Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Another interesting difference

just about done, i think. "subtle world."

Radiant Emptiness, Luminous Mind; yellow light and rainbow buddhas appearing everywhere. I love this world. I went to the temple to see the 800 year-old ginko tree's fallen leaves and saw a business man on his knees putting leaves into a plastic bag. Old people played in the yellow light, and monks meditated out of sight. The sign says "Be Quiet." 静かに

Our friend Michael Garfield talking beautifully. This is a must see for art and science lovers.

Some great live Bobby Mcferrin. I love his facial expressions.

And now, a Culture Lesson.

I think I have a very “postmodern” "American" view towards human sexuality--"different stokes for different folks"-- and I generally think that America exists within a relatively high level of tolerance for (and even protection of) sexual diversity (using a yard stick with Iran at the bottom and Holland at the top). However, while living in Japan I’ve been studying this "asian" sexuality and it just blows me away. It's positively astounding.

Japan appears to be, at times, extremely conservative.

But then you go to the local mall, to the bookstore next to Tower Records, and find right in the middle of the store shelves filled with gay erotic novels for young readers, fully illustrated.

This genre, called yaoi or Boys Love (BL), is primarily intended for young girls and is popular all over Japan--these books are not hidden or banned in any way.

I asked one of my Japanese friends why these are so popular and he said, “Kids are very interested in gay love stories.” More info here.

I guess in Japan interest in eroticism is NOT taboo, whereas in America, it is. We don't care if kids are interested in it. "It's wrong," so we deny any creative stimulation or eroticism, right?

But then again in America we have tv shows with gay characters (The L-word, True Blood, Family Guy, The Office)...However we would never culturally accept gay erotic picture books intended for junior high school girls like they do in Japan! We are way too homophobic and erotiphobic for that.

But let's be fair...if we caught two teenage boys loving each other, we wouldn't publicly hang them to death like they do in Iran. Thankfully we don't consider sexual and gender irregularities to be THAT big of a deal anymore, or even THAT irregular.

This is a typical book cover. Fascinating, yes? It seems so liberated.


Rod said...

So how do you like Obama now that he's fulfilling his promise to wage war more energetically on the Afghan people? What does a good gentle Buddhist do to atone after helping to elect a savage warmonger? (And nobody who elected him can pretend they didn't hear him promise to kill more Afghans...)

David said...

you ask really touch questions Rod. It's ironic he got the peace prize, eh? As a buddhist, i repeat the oath:
"For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, may I too remain to help dispel the misery in the world."

Rod said...


I guess if peaceful Americans had voted for the candidates who promised peace and freedom instead of the ones openly campaigning for war and bondage like Obama, there would still be Nobel Peace Prizes, but they wouldn't seem like a ghastly joke. I guess Obama will be pecking the air again with his little chicken-hand gesture and telling us to 'make no mistake' about something or other when he receives the Nobel Prize for Irony.

Let's vote more wisely next time to dispel the misery in the world, eh?

David said...

vote more wisely? i still believe that, superficially, Obama's IMAGE is a powerful uniting force in the world, and the fruit of a long hard struggle towards integration. He will, and already has, done plenty good. the murdering of Afghans (and more AMERICAN children!) is the other side of the coin?

Rod said...

Yes, more wisely. It doesn't matter a hoot that Obama is half black if he's also a war criminal. Ron Paul on the right and Cynthia McKinney on the left would have done more for 'integration' around the world because they're people of integrity. (And don't say, "But they'd never be elected" if you didn't try electing them...) You wouldn't get the evil 'other side of the coin' with those people. As for the 'AMERICAN' children, they're choosing to be killers, so, along with their allied counterparts, they don't deserve much sympathy. The more sympathy you give them, the more justified they'll feel.

Obama's image (which I see you and your friends have on their T-shirts) is about as wholesome as that of George Bush (who helped establish the trend of integrating morally corrupt coloured people into government). Give it a few more weeks and we'll see how good Obama's image looks around the world when he's done some more killing and undermined global cooperation on the climate.

What would the Buddha do? They say that he pointed out wrongdoing when he saw it...

David said...

they say he also had compassion for people because he understood their ignorance. you seem very passionate about hating Obama and the people who support him. And those poor kids who were conned into going to war. How much free choice do you think we have? Did they choose? and if so, what are their intentions? and where is Luminous Emptiness in all this, where everything is primordially perfect because EVERYTHING is arising interdependently, Karmically, and within the transparent clearing of emptiness? Of course, that fact is no excuse for non-action or, as you imply, complacency, even though both of those are products of the emptiness as well.
And your anger towards me and my friends and the administration is also pure mind, pure emptiness, no doubt. I just think it's important to sometimes take the "individual" "free thinkers" (maybe 1/4th of the whole picture) out and look instead at the interpenetrating systems producing all of this.

Why do you want to use my blog as a platform for your anger?

also, I think Obama has an amazing way of integrating many perspectives and levels of values into his message (i wasn't thinking of his race). He includes. His administration is not JUST traditional "kill-the-bad-guys". They include that, but they are not limited to that. It appears that the traditional side is all you can see right now. And for good reason! When your government is killing children, that should become the loudest message...

Rod said...

I come to your blog to look at your beautiful paintings and photos, and to enjoy some of the videos you post. I also like learning things - like this post about the gay-themed comics for young people - I had no idea they existed.

But I can't help noticing also that you have a lot to say about Obama in the same breath as the Buddhism. They don't go together at all well. What is the noble online Sangha for if not for mutual encouragement towards right effort?

How much free choice do the children who go to war have? They're just ignorant of how much free choice they have, which comes down to the same thing. But any gesture of support for war and the people like Obama who promote it just ensures that more go off to kill and die. We have the freedom to make that choice ourselves too.

Cause -> Effect

If you don't want me to post, say so and I'll stop.

David said...

i don't remember putting obama and buddhism together on this website. Obama is a buddha, like you and me though, and he has the potential to reawaken that nature, just like us. =)

No, i love your posts. They are a little jarring and cold at times, but great new perspectives nonetheless. The title of this post is "Another interesting difference" which you always provide.

I dont have a lot to say about obama. i can't remember posting about him recently. I just have a t-shirt with his head on it. =)

Rod said...

David, you remind me a bit of me when I was younger and had seen less news (I don't want to patronize you, but it's true - I used to be hopeful when Democrats and the Labour party came in).

In closing this theme, can I recommend to you two longish articles on Obama by two distraught libertarians.



These Americans are informed by the writings of Thoreau which are necessary reading for a person who wants to consider politics ethically (the complete works are in Matsuyama library).

In short, and at the risk of being annoying, we who want peace in the world need to be a bit more careful about which politicians we support.



David said...

It's funny you said that because I was thinking that you remind me of when I was younger: much more radical, more informed, more active. I used to be part of a brilliant anarchist collective in Kansas.
Now I'm less postmodern.
For example, I used to think that ethnocentrism was harmful. Now I think ethnocentrism is a step up from egocentrism, so it is a great advancement...
I'll check out those articles for sure.

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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