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Issue #1571 - Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

All  photos in this edition from Pool Clares Galway  

Clean Living and Spirituality Contribute to Long Life

September 30, 2003  

Better medicine, an emphasis on clean living and spirituality
are all contributing to making older Americans the healthiest
humans at their age in the history of the world, argue two
University of California, Davis, human-development scholars
in a new book.  

"What jumps out at you, after reviewing all the studies, is
that people who watch their nutrition, avoid toxins like
cigarettes or alcohol in excess, and who exercise are living
long, healthy lives," says Carolyn Aldwin, co-author of
"Health, Illness and Optimal Aging: Biological and
Psychosocial Perspectives," which was published in July.  

Traditionally, people who study healthy aging have said the
key ingredients to a long life include maintaining good
physical health, being active mentally, having a zest for
living, and being integrated into a supportive community of
family and friends with regular social activities. However,
an essential variable not previously recognized in medical
models for aging gracefully is the importance of
spirituality, Aldwin and Gilmer say.  

"We've also found a huge difference in mental health and well
being among people depending on how they spiritually cope
with their own diseases, pain and losses in later life,"
Aldwin says. She says this inner strength can be found
through organized religion as well as from meditation and the
spirituality and wisdom gained through a long life.  

In the book, Aldwin, a specialist in adult development and
aging, and co-author Diane Gilmer, a public-health nurse and
gerontologist, examine a large array of national studies that
have analyzed how aging affects health and illness. By
integrating knowledge of how human psychology and sociology
interact with biology, the authors say their book can help
gerontologists, psychologists and other professionals advise
their patients on how to live happy, healthy, long lives.  

"We're finding that people are living a much longer time with
fewer disabilities," Gilmer says. "Thanks to medical
advances, we treat diseases better by helping people adapt
more rapidly."  

"We found that some people, who have been followed over the
past 20 years starting in midlife, have shown little or no
changes in their physical health -- they really haven't aged
very much," Aldwin adds.  

Members of the World War II generation, now in their 70s and
80s, are the beneficiaries of burgeoning medical knowledge
gained over the past half century, Gilmer points out. For
instance, unlike the past practice of keeping people with
fractured hips in traction for two weeks, nowadays doctors
urge their patients to be up and moving within 24 hours after
surgery. The patients are discharged to a skilled-nursing
home within three to five days where rehabilitation begins
almost immediately. As a result, people are recovering more
quickly with fewer long-term health problems.  

Many in the next younger generation, baby boomers, are also
aging better than people in their age bracket during previous
eras, but Gilmer and Aldwin see a troubling class and
educational divide. People with more resources are able to
find the leisure time to exercise regularly, pay for smoking
cessation classes or afford more expensive health treatments,
for instance.  

"We also found that a college education was very important to
optimal aging," Aldwin says. College-educated Americans are
more knowledgeable about good health habits and tend to be
more motivated to adopt them.  

On the other hand, Americans are experiencing an epidemic of
obesity and its accompanying health issues -- diabetes, heart
problems and cancer. All of these diseases activate the aging
process, Aldwin points out.  

"And, obesity is linked to social class," Aldwin says. "We
predict that the baby boomers will see an accelerating class
difference in how long they live."  

In addition, the baby boomers are in the first generation to
experience high levels of divorce and delayed child-bearing.
Divorce often contributes to breaking down support networks
that help people cope with other life problems. Having
children later in life offers higher risks for breast cancer
and hypertension, Gilmer says.  

In this major review of health studies, Aldwin and Gilmer
found that people's personalities impact their health. While
emotional stability appears to be protective of health,
hostility is as much a risk factor as smoking for heart
disease in people during their 40s, Aldwin says. Anxiety,
which can be associated with the heart suddenly stopping, is
also a personality health risk.  

The increase in anxiety over the past two decades may also be
a cause for concern, given the role of anxiety in
cardiovascular health. "Highly anxious women who don't work
outside the home have an eight-fold risk of sudden death,"
Aldwin says.  

Regardless of class, however, all of us are physiologically
10 to 15 years younger than our parents were at our age,
Gilmer and Aldwin say, due to the dramatic improvement in
overall health during the past quarter century.  

