the great global village gathering around a campfire. We already know of more than a thousand self-organized screenings taking place in homes, clubs, and movie theaters. We expect thousands more come May 10.As many of you know, the day is the result of the combined efforts of countless TED supporters around the world, inspired by the TED Prize wish of film-maker Jehane Noujaim. She dreamed of a day when people around the world could share the the same film experience at the same time. The idea has grown into a giant global project... thanks to you. To get a sense of the scale of ambition, please take a minute to watch this beautiful trailer.Here's the state of play: - Out of thousands of submissions, we have assembled a fantastic line-up of films. There are about 20 in total, ranging in length from 2 to 15 minutes (most of them around 5). They all tell powerful stories, often without language, of what it is to be human. They are, by turns, funny, touching, dramatic, inspiring. - But you won't just be watching films. You'll be watching the world watching. We're bringing in live audience images from around the world. Watching a film about reconciliation is one thing. Watching it while simultaneously witnessing the reactions of people who are supposed to hate each other will be something else altogether. - The day also features a dozen powerful three-minute talks from scientists, film-makers, story-tellers and global visionaries. Just as a session at TED takes us on a journey stimulating every part of our brains, so will Pangea Day. Don't dismiss it as a warm & fuzzy peace-fest. The project builds on the latest ideas in anthropology, psychology and technology. We'll be revealing how.- The whole program is being broadcast in front of a live audience of 1,000 (from more than 50 countries) at a spectacular set being built at a Sony Studios soundstage in Los Angeles. - It will look and feel like nothing you've seen before. If any of this excites you, please would you consider doing something to help the day realize its full potential. There are three specific things you can do.1) Make firm plans to participate on May 10th. As a friend of TED, you can apply for free tickets to our main satellite-connected locations in LA, London, Rio de Janeiro, Kigali, Cairo or Mumbai. If you know you can bring a group of at least six people who will commit to being there for the full program, please write to, attend one of the other screenings listed in your area here. (If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can join a screening being organized there by a great group of TEDsters. Please write to Taylor Milsal,
2) Host a screening. It could be in your home with a few friends and family. Or you could book a larger venue in your neighborhood and open it for others to come join. You'll just need a large TV screen, the right channel access (or a good Internet connection) and willingness to spend four hours as a global soul. The Pangea Day website has the details you need here. Make sure to add your screening to our fast-expanding global map.3) Most important of all. Please help us spread awareness of Pangea Day. There are numerous ways to do this:
- Forward this email to your friends and colleagues... and invite them nicely to do the same!
- Post a story on your website or blog
- Point people to some or all of the following high-impact films:
The Pangea Day website and trailer.
The series of anthems sung by one country for another that I sent you earlier this week, e.g.
France sings for USA
Kenya sings for India
A viral Pangea Day film that debuted at TED this year.
- Make use of these ads on your website. We'd love to see millions of banners out there promoting the day. - Use any contacts you have to get media coverage for Pangea Day. There are a lot of great angles to this story! - You could even offer to take out paid advertising in your local media. We have terrific material for print, web and TV. - Become a fan on Facebook by clicking hereDo please write and tell us what you've done (you can write to my colleague, TED Scribe Jane Wulf, We want to recognize and celebrate those who make inspired contributions to the day.OK, that's the practical stuff. Do you have one more minute? I'd like to just say something more about why Pangea Day is worth your time and effort.I think we can agree our world is becoming ever smaller/flatter/more inter-connected. An important consequence of this is that all of the issues that matter -- war, terrorism, poverty, disease, human rights, environment, climate change -- can only be tackled now from a global perspective. And yet the people supposedly trying to solve them are almost all serving narrow mandates on behalf of their nation, religion or tribe. There's a terrifying mismatch here between the nature of the problems and the means the world is deploying to tackle them. "The world" itself doesn't even seem to have a seat at the table. But there's no reason this should be so. It is absolutely possible in the 21st century for us to begin a truly global conversation; to start nurturing that identity we share: one humanity. Some use the language of promoting global citizenship, or reducing cross-cultural suspicion, or expanding our circle of empathy, or eliminating the "us/them" mode of thinking. These goals are all linked, and any progress toward them is, I think, a very big deal.I was brought up in an international boarding school in India with kids from more than 30 countries. We had a shared experience of each others' lives. Differences in color and race gradually faded.I'm convinced today's media have the power to humanize "the other". To help people make the mental switch from "them" to "us". Telling stories through film is especially powerful in this regard. At the start of a film, you see someone strange-looking. At the end you feel kinship. There's no moral effort involved here. It's just a natural mental repositioning. Call me idealistic, but I really believe that that mental shift holds the key to our shared future. Of course, May 10th won't lead to an outbreak of world peace. But I do think it will reveal a sense of possibility: the possibility that there are incredible new ways of using technology as a force for good; that peoples' minds are not locked in a dark place forever; that our global village can start the long journey from "us/them" to "we".As the Pangea Day website says: Films can't change the world. But the people who watch them can.Huge thanks from me, Jehane and Pangea Day's executive director Delia Cohen to all who have helped make this project possible, including scores of TEDsters, the amazing Pangea Day and TED teams, TED patrons Shawn and Brook Byers, website-creators Avenue A/Razorfish and our visionary sponsor Nokia. Please join us for this final, crucial chapter.

Chris AndersonTED Curator

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tribute To Mum & Dad

From the tree of life, each leaf must fall
The green, the gold, the great, the small;
Each one in God's own time,
He'll call with perfect love
He gathers all

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Nature's Beauty