An expert on stress and coping, Aldwin has been gleaning
insights about optimal aging from two longitudinal studies
during her career. Since 1985, she has worked with the
Normative Aging Study in Boston, which has followed more than
2,000 male veterans over the past four decades. For 13 years,
she also has directed the Davis Longitudinal Study, which
examines aging and other issues among various UC Davis
graduating classes since 1967.  

A former nurse practitioner for the elderly, Gilmer studies
and teaches about the physical aspects of aging, including
chronic diseases and disabilities, as well as about care

Messages Gandhiji conveyed through his life 
By Ela Gandhi

The subject of the relevance of
Mahatma Gandhiji’s teaching today has been widely discussed
by various people on several occasions. What is of much more
importance, these days, is the message that his life was. For
me there are four messages that are of utmost importance and
they are: Satyagraha (soul force), Sarvodaya (the good of
all) Swaraj (self rule/control) Swadeshi (my country’s

Satyagraha: At a meeting held on September 11, 1906, Gandhiji
explained the implications of a draft ordinance, the Asiatic
Ordinance which required all Asiatics to re-register, carry
passes and give their finger and palm imprints. Emotions were
aroused when one prominent member stood up and said solemnly
and with great determination that in the name of God he
pledges that he will not submit to such an ordinance.
Gandhiji was taken aback at such an impassioned speech. He
immediately began to differentiate the struggle they were
waging from other passive resistance. It was common cause
that passive resistance was regarded as the weapon of the
weak. What they were planning was by far a weapon of the
bravest of the brave. The struggle itself had changed.  

Gandhiji says: “I did not quite understand the implications
of 'passive resistance' as I called it. I only knew that some
new principle had come into being. As the struggle advanced,
the phrase 'passive resistance' gave rise to confusion and it
appeared shameful to permit this great struggle to be known
by an English name. …A small prize was, therefore, announced
in 'Indian Opinion' to be awarded to the reader who invented
the best designation for our struggle.”  

Many entries were received and the word 'Sadagraha' which
meant firmness in a good cause. It was suggested by Maganlal
Gandhi whose entry was the winning entry. However, Gandhiji
was not quite satisfied with the term as he felt that truth
and love had to be included in it, and so he changed the term
to Satyagraha - the force of truth with love.  

He said: “The force of arms is powerless when matched against
the force of the highest order. It is soul force or the power
of the Godhead within us." What did practicing satyagraha
mean for people? In explaining the consequences of making the
pledge not to submit to the law, Gandhiji said: “We may have
to go to jail where we may be insulted. We may have to go
hungry and suffer extreme heat or cold. We may be flogged by
rude warders. We may be fined heavily and our property may be
attached and held up for auction. Opulent today, we may be
reduced to abject poverty tomorrow. We may be deported.
Suffering from starvation and similar hardships in jail some
of us may fall ill and even die… wisdom lies in pledging
ourselves on the undertaking that we shall have to suffer all
that and worse.”  

Later Gandhiji realised that to be able to endure such
conditions one needed to be trained and he began training
Satyagrahis at the Settlements - Phoenix and Tolstoy Farm.  

There are five principles of Satyagraha:  

1. It is the weapon of the brave and never that of the coward
   or the fearful.  

2. Never retaliate no matter how much suffering one has to

3. Always love the opponent but direct the hatred to the evil

4. Firmness of resolve without insult, injury, humiliation or
   defeat of the opponent, rather intent to win him over
   through love.  

5. Accept suffering as part of the action as Satyagraha
   requires self-suffering not infliction of suffering.  

These principles make this movement not only a daring and
brave physical confrontation but also a spiritual
confrontation with evil. It is this spiritual element which
distinguishes Gandhiji’s approach and, therefore, it also has
greater acceptance from people of faith.  

Sarvodaya: Gandhiji had seen that at that time the West was
greatly influenced by the utilitarian ideals of philosophers
such as Bentham. They believed that all actions must be such
as to benefit the majority of the people. The minority were
just an appendage and may be appeased with crumbs. Gandhiji
was totally opposed to this view and he developed a
philosophy which looked at the good of all, not just the
majority, but all.  

With that in mind, therefore, Gandhiji started the idea of a
Sarvodaya movement which was actually started by Vinoba Bhave
a strong follower of Gandhiji. From the ashrams that Gandhiji
established teams of volunteers were daily sent out into the
villages to embark on programmes of education on cleanliness
and hygiene and encouragement to spin and farm to become self
sufficient. Also to get landlords to become more sensitive to
the needs of tenants.  

He said: “The heart’s earnest and pure desire is always
fulfilled. Service of the poor has been my heart’s desire,
and it has always thrown me amongst the poor and enabled me
to identify myself with them.”  

His ideal was to get people to accept voluntary poverty. His
nature was one of compassion and love. He said: “I hate
privilege and monopoly. Whatever cannot be shared with the
masses is taboo to me. I do not fight shy of capital, I fight
capitalism. If we could erase the 'I’s' and 'Mine’s' from
religion, politics, economics etc, we shall soon be free and
bring heaven upon earth.”  

The Sarvodaya movement started by Vinoba Bhave still
continues. Ashrams have been established all over India in
the rural areas where education, health care, shelter etc are
provided. In South Africa, after Gandhiji’s departure, the
Tolstoy farm was abandoned, while the Phoenix settlement
continued to exist. Initially, 'Indian Opinion' and a small
agricultural project were the main activities of the farm
with political activism. Later, the newspaper was
discontinued and health services were offered by volunteer
doctors, and students from the university. Work camps were
organised for various groups, children, teenagers, students
and adults. These camps focused on discussions on the
situation in the country, what alternatives existed. What
aspirations people had for the future. What sacrifices were
people prepared to make etc. As the scene of politics became
more and more confrontational, Phoenix began to be a threat
to the apartheid regime. In 1985, it was burnt down,
ostensibly by racial violence between Indians and Africans,
but in reality it was an orchestrated move to weaken the
struggle. Many UDF activists were killed in the violence in
that period.  

Swaraj: Swaraj is the Hindi word for freedom. But for
Gandhiji the concept meant more than the word freedom can
express. He said: “It is swaraj when we learn to rule
ourselves. The swaraj of my dream is the poor man’s swaraj.
Without a large, very large, army of self-sacrificing and
determined workers, real progress of the masses, I hold to be
an impossibility. And without that progress, there is no such
thing as Swaraj. Progress towards Swaraj will be in exact
proportion to the increase in the number of workers who will
dare to sacrifice their all for the cause of the poor.”  

Gandhiji was opposed to the culture of rights. He said that
one should not chase after rights because if everyone carried
out their duties the rights will naturally follow. So for him
the concept of freedom was based on the concept of
responsibility and responsibility meant sacrifice, and
self-restraint. He did not approve of the culture of
entitlement but instead encouraged everyone to labour for
their bread.  

Gandhiji was of the view that the more people hanker after
possessions and hording of articles, the more there would be
strife among those who cannot afford to sustain themselves
leave alone to horde.  

He, therefore, encouraged village economy, local economy
where everyone is given access to work and to a means to earn
a living and is able to have basic necessities of life. He
was opposed to forced distribution of wealth from the rich to
the poor, but came up with a novel idea of trusteeship where
the rich would be trustees keeping their wealth in safe
keeping for the poor. In other words the wealth is not
theirs, but they would be entrusted to use it in the best
interests of the poor. There would be no poor in Gandhiji’s
ideal society. There would be no one without work. No one
would go hungry or lack shelter. But he saw modern
civilisation as a factor militating against his ideal

Gandhiji said: “The distinguishing characteristic of modern
civilisation is an indefinite multiplicity of human wants.
The characteristic of ancient civilisation is an imperative
restriction upon and a strict regulating of these wants."
For Gandhiji swaraj meant:
• Self control
• Equality
• Self-sufficiency/economic independence
• Self respect

Swadeshi: The term was coined in 1908 in India when the
spinning wheel was already proving to be a valuable asset.
Gandhiji was clear that village industries could start up in
order to make villages sustainable but unless it received the
backing of the rich it would collapse.

He, therefore, came up with the idea of Swadeshi which
encourages local products through a principled buying of that
which is produced by hand and locally, even if it is not the
best. The spirit of patriotism and dedication to upliftment
of people would supersede the quest for quality, for cheaper
products and for fashion. Although Gandhiji warned the
producers not to become complacent and continue to produce
inferior products but rather develop a pride in their
production and produce the best and finest articles. So the
basic idea of swadeshi is listed in:  

• 1. Local economy
• 2. national and communal spirit
• 3. encouraging people to help each other
• 4. Building on local resources and skills
• 5. Replicating and perpetuating skills and production

Describing this concept Vandana Shiva says: "Economic freedom
according to Swadeshi is based on endogenously driven
development rather than externally controlled development.
Swadeshi for Gandhi was a positive concept based on building
what a community has in terms of resources, skills,
institutions and transforming them, where they were
inadequate. Imposed resources institutions and structures
leave a people unfree and are non sustainable. Swadeshi for
Gandhi was central to the creation of peace, freedom and
sustainable development. Swadeshi is based on people’s
economies and their ability to organise themselves. Swadeshi
or self-organisation in economic affairs is the basis of
economic freedom, and without economic freedom, there can be
no political freedom, or self-governance and self-rule.  

(The writer is a member of the South African parliament. She
represents Phoenix, a large township of 3,00,000 people near
Durban. As a peace and gender activist she was banned and put
under house arrest between 1975-1983. She is the
granddaughter of Mohandas K Gandhi.)  


Chinese Journal Analyzes Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Chinese Community
September 30, 2003

The fourth issue of Liaowang Xizang, the Chinese-language journal published by the International Campaign for Tibet, analyzes the increasing interest in Tibetan Buddhism by the Chinese community in South-East Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the West, and particularly inside China.

There is a growing number of Chinese-speakers attending the teachings by the Dalai Lama, whether in India or in other parts of the world. More significantly, Chinese devotees have been requesting teachings to be given to their community by the Dalai Lama. In August 2003, several hundred Chinese speakers from Singapore and Taiwan gathered in Dharamsala for a teaching by the Dalai Lama sponsored by their community.

A commentary on the cover of the latest issue of the journal talks about the significance of the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China.  It says, " In the past few years there has been a dramatic development of newfound interest in Tibet, Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism among ordinary Chinese. The politically motivated official position that Tibetan culture was backward is being challenged by the growing appreciation among ordinary Chinese of the deeper aspect of Tibetan Buddhism and the positive role that it is playing in the development of the society.  Books on Buddhism by the Dalai Lama as well as other Tibetan lamas have been translated into Chinese and are reportedly hot favorites not just in Chinese-speaking areas outside of China, but also in different provinces of China." 

This new interest has led to many Tibetan Buddhist centers being established in the Chinese-speaking regions. In Taiwan alone, there is reported to be more than 200 such centers where regular study of Tibetan Buddhism is undertaken in the Chinese language. There are more than a dozen Tibetan Buddhist centers in Hong Kong while in Chinese cities like Beijing; Tibetan lamas are sought after by Chinese devotees. 

Historically, too, several communities in China have found spiritual solace in Tibetan Buddhism. Communities like the Muosuo tribe, the Mongols or the Naxi people even today follow a form of Tibetan Buddhism and identify closely with the Tibetan people. 

"Tibetan Buddhism can be a bridge to build closer contact between the Chinese and the Tibetan people. Mongol and Manchu emperors of the past patronized Tibetan Buddhism," said Rinchen Tashi, editor of Liaowang Xizang.  "As more Chinese understand the beneficial aspect of Tibetan Buddhism they will begin to appreciate the Tibetan society, which has kept this religious and cultural tradition alive," Tashi added. 

The journal contained an introduction to some of the Tibetan Buddhist centers in China today, including Yunhe Gong (Beijing); Zhenghai Si and Guangren Si (at Wutaishan), etc.

Other issues covered in this journal were the US Senate resolution welcoming the Dalai Lama to Washington and commending him for his leadership; an article by Cai Yongmei who interviewed the Dalai Lama for Kaifang magazine in Hong Kong; a commentary by Mo Li giving a Chinese perspective to the India-China declaration on Tibet; a report on the third Tibetan Youth Leadership Program held in Brussels.

The fourth issue of Liaowang Xizang was published in September 2003.

The third issue of Liaowang Xizang, which was published in July, analyzed Chinese sincerity in holding talks on Tibet. 

The commentary dwelt on the situation following the second visit of the envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama to China in May-June 2003. It said Chinese attitude on Tibet following that visit has raised the question about China's sincerity in the Sino-Tibetan contact. 

"Given the confusing message that is coming out from China, people are wondering whether the Chinese side is really serious and sincere in wanting a positive talks on the issue of Tibet with the Dalai Lama's envoys," the commentary said.

Among articles in this issue were, "Beijing should hold the opportunity to solve Tibet issue" by Liu Xiaozhu; "China must treat Tibet issue properly" by Rinta; "The Dalai Lama"          by Shi Dong; "The Picture of Tibet's Future" by Wang Zhihui and "Having contact is better than not having contact" being reaction by Wang Lixiong & Lin Zhaozhen on the second visit to China by the Dalai Lama's envoys.

The issue also carried reaction in the international media, including Chinese, to the second visit to China by the Dalai Lama's envoys.

"The Lord be with you always
and may you be with him always
and in every place"

- Blessing of St. Clare

Who are we?

We are an enclosed contemplative community of Poor Clare sisters whose monastery is in Nuns’ Island, Galway, Ireland. In fact we have been here in Galway for centuries, right back to 1642, having come through various stages from our beginnings in Gravelines, northern France, where some young Irish women had gone in search of religious life intent on returning to Ireland when persecution abated. Begun in those far off days, the same life of daily prayer and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, is ours today. See History.

Who is St. Clare?

She is our Foundress, a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi in 13th century, Umbria, Italy. She was by birth a noble lady, but relinquished all to live a Gospel life in the spirit of St. Francis.

Our desire, too, is to show forth in a lived communion, that the presence of Christ can be a reality in our world. See St Clare

This is Clare's own exhortation to us: "be with the Lord always"

If you interested please feel free to write or call to:

Poor Clare Monastery,
Nuns' Island,

Psychological Terrorism

by Margaret Cho

Psychological terrorism is the name of the game. There is not a moment that goes by where I am not told to be afraid of something, as this is how the government/media/powers that be would have it. The level of alert raising daily at random, the constant reminiscences of 9/11 in "terror-porn" on the numerous news channels, pundits with bulging neck veins raging against the breakdown of the American family, the constant advertising warning the young against acne, the old against incontinence, the women against fat, the men against baldness, the Blacks against the inherent racism of the Whites, the Whites against the dubious safety of the urban city centers.

That everyone else thinks that Asians have SARS and are opportunistically reaping the sorrows of the ghetto by opening liquor stores and will serve you a cat in a restaurant without a hint of regret and then get out on the streets and drive, that Latino illegal immigrants are impacting the job market (as if) leaving 'real' Americans jobless, that there is a terrorist sleeper cell operating in the mosque down the street, that gays will not only give you AIDS they will redecorate your home in a way that is too fruity and overcharge you for the pleasure, that Stephen Cojocaru will make fun of your outfit at the Emmys, that Elton John is having a garage sale, that lesbians will buy all the deck sanding equipment at Home Depot, and that if the Defense of Marriage Amendment is not passed, that all the world will no longer regard marriage as a true 'vow', that high school kids are all listening to music that makes them want to commit suicide and take the entire cafeteria down with them, the New Age/therapy obsessed that there may be things that you don't know are wrong with you that are wrong with you, that the too-afraid-to-leave-home-now Internet people will get blasted by a worm made by one of those pissed off kids who didn't get shot or isn't dosing someone with rohypnol and date raping them or given Parkinson's by using 'E'/'K'/'Wet'/'Fresh' at a rave, that you might get anthrax/West Nile/acid reflux, taken down by a dude with a bomb in his shoe or in the mail, or knocked off by a sniper in front of a Michael's while you innocently shop for supplies to make Halloween crafts for your house, which maybe they should just fucking cancel this year because it is Halloween all year round now because we assume that there are razor blades in all the apples and Mike Myers (the murderer not the comic) has cloned himself and is behind every tree, shrub, rosebush, mailbox, pumpkin, SUV.

I ain't scared. What reason do I have not to be scared? I think that the fear is having an effect on the way we live, vote, buy - so much that we are a changed nation, no longer able to think or act rationally and I would like my life back. I guess the only thing I am afraid of is, I might be wrong.

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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